Tag: God

Health & WellnessUncategorized

Part 1: How I Became Committed to this Health and Wellness Journey

file-sep-06-10-01-36-pmMy weight has yo-yoed, up and down, and it doesn’t help that workouts have not been consistent. When I’ve enjoyed junk food days, I slumber into food comas. I have not welcomed the proper mindset but rather have fallen to temptations of cupcakes, office cookies, wine and martinis. My weight journey has been a roller coaster ride and I have now spiraled down. I am at my all-time highest weight, experiencing not only food comas, but unexplainable itching under the skin, body inflammation, and bouts of low energy.

I finally reached a point where I realized it’s time to make a lifestyle change, not just for me but also for my sons. The change did not come because of the queasiness of the roller coaster ride or the I-will-not–buy-a-larger-size-of-blue-jeans thought. The change was gradual and I didn’t realize it until now that God had been working on me like a coach who guides an athlete.

Now I’m starting on a health and wellness journey, transforming my mind, body, and soul to fulfill the purpose God has for me. I am feeding my mind spiritually, taking care of my temple to see my sons grow up, and nourishing my soul with a balanced life. This journey is not without its challenges and obstacles. With God-inspired words, I am pressing toward the goal.

Feeding My Mind Spiritually

1Over the past year I have been volunteering in religious education classes teaching first graders. I had an opportunity to also attend faith formation classes to become a certified religious education teacher so I decided to enroll. What better way to serve God than to water the seeds he planted in the little ones. Saturday morning classes bring so much joy; I’m wrapped in complete joy when I see their faces, the sparkle in their eyes, and the smiles when they learn about God and his love for all of us. The first lesson is on creation. One day I read Genesis 1:29, “God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food…” This scripture resonated with me in a way it never had before. I paused to reflect on this and it has stayed with me. Wholesome raw food is available for us to nourish our body. I found myself shopping along the perimeter of the store where the produce and meats are placed, avoiding the processed and GMO foods, which are man made.

An assignment I had during faith formation classes was to answer a few questions on prayer and spirituality. What caught my attention were the three elements of prayer: a sense of familiarity with God, persistence, and assurance. Knowing these three aspects of effective prayer provide me with added confidence I need to continue praying in silence the way I do and be more open as well. At the same time, I am encouraged to continue knocking until the doors are opened with God’s will. Our prayers will be answered in one way or another and always with God’s will in effect. “Let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

1I also read in a book, The Ignatian Workout for Lent, that a spiritual athlete has the same preparation, discipline, and artful mastery of his skills as an Olympic athlete or other super athlete. He presses toward the goal in times of obstacles. For me this is my journey of a healthy lifestyle, recognizing that health and wellness is important in all aspects of life whether it’s personal or professional. I must be like the spiritual athlete that daily is mindful of the presence of God and all the good that he shows us in the world. And in times of difficulty, press on and be grateful for the abundance, joy and love that surrounds me while I journey prayerfully to lead a God-inspired life so I may be present for my sons.

So how does feeding my mind spiritually play a role in my health and wellness journey? Scripture was planted on my mind when I realized I was at my all-time highest weight on July 24, 2016. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) I realized that with my determination, GRACE (God Reveals As Coach Eternal) and a strong support network, I was capable of living a healthy lifestyle. This time would be different. God had been watering the seeds he planted long ago and I was soaking it in.

Continue the journey and read Part 2: Taking care of my temple and Part 3: Nourishing my soul with a balanced life.

Follow Marisol Barrios, also known as “Eve,” on Instagram and on Facebook @MissGuidedMom. I will be sharing my weightloss journey, reflecting on what I’m learning and how #fitbyGRACE (God Reveals As Coach Eternal) is working in my life.

 

Career

Cheers to trusting God and pursuing dreams

working mom, dream, careerI’ve been planning a career change for some time because Jonathon will be entering middle school in two years. This means limited options for daycare, namely, a teen center where the youth can hang out, do their homework, and get into mischief or be a latchkey kid. I may be pessimistic, but I don’t want that option for Jonathon. I want to be able to pick him up from school, take him to his extracurricular activities, and know exactly what he’s doing.

Working from home will give me the freedom to manage my work schedule, pursue my dream, and be creative. I’ve joined a community of other work-at-home moms and have been listening to a podcast about entrepreneurship and another one on how to live the life you want on my commute to work. I’m also building a community of women going through similar life stages in marriage, family, career, divorce, and health. So with that, here’s to a lifelong journey of inspiration, empowerment, and celebration. Cheers to 2015: a year of trusting God and of pursuing dreams!

Resources:

WAHM.com: an online resource for work-at-home moms

Entrepreneuronfire.com: a resource for entrepreneurs who want insights, tips, and resources along their journey

MissGuidedMom.com: an online resource for moms going through transitional stages in life like marriage, career, family, divorce, and health and wellness

Kate’s Take: an audio blog on how to live the life you want

Guiding lesson:

Eve, I am so happy you are pursuing your dreams.  You are showing your children the importance of caring for them and still making a difference by using your talents.  It’s never easy as a working mother.  So I would like to share Psalm 23 according to working moms.  Enjoy.

Love,
Grace

The Lord is my helper

I shall not control.
He makes me lie down my work for my children;
He leads me to find lost keys and toys.
He restores my sanity;
He guides me through homework that I can barely do
For His name’s sake.

Even though I try to balance career,
I fear no evil, for You are at my side;
Your wine and Your chocolate, they comfort me.
You prepare a table as I pick-up pizza for my hungry children;
You have blessed me with internet shopping;
My cart overflows.

Surely laundry, cooking and work will follow me all the days of my life,
Yet as a family we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Amen

trust, theme for new year, working mom, career, life purpose,
Career

How “In God We Trust” Became Healing in my Divorce

trust, theme for new year, working mom, career, life purpose, The theme that came to mind when I thought about 2015 was “Trust.” Trust that God will take care of every thing planned for the year. The vision appearing in my mind was God, in his awe-inspiring presence, extending his hand to reach for mine. I knew God would take care of me in ways I could not imagine.

Already he has given me an abundance of energy, persistence, and joy in fulfilling one New Year’s resolution—launching www.MissGuidedMom.com, the online magazine. Grace, you know where my passion is, what fulfills my hearts, and what ignites my soul. Inspiring, empowering, and celebrating women as we transition through life stages connect us in marriage, family, career, divorce, and health and wellness.

I have found in my own journey the benefits of being inspirational, empowering, and celebratory outweigh the repercussions of hatred, bitterness, and resentment. These negative sentiments can fill our spirits after divorce or unwelcomed obstacles. Life can throw sour situations our way, yet it’s how we react that brings sweeter occasions to celebrate and commemorate our challenges. So today, I celebrate the trust God showed me to turn my divorce into a healing blog so one day it could become an online resource to help other women.

Cheers! Salud! Salute!

Guiding Lesson:

Eve,

I’ll drink to that. What a great vision and call. This is not just a goal or something to achieve–it’s a vocation, an expression of self, of what’s inside that needs to come to life. The more you discover “who you are” and “whose you are,” you begin to do this.

You see I believe God’s call is to first see the image, likeness, and beauty of God within ourselves. We need to know we are the God’s beloved. God’s precious children, God’s very own heart. It is through this knowing that we can impact the world. It is through this understanding that we can raise others up. It is through this lens that we can see God’s image, likeness, and beauty in the other that we are called to serve. By living in this knowing, you become more gentle, humble, kind, patient, loving, etc. You are an instrument of peace.

If you remember, Jesus did not begin his ministry until he goes into the desert for 40 days where he was stripped of everything so he could be made new. After he comes out of the desert he is baptized, a symbol of new life. Since he emptied himself in the desert, he hears God’s voice: “This is my beloved son, whom I am well pleased.” Jesus is affirmed through these words and because he believes this, he sets out to do his Father’s will and transform the hearts of all.

One’s ability to believe these words is important in doing God’s will. It gives you strength to face challenges and objections when others question “who are you to being doing this?” It helps you realize that the work ahead of you is God’s not yours. You are God’s instrument. You are God’s hands and feet. Believing this allows God to be made visible through you. You make space for others to be touched by God through you.

I know that most people always talk about what is your purpose in life. There are many great books written on this topic which help you begin to ask questions and become more self-aware. Discovering more of yourself leads you to discovering more of God. For you see, your life is his story that has a message to communicate something special for all to experience healing, joy, and love.

However, the first call is what brought you into the world. It is Love, God’s love which is like a big bang – an explosion – an unending creation that can’t stop expressing himself through each and everyone. He didn’t make one flower, tree, animal, etc. He is a God of abundant love who wants to shower you with blessings. So before we start doing, we must be and sit at his feet knowing whom we are and whose we are to do his will.

The Martha and Mary story in the bible shows us this. Our call begins at the feet of Jesus and then leads us to the foot of the cross where we give of ourselves, in whatever role we are in, completely with arms wide open.

So your call is not what you do, but remembering who you are and whose you are. You begin to live your vocation with every interaction. This is your call. This is the call of anyone who wants to follow God. It’s not the title or position you hold. In fact you don’t need one to help transform the lives of women. It begins in how you live each day and the attitude by which you approach others through a smile or simply being present and looking into the eyes of everyone you meet.  

Your call begins as you wake up every morning and how appropriate that you start by looking in the mirror. Seeing God’s beloved reflected in you – messy hair, bad breath – you are God’s beloved – from here, you can do all things because God strengthens you.

So if you believe you are doing you’re life’s purpose (according to all the books and what people talk about), know that there is a bigger Call– the very first one – from the One who is smitten and completely in love with you. The One who calls you and waits for you to just give him a minute for him to love you, to fill you up, so he can touch his people through you.

When you think of God’s call in this way – you feel more free knowing you are doing it already. There is no grandiose title or label or place you need to impress others. God can place you anywhere he wants, doing whatever he wants you to do. The most important thing is the attitude you have as you approach each day and encounter each person. By remembering this, MissGuidedMom online magazine will reach the hearts of women that will inspire, empower, and celebrate women as they transition through life stages of marriage, family, career, divorce, and health and wellness.

May you bless many with your MissGuidedMom for you are truly guided by the author of life. 

Drink up,
Grace

Serenity prayer
Divorce

How Letting Go and Letting God Channeled my Divorce

Serenity prayerBy Caterina Clarke

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The Courage to change the things I can;
And Wisdom to know the difference.

The Serenity Prayer is all about “Letting go and letting God.” It provides perspective when we lose focus and grounds us when we start losing control by wanting more control. It is very powerful when we let go of all false power. So what does this mean during a divorce? Isn’t divorce all about letting go of “what was” and putting the past behind?

In theory, this is correct. In theory, you don’t have to deal with emotions or deep wounds from hurtful words or actions. The reality is it causes those going through a divorce to want to hold on for dear life to possessions, children, territory, identity, and most of all, power. But does it have to be like this or is there hope and steps one can take to move through the process, recognize when you get stuck and move into a new life, one that is better than you imagined?

I had to learn this when I realized my marriage was failing. It ended long before I got divorced. My first inclination was to hold on tight to things that were not meaningful and were a complete waste of time. The tighter I held on, the emptier I was and the unhappier I became. This was not working and I had to take a different approach. I was paralyzed and stuck, not knowing what step to take. This is when I realized that I had to unlearn many lessons so I could learn to walk a new path. I’d like to share a couple of things that were very helpful.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” John 12:24

This passage woke me up to mystery and power of letting go of what was, letting out my hurts in a healthy way and letting it be, accepting what is. When I tried this, it did feel like dying and falling. I had to be willing to open my hands and lose everything in order to be open and gain something new. It wasn’t about what I could get but about creating space for God to bring about new life. Let it go, let it out, and let it be was my new attitude towards the divorce. This made it easier to live with open arms where abundant life was waiting for me.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust in me.” John 14:1

Trust is key to any relationship. Divorce is the erosion of trust from things you did or failed to do, till there was no more trust left. The solid foundation became a pile of sand that could not hold your relationship. I needed to trust to get through this. I needed to learn to trust God beyond what I thought was good for me and lean on his thoughts and ways. Every interaction with my ex was challenging and I had to keep my focus on trusting God and not placing unrealistic expectations on my ex and the relationship. It was time to trust in the midst of a storm and know that God was there leading me and him out of it. Yes, I had to see that God was on both sides, loving both of us, and wanting the best for both of us. I learned that trust was the path to freedom regardless of how difficult the situation was.

“Change me, Lord.” (from the book “The Power of a Praying Wife”)

“Change me?” I felt I should be praying, “Change him and I will be happy.” But changing me is all I had any control over. It was useless to try to change him and it was humbling to look at myself and pray this. These are words that do not flow easily from a person going through a divorce, yet can transform everything. This prayer refocused me and helped me see the situation and my ex with new eyes. This allowed me to evaluate the past and see where I had played a part that lead to the divorce. It’s true that no one person has the complete power and control to breakdown a marriage. You enter a dance and whether you lead or respond, each step brings you closer or further away from one another. It’s funny that I learned this from the “Power of a Praying Wife” which helped me learn the “Power of a Praying Ex-wife.”

“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
“Forgive us out trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Matthew 6:12

Forgiveness . . . I know too well that forgiveness will knock on the door if I want to be healed and released from the past in order to love again. When you read this you tend to assume that you need to forgive your ex. But you can’t rush to true forgiveness. It is a process and a journey of the heart and soul. With great humility, care, and compassion, I learned that I could not forgive my ex, if I did not first forgive myself. I was the one who was persecuting myself and holding myself captive to my own anger and frustration for decisions and actions I took. I didn’t have to look to what my ex was doing because all I needed to do is look in the mirror at the one who needed forgiveness . . . and that was me. Learning to first be merciful and gentle with myself was necessary before attempting to forgive my ex. Internal forgiveness was the key to open up the door to see my ex in me. It gave me permission to be human without the pressure of being perfect.

“I make all things new.” Revelations 21:5

After trusting God, allowing him to heal you, and help you forgive yourself, you are positioned to co-create a new future. This journey allows you to stand on the threshold of a new horizon. One that is calling you forward into a land of second changes, possibilities and hope for a better future. It is now that you are ready to take the next step into your new life, with God, with great trust in him, with humility and compassion for yourself and others. Enjoy your new journey as you pray:

God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The Courage to change the things I can;
And Wisdom to know the difference. Amen

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Caterina Clarke is a Leadership Development Manager in the automotive industry. She is also co-author of MissGuidedMom, offering spiritual direction and insight through Pearls of Grace. She enjoys sipping cups of tea and spending time with her son.