About Me, Confessions, Fitness, Holy Yoga, Jesus

Why Yoga

As of May 8th, 2015, I have completed my 225 hour certification program to become a Registered Holy Yoga Instructor (R-HYI). The journey to this moment is many years long, winding and God-led. Allow me to share. Holy Yoga Logo

In 2009 I began exploring the blog world and happened upon the writings of a girl named Mandy {originally called shebreathesdeeply, now writing at mandyreidyoga.com}. She was about my age, married, loved Jesus, and was always talking about this Holy Yoga thing. I began corresponding with Mandy via email, asking her some questions about yoga and the Holy Yoga ministry in particular. Before long I had ordered two of their instructional DVDs, and I was hooked. As I learned the physical practice of yoga, I began discovering the Truth in this accent physical exercise. Many Christians struggle with yoga, believing it can only be rooted in Eastern Mysticism, using our bodies to worship self or earth. I believe yoga is just a tool, as money is a tool. Both can be used for good or used for evil.

In the time I began spending on my mat, I was experiencing worship and intimacy with Jesus Christ in a whole new way. Not only was I praying and centering my spirit and mind on the Holy One, I was engaging my whole body in worship. Spirit. Soul. Body. This resonated with Jesus’ words from Mark 12:30 –

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

For the next many years, I continued practicing yoga in the privacy of my living room, either with my two Holy Yoga DVDs or with my own flows and worship songs. I learned about the Instructor Training program and I thought to myself, “I would love to do that!” For the next few years, the desire stopped there. I couldn’t convince myself to spend the money, nor did I believe my community was ready for something this spiritually “edgy.”

This past January I took a risk and invited the people of our church to join me in a Saturday morning Holy Yoga practice. I used my HolyYogaTV.com subscription to guide us through a gentle flow, the whole time wondering what people were thinking of this new fangled idea. That first Saturday, we had eight people show up, age 17 to 75, of all physical abilities. And it. was. AWESOME. Everyone loved it and couldn’t wait until next time.

And just like that, God gave me a big booming, “YES!” My community needed this. They were ready. Holy Yoga would be a means of drawing our congregation and our town together. It would allow us to become physically vulnerable and honest with one another, to struggle alongside, and forge the way to be spiritually and emotionally transparent. We would learn how to experience the grace of God through physical activity (and inactivity; shout out to shavasana) and in worship. I went home and signed up for the 225 Hour Program.

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The next nine weeks were spent pouring over Scripture, reading material like Eugene Peterson’s Eat This Book and spending the first half of the weekly two hour webinars in Bible Study. The leadership team at H0ly Yoga insists on our foundation in Christ and the Word. Each class must begin with a Scripture meditation and devotional (or mini-sermon). Each class must incorporate worship music, songs and lyrics to focus on praising God and relishing in His goodness.

Additionally, I spent an hour each Tuesday in a Guided Prayer small group, via a group phone call service. We were taught the practice of Lectio Divina and spent time at the end of the call sharing our personal reflections or God-inspirations from the Scripture Passage. It was deep and raw and intimate.

The second half of our nine-week training module focused on the practical aspects of yoga, teaching us the postures, along with detailed physical anatomy. For every pose we received repetitive teaching, including two books with pictures, our manual with additional directives, and then a verbal instruction from our trainer online. Repetition is the key to memorization.

Finally, all 140 of us traveled to Arizona (Lost Canyon: a Young Life Camp) for a six day retreat intensive. Here we received in-person demonstrations of poses and were given opportunities to work on the postures and teach each other step by step. The word “retreat” was slightly misleading. Our schedule started at 5:30am every morning (with a guided prayer and meditation), and was booked every subsequent hour of the day through 9:30pm. We had two full yoga classes each day, plus 4-6 hours of classroom instruction. The only time we sat in chairs (and not on the floor of the amphitheater or practicing yoga) was at meal times. I snuck in 20 minute phone calls to my husband when we were given bonus breaks between classes.

It was beautiful. It was intense. It was the most emotional I have been in a year. It broke me. It built me. It was a God-thing.

The community I formed with my small group cabin-meets was absolutely incredible. Those women spoke into my life with God-given prophecy and exhortation. We loved each other instantly, shared honestly, and prayed almost continually. Since Retreat, we have continued communication in group texting. What a gift.

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But I did it! I graduated along with these beautiful souls. I am officially a R-HYI (Registered Holy Yoga Instructor), and am teaching my second class this Saturday morning. I have dreams and plans for what the future of this ministry job might become. I am praying and struggling through doubts and disbelief in my ability and qualification. I am waiting for God’s leading. Training Group

So until I launch the full-fledged Holy Yoga Monroe, I will continue hosting classes each Saturday at 9 in the fellowship hall of Monroe Free Methodist Church ($10 suggested donation). The first Saturday of each month will be a FREE class, perfect to check it out and see if Holy Yoga is right for you. Men and women of all ages and stages are welcome. You say you’re not flexible? Then that’s the perfect reason to come to Holy Yoga. It is a practice, every day our bodies respond differently and every week we see new struggles and new improvements. Let do this together!

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Confessions, Letters to My Kids, Pregnancy

The New Land

Dear Child of Mine,

You actually exist! You’ve made your home in my womb, and I’m completely humbled to have been given the honor of carrying you. I really never thought this day would come. Disbelief still clouds my thoughts, wondering if all those positive tests were just some elaborate scheme of disappointment. But then I get another wave of nausea, and I thank the Lord for the gift of your life.

We’re going for our first official ultrasound today and I can hardly wait to see how you’ve grown! Knowing what a tiny speck you were in that first photo, I believe I’m going to see quite a change in you already. Perhaps this moment will make me realize how real this is.

Everyone keeps saying, “God is good!” And YES, God is good. But the truth is, God would be good no matter the outcome. God would be good even if we never had children. God is only good. So in these moments, I believe I have come face to face with the great GRACE of God. He has bestowed on a us a gift we do not deserve. And I will never stop thanking Him for your life. I commit to proclaiming God’s grace to all who know our story, the journey of pain and faith. May we never forget.

And despite the elation, Child, it’s been a confusing transition to make. I feel like the Israelites who are being led to the Promised Land but would just rather go back to Egyptian captivity, a place of familiarity. My entire story has been wrapped up in my identification of infertility. All of my prayers, all of my worship, all of my altar-moments have been centered around my barrenness. I have sought the Lord’s faithfulness, asked Him to bestow it upon me. I have begged for the Lord’s healing. I have cried out in anger and sadness. I have surrendered my dreams again and again on the altar of the Lord.

And now, all of a sudden, I have to learn a new way of living. I have to experience the land of celebration and joy. I have to leave behind my barrenness. And, honestly, I’m not sure what that looks like. So, Child, don’t think for a minute that you are not deeply loved and wholly desired. You are. It just may take me a while to recognize the fullness of God’s grace in my life. It’s kind of huge, daunting, overwhelming gift to have received. I’ll just continue seeking faithfulness to walk in this new land.

This passage from Deuteronomy 11:8-9 (the Message) is a word from the Lord to the Israelites, and it resonated with me:

So it’s you who are in charge of keeping the entire commandment that I command you today so that you’ll have the strength to invade and possess the land that you are crossing the river to make your own. Your obedience will give you a long life on the soil that God promised to give your ancestors and their children, a land flowing with milk and honey.

 

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Family, Husband, Infertility

Cease Striving

My dearest friends,

In the midst of the adoption, I was starting my 3rd round of Clomid post-surgery (first week of March). We were entering our 58th month of infertility, and Kevin and I made the decision to cease our focused efforts on conceiving. We looked each other in the eye and said, “We’re done.” I told him I was so done with artificial hormones and invasive doctor’s appointments and conversations about what step we’re going to take next. Kevin said, “The doctors have had their say, it’s time for God to have his.

Another cycle came and went. I wasn’t really all that disappointed. It was expected.

Over the next few days, I began resigning myself to childlessness. I wanted to transition my focus of emotional energy and time on this desire for children, when God has many ministry opportunities for me to turn my attention.

I am so thankful for each of you. You have bolstered me every step of the way, many of you from the beginning – June 2010. You remember me, you pursue me, you pray for me. I am so blessed.

On Sunday, April 26th, Kevin went to a extra community band rehearsal at the college and on a gut feeling I took a pregnancy test. (yes, 10 days after my supposed cycle). And instantly those two little strips lit up bright pink.

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Monday, Apri 27th I had blood work done, confirming the pregnancy (and having super high progesterone levels to sustain the pregnancy until the placenta takes over), and on Wednesday I had an ultrasound confirming that the pregnancy is in fact in the uterus and not in the tubes.

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Look at that cute little dot!

 

I AM PREGNANT! Kevin and I are going to have a baby and the due date is December 25th!

He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 113:9

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Contentment, Husband, Infertility, Letters to My Kids

Teaching Years

Dear Child of Ours,

I’ve been quiet lately, at a loss for words. Two months have passed since the adoption fell through. I had been waiting for my breaking point, waiting for the deluge of tears, waiting to collapse into a deep depression. I braced myself for this heartbreak. And it was was heartbreaking. We questioned God, wondering what in the world He was up to, why would He bring us through this situation and seemingly leave us in the dust? So many people who’ve been in this with us (for years now) were just as broken. They, too, wanted to know God’s end-game.

And just as He’s used these last five years of infertility to transform me, God has used this adoption loss to draw me closer to Him. The breaking point never came. The Holy One was lifting me up, holding me close, granting me divine comfort. My heart turned towards that young mother and the heartbreak she was experiencing. The attitude I was developing was not of my own will. My humanness wanted to be angry, bitter, depressed, and despondent. But God’s Spirit invaded my own and developed peace, contentment, prayer, and trust. That is NOT me. All the glory be to God!

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8:6

And it took a friend’s comment and counselor’s insight to make me realize what God was doing in my life.  I am so thankful for the wisdom of caring people in my life who have continually spoken truth to me. Through this journey, and in particular over the last few months, I have been showered with sincere love, deep concern, honest discernment, and steadfast prayers. Let me just say to each one of those people – thank you.

And to you, Child, I want you to know that I am thankful for the years of infertility. Yes, thankful. I am thankful for 7 years of marriage, for 5 years of barren hopefulness. I am thankful for the steadfast spiritual disciplines God has developed in me out of the intense need for His presence. I am thankful for the new-found confidence I’ve rooted in Christ. I’m thankful to be following God’s call to ordained ministry, pursuing Holy Yoga training, believing He is leading me to the fulfillment of His great purpose. The Lord has been faithful, showering me with grace. He has shown me a glimpse of the me He created me to be, and He has so much more for me than I ever imagined for myself. These years have given me the time to become.

I still don’t know what the future holds, Child.

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Philippians 4:12-13 (The Message)

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