I Won’t Forget…Whispers of Love 

It’s my birthday today!!!!
I’ve been excited about this day from the 1st of January 2017 😂 . So excited in fact that I started writing this post on the 11th of April, 7 days before my special day. I was on my way back from work listening to ‘I Won’t Forget,’ from Brian and Jenn Johnson’s album ‘After All These Years,’ and boy I’ve gotta tell ya; this song is everything that I would hope, intend and will endeavor for my walk with God to be as I enter into a new year where I’m older and if you’re asking me, looking even better than I did 10 years ago. My worst birthday was the year I turned 23, we’ll talk about that some other time okay! After I turned 25, something clicked in me and I just knew that birthdays from there on would be different.
I will confess to being a very weird breed of female; there are two things that I’ve always wanted to do in my life:
1. Switch to a plantbased i.e. vegan diet. ✅ next month on the 18th will mark 3 years as a vegan.

2. Make it to 30 and enjoy the journey to 30. The age 30 has always had a magical appeal to me. I don’t know if it was enhanced by watching ’13 going on 30′ , but for me that age represents maturity and a stage in your life where you no longer care what people think about you. I’m now 3 years away from this milestone 💃🏾

In the midst of these silly “life goals,” there have been a few more serious ones such as adopting kiddies, learning how to farm bees 🐝 adopting a million fur babies 🐶 and one that I am constantly working on: remembering to remember God in and through everything. To love Him deeply and celebrate Him passionately through and in every season of my life.
So as I’m listening to ‘I Won’t Forget,’ so many things that Daddy God is whispering to me. Some that He has permitted me to share with you. Grab a cuppa, it’s quite a read!
The first one that isn’t so much of a whisper than it is a shout. I can hear His voice roaring like thunder as He declares that *drumroll*; He’s excited about my birthday!!! Even for those years when I haven’t been on board about adding another year to my age; He has been excited about my birthday. God celebrates me!

Do you want to know what’s even better?

He celebrates you! (but hey! Don’t get too excited; it is MY birthday after all 👱🏾‍♀️)

Have you ever thought of that? On the days when you feel alone; sitting in your room wondering when life will be what you dreamt it would be; that there is a Friend closer than a brother who desires intimacy with you? A friend who wants to partake in the highs and lows of life with you? And while we’re talking about the lows; a very quick mention that believing in God doesn’t mean that you now have a magic wand to wave away/keep you away from harm and/or danger; a post on that will be coming up soon. It does however mean that you now have with you someone who even in the most disgusting of situations, will be with you always! Our perspective just tends to become blurry in the face of hardship. He celebrates your existence and is glad you’re alive.

For the past few months; I’ve been telling all my friends and family, that they’re so lucky they get to be alive to celebrate me 😂 ; and although I was saying that in a (semi) joking manner; I truly do believe that my squad are amongst the most blessed people to have me in their lives, and do you want to know something else? Your friends, your family, your circle; they are the luckiest and most blessed people to have you in their lives! Everyday wake up with the thought, belief and hello! A generous helping of confident swagger, and belief that just by being alive and ACTIVELY present in someone’s life, you make a difference. Believe that your life matters, because it does! Believing that my life matters is one that I struggle with. We’ve become a society known for being master players at the comparison game. So one day I’ll be on Instagram or Facebook and start to measure the difference I’ve made in my life to what someone else is doing and 9 times out of 10, the Holy Spirit has to fiercely reel me in and remind me that my story, my path, my difference is unique. I mean hello, you don’t get a special name like Aurélie and then want to throw it away to be like everyone else! It’s the same for you; you do not get a special name like *insert name here* to throw away all of your potential and talent, to be like everyone else. You are a one of a kind creation. The world needs you! Your quirks, your flaws, your brand of weird. The world needs that!
And then the most important whisper of love today; He will rescue me always.
This is a vital one for me. I’ll always make reference to my past (and present,) experience with depression because that’s part of my story and it will always be an important issue for me to address; without the stigma, without the awkwardness or judgment. It’s sticky tar this depression, you feel like you’ve left it but somehow there’s residual tar that seems to always be there and never fully comes off. This residual tar is what can sometimes cause me to on some days be so overly bratty with and to God, that it can only be because He loves me ever so much that He hasn’t lightning bolted me 🙈 I will be the first to admit that sometimes I can be a bit emotional, I wear my heart not just on my sleeve but ALL over me. Just last week I was telling my CrossFit coach B that “I’m not a cry baby, I just feel deeply.” The truth is however deep our emotions, they were never meant to rule us. I’m guilty of throwing tantrums or indulging in a pity party when things don’t go my way. We’ve all done that and I’m not berating myself for those moments, because there are occasions when we need to let go of all that pent up frustration and maybe even throw our toys out of the cot. What needs to stop is the 80% hold that our emotions, the negative ones in particular, can have on our view of God, and in my case; life, my hair 😂 CrossFit, the list is extensive and seemingly endless…see how negativity can trickle into all areas of your life?
Our emotions were never meant to cause us to forget that after all these years, God has never given up on us; that after all these years, He’s still and will continue to be constant in His love for us. We’ve got to be able to break away and shake off negative emotions that would love for us to forget all that God has done for us in the past, all that He’s doing in the present, all that He will do in the future, and how after all these years, He still runs after us. *

I love that in the Bible, we see in Jesus the perfect example of what it means to live controlled by the Spirit, to have a mind that is sound, filled and ruled with power and love from above (see 2 Timothy 1:7), and not by general annoyances that He had about the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Jesus definitely felt things deeply but what He felt was compassion. The Greek word for compassion is splagchnizomai** (σπλαγχνίζομαι), and translates to being moved in the inward parts; this compassion (so gripped by the things that grip the Fathers heart,) is what always prompted Jesus to action. Whenever He encountered a lame person or my personal favorite, the woman at the well in John 4; He was able to connect with these people, understand what they were feeling and then from that place of deep compassion, He always provided that healing ointment that to this day our hearts so desperately need. The very same way that He rescued then and has rescued me (and you,) before, He will continue to do so. He isn’t my back up plan, He is my only plan, and depression or any other mental illness, no matter how dark, can never pull you or keep you away from His love for you (Romans 8:38-39.) He’s going to keep coming for you; to rescue you, to revive you and to restore you. You’re gonna be ok.
Sometimes the only other voice you’ll hear cheering you out of any dark hole, will be God’s and even then sometimes it’ll feel like He isn’t there. But He is. I’ve been through stages in my life where I’ve had to force myself to believe that present sufferings would not be greater than God and my view of Him. This wasn’t blind faith because I was very much aware of the carnage that still lay around me, but because I was focused on seeing Him through and in everything, He started to feel close again until I came to the realization that He not only feels close but He is close. He’s always there.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans‬ ‭8:18‬ (‭KJV‬‬)

So today as I look at myself in the mirror, I think: ‘girl you’re mighty fine!’ 😂 look at how the good LORD has improved not just my looks (guys, pause on how I used to channel that inner cute but psycho/serial killer vibe…) but my heart as well.

One of my favourite songs is one by Bethel Music (in a spontaneous worship moment), called ‘You Are Growing Me Into A Beautiful Garden,’ and today I feel like a beautiful sunflower 🌻 , I’m happy. At times I can’t see progress, but God sees the rapid growth. I’m not a little girl anymore; I’m a warrior woman. You can’t wipe the grin off my face. Today’s whispers of love, they’re going to carry me through the year and I hope that in the moments that I somehow managed to break away from birthday selfishness haha, they’re whispers that will do the same for you too, you are the universe in ECSTATIC motion.

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. Rumi

 

*paraphrased from “After All These Years,” sung by Brian Johnson 

**Strong’s Concordance 

Post-Open Reflection 

Two weeks have passed, the Open is over and training has gone back to its usual schedule. I’ve read a few posts on post-Open reflection, so here’s mine: I hated the Open 😂

This year, a recurring injury flaring up, partly…if not solely because of my inconsistency in keeping up with my strengthening exercises and yoga 🙈 kept me from feeling like I was Open ready, and I know you’re never ever truly ready for the hell that Castro unleashes, but prior to signing up for the Open, I didn’t feel fit enough or strong enough. I didn’t feel like I had enough. I finally signed up for the Open after chatting to one of my coaches at CrossFit 4 Elements, Nuno. One of the best coaches you’ll ever have, and ever since he started coaching us, first at Fit 5ive and then at CrossFit 4 Elements, there hasn’t really been a day where I don’t like King Louie 🐒 sing:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ooh be doo, I wanna be like you ooh ooh! I wanna walk like you *cheep*, talk like you too. You see it’s true, someone like me…


Stop, stop, let’s get back to the bare necessities of this paragraph at least!  In my opinion, it’s a great box where you want to be like your coach (and now I have two great coaches, the other being Bruno Calha) but being like coach means hard work and let’s be real, hard work isn’t as fun as posting inspirational quotes about how the lioness in you must roar louder than your fears. This is the reality that I have had to face. There is definitely a place for inspirational quotes but they don’t come before hard work, consistency and diligence. I have never been as emotional as I was this year and as I set my sights on the better athlete that I want to be; warning ⚠️ to the coaches, there are more tears and tantrums on the way 😂 #sorrynotsorry but with the tantrums, I know that there will also be growth. Where I was at 90% in terms of caring about what everyone else thought of me as a CrossFitter; I’m now at 85% 🙈 The narrative in my head was one that was highly critical, self conscious, so much negative talk going on in my head. Failing even before I begin: this is the story that I’m having to rewrite not just for CrossFit but in all areas of my life so that I’m always functioning at what works best for me, not what would accommodate everyone else’s schedule or preference.

And do you know what I’ve discovered? It is really hard! I’ve always been someone who’s cared more about what people think of her than what she thinks of herself…I think they’re called people pleasers 🤔 I’ve been making a more concerted effort to kill that part of me. I’ve realized this, or should I say, I am realizing this: it is not selfish to take care of your soul first and establishing the values that are important to and for you, before you take care of anyone else. It’s actually healthier to do things from a place where your spirit is balanced. The increase in confidence, though be it rather slow (feels slow from my side,) is the overflow from my time with God. I shared a few posts back about my battle with depression and as I make the baby steps to everyday not allowing those dark demons to win; God gives me strength enough not just for that day but for every moment that is encapsulated in that day. Music sounds sweeter, life seems sweeter, Jesus feels and is sweeter and nearer. Getting back to knowing my old Friend again is doing something to my insides that just makes it seem so disrespectful to this temple that He created, to be negative or to berate it for not being able to do 50 muscle ups…can we get there though God?

This walk back to the Saviour has been hard work; hard in the sense where I had forgotten how important and vital it is to have Him as my compass and as the one who calibrates me when my settings need a reboot. This principle is one that I am trying to apply to CrossFit. Talent is fantastic and if by any means you are naturally gifted to wack out those 50 muscle ups, by all means do it! But the still small voice of God that I’m starting to hear again during my wods, reminds me that there is no substitute for hard work, discipline and a little bit of optimism never hurts. It’s time to believe that I am a great advancing soul, and guess what? So are you!

I did have a little bit of a cry (on my own,) when the Open scores were finalized and I compared how much I had dropped from last year. And then I put on my big girl pants and decided to move forward; attack the weaknesses, do the accessory work and JUST MOVE ON.

Constant reminders like the white rubber band that I just bought help. Katrin wears one that reads “CFNE- Complaint Free world” and each time you complain you have to move it to your other wrist. The goal is to keep it on the same wrist, that translates to no complaining. For me this will be serve as a visual reminder to work hard, stay positive, believe I can and continue to build on my mental strength. I will do whatever it takes to get to the stage where it matters less and less what people think about me. So I’m excited, a bit scared but at this point; the only thing that I stand to lose, is a negative mindset.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

THIS SONG IS PERFECT!

What God Teaches Me Through My Shoes

On the 1st of January, as the majority of the world does, I thought about the things that I want to improve this year; personally and professionally. I love to dedicate a bit of time on the 1st to sit with God and pause, ponder and reflect on all of the things that He has done and what I want to achieve in the coming year. This year before my quiet time with my daddy God, I was in the kitchen talking to my sissy sharing some of my frustrations about work and she said to me something that caused a shift in perspective and the approach that I would have brought to God. She said to me before you go to God and ask Him to change your life; pause and just say thank you. Everything else seems to fall into place sooo much better when we’re in a CONSTANT state of gratitude.

I went into my special time with God void of a prayer list of things I wanted Him to change and instead all I could write in my journal was Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

That’s all I want to achieve this year, a life where everything I do, ABSOLUTELY everything represents Christ.

A couple of days later, I went back to work very grateful that I could afford the metcons that I wanted, I call them my rose gold babies, and just like me they’re also black and beautiful haha! All jokes aside, as I revelled in that moment of having shoes that would hopefully help me with my toes to bar, God reminded me of a beautiful ritual that the two of us have. On all of my training or running shoes, I have these four verses scrawled on them: Hebrews‬ ‭12:11;Romans 1:16; Philippians 4:13 and my absolute favorite Colossians 3:23!

I must be honest, as I held the permanent marker in my hand I was a bit shaky about writing on my new rose gold babies. As quickly as that thought had entered, the Holy Spirit came in to convict me and to remind me of how my abilities are all due to Him. He reminded me of times when I truly did wake up on the grumpy side of bed, and would walk into the box with THE stinkiest attitude (hey, I can’t be perfect all the time!) and how through a quick glance at the verses scrawled on my shoes, I was able to check myself before I wrecked myself and was able to be a little bit more of a nicer human than I would be if I didn’t have those verses on my shoes. He reminded me of all the times I wanted to quit during a WOD and the reminder of Philippians 4:13 was enough to carry me through 1 more rep!

The first part sounds really lovely doesn’t it? Just before I gave myself a pat on the back for being a good Christian athlete, who is so ‘easily’ corrected, He reminded me of the flip side days. Those are the days when I am determined to let my feelings rule the day. The days where as much as Jesus would try, that stinky attitude would prevail and come out whether through my demeanor or through the thoughts swimming in my head. Through my shoes, He has been able to convict, correct and humble me. I think most of us, myself definitely included, are prone to occasionally getting on our high horse and thinking we’re amazing humans, so to have God humble us once in a while…every day perhaps, is truly what keeps and will keep us growing. Through my shoes I have learnt (and I am still learning,) to walk humbly, to stand strong on solid ground (the words that my Jesus speaks,) to walk in anywhere with feet that bring good news and refreshment wherever they go and to keep moving one foot at a time.

As I finish off this post, sitting on the floor, listening to “thank you” by Jonathan David Helser. In this moment God is taking me through all the other moments in my life where He didn’t have to come and yet He still did. As I dwell on those moments, a lump starts to develop in my throat and I am ever so grateful that this great Lover of my soul ransomed my heart, walked through all my walls and conquered my shame! How ridiculously good is His love???

From the outset I had already decided that 2017 would be amazing and it already is! My prayer for you today and for your 2017 is that God would pull you closer into Him, no matter what you have been through, I pray that He would restore joy, internal and external peace, as well as a heart of gratitude; whether that be through you hitting numerous clean & jerk PR’s (I’m hinting for myself to God here,) or through new promotions at work, may His love usher in so much goodness that it absolutely takes your breath away and all you’ll be able to say is “thank you, God that was totally you!”