Blessed (Synchroblog at Imperfect Prose)

thirty dollars of groceries…random

Well, Emily over at Imperfect Prose is having what she calls a synchroblog 
and although I had no intention of sharing this, I am going to be brave like Emily.
Because when she shared her heart today I felt ashamed that I was too prideful to be honest.
And I knew that though there are tears, there is hope.
And God has called me to transparency despite my own desire to hide when it hurts.
I know as Emily does that there is blessing even in the tears…
Emily has asked us to write on this and then link up
  What Does It Mean To Be Blessed?
The conversations around the house seem to be short. 
Brief frustrated interactions sprinkled with tensions. 
Humor dispersed throughout, yes.
But all is superficial.
I wonder, and feel alone.
Insurmountable stress heaped high.
Yet underlying it all is that thought that plagues difficulty- 
that feeling that all other Christians hold you in suspicion.
Job’s friends are never without opinion.
We keep to ourselves, knowing it is dangerous but feels safer.
Every decision boils down to dollars and cents. 
How far to drive.
What to do, not to do.
Breath holding every time the smallest splurge is chosen.
So much we long to give.
Another friend wants to sleep over, for the second night. 
I smile weak and say there aren’t a lot of snacks for another night.
Why do kids like snacks so much, anyway?
My stomach feels sick.
I’m glad I bought the ice cream sandwiches, at least a little something…
$1.50 for 12. 
I think back to the scene at the grocery store.
Just days earlier.
It’s one thing to struggle when you are single mom, 
but when ends are hard to meet as a family, with a hard working, 
self sacrificing husband-
it is painfully discouraging. 
And secret.
I set out with thirty dollars. 
I pray.
One more week – 7 days.
I choose, careful.
I pick things up, put them back.
I think meals.
I ask how, to him who is wearing a smile that grows a little more stiff each day.
He says he does not know.
He says it’s been like the fish and the loaves all month.
We don’t understand it.
We are blessed.

I know.
I stalk the aisles, a spy.
My Girl has asked for one thing. 
I see the price.
Deli meat, really?
One thing, she asked.
I put a small amount in the carriage,
Tallying in my head. 
I stink at math.
I see watermelon, thinking it goes far.
I put it in the carriage.
I can make it work.
Chicken Breast on sale $1.99 a pound.
1.50 for bleach (the bathroom tiles need attention), 
1 box of pop tarts (they love them for a snack).
We are blessed.
I know.
I am cashing out.
The young cashier rings the items.
I watch and feel my stomach turn.
A line is forming behind me.
The total is over
thirty dollars.

I apologize, and quick call my hub.
He lets me know that we have no wiggle room in any other accounts.
It is what it is.
I apologize again to those before and behind me.
The cashier offers to save my order. 
I feel the tension in the line behind me.
A manager comes and releases my order – I explain the situation briefly.
I head over to Customer Service, where
one by one we remove items out until we are within
the amount I actually have.
I actually am not thinking clearly at this point 
so I just go for the most expensive things.

Watermelon, chicken, deli meat, bleach. I can’t even remember 
what I have or don’t have in the carriage.
I just want to stop the painfulness of the moment as quick as possible.
We are blessed.
I know.
I reach the car, and feel angry.
I am angry.
I cry and feel the anger circulate through my body.
I say things, I know I will need forgiveness for even as they spill out of my mouth.
I know He hears and I tell Him that I know I am blessed, but 
I hate the most that I feel so pressed, squeezed. 
And I feel so angry that really, 
this is all I have for thirty dollars…
 I am mad at a things I can’t see, name.
I am mad at my own inability to stretch that dollar more.
Home, I look at what I have and think about what I left behind.
I take a picture and send it via text to my hub.
 He reminds me, it will get better.
I feel my anger subside.
Fishes and Loaves.
I know we are blessed.
 I know.
Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed
 to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
John 6:11

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich,
 yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

Going For The Gold {Olympic Faith Training}

I knew I was going to love the message coming from the pulpit this past Sunday. 
Our Associate Pastor titled the sermon “Training Like Michael Phelps”. 
Now as someone who has been involved in the field of fitness for many years, 
my attention was fixed the minute I knew the verse chosen to start the ball rolling.
“…rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”
1 Timothy 4:7b-10
Anytime the sermon is based on a verse that God has used to speak to me before, I know He will build into that which He has already started- He is faithful to finish what He starts. As a Personal Trainer who really desires God more than anything, I have a special place in my heart for this verse. God used it to balance my thinking.
 As a former competitive bodybuilder and power-lifter, I spent many days, nights and hours in the gym. I loved training and eventually competing. 
I ran head long into my eternal destiny changing relationship with the Lord, through a fellow competitive bodybuilder, and began the ultimate transformation process of a lifetime while training for my first national level competition. 
I know many woman can’t relate to a lot of the weight lifting sports, but the heart of an athlete is always the same, regardless of the sport. Often the sport picks the athlete. It’s a match of genetics and will merging to rise up to the challenge and be the best one can be. Passion, desire and focus unite to win.
I know what it’s like to be driven, focused and passionate. 
When I met the Lord, He turned my life from one that was passionate towards the things of this world to a life that was passionate toward the unseen things of His Kingdom.
Did it happen overnight?
There are so many ways God used the lessons from competitive training
 as well as training others to prepare me for my Christian walk.

I think our Pastor Randy reminded me of some of those lessons learned, 
and that – as any athlete, coach or trainer knows-
 the reminding is good.
He put before the congregation the question:
What are you training for?
Oh, we trainers are always thinking, talking and prioritizing goal setting, 
so I am all over this like gold on Phelps.
He started the message by naming many of the athletes who competed in the early Olympic games.
He shared some interesting facts about these competitors. 
But the fact is, none of names, records or even some events rang a bell to any of us now.
Even the very first of all recorded Olympic Champions: Coroebus of Elis, remains …er, faceless.
See the fact is, and the point he was emphasizing, is that these athletes are training for that which is considered valuable now; esteemed today. But if the Lord tarries and a similar message is given forth by say Randy’s great, great, great, great grand-son and he mentions Michael Phelps, is it possible that the same blank, bemused expressions would stare back at the pulpit?
Randy mentioned how Michael Phelps eats, sleeps, trains, and breathes for one purpose.
He lives to excel in one sport-swimming.
What are you living to excel in?
Is it that which is temporary or eternal?
Although we as multi -tasking, real life, faith-filled people have a lot of things we need to do,
 he reminded us that we have one goal that unites us in Christ.
Our goal to be like Him who has called us.
We are called to godliness.
He encouraged us to train as single event Olympians 
toward the one goal which is devotion to God himself in all things, 
by excelling in godliness.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 
Hebrews 12: 1
We are training for the prize which is guaranteed.

Christ Himself is our Goal and Gold.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
Hebrews 12: 2

One more thought and verse that encourages me in all that I was reminded of in the message.
Our coach, Jesus not only has given us His example but also ALL the power we need to
carry out our Olympic Faith Training.
It’s right there in His Word…

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life 
through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3

If you need a spiritual BOOST- hop over and check out the message for yourself!
Me? I will be doing my Godliness Training-
Laps in the prayer pool, Holy Spirit sprints, Pick Up Your Mat and walk…to the gym,
Sit Up and sin no more….OK, you get the picture! 🙂
Here is the link to the actual message Pastor Randy Curtis
 preached this past Sunday:
If you check it out, let me know-
I’d love to hear what you thought about it!
This is my first time linking up with Michelle at Hear it, Use it!
Great communities here:

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