Freedom in Health & Wholeness – Freedom Series part 3

If you’ve landed here and haven’t read my last two posts… please stop what you’re doing and go read them now.
This is the third in a series on Freedom… and the other two lead up to it.

Freedom. It was the word I felt whispered to me as my word of the year in January  2020. 2019 had been a year for me of re arranging life, renewing thoughts, and re doing some of the ways I did things and in all of that re shaping God had begun, I started looking at ME from the inside first… the things He was doing… and for the first time in my life I started to feel “unashamed” in many areas.
One, included my health.
I had been ashamed of this girl for so long;
I didn’t know how to see past her body, the vessel that had stored all her hard things;
But God did, and in an invitation to me to just learn more about Him, He actually taught me more about “me.” And, as I began to love Him more, I began to love me more. This was a good good body. She had done hard hard things. She had risen from many occasions that seemed unlikely to get past, and all along the way, I finally realized, she had some hard things dealt, but you know what? Through all of it, she had never quit giving love…

Except to herself.

Whoa.
I started to look harder at her. Deeper.
What had made this girl store so much bad in her good good body?
What had made her stuff down?

I have said for 3 years, “I’m in a health journey”… but last year… I realized, it wasn’t just the weight I needed to lose. I needed to lose what weighed me down. I needed to go deep, inside, before I went “hard” on the outside. No amount of physical exertion was going to heal the deepest, unfit areas inside.. that was a deep work I needed to do with Jesus. First

I needed a health journey still, yes,
but I needed to approach it from the inside first;
from the aspect of Spirit , Mind and Body … in that order. NOT Body, mind then Spirit.
I had some deep work to do with the Spirit and heal some very old wounds so that I could then, align my mind with that new way of thinking and get in agreement with it, and finally, begin to sit back and watch as my body began to come along.

Enter Revelation Wellness.
Just at the time I was coming to this deep realization myself, God had my path cross this amazing Ministry who was already commited to this way of thinking and doing and being! REV WELL began to speak into my life too… “Love God, so you can love yourself, so you can love others well” … became the order of thinking they spoke so often. Fitness was important , but a sacred fitness was needed first… and I began to go on the journey with them; reading “The Revelation Wellness” book, joining challenges and groups, following them on Instagram and all the places, downloading podcasts, and whatever else I could consume. I friended many of them and for a year, watched how they lived their life in LOVE… not just to God, and to others, but to themselves. Some have become real, dear, friends and I’m so so grateful!
And quickly, it was like a switch was thrown . I suddenly got it. I understood.
This good good body needed to be loved too.
She had done some very hard work and was doing all she could to keep me healthy,
but she needed my help.. and that “help” started with Jesus helping me see I needed to  love her.
OH, friends! Don’t hear me being a “freak” about Revelation Wellness… it’s not a cult or crazy christian fad, or some weirdo ministry… LOL
but God did, and IS, using it as a tool in my life to kick this health journey into a place that honors Him, embraces me, and loves on others. And that is so soooo good.

Enter Valentines week.
I’d decided my “word of the year”. Freedom
I’d been pondering the places I felt God was pointing me to in that freedom.
Shame. Fear. Finances. Writing. Health.
And I was ready. for. it!!! Bring on the freedom God! C’mon , lets gooooo!
First, can I just say, how kind of God to begin to give me glimpse of all these freedoms in Valentines Week!  It was as if He was speaking to me LOUDLY, “see how I love you?”

“Bring it on”… I said. LOL… boy, was He about too!
I was sitting at work just before my break, when a notification popped up on my phone.
A Revelation Wellness notification that they would be going LIVE on Facebook soon.
Perfect… I could take my break and pop it up to watch.
When I signed on , it was Alisa Keeton, founder of Revelation Wellness, saying that she was going to do the drawing for the last challenge and someone was winning a prize!
I had entered a few times for this challenge and so my interest was peaked, but I thought. “Eh… thousands and thousands did this challenge. I’ll never win anything.”
But I watched anyway.
She was calling out 10 names that were going to go into a drawing for this prize and at number 7 I had this thought, and I can’t even tell you why I was so sure, but I was…
“I was going to win this prize.”
WHATTT? My name hadn’t even been called yet! Where in the world did that thought come from?
“And number 8!” Alisa said, ” Kay Gleaves! ” and she smiled at the camera.

I screamed!!!!  Co workers poked their head around the door, asking, “Are you ok?”
Yup!  I’m fine! LOL 

She finished calling the last two names and honest folks. I started crying.
I whispered to God and said, ” You’re up to something aren’t you Jesus?”
And I felt Him say,
“Freedom”

Oh man….
The next few moments were surreal as she did indeed, pull my name from the “hat”!

“KAY GLEAVES” she exclaimed excitedly, “You’re the winner! You’ve won the retreat ‘REST and RESTORE!”

This retreat was a week with Revelation Wellness instructors and minstry, geared to slowing down and diving in- resting and restoring- and I thought, “That’s amazing! This retreat will be such a way to let Jesus just enter in and finish His good work in me and I’ll have more knowledge about what it might be like to be an actual Fitness Teacher Gospel Preacher”… because legit Friends, I had been feeling the stir to say yes to that too. A school, weeks of classes, a new approach to wholeness and wellness that started with LOVE over any fear; a pouring in and taking me new places in my own “FREEDOM” that ended with a week long retreat with Alisa and the Rev Well Instructors in Phoenix Arizona. I was secretly holding the “want” in my hands, but I hadn’t let go of the fear of my yes yet. I wasn’t “free” in that place yet… it felt too scary. Too big. Too beyond me still.

SO this? THIS prize!? Man… it was gonna lead more toward the “real yes” I wanted to give eventually, and it felt like the perfect baby steps towards it. I was soooooo excited. I was sooooo humbled and in that moment I felt soooo KNOWN by my God. He KNEW I needed this! He KNEW me … HE saw the journey to sacred fitness I had been doing and the health journey I had been on; He saw the girl that stored bad things in her good body and He was making a way where I didn’t see one!
I bawled.
More co workers came running.
“I’m fine. Still fine. Go away.”
LOL

Somehow I made it through the last part of my day and I was drained. The kind that felt like a crash of adrenaline- I was overwhelmed and overcome by LOVE.
I sat in my car to go home and before I pulled away, another notification chimed.
I glanced down.
A message.
What? A voice message?
Whoa… A voice message from Alisa Keeton herself!  Wow!
“Hi Kay! It’s Alisa! I wanted to just jump on here in person and let you know there has been a bit of a mix up.”
(My heart fell. What? A mix up?)
“I’m soooo sorrrry… You didn’t win REST and RESTORE Retreat! My brain was just so tired I miss spoke.”
(I felt the tears come up. It was ok. I was gonna get a hat or something. That’s cool. I’ll be fine.)
“YOU WON INSTRUCTOR TRAINING!!!! ALLL OF IT! THE BOOKS, THE LESSONS, THE CLASSES, THE LEARNING THE RETREAT! ALL OF IT!!!!!”

I wish I could insert an emoji or something at this point that would demonstrate the level of disbelief and joy and wonder and complete undoing that this did to me in this moment, but one doesn’t exist.
I began trembling.
I played the message again , cry-sobbing out of control.
I opened my car door and puked in the parking lot.
No kidding
Goose bumps actually hurt me, I felt them so strongly.
It was crazy.

I went from thanking God for the baby steps He was giving me, to full on freaking FREEDOM like a parachuter out of a perfectly good airplane!

What was evvvvennn happppeningggg..
Did she just say INSTRUCTOR TRAINING?
I heard God laugh.
Like the parent who is soooo blessed their daughter loves the good goooood gift they just gave her and is watching her antics in JOY.

He was waiting.
He was sitting back with more than I could ever imagine or expect and He was ready to undo me with abundantly more.
Wow.
I still get those goosebumps.
I’m going to Revelation Wellness Instructor training.
I’m going to be a Fitness Teacher Gospel Preacher. Yes- one long run on title, not separated by commas like it’s two different things. Because it’s not. It’s one. It’s a bringing fitness through the lens of the Gospel and I . AM. HERE. FOR. IT!

There’s so much more to this story, but it’s too much for now, but let me say this:
How is this FREEDOM in Health?
God walked right up to my every day lunch hour and said,
“I see you, Kay.
You are KNOWN…
and this gift… it’s going to help you walk even more, toward a #sacredfitness
that will bring about the real physical health in your good good body.
We’re coming for her together.  You and I .
You’re free to love her right where she is, but Daughter, chains are dropping off!
FREEDOM is here”
**************

Update:
I’ll be starting my Revelation Wellness Instructor Training late summer early fall, and going to AZ in November, right before Thanksgiving. HOW TIMELY is that!!!? I’d love if you’d all pray with me as I journey toward this time too… in the meantime… be watching for more about my #sacredfitness journey!  I can’t wait to see what He does in this undoing and remaking

Freedom from Shame- Freedom Series part 2

I looked in the mirror and I felt it.
The shame my body told me to believe.

I looked at this girl and saw her.
Not the body at first,
but her.
Then I let my gaze move from head to toe and I  whispered,
“Hang on body; I”m coming for you too, Sis.”

See, “Sister Shame” had been lying to me for years.
Since I was a kid I  felt shame; believing that I was not wanted; insignificant; unimportant; unloved.
I believed something was wrong with meeee because of how the treatment of me, made me feel.
Later, I felt Shame keep whispering to me all those unworthy thoughts and I found the best way to silence them was to stuff them down… literally… with food.
I quickly learned to eat my feelings.
Hurt? cupcakes, donuts, candy…
Fear? bags of chips, dips, ridiculous amounts of buttered popcorn…
Unwanted? all the thannngsss…all of them. Didn’t matter what. Just eat. Just stuff. Just numb. Just get that “feel good hit” to my brain as fast as possible.

And I carried it with me into adulthood.
Adult me did it too.
Rejection? stuff it
Unseen? Unknown? Unwanted? stuff it
Insignificant? Unimportant? Unloved? stuff it
Broken? Messy? Misunderstood? stuff it
Divorcing? Broken homes? Ruined Dreams? Disease? stuffffff itttt…
“Stuff it” because the SHAME was too personal.
It spoke loudly and pointed mean fingers and rallied troops to get in agreement with “her”.
And like I said, for years, I thought she was truth.

“Stuff it”. Maybe that should be the title of a book I write someday because I sure became an expert.

But enter this last season I’ve been in … the one that began an inner healing in ways I didn’t see coming.
I looked in the mirror again.
I didn’t feel Shame any longer.
I could look at her, the girl in the mirror, with kindness; with love; with compassion- for all she had been through; all she was so so brave through; all she had witnessed; felt spoken over her and had stuffed down.
I saw how her body had stored it, and honestly, still felt it now as real psychical pain;
and while it was still a good good body, operating as designed to try to rid itself of dis-ease,

I saw…
it, “she”, was in crisis.

I spoke gently to her. “Shame has been chased off though, girl;
“She’s” gone… you’re free;
but hang on good body,
I’m coming for you and I’m bringing my Friend Jesus.”

He “despised the shame”.
He was carrying a cross. It was heavy.
But Hebrews 12 tells me,  He despised the shame…
The shame that tried to point to His friends abandoning Him;
The shame that tried to get Him to worry about His reputation;
The shame that tried to rub His goodness in the indignity of it all; the degradation of it all; the mockery of it all…
Shame didn’t win though… He despised it… and carried that cross, with His eyes on the Joy set before Him.

Friends.
WE were that Joy.
We ARE that Joy.

So, “SHAME off” us too.
Let’s walk in the FREEDOM we have because He endured that cross and despised the shame.

Do you have a “girl” to go after?
Do you see someone who stored up a lot of things in her good good body ?
Are you stilling hanging on to the lies of shame?
Maybe like me, you’ve learned to “stuff it down”.

Friend, Go after her. All of her… because there is JOY set before her too.

FREEDOM

I woke up to my alarm early Saturday morning and immediately thought…
“WHAT have I done?”
I needed to get up and get going fast! I had an hour drive to my third 5K of my life.
“Oh man.. seriously. What have I done?”
My mind started to contend against the excuses:
I’m in no shape to do a 5K… even walking it will set this inflammation “game” I contend against into overdrive!
It’s Saturday… literally my only day ever to sleep in and it’s been a weeeeek.
My head is throbbbbbbing.
I have so much to do anyway; I really need a full day at home.
My husband’s going to be gone all day too; the dogs will need walks.

You see my dilemma? LOL …Bottom line is, I just didn’t want to do it.
Why?
Because it was going to be hard.
(And because my bed was comfy. LOL)
It was going to be hard because I’m in a health journey against autoimmune “dis- ease” and honest, even walking gets challenging at times. My feet swell. My joints inflame. My muscles get attacked. And, well… excuses, excuses, excuses…
The exact thing that would be hard to “walk” through, was also the exact thing my body needed to overcome the hard.
Gah… that’s just like dumb math. LOL I don’t like math either … haha!

I rolled out from under the down comforter and said, “Just get up, Kay. Just get going. You’re doing this to RID your body of these things. You’re doing this to pursue wellness. You’re doing this for “Freedom.”

Truth. I was doing it for those things. In fact, after a good talking to myself and a real heart check with my Spirit a few weeks back, I actually ended up signing up for four 5K’s through the end of the year! LOL …
because “Freedom.”
Walking these 5k’s was something I knew was difficult for me. I had done two others once before, just a year ago… and I struggled with them, not even sure I could finish. The Lord convicted me of that word “Struggle”, tho, and as I looked back at those other two 5K’s, I decided right then and there that I needed to re-frame them. I needed to do another and not claim it as a struggle, but call it out as something I was contending for! I was going to do a walk to contend for FREEDOM.
What I didn’t know my “yes, Lord” was going to be though was the start of something more… the conviction that if I could contend through one more 5K, maybe I should just keep contending for freedom in doing one each month, through the rest of the year…. gulp.

And so I did. I signed up for four.
Four pushes toward moving my body in ways I knew was hard.
Four dates with myself to celebrate what my body CAN do, not get in agreement with what it finds hard to do.
Four events to “contend” for Freedom against this “dis- ease” that wrestles against me.
Four times to show up for myself.
Four times to lean into God for strength.

So, it should come as no shock that the very first one, unbeknownst to me, was actually a 5k being run to respect the first responders, to honor those who had fallen in 9-11; and to remember FREEDOM.
I stood at the starting line while the trumpets played and the flags were being flown and the emcee was reading the names of the ones from our State who had been lost in the line of duty on 9-11.
I bawled.
I mean , ugly cried…
I know people were looking at me, but I didn’t even care. I couldn’t believe that “somehow” this 5k race, that I just signed up for because it was close to home, was for “Freedom”… and I didn’t even know it.
The intention God was using this for in my life, was not lost on me.
I was contending for freedom in my own way, by participating in a race honoring freedom.
Whoa.
It still undoes me.

I wiped my face on my shirt, just as someone handed me something. I thought it was a kleenex because legit.. I was a mess.. lol. I took it and humbly mumbled “thank you.” When I looked at it though, it was not a tissue. It was a small laminated ribbon with the name of one of the first responders who had paid the ultimate price for freedom. I was to pin it to my runners bib and think of him throughout my race.
Cue the tears again.
Where was that dang kleenex? LOL .. My shirt was snotty before it was sweaty!

All through my event, I kept him, and freedom in mind and I became even more grateful with each step. Even when the police car that was supposed to be bringing up the rear of the racers, passed me… lol … I was grateful.
I was out here.
I was doing what my body could do.
I was showing up for myself.
I was walking for freedom… in more ways than one.
It didn’t have to look like anyone else’s “race”.
It was mine. And it was already doing a big work in my heart. In my mind.
Within my Spirit.

As I watched the back end of that police car, I thought about first repsonders. They race. Without hesitation…
To the call. To the danger. To the emergency. To the need. To the thing that is trying to take something down.
For freedom.
They show up.

And so will I.

My call to this freedom in my body is not small. It’s for my life. And so I must be a first responder in my own life; actually, FOR my own life. No longer can I let excuse, shame, regret, feelings of insignificance, fear, panic or anxiety be first responders on my behalf.
They are not heros.
I am.
They are not freedom fighters.
I am.

It also wasn’t lost on me that the timing of this FREEDOM race was right in line with the timing of the 21 day sugar fast I had signed up to do with Revelation Wellness. It was starting the next day for me too.
A Fast.
Not a diet.
A prayerful entering into losing what weighs me down.
Not a plan to lose weight.
A calculated step aimed at dislodging the comforts of food that I tend to go to first.
An intentional turn to God instead.
Not a restriction.
An invitation…
To Freedom.

Man, the Lord is doing a work. It’s a hard work, Sis, I’m not gonna lie. And I’m kinda resistant to it… like the drowning person is sometimes resistant to the lifeguard swimming out to save her… kinda like that.
But this I know – in the “end”, it’s going to be worth it, and my “race” toward it should be without hesitation.

What might be set free?

Me.