I decided to go for a walk with my boy and scrolled through youtube for a sermon. I have always learned so much from the way Francis Chan teaches so I searched his messages. What got my attention was one titled "A personal relationship with God." It's funny how sometimes what catches our attention are the things that we either want more of or have been lacking. I was lacking. Though I was showing up daily in my devotions, my mind + heart were not there. Worst, my ears weren't really listening.
So I began to listen. He drew us to the book of Exodus chapter 33. As I began to hear him teach I started to tear up while walking. Shoot. Here it comes. The conviction. In this passage God is telling Moses “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I will send an angelbefore you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”
What caught my attention was MOSES' RESPONSE in verse 15: “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
Wow. How many times have I been willing to take the promise land without God really being behind it?! Hard question. This doesn't have to be just business related, friend. Plug anything in. A relationship. Marriage. Career. Promotion. ANYTHING. What is your promise land? Would you have taken the deal without God?
When I became a coach I told God HIS way not mine. No matter the pace. No matter the cost. His way. And yet, in the last couple of months there has been more human hustle than reliance on God's grace. Don't misunderstand me, friend. God's Grace + human effort work hand in hand to bring a harvest. But on my end there was way more hustle. I lost sight of God in the equation.
No I am not quitting. Coaching IS my calling. I believe that. And our team IS growing with amazing women I know God has been bringing us. Clients are finding transformation in their wellness. What needs to change is ME. All those things can happen, my business CAN succeed without God. Just look at the world. You will find many who have success and God isn't in the equation. So why should I care?
I care because knowing Christ and being known by Him is all I desire. So if HE is NOT behind this. Why would I want it? Why would it set me apart? I would just look like the world. The point is to point others TO Christ not to myself. This morning I finally said it "I don't want the harvest; I don't want the promise land unless you go with me." I meant it. It took 5 days but now I mean it.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because God's Word is a light to our path, friend. We will lose our way. We may falter. But if we are walking with God, He will always gently draw us back (or in my case it's quite stern because I am super stubborn). So my next steps are this:
1) Ensure that I am not moving ahead of God or behind God but WITH God-side by side.
2) Begin my business hours with intentional prayer. Prayer over how I lead, our team, our clients, our vision, and our season.
3) Re-evaluate where I am standing weekly.
4) Be open and honest with my team when I struggle.
May we move forward today as confident as Moses was in his response; that we would not move unless God's presence is moving with us.
Every single Sunday on Facebook.com/carenscorner I hope on to do church before church. A couple weeks ago I was able to do it with my beautiful momma! Here it is if you missed it!
My name is Jen Poulin, I am 48 and live in Bealeton, VA. I grew up in NH, when to college in Maine and stayed there most of my life. I just moved to VA 2 years ago to live with my boyfriend... more to come on that later. I have 2 amazing children: Haley, age 20 and Benjamin, age 19. Haley will be starting her junior year at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston where she is studying Interior Architecture and Design. Ben, after being medically discharged from the Air Force this past November, will be starting his freshman year at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA this fall! I am one blessed momma! This fall I will be beginning my 22nd year of teaching. I have taught everything from Pre-K - 3rd grade and for the past 2 years I have taught the VPI program at CH Ritchie Elementary School. VPI is a program for preschool children- ages 4 and 5 who have been identified as being at high risk for school failure. Some of my children have parents who are incarcerated, some are being raised by family members, most of my student's families income is near the poverty level and some have parents who are undereducated. It is a challenging group, but an incredibly rewarding one and one that I think keeps me young!! I come from a large Italian family, that is incredibly loving and supportive, but as you can imagine, food has always been at the center of all of our gatherings! And not just any food, GOOD FOOD! LOL I have struggled with my weight my entire life.. up and down, up and down... it's been quite a journey. Currently I am once again trying to get some weight back off! 3 years ago I lost nearly 85 lbs.. but over the past year, I have gained nearly 30 lbs back. Ugh! But this time WILL be different. This time I have God in my corner. Well, OK, he was always there, I just didn't rely on Him and His strength. I thought I could do it on my own- WRONG!
C-I love that you are embarking on your wellness journey with God this time! It made a complete difference in my personal journey! When would you say your faith moved beyond just knowing God to experiencing God?
I can honestly say that I began truly experiencing God this past March. I have always had faith. I have always prayed and sought answers, but I had no idea what truly experiencing God could be until my relationship with my boyfriend fell apart very unexpectedly.
C-It's always those interruptions and curveballs that wake us up! So what is one thing God has been teaching you this season of your life?
God has been teaching me that he is HERE. ALWAYS. And that He is the only one who is always
here and will always be here, no matter what. He's got this. I've got to trust in Him and in His plan for my life.
C-AMEN! Always present. How do you keep your eyes fixed on God when storms come your way?
It's funny.. when the storms come and over this past year especially, there have been storms, turning to God is a very natural response, but in the past it was always one sided.. me asking,but not working. I really had no idea what to do. How to keep my eyes fixed on God. How to not only ask, but truly seek his voice. I used to think that you just sit quietly and suddenly you would hear the "voice of God"... funny right? But now, I know to "hear" the voice of God, I had to dive into His word.. that's where his voice is. Duh Jen! So now I start my day, EVERY DAY, by reading His word and when the storms come, I know now how to hear His voice and to stay fixed on Him. Read his word, think about it, sit with it and apply the message. It is a learning process and believe me I'm still learning, but I love this positive way to start my day and I find such peace in my stormy times with His reassuring words.
I have also realized that trials aren't punishments, but rather opportunities. Opportunities to strengthen my faith, to get even closer to God and opportunities to grow as a person.
C-It really IS a two way relationship. Love that you highlighted that ! What are some verses that you often cling to as a reminder of His goodness?
Ohhh... My very FAVORITE verse is Jeremiah 29: 11-13 "I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me and I will answer you. You will seek me and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart."
I also like Peter 1: 6-7 "Be glad about this, even thought it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure."
C-Love those! If you could encourage those out there who are fearful of letting go and trusting God, what would you say?
What do you have to lose? Trusting God doesn't happen over night, it is a process, a journey, but take a step. Letting go and trusting God takes a huge burden off your shoulders. It's an incredible feeling to give God the pen to write your story. No more worries, no more fear. He's got this and His only desire is to give you a life of love and happiness. Everyday you take a step to get closer to God, to let go and give it all to Him, an incredible sense of peace and even liberation will come over you. He will never leave you. You will never be alone, ever. Things may not always happen the way You think they should, or when YOU think they should, but remember, He's already walked the steps you are about to take. His timing is perfect. Letting to and trusting God has changed my life. I even had a t-shirt made that says "Faith over Fear". That's the motto I live by. Take a step, even if it's a small one, and feel the change begin. You won't regret it. It also helps to have a spiritual adviser.. someone to help guide you. Caren is that person for me. Sometimes she guides me with tough questions, sometimes she guides me with suggestions and sometimes she speaks to me and I know she is delivering a message from God that I need to hear... It's nice to have her support on this journey!
Can I just take a moment to brag on God because He is just so faithful. Sisters, I still remember praying for the things I have now. None of the gifts and mountain top experiences I am in are by my own hand or by “accident.” God has taught me not to skip seasons but instead to trust Him in that every season has its reason. Even the stormy ones. The ones where you lose your way a bit. Maybe even lose faith a bit. I am just so thankful He isn’t quick to give up on us.
This morning as I zoom out and look at our family I am just so humbled.
-->I see our sweet little boy whom we prayed about for a year trusting in God's timing.
-->I remember when Graham didn't get into medical school initially and God putting a complete halt on his life to now find him wrapping up his first year as a resident doctor as DO.
-->I see myself; the girl who never saw herself as a momma. The girl who dreamed about owning her own business and doing it God’s way to now find herself doing both the things she never dreamed would happen.
I zoom out on our team of coaches who, as you know by now, are legit my family. We helped 24 people change their lives this month. YEP. LIVES. We aren’t racing for rank advancements, paychecks, points or perks. We race to serve people WELL in their health and fitness journey. To empower them in creating a lifestyle change. To walk with them as they experience an INSIDE out transformation. 24 lives!!!
When I became a licensed social worker I had no interest in being a therapist because there were so many boundaries. I wanted to do LIFE with people. I wanted to KNOW them and for them to KNOW me. So when this opportunity as a Team Beachbody Coach came along I saw the endless possibilities for God to be the center, to do LIFE with people, to go beyond just a physical goal they have but into emotional, social, mental, and spiritual goals too. So for Thankful Thursday, I am simply thankful for the God of the HILLS and the VALLEYS. Who walks with me through both seasons. I love these lyrics:
“On the mountains I will bow my life to the One who set me there
In the valley I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there
When I'm standing on the mountain, I didn't get there on my own
When I'm walking through the valley I know I am not alone
You're God of the hills and valleys and I am not alone."
A Bit About ME!
Hey friend! My name is Caren and I am so glad you stopped by! This blog is a bit of my corner on the internet where I share honest thoughts about my faith journey, fitness journey, doctor wife journey, and motherhood journey. ALL of it! The good bad and ugly! I pray that something I share encourages you today!