My husband, Dusty’s, love language is quality time doing strenuous things together like mountain biking or rock climbing. My love language is food- delicious, expensive food. So earlier this spring we compromised on a date. I’d climb with him then afterward take me to a nice restaurant and I wouldn’t have to split an entrée with him.

Dusty is a climbing guide and always checks out a crag before taking clients. He wanted to try a very remote crag in the middle of Pisgah National forest because it wouldn’t have many other climbers there during the summer.

We started early in the morning because it was going to take about an hour to hike to it. The guidebook had said the area was relatively easy to find. It should have said, RELATIVELY in all caps because Dusty wasn’t sure which trail to take so our one-hour hike multiplied into two.

When we finally got on the rock. We climbed, ate our snacks and drank all the water and then around dusk headed back down the trail for dinner.

Halfway back down the mountain we came to Butter Gap trailhead where about 5 paths come intersect. It was getting dark under the canopy of trees and again Dusty wasn’t quite sure which trail to take.

After an hour we knew we should have made it back to our car. It was almost dark. Both our phones were dead and the one headlamp Dusty grabbed at the last minute was flickering on low battery.

Dusty is a 7 on the enneagram – he’s Mr. Optimistic glass isn’t half full its overflowing. I’m more of a 4 – Eeore and I have similar worldviews- My glass isn’t half full, it’s dry with spider webs at the bottom.

Dusty tried to motivate me by saying, “Hey lets think of things we are thankful for.

All that came to my mind was a long list of cuss words. As darkness crept in he said, “Snakes like to come out in the spring to find mates so watch your step.” It was about 10pm, snakes were lurking and not only would I not get a nice meal, I was getting no meal at all. I wasn’t even sure be out of the woods by breakfast the next day.

Suddenly a song popped into my head. We’d gone to a Hillsong concert the week before and I’d been listening to a particular song that resonated with me.

Don’t let your heart be troubled
Hold your head up high
Don’t fear no evil
Fix your eyes on this one truth
God is madly in love with you

I thought, “God you can’t be madly in love with me. I think you hate me and want me to die.”

But the next line of the music goes:

Take courage
Hold on
Be strong
Remember where our help comes from…

Where does my help come from? I remembered a Bible verse where someone prayed for God to take away a problem. But the Lord had said, “My grace is big enough for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.”

So, I started praying. “God, I’m weak, tired and hungry. You said you would be my strength. I need you now!”

I began singing the song over and over and something happened. Like the Grinch who stood on top of the snow topped mountain listening all the Whos down in Whoville sing. My heart changed. It expanded. Suddenly I could think of a ton of things I was thankful for. The gratitude changed my attitude.

About that time the trail split again. Guess what Dusty said?

“I’m not sure which way to go.”

I didn’t even cuss at him. My heart had changed. I was thankful. I was grateful. We were on an adventure together. The gratitude, the music, the Lord changed my heart.

Finally around midnight we found the dirt road. A lone pickup truck just happened to drive up by us in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. We were a little worried it might be an axe murderer, but Chester the garbage collector from Brevard stopped. He picked us up and drove us back to our car. We asked him why he was out here at midnight on these deserted roads. “I was just driving around,” he said. But I think Chester was an angel.

I didn’t get shrimp and grits that night. But the gratitude I found lasted a whole lot longer than the expensive meal would have. Instead of filling my belly, it filled my soul.

Raise your hand

I tumbled in the torrent like a lone sock in a washing machine- up, down, around with no sense of direction. My shoulder slammed against a rock, but the pain didn’t register. My lungs seized seeking air. The voice of the whitewater drowned all thought except one, “Reach up, reach up!”

Why am I here?

It had seemed like such a great idea earlier that spring. In my sophomore year of college I changed my major several times. Art went out the window when I got an F minus in a drafting class because my final smudged. I wanted to be a writer, so journalism sounded great, but I couldn’t pass the mandatory weed-out editing class—JM101.  After changing my major to geology I quickly realized geology wasn’t archeology. My teacher never even mentioned lost treasure or Egyptian ruins.

One night I screamed in frustration—literally, I opened the window and screamed, “What am I doing here!” Someone shouted back, “Shut up!” which was not helpful. Upon leaving for college my dad told me to have fun and make C’s, but I wasn’t having fun and I’d kill to pass with a D.

Frustrated, I snatched up my roommates Outside Magazine and began randomly flipping through its pages. Suddenly I saw it. Angels didn’t sing, but almost. A light from above highlighted the advertisement with a heavenly glow: Push yourself to meet new challenges and find your leadership style—you’re ready. Pictured above the caption a guy in a backpack stared out at a vista of snow peaked mountains surrounding a beautiful lake.

I immediately called the toll free number for more information and a few months later, here I was. Rock climbing in the Wind River Range of Wyoming sounded exciting, romantic even. I hadn’t counted on the endless hiking. My boots that looked so cute with their bright red laces at the outdoor store pinched my feet with each step. My spine slowly compressed under the 50 lb backpack and my stomach complained with constant hunger.

When I stumbled into camp the night before night everyone else had already eaten and were tucked snugly into sleeping bags like giant burritos. My team threw up our tarps, yes we slept under tarps not tents, and lay our weary bones down. As I waited for the sandman to find me I stared into the sky. The stars literally carpeted the heavens. I’m not being poetic. I’d often seen individual stars prick white holes in the darkness back home. But out here, far from civilization, the yawning black of space barely seeped through the cracks of milk that spilled across the heavens.

The next day our instructors told us to grab our ice axes and day packs. They pointed across the valley at a towering white glacier. “Today you’ll learn self-arrest techniques,” they told us. In other words, save yourself from tumbling to a gruesome death by stabbing your ice axe into the hard packed snow. But, to get to the glacier we had to cross a river.

The water foamed, frothed and practically growled like a rabid dog. We hiked alongside it searching for a place narrow enough to cross. Finally finding a few boulders close enough to traverse it, one of our instructors leapt to the other side.

After he went, my teammates from the day before followed. When it was my turn my instructor stretched his hand toward me and shouted to be heard over the roaring rapids, “Come on! You’ve got it!” I glanced at the boiling water, and then stared at his open fingers. Gritting my teeth I took two steps back and bounded forward, my arm extended, as I strained to grab his hand. With a sense of relief I felt my foot hit the rock on the other side. But no, I was off balance. As my fingers brushed his palm his eyes widened in horror. “No!” he shouted and lunged toward me. I slowly pitched backwards wind-milling my arms to no avail before I tumbled backward plunging into the torrent.

Like a solitary sock, I tumbled in the washing machine, up, down, around with no sense of direction. My shoulder slammed a rock, but the pain didn’t register. My lungs seized seeking air. The noise of the water drowned all thought except one, “Reach up, reach up, stick your hand up!” Without questioning the logic, I thrust my hand in the direction I hoped was up and I felt it.

Someone grabbed my hand and lifted me as if I was a small child, not a sopping wet girl with a heavy pack on my back. My guide grasped me in a hug then thrust me back digging his fingers into my shoulders painfully as if feeling if I were real. “I… I thought you were dead!”

“Mmm me too!” I stuttered, my jaw trembling with cold and fear.

“If you hadn’t lifted your hand I could never have saved you! What made you do it? How did you think lift it?” he asked.

Why did I lift my hand? Was it the voice of God calling to me, “Reach up!”

Now whenever I worship I remember this rescue. I couldn’t save myself. I was powerless in the raging river. The only thing I could do was lift my hand and hope someone above me would save me.

God is still calling, “Lift your hand! You cannot save yourself, but I can. I am here! I will pull you out of the deep waters and set your feet upon a rock.” Ps. 18:16, 40:2

Should Christians Practice Yoga?

In the past week several people approached me to ask about the Eastern religious roots of yoga. I felt compelled to bring a rebuttal of a recent sermon a prominent pastor spoke on the “demonic influences” of yoga. Why am I qualified to speak out? I have been in Christian ministry for the past 30 years: trained in the International School of Theology and have studied scripture carefully many years in order to “accurately handle the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). I’ve also been practicing and teaching yoga for several years and have seen a significant change in my body because of it.



I was skeptical of yoga when I first started practicing. I had beat my body up in many high impact sports such as racing motorcycles and mountain bikes and needed to find some kind of exercise to not only stay in shape, but also help me heal the impact injury these sports had caused. I came to a 26 posture hot yoga class and knew immediately it was something that would help my body.

There was no chanting, only coaching on how to do the postures correctly and safely. At the end we were to lie down and rest in “savasana.” During this time I would pray. I asked the Lord to bless the studio and draw the hearts of the teachers and students around me to want to know Christ and walk with him.

God answered my prayer above and beyond what I imagined. The owner soon asked me to be the chaplain of the studio. We began to have Bible studies there, play Christian music in the lobby and the owner would share scripture at the end of class. The studio has become such a light and I’ve seen many hearts change and grow in love and joy through knowing God personally.

Is the practice of yoga worship of an Eastern religion?


Many things that were once pagan have been reclaimed by Christians.

Christmas was once a pagan holiday. Many think December 25th was chosen because ancient pagan Roman midwinter festivals took place at this time. Since people were already celebrating then it would be easier for the predominately pagan Romans to convert to Christianity.

Also, Easter originally celebrated the Assyrian fertility goddess (hence the eggs and the rabbits).

The Olympics were originally held in honor of the Olympian gods. Even the Emperor Theodosius called the games a “pagan cult.” Yet now many Christians not only compete in the Olympics, but watch and cheer.

To say that Christians cannot redeem a practice that began as something else not only ignores history, but is also a dismissal of the life changing power of Christ.

What does Scripture say?


Of course the Bible doesn’t say, “yoga is good, or yoga is bad.” So how can we know from Scripture what God might think about this?

First Corinthians 8 is a passage that might shed some light on this subject. The Christians in Corinth were concerned about eating food that had been offered to idols. Back then food sold at the market often came from the pagan temples. Instead of FDA approved ground beef it was “BPA – Blessed by Apollo”. So the Christians were scared if they ate that brand of meat it would be considered idol worship.

Paul basically said, “Dude! God made the meat, not Apollo. So worship and give thanks to God and ask Him to bless it.” *This is very paraphrased.

How does this apply to yoga?

Yoga was originally used in eastern religions, but we can practice these postures without giving homage to those gods. For example we don’t worship the sun as a god when we do sun salutation. We believe Christ is the son of God and our savior. We worship him in all we do, whether in eating, work or exercise.

Sun salutation or SON salutation? We only salute Christ who backed up His claim of being one with the Father when he rose from the dead.

Is Yoga is Hinduism?


The term “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit, which means “to unite” –to unite the body, mind and spirit. Sure, Yoga originated in Hinduism, and it is still used in some Hindu practices today.

However, things have changed in the last few thousand years. Most yoga currently practiced in America only slightly resembles the original practice. In fact, most of what we do in the West isn’t the same yoga at all—it is only asana, the physical postures, and pranayama, the breathing exercises. This statement sums it up: Hinduism involves yoga; all yoga is not Hinduism. Some yoga teachers do chant or use influences from eastern religions in their practice. As Believers in Christ we must always use discernment in whatever we do. 1 John 4:1 tells us not to believe in just anything, but test it to see if it of God or not.

Is Meditation a dangerous practice?


Meditation is called for in Scripture— “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). Many Christians have been convinced that the only way to meditate is to sit still, empty your mind or chant. This is opposite of what Christians are called to do. We meditate on the God’s Word and his love and presence. We can even meditate on gratitude. Meditation is focusing your attention completely on something. I often meditate by memorizing scripture, praying through it, and then mentally chew on it. Meditate, concentrate, and focus on the love and goodness of our Father God.

Paul wrote a bit about working out. In 1 Corinthians 9:27 said, “I discipline my body like an athlete in training…” In 1 Timothy 4:8 he says, “Physical training is good…” All exercise is God given. We can treat yoga the same way we would treat any other workout: either to get strong and limber or to use it as a moving meditation, focusing our efforts on the creator of the universe. It’s time to take the ultimate test and find out the answer to one of life’s most important questions: which jersey shore character are you? And also, I like to think that when I raise my arms up, I am lifting them in praise to my heavenly Father. Either way, we take back what God meant for good and use it for His glory.