Life Muscles

Last night I went to my first exercise class since having babies. Sore muscles in the morning has never felt so fulfilling.

We have started to prioritize our health as a family. The more we see God move in our lives and in the people around us, the more we realize we want to go long-term in life and ministry. family picture

Not just living for a long time, but living in abundant life and being useful for the Kingdom of God.

That said, last night didn’t feel overly spiritual. Not many “disciplines” feel life changing in the moment.

Author and speaker Kathi Lipp said something I really appreciated about taking care of our bodies. I am going to paraphrase her words.

I’m not doing this to change my life. I’m doing this so I can keep showing up for the life I already have.

Many of us think that if we change outward pieces of our life, we will “change our life”. The truth is the only one who can bring lasting change to our lives is Jesus.

He has started this work in my life, and I am extremely excited to keep living with him. I don’t need to change my life, I just need to strengthen myself to keep allowing him to change me throughout this wonderful life.

In the midst of the wonderful part of life, there is also the part that is really hard. I have asked God a lot why it has to be so tough. Why nothing comes easy, and why success in any area takes so much work.

The pain that our physical bodies go through to achieve refinement is the same as our spiritual selves. Nothing comes easy in our bodies. It takes sweat, injuries and maybe some bloodshed. It looks like messy hair, flushed cheeks and struggling for breath.

It takes humility to say we are going to work on our bodies and become vulnerable in this way before other people.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James 1:2-4

It takes humility to say we are going run this life with character, integrity and endurance. It may look like failures, set backs, heart ache and growing pains.

But at the end of the day, all that matters is that you didn’t give up.

Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 

Galatians 6:8-9

The Cross on the Cheek

When kids get sick and you don’t know what’s wrong, terrifying is the only word that seems to fit. Everyone question seems to scream in your head and the only thing you can think of is how you would do absolutely anything to make sure they’re ok.

Last week our 7 month old girl was teething and seemed to have a little cold. She popped her first tooth Monday night.

Thursday night I put her to bed, thankful that seemed to be doing much better.

The next morning she woke up with a strange rash on her body. The two hours between when she woke up and when the doctor’s office opened seemed to drag on.

By the time our appointment came, the rash had spread significantly, almost her entire body was covered in spots and red sections.

Our wonderful doctor was surprised to see this rash, and called in another doctor for a second opinion. They both suspected measles.

Measles? Isn’t their a vaccination for that? It must be really serious! (That’s what was swirling in my head).

As we were moved to an isolation room, and then ushered out a back door so not to spread disease, my panic started to increase.

After a nose swab, blood tests, trying to get a urine sample  and numerous calls from specialists, health nurses, and other medical staff we went home to wait to hear what was next.

After a restless night (more for me than for her), we woke up to see that the rash changed to more of a solid red with blotches.

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I took her right back to emergency (I had been told to bring her in immediately if anything changed).

During the two minute cold, dark drive back to the hospital, tears streamed down my face, threatening to freeze to my cheeks. If anything happened to her, I would die inside. Jesus, you just have to give the doctors wisdom.

We got in right away, and because of the dramatic look of the rash everyone came to look. Unfortunately, that made me a lot more concerned.

That’s when I was looking in her eyes telling her how much I loved her and that she was going to be ok, when I saw something on her cheek.

It was a cross.

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The cross that my Jesus died on for the sins and sickness of the world.

I held her close knowing that she was covered by the blood of Christ and she was going to be ok.

Right after that the doctor came and said that this was definitely an allergic reaction, not a mysterious disease.

Three doses of benedryl and a couple hours of observation later, we were home and on the mend.

This could seem like a story of needless worrying, but I hold this in my heart as the time that God revealed himself as Jehovah Rapha – our healer. He stamped an image on Amayah (whose name I love to remind myself means “close to God”) that showed his promise to keep her safe.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.

Isaiah 53:4-5

 

Life Glue

Since our trip to California, my lady has not slept well. Since our weekend away at a youth retreat, my lovely doesn’t sleep longer than an hour, except between 4 am and 7 am.

I am tired.

I was feeling pretty discouraged.

In the middle of my day, I literally cried out “Jesus, I really need you right now” after my son poured almost entire bottle of hazelnut coffee creamer into his cheerios, and the sticky mess was quickly flowing all over the floor.

In that moment He gave me strength, courage and life.

Mark Driscoll posted yesterday:

The worst day with Jesus is better than the best day without him.

I started thinking about how much more overwhelming today would have been without Jesus. How my exhaustion would probably be leading me to crazier things without Jesus.

Then I started thinking about how my whole life would have been without Jesus.

The emptiness and despair that has been avoided is overwhelming to think about.

I started singing a Chris Tomlin song, and then my son started singing it, and we were singing over and over “Thank you God for saving me!”

Why am I saying all this? Because I know that you are facing difficult situations too. 

Maybe you know Jesus, but you haven’t asked him for strength, or had a conversation in a while.

Maybe you have never met my Jesus. He is truly the kindest, most compassionate, forever faithful and trustworthy Savior?

You don’t want to spend another day of your life apart from him. He is literally the glue that holds my at times chaotic life together.

Without him I would fall apart.

Talk to him tonight. Tell him that you need his saving grace in your life and that you can’t do life without him. Invite him to make you new.

He wants to so badly. He wants to enough that he literally died for you to pay for every bad thing you’ve ever done and ever will. And then he kicked death in the face by coming back to life and is forever available for us to call out to him.

He loves you.

If you want to know more about my Jesus you can send me an email. I’d love to help you meet him.

switzer.mj@gmail.com

Radically Impacting ONE

everyoneMy world was rocked by a one liner than Andy Stanley spoke at a Catalyst West Conference in 2012. I will never forget that brilliant sentence.

“Do for ONE what you wish you could do for everyone.”

What do you wish you could do for everyone?

Maybe you know how hard it is to be a brand new mom. You wish that every mom could receive two meals, have her older kids babysat, and be blessed with flowers at the six-week mark, congratulating her on making it through the toughest part.

The average person can’t do all this every new mom in their social circle.

So here’s the question? Who is the ONE that YOU can do this for?

Often we get so overwhelmed that we can’t help everyone so we end up helping no one.

“Do for ONE what you wish you could do for everyone.”

Maybe you have a heart for the block that you live on. You wish that at Christmastime you could take cookies to everyone on your street.

You realize  you don’t have time to do that.

Who is the ONE that you can make cookies for?

Or perhaps there are a lot of hurting teens in your life. You have teenagers yourself and you ache to pour love all over your kid’s friends who come from broken families.

You don’t have time to bring them each into your home.

Who is the ONE that God has brought to you to be loved on in such an abundant way?

You don’t have time to do it for everyone, but you can do it for one.

The bible says that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. I believe he is asking us to be himself in the form of kindness.

When we love someone lavishly, without holding back, investing our life in them, they see a piece of The Lord’s heart.

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

Romans 2:4

My own life was radically impacted by a youth pastor when I was fourteen who chose to take me under her wing, helped me walk through some issues and then allowed me to get involved in ministry along side her.

Another time as a young adult straight out of high school a family added me to their family and became my “spiritual parents”, eventually walking with me through dating my now spouse and helping me navigate the difficulties of being away from home for the first time.

They poured out their time, energy, money and love in a way I’ll never forget.

These people each responded to the call to help one. Instead of spreading themselves too thin and slightly impacting a lot of people, they chose to radically and permanently impact one.

Who is your one?DoForOne