Eight years ago I felt a nudging as I sat in church to go & serve my community and church. I had just had my second baby so I was already weary and really didnt have extra time, let alone energy to give, however I had a hunger to serve the Lord, so I prayed. Over the course of six months God gave me a vision of starting a fitness ministry. During this time I met with my pastor and shared with my thoughts with him. He was supportive and asked for a “plan” of some type so he could understand my vision. One day as I was scrolling thorough Pinterest I came across this quote
“LOVE GOD, GET HEALTHY, BE WHOLE, LOVE OTHERS”
I immediately said YES – this is exactly what I envision. I searched the internet to try & find who came up with this beautiful quote…who was thinking like me. I recruited a friend who is a marketing specialist to help me and we came up empty handed. I felt God laid this in my lap and so we proceeded, launching Fitness at First, a fitness ministry at First Christian Church and creating t-shirts and fliers with the quote above so others would see the mission of my heart.
It was a year later that I came across Revelation Wellness as I was conducting a yahoo search for workout ideas for this fitness ministry. As I read their tag line, “LOVE GOD, GET HEALTHY, BE WHOLE, LOVE OTHERS” I was moved to tears. There was an entire fitness ministry out there, a community of people who have a heart for the Lord and use fitness as a tool to connect to people to Christ!! I wasn’t alone in my mission! This was the fuel I needed to keep this ministry going and to dream big.
I quickly joined RevWell VIP TV and was inspired by how they weaved the workouts & the Word together. I knew very quickly I had to go meet these people and go through their instructor training program.
I wish I could say that within months I went, however the Lord had me in a holding pattern. The training was expensive. I was a stay at home mom running a free ministry. Resources were tight. I fretted and prayed and fretted and prayed. The Lord had some work to do in me. One big lesson was patience and trust. Another, He wanted to be my God first…so I waited & waited.
In the Summer of 2016, almost 5 years later, I signed up and cried as I registered. I was so worried about the money, yet my heart had been so hungry to go to this training. So I, out of obedience to God, committed to the 9 week training knowing that I would be flying to AZ in November for the retreat.
The training was awesome and the 9 weeks flew by fast. It was all the sudden time for me to head to AZ for the much anticipated retreat and I was scared. I could have talked myself out of it. What was I scared of you ask??? I dont know. Fear of unknown I guess. Fear of not fitting in. Fear of entering into something that changed me. You name it, I guarantee it was there.
The entire week was filled with goodness. Fitness classes, bible study, praise and worship, great food, sweet hearted sisters in Christ I quickly made as forever friends (see picture below – these are my cabin mates -minus a few -and they are sisters for life).
I could write for days about the experiences I had – the word brave, healing prayer & back pain, watching friends break free from years of lies & lies…the list goes on & on.
But the thing that made the biggest impression on me occurred once I got home.
On one of our last nights at camp we had a special ceremony. I kept thinking “I want what others have” that full surrender, aha moment…and so I walked and prayed on that dark & starry night to a place on the mountain where we were encouraged to just talk to God and surrender. In that moment I said “OK God, why did you bring me here?” He spoke to my heart and asked “what took you so long?” I thought through all the details of my journey to get here. I thought through the obstacles Matt & I had faced. I asked the Lord “help me to release the strongholds on my life that is keeping me from serving you, trusting you, following you.” In that moment I felt Him say “Melanie, I will provide.” And I cried. Lack of money and trust had a stronghold on my heart…and had for so many years…but right there on that mountain I knew we were going to be ok. So I wept for joy, knowing I just overcame a mountain, a burden I was choosing to carry when it was never mine to carry. OH THE FREEDOM!
I would like to say God handed me a 20-year plan and I left with clarity. BUT He doesn’t work that way. I did leave with peace and understanding that only He can provide.
SO fast forward a few days…
The boys missed me greatly and the first few days back they took every ounce of life out of me 🙂 When Matt & I actually got to chat, alone Matt informed me that while I was away he received a bonus…a very large bonus, which to him didnt make much sense (side note: he works for his grandpa, family business). Matt is a very wise business man and he knows the daily in & outs of the business, so he had an understanding of what the expenses for the year should & shouldn’t be…and in his opinion, a bonus of this size shouldn’t be. When he told me, I cried again…we both cried…because while I was on that mountain surrendering all my worries to God, He knew that we were about to blessed beyond measure.
God is so good.
While I was at retreat I had the blessing & honor to meet the founder of Revelation Wellness, Alisa Keeton. Friends, she has a heart of gold and is on fire for the Lord. This entire ministry is filled with amazing men & women who love the Lord and use fitness to spread the gospel so others can find freedom and be who God created them to be. I am blessed beyond measure to be a part of this community and if you read this and feel a nudge in your heart to learn more or go to retreat, message me! I would love to help you along the way. It takes your fitness and your faith and beautifully weaves them together…and it is good! This week as I type this, a new group of men & women are at retreat. I ask that you cover them in prayer with me. Help them to find the freedom God wants for their lives.
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Peace, Love & Prayers,