sorrow

Daddy, Daddy

"He fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.'" --Matthew 26:39

Read: Matthew 26

Ella's scream has a way of piercing ears but this morning, it broke my heart. In the arms of her swim instructor, who was imparting what my wife and I know are vital and potentially life-saving skills, a hysterical Ella reached out to me. "Daddy, daddy!" she cried, over and over. All I wanted to do was to take her hand, to let her know it would be okay, to reassure her that I would never let any harm come to her. Instead, I walked out.

I swallowed the lump of parental guilt in my throat when I remembered how important this lesson would be. She would have to suffer so that she could be taught. Turning away, in this case, was how I could best protect her.

God could have saved His son. He could have taken the cup (v. 39) as Jesus begged Him to do. With his only son "overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," God could have easily interceded on his behalf. Instead, against every Paternal instinct and with His heart breaking, He did nothing.

When her 15 minutes were up, she sat smiling in Wendy's lap, feasting on a lollipop, the reward for her brief aquatic ordeal. At the pool, I turned away so that Ella could learn. In the garden, God turned away so that we could live.

--Eric Velazquez 

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TRACKING NUMBERS

November 16, 2011 Read: Isaiah 43

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you." --Isaiah 43:1

Bib No. 18-164 wasn't tracking. Even though race officials, sponsors and loved ones knew bib No. 18-164 started the race, nobody knew where he was on the course. See, bib numbers have bar codes that tell everyone your pace, stage and whereabouts. Without a functioning bib, you might as well be invisible.

Can you relate? In the course of your day, have you ever felt as if nobody knows just exactly where you are? Oh sure, you're at your cubicle or at home with your kids. But is anyone really watching what you're going through, let alone loving you through it? Your hurt is real. Your pain is deep. And walking away would be much easier than running this rat race. But we're more than tracked, and our steps are better than traced. Hope isn't lost and neither are you. God finds us and loves us from start-to-finish.

And as far as bib No. 18-164, he officially finished in just over five hours. And while his time didn't warrant interviews or draw a crowd, he did receive his medal. But he wasn't alone in this achievement -- the prize went to anyone who accepted the invitation to finish the race. Friends, God invites us to accept Jesus into our hearts and lives. When we do, we join a race He's already won on our behalf. Our job is to trace His steps and help others do the same. See you at the finish.

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION TIP: Apples for Size

"I commonly advise people to eat an apple preworkout," says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." "Apples contain polyphenols that have been shown to increase muscle strength, endurance and fat loss."

A recent study affirms those benefits, showing that one of the polyphenols in apples, ursolic acid, also increases muscle growth and fat loss. For the scientific speak on the topic, click here.

>> PRAYFIT IN YOUR HOME: PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS, comes to your living room this December with the release of the "PrayFit: 33-Day Total Body Challenge" DVD. Learn more and reserve your copy today by clicking here.

 

OUR DAD ROCKS

October 19, 2011Read: Revelation 21

God will take away all their tears. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All the old things have passed away.”  --Revelation 21:4

Recent business took my husband half way around the world to Hong Kong and Singapore, and after two weeks, my three young children missed their daddy. While he was gone, it was business as usual -- homework, projects, bath times and bedtimes -- but there was a huge part that felt empty. Though we were doing our best, I knew the kids missed those special moments that only a father can provide and I missed the comfort and security I feel when I lay in bed with him at my side. We had a few incidents including, but not limited to, rain storms, tornado warnings, power outages, falling from a tree and crashing a bicycle. Part of our well-oiled machine was missing, and we felt it.

The day finally came to pick up dad at the airport. Two full weeks of stumbles and bumbles and he was finally home to put us back together. The kids made signs saying, “Our Dad Rocks” to make sure anyone and everyone knew that our dad, in fact, rocks.  My daughter even had her favorite stuffed animals to help greet him as he arrived. I told them before we left, “Now, when you see your father, don’t drop everything and run. Give him a minute to get through the doors.”  But as we looked down the corridor and finally spied his blonde hair walking swiftly toward us, all three kids dropped everything and took off at lightening speed to tackle him. Home at last. Hugs, kisses and tears of celebration. In a moment, all was right again.

I wonder if that's how we'll be when we finally get to meet our Heavenly Father.  I'm not sure, but I have a feeling that we will drop all of the things we carry -- all the stuff that seemed so important -- in a millisecond and run with wild abandon to embrace Him. In that moment, all will be right (for good). After all, He not only keeps us from falling apart, but He's the only one who can put us back together. So, while we await His return, may our lives be a sign that says to anyone and everyone, "Our Dad (our Abba) Rocks."

--Allison King Earnst

PrayFit's newest executive team member is a fitness expert, motivator, competitor and mother of three. She's been featured in numerous magazines including FitParent, Natural Muscle and Oxygen magazine. She has shared her fitness story on Good Morning America, Extra TV and Lifetime's "The Balancing Act."

PRAYFIT NUTRITION TIP by Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD

A salad before dinner is a great way to fit one or more servings of vegetables into your day. Try using bagged coleslaw mix (it usually contains shredded green and red cabbage and carrots) or broccoli slaw as an alternative to bagged lettuces. Cabbage and broccoli are packed with nutrients, provide a satisfying crunchy texture and are almost always cheaper than the bagged lettuce mixes -- you can often get the same amount of coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw for half the price of the bagged lettuces! Some of my favorite add-ins are chopped tomatoes, a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, and 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette, which contains plenty of healthy fats.

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.