Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Here's the thing...

So, here's the thing.  Remember that last post?  That was just a week ago.  I feel particularly like I'm under attack just after sharing something so raw.  I feel like I doubt myself more.  I question what God is speaking over my life.  I hear those age old lies in my head and heart, "you'll never conquer this."

The days since the last post have not been as, how shall we say, victorious?  I have been sleeping later.  My quiet times have been shorter.  Each morning that I chose to sleep in a bit, I consciously pushed snooze on my time with the Lord.


That doesn't sound like the lady from last week that wanted to shout from the rooftops:  "Good news!  I've tasted victory, and it's possible!"  It sounded more like that old, grouchy lady, "You can't do this.  Whatever you try, you will stay in this cycle of defeat."

But God.  I love when God intervenes.  He's always speaking to us.  It's time I listen.

My friend just gave me Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young.  I read it this morning in a bit of quiet time quickie.  I jotted the scripture verses down to look at later on and ran out the door.

This is how today's message read:
"Do everything in dependence on Me.  The desire to act independently- apart from Me- springs from the root of pride.  Self-sufficiency is subtle, insinuating its way into your thoughts and actions without your realizing it.  But apart from Me, you can do nothing: that is, nothing of eternal value.  My deepest desire for you is that you learn to depend on Me in every situation.  I move heaven and earth to accomplish this purpose, but you must collaborate with Me in this training.  Teaching you would be simple if I negated your free will or overwhelmed you with My Power.  However, I love you too much to withdraw the godlike privilege I bestowed on you as My image-bearer.  Use your freedom wisely, by relying on Me constantly.  Thus you enjoy My Presence and My Peace." {Jesus Calling, p. 261)

I am thankful for grace.  I am thankful for His mercies, new each morning.  I am thankful that I don't have to try to do this in my strength.  I don't do a quiet time in the morning out of duty, but rather, I meet with Jesus because He shows up.  I desire to be in His presence.  I desire to hear from Him.  I need to hear from Him.  

When I try to do any thing apart from Jesus, in my strength, rather than His, I am going to fail.  I cannot do life without Him.  I need to fall on my face to be reminded that He is the only who can accomplish any good thing.

Today, I begin again.  Thank you, Lord for your sweet mercy, your lovingkindness and your very presence.

So, here's the thing:  I'm here to say that THANK GOD I HAVE TODAY!  Regardless of what last year, last week, yesterday, or already this morning held, today can be different.  Today I can choose to live differently with my very next choice.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Morning of Victory!

Yay!  This morning I was that woman.  The woman I have dreamed and desired and longed to be for years!  I had a sweet taste of living in victory over something that has plagued my life for years!  Oh yes, it was sweet!

Ok, here's the backstory.  In my heart of hearts, I have desired to be an early riser.  Now, mind you, mornings, historically have not been my friend.  I have proclaimed on many occasions that I am not a morning person!  All of that is changing.

I have shared with you that Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst has been a very helpful tool for me in this life changing journey.  In one of the video sessions, she describes a person whose job it is to carry water.  But the bucket she carries has many holes.  Some of the holes are larger than others.  Some of the holes are in the sides, some are in the bottom.
As the water carrier, what hole would you fill first?  Some would argue to fill the largest one first.  It's the ugliest and stands out the most.  Some would argue to fill several of the small ones at one time so you get more accomplished all at once.  But if that hole in the bottom isn't filled first, then none of the other ones matter.

Make sense?

I had to ask the Lord what my bucket needed.  My heart had some healing to do, and I asked Him where to start.

Start with Me.  

Right, Lord.  I got it.  Give it to you.  Let you work this change in my heart.

Start with Me.

I got it.  Start with the hole in my heart that can only be filled with You.

Start with Me.

But Lord, I don't know where or how to fit it in.  There's so many things pulling at my schedule.  And I'm trying to exercise.  I'm trying to plan healthy meals.  I...  I...

Start with Me.  {Isn't He patient and merciful?}

Oh.  You mean, start today with you?

Yes.  Start with Me.

And each day?  First thing in the morning? It will have to be early morning?  Shoot.  {You remember I said, I'm not a morning person.}

While I did not hear an audible voice, {never have, actually}, I knew in my spirit that He was speaking this truth over my life.  Start each day with Him.  Start each day immersing my soul in His truth.  Make a date Him.  Just me with Jesus.

And y'all.  It's good.  He shows up BIG TIME.  It's sweet.  I anticipate it like a date!  There's been a few mornings that I have ignored His invitation and slept in.  I have found that I really miss that time.  Now, I can find it somewhere else in my day, but there is something so delightful about a quiet and still house in the morning.  It helps my mind and heart be still to hear from Him.

So back to my morning today.  I have been doing this morning routine for several weeks now.  And today it hit me: I was that woman!  I rose early, before the sun.  I began to pray and ask the Lord to speak into my heart.  Begging Him to be my portion, today.  Smitty made me a cup of coffee, 'cause he's wonderful like that and 'cause I do need the caffeine!  I took my dog for a short little stroll, drinking coffee all the while, wearing my pajamas {Ange, I might have to get a housecoat, after all}.  I tinkered around in our one-plant garden, harvesting little cherry tomatoes.  It was quiet and still outside.  The sun was now up.   My soul was quieted and prepared for the day.

Doesn't sound like much to you?  I have longed for the days where my day began this way.  I have desired to seek Him first, literally.  Because I am sinner, I will still have days that don't look like this.  I don't expect that everything's going to go my way because of a good start to the morning.  But I do know that my heart has heard from it's Maker this morning.  He says He loves me very much and wants me to be free of the sin than entangles.

Y'all, I am so hopeful.  I can taste the sweetness of victory over this cycle of defeat.  It's good.

Pray with me that I would accept His invitation each morning for our morning date.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

3 months? Surely Not.

I cannot believe that three months has gone by since my last post in this space.  Where do I begin?

I'm still on this journey to less of me and becoming more Christlike.  In terms of my exercise, I allowed the crazy schedule of our MAPP training, end of school, etc to get in the way of the wonderful routines I had established.  I am exercising about once a week currently, and I really am ready to get back to a routine.

In terms of my eating, I have fallen back into some bad habits.  I have indulged way too much this summer. Our lack of schedule and routine have also resulted in eating out way more than we usually do.  Which is real fun... but my choices are not always good ones!

So, as you may have guessed, I have not continued losing weight.  I have gained back a couple of the pounds I lost. I began feeling downhearted about it all.  Thankfully, the Lord loves me just where I am but loves me too much to leave me here.

My friend's church is doing the Made to Crave group study.  Thank you, Danielle, for your willingness to facilitate this group and be vulnerable along with us!  I loved this book and am grateful for the opportunity to hear Lysa Terkeurst speak in the DVD.  It also has a participant's guide for homework.  It's really good stuff.

I have been so convicted that anything that comes before the Lord in my life is an idol.  Anything/Anyone that I enjoy more than the Lord.  Anything/Anyone that I cling to more than Jesus.  Food, friends, facebook, foster care... {dog, that's a lot of F words.}  My relationship with food is unhealthy.  I have found that I trust in it, I love it, I run to it, I depend on it... you get the point.  I want that to be Jesus.  He loves me back!  Not the food.  He satisfies.  Not the food.

I'm pouring Scripture into my heart.  I am feasting on God's word.  I am trying to memorize Scripture so that is what I depend on.  {Not that basket of chips and bowl of guacamole.}  These are the verses I am working on this week:

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought with a price.  Therefore, honor God with your body."  I Corinthians 6:19

Thanks for praying with me.  Thank you for checking in on my journey.  My heart is changing.  It's painful.  I'm grateful.  I know this is not a quick weight loss goal, but rather it is a lifelong journey.   I've decided I'm going to enjoy the journey.  What about you?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hey y'all!

I'm still here!  Are you?  Hello?

What a few weeks it has been!  I am excited to post an update on this here little space!  It has been too long!  Well, where to start?  Our family is embarking on the adventure of foster parenting, so our weeks are really full with classes and preparation!  Our meals have been pretty quick or easy.  Which, unfortunately, in our home mostly equals not super healthy.  I am trying to remember to extend grace to myself as I know this is a season.

I weighed this week.  It was good news!  I have lost 19 pounds so far.  My first goal was 5%.  I met that pretty quickly.  I have been inching towards my second goal of 10% for about a month now!  This has been slow.  But I knew when I began this journey that I was not headed for immediate and quick weight loss. Rather, I am aiming for changing my heart and then my body.

I have a lot of days where I feel great!  I can tell I have more energy with the weight I have already lost.  Then, of course, there are plenty of days that I feel exhausted and worn out.  That, I am sure, has something to do with three kids and our current schedule!

Again because of our schedule, I have not exercised like I want to these last 2 weeks.  I was exercising about 5 days/week prior to our classes beginning.  This past week I only got in 3 days.  But, I can tell my heart is different... because I actually missed it!  Ha.  That's a first!

So, that's the news around here.  What about you?  How are things going for you?  Thank you for joining me in this journey!

Friday, April 1, 2011


Today and yesterday, I would be considered an overachiever IF I was trying to see how many calories I could take in.  Sheesh.  Adding all those calories into my LoseIt page was discouraging.  I am thankful that tomorrow is a new day.

My good friend, Leslie, and I are having Skype dates to discuss Made to Crave.  That's some good stuff!  Last night was our first date.  I was late because Smitty and I had a mini-date {meaning we only had one of our 3 children} and we chose to get yogurt for dessert!  I had to laugh at the irony. I texted Leslie to let her know I would be late for our first discussion because we were craving some yogurt!  {Grace, Muffy.  Remember to give yourself some, too.}

She looked right purty for our date.  Look, isn't she beautiful?

We laughed and laughed.  We shared what the Lord was doing in our hearts to bring us to this place.  It was really helpful and encouraging!

Here is a funny picture of my Skype date just after I {her Macbook, actually} got tackled by her four-legged monster, Knox.
And here's the culprit.  Ain't he cute?  Apparently, I {her Macbook} was sitting in his chair.  I'll know better next time.

I am thankful to have Leslie and all of you as companions for this journey!  I have felt encouraged today!  From my discussion with Leslie last night to my husband joining this exercise journey and pushing me to do my best to my phone conversations with Patrice {she tells me how beautiful I am every time we talk}, I am feeling encouraged!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Learning Curve

If you've stopped by today, thanks for reading.  I am praying for you.  You, the readers that happen into my little space here in cyber space.  I'm not sure who reads this or if anyone really does, but my prayer is that my journey to being refined might bring glory to God.

When I started this process, I began thinking: "Ok.  The things I have tried before and am currently doing ARE NOT WORKING.  So, how can I shift my thinking completely?"  Here are some things I'm learning along the way:

  • I have to drink tons of water.  I'm learning to like it.  Especially when I had the realization that, duh, like I could buy lemons, slice them and put them in the water.  Wait for it...  Get this:  AT HOME.  Huge revelation.  Never occurred to me before.  
  • I have to drink less Diet Coke.  Drastic measures, I'm telling you.  There is a body of research that is showing that the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas actually are not helping me at all!  In fact, they may be working against any efforts at weight loss.  The research shows that our bodies respond to the sweetener just like regular sugars and can create more of a craving for sweets.  That explains a lot.  I still drink some, but am trying to choose water {with lemon, 'cause I'm smart like that}
  • I have to exercise HARD.  As my dear friend gently reminded me, it is so easy to put the extra pounds on.  It is another thing entirely to work to get them off.  I've always thought I should be able to talk and exercise at the same time.  I like to talk.  The exercise I'm trying to do now brings my heart rate up so much I can't get too many words in... you know, for trying to breathe.  I'm also learning to like this.
  • I need lots of lean protein and fewer carbohydrates.  Y'all. Did you read that statement?  Have I ever told you how much I love bread?  And potatoes?  And pasta?  Well, it's true.  And while I don't make a list of off-limit foods, my intake of these sorts of carbs has to be decreased.  My body type and hormonal condition, PCOS, also comes along with some metabolic issues.  I hope to not have Type II Diabetes when I'm 35.  
  • I have lost some weight.  Thankfully.  But mainly, I feel better.  I feel stronger.  I like moving my body more.  I like putting good things into my body.  I also really like Dewey's cake squares...  I am learning that the number on the scale or in the tag of my jeans doesn't define who I am.  God took care of that on the cross when Christ died for me!  I am no longer a prisoner held captive by the sin of this world but His beloved child.
  • I have to examine my heart all. the. time.  I am learning to understand my motivations for eating and turn my cravings towards God.  I'm learning that craving anything else more than Him is really not good for me.   There's a word for that.  It's called idolatry, and I'm so guilty of it.  I'm learning giving myself tons of grace {thank you, Patrice, for that reminder!} and looking at each new day as a new start at life!  
  • I am using a fantastic tool to help me understand the depravity of my heart.  Lysa Terkeurst's book, Made to Crave is wonderful.  So many applications for this book, in my opinion, not just food and weight.  
  • I have a long way to go, both physically and spiritually.  I fall back into sin, if even in my thinking, so often.  But I know this process is refining me to be the woman God's called me to be and giving me His strength to carryout the purposes for my life.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Food diaries aren't the debil.

Food diaries aren't the debil. {anybody remember Waterboy?  Except, I think they were talking about foosball.} I digress.  Anyhow.  Weight Watchers had a food journal and I hated it.  I didn't do it everyday.  Weighdown Workshop had a food diary and I hated it too.  While in PA school, I learned that food journaling is very beneficial.  I didn't keep track.  I still felt constricted by it.

Well, now, I'm food journaling and seeing the many benefits of it.  For one, I feel more accountable when I have to write it down.  Mostly, I decided to give it a try because the thin, healthy sized folks said it was a good idea.  And what I had been doing previously was clearly not working.

Drastic circumstances call for drastic measures, folks.  When I started this journey, I was all about making healthy changes.  Things that I felt were not my style, became my style.  Things that I had previously sworn off because it was not my thing, became my thing.   Food journaling has been one of them.

Thankfully I found a great online tool to help me keep track of my caloric intake and exercise.

Loseit.com is a fantastic, free and easy way to stay focused and motivated.  Check it out!  I'm not getting paid anything to tell you that they are wonderful!  It has just been a wonderful tool for me, I thought I would pass it along!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More than a Quitter

I really struggled with whether or not to share all of this journey.  Why?

Weight has been such a deeply personal and private subject for me.  I played all sorts of mind games with my weight. "If only I were thinner..."  I have replayed so many scenarios, that in my mind, would have gone more favorably for me had I been thinner.  I have blamed a whole host of hurts on my appearance.  I just tuck these hurts away, wishing for things to be different.

As an adult I have been able to joke about different aspects of my body, but there is a lot of pain behind the humor.  Many of my insecurities are tied into my appearance.  I notice a difference in my self-confidence as my weight has increased.  I shy away from what the Lord's called me to do for fear of being the fat girl.  I can only hide behind so many pairs of forgiving yoga pants for so long!

I don't enjoy exercise. I don't like gasping for air while moving my body!  It boils down to, I don't like feeling the pain of exercise.  While I'm not a lazy person and certainly don't mind hard work, I have never been one of those women.  You know, the ones who love exercise.  I am a very active person, but did not make time for regular exercise.  I've always wanted to be an exerciser, but haven't stuck with a regimen long enough to see results.  

All of these feelings created this inner war going on in my heart.  I knew I was not doing what I needed to be doing.  I even knew how to get there.  I couldn't make myself do it.  {You can ask anyone who has ever struggled with weight.  We KNOW what we should be doing.}  But it is a struggle, just like any other area of sin, to surrender my wants and desires to His will for my life.   More than looking better, this journey is about coming to crave Jesus and His purposes in my life more than any food or anything else .  

So, why did I wrestle with sharing this journey?  Mainly for fear of failure.  I've tried so many times before and failed.  I don't want to fail publicly at something so private and personal to me.  I didn't want to share what the Lord's asking of me.  I don't want to give anyone more reasons to see me as a quitter.

A friend of mine, in a completely unrelated circumstance, told me one time that when things got tough, my style is to give up.  I haven't forgotten that.  I've pondered it quite a bit.  I've played scenarios over and over in my mind, asking myself if I'm a quitter.  I've laid it before the Lord asking what truth is there.  When it comes to weight loss and exercise, I know it's true.  Well, that and every other thing you can think of yucky to say about me is true.   Truth is, I'm a sinner.  I'm a glutton.  I'm a quitter.

BUT GOD.  He doesn't give up.  He doesn't fail or quit.  He is faithful to complete what He has started.  He has called me and I am His.  Because of Christ and His sacrifice for me, I am much more than this battle.  I am made for more than this.

This time is different.  This time I'm not doing it in my own strength.

31 "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
   “For your sake we face death all day long;
   we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  ~Heb.10:23

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Somewhere to go

I began this journey to a healthier lifestyle and weight on February 2.  I went to my annual exam and wept at the sight of my weight on the scale.   I was appalled at that number on the scale.  I had seen it before at the end of my last pregnancy.  But, this time, there was no baby, placenta and amniotic fluid to blame.  I was ashamed at where I had allowed my body to go.  I was scared of the ramifications of my unhealthy choices.  I was deeply grieved that the temple of God, that is my body, looked like this.

My Ob/Gyn was very helpful and considerate.  He is a very thin, small framed man, so how he got to be so sensitive to women and their weight issues is beyond me!  I was grateful for his real life suggestions of adding exercise to an already busy schedule.  He offered suggestions that seemed easy enough to implement immediately.  I was ready to do something different.

Something had to be done.  This was no new struggle to me.  I had grown up being chubby.  I've known the feelings of being ostracized for not being thin.  I've been the outsider because I wouldn't fit, literally and figuratively, in situations.  I've known the constant battle within of wanting desperately to be thinner, but craving foods that brought comfort.  I've tried all sorts of diet plans and regimes.  I've given in to more temptations while dieting than I can count.  I felt that I had tried it all with very little success.  This process had been painful and wasn't very fruitful.

But that day was different.  I felt the gentle but firm presence of the Holy Spirit saying, "now is the time."  I prayed and prayed. I confessed of my putting food and other things in the place of God.  I was on my face ashamed of the choices I had made.  I pleaded with the Lord to take this from me.  Miraculously, make it just go away!  I got on my knees and begged the Lord's forgiveness for what I had done to this gift of my body He's given me.

I felt a sweet forgiveness pour over me and then these words,
"I forgive you.  I love you very much.  
You're beautiful and you're mine.  
Now, get up.  
'Cause, Baby, we've got somewhere to go, and we can't take that with us."