Day 659: Where Have You Been?

Now that I feel like I’m starting over, I thought it would be a good time to do a little bit of looking back.

Not so much to see what went “wrong” but more so to see where He was.

Because you know that saying “Hindsight is 20/20″? Well, that’s the cool thing about being on the other side of a struggle spiritually is that you get to see all of those places where God was working. It’s kind of like that Footprints in the Sand story… ya know where God is walking with this guy and they are looking back at his “spiritual beach” where they walked together and there are footprints. So the guy looks back and is all like “God, I see here when I was happy in my life and doing well there were two sets of footprints in the sand where you and I were walking side by side. But here in my life where I struggled and worried and hurt… there is only one set of footprints. Why did you leave me when I needed you most?!?!” And God replies, “It wasn’t that I left you… those moments when you see only one set of footprints… that is when I carried you.”

Honestly, I was going to make fun of that story just now before I typed it because I’ve heard it soooooooo many times it’s almost become cheesy to me. But as I look back at the “spiritual beach of my life” over the past nine months I know that He has carried me more times than I realized. So, my little story there, instead of being cheesy to me, just brought tears to my eyes.

It’s not just that He was working in me during that time… but He was carrying me too.

And, well, let’s be honest… sometimes He was probably dragging me kicking and screaming. I bet a few times he just flung me over his shoulder while I threw my little temper tantrum.

But, He kept on.

And that is my message for you friends!

HE WILL KEEP ON.

God doesn’t stop with His plan for your life. He doesn’t pause. He doesn’t take a coffee break. He doesn’t falter or sidetrack.

God will keep on working.

Even when it doesn’t feel like there is any way on earth that you could be part of His plan… He is working in you and He is carrying you.

Stay close. Keep the faith (literally). Stay the course.

Day 659: Easy Peasy

I’m about to drop a mental bomb on you, so prep yourself.

You ready?

I mean seriously, get a glass of water or something because it’s gonna get cuh.ray.zay. up in here.

Okay.

Here we go.

easier to stay on diet

Bam.

You’re mind is blown, right?

But seriously… this little tiny fact is oftentimes the thing that makes it or breaks it for dieters and lifestyle changers. But if you’re still like “Okay, what exactly does she mean?” It’s this:

Dieting or changing your eating lifestyle is HARD. I mean… you are typically going against what your body and mind have gotten very, very used to. And your body and mind are both going to want to cry out for the way you used to do things and quite possibly the way that you’ve always done things. So, you’ve got to make it as easy on yourself as you CAN.

Specifics:

  1. Make a meal plan. Make one every week (or every two weeks or every month). It doesn’t have to be anything fancy… I mean there are some weeks that mine looks like this… Monday: Tacos, Tuesday: leftover tacos, Wednesday: Black Bean Soup, Thursday: Black Bean Soup leftovers, Friday: Homemade pizza, Saturday: Homemade pizza leftovers, Sunday: lunch leftovers
  2. Include LUNCHES in your meal plan. I don’t know why on earth it has taken me so long to figure this out, but I do so much better if I plan out what I’m going to eat for lunch too. Again, it may be easy for you… Monday: Salad, Tuesday: baked potato, Wednesday: Salad, Thursday: Panini, Friday: Black Bean Couscous, Saturday: Leftovers, Sunday: Out To Eat
  3. Go grocery shopping. It is strangely much easier to cook a recipe if you already have all of the ingredients. Huh. Go figure. {Again, WHY OH WHY did it take me so long to figure this out!?!?!} I think the best way to do this is to schedule which day of the week is your meal planning day and then the next day be grocery shopping day. Or, I also will often take my preschooler to play at the park or McDonalds or something and I’ll plan it out while he plays and then we go right to the grocery store.
  4. Get LOTS of healthy snacks. Again… no brainer. But my brain is just being rewired I guess. When you go to the grocery, get a lot of fruit. Just try to avoid that entire middle area of processed food cause it’s no where nearly as good for you or as good for your taste buds. Get grapes, bananas, apples, pre-cut watermelons, clementines, and a pear or two if you are feeling really fun. Those are all snacks that are easy to eat and yummy when you’re needing a sugar fix.

Like I said, I know that these are not major epiphanies, but these are things that even just TODAY I have remembered are important when dieting.

But MOST IMPORTANTLY… don’t give up! If you miss a week of good eating, then spend this evening planning out your meals and go to the store tomorrow. It’s no big deal… it’s all about the journey to health, it’s not about being 100% healthy overnight! It might take you a year… or three years to lose your weight or change your eating habits, but that’s so much better than NEVER losing the weight or changing your eating habits. Remember: God Loves You. You are NOT a lost cause. Trust the slow work of God. {Each of those is a post that will encourage you along those lines!}

Day 658: Day Two, Part II

writers block

I’m gonna admit.

I’m almost at a loss today about what to write.

After yesterday’s commitment and post, everything seems so… NEW! I feel almost like I’m starting over. And I just have so. much. to. say.

You might be thinking, Awwwwwww, that’s so sad. But it’s not! It’s so totally wonderful. You see, that’s what I love, Love, LOVE about Christ. We get to try again and again and again. Sure, there might be consequences that come from us doing it our own way… for example, I can barely fit the “consequences of eating terribly” into my jeans, but I don’t get kicked to the curb or told “Sorry, that was your one chance. No more for you.”

I get to start over if I want.

But now I’m wiser.

And now I’m closer.

Closer to a size six?

No.

I’m closer to HIM.

And He is the garment that I want to wear anyway. I want His spirit to cover me so completely that my size doesn’t matter… that food doesn’t matter… that nothing else matters but Him and blessing the world with His Love.

Day 657: I Quit.

i quit

Yep.

That’s it.

I’m done.

Out.

No more.

I quit.

… … …

Seriously.

I’m not joking.

… … …

You see, for months I’ve been just downright struggling with this whole experience. I’ve put on a whole pant size for sure (and yet you can be darned sure that I’m still squeezing my size ten rear into my size eight jeans because I don’t want to go buy a bigger size… because I WON’T go buy a bigger size) and I’m just so weighed down and shackled to food again it’s become nigh unbearable.

I can’t make it through a Sunday School lesson without breaking down in tears.

I’ve cried to my husband multiple times.

I seriously, seriously, seriously was considering calling my church to see if they would work out some kind of deal for me to get counseling up there.

Things in my soul have been a total and complete roller coaster.

I mean, every few days I would find a new “resolve” and would have faith in myself again that I could do this and then day three or four would hit and well, all it takes for me is that one bite of chocolate…and well, it would all go downhill from there.

And so this past week, I’ve just really had to face up to what is going on here…

I can’t do this anymore.

So, I’m going to quit.

Okay, but I’ll end the suspense.

I’m not quitting The Covenant Diet… I can’t quit it. God has brought me so far and I know… I KNOW… that He is faithful. I’ve read too many accounts in the Bible where He brought people through terrible, terrible adversity to reveal His Glory OR to make them face up to the fact that He really IS in control.

And here’s the deal: He has shown me over and Over and OVER and OVER and OVER again what I need to do. Like I said on Day 653: Just Like Jonah, I just keep running from it. But in my heart for months He has been telling me through friends, through the wisdom in his Word, through Sunday School, through prayer… He has been saying that I have GOT to make this sugar thing a total and complete lifestyle change.

As in… never again.

As in… quit.

Quit.

Quit eating sugar.

For.ev.er.

… … …

I know, right?!?!?

… … …

For.ev.er.

… … …

That’s nuts!

Wellllll, yeah, but so was giving up sugar for a year. But it was one of the best years of my life. Total and complete freedom.

So, this post could go on and on today… and I’ll explain more about how I came to this point in the following days’ posts… but here’s the deal.

I’ve been running from God.

Just like Jonah.

And I’m tired.

I’m tired of running.

I’m tired of trying to do this battle with food my way.

I’m tired.

And I’m failing at doing it my way.

I’m tired of failing.

So, I’m looking at this raging sea in my soul and I know that it’s raging because of me.

Because of my decision to go my own way.

And I’m done.

I’m just ready to quit.

So, this morning, I took one last sigh.

{Sigh}

Stood up and walked to the edge of this boat in this raging sea.

And I dove in.

I dove into the waters of His grace and mercy.

I dove into the waters of self “sacrifice”.

I dove into the waters of freedom.

I dove into the waters that will guide me back to where I need to be.

Will it be easy to give up sugar for.ev.er.???

Heck to tha NO.

It sure as heck wasn’t easy for Jonah to live in a whale’s stomach either.

But it got him back to where he needed to be.

And that was where God wanted him to be.

And as I tread water in this sea that is my soul, I realize that as soon as I jumped in… it was immediately calm. Refreshing even. Going His way instantly brings me more peace than I had during any of the days of trying to do it on my own.

The peace I have felt just in this one day… well, it just makes me so glad that I finally… finally…

quit.

i quit SUGAR

Day 654: So That

Ya know, after writing about Jonah yesterday on Day 653 I started to think about it.

And when I posted the pic from the blog to my blog’s instagram and I was looking at it

jonah belly of the whale

And I realized that I was essentially asking God what looked like two complete opposite things… one, I was asking for God to toss me into the proverbial sea and in the next sentence to show me grace and mercy.

Like, we don’t typically think of those two ideas as the same.

But, once again… God’s thoughts are not are thoughts. God’s ways are not our ways.

Cause think about it with Jonah. God could have just struck him dead with lightning or had him catch some kind of terrible illness that would kill him. But, God decided to show grace and mercy through the situation and toss Jonah into the sea…

SO THAT Jonah would be able to go to Nineveh and share the chance to experience God’s grace and mercy.

SO THAT Jonah would be able to tell this amazing story of how God chased after him to give him another chance.

SO THAT Jonah would live to tell the tale of God’s grace and mercy.

And oh man… what a story.

And that’s why I pray for God to “toss me into the sea”. I know that swimming around and getting swallowed by a whale would totally and completely be terrible, BUT I would be able to live to tell His story of grace and mercy.

if it will save my soul into the sea i'll go

To end… I am reminded of a song I have loved since high school. And a prayer that I have prayed time and time again (and I warn you, a prayer that He has been very, very keen to answer).

Take my world apart
I am on my knees
Take my world apart
Broken on my knees.

Here is the song. I’d encourage you to listen to it (the lyrics will be on the screen), but if you can’t the full lyrics are below. I just listened to it again sitting in La Madeleine’s and couldn’t help but bawl as they sang the cry of my heart.

“Worlds Apart”

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
to give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
more deeply than the oceans,
more abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you – take my world apart
To need you – I am on my knees
To love you – take my world apart
To need you – broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
and wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
the battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
and wash the feet and cleanse my pride
take the selfish, take the weak,
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
the sin-soaked heart and make it yours
take my world all apart
take it now, take it now
and serve the ones that I despise
speak the words I can’t deny
watch the world I used to love
fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
so wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
so steal my heart and take the pain
take the selfish, take the weak
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
take my world apart

Day 653: Just Like Jonah

Lately I’ve been continuing to think about what can I do to help me get back on track. Well, to get back on track faster. I know that I’m on the right track of fighting back against my issues with food, but admittedly, I just want to be over it… faster.

So I tend to want to go back to how I did things at the beginning: by fasting for a few weeks. But then my brain is all like “No, you need a total 100% lifestyle change!” but, honestly, I am so daunted by that. The rest of my life… to commit to eating healthy without sugar for the rest of my life!?!?! It’s such a HUGE commitment. So instead, I just avoid it. I eat MORE junk than I would have normally. Cause… yeah, like that’s gonna help.

I’m afraid of making a huge commitment of “sacrifice” so what do I do? I run from it.

Like Jonah.

And just like God caused Jonah to get DUMPED into the sea to put him back on course, so will God do the same to me. So maybe it’s time to say, “God. I’m the one. I’m causing this ship to toss about in this terrible storm. I give up. Send me back to the path.”

So, I say that to Him now.

Say it with me if you are struggling (in any area):

God, put me back on Your path.

Allow me, as Jonah did, to see your undeserved grace and mercy.

I ask that, as with Jonah, your grace and mercy would fall on me and on those who hear my story and hear your offer of mercy.

Your way.

Your path.

Your message.

is life.

Help me, God. Help me to choose your true life.

 jonah belly of the whale

Day 650: Liar, Liar, He’s On Fire

Watch Out For Snakes Sign

Satan has been lying to you.

{Shocked gasp}

Who knew?

Well… actually… all of us knew.

But, for some reason, he’s that guy that we let lie right to our faces and we simultaneously rationalize whatever it is that he’s saying so that we convince ourselves that it’s not really a lie. Ya know, kinda like that little stunt that with he pulled with Adam and Eve.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Adam and Eve.

Dang.

They had it all… God made them to look and be just like Himself. He made them to be stewards of the earth… to take care of it the way He would take care of it. They were full of His power and strength and might. They weren’t gods but they sure as heck were as close as a human can get.

And then dern Satan comes in and tells them the lie that they are missing out on something. He tells them that if they eat from that tree then they will be like God.

Whoa.

Wait.

I thought they were already like God? Yeah, they were… look. Back in Chapter 1: God said, “Let us make mankind in our image.” And if you look at it in Hebrew the word “image” means like a replica and in Greek the word “image” means the same thing as “icon”… which is the word for being the representative of something almost exactly alike.

Soooooooo, Adam and Eve were ALREADY like God. Seriously… they weren’t missing out on ANYTHING. But that’s what Satan told them.

And ya know what… Satan is still telling us the SAME. DADGUM. LIE.

If you give up chocolate, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up drinking, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up sex, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up shopping, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up wealth, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up popularity, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up fame, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up social calendars, you’ll be missing out.
If you give up sports, you’ll be missing out.

You’ll be missing out. missing out. missing out.

So, we keep eating those apples that break our relationship with God thinking that if we don’t stick with them, then in some way, we’ll be missing out.

But let me tell you… you are made in the image of God. Not just the OUTSIDE of you but your mind, your heart, your soul… it’s all like God’s. You have access to all of his strength, might, and power just as Adam and Eve did. You have been given all of this world.

TRUST ME. If you don’t eat the apple of chocolate, or drinking, or sex, or shopping, or wealth, or popularity… you WON’T be missing out. You’ll be living in. Living in His original plan to be satisfied and content with His image that He gave you.

{Props: This is another post inspired by the lessons of my teacher James Tippit.}

Day 644: {Sometimes} Smooth Sailing

Have you ever been sailing?

It’s really… kind of an amazing experience. It’s beautiful, and clean, and pure, and scary, and stressful, and dangerous.

Probably another one of those things that is so much like life… just a perfect metaphor.

You get on this sailboat and you have all this work to do, and you have to do it right or the boat will capsize or you’ll run it aground or something equally terrible. Or even beyond your control, a huge storm can blow through and despite your best efforts, you could be sunk… literally.

But on the flip side, if you do the work right, then you sit down for a bit on the boat or stand at the helm and you feel the wind pushing you along. You hear the wind tap, tap, tapping against the sails. You see the water stretching out beyond you and you rock back and forth as the boat pushes through the waves.

It’s… just awesome.

And life is like that… it can be so much hard work and if you don’t do it right then it makes life more difficult for you. You could capsize your life, or run it aground, or just ruin the boat entirely. Or a terrible storm out of your control can come through and ravage your life, your plans, your work.

But, on the flip side, you at times can feel the moments of peace and see the beauty of life stretching out before you.

And it can be… just awesome.

But the hard part of both sailing and life … is choosing to struggle through the hard work, to push through the storms in HOPES that you will eventually get to experience the peace and beauty.

So let me tell you: this is the really, really good part… It IS Worth It.

This is what Christ promises us…

Have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33

He tells us that even in the storm we can know that the storm. will. end. We can keep our eyes on the horizon knowing that He has overcome the world. He has already defeated it. He has already begun to move His hand to wipe away that storm.

We don’t sail through life hopeless.

We sail through life knowing that after the storm, there does come a rainbow. As cheesy and overused as that metaphor is… it’s accurate. The SON will shine through the rain and you will see the beauty that can He can create in your life after a storm.

So, climb aboard me hearties… and God’s speed!

{Okay, sorry for that last part… couldn’t help myself. I figured since I went with the trite “after a storm comes a rainbow” I might as well use some kind of cheesy pirate and sailing gibberish to finish it off!}

 

Day 643: Lost Cause

It’s not easy being a blogger.

As in, it’s way more difficult than being a book author.

(Not that I’ve ever actually BEEN a book author…)

But, like, when I get an idea or have some kind of “epiphany” or something that needs to be shared, it can be… daunting… to put it out there. I mean, blogging is so frequent, so raw, so (often) poorly edited, and so immediate. There’s very rarely time for me to let something on my mind sit and… marinate. Sometimes I just… don’t write anything for fear that I won’t do it justice.

And I’ve been sorta playing that game with today’s post.

I’ve written it, like, at least five times.

You see, this past Sunday my Sunday School teacher, whose first name I often have to conjure because he’s just known as “Tippit” in my house now (it’s his last name, so no need to scramble to look up an allusion or anything fancy like that) decided to rock my spiritual, mental, and emotional world AGAIN with his lesson. And you know what, actually, it wasn’t even his entire lesson. It was, yet again (like on Day 622: When A Man Cries), with a phrase that just… well… it just melted me.

Like, I mean we are talking the kind of melting that happens when Dorothy pours water all over the Wicked Witch (cue the YouTube vid… only I’m not really wicked nor do I have a long crookedy green nose… nor did I actually, literally, ya know… melt). But any sort of facade that I had built just… melted within seconds.

And it was, yet again, not necessarily something that was some kind of new earth shattering theology or theory, but it was just the words that my heart needed at this point in my journey. My bumpy, messy, is-this-ever-gonna-really-work journey.

He said…

You are not a lost cause.

You Are Not A Lost Cause all things new

And seriously, I folded over in tears. I tried to hide it by letting my hair hang over my face and writing down his quote feverishly in my little notebook, but I was in communion with God at that moment.

Cause those words… they weren’t Tippit’s words.

Those were God’s words. Right to my heart.

I mean… you know, like in the movies when someone gets stabbed or whatever and they have that shocked-I-totally-wasn’t-expecting-that-to-happen kind of face. That was me.

But instead it was God reaching inside of me and ripping out my hopelessness.

I am not a lost cause.

YOU are not a lost cause.

Cause you know why?

He is making everything NEW. Revelation 21:5

Yes, even our messed up, wrecked up, what the heck is up with this… lives.

He is working out a plan… a good plan… a good work… in us and He is going to CONTINUE that work until it is complete.

You Are Not A Lost Cause began a good work

Which meeeeeeeans, you are not a lost cause. It’s. not. OVER.

Whatever “failures” you feel you might have endured. No matter how many times you mess up and mess up and mess up… you are just not DONE yet. And that, my friends, is the biggest cure for hopelessness that I have ever experienced. I might be at the bottom of the barrel today… rock bottom. I might be swimming in a ginormous vat of chocolate and eating all of it. I might be just like the dog that returns to his vomit.

Terrible.
Horrible.
Gross.
Shameful.

But I am still NOT a lost cause.

Know why?

I am HIS cause.

You Are Not A Lost Cause You are HIS cause

 

Day 642: Hopeless Hope

I recently started reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson (which, depending on when you are reading this, is only $5 at Mardels right now! That’s where the link will take you). My husband’s Nanny (as in… grandmother, not babysitter – hehe) gave it to us and my husband read it in like a weekend, but it’s gonna take me a million years. I’m a fiction reader mainly so non-fiction takes me a lot longer.

Well, I came across this sentence in the book  and it just realllllllly grabbed my attention.

the circle maker faith is sure of what we hope for then unsure antithesis of faith mark batterson

Because I realized as I read that… I don’t even KNOW what I hope for.

What should I hope for?

Is it wrong to hope to be skinny someday?

What does God want me to hope for?

Honestly… I wish that I could now say, “Here is the answer… here is what we should and should not hope for.”

Buuuuuuuut, I have not figured that one out yet.

So, instead, while I read on (hoping that through Mark Batterson, God will help me answer that question) I am just praying

God, show me what you want me to hope for.”

{And I won’t deny that I hope He says it’s okay to hope to be skinny someday! Haha!}

And I thought that I’d just invite you friends to pray that with me.

God, show us what you want us to hope for.