Monthly Archives: February 2012
Happy Ash Wednesday and the start of our focus on the Easter season and what Jesus’s sacrifice meant!
When I consider what Jesus has done for me, anything I might consider doing, or giving up seems to pale in comparison.
It halts my complaining, my groaning and my whining as well as my bragging and gloating.
So it’s that time of year when many people give up things that they enjoy. Soda, chocolate, dessert… much of the time it’s food.
I asked my daughter what she might like to give up for Lent. She replied, “Do I have to?” To which I told her she didn’t have to, but it’s a good thing to do, and why. My son on the other hand felt led immediately up for the challenge! The differences in their reactions lead me to believe it’s a heart issue. Don’t we usually say, “Do we HAVE to?” When asked to give something up. Even as an adult I don’t really appreciate someone suggesting something might be causing me more harm than good. That’s called pride.
I like the idea of giving something up for Lent. God says self-denial is good, and teaches us a lot.
We have time to focus on God when those desires of what we “used to do/eat” rear their head. We can take that time to reflect on whatever “that” means in our life, not just now – but throughout the year. Self denial, and things that get in way – are not bound to JUST Lenten season. In fact, if we recognize them as that much of a vice – shouldn’t we truly get rid of them altogether?
This Scripture always hits me deep in my soul:
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-17
So basically we aren’t called to announce what we’re giving up. In fact, if we’re doing it for God – He’s the only one who needs to know. When we go and announce it to show our goodness – that’s missing the entire purpose. The same goes for COMPLAINING (of which I am the worst!) about what you’re giving up. Remember – it’s between you and God.
Whoa is me.
Feel sorry for me.
Look how great I am for giving up ______.
Yeah, that pretty much punched me right in the gut. Thanks God, I needed that.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” – Luke 16:10
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45
Tragedy happens, and what is the first things we turn to?
Even as a little baby, when we cried – we were comforted with food.
This can be a good thing.
Sometimes we need a temporary comfort in food because we don’t FEEL like eating at all. People who love those who are hurting want to let them know they’re thought of, loved… especially during a sad time.
Unfortunately, we like to take it to the next level don’t we?
Tragedy hopefully doesn’t happen everyday. So eating over everyday stresses, or even worse – senselessly eating… it’s not good for us. It’s not helpful or beneficial for our goals.
It becomes the rule, instead of the exception.
So how do we stop? How do we go from “eating through a depression” to coping without food as our helpmate?
Well I have suggested to you prayer, and Scripture memorization – and that is the BEST place to start. Starting is the most important part to healthy change. But a few other things that have worked for me are:
– Remove all temptation from your house for at least a month, maybe longer. Bye-bye Sugar cereals and oreo cookies!
– Eating sugar makes you want to eat more sugar, so take it off of your menu if it’s a vice!
– Always make sure there are plenty of veggies and fresh fruits available to you, and plan your meals and snacks. Schedule in more trips to the store.
– Brush your teeth after dinner to slow down the temptation of eating at night. Then do mouthwash – minty fresh!
– Drink plenty of water before each meal and throughout the day. Before and after workouts. Hydrate!
– Don’t skips meals OR snacks – this messes up your metabolism and your body NEEDS a steady stream of energy. Limit portions vs. cutting out “meals”.
– Write out your goals of food and exercise and share them with a trusted friend who can help keep you accountable!
– Did I mention PRAY?
Let me tell you, I didn’t want to change at first either. I had to have a motivating reason… and first it was seeing a picture of myself – that I didn’t recognize myself… at a time my mom’s health was at an all time low.
God placed a desire in me to reflect Him in all ways… and at the time, much of His work had been growing me “inside” – but the growth that needed to begin was what other people saw first in my outer shell.
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” – Romans 12:9-12
My mom used to make me eat brussel spouts. I was pretty sure they had thorns in them.
I made the mistake of sharing with my children, my “fits” about brussel spouts.
Why don’t they remember the specific chores you instruct them to do, but can remember silly stories of yester-year you mentioned in passing?
So I had this great recipe from a friend on Facebook. It much like my asparagus recipe from Pinterest, but add onion powder. Bake, not steam.
Personally – I thought they were great.
But I did hear lots of, “These aren’t just BAD, they’re really, REALLY yucky.”
They were NOT that bad!
They’re actually mild and tasty! [not to mention great for you!]
I made sure everyone at least tasted them. I will probably regret that, since I swore my mom hated me for making me eat them.
So much for trying something new!
Off to apologize to my mom, again….
What new tastes have you tried? Were they are flop with you or your family? We must keep trying!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
We built our house almost 10 years ago now… It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but when I reflect all that has happened in 10 years – it’s pretty unbelievable. When we began designing our project, we had 3 children, and hoped and prayed for a 4th… which we were pregnant with before the project was complete. We moved in June, we had #4 right after Thanksgiving. Wow, what a year!
My heart was full. Two healthy boys, two healthy girls… a roof over our heads designed with the 6 of us in mind.
When you build a house – you attempt to pre-consider everything you might or COULD need in the years to come. At least you try. We had to scale back our project a few times during the process to get more in-line with budget figures, and at the time, we felt we made the best decisions we could have…
But I will never forget my father-in-law saying, “There is no perfect house, your needs are always changing.” I considered what he meant… and we tried to focus on structurally what needed to be the priorities. I got it, what you need with 4 kids under the age of 5 is different when they’re teenagers, and when you’re empty nesters. I thought I got it.
Turns out, he was more right than I could have imagined. We added 4 MORE children to our original house plan of 4 in those following 6 years. Or rather, God did. I praise Him that we were open to His plan for our family … but with it, obviously came some change from our original plans. Paint is easy to change, you can buy more dressers, and stack up the beds… but then we dealt with things like, “we don’t fit at our table, let alone in our dining room…” and “how to we manage the laundry ‘situation’ that is over taking our bedroom?”
Things had to change because it wasn’t working well.
Going from 4 to 8 certainly didn’t happen overnight, but slowly things didn’t work anymore when the number doubled.
I was blessed with a friend who helped me envision my “new” dream for our house to function better… and it allowed me to let go of the selfish desires I had in “my plans” for our family of 6 and allowed me to lovingly embrace the functionality of God’s plan for our family of 10.
Letting go of my original plans was actually somewhat painful for this structured, planner of a girl. Realizing that we’d never fit at the Crate and Barrel table I lovingly chose when we were first married was the first of silly, material heart-breaks I had to release… That might have been WHY I put it off until the change was so needed, I no longer cared what my original plan was.
In the end, I knew it didn’t matter WHAT table we were together at, but that we were together.
God allowed me to focus on what I did have – instead of what I didn’t… and obviously – the eternal value of my children meant SO much more.
Change is like that.
Sometimes we avoid it. We dread it. We put it off. Sometimes in the process of change – it can be ugly, frustrating…
… even though we KNOW in our hearts something needs to change for things to work better. For our bodies. For our witness.
Then, after the change – we wonder WHY it took us so long to make that first move.
You know where I’m going with this…
God never promised you’d be comfortable. He promised to comfort you.
Bob Harper, [or the powers that be that tend to his Facebook page] reminded us last week to not get comfortable. Just when you reach one goal – be looking towards the next one! So… if you’ve conquered a goal recently – what was it? What is your next big goal? Let me know how I can be praying for you as you strive to be healthy for Him!
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14
Need some motivation?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1
I’m grateful my husband doesn’t have to travel much. This time of year he leaves more than normal, but ordering merchandise for our stores is the lifeline for our stores being successful… so we do the best we can while he is away. His flights, short nights, and long days of number crunching aren’t exactly fun or relaxing – but he makes the best of it.
When he returned home Saturday, he shared with me about a majority of the people he saw… if anything, it was a motivation for him to continue being healthy for Him. He also shared with me the level of impatience of people he encountered… including simply waiting inline for a boarding pass.
There were only three people in line while my husband got his boarding pass. A person in front of him, and one behind him. He said the man behind him continually sighed and acted annoyed… for the total of 3-5 minutes he waited.
My husband is one of the most patient, well-mannered people I know… so I can imagine his expressions while the drama-fest of a 3-year-old trapped in a 50-year-old man’s body was going on behind him.
But it’s true – as a society… we wanted things instantly. If not YESTERDAY. Any amount of waiting is unacceptable without complaint.
We wonder why children act impatient and have attention deficit issues… and yet we never teach them to sit quietly without constantly being entertained. They’re taught a self-focus, and self-centered world. We over buy electronics, and the latest gadget to try to “keep them quiet” for the sake of letting us keep to OUR OWN technology and devices… I wonder at what point being able to have a conversation with another child – face-to-face will be unheard of… Pay attention at the next restaurant you go to – what is going on in the generation gap.
Sometimes I’m saddened that our own children will never know what it’s like to take a picture and wait until the roll of film is used up and a week later have it developed to see what “surprise images” lie in store…
It’s a shame really. Not the progress of technology, but what that does to people in general.
We still want to buy into the idea that faster is better, and easier is better.
Is it REALLY better? Are there not consequences in all choices we make?
The same goes for our health. There isn’t some long-term answer that is instant and not harmful in some way… there just isn’t. A quick search on the internet can zap most thoughts of that “magic” answer. God is a god of miracles, NOT magic.
The more you realize how your body is designed, the quicker you’ll realize eating right, and movement are your keys to being the healthiest for Him. He has created and provided all we need. You can put your trust in that.
That doesn’t mean we won’t stop searching in our society – because, like I mentioned, we like the idea of not working for results if they can come for free to no work. We like the idea of faster… because it means we can accomplish more… and everyone always seems to be searching.
At what point is it too much though? I’ve recently become convicted that all of the noise doesn’t allow me the quiet I NEED.
Peace and quiet. Contentment.
Quiet – to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me.
Yes, again like being healthy for Him – it might take more work, planning and preparation – but the long-term benefits are eternal.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
I just read some very sad news. A friend of a friend, a young mother – just passed away after a blood clot in her leg traveled to her lung, and died. She leaves behind a premature son of only 8 weeks.
My heart almost stopped.
That could have very well have been me 2 years ago.
You know when you’re pregnant and you think of the things that could happen over the course of 9 months? You consider this or that with the baby you’re carrying… what if he/she has this developmental issue… there is often a level of uncertainty that can over shadow one’s joy in the hormonal midst of it all. Sometimes the more you know, the more difficult it is to shut off the thoughts.
I didn’t even know what a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) was, until my 8th pregnancy. I had never heard of such a thing.
From about my 3rd pregnancy on, I had some varicose veins. It was actually a tell-tale sign I was pregnant before the test showed two lines. Most of the veins were just spider-like on the surface. Sure they itched… and were unsightly, but they were harmless. By the 5th or 6th pregnancy, it looked like someone had hit me on the back of the leg and broken my ankle with a baseball bat with the level of purple and blue veins appearing like bruises. Heading into the last trimesters, it hurt to sit, stand – or move. That’s the deal with weak blood vessels – the minute gravity is working against you – the swelling begins. You learn to accept it as part of the deal. The reward was great. I decided it was temporary and worth it.
My Dr told me that there wasn’t much they could do for varicosities, other than strip your veins out. I wasn’t sure what that was, but I was pretty sure it was painful. She assured me I didn’t want it done until we were done having children, otherwise they would simply come back. My Dr, being of a military care background, was pretty cut and dried, which I appreciated… but sometimes I sucked it up when I should have been speaking up for fear of being “that patient”.
Fast forward to my last pregnancy. I was in the middle of my 2nd trimester, and my legs begun REALLY hurting. It was becoming difficult to do most anything – and I would try not to complain, but my body showed signs of struggling as well. I was blessed with a friend of a friend who has similar issues – and was willing to talk with me via FB about some solutions, other than vein stripping. I was ready to listen to ANYTHING.
She mentioned to me that I should be wearing compression stockings. I’m not sure if you know what these are… but pregnancy and compression-wear should NOT go together. Again – I was willing to do anything… I had to give it a shot. I went to a speciality pharmacy and explained what I needed. The woman was helpful and asked me to pull up the leg of my pants so she could size my leg.
The look on her face, told me she knew something was wrong. I assured her that my legs and ankles had always been like that – and I would be ok. She asked me who my Dr was – and proceeded to request an appt. for me right then. I think her level of seriousness tossed me for a loop. After all, this was my 8th rodeo, I knew what was going on.
My Dr got me in within the hour, and confirmed that I had a hot spot behind my leg… a DVT, and I’d need a leg sonogram and medicine, as well as the compression stocking. Since my pregnancy had been in the fall, I never mentioned my legs or ankles and she obviously couldn’t see them all covered up by my layers of clothing. After my various appts, and eventual purchases of the lovely tan-colored thigh highs, I returned home to do what any normal person does.
I went to Google and typed in DVT – “enter”.
The more I read… the worse my mind raced. NO WONDER my Dr was so upset with me. Praise God that pharmacist had called my Dr… and that she was able to get me in.
The stockings didn’t solve things completely, but they definitely helped until I got my main feeder veins fixed a year later. The pain continues, but it’s less sightly, and less intense for sure. (AND No, we didn’t strip my veins, we did sclerotherapy – and it was very effective.)
Obviously my mind “went there” when I heard of this young woman’s passing. What IF… That could have totally been me.
As I prayed for her family, and her tiny son who will never know his mother’s breast or feel her heartbeat again… I thanked God for my loved ones and for today. Each day truly is such a gift.
You’re alive, no excuses – get up and move!
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” -Psalm 139:16
PART TWO OF TWO
Throughout the book “Kisses From Katie”… Katie shares how God prepared her throughout life for what she is doing today. When I read her words, it speaks to my heart. I see a similar path I followed, in preparation of my future and how it led me to where I am.
As a parent though, you can understand why one might be concerned… your child, who has everything going for her from a worldly standpoint – willingly changes their course of life, not just a little bit – but in an unimaginable way – just to obey God, while in the process disobeying you.
If she doesn’t believe in a works based salvation… then why on earth would someone do that in this day in age? Give up modern conveniences, parental approval, and “worldly successes” for… what? To “follow God’s call”? Does that sound like a little TOO MUCH God to you?
Well when God calls you to something – you know. It’s not that you don’t question … why? or how?… or “are you sure?” But deep down in your soul – you KNOW the answer He desires for you and anything else just isn’t going to work.
I tell you, it was very humbling to read some of Katie’s journal entries – her struggles, and still – her victory in Christ, and her rejoicing… and yet, in some small way – I could relate. I don’t live in Uganda, and I have nothing of the circumstances she has… but yet, often times I’m asked,
“How do you do it?”… or
“Why do you do this…?”
This could be having 8 children in 10 years, being open to life in a world that says two is almost too many (hey I agree, traveling would have been a lot easier!)… home schooling… you name it. Even about being healthy, people think I must have some super-powers to be able to workout late at night, or not eat myself silly during stressful times…
It’s nothing of me. I’m NOT special. I don’t have super powers… and I truly don’t think of me as “doing” any thing as anything other than obedience to His call for us. Sure, we could have chosen other things – but that wasn’t our calling… and not each call can be the same. God uses ordinary people – He always has. That is all I am. Just like you.
In the book, Katie talks about all of the ordinary people God used – Moses, Jonah, David, Mary, Paul… and then she shared this:
“Sometimes, the everyday routine of my life feels so normal to me. At other times the idea of raising all these children seems like quite a daunting task. I realize that since I have chosen an unusual path it is easier for outsiders to look at my life and come to the conclusion that it is something extraordinary. That I am courageous. That I am strong. That I am special. But I am just a plain girl from Tennessee. Broken in many ways, sinful and inadequate. Common and simple with nothing special about me. Nothing special except I choose to say “yes”. “Yes” to the things God asks of me and “yes” to the people He places in front of me. You can too. I am just an ordinary person. An ordinary person serving an extraordinary God.”
AMEN. That about sums it up for me.
So, when you’re feeling like you can’t say NO to that temptation of food… or you’d rather say NO to exercising. Remind yourself that you’re saying YES to God, and His plan for your health. It’s okay to say no to things… it means we’re saying yes to something else. Self-denial is unconventional for sure… but sometimes it’s really worth it.
“For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.” -Romans 11:29
For what it’s worth, Katie has a blog that tells what she’s up to. Check it out if you feel led! 🙂
PART ONE OF TWO.
My daughter is reading Kisses from Katie, a book about a young woman whose call from God, turned her life in a completely different direction than her parents had planned. This single, 18 year-old girl left the what most would consider a perfect life in America – to follow Jesus Christ and obey His call for her life… At now 22 years of age, this single young woman has adopted 11 children, and lives in Uganda. Undeniably a call from God.
If you haven’t read this, here’s your warning – it’s amazingly powerful and beyond touching. Faith in action – it’s a beautiful love story. I have only gotten to read a few tidbits that my daughter brings to me, but each one deeply touches my heart because of her obedience and the message of Christ’s love.
This week, my husband was just getting on the kids about “playing with trash” outside to create a “home” in the garage and on our patio – using various boxes, cartons and packages we had thrown away. The main issue was them blowing away, but obviously … that they were previously IN the trash.
Then today, I read a journal entry from Katie, where she shared about her children doing something very similar and it spoke right to my heart… and I thought how easily we forget what it’s like to be a child… this is their world, their fun and play. What a blessing they find such wonderfulness in the simple things. Yes, even in the things we toss away, and consider trash… Faith like a child? There is a reason God makes things so simple, even a child can get it. Yet, as adults – we continue to complicate things…
Katie’s Journal –
“My goofy, trash-loving children are constant reminders of God. They look at things that I see as used, broken, and dirty and they see treasure. Can you imagine? God looks at everyone broken, old, dirty, probably not a whole lot more exciting than an old toilet paper roll, and sees treasure. Something He loves dearly, something He would die for. Wow.
Thank you God for my trash-loving treasure-seeking children. Thank you for so much laughter in the midst of a difficult week. Thank You that when I feel old and used-up and broken and no more exciting than a cardboard box, You whisper that You love and value me, and that in Your eyes, I am shiny and new.”
Beautiful words… and so true. Shouldn’t we see our “wrecked” bodies as God does? Valued, loved and treasured? IF we’re good enough to die for, shouldn’t we treat our bodies as such?
“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:15-16