Thursday, January 2, 2014

It's that time again...


That time again, you know, for New Year's Resolutions. The time of year where you start fresh and have great aspirations to live a "Pinterest-perfect" life. THIS is going to be the year, you tell yourself. This is the year to turn that flabby, post-baby body into that ripped fantastic bod that you see on all the commercials and in all the health magazines. And this is the year that running will become something that's so enjoyable you can barely stand to go a day without doing it. And this will be the year where you'll magically start to enjoy eating nothing but carrot sticks and lettuce like a rabbit to achieve the aforementioned teeny tiny magical bod that everyone will be so jealous of. And this is the year we'll suddenly become savvy in the home decor department and our homes will be transformed into an overly organized, type-A museum-like setting that would put Martha Stewart to shame. THIS IS THE YEAR! Time for a fresh start!

Now anyone who knows me knows that:
  • a) I like to be "healthy", but I'm allergic to exercise {either that or it's just lower on my list of priorities - not as important as whatever I'd have to give up in order to make time for it}
  • b) I did all my running in high school & college and am "run out" now {thank you college track & field knee injury}
  • c) While I enjoy a clean, organized house...I tend to fail miserably the majority of the time in the eyes of my type-A personality hubby {love you, dear!}

But with all that said, I still find myself thinking about all the "what ifs" as January 1st rolls around each year. Believe me, I'd give my right arm to have my stretched out baby belly GONE. And who wouldn't love to be a size or two smaller? I mean c'mon, everyone wants to be healthier to some degree, right?!

Over Christmas break we spent a good chunk of time at our cabin in NW Wisconsin {near where I grew up}. I'm not gonna pretend that we haven't taken a lot of heat for the crazy amount of time we've retreated to the woods over the past year, because we have. And to answer the question everyone and their dog asks every time they see us, no, we're not moving up there {not yet anyway}. But the time we've had there as a family and with other family & friends has been priceless as I've mentioned in other posts. And to be perfectly honest, part of what I've enjoyed so much about it is that there it feels like we have a "fresh start". We've been plugged in at a church {NorthRidge Fellowship} here at home for over 9 years now and we absolutely love and adore our church family! And the biblical teaching that happens week after week there has been so instrumental in the spiritual growth of our family. That was one concern we had about being away at the cabin so frequently. But a few months back my dad who works up in the area where our cabin is said, "Hey, I know there's a new church-plant just northeast of you guys - you should check it out". We'd tried another church close by and it was fine, other than the fact that we walked in and people looked at us like we were growing a third eyeball. We had been there several times and no one bothered to say hello other than the sweet elderly man who was handing out bulletins each week. I attempted to drag the kids to Sunday school and ended up sitting in class with them several Sundays. The preaching {when I was able to actually sit in the service} was decent, but overall it didn't feel like a good fit for our family. So one Sunday last fall we headed out to the new church plant. They meet in a small but brand new building that overlooks a gorgeous little lake, and the first time we set foot in the doors of this quaint building we felt like we were home. Instantly we were bombarded {in a good way} by people greeting us and wanting to learn all about our family. The kids enjoyed the Sunday school time and the preaching was engaging, scripture-based, and very solid. We felt so comfortable that first Sunday that we even stayed for the potluck after the service {seems to be a pattern here - at our home church we went to a small group gathering the first Sunday we attended}. We've been back several times, including a beautiful Christmas Eve service there, and we now consider Crossroads Christian Church our "home away from home church". What a stark difference this church is compared to our home church ... the attendance on last week's bulletin said there were 51 people there the previous Sunday. The last time I saw attendance numbers at our home church they were in the 550-600 range for one weekend. Regardless of the size difference, both churches have the same mission & vision: to love God, love each other, and reach the lost/make a difference.

The Sunday before New Year's we headed back to our "cabin church". Our son quickly began looking for his Sunday school teacher and our daughter went to find some of the new special needs friends she'd met at the Christmas Eve service {did I mention this place was an instant good fit?!}. The service started and we sang some worship songs then had some prayer/scripture reading time before their usual "visiting time". Then it was time for the sermon. Now, just to give you a little background, I grew up in the church. I mean literally grew up. I have more memories of being in church than being in our own home. So I've heard a sermon or two in my day. But the sermon this Sunday was one of the most challenging ones I've ever heard. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I wasn't sitting there in my chair thinking about the crazy week ahead with Special Olympics planning and practice, Speech therapy & Occupational therapy appointments for our daughter, basketball practice for our son, projects for clients, etc. Whatever the case, I found myself sitting there completely focused on what Pastor Tryg was sharing with us. And his challenge hit me square in the eyes. He spoke about New Year's Resolutions ... and I loved every second of it, because what he was sharing with us was so opposite of all the messages our world throws at us.

Pastor Tryg talked a bit about common New Year's resolutions - focused on getting in to shape and being healthy. He gave us several great scripture references that talk about "Christ in us, hope of glory" {Colossians 1:24-29} and our spiritual health, and how we're called to become mature in Christ {Ephesians 4:11-15}. Much like physical health, this isn't something that comes quickly or without hard work and dedication. But unlike becoming physically healthy, becoming spiritually healthy will have an eternal impact.

"Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; 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."
- I Timothy 4:7-8

Let that one sink in for a minute.

I especially LOVE the last part of that passage, "...holding promise for both the present life and the life to come". Thinking back to the typical New Year's resolutions, how many people truly believe that if they could JUST get in shape and have a near-perfect physically fit body their lives would be much better? Sadly, I think there are a lot of people who think that. Our society is so focused on becoming the best YOU can be! If you're fit, your house is in order, and you appear as though you have it all together your life will be FANTASTIC because we'll finally feel like our life is headed in the right direction, right?! Ummm, sorry to burst your bubble. The bible is very clear that our lives are worthless and wasted without Christ in the center of it. As Pastor Tryg said on Sunday, "We need to live our lives based on God's truth rather than basing how we live our lives on emotions and circumstances in our lives" {I Thessalonians 5:16-18}. For me, that means even though I'm more than likely going to have to walk around for all of 2014 with my flabby post-baby belly and bum knee, that doesn't mean I have to feel like a failure because all my friends are a size 2 and run as many 5Ks and half-marathons as they can {they really aren't/don't}. And it doesn't mean that as I watch other friends' kids who are the same age as our daughter head off to enjoy typical activities like summer camp, I don't need to sit feeling depressed, mourning the fact that Miss Peyton will probably never be able to join them in most of those activities. No, instead, I need to focus on His truth. His truth tells us time and time again that each and every one of us was created for a special purpose. Some may become evangelists who lead hundreds of thousands to Christ like Billy Graham, while others of us may be placed here to simply impact a childhood friend in a positive way which they attribute to directing them towards choosing to follow Christ later in life. And some of us may be placed here with a physically/cognitively flawed body/mind – but we can't even begin to fathom the incredible ways God will use them to spread joy, hope and love to those around us. Whatever the case, if we shift our focus from being "physically" healthy to becoming "spiritually" healthy {which leads to becoming mature in our faith}, then everything else will fall into place. As the sermon Sunday came to a close, I jotted down the list of 3 questions Pastor Tryg challenged us to ask ourselves as believers, thinking about New Year's Resolutions:

1) Are we proclaiming Christ in our words & actions? {I Thessalonians 5:16-18}

2) Are we warning those who are falling away and have dull hearing? {Hebrews 5:11-14}

3) Are we teaching others? {Colossians 1:28-29}

I can't think of a better way to start the new year with the goal of loving BIG and focusing on our spiritual health so that we can impact others for eternity. Living with eternal purpose, standing on HIS truths is the only way to truly find happiness in this life here on earth. I'm excited to see what God is going to do through his children in 2014 if we obediently follow HIS lead and HIS truths, praising him no matter what the circumstances!

Happy New Year everyone! May this be the year we all become healthy ... in the right way.


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4 comments:

  1. Aimee, Hi, it's me, Care from Crossroads. I JUST now read this blog and I am so encouraged! Thank you so much for sharing your heart in this way. I am humbled and at the same time, glorifying the King of Kings for working to bring your family to us. We are richer now than we were before you arrived. Peyton's and my conversation when she told me how she would someday (also) like to sing with the worship team, I was humbled that we had touched the heart of this beautiful little girl. I regret that I did not follow my own heart and hug her right then and there! So please tell her that I owe her one next time :-). Also, we should talk about how we can have her as a guest on the worship team! Speaking for all of us at Crossroads, we are so thankful God led you to us and we stand with our arms out welcoming you whenever you are able to join us at "your cabin church". (I love that!)

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    1. Hi Care! Thanks for your comment!! I love that you seemed to "get" Peyton right off the bat...she's a pretty special little sweetie, and I know that the people at Crossroads will quickly love everything about her! :) We were up last weekend, but ended up joining my parents at their church in Falun because my brother's and their families were up visiting as well. But we'll be back soon!! Looking forward to getting to know you all better and seeing how God works.

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    2. Hi Aimee, I meant to talk with you after service yesterday to thank you for allowing Peyton (as if we could stop her, lol) to sing with Diane and I. She did really well and I think she got more comfortable toward the last song. She asked if she could sing again on April 20th so you guys must be coming up again? If that is Easter (I don't know Easter's date) we are having special presentation so that wouldn't work that time but otherwise, just email me at careash@yahoo.com and let me know. I never did get a message from you on Facebook. Or at least, I never found it (yet). So anyhow, this morning I just wanted to tell you how much everyone enjoyed having her sing with us. I know several people made a point of thanking her as well, so I am sure she knows she was an encouragement. I'll try to find you on Facebook as well as here so we can find our messages to one another!

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    3. Hi Care!
      Thanks for the message - and thank you for letting Peyton sing with you two yesterday...she was so proud! The first thing she said when she talked to Grandma after we got home was, "I sang on the worship team!". She's seen me sing on worship team at our home church for years and has always wanted to sing with me. :) Our worship pastor lets her come to practice and sing with us but it hasn't ever worked out for her to actually be on stage during a service with me. A couple years back we built her a stage in our basement and she spends hours down there with her karaoke machine & worship CDs. The girl was born to worship! Thanks for the heads up about Easter Sunday - we most likely will be up, so I'll let Peyton know that it won't work that weekend. Have a great week and we'll see you soon I'm sure!

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