The Best You

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Good morning!

What does it take to be the best version of you today?  If you were going to pick 3-5 things that really start your day off right, what would they be?

For me I would say:

  1. time with Jesus
  2. a good cup of coffee (and by good I mean bold, dark coffee)
  3. Snuggles with my boys
  4. A smile from my hubby – you know the kind that still makes you light up inside
  5. A good workout to really get my blood going

I feel like on the days that I do get these things I can rock anything that comes my way.  I have also realized in this journey that these are the things that fill me up and make me full.

I used to think that I needed fancy coffee, only the kind you can get at the coffee shop in town…which I hardly ever got because I was in the thick of being a stay at home mom.  And I wouldn’t have noticed if my hubby smiled at me or not because I was too tired to notice as two little boys climbed all over my lap.  And a good workout… that meant going to the gym or going somewhere by myself where I could choose my running path and have the freedom to run as far as I wanted.

Today after I dropped the boys off at preschool, I came home to run around the dirt circle drive of my home and do the cross training exercises scheduled for today.  I am enjoying a nice cup of bold, dark coffee brewed straight out of my coffee pot and headed out to my porch to open my bible and spend some quality time with Him.  Oh, and I did get my snuggles in this morning too!

My point?  Don’t miss out on where you are just because it doesn’t look like you thought it might. Or maybe it doesn’t look at all like you want it to. Either way, embrace where you are today and keep moving forward.  One day at a time.

So what’s it take to be the best version of you today?!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Continue the Celebration

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Good evening!

Easter has come and gone for another year…the celebration of our Savior’s sacrifice and then the resurrection that brought us victory and gives us the opportunity to live free.  It is absolutely breathtaking; the beauty of a love so deep, so real.

So how do we continue the celebration?  Keep the joy we felt in our hearts yesterday as we stood and sang out in worship?  Keep the smiles and the glow on our faces as we slip back into the “normality” of another week?  How do we continue to walk in the victory that He died and rose again to give us?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.  Luke 9:23-24

What does it look like to take up our cross daily?  What does that truly mean?

I believe it starts with spending time with Him and being determined to live life full no matter what is going on around us.  Living this life as full of Him as we possibly can.

  • full of His peace
  • full of His grace
  • full of His forgiveness
  • full of His love

Full of Him pouring into us so that we can pour out to others.

And we follow up with surrender.  Every single day we surrender to His will over our own, even when we don’t understand. Because truly in our hearts we must have a perspective change to – His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:9) – if we are every going to actually experience victory in the midst of what we are walking through.  

It is a perspective shift that we already have victory today because of what Jesus has done.  Not because of anything we have done, but because of what He already did.  And that my friends, is something to celebrate!!  Every single day!

What does it mean to you to take up your cross daily?  We would love to hear from you!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Live Life Full

3 Crosses

Good morning!

Easter is always a humbling experience…it can work in our hearts to align them with a love that is unimaginable.  It is out of this love and Jesus’s experience on the cross that we are able to receive freedom in this life.  What Jesus did for us,  how He loves us, and the ultimate sacrifice He gave for us is what brings us hope every single day.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

It is this hope in Him that brings freedom.  Freedom to live life full…

  • Full of the Holy Spirit
  • Full of love
  • Full of forgiveness
  • Full of grace
  • Full of purpose
  • Full of joy
  • Full of peace
  • Full of anticipation as we wait for Him

Let’s use this Holy Week to remind us of what Jesus did for us so that we can live life full.  Full of Him.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

The Comparison Game

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Good morning!

Fighting the comparison game.  I believe it is one of the hardest battles we fight every single day.  And it is so easy with social media at our fingertips to look across the screen and see someone else living the life we wished we were living.

The thing is though…God gave us this one.  He gave us this life, this assignment, these children, this spouse, this home, etc., specifically at this time.  Now that being said, he also gave us the freedom of choice.  And those choices have influenced where we are on our journey.  But, are we looking to the Father to lead us down our path, the one He has for us?  Or are we looking across the screen and wanting to follow the ways of what we see?

I have learned over the years that comparing our lives with others only leads to disappointment, doubt, and feeling like we are failing when actually we aren’t!  Here are  a few things I have found that helps fight against the comparison game:

  1. Limit your screen time.  It is great to scroll through our news feed, see pictures of what friends and family are up to, but keep it at that.  It is information to view and process, not receive and input.
  2. Be present in your own life!  I get that some days are long and sometimes you just want to check out for a few minutes.  But being present where we are and in our current assignment is huge.
  3. Know where God has you.  It is so important to be in constant communication with the Father and know where He has you and why.  When we look up to Him instead of out at everyone else we have peace with where we are because we know it comes from Him.  It is when we begin to look out around us instead of up that we become discontent or agitated in our assignment.
  4. Stay in the Word.  When we grow in our relationship with the Father we see ourselves in a whole new way.  When we know who we are through His eyes there is no longer any need to be discontent.  He loves us perfectly and wholly exactly where we are, not because of what we are doing.  When we stay in constant communication with him, He will lead the way.

So, let’s live fully!  Fully right where we are, not where someone else is, and trust Him with the process.  Our journey is going to be uniquely designed by the One true author.  And most likely it isn’t going to look exactly like anyone else’s…and that’s what makes it special.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Dare to be Brave

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Good morning!

Have you ever been afraid to go against the grain of others?  To feel like you are the only one headed north while everyone else is going south?  I know I have.

I have been scared to go a different way, to do a different thing than what others around me were doing.  It’s really hard to step out and then to stand firm on something that we feel passionate about, something that we sense God asking of us, something that looks different from maybe what we thought or different from everyone else.

It is hard to go against the “norm” of what everyone else is doing, whether that is

  • raising our children
  • climbing the corporate ladder
  • addressing medical needs
  • cultivating our relationships
  • how we spend our time (activities/lifestyle/sports/etc)
  • the list is endless!!

But I want to tell you that as hard as it can be, standing firm on what God has for us is the very best place to stand.  And the decisions we make after seeking God’s counsel are probably the best ones.  It says in Isaiah 30:21:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

This is the only voice that we really need to be listening for… not everyone else’s.

I was reminded the other day while I was reading through the story of David that over and over again he was not the “norm”.  He was the youngest, the smallest, the one who tended the sheep; not a warrior like his brothers.  Yet, God used him to defeat the giant threatening Israel’s army.  And he didn’t do it the “normal” way…David took a sling and a stone into a sword fight.

So let’s stand firm on what God has for us, even if it looks different.  The best place that we can stand is the one He has paved for us.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Declaring Truth

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Have you let the heaviness of your current circumstances weigh you down?

I’m here to tell you it can happen before we know it.  And don’t worry…you’re not alone.  This world can be brutal and unless we chase after the truth, the lies will consume us.

As I sat down at my kitchen table a couple of days ago I could feel my stress level rising as the weight of anxiety was creeping in.  Our son that was in the hospital a few weeks ago has been sick again this past week with something viral.  As I got him out of the bath that afternoon I could see the rash spreading all over his belly and creeping up his chest.  Seriously? I thought to myself.

I sat down at our kitchen table, opened my journal, and wrote across my page:

If I didn’t hold on to Jesus so tightly I might just fall apart. 

And I began writing the truths I needed to hear…

  • I believe His promises
  • I believe He is good
  • I believe He works all things together for good
  • I believe His ways are higher than my ways
  • I believe He goes before me and behind me

Declaring Truth

Sometimes we just need to declare out loud His truths over our own lives.  We need to be bold even when it is just to remind ourselves of the very truths we believe in.

As I sat there, trying to process all my emotions and give my anxiety to the Father I wrote one more statement in my journal:

Even though it doesn’t look like I want it to…maybe it looks just as it should.

As I lay my head in my hands and began to pray I felt Him asking me to yield my frustration, yield my control, and to trust Him.  Trust Him with my child’s health.  Because after all, they were His children first.

What has you all tied up in knots?  There is no better way to untie them then to declare His truths over and over until we feel the release of His power in our hearts.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Pushing Through

Pushing Through Blog

Good morning!

I set out for a run yesterday and I had barely gotten a half mile in when I had a twinge in my right knee and some nerves speak fire through my left foot.  I thought to myself, “maybe I shouldn’t go as far today”.  I have experienced pain in my left foot for quite some time.  I had a couple of stress fractures a year and a half ago and some nerve damage that left me in a walking boot for a while.  Even though it is better, I still have some nagging pain to deal with.

Most people probably are dealing with some type of issue that is nagging…either physical, mental, or emotional.  It could be:

  • a medical issue
  • a strained relationship
  • a difficult work atmosphere
  • a tough marriage
  • a challenging child

How often do we accept defeat when really we just need to dig in and find the courage to push through?  We give up way too easily most times.  Our minds can convince us that we are justified in just giving up, giving in, and taking the easy road out.  But what if we decided to dig in?  What if we decided to let God work on us from the inside out? Even if it meant we were going to go through a few hard days or a challenging season.

Honestly for me yesterday the only thing that needed revived was my mind… and I think for most of you this is probably true as well.  Deep down, the truth was I just didn’t really feel like going for a run so my mind was coming up with all sorts of excuses to keep me from it!  I am so glad that I hit my Unstoppable playlist (TobyMac) and kept running.

What are you experiencing in your life that keeps lingering?  Let’s make the choice today to dig in and keep going.  Let’s lean on Him for courage and yield to His guidance along the way.  We will be glad we did!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

The Power of Community

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Good morning!

The last couple weeks have been completely unbalanced and unpredictable.  From the time changing, to a massive blizzard, to Qwade being in the hospital, to being stuck at home for 10 days for his lungs to heal, to broken computers and stolen bank information.  Seriously…sometimes there are no words.

Have you ever walked through a trying time?  When the hits just kept coming and you had to keep going or you might just fall apart?

As I called my mom last week to vent my frustrations about my brand new computer that mysteriously wouldn’t turn on anymore and that someone had stolen my debit card information and was trying to purchase things in Oregon (all on the same day) I told her, “I think if I don’t laugh I will cry”.

But as our family has walked through these couple of weeks the Father has shown us something that we really needed to see… He is showing us the power of community.  

There have been so many people step in to pray for our family and words cannot express how grateful we are.  We have had family step up and help with our other son, friends brought me coffee at the hospital (much-needed coffee), a nurse who helped me get checked out and watched Qwade while I waited on the pharmacy, a church family who wrapped their arms around us, and multiple other texts, cards, calls and support.

God has shown me just how much we really do need community…

  • people to love us and encourage us when life gets hard
  • people to celebrate the victories with us
  • people who pray for us when we can’t find the words to pray ourselves
  • people who hold our hands in their hands
  • people who sit and listen while we cry

There is power in community.  The power of Jesus.  And when we stand in unity as a community of believers there is no mountain that He cannot move.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Time Off

Good morning!

Have you ever wanted the day off?  From EVERYTHING?  I have had a few days like that… One of our boys had a pretty severe asthmatic attack last week and ended up in the hospital.  We are grateful that he was only in for three days and by Friday we couldn’t wait to come home.  But as I drove out of parking lot I whispered under my breath, “I need a day off”…

A day off from being mamma, a day off from exhaustion, a day off from the stress that life can throw at us.  Have you ever felt like that?  Like life took you by surprise and you just needed some time to catch up?

As I continued driving from the parking lot my thoughts shifted from me to Him.  To the One who watches over us and walks through the hard stuff with us.  And I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  Gratitude that God never takes a day off.  And that when I am weak, He is strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:10)  I am grateful that:

  • He never stops loving us
  • He showers us with grace
  • He never gives up on us
  • He is always near
  • He never grows tired or weary
  • He reigns in power

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3

So even though sometimes life is hard, and there are things we don’t understand and things we can’t control, I am grateful that the Father never takes a day off.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

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