Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Trusting God - Guest Post by Belinda Eddins

Belinda Eddins is guest posting for me today - Thank you Belinda! I pray her words will bless you! Check out her blog here!

My first guest Post. WOW!!!!!!

As I sat and thought about what I should write this post over, I thought I wanted it to be meaningful, and special no less. Notice all the I’s in there? God pointed this out to me and said “ write what has been on your heart.”

He speaks to me often, He speaks to you to if you train your self to listen, slow down to listen, get in the Word and listen. That’s is just what I did.

Many of you have read my blog and know my grandmother has been ill. To the point of me taking over her finances, to taking away her car. Rough roads. I have been turning to God first instead of to myself to help and fix things. As I have focused on God I have had some amazing things happen.

Grandma is better, she has accepted the changes VERY well, and the family is coming together for the first time in my life to be supportive and help. We also have had home health worker issues, and I won’t bore you but it could have turned out badly and it went smoothly. HALLELUJAH.

My question is , Do we trust God to take care of us? I am trusting more and more everyday. I have learned to lean on Him and to LET Him do His will for me.

John 14:1 “Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God, Trust also in me.”

Trusting in our Lord is the best blessing He has ever given me. I hope in your life you can trust in the Lord as well.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday - To Whom Much Is Given...

What have learned from another woman this week? (or ever)

Write your own "Titus 2 Post" (linking back here somewhere within the body of your post) and enter your link below!

When I began praying about who to share today I was surprised by who I felt prompted to talk about. In fact, I hesitated but then again felt strongly impressed that she was the correct person.

Many of you already "know" her. Today I am honoring MckMama.
Hers was one of the first blogs that I found and enjoyed right away here in the blogworld. She is a gifted communicator and excellent photographer; but the thing that I've always appreciated about her is that she takes a stand for the things of the Lord with boldness. She honors her husband, is a mom with seemingly endless ideas and creativity, and in the face of great adversity she is an amazing example of how to trust, lean on, and rest in the Lord. She is not one who pretends everything is all smiles and roses in the midst of difficulty; she is real. She publishes some of those human moments as well. I appreciate that.

Many of you are already praying for her MckMuffin, Stellan. You can read all about him here on her blog; but he is once again having serious issues with his heart. They are waiting to leave for Boston for another heart ablation.

Awhile back MckMama changed her personal profile to include a key phrase. It now reads, "
I used to think I was defined by " and ends with, "Now, although I may choose to still do those things, I will simply be MckMama, a sinner saved by the King's grace, wife to my Prince, mother of Many Small Children."

I am amazed at the influence God has allowed Jennifer to have and I pray God will continue to give her strength, joy, and peace as she stands for Him. I also pray for her sweet babe; that God would have His hand upon him and clearly direct each step of His healthcare.

"...When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required." Luke 12:48

"If you make the Most High your dwelling--even the Lord, who is my refuge--then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation." Psalm 91:9-16

What have you learned from another wise woman? ALL of us can learn something from one another. Join in and then go read these posts!
**Please write your "Titus 2 Post" linking back to this post first and then enter your link below.**

Monday, July 27, 2009

Marital Moments Issue 38 - It All Comes Down to Love

I used to just cringe inside when people made statements like, "It all comes down to love..." while there is profound truth in the statement; I felt it was often misused or simply more verbiage thrown out as a cliche without personal substance.

In the past few weeks, I've had more than one person approach me about how to "get through" a separation and/or divorce. Their spouses have left and although they themselves are pursuing reconciliation; it is a difficult road.

I have experienced loss in my life. Even the loss of one who I loved dearly and for all emotional and mental purposes had committed myself to marriage to. I have mentioned previously that I had a serious relationship in college that was both pure and good that I had felt certain that God was directing toward marriage. To my complete surprise, God was impressing on my boyfriends heart a different path. One that did not include me. The most difficult part was that the path he was being led toward was still paralleled with my own. It was a heart-wrenching time in my life. One in which I questioned everything.

For a long time, I was tormented with self doubt. The person who knew me the most, the one I had trusted my deepest heart on a human level with, had rejected me. He sent deeply confusing messages like, "It's not's me." (He used more eloquent words, but it basically boiled down to that.) And he even went so far as to tell me that he loved me and was praying that God would preserve our hearts for one another. I was a mess.

All that to say this...I have not gone through separation and divorce. I cannot pretend to begin to know the complexity of pain, loss, suffering, and disorientation of it all - especially when children are involved; but I do know what it is to feel rejected and alone. To wonder if I had what it might take to ever be loved by another. To wonder if I was even really loved by God. To see what I believed was my future crumble into nothing and look up at a blank canvas after I had begun to catch glimpses of what I believed could have been a masterpiece of art.

Those emotions are real. But they can also be twisted into powerful lies and strongholds of the devil in our lives if we allow them to.

How does one get through the difficult path of separation and divorce? I believe it all comes down to love.

And I don't mean that with one ounce of cliche attached. In my experience, I journeyed through a time of wrestling with God. Bringing my biggest questions and fears before Him and being more real before Him than I ever had been before. Not because I had been trying to hide anything intentionally; I was just raw. My words and the emotion of my heart were unfiltered. He was gracious and kind. He allowed me to get it all out; and then I cried until there were no more tears. I was numb for awhile. I felt nothing; and yet I knew I was being carried.

It was His love that restored my broken heart and soul. His relentless, patient, grace-filled love that showed me truth. His truth. I learned how to seek His face before turning to my empty canvas. I learned to embrace the emptiness of it; the new that He was beginning within me. I was more willing than ever to allow Him to choose the brush strokes and the colors. He did not bring that relationship back to me although I prayed fervently that He might. Gradually, over time, I learned how to place my entire heart in His care. The broken pieces. The shattered parts. The parts yet untouched. And I asked Him to guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Redemption is part of the very nature of God. We cannot control other people and the choices that they make, but we can trust the heart of God toward us. When we draw near to Him he will draw near to us (James 4:8). He will show to us the paths of life (Psalm 16:11) and He will place beautiful rays of light in our path in the form of other Christians whose salt and light will bless and assist us along the way.

God is able to restore marriages. I have witnessed it. I've watched restoration take many different paths; but true restoration ALWAYS begins individually. It begins between you & your Savior. There may be sin to confess, there may be bitterness to release, there may be questions that you've never asked of Him that you need to (just be sure to listen for His answers.) Maybe you have never caught a glimpse of God's heart toward you - ask Him to show it to you.

There is no simple three step answer that I know to give. I believe it is a day by day process of healing, restoration, grace, and forgiveness; But it all centers around the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is being intentional about accepting the love that our Creator designed to fulfill us - His love.

I invite those of you who have walked the path of separation or divorce to offer your insight or tips in the comment section - whether it would be a specific verse, practical tips, books that blessed you or a word of hope for others.

God's Word is powerful. I hope the following verses will bless you today:

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul." (Psalm 143:8)

"Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters." (Psalm 18:16)

"He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." (Psalm 18:19)

"In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice. In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." (Psalm 5:3)

"Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." (Romans 8:34)

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." (Psalm 43:5)

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.'" (Hebrews 12:28-29)

"[God's] compassions never fail. They are new every morning." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" (Psalm 91:1-2)

"It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night." (Psalm 92:1-2)

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." (Philippians 4:11)

"It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights." (Psalm 18:32-33)

"But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." (2 Timothy 4:17)

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." (Isaiah 26:3)

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

May He wrap each of you in His Everlasting Arms,


And The Winner Is.....

The winner of my Blogiversary Give Away is:


Warren, please e-mail me your choice between "Crazy Love" or "Love & Respect" along with the address you would like them mailed to.

You will also be receiving a copy of "Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On" by Stormie Omartian!!

Congratulations to Warren! I wish I could give these books to each of you who entered!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just Enough Light For The Step I'm On

Wow! I loved all of your thoughts on this photo! This is what I had written about this photo shortly after I took it:

A year ago life seemed easier some how. Maybe even a bit predictable. Much has happened since last July and now things are anything but predictable in many facets of life. The kids are growing and entering new stages, my husband's job may be having more major changes ahead; it seems everywhere I turn I am faced with some kind of change.

What struck me about this photo is that there is enough light, bright light even, for the next few steps; but the path following has not yet been illuminated.

That is a lot like life for me right now. God has provided a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path, but He alone holds the future. The glow of the illuminations provided dims as the path moves on.

I can choose to focus on the light that has been provided and embrace every inch of it's luminous warmth, or I can steady my gaze on the shadows of the unknown and exhaust myself trying to figure out what is yet to come.

I know what choice is best; which focus will bring peace and fullness. And yet I seem to have to surrender those shadowlands back to my Father often. What is the draw to those shadowed places rather than to the illuminated path? Than to the face of my father?
Draw me closer Lord. Help me to be so filled with Your love and truth that I can see the beauty of the whole picture; the beauty of Your plan. Guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus I pray, Amen.

Psalm 16:11 "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

Phillipians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."


A couple of years ago, someone gave me the book, "Just Enough Light For the Step I'm On" by Stormie Omartian. I will be giving a copy of this book away to the winner of my "Blogaversary Give Away" in addition to the book that they choose. There is still time to enter! I will be posting the winner on my blog on Monday's post!

Many Blessings!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday - They Will Know Us By Our Love

What have learned from another woman this week? (or ever)

Write your own "Titus 2 Post" (linking back here somewhere within the body of your post) and enter your link below!

Life has continued to be full of surprises for us lately. As it turned out; we were only home for just over 4 days - one of which we hosted a "Backyard Blast!" put on our by our church (a mixture of old time Bible clubs and VBS.) We unpacked, did laundry, mowed/weedwacked/weeded, had fun with the Backyard Blast, uploaded pictures, more laundry, we re-packed and hit the road...I'll explain the why in another post. Please just know that I'm not ignoring you all; there just hasn't been much time for writing or reading.

One of the huge benefits of this second road trip is that the kids and I have gotten to spend time with my best friend from college and her family for a few days!

I've introduced you to Lydia before in a previous Titus 2 Post. I am so blessed to have had her (and her family) in my life for over a decade now. Last night we went for a walk/run before bed. (While her WONDERFUL husband watched the kids!) It was supposed to be a run, but we got to talking and I am not in shape enough to talk and run for any length of time so it ended up being a bit more of a walk! :)

She mentioned to me that the Lord had impressed her to be praying John 13:34-35 over her family - both her immediate and extended family.

34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

So often in family relationships one person will get irritated with another. Grudges are held, words are exchanged (or no words at all are spoken), one loans something or money to another family member and then feels that they have been slighted or taken advantage of, someone tells a family member something in confidence and it gets repeated, etc.

Those we know and love the most can often irritate us the most can't they?

I had always considered this Scripture with personal application. I had never considered it that an entire family unit together could be a testimony by the love shown between cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.

I loved how Lydia is praying specifically that the love between family members would increase and that it would be a testimony of Christ's love to others. What an incredible thing it would be if more of us prayed for our own families in this way...

What have you learned from another wise woman? ALL of us can learn something from one another. Join in and then go read these posts!
**Please write your "Titus 2 Post" linking back to this post first and then enter your link below.**

Blessings to you!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

One Year Blogiversary & Give Away!

One year ago today I wrote my very first blog post. It seems so much longer ago than that in some ways and yet shorter in some ways as well. Isn’t that how most anniversaries seem though?

Thank you to each of you who have made this blogging adventure full and meaningful this past year! I have enjoyed laughing, crying, learning and growing with you all. I look forward to continuing that this year!

One photo that I took on vacation really stood out to me. I will tell you more about why AND reveal an extra bonus to the giveaway later this week! Here it is:

On to the Giveaway...
The winner will choose their prize! You can select,

"Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God" BY Francis Chan


"Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires and the Respect He Desperately Needs." by Emerson Eggerichs

What do you need to do to win?

Leave a comment below letting me know at least one of the following:

what post here at A Teachable Heart has meant the most to you & why,

share some way that God touched your heart by reading, etc.

or I'd enjoy hearing your reactions to the above photo. Does it stir up any feeling or emotion within you?

Once again, THANK YOU! Thank you for reading, for being open to what God may be speaking to your own heart about as I share what He is teaching mine, for commenting, and for encouraging myself and other commenters along the way.

I pray God will fill you with His peace and joy today!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We're Back!

We had a wonderful time on vacation. It was MUCH colder and rainy than we had hoped; but we still had a great time going here and there and visiting with family and friends. Here is a glimpse into our time away.

We took time to stop and smell the flowers...

We explored interesting places...

Laughed and played together...

and shared many silly moments that are impossible to schedule or plan. Our kids did an amazing job being flexible and rolling with what each day brought to us.

We have memories of Superman and Blue Moon ice cream, peanut butter fudge, and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Bobbers watched for what seemed like hours, fish caught, birds and chickens fed, dogs to run with, and the sweet smell of fresh hay. Fireworks, snap and pops, sparklers, and roasted marshmellows. Lightning bugs, spiders, mayflies, frogs, and baby birds. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandma, and the phrase, "just hug and smile!" And SO MUCH more. Each of us have memories that are special to us in different ways.

I am still processing all that the Lord has and is showing me through this trip. I am hoping to be able to share some of it with you soon; but for now...I'm off to face the mounds of laundry and unpacking to be done!

THANK YOU for praying for us. It was a precious time for our family.

Blessings and peace to you!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Trampoline Principle

A few years back when my dad was going in for a surgery my brother asked me how I was still able to be so happy with all that had transpired in my life. (My husband had just gone through a difficult season with his health.) I heard myself explaining that our life had been like jumping on a trampoline. Our lows had been very low, but our highs were pretty far up there as well. If you have ever jumped on a trampoline you know what I am talking about. When you first jump you don't go down or up very far. The more you jump and invest energy into jumping the lower and higher you get. When a friend is jumping alongside of you, you can actually jump in such a way that causes the other person to soar! It can be a blast where you can do stunts and fun things you could not do on your own or when you are on the ground.

God is faithful not to leave us in the valleys of life. He is also faithful to not allow us to solely live on the mountain tops. It is the balance of both that makes life vivid and full. Along the path between the valleys and mountains, He often blesses us with true friends. Those who laugh with us when we are happy, cry with us when we are sad. Encourage and lift us up when we are down and redirect us if we are wandering down destructive paths. Today I am blessed and thankful for those true friends in life who have jumped beside me on the trampoline of life and helped me to soar. I am purposing anew to be a true friend to others; to look for ways to help them to reach new heights.

If you don't yet have those kinds of friendships in life, pray that God will bring people into your path that you can jump alongside on this trampoline of life. It takes vulnerability, time and energy, but the view is great!

Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Proverbs 18:24b "but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother."

Many Blessings!


This is a re-post of a previous post.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Marital Moment Issue 37 -Christmas in July

I love the group Switchfoot's song, "This Is Your Life." The chorus is what first grabbed my attention:

"This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose"

A big part of why this song speaks to me is that it puts the responsibility back on me. Steps on my toes so to speak. The Lord often uses music to speak to my heart. The question for this segment is:

"This is your marriage, is it everything you dreamed that it would be when the world was younger and you had everything to lose?"

This is an idea that the Lord gave me awhile back when our marriage needed some "refreshing." Regardless of where you are at in your marriage, it is important that you pursue your spouse; that you are willing to take the initiative in making your marriage all that God intended for it to be. Which leads me back to the title, "Christmas in July!"

We have an opportunity to bless our spouses and deepen our marriages with a very small amount of effort and time by doing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" (Christmas in July version) for your spouse!

Here is how it works. For 12 days you : commit to pray for your spouse and you try to give to them in ways that speak their love language. If you are not familiar with "The Five Love Languages" book by Gary Chapman check it out

Each day you will "give" them something. This does not have to be material gifts. I will give more specific ideas in a moment. On the first day, you simply write a note (or wrap a note in a box) and place it somewhere that they will find it. I chose to tape my notes on the door of our garage where my husband walked in from work each day. This first note welcomes them to the "Twelve Days of Christmas!-Christmas in July!" and presents their first gift.

Do this (notes and/or gifts) each day for twelve days. It does NOT need to be extravagant or take a lot of effort on your part to make the notes/gift boxes. The idea that you are pursuing your spouse will speak volumes. It is alright to mix in some ideas from what you believe is your spouse's secondary love language.

For example, you may know that physical touch is their primary love language but you also know that words of affirmation are important to them. Mix both throughout your 12 days. Be as creative as you want!

The following examples (below) are ideas you can use as a starting point. Once you get started it will get easier and easier to see your spouses needs and how you can meet them. Your relationship to your spouse is second only to your relationship with the Lord. Let them know that they are a priority in your life.

Commit these 12 days to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to reveal things to you that you would not have thought of on your own.

Feel free to leave comments with any great ideas that you have! I'd also love to pray for you as you invest in your marriage. Click on the "comments" section under this post (or send me a quick e-mail) and leave your name and the name of your spouse. I will commit to praying for your marriage for the next two weeks with you. I have seen how powerful these"Twelve Days of Christmas" can be firsthand. Impactful enough for me to have done it twice already for my own spouse - I hope you will give it a try!

May God richly bless your marriage!


Examples litsted by Love Languages:


1st Day "On the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." 3 of the top reasons that I love you!

2nd Day "On the Second Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." notes from your children telling what makes them special.

3rd Day "On the Third Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." write out a verse and a note encouraging them with anything they may be pursuing or struggling with

*The main thing to keep in mind for words of affirmation is to be real. Speak compliments from your heart about who your spouse is and why you are thankful for them. What they teach you through their lives, etc. You could even e-mail some of their friends and get them to write out why your spouse is important to them.


1st Day "On the First Day of Chrismtas my true love gave to me..." a warm drink and 20 minutes of uninterrupted conversation. *Be prepared with questions to draw them out in case they don't jump right into conversation. Such as, "Where do you see us in a yr, 5 yrs, etc." "What would you say is the most important activity in your life right now?"

2nd Day "On the Second Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." an invitation to play your spouses favorite game. (Checkers, chess, monopoly, on line game, x-box, etc)

3rd Day "On the Third Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." a walk after dinnertime. *If you have children, try to arrange for someone to watch them for 1/2 hr -an hr.

*If this is your spouse's love language, make certain that you are completely focused on them during the times that you are offering. Do not let you cell phone, etc interrupt your focus on engaging with them in conversations or activities. TRY to learn something new that you didn't know about your spouse. They are hoping you will draw them out. Picking up a devotional book for couples may be an excellent thing to introduce and carry on even after the 12 days are finished.


1st Day "On the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." a single beautiful flower or rose (for wife) a new music cd by a group you know they love (husband or wife).

2nd Day "On the Second Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." a candle to put at the dinner table.

3rd Day "On the Third Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." a favorite photo put into a frame.

*It is important to gradually build up to the 12th day-the last day should be the best or most special gift to your spouse. It can be as simple as picking up their favorite food from a restaurant on the way home or even their favorite drink or coffee, etc. Usually "gift" people communicate about things that they "want." Magazine subscriptions or fruit of the month clubs are great for these kinds of people. Gifts that keep on giving without a lot of continued thought or effort.


1st Day "On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." cleaning up the dishes, table, and floor after dinner.

2nd Day "On the Second Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." vaccumming any three rooms of their choice

3rd Day "On the Third Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." Letting your spouse sleep in while you take the kids out for breakfast - like Chick-fil-A, Ihop, etc. Bringing home something for your spouse to eat after waking is an added bonus.

*It is important to give without expecting others to do for you later on. This becomes especially true with this love language. Look for things that mean the most to them for you to do. Remember to smile and have a great attitude even if it means you will be doing an undesirable task.


1st Day "On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." a neck massage.

2nd Day "On the Second Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." a foot rub.

3rd Day "On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." you can be as intimate as you choose-this is your spouse! Get creative and put some thought into what they enjoy most.

*It is important to give in ways that your spouse is affirmed the most through. Maybe rubbing feet does nothing for you, but means the world to them.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Take the Step; Get into the Arena

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming..." John Leach

How many of us hold onto the criticism of others so tightly that it hinders us from continuing forward into what God has called us to do? Or possibly worse yet, how many have shared their dream, their vision, and developing passion to be shot down before ever taking that first step?

"The credit belongs to the man (or woman) who is actually in the arena..." There will always be critics. Those who would rather tear down and point out fault than allow someone else to succeed. We cannot allow them to be the ones who determine our value (or lack there of.) We can however, look at their words through the light of the Truth and ask God to reveal if He is asking us to change anything. If He is; may we follow His lead. If we find no truth to be in the criticism; we MUST LET THE WORDS GO.

It is amazing how we can receive so many words of affirmation and praise; but the one critical comment has the lasting sting.

This is one of those posts that I have begun to write several times but the timing just didn't seem right. God has released me to post it now.

Today I pray that God will use this post as the person who is waiting off to the side. The one with the water and the rag to wipe your brow. "Press on! Keep your gaze up! But also remember to keep your guard up."

"There is no effort without error or shortcoming..." It is o.k. if your human state has made an appearance. Accept God's love and grace toward you. Humbly make things right if there has been wrong done. Stand strong in who God pronounces you to be and get back into the arena.

If you have not yet stepped into the arena; don't let the idea of one "whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..." deter you. Those same things that have brought the dust sweat and blood; bring peace, a sense of purpose, and fullness of joy.

Time is up. Take one last drink; you can do this.

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11 (NIV)

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 (NIV)

"But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." Mark 8:33 (NIV)

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21

"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

I am praying for your strength to be renewed.