Charlene Garrett, MBA 

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Wednesday
Oct222014

Look Up

A couple of weeks ago I was ministering in St. Louis and while a friend of mine and I were in Ferguson praying I just kept feeling like God was saying, "Look Up".  So, I looked up then.. but didn't really see much. Then as I pondered that word, I was reminded of the first part of Psalm 121 - " I lift my eyes to the hills.." My friend also got some scripture and in the evening when we were ministering it all kind of came together. I thought that was it, but I think God had more.

Look at thie entire Psalm:

1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
 

My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
 

He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.

The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.

The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

Ferguson has been under attack, but I think God was reminding them and me that He is the protector. Again, that is amazing and that time was amazing, but I just kept hearing the same thing.

So, about a week after I heard that, I found myself in need of help. It is funny because I spoke on my Father Wounds when I was in St. Louis and how that has affected my perception of God the Father in my life and my experience of him. One of those areas was in protection. For most of my life, I protected myself and had a hard time allowing God or understanding how HE could protect me. This meant that I was a bit hard and walled off and opearated a lot out of fear. Until about 10 years ago the Lord started to show me how He wanted to protect me; not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually.  He wanted me to let down my shield and TRUST him to do the protecting.

So, if I look at Psalm 121 and interpret it with me in mind:

As I launch into the things that the Lord is calling me forward in...

He promises that He will not let my foot slip off the cliff that I am climbing.

He promises that He won't "check out" or fall alseep on me, but that HE is always attentive and always available.

He promises that He will keep me, He will protect me even from the heat of the sun (the sun is the good stuff that can just sometimes get to intense) and that the light will not hurt me... during the day or during the night- when I can see or when I can't.

He goes on to say that He protects me from evil to (my spirit) and that He KEEPs my soul (my mind, my will and my emotions are safe with Him)... no matter what I do. When I go out to work, to battle to engage the world and when I return home... He will guard me.

It is funny that in the last few weeks I have litterally felt a hand on my back and many of the earthly "Fathers" in my world have stepped forward and I have heard the Lord say, " I have your back".

So, when I am tempted to LOOK DOWN at the ground in shame, or LOOK AT others in blame, or even LOOK IN my heart at the pain... I am reminded to LOOK UP at my Father in Hope and Trust.

Can I encourage you that no matter where you are or what is going on in your life, you can Look Up. He is always there and always ready to receive you and work on your behalf.

 

Saturday
Sep202014

When I don't know the answer...

 I spent years getting stuck on all the big questions in life. All the things that don't have easy answers and sometimes just matters of the heart that don't seem to resolve. 

I didn't know then that I was made to think deeply about things and that a part of who I am is to see holes and find solutions.  It was always tricky becasue I am almost equal parts logic and emotion. Where there are many people that specialize in one or the other... I seem to have a lot of both in me. To be honest, it was really hard when I was young and I felt isolated and like something was wrong with me.  Depending on my surroundings I wanted to be less emotional or less logical. 

However, God has been incredibly faithful to put me around people that accept me for who I am (faults included) and love me while I figure out more and more of who I am and how to opperate in community. That wasn't and isn't always pretty, but in the end I see the beauty and love it.

I want to take some time to look through my journals to remember where I have come from and see what things are drawn out and write them in a series. I want to start with this thing that I use every day of my life...

 

When I don't know the answer?

When I was younger not knowing the answer was so hard for me. I always wanted to know and when I didn't I would just focus on what I didn't know... determined that if I looked at it harder and longer and turned it around and around, like a Rubix Cube, that I would find the answer there.

When I met Jesus, I would do this in prayer, but my focus really stayed the same. My focus was directly on what was in my hand. This would eventually produce frustration, anger, and then despair. This was where I could find myself spiraling downwards into a pit. At the bottom of the pit I would finally look up (because that was the only direction left) and Jesus would reach down and lift me up.  My prayer was usually.. "Jesus help" and he always did.

Eventually the root of the matter was adressed  through healing and my trust for the Father began to let me relax in not knowing the answer, but still trusting that I could ask the questions and He is faithful to show me more.  

 

So what do I do when I don't know the answer now?

 

I focus on what I do know. 

 

There is a momentum that builds just like it used to build when I focused on the question or the problem, but it goes up and not down. I now can focus on the solution... or the one who holds the solution. This makes it easier for me to live life and not run from it or get overwhelmed by it.

This allows me to sit with friends in difficult times and to "mourn with those who mourn" without the feeling that I have to have an answer to the problem. I can sit with them and when they are ready to look for solutions, I can help them look at what we know.

I can hear you now, "That is great Charlene, but what do you know and how do you know it?"

Honestly some of what I know I know from experience. There are truths of the Word that are timeless. Jesus himself is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE. However it has been my history with God that gives me increased confidence in those things.  On my journey when I had less confidence I would borrow the confidence of trusted friends... and tell myself the truth ALTHOUGH I DIDN'T FEEL it or SEE IT. Over time the truth became my experieced truth and something I can now lend to those that need to borrow it while they build their history.

This week I was talking to someone and she was telling me about a friend of hers who is not following the Lord and is living in an alternative lifestyle.  She recently had a miscarriage (and it was her second) and commented that she guessed it was God's will.

My friend was asking basically - "Do you think God would do that, I mean she isn't really following Him and..."

Do I know why she had a miscarriage? No.

So, what do I know?

 I know that God is a LOVING FATHER. I know that He came to GIVE life NOT to TAKE it. I know that HE loves children and that while he disciplines his sons and daughters like any good Father... He doesn't punish. I also know that SATAN has come to STEAL, KILL, and DESTROY and that he along with SIN and consequences to actions are in this world. I know that GOD LOVES this woman and LOVES those babies.

If this person were sitting in front of me or came to my church, I could LOVE them... mourn with them in their loss and walk them one step at a time to the TRUTH that promises complete FREEDOM.

So instead of trying to answer the questions we don't really know and often times coming up with lame answers that don't really reflect the heart of our Father. I want to encourage us all to go to the ONE with the answers and FOCUS on what you DO KNOW about Him.  He is FAITHFUL and HE WILL ALWAYS COME THROUGH... even if it doesn't look like what we think or in the timing we expect. He turns all things to good... and you can trust him.

Is there something you don't know the answer to now? What do you know?

I encourage you to change your focus and see what happens!

 

Tuesday
Jun102014

Listening to me.

As an Admissions Counselor, Life Group leader, Big sister and friend I find myself in the situation fairly often where I help people process and give them advice.  Lately I have been giving a lot of the same advice, not because I have run out of things to say, but because it seems like the majority of people are asking the same questions. Mostly looking for direction and making decisions at a crossroads in life.

One thing I seem to say often (not that I came up with it... I can't remember where I heard it):

"Do the possible and watch God do the impossible"

As I said this to a prospective applicant for the School of Supernatural Life the other day... I heard my words come back at me. I am often talking about this in terms of finances for the school or in decision making when looking for a job or a house.

However, I realize that this works in EVERY situation in life. There are so many things that I don't have control over and of those things only some of them can I even really affect by my efforts.  However, when I look at a situation where I don't KNOW the answers to the questions or I don't know what to do next....

I have a choice. I can sucomb to fear and sit still WAITING for God to intervene in my life OR I can diaglogue with God about the questions and keep my focus on what I do know. I think talking to God and focusing instead of hiding is the better plan.

So you might ask me, what real life situations do you have to listen to yourself. One big question for me is:

When am I going to meet my mate and start that phase of my life?  

I think my life confuses people because despite the fact that I am single and childless, I am not sitting by and watching life pass me... I am living life. This somehow gives the impression that my preferred state of being is to be Single and Childless.  For anyone out there that has wondered but hasn't wanted to ask... I do want to get married and I honestly believe that it isn't just a desire, but it is a part of God's plan for me.  Do I always feel confident that it is His plan? No, but the key word there is FEEL.  While I don't always FEEL it... I have a deep sense of knowing that it is truth.  Why do I know? Prophetic Words, scriptures, and simply because it is a desire and I believe that my Father gave me that desire and He is a good Father.

The tricky thing is, I can't make it happen and really neither can God.  We all have free will and somehow I am waiting on my future spouse to not only find me , but to CHOOSE me.  He has to be ready and love himself enough to love me. So many factors really.

It feels like an impossibility some days.. and that this is truly going to be a miracle when my future husband pursues. So, I need to listen to me...

"Do the possible and watch God do the impossible"

What is the possible? For me right now the possible is me continuing to focus on me and God, it looks like online dating profiles, hanging out in groups, and making sure I am getting out in the world and ENJOYING life and new hobbies.... while smiling and being nice. :) It looks like me continuing to grow in areas that I need to grow in to be a good wife and mother ( as I sit here thinking about cleaning my house). It also looks like me maintaining hope and confessing truth no mater what disappointments or feelings come my way.

What is the impossible? All of the rest of it. Meeting him. Waiting on him to pursue me (hard for a mover). Resting in Communication. Basically, the whole enchilada.

So even as I recently faced disappointment in this area and even frustration with myself.

I am listening to me.

I am trusting Him and doing the impossible while I wait and watch for Him to do the impossible. I am loving and forgiving myself and purposing in my heart to enjoy everyday that the Lord has made.

 

What is the possible that you need to do?

and

What is the impossible that you are looking for God to do?

I would love to hear about it as a comment here or on Facebook!

 

Wednesday
May282014

I think I have found my inner athlete

A few days ago someone I had just met asked me if I have been an athlete. Just out of the blue.  It took me off guard and I asked why? She said it is just the way I carry myself.

It was then that I knew then that what I had been feeling was starting to be seen.

See, when I started watching the Biggest Loser earlier this year, I would hear Jillian and Bob tell people to "find their inner athlete" and I started thinking about finding my own. That was several months ago and then a few weeks ago I was working out and I felt like an athlete. I am not sure I can explain how I felt like one... I think it is because something in my mind shifted and I just knew that my body could do more than I thought it could.

Then last night I got my picture taken and when I looked at it, I didn't really recognize myself. My body is starting to look like I have seen it for years. One day at at time. One choice at a time, my life is changing.

So, I have a "baby" Tri-athlon coming up in 2.5 weeks and today I pushed my body further than I ever have. After warming up I swam 200 meters in less than 6 minutes. After changing I biked 6.6 miles in 30 minutes and then ran 1.3 miles (well, I ran .7 miles, walked .1 and then ran again).

So, I have found my inner athlete and she is getting stronger and coming out for everyone to see!

 

 

Sunday
May182014

Doing the same things and getting different results

I believe it was Albert Einstein who said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.", but this year I received a prophetic word that said, 

"This year I think you are going to do some of the same things you have done before but you will get different results".  

I am imagining that this was when I was about to start theWhole30 cleanse and I think that part of me was wondering what the difference would be and it was both encouraging and a little scary to hear this.

However, my journey to better health started before January and that cleanse though... it probably started a little in South Africa when I actually started cooking meals. No kidding, by the time I was 32 years old, I had probably cooked maybe 30 times in my life... not many really. I went from a pizza eating college student to a fast food eating, commuting business professional. While my palette did evolve to appreciate many diverse foods, I was mostly fueled by coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper.  Then I moved to a rural part of South Africa where I had to cook if I was going to eat... and thankfully packaged meals were scarce! I started to learn about all sorts of vegetables and spices and found that I am actually a pretty good cook.... and I like it. I also just had TIME to breath. I no longer commuted to work, I walked many places and I even took up running ( in mile high altitude). I did all of this but never really saw much change in my body though... but I did start feeling a bit better.

When I returned to America 4 years later, I was overwhelmed the first time I went into a grocery store by the variety... and the ORGANIC section of food. I am a natural skeptic and while I appreciate capitalism, I am also sure that people are trying to make money off of me and I just didn't trust it. The truth is... everything is ORGANIC where I lived in South Africa. Our cows weren't given hormones and were all grass fed, heck even all the veggies were somewhat local. So since that was the norm for me since I had started cooking, I was shocked when I came back home  and I had to read EVERYTHING to tell the difference.  However, I quickly learned that Nashville was one of the towns in the south leading the way in this organic, local, non toxic life style. 

That was 3 years ago. Slowly I started learning and implementing things one thing at a time.  Soon I gave up soda, started making kale shakes and replaced my milk with coconut or almond milk and my oil with coconut oil.

One change at a time.

One tiny change a time.

A year ago i also started going to Dr. Ronson at Mission Family Chiropractic as my primary doctor. He is not just any chiropractor, but one that I know is interested in my health. My whole body health and he works with me almost as hard as I do on it. He teaches me, he coaches me. I knew that this was real when he told me he thought I might be having problems with my thyroid and spleen and colon, I was sold, because I was just at the MD the day before and we were trying to figure out some of the same things.  I have wondered my whole life why I couldn't loose weight.. no matter how little I ate or how much I exercised. I have learned that some of it was what I was eating and how it was robbing me of nutrients or how my body is specifically effected by certain foods.

That prophetic word was right though,  this year something has been different. I see differently. I believe differently. I am experiencing each new change... differently.... and it started with one 30day HEALTH challenge. 

I didn’t loose a ton of weight on the Whole30... well..I did loose some weight, but it was more about what I GAINED while I was doing the Whole30 than what I lost.

I gained momentum. I gained confidence. I gained a desire to change my life and I know I can.

I took control of my health and stopped listening to everyone around me. I decided to make one change at a time.. tiny bite size pieces of change.

After food changes came more movement changes… I discovered Burst Fit and while I still don’t burst as much as I want to or as would probably get me to my results faster… it definitely is effecting my body.  I made a goal to do a Triathalon and kept finding creative ways to be ACTIVE.

I also started following people on Instagram that were inspiring… like Beni Johnson and discovered when I needed motivation an episode of Biggest Loser would help put things in perspective.

I am also not afraid to say that I talk to myself, look at my self in the mirror.. declare God’s goodness over my body and I speak to the dust to be made new. God spoke and it was… and He lives in me.. so I want to partner with Him in what is true for my body.

Has my weight stalled at times? yes

Have I gained weight from one day to the next? yes

Did I let these things discourage me? No. 

Not this time. This time my mind, my heart and my beliefs are in a different place. I can’t really tell you how to get here for you… I just know that I am having the time of my life discovering more about life. I am not being punished by eating healthy or passing on things that you are eating.

When someone complements me..I say thank you and then I say… I am getting stronger everyday…. and I am. I still have a long way to go to my final goal, but I have lost 25 pounds so far not on a diet, but by changing my life and I am excited to continue the journey.

Life change is:  the sum of dozens of tiny changes made one at a time that I choose to make over and over again. 


So… what is one change you would like to make today?

Just one tiny change?