Day 512: Guard On Duty

me and the hubs - nashville

{Me and the hubs in Nashville being
touristy after my first
Summer
NAMM show for Chord Dice!}

When I was single, I became pretty darn independent. I mean, I paid my own bills, bought my own fast car, traveled around on my own, rented very nice apartments. I mean… I was doing just fine. And then I met my husband, and I fell in love, and I married him.

Wait… all of a sudden I wasn’t the one calling all the shots anymore.

Yeahhhhhhhh, that’s tough for an independent woman who is married to an independent man. I remember thinking (for years) “He is just SO protective! I can take care of myself but he doesn’t believe in me.” Of course, the longer that we’ve been married I realized that my analysis was a smidge off. Yes, he is protective, but it’s not because he doesn’t believe in me. It’s not because he wants to rule over me. It’s because he loves me and wants to protect me.

The longer that I’ve understood that, the more enjoyable it is to be guarded and protected by my husband. It’s… nice to be able to put some of those cares on him that I carried by myself before. It’s nice to be able to go to him when I am scared or unsure of things. It’s nice for him to step out, a bit like a knight in shining armor, and protect me. But before I realized all of that I fought against his protectiveness because I thought that it would restrain me and make me into something I’m not. I thought it would make me weaker. I thought it would take away my individualism.

But it’s been the exact opposite.

And God is like that… He just wants to protect me because He loves me. And the more that I realize that, the more that I release to Him, the more I am protected, guarded, taken care of. And then more I love my life and find comfort in peace. The more I can, like the Proverbs 31 woman, laugh at the future.

POSITIVITY: I am guarded.

I died to this life, and my real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3

PRAYER:

God, it is so refreshing to know that you are in control. That you have all kinds of crazy power… power that I can’t even fathom. And it’s so cool to know that with all of that crazy awesome power you are taking care of my life.

Today it was so neat to remember and to rest in the knowledge that You have me under your wing. That when the craziness of life and the uncertainty hits… that you are there guiding everything along. It makes it so much easier for me to “die to this life” and just snuggle up and allow my soul to remain hidden with Christ in You.

Thank you for my comfort. thank you for my love. thank you for my protection.

Amen.

Day 511: Caught… Chocolate Handed

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My Sunday School teacher, James Tippit, said on Sunday, “Some suffering is actually our down payment for something glorious.”

I loved that truth… because now every time something “bad” happens it can make me think… “Oh, I wonder what awesomeness is going to come out of this?”

Sorta like yesterday… when my son (again, my oldest from Day 506 and Day 509) had his first “sneak eating” moment.

Now, I know that a 5-year-old sneak eating is a little different from a 34 year old woman sneaking eating, but all the same, it hurt my heart.

I was reading some books with my 3-year-old and my oldest came shuffling in sniffling. My husband was behind him and said that Pico needed to tell me something. Tears welled up in his eyes, and he confessed, “I ate some chocolate.” (Of course, little did he know but it was blazingly obvious because it was smeared all around his mouth!) Well, apparently, while I had been out of the room, he got a bowl and poured some mini-chocolate chips into a bowl and ate them. And then was trying to wash out the bowl to put back in the cabinet when he got caught red chocolate-handed.

Torn between punishing him for being devious and being gentle with him because of the situation, I went with the latter. I thought to myself, “Oh wow… if I don’t handle this correctly, he could become even more of a sneak eater in the future.” So, I held him in my arms, talked to him about how if he’s hungry or craving something that he can tell me. Told him it’s not wrong to be hungry. Told him that food is a great thing – a way for our bodies to get energy. Told him it’s not wrong to eat chocolate. Told him that I don’t ever want him to feel like he needs to be sneaky about eating food. Told him to ask me if he wanted something.

And then… he saw one of his Lego Club magazines, hopped out of my lap happy as a lark, and all was well in his soul! Ha!

The whole situation made my heart a little sad because oh-how-well I know that spirit that makes a person sneak-eat.

Well, last night after I caught up on the past two days of posts, I took a peak at what today’s positivity and verse were to be and was just… struck… by the perfectness of it all.

POSITIVITY: I am understood.

Since I have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let me hold firmly to what I believe. This High Priest of mine understands my weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings I do, yet he did not sin. So let me come boldly to the throne of my gracious God. There I will receive his mercy, and I will find grace to help me when I need it most. Hebrews 4:14-16

Yesterday as my son came to me, I understood his weakness… because I’ve. been. there. Just as Jesus understands mine… because He’s. been. there. And just as my heart hurt for my Pico, so does God’s when I struggle. Which is why when I come to him, He gives me mercy… just as I was able to do for Pico. And just as Pico can come to me when he is hungry or has a craving so that I can help him… so God provides help when I need it most. And it’s all because HE UNDERSTANDS!

I mean… how rad was all of that?!?!?! I wanted so badly to write it all last night but I was exhausted! Needless to say, I was actually happy when the alarm went off this morning because I knew I had something great to write about!

I am understood. By the God of All Creation and The Universe… I am understood.

PRAYER:

Wow God… the way you orchestrate every little moment of our lives is so beautiful. I mean, there I was sitting thinking of how sad it was that he had done that and you were thinking, “Oh I can’t wait until tonight when she sees all of this come together.” It is just so cool.

And ya know, thanks God. For all the ways that you could have saved us… but you sent us your son in the form of a person who would feel, first hand, the pull of temptation. That you could feel the pull when we feel it. That you could know the battle between choosing righteousness or sin. That you could understand me… in my testings. You are so amazing.

Thank you for the blessing of You in my life. Thank you for giving me Your eyes to see the world. Thank you for the path of transformation that you are taking me down.

I love you, God!

Amen!

Day 510: Welcoming Party

sister in law

I remember hearing these horror stories as a kid about how people always hated in their mother-in-law… I mean, at least, in the movies they always did. Now that I think about it I don’t really remember hearing about it from any real people.

Either way, I was pleasantly surprised when my in-laws turned out to be easy-going, supportive, and fun.

And I think, again, like I said on Day 503: An Ode To My Mother-In-Law, they have been so awesome to just welcome me into the family as a daughter… not as a stranger, or as the girl their son married, but as a daughter.

I still remember my first Christmas as I was opening gifts and my in-laws had gotten me this awesome red bag. My sister-in-law (in the pic above) was quick to tell the back story about that bag: they had been shopping and her mom picked up the red bag and said, “Do you like this?” and my sister-in-law said yes (assuming that her mom was going to buy it for her… she’s the only girl) and then her mom said, “Okay good, I think I’ll get it for January.” My sister-in-law said her mouth dropped as she realized that she would now have to SHARE with a SISTER!!! Haha!

But you know, that’s just what Christ has done for me. I’m not a descendant of Abraham. I’m not “supposed” to be part of the family, but He came for us ALL… and He makes me welcome into His family. I can approach God, because of Jesus, as if I am his very own precious only daughter and He will welcome me as if I am such.

Think of that… it’s as if I tried to walk into the White House right now to visit the president. I’d be taken DOWNNNNNN.

Imagine that same scene with instead with God… He would see me at the door, those powerful warrior angels of his would be ready to keep out this human. this sinner. this gentile.

And then God… would look over to His Son, Jesus, who would give Him a quick nod and then God… GOD… would motion for me to enter. He would tell me to sit… heck, He might even get up and embrace me. As if I were family.

Oh my heavens… I’ll be honest. I love the world that God has created here. I love that we are working on the Kingdom of God right here and right now, but THAT greeting… THAT family reunion… THAT welcoming… well, that is something to look forward to.

POSITIVITY: I am welcome.

I can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit as everyone else because of what Christ has done for me. Ephesians 2:18

PRAYER:

God, oh my Father. I see myself as such a misfit so often, but you have deemed me worthy through the sacrifice of Your Son Jesus… worthy to be called FAMILY. Worthy to be with you. Worthy to be welcomed.

It just reminds me that I am given so much… here on earth as well as in heaven.

Today God I just want to remember that I am not displaced. I am just where I need to be. I am here, on earth, but I am your welcome daughter. Able to come to you at any moment because of what Jesus has done for me. Thank you for granting me an audience so. very. often. over such trivial matters as temptation of cookies.

Thank you for making me so very welcome in your family.

Amen.

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 160: Ode To Anice

Lately my husband and I have been talking about some of his food documentaries. Like, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, The Gershon Diet, King Corn, etc.

And they have helped me become keenly aware that Jesus saved me.

Yes, He saved me from Hell.
He saved me from wallowing in my sins.
He saved me from a life of hopelessness, and regret, and broken identity.

But He also has, literally, saved my life.

You see, I was consuming in a way that was, simply put, going to work my body to death. Not because I was working out too much (haha- no chance of that!!!), and not because I was over stressing things in my life (not a super stressful person… patience is really my only virtue), but because…

Well, look at it this way, if my body is a factory and it is required to work a certain amount… I was eating so much stuff that took so much effort to process that I fear my body would have literally gotten so worn out that it would have… shut down.

And a little background here… my Dad’s mother, Anice, passed away from a blood disease when he was a young teenage boy. He doesn’t talk about it a lot but when he does, the experience has to have been the most devastating thing he will ever experience. Over the years I have imagined him as that young boy. I have attempted to imagine his pain. But it is a desolation that I simply cannot fathom. I cannot conjure it.

Now his mother, of course, could not help her illness. For that we can only blame Satan for bringing sin into the world… the sin that made our bodies imperfect. that broke our DNA. that killed our chance for immortality.

But it has made me think over the years… am I willingly killing myself? What if, at the age of 35, I keeled over and died because I had over-consumed? I would purposefully leave my boys motherless… I would have purposefully allowed them to go through that devastation and pain… for a Twix candy bar!??!

It is a strong thought. a compelling thought. a horrid thought.

And yet despite the fear of that happening, I simply could. not. stop. over. eating.

Until Jesus saved me.

Until this covenant I was barreling toward that barricade at the end of the track unable to find the strength to pull on the break.

Only Jesus had the strength.

And so now, even if I should die at the age of 35… or 55… or 85… in my last moment, I won’t have to say that it is “my fault” that I am leaving my sons motherless. Because Jesus has saved me.

Inside and Out.

And I’m pretty sure that is something my Grandma Anice would be proud of.

Day 135: Snapple Out Of It

Last night my husband needed me to run an errand for him after my boys went down for bed. It’s kind of a good thing he asked because if it is just up to me I never want to leave when I put them down… I just want to veg out (haha… that’s never been funny to me before… but “veg” out… like be lazy and eat a lot of vegetables… haha… ha… h… no? Not that funny to everyone else… okay… hehe), but every once in a while it is good for me to get into mainstream society without anyone else. I don’t know why… maybe it just makes me feel a bit like… “me” instead of “mommy/wife/maid” which is what I kind of start to feel like the rest of the time.

So, while I was waiting for him to find the empty box of labels that he needed me to get more of, I started thinking “Ooooo, what special treat can I get for myself while I’m out???” Ya see, before when I would leave by myself at night, it was allllllways the perfect time to sneak eat something that I would never dream of eating in front of my husband: premade cookie dough (yeah, I really had an issue with cookie dough), a chocolate shake from Sonic, a candy bar, ice cream, a box of super chocolate chunk cookies… oh, there was a big ol list of things I would get. Oooooooo… one of my favs was when Walmart used to make their own chocolate peanut butter cups… they were divine. I probably would have turned diabetic lonnnnnng ago had they not stopped making those!

Okay, I digress.

I literally had to take a second and evaluate… I mean, wasn’t getting out on my own the real treat? Did I really need to get a… a something… in order for it to feel special? There was no need to sneak eat anymore… I wasn’t trying to eat anything shameful. What I could eat while out running errands I could certainly eat at home without being embarrassed.

It just reminded me again how so many of these eating habits are totally engrained within me. I wasn’t craving anything. I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t even thinking about food. But I just haven’t been out by myself enough for the process of retraining to get any practice, so my mind (very quickly, I might add) just went right back to what it was used to.

You must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 1 Peter 1:14

I love the way that verse puts it… I searched for “old ways” and this popped up and was just perfect… cause wanting to get a treat is like “slipping” back into old ways. It’s not a direct, purposeful “fall”… it is a slip. But my favorite part is the sass at the end “you didn’t know any better then.” Although I kind of feel like I did know better before… I didn’t really understand before the true depth of what I was doing to myself and to my soul.

But I did get myself a treat. A Diet Peach Snapple… but not one for last night… one for today (when I was supposed to take my kids to IKEA). My two year old got sick though so it’s just sitting in my fridge. But I’m kind of glad that it is… just a reminder that even a “treat” can wait. It’s just a thing of this world… it’s no biggie to have that tea last night, today, or tomorrow… or never.

And that attitude towards food… well, my friends, that. is. freedom.

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Day 133: Face To Facebook

I haven’t been very… good… about taking “real” pictures of my kids the past several months.

Okay, so I have been horrible about it. My iPhone is just so totally convenient, so I never remember to take my “real” camera… and I kept forgetting to charge it whenever I would take it to an “event”. Thank goodness my mother goes to most of the “big” events in my life and she always remembers her camera, so I often just piggy back off of her pics!

Anyway, I did finally charge my camera and take pics at my son’s preschool graduation and at my toddler’s birthday! And I was just so stinking proud of myself that I put them on Facebook (which I also haven’t done an official “album” in a while… most of my pics are mobile upload pics)!

Well, in doing so, I had to go through and choose which pictures I wanted, because… come on. Let’s all be honest here. It don’t matter if there are 37 people in a picture and alllllll of them look fabulous… if I don’t look good then it’s not a good pic. Haha! So, I went through and weeded through some of the less desirable pics of me and others there.

And my emotions at looking at pics of myself were a little back and forth. I’d look at myself in one picture and think, “Wow. I look way skinnier than I realized” and then five seconds later I would look at a pic and think, “Wow… I’m not nearly as far along as I thought.”

But what I think is cool… is that those thoughts just sorta… ended… right there. I just stopped thinking about how I looked and went on with my day. I more so enjoyed all the comments that people were making about my precious boys in the pics having fun. And it wasn’t like I consciously had to think, “Now January… you are beautiful just the way you are.” It was more like my thoughts ran subconsciously but more in this vein: “Now January… The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

And I love that it was subconscious… that I never really thought about the fact that I was feeling “unconcerned” about my looks. I was just… well… unconcerned! To look back on that now at the end of the day, well, it’s just… cool. In fact, I’m kinda smiling to myself right now. Kinda… feeling the joy.

I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart. Psalm 40:8

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 Sixty-Four: Greater Gifts

Today I was thinking of the difference between our countries and those that are in want… in a generality, third-world countries. It seems so odd to me for my major life focus to be unlearning my overeating habits when there are people in other countries that would give anything to have what I typically eat for snacks!

But all the same, it is a problem of the heart for me. And I am reminded of the verse…

Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities! Luke 12:48

I have grown up in America… I have lived a life that is essentially a “greater” gift: salvation at the age of eight, great parents, an awesome brother, and an amazing husband and children, financial security, extravagant shelter, and an abundant food supply.

Therefore, I have greater responsibilities. It is my responsibility to deal with that greater gift the way that God wants me to.

It is my responsibility to become a better disciple of Christ each day.

It is my responsibility to honor my parents, to encourage my brother, to respect my husband, and disciple and train up my children.

It is my responsibility to help maintain our financial state (or at least those parts that I do control).

It is my responsibility to take care of my home so that it will last as long as possible for us.

It is my responsibility to eat wisely and with control.

It is my responsibility… given to me from God.

This puts yet another spin on approaching food with the right attitude. But, I guess I sort of accidentally also came across those other things. It sorta changes the way I will even look at chores and paying the bills and making sure my children are exposed daily to the Law of God and the Grace of Christ.

When I imagine that God has deemed me with these greater gifts… it makes me want to accept those responsibilities with graciousness and thankfulness. And not in hopes that I will receive more simply because I have been a good steward (that is a parable study for another day), but just because I want to honor God through appreciating His gifts by upholding the responsibilities that He has given me.

Wow. Honestly. That is all some kinda heavy stuff. But, hey, I’d rather have some heavy emotional and spiritual stuff and a lot of responsibility than the opposite of that. I’ll take blessings… any day!