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Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

Dena Johnson Martin blogspot for Dena Johnson of Dena's Devos

What comes to your mind when someone says self-care?

Do you think of a luxurious spa day?

A regular mani/pedi?

Maybe you think about an extravagant vacation.

A day at the beach.

An exciting weekend with the girls.

Or maybe it’s something simpler for you.

A candlelight bubble bath.

A quiet walk in the park.

A bike ride around the lake.

A quiet evening of Netflix.

A book and a chair next to the water.

Do you know what I think about?

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

Yes, I think of this well-known scripture.

Read it again.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Do you see what that implies? It implies that we must first love ourselves before we are able to love our neighbors.

The truth is we cannot give what we do not have. Are we drained? Are we mentally exhausted? Have we given until there’s nothing left to give?

If so, maybe it’s time to slow down.

Take a deep breath.

Find some way to recharge our bodies, our minds, our hearts.

For years, I gave. I gave to my husband. I gave to my kids. I gave to the congregation we served. I gave and I never had anything that filled my cup.

I remember one day going outside and mowing the yard. That’s not exactly something I consider self-care, but as I looked at the freshly mowed grass, I was overcome with this amazing sense of accomplishment. It was something I had missed for a long time.

When I became a single mom, I somehow instinctively knew I had to take care of myself. I had three little ones completely dependent on me with no one to help on a regular basis. I knew that if I didn’t take care of myself, I wouldn’t be able to care for them.

And that’s when I began my journey of self-care.

My self-care had to be cheap! After all, I was a single mom struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.

I took up running.

I had never been a runner, but I found that running was empowering! I felt that sense of accomplishment that was simply overwhelming (in a really good way). It made me feel strong—like I could overcome anything! It was the place where I could pour out my heart to God and return renewed.

Running saved me.

What is it for you? I recently asked this question on my Facebook page. The answers were as varied as my friends.

Do my nails! It relaxes me and make me feel girly!

Wake up before my toddler and drink coffee and read.

Take a nap.

A bubble bath with bath salts and soft music.

Get a massage.

A daily walk while I listen to a book.

Hike or the occasional road trip.

Anonymously gifting people at the thrift store.

Eating daily desserts.

Sitting by the river with my Bible.

I just tune into my body and go with what’s needed.

Horseback ride.

Curling up on the couch with my dogs.

Turning off the news and talking with my friends.

Read a good book.

We are God’s holy temple, sacred and set apart for His purposes. If we aren’t caring for ourselves—our bodies, our minds, our hearts—how can we be fully prepared for His purpose?

If we aren’t caring for ourselves, how do we have the strength to care for others?

Are you caring for yourself? Are you loving you well? Can we make a decision together to start looking for ways to love ourselves way? To find ways to pause and be renewed?

I know I need it.

I am so excited to announce the Launching Into Freedom Conference to be held this Saturday, April 10.

A friend of mine went through a really tough time a while back. Her daughter was really sick and nearly died, and then her husband left and filed for divorce. It was a pretty dark season, as you can imagine. 

She needed help, encouragement, support, resources…  What made this a little different for my friend is that she is a Transformational Coach by profession. And so, when she got back on her feet and started moving forward again, she wanted to put together some help and support for other women who have also gone through divorce.

She wanted all that pain to mean something, to accomplish something good, and she felt like God wanted her to do something special!  She is hosting this FREE, one-day live event and she has asked me to be part of it!

I’m teaming up with her, along with a number of other amazing people, who want to encourage YOU or anyone you know who might need this conference to help walk through the difficult season of divorce!

Here are some things we will be talking about:

  • How to find some peace through the storm
  • Is it even possible to forgive?
  • What will life look like going forward?
  • Will things ever get back to a new normal?
  • How to overcome pain
  • Will I ever find love again?
  • And much more!

These will be short, to the point, conversations with incredible speakers - people who have battle scars like yours, and who live to help you survive – and thrive!

So- what would it be worth for you to know how to get back to a better life?  What would it be worth to be able to listen, firsthand, to the stories of others who can help you? This is such a valuable opportunity and it’s FREE for you right now!

I really want you to be there, on April 10th at 11am Central, so here’s the link to register for your FREE ticket!

Please sign up now and invite anyone you know who might need the encouragement!



A few weeks ago, I told you about our amazing trip to the Sight & Sound Theater in Branson to see a live performance of Jesus.

I have great news for you!

Maybe you can’t make it to Branson, Missouri, or Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to see the show.

But now you get a chance to see the show LIVE!

Here’s the news release explaining how YOU can watch Jesus live this Easter!

This Easter, Sight & Sound is bringing its groundbreaking original stage production “JESUS” to screens worldwide in a special live broadcast event. Already seen by more than 4 million people, audiences from across the globe will now be able to watch the greatest rescue story of all time as it comes to life like never before: live from the Branson stage.

“For more than 40 years audiences from all over the world have been coming to Sight & Sound to experience the Bible coming to life on stage,” said Sight & Sound Chief Story Officer Josh Enck. “Now, we get to go to them.” 

With cameras covering the theater from every angle, including on stage and behind the curtain, audiences will get a front row seat to every spectacular moment of the show as it unfolds in real time. The live event will include a 30-minute pre-show and a 20-minute intermission, with exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews and a sneak peek at how the production was created.

“‘JESUS’ is a story about the man who strapped on his sandals, rolled up his sleeves, and reached into the lives of those sinking beneath the storms of life,” Enck continued. “We’re thrilled to bring this story to the world again for Easter. This time, in a brand-new way.”

Last year in the midst of the global pandemic, Sight & Sound released a pre-recorded version of the “JESUS” production over Easter weekend. Nearly 3 million people tuned in, making it part of their quarantined Easter experience. That event led to the launch of Sight & Sound TV, and the company’s first-ever live broadcast, “QUEEN ESTHER—Live,” which attracted viewers from more than 100 countries over Labor Day weekend.

This special Easter broadcast of “JESUS—Live” marks only the second time Sight & Sound has produced a live, televised show, and the first time ever from its location in Branson, Missouri.

From the bustling streets of Jerusalem to the raging Sea of Galilee, “JESUS” is an action-packed musical stage adventure for the whole family!

Join Peter, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene and a multitude of others as they journey alongside the most famous person ever to walk the earth. Witness the most miraculous events in history as Jesus sets sail with fishermen and makes disciples out of the least expected. The lives he touches will never be the same.

Experience the greatest rescue story of all time as it comes to life on stage with massive sets, special effects and live animals in this original stage production from Sight & Sound Theatres®.

Where to Watch ”JESUS – Live“

Live Event: Friday, April 2, 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4) 

Livestreamed encore showings:
Saturday, April 3, 3 p.m. EDT and 8 p.m. EDT
Sunday, April 4, 3 p.m. EDT and 8 p.m. EDT