Author: Ellen Benefield

Do The Work

Every morning this week, I’ve gotten out of bed at 4:30am to leave my house at 5:00 to catch a yellow school bus headed out to a corn field at 5:15. I’m part of a team supervising two hundred teenagers as they detassel the corn. Detasseling is hard work. The kids start down a row of wet corn that might go without a break for a mile. They get completely soaked in the first ten minutes. Today I watched a girl pour several cups of water out of her boot. As the sun rises, the corn dries, but the...

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How to Control Those Crazy Emotions

“Auggie, take a deep breath.” Huh-phoo. “What is your thought?” “I WANT YOU TO GO AWAY!” “Another deep breath.” Huh-phoo. “What is your feeling?” “ANGRY!” “Another deep breath.” Huh-phoo. “What is your body saying?” “It is saying that I don’t want to be with you right now.”   My five-year-old son had a rough day this week. We caught him wandering through a neighbor’s yard when he was supposed to be playing at home. His punishment, being forced to stay inside for a day, was just as hard on me as it was on him. Around two in the afternoon, he lost it, screaming, begging, bargaining, kicking, and sobbing into his hands. It was in the middle of this fit that I took him through the mindfulness exercise recorded above. Six months ago our family not only changed houses and cities, but also countries, languages, and cultures. Our children have struggled to adjust.  A counselor recommended practicing mindfulness. Four deep breaths and three short answers to three simple questions journeyed my screaming five year old into an angry, but in his right mind, five year old. He lost his rage and found his feeling. God gave us emotions. We use them to express ourselves, to connect with others, to worship God. But sometimes, our emotions are too strong, too wild to be controlled. At one terrifying end of the...

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Trust on the Highway

  Saturday night, I fell asleep around ten, satisfied and comfortable. I’d stayed up too late Friday with a good book, so I relished the rest. A familiar ding erupted from my phone at 11:25, startling my sleep. A text? Who is texting me right now? I didn’t get up to check until it dinged a second time. Guess I forgot to put the phone in night mode. The text came from my sister. “My water just broke. You should drive here soon.” What? I live an hour and a half away. How serious could this be at 11:30...

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Psalm 40

 Lately, I find myself returning again and again to Psalm 40. Listen to the first three verses:  I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.  This is such a challenge for me. Why is waiting patiently so hard sometimes? Thankfully, God hears us...

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What Roadblocks Keep You From Living A Healthy Lifestyle?

A fascinating recent study followed the contestants on NBC’s the Biggest Loser as they returned to regular life after Season 8. Over the next six years, all but one of the contestants regained weight. Researcher Kevin Hall discovered that their bodies fought back against the decreased calories and increased exercise by slowing their metabolic rates. The body has natural inclinations to protect itself from dramatic weight loss. Dr. Hall described this fight against instinct and nature as “like asking someone to hold their breath. You can do it for a little while. But it’s very difficult to do it for much longer than …a minute or two.” http://www.nytimes.com/video/science/100000004377076/why-its-hard-to-keep-the-pounds-off.html?smid=pl-share Our own bodies fight against positive lifestyle changes. No wonder we struggle to eat fruits and vegetables, get the exercise we need, or even read the Bible. It can be even harder to break unhealthy habits: smoking, diet-coke addictions, or laziness. If our own bodies fight against us, what hope do we have? Luckily, we are not alone. First Corinthians 15:57 shouts, But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. And John 8:36 echoes, …if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. So don’t throw in the towel just yet. Don’t quit your diet or stop exercising. Instead, pray and ask for Holy Spirit empowering as you baby-step to victory. What roadblocks keep...

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