It was my first step into freedom and I now experience His freedom daily!
In Jan 2015, I joined Stepping into His Image. I was new to the group and my worries were that I would feel uncomfortable. Truly my fears were never realized. The weekly workouts energized my body and mind. The weekly topics encouraged and challenged me spiritually. Each week I felt like God was speaking specifically to me. I was reminded of God’s love for me and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. As we all do at times, body image and understanding God’s view of ourselves can become distorted, but SIHI helped me reflect daily through prayer and reading the Bible focused studies. I was reminded that God’s plan is good, ALL THE TIME. Through workouts, fellowship, and focus on God’s word, I was able to find a renewed connection with God.
Working out with like-minded women to Christian music was exhilarating. Each week I did the homework and got into an effortless daily routine of spending time with God. Being able to share my life with other women with a weekly topic structure made me realize that I am not alone and that God loves us all no matter what we do.
Being a leader for SIHI helped me grow spiritually. I learned so much from the ladies in my group. It was so awesome to see God work in each of their lives. Leading the ladies through SIHI helped me grow in my own relationship with God. I reminded myself that lasting change only comes from God and through a right relationship with Him, that change can and will happen.
Going through SIHI has helped me grow spiritually and emotionally. It reminded me to spend time with God daily and open up to the other woman about what was really going on in my life. Many of the women had gone through or were going through similar things as me and that made it easier to share my fears and struggles.
I joined the Stepping in His Image group at my new church looking for friends and starting a new year's resolution to exercise and join a Bible study, and I completed the commitment with not only new friends, better health, but a renewed relationship with Jesus and deeper experiential understanding of my identity in Christ! After 20 years of working with university students as well as personal experience, I've come to recognize that at the center of many of life's struggles is oftentimes the issue of identity and security. After going through SIHI, I'm even more convinced that living in the truth of our identity in Christ is the key of what Jesus meant when He said, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!
Going through the SIHI Bible study was very enlightening for me. It taught me how God views me, and how inaccurate my view of myself really was. I also very much enjoyed the workout portion of SIHI. Each week was a different workout and often times guest instructors would come lead the class. I feel like the combination of a physical workout, and a Bible study on God's view of me, is what I needed. I learned so much about God's love for me, had a good workout, and made a few friends with whom I still do things with. I was brand new to Mariners when I did the SIHI Bible study, and it was part of God's plan for me. I was blessed to have been asked to co-lead the study for the next session, and that lead to another break through for me. I recommend SIHI for all women who are ready to see themselves as God sees them.
I have been super blessed to participate in Stepping Into His Image once as a teammate and as co-leader of a group. I loved the camaraderie between the ladies and encouraging team environment that developed from working out and walking through life together. Like a race, we might be running at different paces, but we can help pick each other up along the path and support each other with love and truth from God's Word. The connection between training our body, mind and spirit with the power of Jesus is compelling! My only complaint is that we stop meeting after 10 weeks. I know that we have also created physical and spiritual habits together that continue beyond our group!
As a former college athlete, and now as a high school math teacher in a Christian private school, I have struggled daily trying to figure out how to motivate, inspire, encourage, and support young women and get them to see the beautiful and unique individual that God has created them to be. I see young ladies struggling daily to fit in and try and be what they think the “world” wants them to be. I have prayed for many years that I could somehow combine my passion for fitness, passion for the Lord, and passion for young people, and use it to inspire real and lasting change in young women’s lives. When a great friend of mine, who has been through the siHi program herself, was sharing with me the impact it made in her life, I just knew it was what I had been praying for for so many years. During my spring break this year, I was able to run my first of hopefully many siHi groups with some young ladies that attend my school. I had never had them in class so I was a little nervous about what their participation would look like and how willing they would be to really open up. During that week, I saw God work in some amazing ways. We had such a great time working out and then really just seeing how God created us uniquely for His unique purpose. I felt like each day that we met, I could see how they were shaking off the lies of the devil and seeing themselves through a new lens. There is nothing more empowering for a young lady than to truly love themselves exactly the way they are. Although I think the girls will continue to struggle with their identity at times, I feel like siHi provided them a foundation and understanding about themselves that they will always be able to go back to when they feel themselves sliding back towards doubt and insecurity. I saw major growth and understanding in their relationship with Christ and that is the greatest outcome I could have asked for. I can’t wait to do this program again! Thank you Ericka and Stacey for listening to God and creating a program that is changing the lives of so many ladies!
SIHI was a high impact Bible study for women of all ages. I believe that I was the eldest in my small group and the entire class (pushing 65). The younger women were very energetic, enthusiastic and friendly! I tried to keep up with them in the physical work-out portion of the evening (for 4 or 5 push ups, then went to my own pace and level). Nobody even glanced at me! I loved that I could exercise at my own speed and strength and not feel old and unworthy to be in such a "fit" fitness class. When we broke into small groups for discussion, I connected with the women and the spirit of God's healing and grace. With open sharing about our lives, we quickly became close. Looking back through my journal, some of the highlights for me were - I am an accepted child of God, a loved child of God, Jesus will help me if I just turn to Him. He helps me when I am not even aware of it, by placing His hand of blessing on my head! God values me! I have become more open-minded to what God has for me and my heart. God fashioned our hearts individually! Speaking our truths makes us stronger. He made me in His likeness, gave me my mind, it makes Him sad when I don't follow Him. Walking close to God will provide me with added protection against the temptations I face, I don't have to face them alone! Others can help me to learn how to develop faithfulness in my life. This is a big part of my spiritual growth! It makes me feel like I am holding up my end of being God's child. When I come near to God, God will come near to me! Serenity hints at tranquility, having an inner calm in the midst of the ups and downs of life. It involves learning to be content with the things that cannot be changed in my life.I want more of "inhale good, exhale evil, inhale God, exhale evil".
Watch the impact that siHi has had on these ladies below...