50 Followers

Well, I want to thank all of those who have signed up to read what I have to say. I realize in today’s standards, having fifty people follow you is not worthy of its own blog to some, but to me, you know I’m going to find something to say about it 🙂

The first thing I truly want understood is that I appreciate every follower, every reader, and every share of what I write here. In my world, it’s the same as reading my book and then telling your friend about it over cinnamon rolls or coffee. I pray what I share touches your life in a meaningful way – even if that just means sending it to someone else that needs it, it matters to me.

Second, I cannot help but wonder how many people in life are striving for more followers. More ‘friends’ on Facebook, followers on Twitter, ‘friends’ on Snapchat, followers on Instagram, etcetera – is that what validates our worth? Shouldn’t our lives be defined by Who we are following rather than who is following us? There is a force in this world that pushes us to seek followers – to add ‘points’ to our cool tally – to justify why we write, or sing, or play a sport, or work in a field. That force is pride, and when we get our eyes on who likes us or wants to be our ‘friend’, it’s easy to forget the One we should be following. If it’s all about you, you are your own idol.

Finally, (yes, this is going to be that short) I want to say that I’m not following/not following you on any social media for you to reciprocate. I add people on Facebook who send me requests because I believe maybe they are supposed to be in my life or I in theirs. I follow people on Twitter who say things that I want to hear each day. I e-mail those I am led to say something to or those who hold a special place in my heart. But ultimately, I am following Jesus and my prayer is you are too! If you’re not, but want to know more, send me an e-mail at YvylynLawson@writeme.com.

It’s never been about me – it’s all about God.

 

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Running and Deployments

run

I was running on the treadmill the other day… slowly. My head started doing what it often does when I begin running, telling me I wasn’t going to complete the two miles I set out to run. I pushed the thought aside and kept putting one foot in front of the other as an upbeat song played on my iPod and motivated me to keep going. Before the song ended, I looked down at the treadmill screen that read .25 miles completed.  I was one-eighth of the way done and that is when it hit me: I CAN do this. I have done it before.

I was that kid in middle school that couldn’t run. It wasn’t a lack of grace or asthma, it was my inability to breathe correctly, leading to me passing out near the finish line every time we had to run one mile in P.E.  As an adult, I decided I wanted to begin running. I bought a book, read magazines, and began building my mileage. After accomplishing 8 miles I decided I was ready and wanted to train for my first marathon. I completed my training through 16 miles and felt very confident that I was going to be able to cross off an amazing feat for the “pass-out-girl”. Three days after I ran my 16-mile run I was scheduled an easy-four. During that run I tore my meniscus and my Paris Marathon was cut short by 19 miles. (I attempted, stubborn me, and made it to mile 7 before getting on the “injured bus.”)

Then I started thinking… this is just like deployments. When my husband deploys, in the beginning there is some doubt, concern, and struggle. (I think it’s natural) However, just like running that two miles, I need to remember that I’ve done this before. (Even longer than this one.)  Then I realized the following juxtaposition of running and deployments:

The number one thing you must realize is this: You can do this!

If you are just beginning, don’t be too hard on yourself. You are going to have good days and hard days. Accept the hard ones and enjoy the good ones. Same with deployments, there are going to be bad days, so just accept that.

Here are some tips for those of us not born to run:

*Start slow and build up your mileage.

If this is your first deployment, take every day and get through the deployment how you can. There is no cookie-cutter way to get through a separation from your spouse. It’s tough, but can be easier if you will allow yourself the time to adjust to it.

**Listen to music (or not- some people do better without, that’s fine, but find something that keeps you motivated.)

Here is where I will strongly suggest abstaining from anything that brings you down– sad music, the news, or any Facebook/ Twitter/SnapChat, etc. posts about the war or deployments. Instead, listen to positive things and positive people. Create a playlist that is upbeat and motivational.

***Don’t do this alone – you are more likely to be consistent with your running if you run with someone.

There are other people going through the deployment, too; link up! If you don’t know anyone, join the Family Readiness/Support Group (FRG) or a church group and get to know someone. Don’t bother making excuses about the drama involved- do this for yourself. You will find the deployment goes by faster if you’re not going through it alone.

****Finally, take care of you: your nutrition, rest, and strength training as important as building your mileage.

Deployments are taxing on your emotions, sleep schedule, and mental stamina. You’re constantly casting down thoughts and imaginations that paint the worst pictures. Phone calls come at all hours and sleep takes a second place to conversations with our loved ones. Emotionally you feel like you’re on a roller coaster and those around you (not going through/have not been through a deployment) cannot provide the stability you can yourself. Yes, find someone to get through the deployment with, but also take responsibility of your well-being and put YOU first.

You can do more than you think you can. I have said this for a couple of years now and it really is true. Humans can do more than they often believe. You can run a mile; a 5K; a marathon. You make it through a 6-month, 9-month, one-year deployment – or any separation. You can pass that test; make the grades; beat that fear that torments you.

You can!

Philippians 4:13

Would you Even Recognize Him?

 

24 years

My Honey Bunches of Oats (“H-BOO”) and I celebrated 24 years of marriage yesterday. There were many at our wedding that never thought we would see day 24, but here we are, still together and in love. I understood their pessimism because we literally had only known each other for two months before tying the knot. Yes, I was pregnant. None of that mattered, though. I knew from date one that I was going to marry him.

Literally one month after we married he was sent to the National Training Center (NTC) in California for 30 days. He returned in just enough time to then, after another 30 days, be sent to Cuba for six months. I made the decision to get out of the Army when they put me orders to Korea for one year, scheduled to leave two months after my daughter’s due date. (That wasn’t my idea of being a mom.)

When my HBOO returned, my brother-in-law (who had never met him before) drove me to the airport to pick him up. Now, you need to understand that when he left for Cuba he was light-skinned, had a full head of wavy-brown hair, and wore contacts. So picture my confusion when a very tanned, blond man, with thick Army glasses, walked up to me smiling.

“Is that your husband?” My BIL asked.

“um.. I think so?” Yeah. I didn’t recognize him.

Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:

“Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

John 12:14-15

I was reading this and thought of something. The people of Jesus’ time knew the Scriptures and were anticipating and waiting for their Messiah. Yet when Jesus – who had already fulfilled multiple prophesies – came riding on a donkey, just as Zechariah had prophesied, even His disciples did not understand the fulfillment of prophesy.

His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.                                                                                   John 12:16

I couldn’t help but wonder how many of us are not seeing what God is doing [daily] in our lives because we don’t know the Scriptures enough to recognize His ways; we don’t recognize Him.

Ps 103 7

Why does Psalm (103) say that God made His ways known to Moses, but His actions to the people of Israel?

Relationship.

I believe that those who put God as first priority in their lives, like Moses did, are tuned in to what God is doing and how He does things. Otherwise, we risk not recognizing the hand, move, perfect will, and leading of God.

So, ask yourself this: When was the last time you recognized something that happened as God? If it wasn’t today, spend more time with Him. You don’t want an unbeliever asking you,

“Is that Him?”

and your answer is “um… I think so.”

Just… What are you JUST doing?

Just smoking pot. Just having sex. Just eating a 1,080-calorie cinnamon roll, and just three days a week. Just running. Just eating rice, nothing else, for four days now …

Depending on how you define it, “just” can be good or it can be bad.

Just

When I made the decision to become a runner, my entire training plan was to run. Just run. And let me tell you what happens when you choose to run a marathon – yes, the full 26.2 miles- as your first event, and all you do to train for it is run: You get injured.

run

The reason is, it takes more than just strong legs that have grown accustomed to the pounding of the pavement; or feet that grow callouses and develop the strength to keep pushing off, minute after minute, hour after hour; or a heart that settles into a rhythm as your endurance grows with each run.

It also takes a good core, to maintain the correct posture so the back, hips, and knees are aligned the way that is necessary if you want to avoid overuse injuries or pain and stiffness. It takes the right nutrition in order for your stores of energy to sustain you instead of provide a high for mile one (maybe two), then fizzle out and make you crash.

There are plenty of things in our lives that we are just doing. “Just smoking pot.” Maybe for now, but that may lead to harder drug use. {Not necessarily as a gateway drug, but by exposing you to other drug users and the influence that has on a person.} Why risk that?

JS

Just having sex. Let me tell you the problem with that statement – When you’re just having sex, you’re probably not married and you probably don’t think you need to be since it’s just sex. And if that is the case, you’re subjecting your body, mind, and soul to a slew of repercussions. A.I.D.S., other sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual abuse; jealousy, lust, and obsessiveness towards another human; and feelings of being used, degradation of self worth, and a skewed understanding of the act.

For those who would say that sex is just an event enjoyed by two consenting adults, I would offer you this: sex is a God-given gift for a husband and wife to engage in under the covenant of marriage and anything outside of that is a sin, is depreciating the very goodness of it, and is not worth it. If you’ve never been in love, committed to that person to do life with them till death parted you, and experienced sex in those circumstance, you just won’t understand why it should never be just sex.

CinnBon

J ust eating a 1,080-calorie cinnamon roll, and just three days a week. Oh my – this was me at one point in my life. I struggled with an insatiable craving [addiction] to sugar and when I had my own job, my own money, and access to these bakery-chain rolls of mass calories, yummy gooeyness, and a guaranteed sugar crash an hour later, I prided myself in my self-control and not eating them daily.

The problem with all of the above is each of them are justified as okay in today’s society, but all of them will offer satisfaction in our lives and ultimately let us down. Pot, sex, and even cinnamon rolls will never fill the void that only God can.

Just eating rice, nothing else – that was my predicament recently when everything I ate began making me sick. So, I turned to the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) only to find the other three let me down (and made me nauseated along with everything else.) Regardless of my new 1-food diet not making me sick, I was getting dizzy and losing weight.


**This is not a recommended diet, regardless that it will make you lose weight!**


 

Whether you’re training for a marathon and need to do more than just run, or food is making you sick, but you need to eat more than just rice – just doing the minimum is never good for your health and won’t help you feel your best.

Likewise, Christians who just go to church on Sunday mornings (or every two or three Sundays), you won’t find your spirit in the best shape and you won’t satisfaction in your relationship with God. Your spiritual walk must be more than just checking off the proverbial list of Do’s to get to heaven. (Which, incidentally, attending church will not get you into heaven. You must accept Jesus as your Savior.)

If your prayer life consists of just saying the Lord’s Prayer and blessing your food, you’re missing out on the amazing opportunity to speak with the Creator of the universe, to have Him guide your every step, and to be encouraged by the One who fashioned you just ( winkthe way you.

God is the only Just you need in your life – and by Just, I mean Exactly!

 

Cancer Free

The results from the PET Scan came back and my husband is cancer free! Praise God and thank you to all who prayed.

So, what does this mean for our family? For me? For my prayer life? It means he will continue to have check-ups on a regular basis for the next twenty-four months, but we won’t be experiencing the side effects of chemotherapy, nor will a cloud of sickness hover over our house. It means I will not have a husband who is weak, tired, and sick, and frequents the doctor more than most people exercise in America. And it means…

Nothing for my prayer life. This victory merely redirects the time I spent in prayer for my husband to others in my life. I will continue to pray for those in leadership, as the Bible instructs me to; my prayers will not stop for my friend, Vicki, who is fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer; and my prayers will continue to go forth, led by the Holy Spirit – when He has me pray for different people (sometimes ones I do not know) and situations, and with the fervency I prayed for my husband.

Cancer free does not mean problem free. I think sometimes as Christians we believe because Jesus was wounded for our transgression and bruised for our iniquities – sin won’t be in our new creation lives. We have been delivered from the power of sin – but we still have to choose to not sin. Many believe that because Jesus took the chastisement necessary to purchase our peace, if we experience anything other than tranquility and calm in our lives, it was a big lie. Finally, millions will tell you that ‘by Christ’s stripes we are healed’, so if you suffer sickness, that promised healing was by entering heaven, not obtainable health here on earth.

I would tell you, by His stripes we are absolutely healed, peace has been purchased for us and available in Him, and our transgressions and iniquities were paid for by the scourging, whipping, spitting upon, piercing with the sword, and bruising. And when cancer is the diagnosis or migraines wreak havoc in our day, divorce papers are served by the love of our lives or the job security we always counted on vanishes as HR tells us the company is ‘down-sizing’, or the child or friend who we have been petitioning God for their salvation shows more of their sinner-self than a leaning to accept Christ as their Savior, we need to stay the course, double up on prayer-medicine, and put God in remembrance of His Word.

“God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Numbers 23:19

God’s faithfulness never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So, if the God Who never changes says in His love letter to His children that He will never leave us nor forsake us; that His ways are not our ways, and to lean not on our own understanding but trust in Him with all your heart, you do it; no matter what you are facing.

Regardless of my husband’s diagnosis, I set my face like a flint, knowing God would help us. (Isaiah 50:7) I have learned to trust in God’s sovereignty and understand that no matter what happens, His way is perfect.

Cancer Free, praise God! Now let’s pray for the rest of the cancer patients. And those suffering from diabetes. Fibromyalgia. Rheumatoid arthritis. AFIB. Lupus. COPD. Epilepsy. Ulcerative colitis. Asthma…

 

Cancer Came Knocking

It’s a little funny because when I first began this blog, so many years ago, I wrote in my About Me section that you could expect a lot of content. I mean, I write pretty much every day. The first few months seemed to hold true to that with daily, if not multiple-a-day, posts for some time. Then, we moved back to the U.S. and my pen hit the paper and I finished my first book; blog took a backseat.

When I finished my book, I logged back in here and began posting again. I was just getting back to logging in to write on this blog when cancer came knocking. No, it wasn’t my personal door, but my husband’s. It was a Tuesday night in October, the pain he had been having for a little over a month, didn’t let him sleep anymore (and ignore it as he had been), so we headed to the emergency room. We didn’t leave until 6 the next morning and by that time, the “C” word had already been said “but, we will see what the tests say.”

My husband and I slept most of Wednesday and returned to work Thursday morning. Thursday night we were both sitting on the couch when he received a phone call from the urologist at our military base. Cancer. Surgery was in the morning. (Yes, it happened that fast!)

The following weeks were full of doctor visits, labs, tests, and informational meetings. He would ultimately go through 4 rounds of chemotherapy, lose all of his hair, battle through the side effects of the chemo, and lose a lot of strength and time. (He slept a LOT!) But here we are – Chemo is done and tomorrow we return to the doctor for results from his last PET Scan (basically they inject radioactive material inside the body to light it up and look for cancer’s “glow”… or no glow.)

He has now had 3 PET Scans since that long night in October. The last one, after his second round of chemo, showed remarkable improvement and his “glow” numbers dropped from 10.3 to 3.6. We are hoping for it to be less than 1 tomorrow.

It has been a long journey and this blog has been lower on the priority list. I hope you’ll keep reading, though.

Resolutions

‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’

 

Pastors Bill and Brent Purvis said the way to have your best year is found in the 3R Method: Resolution, Reason, and Routine

My Scripture text above from Psalm 51:10 talks about God renewing a steadfast spirit with us. That simply means, help me be faithful or committed. It means having resolutions.

Steadfast – resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering | synonyms: loyal, faithful, committed, devoted, dedicated

Here are the 6 areas we should resolve to be committed to growth in this year:

Spiritually – 2 Timothy 4:13 says, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.” Paul has been imprisoned and is saying, please bring me these things that are important to me – the cloak, or something to keep my body warm in this jail cell; my scrolls, the writings that kept him mentally sharp; but especially the parchments, which were the Scriptures.

You need to be most committed to growing spiritually this year.

I have always been a big advocate for taking one Scripture or passage and meditating on it all day. When you get up in the morning, read your Word, spend time in prayer, and ask God to show you what you need to meditate on. Sometimes you will meditate on the same Word for days. Others, you’ll meditate on a Scripture for one day and another the next. Don’t be tied to a ‘system’, but be consistent with with Spirit. He will lead you. You’ll know when you’re reading that you’ve found the verse or passage you need to ‘chew on’ for the day.

I recommend keeping note cards by your prayer place (wherever you meet with the Lord) and jot down the Scripture or passage you will meditate on. Then, throughout the day, take out the card and reread it to make sure you’re putting the whole word in your spirit. Remember, James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without find fault, and it will be given to you.” Ask God what Scripture you should meditate on and He will show you.

You won’t have much of a relationship with God without daily communication with Him.

Physical – Proverbs 31:17 says, “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” 1 Timothy 4:8 says, “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.” We put the spiritual first, but notice this Scripture doesn’t cancel out the need for exercise; it just says it’s not the most important.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Have balance, but make sure you invest in taking care of your body. Eat better; exercise every day; don’t do anything that harms your body; get plenty of rest (but don’t rest all day); and fuel your body for the work the Lord has for you – or you won’t complete the rest He set before you! (2 Timothy 4:7)

Mental – No matter when you completed school, you should never stop learning. Pastor Teresa Price says, “If something is not growing, it’s dying.” Don’t let your brain lie dormant because you achieved your education goal and have mastered a job. Apply your mind to learn something new all the days of your life.

Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with and I’ve heard that another great influence in our lives are the 5 books we are currently reading. Keep reading, just make sure what you’re reading betters your life. I’m not talking about romance novels or sci-fi thrillers. Invest in your mind and read biographies of people who have done what you’re trying to do in life. Read stories that inspire you in your field or an area of interest.

When I began running, I read books that talked about training plans, how to eat, and marathon mishaps. If you’re not investing in your mind, you will find this world becomes unfamiliar quickly as it continues to move forward, and you begin to shrink back.

‘Success leaves footprints’ – Bill Purvis

Emotional – How you feel emotionally is how you experience life daily.

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Galatians 5:16-17

There is a never-ending battle between our spirit and our flesh and we must choose daily, hourly, and sometimes by the minute, who wins that battle. We can have the best intentions and still sin because our flesh wants something entirely different from the spirit within us. You know who is winning the war by the fruit you see.

Verses 22 and 23 continue, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

If you’re not experience those things in your life, your emotional health is probably a wreck.

Emotional intelligence is a term that has been around for a little over fifty years, but only gained popularity in the last twenty. It basically means someone’s ability to control their emotions and adapt to outside influences appropriately to achieve their goals.  Regardless of man’s awareness of this type of intelligence, the battle between spirit and soul has been with us from the first day we drew a breath. And the more we build up our spirit, the more stable – peaceful, gentle, good, etc. – our lives will become.

Relational – 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.”

The first thing you need to aright in the realm of your relationships is cutting off the dead weight. If someone is not enhancing your life, or you theirs, chances are they are dead weight using up the water and nutrients in your tree that you need to give to someone else.

Don’t ever fear breaking off poor relationships in your life. The faster you do, the more your other relationships will benefit.

The Bible has a lot to say about our relationship to other people:

1 Peter 4:9          “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Romans 12:10    “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Ephesians 4:32   “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11       “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up…”

Ephesians 5:21   “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

John 13:34           “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love another.”

2 Corinthians 13:11          “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

There are many more of these reciprocal commands and I challenge you to not only find them, but ask God to help you with one each week this year.

We were created for connection.

Financially – Ensure God is your authority on money.

1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.”

First know that money is not evil, but the love of it is. So, make sure you rule your money so money doesn’t rule you.

Next, learn and operate in the spiritual laws of finance. Tithing is not a suggestion and offerings are not so the church can pay its bills. Malachi 3:10-11 says, “Bring the full tithe (one-tenth, literal meaning; so 5% won’t do!) into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.”

Did you catch the command? It doesn’t say, when your budget can handle it, tithe; it says to tithe. All other spiritual laws that deal with finances are moot if you don’t first tithe because that is what removes the curse on your earthly possessions – money, fruit of your labor, etcetera.

Kevin O’Leary, known from Shark Tank, has said, “The key to having money is to have a plan for it.”

Habakkuk 2:2, “And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.”

Proverbs 27:23-24 says, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?”

Manage these 6 areas if your life this year and you will have the best year of your life.