This month my intention is set on “refuge”. Refuge is a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, trouble or danger. Of course I find a biblical scripture to ground me in my intention and this month that is Psalms 45:1 - “God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], A very present and well-proved help in trouble.”

In the yoga community, a space that is known for being predominately white in the United States, there is a search for a community space that is open, inclusive, non-judgmental, and where people can be their authentic selves. for minorities, this “safe space” can be challenging, particularly when you have a lot of people that don’t know or understand “micro aggressions”. I'm moving this journey of how to create this safe space within the studio I own in Charlotte, NC, Charlotte Family Yoga. The practice and philosophy of yoga is a beautiful, inclusive, peaceful, gentle - yet strengthening, and loving experience. How can we create a space that provides all these wonderful qualities?

I turn to the bible, more specifically, the fruit of the spirit, for that refuge. Peace, love, kindness, joy, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Walking with Christ provides access to all of these characteristics! These principles are my bedrock/foundation of living a peaceful and more content life!

What does this look like in action? How can this help create the safe space we all crave? It has slowly become second nature to me now, but, each time I log into a Zoom call, enter a space to teach, create a post to social media, I ask myself - how is your heart space? Are you moving in love from a place of peace with joy and kindness? Are you gentle with yourself and others as you practice self-control? Are you in a place of not only feeling good but displaying goodness and faithfulness to your word through actions?

I love to add yoga to my devotion to God and His word. I pray and will sometimes read my Bible scriptures sitting on my mat and the two have become safe space for me. The physical practice slows me down, the meditation provides me with additional space to pray, and focusing on the breath allows me to enjoy the breath of life that God has given as well as clear my mental capacity to soak in more of his presence!

Because I trust in Him (the creator of this universe), I have joy and find REFUGE in living according to His Word! I pray that you will bask in the presence of our creator and experience refuge in HIM, on and off the mat!

Scripture: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Justice is defined as seeking to help others through correcting and we are addressing wrong. It treats others fairly and shows no favoritism. I find it interesting that after years of injustice, our country is now in turmoil. As I watched the events of the last few years unfold, I’ve always said, ”I am a prayer warrior, not an activist.” I will pray for you, the family, the community, your family, the victims family, the oppressor’s family…everyone! But this time was different… Hearing Mr. Floyd call out that he could not breathe for eight minutes and 46 seconds changed me. It gripped my very soul and would not let go until I was challenged to ask God, what will you have me do? The Holy Spirit immediately took me to a book that’s been on my shelf for the last three or four years. There was a spiritual discipline specifically tied to justice, and from there I went to God’s word. I read and wrote in my journal for two hours straight, challenging the very words I’ve spoken just 24 hours earlier. I was being called to do more than pray. I was being called to change the way that the injustices of this world fit into my thoughts in daily life. We are called to act, meaning, to take some type of action at injustices or circumstances where mercy has taken a back seat. Does that action require violence? That is the question worth pondering. I’m reminded of a scripture in the book of Matthew that says that the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force. Is that what’s happening in the world today? Is the kingdom of God under attack? Scripture - “Hate what is evil, love what is right, and see that justice prevails in the courts. Perhaps the Lord will be merciful to the people of this nation who are still left alive.” ‭‭Amos‬ ‭5:15‬ ‭GNTD‬‬ We are called to love what is right and see justice prevail and not turned a blind eye…and that sometimes takes work! Those of us in the kingdom of God are meant to turn this world upside down. Turning the world upside down means living like Jesus did. He did not come with a military army, but from a carpenter shop, mending the broken common lifting up the marginalized, honoring the shamed, caring for the oppressed, and mending the broken. So what can I do? What can you do? What can we do? How can we ACT against injustices? What are we doing to SEE justice prevail?

  1. Share your resources (time, talent, and treasure) and work against the evil that robs the world of God’s love. Let our lifestyles and choices reflect the word of God and live a life that values people over things. Find an organization whose mission lines up with your heart, with God’s purpose for your life, and give generously!

  2. If you can’t share resources, share your gift! Proverbs 18:16 says that a man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before a great man! Share that gift with the world! Don’t shrink back at a time when you should be bold with the gifts God has given you.

  3. If you can’t share your resources, can’t share your gifts, if you just don’t know what to do, then pray. II Corinthians 12:9 says that my grace is sufficient, for his power is made perfect in weakness.

I’ll leave you with this final scripture from Job 33:6, “You and I are the same in God’s sight, both of us were formed from clay.” Friends, let us be bold enough to speak, let us have courage to act, and let us be willing to see and act on injustices to our brothers or sisters!

Happy Thursday y'all! I am extremely blessed to co-own Charlotte Family Yoga in Charlotte, NC with my dear friend and neighbor, Kara. We've had a somewhat successful run at managing a yoga studio, parenting kids, being daughters, wives, counselors, friends, etc. and we have FUN doing it! There's no one else I'd rather be doing life and participating in yoga shenanigans with! Together, we created the mantra, Joyful Things Only, when going through a rough time in early 2019. We hold fast to that mantra anytime things get tough, but these days, we've been throwing around "It's fine, I'm fine, EVERYTHING IS FINE"…sarcastically, of course! Because everything is definitely NOT fine!

Fortunately, unfortunately we are still under the Stay at Home order in NC and received notice last night that, after spending all morning planning our re-opening (updating the cleaning protocols, class schedule, social distancing guidelines), we were excluded from Phase II and could not open the doors to the studio to our beloved community. I was not sad for myself, I was sad for all the friends, family, and members that join us each and every week to practice yoga. My heart ached for those that keep calling, keep emailing, and communicating, "We can't wait to get back into the hot box with y'all!"

See, Charlotte Family Yoga is not about turning a huge profit. Yes, it is a business and we try to be good stewards over the inflows and outflows, but our mission is different. We are more concerned about our community, their health and well being, their heart, and being a light to them by guiding them through a yoga practice. Yes, virtual classes are awesome, but the power of human touch and communication means so much more. So, my emotions are all over the place. I'm still joyful, but mad, sad, confused, frustrated, and disappointed. Because we can go shopping at TJ Maxx, but can't practice as a community. We can go here and there, but can't access a space collectively to uplift and bring balance to our mind, body and spirit.

So, we continue to press forward. We pray and work through how we can best serve our community, while remaining closed until who knows when (and still paying rent, utilities, etc.). We find ways to reach out and continue to be a blessing to our yoga tribe by holding space for those hurting or trying to navigate life during and after COVID-19. We accept what is, what will be and know that all things are STILL working together for our good. Our faith remains steadfast and it will continue to guide and anchor us through this and every season!

'And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.' Romans 8:28

"We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. " Hebrews 6:19

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