#behindthetee: Chapter 1- Philippians 4:13 November 24 2015, 0 Comments
All of my tees have very personal stories behind them, so I am starting this series as a way to connect with you and share WHY I have turned to these scriptures over the past few years.
Philippians 4:13 has always been a favorite of mine. It got me through several tough seasons in both high school and college. I was never very bold in my faith and lacking in any form of spiritual discipline, but this one was very personal, particularly because I was very goal oriented.
So in the original design, I wanted the word CHRIST to stand out. I didn’t want the focus to be on WHAT we can do or HOW MUCH we can do or how STRONG we appear. Because that puts the focus on ourselves! And from experience, I know that trying to do things on my own is like chasing after the wind. All things point to Christ, and all the things we are able to do are for the glory of God.
So after I had designed and printed it, I called my photographer to schedule a shoot. I had no intentions of being in this photo shoot AT ALL. I had my two girls all ready to go, but for some reason I was missing the correct sizes for them and we were running out of time. Reluctantly, I stepped in. No surprise here, but God knew how much I needed to be photographed in that specific shirt that day. You see, I was actually pregnant with our fourth child during the photo shoot and did not know it. I remember my photographer, Violeta, was trying so hard to pull the shirt in different directions to try to cover what I thought was my normal belly “pooch”. She would take a few photos, check them out, and readjust my shirt some more. I can laugh about it now, of course!
There have been many times in the past 10 months since our baby girl was born that I have ONLY been able to rely on the strength of Jesus to make it through the day. She was colicky the first few weeks of her life, followed by a few weeks of postpartum blues for me. Then came SUMMER (and subsequently lots of boredom and whining). Fall baseball brought early dinners and late bedtimes 4 nights a week for the older three kids. And top it off with some inconveniently timed spiritual attacks on our family…it could have been a disaster for our family, marriage, and my sanity had I not kept repeating the scriptures that are on all my shirts.
Now when I look back at this photo, I feel like God was caring for me and preparing me for what lay ahead. And I remember that I can do all things with His strength. What does this verse call you to remember? When did you get through something with His strength?
I'll Keep On April 23 2015, 4 Comments
As I sit here to write, my house looks like a mess. Clothes everywhere, papers in piles, crumbs on the floor, leftover dishes from dinner last night on the counter. But I also think….at least I have some coffee and I made my bed…take that, Thursday! But in all honesty, the Holy Spirit guided me to share my heart with you. And one thing I’ve learned over the past few years is to follow where He leads.
The past few weeks have been tough. We had our 4th child, Annie, on January 20. She has surprised us in many ways throughout the pregnancy, birth and 3 months of life and is a complete blessing to our family. (Photo credit: Violeta Harrington)
In the following 6 weeks after her birth, life was great! We had meals brought to us EVERY SINGLE week night. My husband, mother-in-law, and a friend helped get the kids to and from school. My mother-in-law also picked up laundry in the morning, would wash it and bring it back clean and folded later in the afternoon. And I got a lot of alone time to love on Annie. As I was changing a cloth diaper one night (yes, we started cloth diapering on our 4th…we love it!) my husband said to me, “I think you’re handling this better than when our other kids were born.” I tucked that compliment just far enough away to remember, but it quickly turned into pride.
Fast forward 5 weeks later to Easter Sunday 2015. All the help I relied on had stopped. I was sad and frustrated and tired. I could not control the constant sobbing on the ride to church, during church, and all throughout the rest of the day. My husband didn’t know how to help me and the kids kept asking if I was ok. I couldn’t even look anyone in the eye for fear of bursting into a million pieces. I was so mad at myself for not being able to worship the risen Christ and the more I thought about it, the more I continued to spiral downward. The ONE day during the year for the most JOYOUS celebration! And I couldn’t get to a point of worship or thanksgiving. (Easter pic below...I managed a smile for the camera!)
What changed in those few weeks? Looking back, many things came to a peak on Easter Sunday. Lack of sleep, lack of exercise, lack of proper nutrition, post-partum hormones. I felt our house was more a place to keep STUFF and manage STUFF and pick up STUFF. It was not a joyful home. I was completely overwhelmed. But the biggest struggle was making time with God. I felt Him near and I tried to keep clinging to his promises, but I still felt overwhelmed and frustrated. From the time I awoke to the time I went to sleep, I was needed by someone else and forgot to give my attention to God. Each day began to blend into the next and I felt like I was struggling to stay afloat. Every 3-4 days I would be super exhausted. When this happens I am very quiet and walk around doing menial things while looking at no one.
And then, while in the car yesterday, turned on the radio to hear this song: “I’ll Keep On” by NF ft. Jeremiah Carlson.
Here are the first few lines:
Oh these hands are tired
Oh this heart is tired
Oh this soul is tired
But I'll keep on
But I'll keep on
But I'll keep on
You know when God speaks to you and the world seems to stop around you and everything going in your ear is crystal clear? Yeah, that. Those words are exactly what I was feeling. After the song ended and I could breathe again, I realized...
I’ll keep on, because I know that when I am weak, He is strong. 2 COR 12
I’ll keep on, because I know He has a plan for me. JER 29:11
I’ll keep on, because He commanded me to be strong and courageous. JOSHUA 1:9
I’ll keep on, because He goes before me always. DEU 31:8
I’ll keep on, because there is good work to do that he equipped me for. EPH 2:10
Does this sound familiar? God's promises in scripture are the basis of Inspired Apparel designs. Which of these speaks to you?
So, in God’s timely manner, the VERY next song was “Brave” by Moriah Peters.
No one ever told me This would be easy
But I never knew That it could be this hard
Oh the worry the worry the worry Is weighing on me
Could you help me break down All these question marks
And make me
Brave, I'll fight like a soldier
Brave, Rise like a warrior
Brave, Won't stop till the final day
Brave, I want to be stronger
Brave, Gonna be bolder
Brave, Look up and I see the way
You make me brave
I know I know I'm no superwoman
But impossible is possible with You
So no, no, no more running, no more hiding
Strike the fire so I'll be fearless too
Another earful of His truth comforted me in my moment of weakness and built me up to face the rest of the day. Was I still tired? Absolutely. Did I leave clothes in the washer overnight? Yes. But my perspective changed from trying to control everything around me to resting in His grace about my beautiful messy life.
And I know I can keep on. And I know He is here, helping me be brave.
He Waved the Gun Through the Air (a lesson from 2 Timothy 1:9) February 20 2014, 0 Comments
What has the Lord saved you from? What purpose has He given you?
He waved the gun through the crisp night air toward the party guests in my front yard. He then raised the gun over his head and fired it several times in the air. People fell to the ground to take cover. I just stood there, frozen with fear and disbelief. Within seconds, it seemed, sirens and lights filled the air as the police cars barreled toward our house. The gunmen and his friends had already taken off in to the darkness of the street. So did the party guests. I never saw them again.
You see, 60 seconds earlier (prior to knowing he was armed), I was the one who stepped in front of the gunmen to prevent him from getting into a fight on my very own front porch. Always the mediator, I am. He shoved me out of the way and knocked the other guy off the porch into the bushes.
I asked my 21 year old my roommate to talk to the police since there was alcohol at our party and I was underage, afraid I would lose my scholarship. Still in shock, I slowly made my way up our old carpeted steps. I sat down, buried my head in my hands. Rocking back and forth, I kept saying over and over, “This is not my life.”
This was not my “aha” moment. It was my “uh-uh” moment. Uh-uh, no way was this the path I wanted to take, that I was going to continue on. That moment led me to re-evaluate my life and what God wanted from me. Sitting on those steps, I now realize I was only echoing what the Holy Spirit was saying to me, “This is not your life”. With the help and encouragement of some God-appointed friends in the following weeks I began to open up to the love and forgiveness He wanted to give me.
For most of my life, and leading up to my “uh-uh” moment, I looked like I had it together. Went to church, followed the rules, and excelled in academics and athletics. I was mature and nice, helpful to others, and prayed occasionally when I needed something. I was a good person. But I wasn’t following Jesus.
Realizing that I did not want to “control” my life anymore, I gave it up to the One who has ultimate control. Best. Decision. Ever.
So did I have an “aha” moment? Yes. But not until almost ten years later. Ten years of development, prodding, and pruning to lead me to that moment…it became apparent that God was leading me to create Inspired Apparel, weaving together three of my greatest passions….my faith, design, and fitness. I am so thankful that He would use a broken, sinful little me to do big work for Him. Thankful that I had half a mind to go along with it, too.
2 Timothy 1:9 says “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace.”
So grateful he saved me from an angry gunmen and my own sinful life to give me grace and His purpose.
Sweat with God July 31 2013, 2 Comments
Now, I’m guessing that what I am about to write is nothing you haven’t experienced before…but a couple days ago I read a post on Facebook that bothered me. Right??? And tonight it’s still bothering me.
Here is what it said “I workout for: confidence, strength, the feeling after a workout, the feeling of accomplishment, health, my loved ones, happiness, and stress relief. I workout for ME! Working out makes me a better person, makes me a stronger person, it will help me live longer, makes me more patient, puts me in a better mood, makes me healthier, why wouldn't I do it?”
I agree with all of the above statements. Exercise is proven to boost our bodies in all of these ways. But I can’t help but feeling that something is missing from the post. Then yesterday it hit me…if we, as Christ-followers, proclaim that we live our lives for Him (not ME), and we rely on Him (not ME) daily for sustenance, then why can’t we exercise for Him (not ME) too? Why can’t we sweat with Him instead of sweating alone? If exercise and fitness is a part of your life, whether you try to squeeze in an occasional run around the block or you are training for your 17th triathlon, God can be present in those moments too.
Many people (including me) compartmentalize their lives and invite God into certain parts only. When we go to church or bible study. When we comfort a friend who is grieving. When something terrible happens in a community or our country. Well, what about the times when you are chatting it up with a grocery cashier? What about when you are mowing the yard? Girls night out? Exercising? Checking in at the gym?
Here is my challenge to you: In your next workout, don’t think about what YOU will get out of it. Ask God to be with you. To sweat with you. To teach you or to strengthen you.
Try listening to praise music with a heavy rock or electronic beat. Pull up your Bible app on the phone and listen to the Gospels or the Epistles. Pretend you are an ESPN anchor and (silently) cheer on others who may be struggling through a workout. Bring a huge bible with gold-edged pages and read it on the stationary bike at the gym. Your time spent with Him will be fruitful. He promises it.
Equipped April 10 2013, 0 Comments
If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would start a business I would have laughed. If you elaborated and told me it would be a business showcasing God's word, I probably would have freaked out. I am not a gifted speaker, I am a better follower than a leader, and I am right-brained and creative. I couldn't run a business. It's true. But guess what? God doesn't call the equipped....HE EQUIPS THE CALLED. Without Him beside me the whole way, I would fail. I would quit. He put specific scriptures, songs, people and even strangers in my life at the perfect time to help me overcome whatever I was facing at the time. Fears of failure, a period of waiting, a lack of courage and humility, envy, questioning my worth...all overcome with His help. I have come to view my Lord not only as my friend and savior, but also as a business partner. The Bible is filled with stories on how God has equipped the called.
God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses made the case that he wasn't a good enough speaker to talk to Pharaoh. But oh, wait...his brother Aaron was. Boom...equipped.
David stepped up as a young boy to fight a giant named Goliath. He was more courageous than any of the soldiers that were already at the battlefield. Imagine their surprise as David took out the giant with a sling and a stone. Boom...equipped.
Paul, formerly a man who persecuted Christians, became a Christian after God revealed Himself to him. For preaching the good news, he was thrown in jail. But an earthquake shook the ground, the chains were broken and he walked out through a hole that had opened up in the wall. Boom...equipped.
So now it is time to launch the first part of what God put on my heart over a year ago. I am more equipped now than I was before and I will not stop learning and growing. I rely on Him DAILY to do this.
What in your life has He called you to do? Something crazy? Bold? Out of your comfort zone? If you YES to the call, I promise He will equip you. It's in His nature.
I want to personally welcome you to Inspired Apparel. It is my intention to provide apparel for you that will inspire you to do things you think you can't. To rely on God's strength and grace. And in turn, inspire others. Scripture is the greatest motivator, and I am honored to share the truth with you.