Re: Hey! I found your blog last night…

Hey! I found your blog last night as I was googling. I too struggle with overeating. I have been on a chronic dieter and lately all it’s doing is driving me crazy! I was wondering where you are now in your journey. What foods are you staying away from? I feel like I will probably have to do something drastic to find victory and freedom. I just don’t know what to do or how to stick to anything.

I got this message today from someone on facebook and I started to write a reply to her on there, but then I thought… hey, maybe everyone would like to know this… soooooo, here’s my “update”. It started out as an actual “reply” and then sorta morphed into a message to… everyone…

I’m on a bit of a struggle myself right now to be perfectly honest! I have found though that when I stick to the foods on my list (thecovenantdiet.com/what-i-eat) I’m totally golden!

But that’s the hard part. Notice how I said I’m golden WHEN I stick to the foods on my list! I get caught up in the three-day-diet cycle… I can stick to it for three days and then I crater and then I eat like crap for four days (cause everyone knows that you can’t start anything until a Monday, right??? Ha!). When I made the commitment originally and I committed for a year, I was totally great… it was almost easy… but then as soon as I was “done” with that year I started to do that justification game with sweets: “Oh it’s a special occasion.” or “Oh I don’t really have any good food in the house” and my fav “Well, I already messed up for the day so might as well go for it!“, etc. But then it got to the point where I stopped caring… even if I committed my eating and my nutrition to God. I think my subconscious knew that the main reason I was committing to God was only because I wanted to get the weight off again – not that I actually cared what God thought.

I think that it bothers me MORE that I’m going through a phase of not really caring either way if I’m honoring God or not… that’s more worrisome than needing a larger pair of jeans. Keeping it real…

I need to get myself connected with God through habitually meeting with Him every single day.

I have completely neglected that very thing over the past year or two and I can tell that it is permeating into every little aspect of my life. Like, I don’t care right now that my kids are sitting playing our iPad for the past hour. I don’t care that my kitchen looks like the cabinets vomited out every single plate, cup, and utensil we own. I don’t care that I have a week of laundry piled up. I don’t care that my hair looks a mess. I don’t care that I’ve stayed up until midnight for four days in a row and I am killllllling my body, my mind, my patience, my willpower. I don’t care that I just ate half a bowl of cookie dough. Heck…

I don’t even care that I don’t care!

Okay, well, I sorta do care about that one a little. I guess that’s why I’m writing this. But what I do know is that my soul won’t change… my soul won’t care unless I go to The One that made my soul. The One who crafted me. The One who genuinely cares that I… care.

Will meeting with Him every day “fix” me? Geez. I dunno. Will meeting with Him every day help to realign who I am with what I am meant to be: a blessing? Well, it is certainly a start.

But y’all. I ain’t gonna lie…

I need help.

I need some encouragement to do that! I don’t have anyone in my life that I am committed to in that regard… maybe one of you will commit with me. I don’t know… maybe we can make one of those facebook groups or something? Some place… some people… where I can be reminded every day to go to Him who will remind me every day that I am intended to be a blessing and where I can remind you that you are intended to be a blessing. Where we can remind each other that we love the Word of God. That we NEED the Word of God. Where we can remind each other that a focus on Him is a blessing to us and then that’s a blessing to the world. To be told time and time again that this food thing is only to distract us from our purpose.

I totally feel like I’m putting out there some kind of “Will you be my friend” plea or something! Haha! But, hey, why not?!?!?! Will you? Will you be my friend? I’ll be your friend! We can help each other look to God… I just know it. What do you think???

Maybe, comment on here if you have an idea or would want to “be my friend” (haha)… or if you are on facebook or twitter let me know on there by commenting on a post or replying to a tweet. Let’s see what we can figure out!

(And thanks to Miss Facebook Message Girl for messaging me… I know that you were reaching out for yourself, but your message will hopefully end up as a blessing to all of us!)

The Worst Kind Of Success

I feel as if I need to come clean before we even get started…

I just ate four Lindt chocolates.

(Hey… at least I went for the good stuff.)

And ya know, I’m not entirely killing myself over it either. It was sort of a test run. First of all, I haven’t had sugar since December 26th and compared to how my covenant eating has gone over the past few months, THAT ALONE is like a flipping miracle!

Tonight I went to my niece’s birthday and someone plopped a piece of strawberry shortcake in front of me. And not just any ol strawberry shortcake, but made from scratch strawberry shortcake… and if you don’t think “from scratch” is an important detail to this story, then maybe this blog is not for you… cause here at this “diet blog” we reallllllly like food. ;) And I thought “Let’s see what happens… let’s see if somehow, in the lengthy experience {sarcasm} of the past nine days, I have possibly found the fortitude within to eat a little bit and then resist.” So, I ate the cake and then that was it! Success!

Until I got home and accidentally stumbled across those dadgum Lindt chocolates. If it had been the icky-no-good-low-quality regular ol’ chocolates then I probably would have been fine. But nooooooooooo. It had to be Lindt.

Well, you know the rest of the story… if you haven’t lived it yourself then you can certainly fill in the blanks: Because I’d already had sugar tonight, I “might as well”, so I ate “just one” whichhhhhhhhhhhh turned into all of them.

But, I’m sorta glad for a couple of reasons. Here’s why…

I was sorta on the fence about going hardcore with the sugar thing again this year. Like, maybe I should try out that whole balance thing again. Honestly, I knew… I mean… I KNEWWWWWWW it wouldn’t work to have both. But I guess I just needed one last reminder.

Even more so though… ya see, my teacher, James Tippit… he has been talking a lot lately about the idea that sometimes the parts of our lives that we think are successes, God might look at them and just brush them away. But parts of our lives that we view as dismal failures… He might say…

Oh no honey… look… look where I was here… here… and here. This part where you thought all was lost, where you thought you were a mess, a disaster, a wreck… oh, dearest… this is when I was DOIN WORK in your life… in your soul. I was filling in those parts where you were weak… to be strong. I was changing you, forming you, molding you. Making you more like me.

And this is why, tonight, after those infuriating (but honestly… totally divine) Lindt chocolates, I wasn’t in utter dispair. Because this looked like a dismal failure.

Heck, this whole COVENANT DIET itself looks like a dismal failure to me right now… but when I am weak, then HE. IS. STRONG. Perhaps He is just using this whole thing to help melt my heart and reform me… renew me… purify me.

So, tonight, I ask God…

Be strong within me God. Show me how strong you are through my dismal failures. Melt my heart and help me to fall in love with You again. Help me to fall in love with your kindness, your compassion, your ever-ready forgiveness, your patience. Help me to look back on my life and see all of these wonderful, beautiful moments that have changed me, formed me, molded me. Melt me down and make me more like You, so that I might be a blessing. I love you, God. I do. I love you.

Day 664: Where HAVE I Been?

I thought for a long time when I started to struggle with food again that I was being punished by God.

I know, it’s kind of ridiculous.

But I just couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get past this… addiction. Mainly because I had been able to resist sugar for a whole year and now I found myself plummeting back down toward that same rock bottom where I started. I would pray and pray and pray the psalmist’s prayer…

O Lord, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day. O Lord, why do you reject me? Why do you turn your face from me? Psalm 88:13-14

(And if you need to read more of those prayers, here are several: Psalm 13:1-3, Psalm 27:7-9, Psalm 102:1-2)

Until lately as my teacher has helped me to start to see my life the way Christ sees it: in panoramic.

With the purpose of each moment bleeding into the next moment into the next to the next. Even the “bad” ones next to the “good” ones. Moments of triumph. Moments of failure. Moments of hope. Moments of despair.

All of those were working together.

To lead me to… now.

To lead me to… Him.

And I thought it would be kind of cool to look through all of the moments that, now, I can see as His hand. His work. Now, this journey started years and years and years ago… I can remember as early as elementary school when I would wake up in the night at a slumber party to go raid the candies and snacks in secret. But for now, I’m just going to go over the past nine-months.

My First Chocolate: In January, a month after I’d “finished” my year-long covenant with God to not eat sugar, my husband and I finished up a trade show in California for his product, Chord Dice. We celebrated an amazing week with a steak dinner and dessert. It was delicious. And I had no idea the struggle that I was opening myself to.

My First Party: When I finished my covenant, I had decided that it would be best to gradually put sugar back into my life lest I go buck wild. So, I was only going to have sugar at birthday parties and on national holidays. It was very specific and led for little interpretation. Well, not long after having my first chocolate, I threw my husband a birthday party at the beginning of February. I ate cake and cake balls and chocolate covered popcorn all the batters associated with making them. And I ate and ate and ate. For dayyyyyyyyys. I was ashamed. embarrassed. confused. I thought that I had overcome all of this?!?!

{In between the party and the retreat that I’ll talk about next, I was a wreck with eating everything and anything in sight. I’d yo-yo… a few days of being “good” and then a few days of being “bad”.}

My Retreat: Twice a year I go on a mom’s retreat called MomsAway. It’s very laid back with LOTS of free time and I can wear my PJs the entire time. I love it. I need it. And I get to spend hours and hours with just me and God… and well, that pretty much never happens at home. So, this time I went with the main goal of wondering a) should I go back to work or stay home and work on this blog solely and b) what the heck was going on with my eating?!?! God revealed verrrrrry clearly that He wanted me to stay home one more year and work on this. And I also heard from Him for the first time, “Give up sugar… forever.” But, I ran from that and decided that I would go off sugar again for five years.

{Yeah, that didn’t work… something had “snapped” in me whenever I had that first sugar in January and I couldn’t seem to stop eating it. I kept going through the yo-yo. On again off again.}

My Many Fasts: In an effort to “figure out” what was going on, I started doing short term Daniel Fasts. I was trying to get back to what started me out in the first place: my love for God over food. I would feel amazing during the fasts and I would feel like “Okay- this is it! I’m back!” but then a few days after the fast was over, the walls would come tumbling down again. I remember thinking: I need a fast that, like, never. ends.

My Teacher: I joined a class in church a while back with this teacher (James Tippit) that is just uh.maz.ing. His teachings push me beyond what I have always accepted and he challenges my thinking but above all, he encourages us. Not in the sense that he does a little pep talk all the time but in the sense that he just reminds me of some of the most important things that God has said about me and to me.

And the most recent one was on Day 650: Liar, Liar, He’s On Fire when he helped me to see that Satan had been telling me this lie my whole life (telling all of us this lie) that if we sacrifice or hold back from doing something that we are going to miss out. So I kept hearing that voice in my head when I would hear the inner battle over food, “January, if you walk away from that plate of cookies, you are not going to miss out.”

My Jeans: Yep. My jeans are one of my big points. I’ve known for months that I was gaining weight, and many of you can identify with this… it didn’t matter that I was gaining weight… I couldn’t. stop. eating. I would even think of the fact that my jeans were getting tighter and tighter and almost to the point where I couldn’t even button them. They were certainly so small that I couldn’t wear them with any cute “fitted” tops. But the thing was, my jeans not fitting wasn’t a sign to me that things were a “little off”… because a little off means that maybe they are snug… we we are talking MAJOR MUFFIN TOP. No, more accurately, there was no muffin top up there, but a POUND CAKE. Essentially, my jeans were telling me a similar story: you have GOT to address this. Stop running from it or you won’t even fit into your jeans.

My Jonah Moment: Then one night while folding clothes, I was praying about what to do. I could hear that small voice to the right and the left saying “This is what to do.” Give up sugar forever. Change your life. (Isaiah 30:21) But just like Jonah, I was too scared for God to ask such a big thing of me. And so I’d been running from that idea… and running away from that idea meant eating and eating and eating… eating junk, junk, junk.

My Circle Prayer: So, as I read The Circle Maker that my husband’s Nanny got for me, I decided why not? I’ll pray it. So I wrote out my circle prayer.

the circle maker weight loss size 6 prayer

And then things began to tumble into my decision last week on Day 657: I Quit to quit sugar (just in the nick of time before Halloween started too)! And it was immediately freeing.

I write all of this for a reason.

You see, this change… this coming to the conclusion to quit sugar forever… it didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t happen in a week or two weeks. It happened over months and months and months.

But you know the awesome, Awesome, AWESOME thing about this?

I have learned so much about God.

I have learned that He is working even when I think my life is dismal.
I have learned that being determined may not mean progress but it might just mean holding on.
I have learned that God loves me.
I have learned that sometimes God purposefully works slowly.
I have learned that God isn’t going to give up on me and hasn’t given up on me.
I have learned that life is not as much about accomplishing something as it is about keeping my life steered toward Him.
I have learned that just because I don’t think things are on the right path doesn’t mean that I’m off course.

And my list could go on and on.

But I have also learned the power of prayer. Little prayers. Prayers of crying out. Prayers of humility. Prayers of desperation. Prayers of honesty. Prayers for help.

Those prayers have not fallen on deaf ears. He might not have swooped down to “save” every time that I begged for help, but He was listening all along. And He has given me just enough to get through… just enough hope. just enough strength. And He has shown me story after story in the bible where His work was on His own time… and seemingly sooooooooo. verrrrrrrrry. slowwwwwwww. But the end result was always awesome!

So.

Where have I been?

All this time… I’ve been with God.

I didn’t necessarily know it.

But I’ve been with Him.

And He with me.

Day 506a: Childish Conviction

I know I’m on my 30 Day Infusion, and although I have had several things that I have wanted to write about over the past week or so that were “negative” I have held back in the effort to focus on the positive things that God wants to infuse into my heart.

I am made for more!
I am royalty!
I am new!
I am cherished!
I am strong!
I am chosen!
I am complete!
I am loved!
I am unfinished!
I am capable!

But what happened this evening, well… it is an override.

Okay. A smidge of background information: Small truth first. Well, big nasty ugly truth.

I have officially lost about 89% of the control that I’d had and have reverted back (big time) to my former self and my former ways of eating. I have been ignoring the voice of the Holy Spirit that has been trying over and over again to lead me down the right path. I have purposefully chosen to go out of my way to eat sugar and chocolate. I have been eating “okay” for two or three days and then just “tasting” one little thing on the third day and then it just goes downhill from there.

Well. Actually… if we are being TOTALLY honest here, I have been eating junk for about three days straight. Always thinking, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll get back on track with God.” And always knowing, “No. you. won’t.”

Usually I’d have felt guilty for still writing with a positive focus, like as if it weren’t real… and well, it sorta wasn’t “real” but I just kept telling myself, “Keep infusing yourself with the wonderful, great, positive things that God has said about you and provided for you and eventually it will push out all of your own negative voice. Just keep on keepin on, January.”

So I did.

But I also kept on eating chocolate.

Anyway, this afternoon, my son and I went to the library and then to the grocery store. He asked to get some little cookies as a treat and I caved and then he asked to eat them in the little eating area and I caved again (he is really beyond precious… it’s almost impossible to tell him no). So, as we’re eating up in the little balcony eating area, he took one of the cookies out of the case and said, “So mom, how many more days until you can have sugar again?”

I sorta stumbled over an answer akin to “Oh, I’m… I’m not sure” because, of course… OF. COURSE. I have been doing all of this chocolate eating by myself. Sneaking it to and fro. Shoving it in my mouth when I hear little feet coming down the hall. Silently waiting until my husband is on the phone. So, he doesn’t know that all this time I’ve already BEEN eating sugar.

Gosh, I felt such a tug at my heart.

Butttttttt, not enough of a tug to keep me from eating two of those cookies when we got home plus another cookie that I had stashed, okay, okay… HIDDEN… in the pantry.

{And here it comes… the part where God spoke through my child.}

So, after dinner the boys asked if they could have some Cookie Crisp cereal for dessert. We haven’t had a “junk” cereal in the pantry for a while, so I guess it’s like an extra special treat for them. I said yes, poured them both bowls, and then decided, well… Cookie Crisp cereal is actually totally gross to me, but it’s sorta like eating a cookie and since I’ve already eaten all of the cookies then I might as well eat this too.

Poured myself a bowl.

My son: Mom, are you going to have a bowl, too?

Me: Yeah. Yeah, I think I am.

Son: Well, you know you’ll be breaking your promise to God right? Do you want to break your promise to God?

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKAY.

Was. not. expecting. that.

Instant tears.

I paused for a moment… a zillion responses running through my mind while he looked at me… our eyes connected… his gaze was unflinching… and I knew what I HAD to do. For him. For me. For God.

Me: No. No, I don’t want to break my promise. I think I’m just gonna pour it back in.

Son: Okay. Good.

Me: Thank you. Thank you for helping me keep my promise.

And I poured the cereal back into the box. Annnnnnnd, went over and hugged him. Annnnnnnd, took his picture with his Cookie Crisp.

Annnnnnnn, then took the picture of my other son with his Cookie Crisp because he wanted in on that picture-taking-action!

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It was all JUST what I needed.

You know, there are about a gazillion times in a sinners life when we are not ready to get called out on our sins. We just lash back because, I dunno, I guess we are in a sense of denial or buried in our shame. But every once in a while, we are ready. longing. hoping. needing. for someone to call us out.

Thing was… I wasn’t listening to God anymore. And I was hiding it from everyone. So, God had to speak to me through my child {and yes, I am totally bawling right now as I write this… out of thanks and humility and hope and gratefulness}. Through my innocent child who won’t know for years and years to come the impact of that little tiny question when he was a little tiny boy.

Honestly, I think the main reason it grabbed my attention so much wasn’t because of my son seeing me eating junk. It was because of my son watching me. waiting to see… would I follow God.

All of my words up to this point. All of my teaching him. All of my prayers over him. Ev.er.y.thing. hinged on this moment. Would my actions SHOW the truth I had been giving him all this time?!?!?!

Oh and I thank God that He gave me the RIGHT answer. the RIGHT words. the RIGHT action.

But as I stepped back into my day, those cookies were still there. I still desired them.

And guess what?!?!? Good news people… guess what kicked in?

The positives!

I am made for more!
I am royalty!
I am new!
I am cherished!
I am strong!
I am chosen!
I am complete!
I am loved!
I am unfinished!
I am capable!

And those cookies have remained untouched the rest of the day.

And, well, I reckon… I won’t be the one finishing them off this time.

Day 467: Good Gluttony

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Thrown into an empty well by his brothers to die.
Sold by the same brothers to slave traders.
Sold again as a servant in Egypt.
Blackmailed by his boss’s wife.
Ended up in prison.

Joseph.

I have become nigh-obsessed with the story of Joseph.

You can partially blame that on Beth Moore as well, too… just like Day 449: Blame It On Beth Moore. Cause I’ve just finished her study The Patriarchs on Wednesday nights at my church. And the other partially would be that I was assigned his story to master teach in our youth department on Sunday at church a while back (Day 349: Ohhhh, Hockey Puck).

And it’s just so interesting how the bible can come alive over and over again. I mean… it’s Joseph. You know, Joseph and his coat of many colors?!?! Any kid who went to church heard the story of Joseph. And it was a great story then too… but it’s just cool to me how as an adult, I get something entirely different out of the story. As a kid I remember thinking the moral was “Don’t be prideful or people will try to throw you in an empty well.” Cause then I just sorta checked out on the rest of the story where all the bad stuff happens to him.

And now I realized that the second half of his life IS the story.

Because after all of that horrible stuff happened to him, he was raised to the highest status in Egypt, he was able to set aside grain for the entire country that would then feed his family, and he was able to reconcile with his brothers. And it all boils down to what he says to his brothers after his father has died and they are afraid that he will get revenge on them since Jacob isn’t there anymore to see it. He tells them:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20

As I struggled a bit this week (what with the granola bars and all on Day 466: Hungry Hungry Hippie), I had to fight not getting down on myself for being imperfect. And then I remembered this story again… and thought, wow. Gluttony was trying to harm me, but God intended it all for good.

There is a lot of proof (my relationship with Him has never been closer and my faith has grown exponentially), but my favorite is this:

God has used my gluttony, my being in the pit, my selling of myself over to the sins of gluttony and food-lust, my burden of being overweight and trapped in the prison of sugar-addiction… He has used all of that for the good.

For you.

To save your life.

Because as I have traveled this path I have realized HOW. MANY. OF. US. THERE. ARE.

So many of us struggle with this. So many of us feel defeated. unhealable. trapped. lost. forgotten. resigned.

And it’s not just overweight women either.

Skinny girls. LOTS of skinny girls live on diets of chocolate. I know. I know because I’ve met them in coffee shops where they’ve bawled their eyes out. I’ve chatted with them while dropping off my son. I’ve read their emails to me where they confess their hoarding spots.

Manly men.
Average weight people.
Children.
Moms.

It’s… everywhere.

And I’ve seen and heard how God is using this journey of mine… from gluttonous to glorious… to help people begin their own journey of healing and renewal and freedom.

God is using my struggles with the sin of gluttony… for good.

And that… that is good.

Day 466: Hungry Hungry Hippie

So, lately I’ve been really wanting to pull myself and my family further away from processed foods… I know, I know. That is just so trendy right now. I mean, who doesn’t want to pull their family away from processed foods?

But gosh- soooooo much easier said than done. Especially for someone who is not much of an accomplished cook in the first place, and then double that for someone whose minimal cooking skills revolve around a bunch of “Cream of _______” dishes. Plus, I’m not much of a hippie type… I mean, I like roughing it out in the country, but only if there is a Walmart within driving distance to get the stuff I need. So, this whole “do it all yourself” thing is gonna be a big switch for me.

In an effort to make this endeavor something I don’t burn myself out on too quickly, I have decided to start very small and thought I’d begin with homemade granola bars. I found a recipe on Pinterest that sounded doable and so I modified it a bit and then tried it a few weeks ago. Delish. My processed-addicted 5 year old son loved them. So, I made them again a couple of days ago and bam… nailed it again.

{Look… aren’t they pretty? And this is pre-baked!}

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I packed those beautiful granola bars all nicely in my best piece of tupperware and stored them in the fridge and smiled at myself each time my son requested one and I could far more easily say “Yes, you may have one of these pretty-good-for-you homemade granola bars!”

Until… yesterday.

I got so hungry at lunch time. Weird, right? What a concept. But it was the kind of hunger that caught me a bit off guard; it sorta came out of nowhere. And I didn’t really have a plan for what to eat nor a lot of easy options… so, I ate… a granola bar.

And I sorta sigh and shake my head at myself as I write that.

But… what’s wrong with a granola bar, January?

Nothing.

Unless… you’re doing a Daniel Fast that restricts several of the ingredients in the granola bar.
Unless… you’ve made a covenant with God not to eat sugar for five years and there are m&ms and mini chocolate chips in them.
Unless… you’re not eating A granola bar but MANY granola bars.

Yep, that’s right… I didn’t just eat one granola bar to ward off my hunger. I ate five granola bars to ward off my hunger.

And then at dinner I had the nerve to feel so proud of myself for not eating the BBQ pulled pork I cooked for my visiting brother. And proud again as I just ate enough and felt so satisfied. Well, YEAH, I felt just so satisfied with my little meal… I’d eaten enough oats and peanut butter in those bars to last me a week!

{Sigh.}

This morning, however, I sit here and cross my arms (cause despite it being late April it’s a little chilly) and think… Well, what lesson did I learn from it? A couple, actually.

Reminder One: This is a journey, January. By now you should have learned that this whole process of healing and renewal is not going to happen on your timeframe. Calm down. Learn lessons. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Reminder Two: Have pre-prepared, easy to make/warm up lunches for days like these. Like, yesterday was a “I need to nuke it” kind of lunch day. Not even my avocado and tomato salad would have been right for me (despite it’s deliciousness) because it took a whopping five minutes of “work” to make it. So, this week, I’m going to prepare five freezer meals for myself along with a list of Daniel Fast-friendly lunches to glance at when my brain is kaput.

Reminder Three: It’s not about WHAT food you’re eating if you eat TOO MUCH. (One of these days that’s actually going to sink in!)

Reminder Four: God’s love never ends. His mercies never stop. They are new EVERY MORNING. (Lamentations 3:22-23) And He will give me wisdom to come out of this. He has healing in his wings that all I have to do is reach out and touch. He knocks down strongholds. He reaches down with his strong arm to save. God. is. good. Even my granola bar gorging can be worked out for His Good Plan.

Yep. I feel better now!

Day 444: So. Worth. It.

Okay. No more games.

I won’t even write a whole bunch of background story for you.

Like, I’m going to do my BEST to keep the story short.

I’m just gonna tell you what God said.

The morning after the discussion with my friend at the retreat (on Day 443), I woke up earlier than everyone and snuck away to a corner (where I could sit in a ginormous chair and gaze out at the lake) and prayed.

And honestly, I’m not entirely sure how I “knew” just what He wanted me to do aside from having prayed all weekend and read the Word over and over and over again… and there were three scriptures that really snagged my buttons, but I’ll talk about that in another post. (And snagged. my. buttons.??? What IS that? Where did I even come UP with that phrase?!?!?!)

Anyway… I guess, there is just something… different… about the whisper of God in your soul. It’s like you “hear” the words coming from deep, deep within you. As if… as if He planted those words in the DNA of mankind thousands of years ago knowing that at this moment He would release them from deep in your soul.

Well, that… or maybe it was just because it’s the Holy Spirit. Ha!

{Thanks for indulging my attempt at a poetic moment anyway.}

Either way, the more I seek God, the more I find that I recognize His Voice. Maybe it’s just that I’m teaching my soul to be more and more quiet as I seek Him and so it’s getting easier and easier to hear Him. He does say that “if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.Deuteronomy 4:29

Okay, but… that’s a post for another day. Cause today… today, I am attempting to be what they call “brief”.

So, as I prayed, I distinctly heard “No sugar for 5 years… until your 40th Birthday. On your 40th Birthday, you can have cake.

(That’s one way to KNOW it wasn’t me speaking… I didn’t even realize that it was 5 years until my 40th birthday!)

birthday countdown pic

And immediately………

FREEDOM.

Five years of not having to fight the stuff off. I was so, ironically enough, RELIEVED! Not relieved that it wasn’t forever (honestly, I have a feeling that after the five years are up that either I will want to keep it going forever or He will tell me to keep it going forever) but relieved that I would have five more years “off” from having to deal with that sin in my life. I so gladly handed back that burden to Him. Easily handed it back. Eagerly.

Again, I know… it’s weird. It’s extreme. It’s not “our way” of doing things. But, His ways are not our ways… His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

And honestly… I’d rather, at this point, stop doing things my way, with my thoughts. It’s not that I’m bad or terrible or anything; it’s just that His Ways are… amazing. His Thoughts are… so wonderful. I want to have a mind like Christ now simply because a simple normal “human” mind isn’t cutting it for me anymore. I dunno… maybe He’s preparing my mind for Heaven. Or maybe, His Kingdom is NOW. Maybe He wants me to be (as the Hebrews were named) “set apart”. Maybe He wants me to walk around this earth with a mind like His… and continue His Work. and BE His Work.

Wow. Giving up sugar brought me to all of this.

So. worth. it.

Day 426: Fast Fruit

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Soooooooooooooo.

I……… ate a bunch of chocolate on Thursday.

… … …

Ugh.

It was the leftover candy from my husband’s grandfather’s 80th birthday party that did me in. (Those Twix. Oh my. Twix.)

… … …

Annnnnnnnnnnd then I ate a bunch of white chocolate covered popcorn yesterday at a baby shower at my house.

Okay, okay. And I had some punch.

Well, a lot of punch.

… … …

And. A huge slice of cake.

After everyone had left.

While my husband was in the other room.

Sure, these are small indulgences compared to a year a half ago, but I have learned that with me… and with food… there is no small indulgence.

Plus, I have this, ya know, covenant.

With GOD.

Anyway. You know how you have that moment when you really just have to come face to face with the fact that something’s not right. not working. not… yeah. just NOT working.

As I walked through the kitchen in the middle of the night after my toddler woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep on his own cause he has restless leg syndrome, poor thing, I saw the white chocolate popcorn leftover from the baby shower and thought “Ooooooo, I’m gonna get some of that and put the popcorn on my tongue so that the white chocolate is what hits first.”

At 3am.

I mean… seriously?!?!?! Does my dadgum id EVER take a break? It’s making my super-ego work overtime!

Anyway, I immediately thought to myself: fruit fast. I need to do a fruit fast.

I’ve been thinking about it lately anyway. I’ve realized that even though my covenant started out as a fast last year… it sorta just developed into a diet. I think I knew that a long time ago, but I sorta denied it to myself. I wanted it to still be holy. I wanted it to still be righteous. But, it really was… just a diet.

And I wanted to remind myself what it means to really fast. Like, fast to where it “hurts”. Fast so that I feel the sacrifice. Fast so that I long for food for nourishment instead of for one of the other zillion reasons I long for food.

So, I started a fruit fast this morning. I figured I’d go for three days. My husband’s brother and his family arrive on Thursday and I’ll probably be out of pocket pretty frequently at my in-law’s and grandparent-in-law’s where I won’t have as much control over my options. Besides, I’ve never done a fruit fast, so I wasn’t sure how it would affect me.

And holllllly moly.

I’M HUNGRY.

I was all good. I even thought around 10:00 this morning, “Oh yeah… I could so do this for way longer than three days.”

Until about… noon.

And then all I could see was everything in the fridge EXCEPT the fruit. I saw a carrot and thought “Oh my gosh, I’d love a carrot right now. or a bell pepper. or some tomatoes.” Things that I have wanted to try to avoid the past few months because they were allowed and healthy, simply because they were now “forbidden”, they suddenly became my desires. Honestly, I haven’t thought once about sugar or chocolate today… just vegetables and pasta.

And so I knew… “Oh yeah… I needed this.”

I sang some hymns.
I prayed to God.
I ate, like, 17 clementines.
I tamped down my horribly mean attitude that emerges when I am empty (well, for most of the day I did).

And I remembered… hunger.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

Day 385: Back In The Promised Land

Well, Texas, that is. I’m back in Texas. Which… to me, if you’re gonna live in America… Texas is the promised land. Yep… I love me some Lone Star State. (But don’t get me wrong, if I ever get a chance to live in like Costa Rica or something… I’m totally gonna bail on Tejas and go soak up some rays on the beach.)

AN.Y.WAY.

You might have not even known that I was gone, but I have been in Anaheim, California for the past week with my husband at the 2013 NAMM Show doing demos for his product, Chord Dice. It was an awesome, awesome, awesome week, and dare I say, completely exhausting. This is one reason why I have not posted… I would literally come in from dinner every evening (the show closed at 6pm every day and we’d usually sit down to dinner around 8pm) after standing from 8am-6pm nonstop, and I would wash my face, brush my teeth, change my clothes, and then fall asleep before my head even hit the pillow. (I actually did fall asleep at dinner one night!)

chord dice namm 2013

The other reason I didn’t post was because the WiFi in our hotel was abysmal and I guess since there were, literally, thousands of people staying right there in that convention center area of Anaheim all the 3G data was being evenly distributed between all of us… cause even my iPhone would take forever to load stuff.

But I did work on some posts on my new little laptop that my brother got me for a Christmas/Birthday gift so there is some coming.

What I wanted to share right now, very quickly is this… for the first time in over a year, on my celebration day…

I had a steak.
I had chocolate dessert.
I had a glass of red merlot.

And it was not all that I had imagined I was missing all this time. Don’t get me wrong, it was good. It was very good. But it was no where near as good as the joy of God has been this past year. It was no where near as good as fitting into a size 8 day after day after day. It was no where near as good as not having to fight with a plate of brownies or a bag of Oreos or a tube of Pringles.

So, right now… right before I run to pick up my son from pre-school, I want you to know that if you are considering covenanting from something that is a stronghold in your life… do it. That thing that has such an amazing hold on you… it’s no where near as important or good or necessary as you think it is. And the only reason I know this is because for a year, I didN’T have what I thought was important and good and necessary and I just DID have it and nothing about my life changed or was infinitely better.

Whatever that “thing” is in your life that is holding on to you… don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking that it’s so awesome that you can’t give it up with the help of Jesus.

You can.
You should.
You must.

Allow God to take you somewhere new.
Allow God to take you to the REAL promised land.

And I’m not talking about Texas this time.

Day 376: Ugh.

(Writing this on Saturday night.)

I should be working on my lesson for tomorrow that I’m to teach to the middle school youth on evangelism.
I should try to avoid putting in titles that are depressing and lame like the word “ugh”.
I should be in bed sleeping (it’s 11:10pm).
I should get up and get myself a drink of water.
I should stop being overdramatic.

Buuuuuuuuuuuut, I’m not. Not gonna do any shoulds right now.

Cause I’m having a pity party.

Why? Cause I got all freaked out that I’m not going to be able to wear the clothes that I wore last year to my husband’s trade show because I have this little muffin top when I wear the pants. Sooooo, I went to Ross and Target looking for… I dunno. Looking for something. And well, everything looked HIDEOUS on me. And I said “You look FAT” to myself about 87 times.

And then I gave back everything that I tried on at Target and went to go get a few groceries for tomorrow and I have to walk past this.

20130119-231601.jpg

I mean… seriously?!?!? I was angry that the stuff even exists! Ha – like I said… pity. party.

But… well, I guess there is one silver lining here. I didn’t buy any donuts. or chocolate peanut butter cups. or ice cream. or chips. or cookies. or cakes. I said to myself, “You know those won’t fix anything” and I just moved on. Well, I took a picture of them and moved on.

And before this covenant, I woulda gotten some of these AND some ice cream AND some chocolate peanut butter cups AND probably some cookie dough just in case. But God has shown me over the past year that these things do not satisfy. They do not fulfill. They do not comfort. So, to look back and “see” myself just walking away from all this stuff is a huge blessing for me. It’s actually an answered prayer. It’s evidence that God has worked in me.

BUT.

Of course, there had to be a but. It’s a pity party post, remember?

Ya know what I found myself doing tonight?

Ugh. If my husband had just let me order a t-shirt too then I wouldn’t be worried about all this.
Ugh. If my husband had done the dishes for me then I’d be a lot less stressed out.
Ugh. If I just knew how to play an instrument then I could vent out my frustrations.
Ugh. If I had a book that I was reading then I could just pick it up right now and get lost in it.
Ugh. If I had never agreed to teach tomorrow then I could just take some benadryl and go to sleep.

Ya know what I found myself NOT doing tonight?

Sigh. Praying and thanking God for all that He’s done this year really put me back on the right track.
Sigh. Reading through Psalms just now made me feel so much more appreciative.
Sigh. Meditating on what God is: lovable, compassionate, kind, patient, powerful, faithful… really refreshed my spirit.

Nope. Because I was searching for fulfillment somewhere else. It may have not been food, but it was the exact same process. I mean, at least here, on this blog, I was able to come full circle and realize that. I think even just confessing it is a good step in the right direction. And right now I find myself thinking, “Oh I’m so glad that church is tomorrow. I just need someone else to pour some spirit refreshing words into my soul.”

But, in the meantime, I think I’m going to lay down, close my eyes, and at least do one of those “sighs” from above and mediate on what God is.