Day 101: Wonderful Weight

I got a new (free) app on my phone and was messing with it last night before bed. My friend Gayle (yep, changed her name too) asked me the other day if I had really looked, like at pictures or something, to tell the difference of how much weight I had lost. I really hadn’t so I plugged in a “before” photo and a “now” photo that was very similar to see the difference. And I was actually almost shocked! Now, I by no means thought that I was ugly before… I actually thought I was quite pretty. Not to sound stuck up but I always thought that I had a great smile and God has gifted me with a joyful spirit with which to use that smile. I was more so shocked at the mere difference.

So I posted this pic to her Facebook…

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With this caption…
So remember the other day you asked me if I had really looked at myself to see the change? Well, last night I got a new app and was messing with it and I put these two pics next to each other (sorta like a before and after I guess) and doing that I was pretty amazed at the difference!!! So thanks for bringing that up!

Well I didn’t think about the fact that my other friends would also see the pic and several of them commented.

And I was thinking about how cool it has been to lose weight because of God. I mean, it is nice to have an outward evidence of my inward healing.

And even though I have used the following verse before it has jumped out again to me about why it is such a blessing to be able to a) be healed of my food addiction, and b) be able to have my healing cause people to ask about God… so that His Power Might be shown in me, and hopefully in others as well.

“This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” John 9:3

And if that can be the case, if the power of God can be seen, then all of my days of weight were wonderful.

Day 100: Don’t Stop When You’re Full

Day 100. Wow. I mean… I’m a little more than pleased to be here. I don’t think that I have ever tracked myself doing something for 100 days straight. Sooooo this is cool just on that level.

It is also cool because I decided, ohhhhhh, around day twenty-eight that when I got to the triple digits that I would start to put the day number in numerics instead of spelling them out. So now I don’t have to write the word “ninety” again… which I misspelled like three days in a row last week as “ninty” and had to go back and change it.

But what was cool today was that I did have myself a little celebration day before I even remembered it was day 100. I was celebrating though not because of how long I have been doing this but because I experienced the evidence of a mind renewal having happened in my mind.

I was eating this new pasta florentine dish that was yummay and then I was like “Oh wow- I’m full” and I just stopped eating… but it all happened sorta subconsciously. About fifteen or twenty minutes later, I realized what had happened and was doubly excited because not only was that evidence of a mind renewal but also because when I was feeling “full” it was actually me just being satiated… it was no where near what “full” would have been a few months ago.

So today I am totally living that verse…
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

And when it comes to that kind of “full”… well, then I don’t ever want to stop!

Day Ninety-Six: What Are You Doing?

One of the aspects of this “diet” that I have tussled with is wondering how I should talk about it with someone that might not know Christ, might not like Christ, or might not be familiar with the concept of a covenant. Now that I have lost a noticeable amount of weight, people that I haven’t seen a lot lately have been asking me the regular ol’ dieters question “What are you doing?”

I have sorta varied my answers… to some I have explained that I went vegetarian and cut out sugar. to others I describe my covenant, or deal, with God to cut out meat, sugar, alcohol, and milk. to others I have just said that I stopped eating so much food.

But recently I started to think that it might be really important that I say that it is God. I mean, yes, the reason that my body is losing weight is because it has less food coming into it and probably fewer calories since I cut out all that sugar. But the reason that I am able to do any of that is because I made a deal with God and He gave me the ability to resist the things I agreed not to eat on the covenant.

And a verse came to my mind that I think pushes me to “admit” or “confess” that it is indeed Him that is changing me… from the inside… out. Literally.

If you tell others you belong to me, I will tell my Father in heaven you are my followers. But if you reject me, I will tell my Father in heaven you don’t belong to me. Matthew 10:32-33

Day Ninety-Five: Freedom Fire

I was… sorta… burned out this week. Just… not feeling the excitement or passion of the blog, the covenant, the Bible… nothing. Life has been a little crazy… no, not crazy… but, full. Like I said yesterday, I haven’t been reading my Bible this week and that exemption sorta leaves me… empty.

Well, a few nights ago I posted a recent picture of myself on Facebook. No biggie- a few former students made a few comments, and then I didn’t really check it for a while. Well, then tonight right before I bed I checked my Facebook and there were THIRTY comments and forty-something “likes” on my “new me” pic!

Now, I’m not entirely sure how this happened but all of these “Great pic!” and “Love it” and “Wow you look amazing!!!” comments were on there. And even though it should have puffed up my pride, all I could think about was God. About how he gave me the ability to be free… and I felt so bolstered by all of these friends of mine so happy for me to have a beautiful moment. And it was… encouraging!

But most encouraging were the multiple friends of mine that messaged me asking for more details about my covenant, or to meet and talk, or to want the blog website, or to tell me how much they connected to the posts on the blog or my beginning stories, etc. The further I get into my covenant the more that I long and hope for others to experience the same freedom from food (or whatever stronghold or addiction they might be enduring).

So I hope that some people will be encouraged, as I was, to seek Christ for their comfort and sustenance. Because I know that they can experience freedom from their struggle but at the same time that God will probably also light a fire in them of passion for Him.

Day Ninety-Four: Oh! My! God!

Ya know, going on a “strict” fast for Lent of only fruits, veggies, and nuts (oh, and coffee… cause, seriously… I have a toddler… and if we follow the whole “What Would Jesus Do?” thing… well, if Jesus had a toddler… he would drink coffee!)… anyway, eating just those things for forty-six days and then coming off of that fast back to my regular Daniel Fast… well, it has been super good for me. A peek into the future of what I might experience, or think, or feel, or struggle with whenever my covenant is “over” in January 2013.

First of all, I have to say that this week of “struggle” has been, relatively, no struggle compared to my struggles with food in the past when coming “off” of a diet. Has it been a perfect week? No. But it has been a learning week for me. And that’s just what I want and exactly what I need. It’s sorta like going off of a diet while still being on… a diet.

My biggest lesson: the week “after” is the single most important week to read the Bible, pray, think on things of eternity, etc. And I say that because this has been a week where I have done pretty much none of those things! And it has been a crummy week! I didn’t want to read my Bible (yeah, thanks for that joy killer, Satan) and because I wasn’t reading my Bible I wasn’t really thinking about the things of God. And because of that I wasn’t really wanting to post. And because of that my mind began to wader from my freedom and back into my previous slavery. And because of that I was helpless to the mozzarella and bread sticks.

And oh. my. gosh.

Soooooo I just got out my phone to search for a verse to put with this post.

And seriously… oh. my. gosh. No. Wait. Better yet, I’m going to use the real deal.

Oh! My! God! You are soooooo GREAT! You are AWESOME! AMAZING! My… EVERYTHING!

Friends, just read this verse that is oh-so-perfect for my lesson learned this week that God just plopped down in front of me and you’ll see why I say that He is so great, awesome, amazing, and my everything:

I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food. Job 23:12

Amen!

PS… I love you God!!!

Day Ninety-Three: Fallen And Forgiven

Well… here I am again. Humbled. Contrite. Subdued. But most importantly… I am forgiven.

We had a little birthday party for my mom last night, and oh… I was a champ! I made mozzarella sticks, creamy chive and chicken pasta, orange maple glazed carrots and sweet potatoes, dilly green beans and red potatoes, cheese filled garlic bread sticks, cheesecake, and ice cream. I ate the sweet potatoes, carrots, and the green beans and red potatoes. I was so happy that I had done well! I had chosen what was BEST!

Annnnnnnnnnd then today happened.

I woke up feeling poorly and I’m supposed to leave tomorrow on my first retreat (as in, I have not gone off on my own since 2007)! So, I snuck a Zicam in and then we left to take my husband to work. Well, the Zicam bottle very clearly says “Don’t take on a empty stomach”, but did I read it before I took it? Noooooo, of course not. So I started to feel icky. When we got home, I was still wanting to choose what was best so I grabbed an orange. And, well, the Zicam bottle also very clearly states to not eat citrus for thirty minutes after. So at that point I was feeling really gross. I saw the mozzarella sticks in the fridge and figured they would help a bit since they were mainly cheese.

Well, I wish that was my entire thought process, but really I had been looking for an excuse to eat one all day. So, I had one. End of story!

Nope again! I had seven more. Then I ate all of the bread sticks that were in the same bag. Knowing it was gluttony. Knowing it was wrong for me. Knowing.

And then later that night: three tortillas. I had reverted. Well, if I “broke” the covenant in my heart already then what’s the point of sticking with it? Granted I never thought about going back to chocolate, but it was the. exact. same. sickness of the heart! Bread, chocolate, chips, ice cream… it didn’t matter what it was… I disobeyed the voice in my heart. I disobeyed God.

But again, I am happy that I don’t have to spiral down into a pit of sin, despair, and overeating. I can make a choice after a day like that–

  • Be like David – having sinned – and ask God to cleanse me (Psalm 51)

or…

  • Be like the Israelites and abandon myself to this idol of food… and forgo the blessings of God and embrace a life of consequence.

I may not have responded perfectly to the temptation but at least I can embrace forgiveness and move on to a new day. Am I defined as a glutton because of this one day of bread gorging? No. I am a Daughter of the King. I am a woman fallen AND forgiven. And I pray that again, God would “restore to me the joy of His salvation and make me willing to obey Him.Psalm 51:12

Day Ninety-Two: Taste Test

I gave myself one tiny exception in this covenant that “allows” me to have sugar… when my oldest son makes something or is terribly excited about something and wants me to taste it, then a) I try to do my best to avoid eating it if possible (like waiting until he turns away and hiding it), or b) if I can’t avoid it then I will take a tiny bite and that seems to appease him.

Well, most of these situations have been cookies or sugary candy and I think he’s only cornered me once or twice where I was “forced” to eat it… but last week he had a piece of peanut butter and chocolate from his Easter egg hunt at school and he desperately wanted me to have a bite. I just love his giving attitude and I want him to practice it as much as possible so I took the piece. Well, he stood there grinning and wide-eyed watching and waiting for me to eat it. I realized that I could not avoid it, so I took a teeeeeeeeny bite, gave him a big grin, and said, “Oh wow! Thank you so much for sharing that with me!” and watched him giggle happily and walk off.

And then… I became very, very angry.

Because that chocolate was totally lame.

And I don’t mean lame in the sense that it wasn’t a good piece, but lame in the sense that it was so totally disappointing! And I was so angry because that dadgum chocolate stuff had held me captive for sooooooooo long, and as it turns out… it was LAME.

But ya know, I think the chocolate probably did taste good… tasted as good as it always has… but I have tasted the glory of God. the peace of God. the freedom of God. And even though none of those things have ever physically touched a single taste bud on my tongue… my sense are now ninety-two days closer to the glory of eternity. And nothing, even a stolen bite of chocolate, can compare with a taste of eternity.

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Psalm 34:8

Day Ninety-One: Obedient Kisses

I am still a bit amazed at how far I’ve come… I mean… how far God has brought me. And I’m also continually amazed at how well this covenant thing works, despite my slip-ups, because the food I eat and don’t eat are not that dissimilar to the ones I have eaten, and not eaten, on diets before. Only a big difference is the motivation and the accountability. And the biggest difference is that both the motivation and the accountability are from and with God.

Before I would have used an upcoming event- a friend’s wedding, a beach trip, etc. as my motivation. And although those are rewarding, my heart and mind had gotten to the point where the “reward” of chocolate was MORE rewarding than the thought of something in the future. And so the only thing that would motivate me more was my love for God.

Same with accountability- WeightWatchers staff… they were important but I didn’t care about their accountability as much as I “neeeeeeeeded” chocolate. My family members… who are the most important things in the world to me… but that chocolate would still supersede my love for them. (And that still pains me a bit to admit to even myself, but I can say that a lot of that was because the THINGS of this world were still so important to me that the eternal things, like love for my family, had wasted away). But my love for God was stronger.

It is strong enough to make me obey Him. And that is how he says he wants us to show Him love… to obey Him. At a women’s retreat, Brenna Stull told a story (and the full, “live” version was way cuter, but this is a abridged version) about how she wanted to take a nap but she had a three-year-old who had dropped her nap, so she told her daughter, “You don’t have to sleep… all you have to do is lay still in bed with me and close your eyes.” Well, once they got settled in for a nap, her daughter started kissing her arm once, then two kisses, three kisses, then all the way up her arm. Finally, Brenna said, “I don’t WANT your kisses… I want you to obey me!” And I think that is where a lot of the reward in this covenant comes from… it gave me not only freedom from food, but a way to SHOW God my love… through obedience.

If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. John 14:15

Day Ninety: Painful Penitence

Sometimes I lament the fact that I have struggled for so much of my life only to discover that the answer all along was so very, very simple. But this week I came across this verse that sorta changed my perspective on that a bit:

The pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have… [that] leads us away from sin and results in salvation… Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm… such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

It makes me almost glad, looking back, that I hit rock bottom. I needed that pain to push me toward repentance. And he still uses the sorrow of my occasional failings (like the cookie dough, the apple crisp) to push me back into repentance.

And really, I think I want my heart to always be in a state of repentance… because then my pride can be kept at bay (well, at least a little bit of it).

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalm 51:17

But after I wrote that I started thinking, what IS repentance anyway? I mean it’s a word that I have heard, and said, a bazillion times, and maybe a good ol’ southern Christian woman should know the meaning but, well, I’m just not entirely sure! So, when in doubt, check it out! Haha!

Dictionary.com says it is “to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better.

So it’s not about making up for sin, as it is about remembering past sin, and doing what is necessary to keep it from coming back.  Like for me, I have to continually read the Bible, but also sometimes it helps to re-read through some of my journal and blog entries when I was struggling. The key for me is to “think about things of heaven, not the things of the earth.” Colossians 3:2