Applying the Power of the Cross to Overcoming Real Fears, Brenda Yoder, Guest post

It’s still EASTER.  The day after.  And the next.

Every day His Resurrection power matters.  So, we want to share with you how our friend Brenda is calling us to live the life He died for us to live.

Brenda Yoder is our sister in Christ, a fellow coach, and an all-around FREE woman sharing Love and Grace all over the place.

Enjoy her heart:

Easter weekend is about endings and beginnings. It’s about new life, living in resurrection power, leaving death behind and walking in the fullness of God’s grace.

Every Easter we talk about the empty tomb. The challenge comes in living in the “in between.” I mean, what does it mean to live a resurrected life – really?

This Easter weekend I made a significant personal step by trusting the power and grace of Jesus in my life. Before you judge me for being vain or materialistic, just listen to my story.

There comes a time when you have to let go of the past and consciously walk into your future by making for provisions today. For me, that conscious decision pertained to body image, security, self-acceptance, and facing the future with grace instead of fear or hatred.

As a woman in her mid-forties, I stand at a cross-road in life looking ahead with a fleeting sense of time and life. It’s easy to look back and cling to what was, or to get stuck in the present resisting what’s ahead. It’s hard to look forward, embracing the changes coming to your life, family and body. This weekend, I made the decision to grow older gracefully.

It started with a Facebook post on a day I needed to get out of the house:

So I really need to go shopping for some not-skinny-anymore-need-elastic-three-weeks-of-out-of-the-month-but-not-ready-for-AARP-clothing on a teacher’s salary who has three teen boys to feed. The maternity section at Walmart just isn’t my idea of a fun place to shop. Suggestions?”

Most days, thoughts in my head that go between condemning or accepting myself and the battle between the two. For thirty years I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my body. For ten of those years, I battled an eating disorder. For the next ten, I wavered between sizes while I gave birth to four children, and for the next ten, I actively ran to balance my metabolism and stay fit so food wouldn’t be in issue for me. Last year, I tore my ACL which limits running. I have to be more graceful on my body so I can stay active for the next thirty years.

In trying to balance it all as a mid-life mom who works, writes, speaks, and makes time for God, family and relationships, exercise doesn’t happen much. My premenopausal body takes control of my life more days than not. This week, I had it with despising my body and longing to actually wear what’s in my closet.

Thanks to tips from Facebook friends, I went resale shopping and found clothes and styles that fit my body and my pocket book. Instead of despising myself for not being skinnier, I found clothes I feel comfortable and confident in. For a woman with a history with eating disorders, this was a monumental moment for me.

A moment filled with grace.

As I coached myself into clothes of bigger sizes, I made a big step of accepting the resurrection power in my life and applying the power that says

  • No one will love me less if I wear a bigger dress size.
  • I don’t have to be perfect to love myself or receive love from other others.
  • I don’t have to strive for what I used to be, what I could be, or what I long to be. I’m okay with how I am.
  • I only have so much time to live on this earth. I want to spend my time and energy not longing for “if only’s.”
  • My worth isn’t defined by my body, it’s defined by the value of who I am to God and how I represent Him to others

Do you struggle with these things? As I’ve dealt with a love/hate relationship with myself, my body and food over thirty years,  I’ve found victory in making decisions like the ones I made this weekend. I’ve learned to face my fears that are magnified in the corners of my soul, releasing the lies of

  • “You’ll only be acceptable when”
  • “There’s nothing good in growing older”
  • “You’re ugly”
  • “You’re only beautiful if”
  • “You’re unlovable.”

I’m learning the power of the resurrection lies in undeserved kindness. Applying the power of God’s grace means extending it to yourself. Growing older gracefully rests in giving yourself kindness despite the laws of nature that change everything about you, your body, and your circumstances.

The Good Friday shopping trip left self-condemnation and grief of changing seasons at the cross. There’s nothing I can control about life other than how I get to live each day given to me. I don’t want to spend time longing for the past or despising the body that greets me every day. I want to live in grace through the power of Christ in my life.

So I cleaned out my closet of clothes I can’t comfortably wear. I replaced them with clothes I feel good in and reflect the grace I receive from my Lord and Savior.

Christ is risen - His power transforms us into who He has created us to be, small, medium or large, past, present and futureWon’t you join me in giving yourself the grace He freely give to us? What are your insecurities He’s asking you to release to Him? How can I pray for you in your grace journey? Please share with us. Let’s encourage each other with His grace as we grow in grace.

I’m excited to share a similar message with women at two upcoming retreats on Identity in Christ and “Come and Be.” If you have an upcoming women’s event, I’d love to share a message with your ladies. Contact me or see the speaking tab for more information.

COMMENTS: Now, where do you need to give yourself grace?

Talk more with Brenda here:

Brenda Lazzaro Yoder, MA

Writer, Speaker, Educator


Writing for:10 to 20 Parenting, Not Alone Mom, Choose Now Ministries





Reframing Life In Light of His Resurrection, Jenny Price

He died so that we could live.

He bled so that we could heal.

He gave – all He had – so we would know joy and peace and eternal perspective -

even when it’s all unraveling around us.

There were many at the cross that day.  His closest friends.  His family.  The mother that bore him to this earth.

And all of them had the same view.  Jesus, hanging, flogged, mocked, stripped, empty – dying in front of them.  They didn’t know what we know today.  Many thought that was the end.

It was only the Beginning.

We were at the cross that day. Represented in all of humanity – we too were there.  What frame would we have viewed his death in?

Would you view the cross as a permanent and hopeless death or as the life-giving, hope breathing, resurrected life after death?

It matters how we view the cross that day, and this day.  It matters that we see that cross, and just behind it, we see Him Risen – Just as He said.

The cross is the frame in which we get to choose to see all of this life,

and the next.

As we learn to reframe our view with Jesus in front – the Jesus who died and rose again – we can see more clearly the hope that even the darkest day has in it.

It matters now – and every day we have left – that we go and tell all we know and meet – He died – for you – so you could live – and breathe – and be okay in this broken, messy, full of hard news world.

It matters when your marriage breaks up – His Resurrection Redeems even what we would see as irredeemable.

It matters when your child is diagnosed with a life long battle with leukemia -

His Resurrection Bleeds Hope into his contaminated blood.

It matters when you can’t see a way out of your mental, spiritual, physical battle with pain and heartache – His Resurrection Breathes Peace into your darkest corners.

It matters when your relationship – the one you desire more than any other to become more full, connected, fun, real – and it doesn’t – His Resurrection Still Brings Life – even then.

It matters when your ministry leader cheats, wanders, strays – and misrepresents His flock, hides his trail of lies – because even when His Children wander -

His Resurrection Stands firm and true – untouched by our wildly wandering mistakes.

It matters when your story is wrecked with abuse, by the parent who should have loved and protected you -

His Resurrection Held you in your pain even while it was happening and even now as you restore and become whole in Him.

It matters on every level, in every hopeless, defeated, broken place -

in every desperate, tired, and empty person -

in every hungry orphan, lonely widow, empty mommy, in every brother and sister running prodigal -

IT MATTERS that He died, and gave us new life – in His Death – and IT MATTERS that He Rose Again and showed us His Power over sin, death, and darkness.

Every moment of our lives can be Re-framed in Light of His Resurrection power.

It’s when we view our circumstances in front of the cross that we get confused.

Re-frame the same circumstance, the same pain, the same never-ending grief – with the cross in front of your circumstance – and you will see – His Life Blood covers it all.

Every. Single. Time.

Our church family is getting to do a lot of reframing on behalf of our youth pastor and his wife – as they in wild desperate abandon, lay their little boy at the cross.

As they view a circumstance no one signs up for – in light of the cross before them, rather than the grief in front of the cross.

Their 5-year-old son Elijah was diagnosed this week with Leukemia.  He went from playing at home on a Sunday afternoon, fighting pneumonia – to a very difficult to hear diagnosis –  to getting chemo treatments on a Tuesday.

They are reframing every breath they take.  Re-believing every promise they have claimed for all these years of their faith walk in Christ.

They are reframing every possible moment ahead for his little life.

Even as the chemo runs into his body, they know, the Body Broken for Them, The Blood already shed for their little man – that Blood matters.

I’m watching them do this reframing – how do they do this?  How do parents walk this road?

Apart from Christ, apart from His Cross, apart from New Life we can all find in The Resurrected Jesus – they have no hope.

But because they know Christ, and they live Him crucified in their daily lives – they are prepared for this battle.

Pray for our friends.  Jay and Emily, their son Elijah, and his siblings Brooklyn, Micah, and Hannah.  #4Elijah  #itMattersHowWeViewTheCross

Photo: Continuing to pray for this superman. #4Elijah

What situation do you need to reframe in light of the gift of Jesus this Easter?  COMMENTS are welcomed.

Races are Not Just for Running (Michelle D. Howe)

At the beginning of the year, I had the privilege to take about eight ladies through an online course called “Rebuild Your Confidence” based on my book “It is Finished.”

I was so nervous on how it was going to work, if it was going to work and how the group would respond.

Well, as God always does, He showed up in these ladies lives and I give Him all the Honor and Glory.  I feel honored and humbled to have been an instrument to lead them to the discoveries they had during the journey and the final destination.

On Monday, I received this Facebook message from one of the participants.  I asked if I could share it because so many people could be inspired by what she allowed God to do in and through her during this time.  She graciously said yes!

So here is Michelle Deen’s race story I named “The Hallelujah Finish Line!”

I’ve been trying to put into words and write down the feelings from the race Saturday.

The quietness, the serene time.

The sunrise was spectacular!

I had decided to listen to Christian music instead of my normal running music. One of my favorite Third Day (not theirs originally, but their version) came on “Hallaleujah.”

It lifted my soul as I was midway through. I could hear my sweet Bill singing it to me, as he has done before.

The song holds many memories for me.

One of the best was listening to all four Cupp boys singing it on the way home from a Georgia football game.

When the finish line came in sight, my adrenaline rushed!

As I crossed the finish line, I was looking for you. And you were there! It meant a lot to me.

wow howeawesome

I was trying to remember to say my word as I finished with my hands in the air!

When I crossed the finish line, I felt this overwhelming nausea rush over me and my skin became sweaty and clammy. But it wasn’t from over exertion, or pushing my body. It was all the evil and bad things of my past rushing out!

I had to go past you and keep moving away from the crowd to release it! Then as quickly as that feeling came, it left. And I felt euphoric. Euphoric in HIM!!!

Thank you for all your support through the study and the race! It meant so much to me.

I love groups of women encouraging each other! I was telling Diana today that it’s my favorite thing to take groups to retreats and getaways to get them closer to God!

I’m looking forward to see how God is going to open that door for me.  Thanks!  Michelle Deen 

I wanted to share this with you because this race of life is so much more than just going through the motions and so is an actual race event.

It can be so much more when we decide to create more purpose and meaning behind the journey and the finish line.

rebuild confidence course

Michelle’s race was about becoming fearless and building renewed confidence after a divorce.  Also, it was about her realizing her God-given purpose in life.

You too can have this opportunity as I have reopened the online course today. It will limited to a small number of participants so we can have a more personal experience with our online community.  Check it out and see what you think.  :-)


If you are interested in staying connected with me personally and my programs, connect with me at my website at then sign up for the HoweAwesome newsletter.  I send out weekly fun stuff from the web and great resources that will have you saying #HoweAwesome!!!

Do you have a race story or desire to have one?  I would love to hear about how you used a race to experience life transformation or how you believe it would support you in your life right now.

Share in our comments.

For those that comment here on the blog, I will pick one person to join the online course for FREE.

If you would like to read more stories, check out my book, “It is Finished” at 

IMG_5704aMany blessings, Michelle D. Howe




P.S. Michelle Deen experienced an amazing event one week before her race while on a cruise.  See what happened here.

Do you Believe This? Tammy Bolt Werthem



John 11:24-26

“Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. 

Do you believe this?”

Jesus asked a very important question to his beloved Martha.  Do you believe this?  Believing and embracing the resurrection power of Christ are crucial to our being faithful followers of Christ.  We must know the power of the resurrection to fully know Him.

The Gospels do not explain the Resurrection; the Resurrection explains the Gospels. Belief in the Resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith; it is the Christian faith. ~John S. Whale

Are you living in the resurrection power of Christ?  Do you believe this?

When we walk in the power of Christ, we walk in His victory.  Despite what circumstances and trials of life may dictate, we still get to choose the resurrection power.  I have had opportunity lately to practice this and am so grateful for the healing and saving power of the resurrected Christ.

Here is evidence that we are walking in Resurrection Power:

  • We are empowered to love and serve those around us. Life is not about us.  Our lives become a living sacrifice, unto the Lord.
  • We are awakened to the hurting people in our midst.  We walk into their pain, in Jesus’ name, instead of turning away.   We embody compassion and grace to the wounded.
  • Our lives demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit. We enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise.  We live as though we have been born again. We awaken to this reality with each new day.
  • We are no longer enslaved to sin.  We walk in freedom.  We experience forgiveness.  We admit our mistakes.  We live with a deep sense of gratitude and humility for all that God has accomplished through the resurrection of His son.

Romans 6:4-6 

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,

we too might walk in newness of life.

 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection. ~Watchman Nee

Praying your Easter week is full of awe and wonder of the amazing gift of new life in Christ. Celebrate the Risen Savior!

COMMENTS:  Please share your resurrection story with us:  “I was once ______________, and now I am ___________!”

waterfalls 3

It’s Okay to Be Weak (Denesia Christine)

One of the hardest verses, or concepts for me to grasp within my good ole’ American built culture, says that “it’s okay to be weak.” This goes against everything in my nature that tells me I must toughen up and get stronger whenever I discover a weakness within myself.

You know the sayings….

“Suck it up”

“No pain no gain”

“Toughen up”

“Move on”

“Get over it” .

I’m sure they are meant to be “inspirational” but are they doing more harm than good?

Do you know what Jesus said to Paul about weakness?

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

But even this is often overused within the church to tell people to “be strong in the Lord”. Even that statement sounds like it’s something I need to DO in order to overcome my weakness. 

waterfalls 1

I’ve always loved waterfalls; each waterfall has its own “feel” and beauty. Some waterfalls are majestic and powerful - the roar of the water can be felt deep in the core of your being, a wind blows just from the force of the waterfall itself and you can’t help but stand in awe of it.


Other waterfalls are gentle and quiet and beg the viewer to breathe deep the peacefulness it offers. These falls invite you to slip into the beauty and become one with it.

Even others have a beautiful blend of displays. These waterfalls can have slow caressing waters that hug close to the rocks at one point and rushing, bursting forward waters that crash out and down as fast as they can ~ all within one waterfall!

waterfalls 3

So, what does all this have to do with weakness? On my most recent waterfall chase, the Lord had a really clear point to make with me.

Do you know what it is that makes a waterfall a waterfall?

A gap.

It’s what happens when the water reaches a place that is lower than the other places. It’s what happens when the water encounters a gap in the path it was on before.

And it’s here that beauty is fully revealed.

I’ve got gaps too. I call them weaknesses. I used to hide them. But Jesus whispers, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

His grace is my waterfall!

His grace puts on a marvelous display of beauty when it encounters my weaknesses.

He fills my gaps with His love in so many ways.

waterfalls 4

This is a total paradigm shift. This response to my own weakness is so tender. Instead of hiding my weaknesses or trying to build up myself from underneath, I want to invite Him to pour out His love and grace all over me! I’m in awe of how His beauty is fully revealed right there IN MY WEAKNESS!

This new picture also encourages me as I relate to the people around me. Guess what, they’ve got weaknesses too.

What if my response to their weakness was tender and full of love and grace?

Could that have an influence on them?

Could I be one of the reflections of God in the waterfall that washes over their weaknesses?

Did you know that the waterfall waters are turned white because as they encounter the gap they are now reflecting light from many different directions instead of just from above?

Isn’t it amazing that God uses everything around us to reflect His beauty in the midst of our gaps.

~Denesia Christine

How do you see God revealing your gaps (weakness) in your life and what are you learning from them?


Meet one of our newest contributor to IWokeUpYesterday, Denesia Christine from North Carolina.  Denesia is an amazing nature photographer and writes from her encounters with God. Below she is hanging out on a rock overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Denesia will soon be a certified Recovery and Life coach.  You will see and hear more from her in the future.

confidence pic with Deni

In the meantime, go follow her on Instagram.  She shares some amazing photograph. Also, go check out her personal blog at the open bench.