Saturday, September 21, 2019

R is for Restore

R is for Restore

And just like that, with the blink of an eye, it is the middle of September. School is back in session and this past week we welcomed the teachers back to the School Supply Pantry at our church for the first time this school year. This portion of our outreach ministry is truly a labor of love for me, and has become my passion and calling. The School Supply Pantry began in 2008  when we learned that the teachers at the school we had adopted purchased a good portion of the supplies for their students out of their personal finances. We then found out that this is an issue almost everywhere as schools face mounting budgets and have to make cuts to finances in order to continue to operate. So, as we began to pray for ways to serve the teachers and students of our adopted school, a supply pantry was the answer. Now, a little over 10 years later, our little pantry has grown to include six schools supported by seven churches. Through two unused classrooms in our church, we serve 217 teachers representing almost 2400 students, once a month through the school year. It is such an honor and a blessing to bless these teachers who pour out their hearts and souls to their students every day. Our city schools serve a large number of children living at or close to the poverty level. In this ministry we are able to at least relieve some of the burden the teachers face in meeting the needs of their students.

I hadn't planned on beginning my blog post this way, but I guess this is what has been on my heart and mind lately. Now on to our previously scheduled show....

In our Living Your Word group we are exploring our word of the year with an A-Z inspirational challenge. My word of the year is sacred, which I chose because I wanted to explore what it means and looks like for our bodies to be seen as an active part of our spiritual life - for the whole self to be on the journey of living a sacred life for Christ. My exploration of this topic has combined with exploring the impact of inflammation on my body and the role certain foods play in this. I suffer from two health issues that are auto-immune diseases and I would really like to avoid treating them with a list of medications with side effects longer than my arm! I have had Psoriasis my entire adult life and only learned in the past year that it is considered an auto-immune disease. I also have arthritis throughout my body that began giving me issues in my early 40's, and now has been deemed to be Psoriatic Arthritis. This whole year has been an exploration of changing my eating habits, and I have made some big changes! Some have had an impact on my health issues and some have not.

For my R word I chose the word restore. While I cannot undo all of the damage that eating in unhealthy ways and a lack of good exercise has done over the past five plus decades, I can begin to make choices that help restore my health and improve my body's functioning. My mind nor my will-power is slowing down, so I don't want my body to hinder the kind of life I want to live.

Throughout this journey I find that as I make healthier choices in the area of eating and exercise, it also impacts me in mental, emotional and spiritual ways. In other words, making better choices in one area leads to making better choices in all areas. Discipline is discipline, and when we grow in one area all areas benefit.

When asked which commandment was the most important one, Jesus answered:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ " Mark 12:29-30
There it is, our whole self - heart, soul, mind and strength (body). All operating as God designed, to live as God has called us. And so, my prayer has been:

Join Our Inspirational Facebook Group: Living Your Word of the Year
Bernice Hopper, Valerie Sjodin and I facilitate a Facebook group about Living your Word of the Year. In it we share insights through blog posts and connect with other like-hearted and like-minded people who want to live out a word focus throughout the year. We offer participants a bi-weekly A-Z Inspiration to help prompt reflection and creativity. as well as other inspirational ways to connect with your word of the year. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word throughout the year, explore new ideas, record thoughts, prayers, and events, you are invited to join our Facebook group.

Please use #livingyourword2019 on social media.

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