Day 738: Every Day, In Every Way

Day 738 The Covenant Diet - Every Day, In Every Way

My son has a ptosis on his right eyelid. He’s had it since birth and the doctors said it might just resolve on its own but it hasn’t.

Honestly, I hardly even notice it anymore.

It’s not super severe, but it’s there.

He never really noticed it until lately. I mean, he’d say: “One of my eyes is sleepy” and then he’d move on to build something amazing with his Legos, but that was really it. No biggie.

Until.

Until he went to school.

And wow – other kids were really keen to point it out. Not maliciously, but just “Hey! One of your eyes is closed!” He would just shrug at first and say “Yeah. I was born that way.” He handled it so well. Again, no biggie.

But recently he has become very aware of it and whereas before he wouldn’t let us even discuss the idea of surgery, now he is the one asking for it. {He’s going to have to have surgery because it is affecting his vision.}

And last night on the way home from church he said, “Mom! Please, can we just go get my eye fixed tomorrow? Cause, like, everyone is making fun of it and I just want it fixed.”

I wanted to sit down with him and say, “Oh man. I get ya. I get it. But I promise that even though we’ll get that eye fixed, kids are gonna find something else. They always find something else.” But I decided that was a bit too “mature” of a response for him. So, I said,

I understand that you want it fixed and that it hurts your feelings when others tease you. I’m really sorry for all of that. Ya know, when I was younger, people used to tease me about something too.

What? What did they tease you about?

My hair. My very, big curly hair.

But I like your big hair.

Yeah, me too. But it’s wasn’t “normal” and so kids teased me about it. But know what I learned? I learned first of all that Jesus loves me, all of me, big hair and all.

{My son then pointed out that I also have a big belly and that sometimes people make fun of people with big bellies. Yeah. Thanks dude.}

And I also learned that it didn’t matter what was on the outside… my big hair or my big belly… because what was on the inside was more important: that I am fun, that I love to laugh, that I am nice to people no matter what, that Jesus loves me all the time, every day, in every way.

{He then pointed out that I am fun but that I am not very good at Mario. Okay, well, I’ll give him that one. I am not very good at Mario. Like… at all. And this is a serious hit on my level of “coolness” in our house.}

And later that night I thought about our little conversation. I was trying to decide if I had gotten anything into his soul about the truth of what he should think about himself. But I couldn’t make myself think of him: I just kept talking to myself… about myself.

January, do you really believe that? Do you really believe that it doesn’t matter what is on the outside? When you looked in the mirror before church tonight and cursed the fates because you were wearing your “fat jeans” and you still had a roll sticking out over the top – it mattered to you. It mattered what was on the outside.

I had to answer myself: Yes. Yes. It does matter. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to totally make it NOT matter on this side of heaven. But what a great reminder that it’s not what matters to Jesus. Not saying that He doesn’t want me to take care of my body, and not saying that He doesn’t care about what I care about, but that just that He… He loves me.

He loves me.

He loves you.

All the time.

Every day.

In every way.

So just stop. Stop for a second right now. Stop and close your eyes and whisper His name. Whisper the name of Jesus.

Jesus… fill me with Your Love right now. I want to feel Your Love. I need to feel it. I need to know that when you see me, you just see the core of me. I need to know that in your mind, your gaze pierces through to the heart of me. I need to know that in your mind, your gaze burns through the mistakes, through the fears, through the facades, and that it just sees me: Your daughter. Your wonderful, beautiful, lovely daughter. Remind me today Jesus. Remind me to whisper Your Name. Remind me to push past all that is temporary when I look at myself and to see me as you see me. Remind me to love myself the way You love me: all the time. every day. in every way.

Day 622: When A Man Cries…

You might have noticed yesterday, about 2pm, I went a little nuts on my social media channels.

Well, nuts in a good way.

I sat down with a full heart (like, the good kind of “full”) from church and just wanted to pour some of that fullness into all of you. I wanted you to feel the relief I felt from one moment in Sunday School, so I posted all of these updates on facebook, twitter, and Google+. And I did it within a span of ten minutes. Cause I didn’t want anyone to miss it!

God Loves You

And it was all because my Sunday School teacher… a man… cried.

I mean, I know it’s the new own-your-feelings era and men cry a lot more now than the olden days, but not this one. Not really. I mean occasionally he’ll get choked up or whatever but he’s not the cry-every-time-he-teaches type (and I’ve had those types before, so I’d be able to recognize it). And honestly, I don’t really remember what he said right before it. And I don’t remember what he said right after it.

Wait, I kinda do.

We were talking about not being the judge of others and where they stand with God. And we’ve gotten to know him over the past year pretty well that he’s been our teacher… it’s kinda a small tight-knit group. He said:

I bet most of you in here aren’t the types that are hard on those around you. {Pause} My guess would be that most of you are harder on yourselves than on anybody else. {I nodded my head in agreement thinking of the past several months of my own life} But that’s what I really want you to hear… the only thing I want you to hear and I’m afraid you might miss it… {Big pause… obvious tears in his eyes} I’m afraid you might miss that God. Loves. You.

God. Loves. You.

And my mind was lost.

Lost to the rest of his sentence.

Lost to thinking of only that.

Lost to doing anything other than telling my heart again and again and again… God. Loves. You.

God. Loves. You.

God. Loves. You.

God. LOVES. You.

He’s not wrapped up in your sin or your inability to do “right”. He just… LOVES… you.

And today I tell you the same thing my friends… cause I’m afraid YOU might miss it too. And I don’t want you to miss it.

So hear me.

Hear me now.

GOD.
LOVES.
YOU.

GOD.
LOVES.
YOU.

God Loves You

Day 175: Christ Convo

Every time I think that I have got it down… got it figured out… got it good… got it all learned…

then I realize how much I still have to learn. This is why we need to be around our elders. We’ll live better lives if we listen to their wisdom. It’s like they give us the fast track to happiness. If we listen to them, more often than not, we get to skip over the mistakes and the hardship.

And this particular lesson is: prayer.

And how many times have I learned this lesson? I dunno… lots.

My husband’s grandmother gave me a book when he and I got married called The Power of a Praying Wife. I ignored it for a year or two. I prayed… sometimes. When I prayed… I asked for what I wanted. what I thought was best. what I had figured out would be good for me.

Yeah… I got a lot of what I prayed for… and it wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

Then, I read through that book… not even sure why, but it totally changed my perspective on a bunch of things. Like, I stopped praying specifics about what I wanted God to change about my husband, and I started praying only that God would give my husband wisdom and that He would continue to make my husband more and more like Him.

Yeah… that worked a lot better than the self-centered blech I was praying before.

And yeah… I’m having myself a little bit of a revival about prayer right now. Only this time it’s not about my husband, but just about me.

I have always been the type to pray continually… just when something pops into my head I pray about it. I also used to journal my prayers a lot (at least I did before I had kids… since I had my first son five years ago, I fall asleep three or four lines in)!

But lately, there has been almost no prayer… no conversation… going from me to God. And honestly, I think I have been blocking out what He’s been trying to say to me. Yesterday’s post was really the first time that I had really talked to Him.

And I find myself almost having to retrain myself with how to pray. or with being comfortable with praying. or with “making” myself take the time to stop and pray. or all of those.

You see, I think that what I did for a while is that I was replacing prayer with the reciting of scripture.

Now, reciting scripture to myself has gotten me through a bazillion temptations… but I think what happened is that slowly I started to lose my connection with the One that said the scriptures in the first place! It was almost as if instead of relying upon God and God’s power to save me, I was relying upon the Bible… almost in a worship-the-wrong-thing kind of way.

Oops.

But part of this whole thing is a learning process. And it takes times of “failure” and a following of introspection.

And it’s kind of nice that an “oops” is sufficient. Because after the “oops” comes action (like I talked about here). The action is prayer… reconnecting with the Spirit of God. reconnecting with His Power. reconnecting with His Love. His Grace. His Hope.

Oooooo, and I just found this:

I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Psalm 116:1-2

Day 110: Why Now?

Well, I had another little text-fest with my friend Alice today. And she posed the question:

Why wasn’t his love enough for me before?

I have often asked myself this same question. In fact, that question is what drove me to do the covenant in the first place. After finishing a three-week Daniel Fast last year, I was astonished at how easily I had withheld certain foods from myself that had been seemingly irresistible before. But before that, I had often called out to God and requested that His love and power save me from… food. from myself. from weight. from addiction.

But it hadn’t ever worked.

So, here was my response to her question as to why was His Love enough now?

Here are my thoughts… His Love has always been enough, but now you have committed to Him to rely solely and only on His Love. Before (at least for me) it was really just an “acknowledgement” of His Love.
But now, I am saying, “I believe that Your Love and Your Grace are so powerful that I will commit to sacrificing this food so that Your Grace and Your Love can change me without distraction of food.”

But each person’s journey has been sooooo unique. Soooooo different. The only “sameness” has been that Jesus has, and is, changing them.

I’m sure there is some thick theology about why this is helping so many of us to stand up to these strongholds that we have struggled against for years, but I am at this point with it…

When the blind man who has been healed by Jesus is being interrogated by the Pharisees…

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” John 9:25

Day 104: The Blue Bell Is Ringing

I started to write this morning on a different topic and got sidetracked (dern kids! Haha) but now I am glad that I wasn’t able to finish because I have a post more about the now.

Today has been… rough. Not like the “oh my kid dropped the entire tub of powdered gatorade out on the kitchen floor” kind of tough (although he did do that) but the kind of tough day that deals with being hurt emotionally, dreams deferred, hopes squelched.

Honestly, there is no need to be specific about what is going in (nor can I… although I will be clear that it is not marital nor is it something pertaining to my kids) because all of us have had THAT day. Some of us have had a day like that many times. Some of us a few times. Some people experience a day like that every. single. day.

Now you might be a little nervous that this is going to be a post where I vent my frustrations or something because the connection to food addiction and overeating probably looks pretty… non existent. But, alas, the connection is very, very strong.

Today has been tough. So today should have been a “drown my sorrows in a tub of Blue Bell day”. I should have comforted myself with the bag of chocolate frosted donuts that I treat my boys to once a month. A family visit to Sonic should be in order complete with chocolate shakes and all of a bacon cheeseburger.

But instead… today was a day of renewal for me. A day where I was reminded of God’s unending love and care for me. Because instead of wallowing in decadent foods… I turned to the Word this morning.

I craved it.

I feasted on it.

I gorged myself on it.

I hungered and thirsted for righteousness.

And I have been filled.

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

Day Thirty-Nine: Damsel In Distress

I want to start out by saying that I’m so glad that I decided to do this for a year. Five weeks in and I’m realizing that I’m gonna need another 47 weeks to get this worked out. That might sound like I’m “down” but it’s actually almost like a sigh of relief! I am just really glad that I gave myself a lot of time to get “over” this addiction. To work through my bad habits. To become a new creation. Too often before I have expected myself to become a new creation over night and that’s not always the way that it works. I mean, hey, I have thirty-three years of addictive habits that I’m trying to break. That might take a little while!

Now, with that being said, I feel like I have moved into Phase II of this experience. Phase I was getting past my addiction to sugar, namely, chocolate. Honestly… haha, yeah… honestly, I thought that was my only “issue”. Nope. Turns out that I realize over and over that it really wasn’t about the chocolate at all (well, okay, maybe a bit because it was soooooooo good), but that it has been an issue of the heart. So, once chocolate was gone I simply started to slowly work in new “addictions”. But the good news is that I’m not going to let those new addictions master me for the next thirty-three years but I’m going to deal with them now. nip them in the bud now. abolish them from my life now.

So… yeah. In a way I feel like I am back at square one. I’m seeing some of the same tendencies popping back up! Eating what is not beneficial but is still technically “okay” on the fast (e.g. potato chips). Eating past the sensation of full (e.g. dinner last night and tonight when I ate two servings worth and was way past full). Eating too late in the day and ignoring hunger sensations in the hopes that I would let my belly eat a little fat while I starved a bit (e.g. yesterday when I tried to skip lunch altogether).

I can tell that my weight loss has stalled out a little bit and I think that it is because of these things.

So, I’m needing to remind myself of the covenant. And I don’t think that this is a sign of me faltering, or Satan winning, or a lack of faith, discipline, etc.

I have just finished reading through Joshua in my daily bible readings, and after Joshua and the Israelites cross over the Jordan River (God, again, stops the water from flowing so that they can cross) they pile up 12 stones that someone from each tribe picked up when they were crossing the river. Then Joshua tells them why:

“In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ “Yes, God, your God, dried up the Jordan’s waters for you until you had crossed, just as God, your God, did at the Red Sea, which had dried up before us until we had crossed. This was so that everybody on earth would recognize how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that you would hold God in solemn reverence always. Joshua 4:21-24

It’s not that atypical to set reminders… to need reminders. Heck, it’s all through the bible of the Israelites setting up altars to God to remind themselves that He came through. Like Noah when they got out of the boat. He built an altar to God. I just really like how this part ends… the stones are there so that they can tell others what God did… and why He did it: so that everyone would know how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that we would revere Him always.

So, I am going to be thinking over the next few days of a way that I can set up my stones to remind me that God’s rescuing hand (which I just love that adjective… not just His hand, but his rescuing hand) is strong and that I should revere Him. In the past I might have put a picture of me looking all fatty to “demotivate” me from eating, or a picture of me all skinny to “motivate” me to not eat, or a pig, or a… well, you get the picture. But now again, I am pulling the attention away from me and refocusing it on the things of eternity.

And I think when I see those “stones” and remember that my God has a strong rescuing hand… I might just allow myself to be rescued at that moment. A damsel in distress rescued by The Knight In Shining Armor.

Wow… sounds kind of like a love story.

Yep. The Love Story.

Day Twenty-One: Cookie Dough Syndrome

Alrighty. I have made it to the “last day” of a three week Daniel Fast. Not that difficult! 21 days down and only 336 days to go! Haha!

And it is no coincidence I can assure you that this verse was in my reading plan this morning…

It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. Mark 7:15

It’s almost like this should be my theme verse for what I’m doing with this covenant. I know that nutritionists have about a zillion different ideas of what is “good” for us and what is “bad”. I also know that their opinions of good and bad foods change and change and change. Like the poor egg for example… the nutrition industry just can’t seem to make up their mind! But anyway… the point is for thousands of years nutrition wasn’t even a word but The Word was very clear on food… don’t. eat. too. much. And that’s why I point to this verse. It’s not what goes in that is ruining me… it’s my heart that has been ruined.

I need a renewal of the mind in order to not overeat… to not be greedy with my food.

And I say this all to bring up what I am going to call the Cookie Dough Syndrome. Before I started this diet I was making some cookie dough as a gift for my son’s teachers at school and it was a big ol honkin batch of cookie dough. And as horribly ashamed as I am to admit this, I almost feel that I need to… I ate almost the entire batch of cookie dough. Like, there wasn’t even enough to make them cookies.

You might be thinking right now… Oh geez! She has a sickness. Seriously… that’s like gross.

And trust me. I thought the same things. And every time I thought that… I ate more cookie dough. And that was pretty much when I knew that something… drastic… had to be done. My soul was sick. And only God could heal it.

Now I bring up the random cookie dough story for a reason. In my effort to find some stuff within the parameters of my covenant, I went looking at some granola bars. They all had chocolate chips in them (except for some Special K bars but honestly… they were kind of gross). So, I decided to make my own. I found a recipe online and mixed all the stuff together. When it was all mixed, I took a bite and thought “Wow, that kind of tastes like cookie dough. Maybe this could be a way to get my ‘fix’ of eating cookie dough without actually eating it. It’s kind of a brilliant substitute…” So I ate some from the bowl with a spoon. And ohhhhhhh was it good. So I ate some more. And then some more.

Stop. my mind said. This is not what you want. This is gluttony. Sure, it’s “healthy” but that’s not the point. This is gluttony.

That, my friends, is Cookie Dough Syndrome.

It wasn’t what was going into my body that was defiling me. It was my attidude. My approach. I reverted back into gluttony because I had given this food a “healthy” tag. Then my “old mind” suddenly jumped back in, “Oh okay… you can eat all you want if it is ‘healthy’.” And that’s one mentality that has helped me to become sixty pounds overweight.

So, immediately after realizing this, I felt horrible. And Satan was on. the. ball. See, you can’t do this! It’s only day 21 and you’re already becoming a glutton again. You really think you can do a whole year of this? You’re going to let God down. Just go ahead and eat it. eat. eat. Eat. Eat. EAT. EAT.

Sound like a familiar story? Satan telling someone to EAT… knowing that it was NOT what God wanted. It might as well be him saying: sin. sin. Sin. Sin. SIN. SIN.

But let me tell you that God. is. good. And He loves me. And He wants me to be free.

Because check out yet another “non-coincidence” in my reading this morning…

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Psalm 51:12

I’m not even sure if I really need to explain why this is relevant. (But because I always overdo it, I’ll explain anyway!) I needed the joy of His salvation (that salvation that I don’t deserve) to be restored to me. I needed a reminder. That He loves me even when I do what I shouldn’t do. That He loves me when I do what I should do. That HE LOVES ME.

And then the second half of that verse. What a great prayer: make me willing to obey you. That’s the prayer I needed in that moment of weakness. Make me willing to obey you. Make me willing to obey you. Make me willing to obey you.

So, here, on day twenty-one… that is my prayer:

God,
Thank you for your salvation. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for your help.
And just since we’re keeping it real… I can’t wait until Satan is locked up forever cause he realllllllly frustrates me.
Please remind me over these next few days, weeks, and months that it isn’t WHAT I eat that defiles me, but what is going on in my heart. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and please God, make me willing to obey you. Change my heart. Renew my heart. Create in me a NEW heart and renew a LOYAL spirit in me. Make me willing to obey You.
Amen.

But the granola bars look like they are gonna be pretty tasty… one. at. a. time. Glutton Free baby!!!!