Tuesday, January 27, 2015

See You Later Mountain!

Okay, I have not only circled this mountain of weight loss and maintenance countless times, I’m sure I could have counted it as several marathons by now.

I was one of those when I was younger that I could (and did) eat anything and everything and “get away” with it. It shocks me now when I think back on my eating habits. Or lack thereof. I played sports all through school but basically lived on Pepsi and limited amounts of real food. 

Along came marriage and kids and with it the increase in my weight. I felt hopeless and lost. I didn't recognize who I was anymore. Physically, emotionally or spiritually.

I figured I just needed more self-control, right? NOPE!

I've set up camp on the mountain of control unfortunately. The all or nothing mentality was always tucked right in my backpack for the journey around the mountain as well.

If I couldn't do “it” just right then I’d just run faster around the mountain. I knew I must just not be trying hard enough so I would punish myself with either more exercise or less food. Most times, both.

To the outside world it probably looked like I had it together as I was able to lose the pounds and was quite active again. Along with many other women though, I was good at making the trip around that same mountain look just how I wanted it to the outside world.

What I hid from others, as well as myself honestly, was the attempt to control everything was sucking the life right out of me. I placed every ounce of my value on how well I could “perform”.  And I do mean perform! If I could just do a better job of controlling my food intake and my exercise output I’m sure it would fill the spaces that were empty in me.

I remember the day I was driving a tractor in the hay field and I felt the Lord nudging me towards the truth. I was trying to do everything my way. God wanted to be God of everything in my life. That meant I couldn't give him my heart but withhold my body.

My body is and always has been HIS! I wanted God to be the Lord of my life.  BUT, only the parts I wanted to surrender. There were a few things I was sure I just needed to hang onto. I mean, God has a ton of stuff on his plate already, right? He couldn't possibly care about my weight issues.


He does care. Every hair on my head. Every breath I take. Every choice I make, even in regards to my health.  He cares!

I wish that with this revelation I could tell you I make healthy choices every minute of every day. I don’t. I still forget to plan sometimes and end up grabbing anything I can get my hands on because I let myself get to hungry. I freely admit I still prefer chocolate over celery any day of the week.

I have found freedom though. No more extremes either way for me. I may look at the mountain from time to time but I refuse to get back in the rut that circles it. I’m making a daily choice to turn north.

Lord, help me trust you with this north bound path. Give me the strength I need to make healthy choices. I want to be fit for the call you have for me. Thank you for new revelation in our lives. I pray you will move in each person’s life that is reading this.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Share God's Glory

And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering. 
Romans 8: 17 (NLT)

Jesus came to share in the human experience with us.  He knows the sufferings we face.  He fully experienced those and beyond.  Nothing surprises him about our troubles here on earth.

We are joint heirs with Jesus.  None of this ‘the first born only get the good stuff’ for us.  We are co heirs with Jesus.  In other words, we share in God’s glory too!

This is huge! I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that fully.  Yes, I have sufferings.  To be honest this last year has felt like a blur of sufferings for my family. 

We’ve come to know our fair share of joy’s though.  There has been a glimpse of the great glory God has for us as well through countless blessings we’ve experienced.

Through the miracle of this past year we’ve also been given a huge gift.  The opportunity to share the good news of God’s saving power.   

Jesus freely shares himself with you, share yourself freely with HIM!

Please leave a comment on how I can pray for you.  Feel free to leave unspoken if you wish. God knows!

I'm excited to be linking up with many talented bloggers for Five Minute Friday!  Every Thursday night a prompt word is given and writers take 5 minutes and write what's on their heart. It's a free write. No editing, no over thinking and no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Link in the sidebar.  Everyone is welcome to join the fun!

Five Minute Friday - 4

Friday, January 16, 2015

Please, Not Me! (Five Minute Friday)

Have you ever felt that small tug at your heart from God? You might brush it aside and chalk it up to just a stray thought. But, it just doesn't go away. It continues to grow. 

 A couple of years ago God was calling me out of my comfort zone. He was calling me to be our local youth group leader. Wow, this was going to be a stretch for me. I hate to admit it, but I resisted. Strongly! 

"God, there has to be someone better for the job," I said. "I'm not at all equipped for this kind of ministry." Besides there was already someone in that role at our church. Why was I feeling such a strong pull when from what I could see, there wasn't a need? 

 But when God sends us to do His work, He's already got a plan. He is equipping us in the "off season" to prepare us for the season of work ahead. I wrestled with God over this issue for some time and finally just said, "Okay, I don't see it at all, but I will trust you and go where you send me." 

It was only a few short months after that when the youth group leader had a shift in her own life and our church was in need of someone to step up. I was still scared and didn't feel equipped, but God had been preparing my heart and the circumstances. 

Also, God in his perfect timing, sent a new gal into our community to help with youth leadership. She has truly been a God send and our youth group is not only still alive, it's flourishing. We are watching the youth of our community come alive for Christ. I have been blessed beyond my wildest imagination in making the choice to go where God sends!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Blessings in the Middle of Pain

It's a New Year and full of so much promise. You can just feel the fresh heartbeat, can’t you?  Change is in the air.  In the process of all this change, it’s always wise to reflect on the past year and see where God has taken us.

This past year has been a chock full of ups, downs, and heartache but also so much joy for me! It’s been a chance to really come to know the Lord on a whole new level. I’ve been brought to my knees countless times this past year. When the enemy brings us to our knees, we can either collapse in despair or surrender in prayer.

I'm pretty sure I've spent more time in doctor's offices, hospitals, surgery centers and rehab facilities in this one year than I have in the last 5 years combined.  That’s saying a lot considering the fact that we’re sure our younger son helped pay for part of the new wing at our local doctor’s office.
I'm not sure which is harder honestly, being the patient or being the spouse, mom or sister. 

This could have been a year to just crawl up in the fetal position and feel sorry for myself and my family.  I could have become calloused emotionally.  My attitude could have taken a turn for the worse and thus making everyone around me miserable too.  I’ll admit I most likely wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows to live with every moment either.  I stumbled from time to time.

But, and this is a very important BUT, I made the choice to run to Jesus every time I felt my attitude starting to turn sour.  Or when I felt doubt starting to creep in about the outcome of yet another medical procedure.  I’m also very blessed to have an amazing family that helps point me back to Him when I’m struggling.

This isn’t to say that we are supposed to just ignore our emotions and stuff them down so no one sees that side of us. People have questioned my family all year on how we can stay so positive in the middle of all of these challenges.  To be really honest, there have been many tears shed.  I have felt scared, confused, nervous and even angry.

So what do I do with those feelings?  I cry out to Jesus. I play worship music.  I invite Jesus in to change the atmosphere. I tell him I’m hurt, confused or feel like I’m sinking.  I can’t hide those feelings from Him anyway so I may as well take them straight to my Creator. He’s a big God, with big shoulders. None of my problems are too big for Him.

I have Godly people all around me and if I’m really struggling I will call them to vent.  Most of the time they let me get it out but then quickly redirect me back to God’s promises. I put my trust in Jesus.  He is the only source of true peace.  Everything else can come or go, but He never changes.  He is the rock I anchor to.
Father God, thank you for the blessing of this past year.  It didn’t always feel like a blessing in the middle of it but I know that you have plans for me to prosper and not to harm me.  I cling to that promise and know that you work out all things for my eventual good.  Help me to trust you completely.
In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Deliverance to Freedom

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 
Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

Freedom is defined as the state of being free or at liberty as opposed to slavery or bondage.

The Israelites were held in slavery for many, many generations. (400 years according to Acts 7:6 and Genesis 15:13)   When God delivered them from their captors (Egypt) you would think they just walked out into the world and claimed their freedom.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  Even though they had been delivered from slavery they still had the minds of slaves.  They were not living in freedom.   
Deliverance is only part of freedom.  An important part no doubt, but still just a fragment.  We need to be delivered from our captors such as addictions, strongholds, lies and fear to name a few.  Then we need to receive the freedom that comes with deliverance.

The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years.  Delivered but not really living in complete freedom.  Their minds often still held in the bondage of slavery.  Wondering if it might be easier just to go back to slavery than live a life delivered but not really free.  They enslaved themselves even amidst their own deliverance.

How many of us live just like them?  I know I have struggled for many years knowing God said I was delivered from an addiction but still living in a mindset of captivity.  That’s not freedom.  Freedom is no chains.  Freedom is the ability to live without constant fear of falling back into that trap if I take one misstep.  Freedom means I don’t just throw it all away if I do make a mistake.  It means I can accept God’s mercy and move forward with grace.  To me it means the enemy can’t use the addiction I was delivered from to pull me back to slavery.  I AM free!  I need to claim it and not look back. 

The Israelites wandered in their deliverance for way to many years.  So do many of us!  Often we’re too paralyzed by fear to know what steps we need to take from deliverance to freedom.  Every time they let their eyes drift from God they would wallow in their circumstances.  I’m guilty of the same.  If I take my eyes off Jesus for even a brief time the enemy tries to drag me back to the desert!

The Israelites could see the Promised Land.  Freedom was within their reach.  They stood on the hill to look.  They even stepped out into freedom to check it out.  Unfortunately, all most of them could see were giants in the land.  So they grumbled amongst themselves.  It spread like a virus.  How could freedom lie there?  It was there because God promised it!  So in an act of disobedience and lack of faith they turned away from their own freedom.  Just to walk back into where they had been delivered out of slavery to.  Stuck in limbo.  Not slaves but not free.

Let’s be like Joshua and Caleb and despite the giants we face, receive the gift of freedom Christ has promised us.  Accept the deliverance He has given you and walk out into freedom.

Jesus, help me to accept Your deliverance as a done deal.  Never again to pick up that yoke of slavery.  I know my freedom is IN You.  Give me the strength through Your Holy Spirit to make the choice to walk in freedom each day.  Keeping my eyes on You and Your promises!  In Jesus name, Amen!