God’s Provision

Yesterday, I read an article in Guidepost magazine about this lady who was feeling down and went running. When she got to her mailbox, a friend had sent her a book because she had recently lost her dog.

I’ve been waiting on something for a while and today God delivered. I was starting to get a little anxious about the situation, but it resolved and I was very thankful for that. My sweet husband let me take a jog today and when I opened my mailbox, there was one thing in it – Chuck Swindoll’s newsletter and this was the envelope:

I just had to smile. When I read the newsletter, the story was about Abraham and Isaac, when God asked the father to offer his son. That was interesting because I just read that story about a week ago in my Genesis study.

Ya’ll, God really does love us and He speaks to us if we only listen. Too many times this past week He has spoken to me. I just pray that I will learn to be quiet so I can hear from Him more often.

Conformed versus Transformed

It’s so exciting when God speaks to me through His word. He can speak to you as well! I’m still in Genesis and following J. Vernon McGee’s book “Thru the Bible”. Reading Genesis 24 today about Abraham’s servant going to find Isaac (Abraham’s son) a wife. The word “transforms” popped off the page! Why?

My husband and I have been doing the “Transformed” Bible study by Rick Warren for about a month now. Then, I’m meeting with a friend for Bible study once a week and we started this book last week that talks about being transformed. It’s all over the place!

But what is transformation? Here’s what the Transformed book says about it:

“What is the difference between ‘conforming’ and ‘transforming’? According to the dictionary, to conform means to ‘make or become the same’ or ‘to behave in a conventional way by accepting without questions the customs, traditions, and prevailing opinions of others.’ In other words, to conform is to fit into somebody else’s mold; it’s to do things the way everybody else does.

On the other hand, to transform means to ‘change the condition, function, nature, character or personality’ of something.





Conforming is something we do to ourselves. Transforming is something God does to us.

Blessed Beyond Measure

I can’t think you enough for the kind words, gifts, cards, and support as I finished up teaching at the Carroll Wellness Center. I’ve fought back tears saying “good bye” to you guys, but it’s really just “see ya later”. You can’t get rid of me that easily.

You don’t know how much I’ve enjoyed teaching exercise, but more than that, I’ve been so blessed making new friends. I know some of your kid’s names, about the tough situations you’re going through, and the hurdles you’ve overcome. I’ve enjoyed watching you achieve things you didn’t think were possible and trying activities you were uncomfortable with.

You’ll be in great hands with Danni and Jenny taking over – they are young and energetic and I have no doubt they will give you harder workouts than I ever could! Keep up the hard work and know you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers, even though I won’t see you as often.

God bless you!


There’s only 8 business days left in the month of February. I know because I have decided to quit teaching group exercise classes at Carroll Wellness Center at the end of the month, and it’s a little bittersweet counting down the days.

Why have I decided to give up one of my favorite callings thus far in my life? Well, I must put my family first. Even though I was only teaching 4 classes each week, it really was eating into my family time. I was finding it hard to be a good wife and mom, so something had to go. I am sincerely going to miss what I’ve done for the past 4 years (teaching indoor cycling and BODYPUMP), but most of all I’m going to miss the folks who have attended my classes so faithfully. And from what they’ve told me, they’re gonna miss me, too!

So often, our culture tells to sacrifice our family for our job, hobby, or whatever else, but I’m at a point in life where God has told me to sacrifice worldly things in order to spend precious time with my husband and kids. When I was a “working woman” with a 40-hour-per-week job, I couldn’t understand how stay-at-home moms could do it. Now that I’m more of a stay-at-home mom, I don’t know how working moms do it! I think it’s just a different time in my life. Honestly, I’m grateful for it.

In a conversation the other day, a man called Christianity “radical” because it’s so different from the secular views of good, normal, or whatever you want to call it. It can be so hard to live outside of what everyone else is doing, but it can be so rewarding as well. I’m enjoying the time with all my boys – the adult one to whom my heart belongs and the two small ones who are an extension of us (and you know they have my heart as well).

Who knows? One of these days, I may be back teaching classes at CWC (if they will have me), but for now, I’m going to focus on my family. I’ll still have my part time work at Joy Ranch and teach a couple of classes at churches each week, but my days will be spent mostly with my family. Time passes all too quickly and I can’t get these moments back.

Thank you for your support of my endeavors with Thrive, and it seems, my ever-changing schedule!

Study of Genesis

Right before Christmas, I started studying the book of Genesis. I’ve read bits and pieces before, but not done an in-depth study of it. I’m really enjoying it and came across this that I wanted to share with you today:

Excerpt from "Thru the Bible" with J. Vernon McGee (Vol. 1, page 28)

Excerpt from “Thru the Bible” with J. Vernon McGee (Vol. 1, page 28)

I’ve already learned so much in this study and I love Mr. McGee’s insight and wisdom. Have you ever considered the word “replenish” in Chapter 1, verse 28? That stood out to me when I read it and he goes on to explain more about that.

I encourage you more than anything to get to reading the Word of God. I don’t have time to read novels, but I make time to read my Bible at least 5-6 days a week. My goal is daily, but sometimes I fall short. I learn so much and I hear God’s voice in what I read. Ask me why I’m such a happy person. This has a lot to do with it. 🙂

The end of 2016

Even though the bed was comfortable and I didn’t want to rise, I got up with my husband at 4:30 am this morning. He had to go to work and I really wanted to get my Bible reading in before the boys woke up. I’m glad I did. I’ve had time to pray, journal, and read my Bible.

Honestly, I was in tears as I prayed this morning and wrote down my thoughts. I’ve been a little emotional over the past few days – I think it’s a combination of women’s hormones and I tend to be a little blue after Christmas (gasp!). Even we overly optimistic folks have our down days!

One thing I wrote about this morning was that if 2016 had been my last year on earth, what would I have hoped to accomplish? My #1 thought is that I want my kids to love Jesus and know that He loves them. As cheesy as it sounds, that’s really it. I feel like I’ve been somewhat successful in teaching them about Him, but I have lots of room for improvement. Just last night, Ezra was asking where the devil lives – he thought he was put somewhere by God (I assume hell is what he was thinking). I told him that the devil is on the earth for now, but one day, God is going to put him in his place forever more. I’m glad these topics come up so I can tell him the Biblical truth about things.

I’ve seen lots of people posting about how glad they are that 2016 is coming to a close. I’ve seen a lot of “F” bombs about 2016. It hurts my feelings. We should be thankful for each day God has given us. It’s OK to be optimistic about the coming year, but couldn’t it be so much worse??? Honestly folks, we don’t appreciate how good we’ve got it and I think it’s time that someone points out how blessed we are. Even in the worst of your life, as an American, you still have it so much better than most people on earth. Food on your table, clean drinking water, heat in the winter, a car to drive…come on! And yet we gripe and moan about how bad it is. Shame on us.

As we close out this year and enter the new year, I give thanks to God that he let me live to see this day. My prayer is that I can live to see my children grow up so I can teach them what really matters – the love of Jesus and to share that love with the world.

I’ve set some goals for the year, but I don’t feel now is the time to share them. Maybe next week. If I need to pray for you and the year to come, let me know. I promise to add you to my list and pray for your regularly. I hope you’ll do the same for me.

Year End Review

Happy New Year!

The end of the year arrived very quickly! I had intended the newsletter to be at least a quarterly event, but the everyday events got in the way. I wanted to share with you what has transpired the last half of this year.

Working with youth at Joy Ranch – In March, I began meeting with the children at Joy Ranch, a Christian Home for Children. In the beginning, I was meeting with the boys and girls of all ages, providing exercise activities with devotions and prayer. We quickly noticed that most the boys were getting a lot of physical activity with their extracurricular sports, so we adapted the program to work mostly with the girls. During our visits, I always shared a devotion or scripture and some physical activity (jump rope, soccer, basketball, outdoor playground time, etc.). In August, I began working part time at Joy Ranch as the Media & Communications Specialist, so it’s been hard to find as much time for weekly visits. However, we still have sporadic events such as swimming lessons when we can.

GO Group – In June, I had a meeting in my home to brainstorm ideas how we could address needs in the community. Some ladies from my church as well as some family members attended the meeting and we decided to hold a one day Bible school as well as a bake sale to benefit Joy Ranch. After another meeting in July, both events were held in August. We raised over $300 for Joy Ranch and had a one day Bible school at Stone Mountain Baptist Church in Laurel Fork.

Volunteering at Laurel Meadows Nursing Home – I continued to visit the folks at Laurel Meadows on a weekly basis through August – painting fingernails, praying, and listening to stories the residents told. Upon taking the job at Joy Ranch, it has been hard to find as much time to visit, but I still do when I can.

Youth Fitness Class – What an experience! I offered a youth fitness class at Carroll Wellness Center in July once a week and had about 6 kids attend. I taught them about heart rate, nutrition, and created different activities for each session. Opportunities arose to talk about Jesus and our faith, which I’m sure was a divine thing! We ended the month with a smoothie party and each child got a goodie bag with a journal and healthy snack, along with a recap of what we had learned. I would like to do this again next summer.

Speaking at YFi – Also in July, I spoke on Teen Health and Fitness at the YFi Youth Summit held in Max Meadows, VA. Initially, I thought it would mostly be about nutrition and exercise, but after researching the topic, I found the biggest issue in teen health and wellness is spiritual and emotional. I gave a very emotional speech about how we need to help these hurting youth before they hurt themselves.

CrossFun Games – This was the biggest undertaking of the year! I’m so thankful for the many volunteers that helped facilitate the athletic competition and for the organizations that donated door prizes for the event. The fifteen competitors worked hard in the blazing September heat, but got beautiful handmade trophies by Rob Redus.

Exercise Class at Mayberry Presbyterian Church – In October, I began teaching a Christian exercise class which is free to anyone who wishes to attend. We meet each Tuesday evening at 5 pm in the community building and exercise to contemporary Christian music. Class sizes range from 4-8 people on average and we have a wonderful time of fellowship. Each session included scripture/devotions and prayer.

It has been a blessed, busy year. I’m not sure what 2017 holds, but I will continue to follow God’s lead and serve as He directs. Please continue to pray for this ministry and if you feel led to donate to the cause, your gift would be most appreciated. The details are at thrivewellnessministries.com/donatepurchase/.

Thank you for your support this year. I pray that you and yours have a blessed coming year!

Mandy Nester
Thrive Wellness Ministries, LLC

Download a pdf copy…

Isaiah 54

I have this music CD in my car that are verses being sung to help you remember scripture. I’ve been listening to it for a few months and one of the verses is Isaiah 54:2 “2Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;”

We went to a Thanksgiving service Sunday evening and the sermon included this verse! I think God is speaking to me through this, but I’m not 100% sure what the message is yet. The pastor pointed out Sunday that this particular group of folks was getting ready to experience growth in the Bible. Not sure how this applies to my life, but I’m looking forward to seeing what is in store.

I decided to read a bit more in Isaiah 54 today, and verse 13 jumped out at me “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” I love the thought of my children having peace because they know the Lord. Thankfully, my four year old is starting to tell ME about Jesus and things he’s learning about the Bible. He knows Jesus died on the cross for our sins so we can go to heaven. As a mom, that’s one of the best feelings in the world. I’m by no means the perfect parent, but I’m teaching our kids about our God that loves them so much and that’s the most important thing we can do.

It made me think about the following verses as well…

Deuteronomy 6:6-9King James Version (KJV)

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

I don’t have enough scripture hanging in my house, so that’s something I need to improve upon. We’re bombarded by so many other messages and images each day, we really need to have God’s word in our faces to combat the other things we see and hear.

I have failed.

Recently, I heard of a gal who is 16 and pregnant. It broke my heart, because even though I don’t know her very well, I remember thinking nearly a year ago that someone needed to step in and invite this gal to church. It was supposed to be me. I failed. I never “got around” to asking her to come to church. Or go to any church. I never went back to try to create a relationship with her. I feel like when I give my account to God, this may be included in one of the times I was prompted by the Holy Spirit and I didn’t follow through. My heart is quite broken about this, in all honesty. Don’t try to make me feel better by saying “It probably wouldn’t have made a difference” or something like that. Now, we won’t know because I didn’t do what I was supposed to.

I accepted Jesus as my savior when I was a small child. I lived for only myself until the past few years of my life when I realized it’s not about me, it’s about Him. Even now, when I consider myself a “good person” and my soul is saved, I still slip up. Thank God for His grace! Even though I fail, He still has the victory. I have victory through Him.

I’m not giving up. I’m going to try to develop a relationship with this gal who has been blessed with a little life to come. I’m going to try to convince her to choose life if she’s considering other options. Step up with me church. Let’s make a difference! I’m tired of making excuses about why I’m not doing more for God, aren’t you?


Patience and Trials

This morning’s sermon really spoke to me. The pastor said it would be about patience, but it ended up speaking to me that God is trying to make me stronger and when we finally get to heaven, perfect.

I’ve been going through a hard trial these past couple of weeks and I’ve let it get me down. I’ve played the victim, when that normally drives me crazy to hear other people in my shoes. It didn’t really occur to me what was happening until this morning listening to the preacher talk about how God is a loving father trying to raise his children right. I’m glad I was in the right spot at the right time to hear the message.

Friend, are you letting the trials in your life get the best of you? Don’t do it! Persevere and hang on because God is trying to do something big in your life!