Saturday, May 30, 2015

Breaking Through

Last week we broke boards in class.  I gave an abbreviated version of this devotional beforehand.  As I did, I realized how much I needed to be reminded of it. 

Board Breaks

Breaking a board requires concentration.  It requires focus.  But your concentration and focus are not on the board itself, rather they are on the far side of the board.  A strike that ends at the board will do nothing.  You must go through the board in order to break it. 

I remember the first time I ever broke a board.  It was my 2nd test ever in karate, and I had finally begun to be able to focus on what I was doing and tune out everything else.  I was standing in the gym with Sensei.  He was holding the board and as he coached me my focus narrowed down into a very tight little circle around us.  He told me to focus on his chest.  Don’t even look at the board, bring my knee up to his chest.  I breathed and concentrated and focused, brought my knee up with a loud kiai, and heard the board break.  I never even felt it.  But there it was, in 2 pieces.  I was shocked.

Our Christian life is like that.  We are surrounded by problems and pain, but to get through those problems we have to look past them. They will overwhelm us if we focus on the problems themselves, but if we look past them and focus on God, we will suddenly find ourselves out on the other side, standing in amazement because we never even felt them come apart to let us pass.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 - 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Paul is writing this, and those light and momentary troubles he is talking about were huge.  He was stoned and beaten, arrested and imprisoned, even shipwrecked.  But he fixed his eyes on God and on eternity, and he made it through.

Don’t focus on your problems, focus on God.  One day those problems will part like a broken board, and you will find yourself standing in peace on the other side.

©Rebecca A Givens, 07/05/10


As I said, I heard these words coming out of my mouth and realized God was speaking to me much more than I was speaking to my students.  In just a few weeks’ time I had gone from trusting God in uncertain times, to physical blessings, to becoming distracted once again by the trials of the moment.  I was staring at the board, unable to break through it. 

I was reminded in church on Sunday that God has this.  He is holding the board, He is holding all my problems.  He is holding the schedule, the money, the time, the divorce, the cars, my kids, the future, every single concern I have, big and small.  I just need to look at Him instead of the board.

Forgive me Lord. 

Be my focus.

Hold me.

Give me the will to wait, to trust, to hope, to obey.

Keep my eyes on You.  Because only You can give me this blessing, I cannot manage it on my own.


©Rebecca A Givens, 05/25/15

Monday, May 25, 2015

Trusting and Waiting

A wonderful thing happened a few weeks ago.  I realized I was happy with my life and the direction it was moving.  The odd thing about that was that I had no real idea of where life was going, and at that point no control of it either.  I was waiting for other people to make decisions.  Yet I was happy with whatever the outcome of the future, because I trusted God with it.

For nine months I had been in survival mode, but suddenly I was excited about the future, whatever it might hold.  I don’t know how many years it has been since I looked forward to the future.  Let me tell you, it felt good to feel alive again. 

Shortly after that epiphany moment, good things began to happen.  I was unexpectedly promoted to Yondan (4th degree blackbelt) and given the title of Renshi (expert teacher).  I was unexpectedly given a Shodan (blackbelt) certificate to teach sword.  God blessed me with some financial gifts.  I got accepted to Graduate School.  I was offered more hours at my high paying job.
I am SO glad God’s timing brought those material blessings after He brought the spiritual blessing.  Being able to trust God in uncertain times is such a gift.  I have experienced peace and joy and life that have nothing to do with my circumstances, and everything to do with trusting my Heavenly Father.  My certainty has nothing to do with my control, because I had no control over any of those things.  Rather, my certainty is based in God’s sovereignty, in His control and power and plan for everything that happens to me - good, bad and otherwise.  And because I trust Him, I can wait for Him. 

There seems to be a cycle of trust, peace, hope, wait.  That is where I want to stay.  That is what I need to carry me through the difficult times which are always going to come.

Can you walk in light through the valley of the shadow of death?
Can you walk in abundance through the wilderness?
Can you walk in oasis through the desert?

Only if you carry the light and the abundance and the oasis inside of you.  And I do. 

I can wait upon the Lord because:
I have hope in Heaven rather than on earth.
I have peace that passes all understanding, peace with God, no matter what my circumstances are.
I trust His Sovereign plan and His Love for me.


©Rebecca A Givens, 05/11/15

Monday, May 18, 2015

Summer Camp Flier

Karate Kids

Summer Camp 

Self-Defense, Self-Confidence, Self-Control
in a fun, safe environment. 
Great introduction to karate!

Ages 6-Adult
New students welcome!
July 27-30, 10:00-12:00
Lake Crest Presbyterian Church
560 Lake Crest Drive
                                  Hoover, AL, 35226
Becky Givens, Sensei

Shintaikan Dojo
Shingo-ha Yoshukai Karate






Karate Class Flier

Karate Classes
Family, Teen and Adult Classes
Tues/Thurs at 6:00pm
Weapons and Sword Classes
Mon at 6:30pm, June-July
Summer Karate Camp
July 27-30, 10am-12pm

Lake Crest Presbyterian Church

                                560 Lake Crest Drive, Hoover, AL
Becky Givens, Sensei
Shintaikan Dojo
Shingo-ha Yoshukai Karate-do
Shoshin-ha Itto Ryu