Day 765: Why I Really, Truly, Honestly Started The 7 Fast

Supposedly.

I’m supposed to be a Pinterest Perfect mother.
I’m supposed to run 5 times a week.
I’m supposed to cook gourmet cuisine every night in my kitchen.
I’m supposed to volunteer at my kids’ schools every week.
I’m supposed to write and manage a fun, trendy, cute blog.
I’m supposed to keep my figure slim and rocket hot.
I’m supposed to…
I’m supposed to…

I’m supposed to.

Most of the time I’m an open book about the things that I’m not doing that I am “supposed” to be doing. I mean, we live in an awesome age where it’s okay, even cool, to be “real”. And that’s the whole reason I created this blog… was to be real with myself and my family and my friends about what I was eating.

But ya know what happened?

My blog got kinda popular.
I started to get, like, a lot of followers.
It felt like people around me were… watching.
Watching and waiting for me to mess up.

And I felt the need to keep up this “everything is great” face sometimes… because otherwise people might not still “believe” in my blog, or they might think I was an internet fake, or… or… or…

But then I gained twenty pounds… in five months.

And I’ll tell ya. You can fake a lot of things but you can’t hide weight gain. Oh, the shame I started to feel. I was like Icarus… I flew so high but now I was falling back down to earth. I was gaining it all back. And fast. I started to decline invitations to go places. I started to search for leggings and long flowy tops to at least attempt to hide it.

And ya know, gaining weight back: it was supposed to really motivate me to get a hold of things, to really buckle down, to make myself change.

And ya know, it kind of did. I started to focus more on balance in my life. I would allow myself to eat a bite of chocolate here or there. I wouldn’t let a binge get me down.

I was starting to feel a bit of peace about this whole food thing.

But then I decided to read this book called 7 (which is awesome and before we go any further allow me to explicitly state: I am not bashing the book) and the first month you do a fast. I chose to only eat the 7 foods (well, I chose ten actually) that Jen Hatmaker ate.

Well, in anticipation of going on this fast, I did what every person would do who struggles with food and binge eating…

I ate everything in the house.

If it was sugar, I wanted it. If it was pizza, I devoured it. If it was bread, or pasta, or a burger, or tacos, or fast food… I was going to get it.

So, realizing that if I kept this up for another week I’d gain another ten pounds, I got all gung ho and started the fast a week early. The first week was awesome! {See my rosy-cheeked post about it on Day 749}

But it backfired.

I started to make a bunch of little allowances (“Oh, I can eat carrots because they’re healthy” and “Well, I can’t say ‘no’ to a piece of cake at Nanny’s house) and then it just sorta crumbled and turned into me saying “Why still fake it? I’m not doing the fast at all anyway.” which turned into “Well, if I’m not fasting then I’m just going to binge, binge, binge.”

Cause I can’t control this.
Cause I’m out of control.
Cause something is wrong with me.

That’s how I felt.

And why?

Why did it all fall apart on me?

Because… I didn’t do that first month of the 7 Fast for God. I didn’t do it to help me understand better the plight of the poor. I didn’t do it for anyone other than myself.

{Alert: Confession coming…}

I did the fast to lose weight.

All because of this one little phrase in Hatmaker’s book from Day 21…

“Do you know what happened this month? After eating only whole foods and virtually no fast food, my pants are falling off.”

I remember almost being disappointed when I read it because I knew… I knew instantly that my motivation had changed from desiring to focus on Him to desiring to focus on me and finally getting my re-gained weight off.

And that simply wasn’t enough of a motivator to keep me going. Doing a fast, under the pretense of doing it to get closer to Jesus, so that I could lose weight? Ick. It just felt wrong…

So, needless to say. I just stopped. I realized that going through the cycle was just making me sicker and sicker emotionally and mentally and spiritually. Best to stop the fast than to be sick at heart.

And stopping allowed me to look again at my motivation… and to see yet another connection in this journey. I think I’m starting to realize what is sabotaging me. What is ruining me.

But… that’s a post for another day.

{I know, sorry… that was just the worst and meanest “cliff hanger” ever! But honestly it mainly because this post is already reallllllly long and that post is gonna take another chunk of time! Look for it… realistically, on Monday!}

I’m not sure that this post is really spiritually helpful for anyone else, but in a way, I think this part of my journey will prove to be integral to my eventual healing and I wanted it documented. So, thanks for indulging me!

Day 762: Maybe God’s Not Done

There is always a lesson.

In every heartache, in every delay, in every disappointment.

There is a lesson we can learn.

A lot of times we don’t want to learn that lesson. Or at least we want to say, “Show me something new God… but, just not this way.” We don’t want to admit that His Way of teaching us is the most perfect way… even when it hurts. even when it takes forever. even when it keeps us from the very thing we so desperately want.

Yeah. So I know all that yet I still find myself frustrated, depressed, and downright angry whenever God makes me learn a lesson His Way. So, I continue to turn to Him, like I did in my prayer on Friday.

At my wits end, I turn to Him.

And I as I start to try to see things His way, I start to see a semblance of the lesson He is working in me.

Maybe… maybe I did that first year of covenant for God to show me that He can do miracles in my life. For Him to show me that He cared. For Him to show me that His Ways are so much better than mine.

And maybe…

maybe He’s not done yet.

I mean, maybe He wants to show me even more through this struggle with food… through this addiction to the very thing that keeps me alive and yet is killing me at the same time. Maybe He wants me to see that He is powerful enough within me to conquer my issues with food. That He has the strength to enable me to overcome these issues and develop a healthy relationship with food.

Maybe… yeah, maybe God wants more for me than I even want for myself.

Maybe He’s just not done yet.

And if that’s the case, maybe I’m not done with me either.

Maybe God's Not Done Yet

Day 759: A Prayer

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God,

I feel this struggle with food pulling me… toward some epiphany about You, your power, your plan.

But, honestly, this whole experience hurts and I’m tired. I just want to give up and try a bunch of short cuts to just lose weight. I just want to be skinny, fit into my clothes, and never worry about food or fight with food or lust for food.

So I come to You.

Oh God- Refresh me. Renew me. Give me a fresh and new purpose and passion to care for this body you’ve given me. Help me remember that it is an honor to You when I honor my body.

And please God, give me wisdom. Whisper in my ear what to do, which way to go. Guide me to information that will help me overcome. Light it up in my heart so that I might become determined and disciplined once more.

I know that You always have great, amazing and sometimes shocking plans and I know that I often don’t see the entirety of your plan. Help me to walk in faith and know that even through this struggle you are working a miracle of faith in my heart, that you are laying a path for a future prosperity in my soul, that you are doing something purposeful.

God, I love you. I trust you. I believe you.

I will wait.

Give me patience to wait on You and Your plan.

Amen.

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Day 752: Never Too Far Gone

The good people over at Proverbs 31 Ministries shared this on their Facebook page this morning and I just had to pass it on. If there is any message we should think about moment by moment, it is this one.

You’ve never gone too far that God can’t redeem you, restore you, forgive you, and give you a second chance.
- Lysa Terkerst

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Day 751: I’m A User, Baby

I’m on day four of my 7 Fast, and I just have to confess that I am really, oddly enough, enjoying it. It’s so… simple. There’s not a lot to think about in regards to food.  So, as I looked at my list I thought about Jen Hatmaker‘s thoughts in the book, 7, as she embarked upon only eating 7 foods for a month. She just went on and on about food.

I mean, she didn’t really veil it.

Jen Hatmaker loves food.

I said to myself, “Yeah. I love food too.”

But then I really thought about it: No. Actually, I don’t ‘love’ food. I mean, I enjoy it but I don’t like cooking. I enjoy going out to eat, but it’s not like a “have to”. I could eat Chick-fil-a every day of the week for every meal and not get bored. Peanut butter and jelly for lunch every single flipping day? No prob here. Now, chocolate, I really do love a good, decadent piece of chocolate. But food… it’s whatev.

So why in the heck do I eat so much of it?!?!?

Because. I don’t love food.

I use food.

The Covenant Diet - I'm A User, Baby

Photo cred: LegalJuice.com

I use it to nourish myself, sure. But I use it for a gazillion different reasons too.

I use food to comfort myself.
I use food to procrastinate doing chores.
I use food to give myself a treat.
I use food to make me feel better when I’m sick.
I use food when I’m bored.
I use food to help me forget.
I use food to escape.
I use food.

And I am reminded that this is the entire goal of this journey. Not to lose weight. Not to be healthy. The goal of this journey is to switch from using food for all of those things and to start using God instead.

God, when I open my life like a book, I see all the areas where there are small holes designed to perfectly fit you inside. But I see that I have filled those empty spots with food. And it’s so ingrained in my daily way of life that I’m having difficulty throwing out the food and replacing it with You. Help me, God. Help me to throw all of my energy into focusing on You. into using You to fill the emptiness inside of me. You are the only one that can and You are the only one that I want to. Amen.

Day 749: I Start a 7 Fast

Clothes
Spending
Waste
Food
Possessions
Media
Stress

All the areas that Jen Hatmaker decided she had in excess and wanted to go against them. Just looking at the front of the book and seeing that list, I knew she and I were probably two peas in a pod.

7 - Jen Hatmaker

I recently got into a little book club that is reading the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker and I immediately knew that I was going to love/hate the book because I knew that it was going to enrich my life… by ruining it. {Ha!} But I’ve just finished another of her bible studies and I’d heard such great things about this one, so when my friend Mandy asked me if I wanted to read it with her and a couple of friends, I jumped on it. We’re only reading one chapter a month and then doing the “experiment” that follows to attack a specific area of excess.

Cause there is no question that I struggle with excess in my life.

I mean, heck, one area of excess, food, is the entire topic of this blog!

You really, really, really need to read the book to get the full understanding of what is going on here (and trust me, it is totally worth the read and very quick and easy, especially if you only read a chapter a month)! Basically, Hatmaker chose 7 foods to eat for a month:

  1. spinach
  2. avocado
  3. egg
  4. chicken
  5. wheat bread
  6. apples
  7. sweet potatoes

Oh, and water only to drink! I’ll be adding doTerra lemon oil to my water, but that’s medicinal.

I’m doing pretty much the same thing but with these variations:

  1. I’ll be eating rice instead of wheat bread because, well, honestly I’d eat nothing but bread. Rice isn’t as “enticing” to me so I’ll only eat it when I need it.
  2. I’ve added popcorn to the list. I know, I know… why popcorn!?!? It’s a light, slightly filling snack for me. I might get rid of it later or I might just ignore it as an option, but for now it’s on there.
  3. When I eat out (which is not very frequently at all), I’m going to try to get as close to the 7 foods as possible, but, for example, if I go to Jason’s Deli and they don’t have avocado out then I’ll eat a close replacement of fresh veggies.
  4. I’m going to allow balsamic vinegar into the mix. Now, this might seem like a decadence to you, but I’m a Ranch and Blue Cheese kind of girl, so this is still a major sacrifice for me to only use balsamic and oil on my spinach.

I wanted to record what I ate, but I’m not going to post that every day in an individual blog post, so I’m just going to come back to this post and update it every few days with what I ate but actually more importantly HOW I ate it. Just in case you feel like doing a 7 Fast “Hatmaker Style”!

Sunday – Day 1

  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, scrambled and then “fried” into a roll up burrito (imagine the egg part of an omelette without any of the “stuffings”), apple
  • Lunch: Went to Jason’s Deli with my parents: spinach, red bell peppers, carrots, balsamic
  • Annnnnnnnnd then there is no point in recording anymore today because I got a massive migraine (possibly from withdrawaling from coffee which gives me terrible headaches and exaustion) and then it got so bad that I (sorry to be gross) puked my guts out mid afternoon. So I pretty much ate toast and bananas the rest of the day.

Monday – Day 1, for reals

  • Breakfast: 1/2 apple, sliced into spears using one of these, 1/2 avocado, cubed (For breakfast? Yep! When you’re hungry, you’ll eat anything!)
  • Snack: handful of air-popped popcorn, plain (Uhhhhh, that’s not on the list. I know, but I think I’m putting it on my list. So, yeah, I’m doing an “8 Fast” I guess. Hehe)
  • Lunch: 1 cup of cooked basmati rice, and then an hour later: 1 cup of cooked basmati rice mixed with 1/2 avocado cubed small
  • Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup at Chick-fil-A. Well, I thought that I didn’t eat out a lot. It really is very rare (it really only happened two days in a row because my husband is out of town).
  • Snack: handful of air-popped popcorn

Tuesday – Day 2

  • Breakfast: 1/3 sliced fuji apple, 1 scrambled egg
  • Snack: 1 grilled chicken strip
  • Lunch: 1/2 cup basmati rice mixed with 1/2 cubed avocado and 1 small baked sweet potato, skin removed, cubed (much better than I expected!)

That’s all so far, but I’ll keep coming back to update. I’m not sure yet if I’ll go for 4 weeks like she does or just go through until the end of February even though I started earlier. Either way, there will eventually be at least 28 days of “what-I-ate” and then I’ll post a blog at the end of the month with my thoughts!

Praying that God would reveal Himself to me through this experience… through this “experiment”!

Day 745: I Am Just Like Justin Bieber

I’m not so sure that I would recognize Justin Bieber’s voice or one of his songs if it came on the radio right now.

I really think I only knew even a little about him because my husband teaches guitar and sometimes sweet precious little preteens come in wanting to cover their favorite song.

Admittedly, I even misspelled his name just now as Beiber (shoulda remembered my i before e rule).

But whenever his name started to splash across my facebook about his arrest and his mug shot, I have to admit that I felt terrible for him.

Uhhhhhh, but January, he has, like millions of dollars. Why on earth would you feel sorry for someone who has millions of dollars???

I know.

I know.

Maybe it’s the perpetual high school teacher in me. Maybe it was Jon Acuff’s post about him yesterday. Maybe it’s just that when I look at his mug shot I see a kid… a kid.

Justin Bieber Mug ShotI mean, only a kid wouldn’t know to NOT smile in a mug shot. But look at him in his profile shot. I mean, if that were your kid… he looks so… gosh, I don’t even know the word for that expression. Lost? Confused? Hurt? Terrified?

Empty.

But when I read this article in The Atlantic this morning, I felt like I understood that kid in a new way. And it was just in this one sentence:

They can’t mess up.

Gosh.

That’s it.

I mean, really… think about it for a sec. Don’t you ever feel that way? feel that pressure? Have you ever told yourself, “I can’t. I just can’t mess up. I just cannot go wrong again.”

It starts to crush your soul a little bit each time you have to say it to yourself.

And then it obliterates a part of you whenever you fail yourself… again.

And you and I don’t have the paparazzi watching and photographing and videoing our every. single. move. Documenting every mess up. every slip. every time we simply just didn’t meet someone else’s standard. We don’t have exec’s whose billion dollar enterprise hangs on our every moment.

Can we even imagine that life?

So often that’s how we feel about God. We have this weird idea that He’s up in heaven just ticking away each mess up. Filing away a pic of every time we sin. Shaking His holy head and pursing His lips saying “Why should I even be surprised?”

But here’s the deal…

He’s not doing that.

God is not the paparazzi hoping that you’ll make a mistake. God isn’t even like your agent who needs you to do it all perfect so that you keep your status. God is like a perfect parent… He just wants to love you, to be with you, to help you up when you stumble, to guide you to make decisions that will help you feel at peace and content with this world.

So, even though it seems weird, we are all like Justin Bieber: we don’t WANT to mess up. we think we CAN’T mess up. but we DO mess up.

But we don’t have to respond the same way. Because our God: His plan doesn’t hinge on our actions. His salvation for us doesn’t depend upon our success. His love has nothing to do with how well we sing, dance, talk, or act.

He truly loves us just as we are.

And He loves us just as much despite all that we aren’t.

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 735: It Was My Husband’s Idea

A few weeks back my husband mentioned that he’d read somewhere that it was good to eat 8 meals a day.

I gave him that Are you kidding me? look, because I mean, come on… I eat 8 meals a day and gain twenty pounds.

{Of course, let’s not bring up the fact that five out of those eight meals consisted of cookie dough and Hershey kisses.}

But I totally blew him off.

Until I started thinking about Steven Furtik’s new years messages from last year and just the phrase “Change the way we change” kept popping into my head, so I thought that I’d give it a go. Cause I’ve never done that whole 8-meals a day thing even though it’s totally “cool” with the whole nutritionists clan (which is probably part of the reason I didn’t want to do it… it’s a pride thing, but that’s for another blog). But ya know, I knew it would validate my sweet husband a little that I would try his idea and at the same time showing him that I would instantly blow up into a huge blimp.

Only.

Yeah… that didn’t happen.

I loved it.

Cause eating eight meals a day (well, I actually usually only eat six or seven but that is more than the “traditional” three) is awesome. You get to eat, like, all day long. Which is exactly what I was doing before only it was wayyyyyyyy less on purpose and with wayyyyyyyy more overeating and with wayyyyyyy more junk food!

Eight meals a day is like a dream come true for an overeater!

Cause what do we do normally? Well, we eat all day. So what we are doing here is still eating all day, but now we are focusing on our portion control and our hungry cues and smart eating.

It’s purposeful.
It’s fulfilling.
It’s easy.
It fits with any diet!

Okay, honestly, I’m gonna let you look up the science behind it (if you want). I haven’t read any of the science, but I do know that I get hungry about every two hours (if I’m eating smaller portions) soooooooooo, that’s basically my rule of thumb. Since I don’t have a hard and fast schedule like someone might in the traditional workplace, I go by when I ate last. For example, here’s what I might eat in a day:

  • 6:00am – tea with milk, if already hungry, I have a piece of Ezekiel 4:9 toast
  • 8:00am – apple with another cup of tea (or the toast if I didn’t eat at 6:00)
  • 10:00am – small bowl of granola and milk
  • 12:00pm – salad, split in two
  • 2:00pm – salad, the other half
  • 4:00pm – banana
  • 6:00pm – black beans and rice, split in two
  • 8:00pm – (tends to be optional for me) the rest of my black beans and rice (or I usually have a cup of tea)

Okay, I know what you’re thinking:

Uhhhhhhhhh, Rowe. A banana??? Yeah, that is NOT a meal.

Tell me about it.

But I think it’s a meal in the sense that you are stopping what you are doing to eat. I am being deliberate about preparing something for myself. Deliberate about stopping and making food happen. So, if you want to call it three meals and planned out snacks… that’s fine. But “eight meals a day” was just easier to say! (Ha!)

One other caveat that I’d add: I’ve been tracking calories. I know, I know… I always said that I hated it (and I promise to always have at least some mild distaste for the process), but I started doing it because I realized that I needed some accountability and some retraining, so I found this app where other people can see my “food diary”. I’m not like crazy about the calories but it is helping me to get a better understanding of my portions. Like, I always mocked the portion sizes on, for example, cereal boxes… but actually if I’m eating smaller portions (more frequently) then it’s actually perfect. Tracking is keeping me from dumping as much salad dressing on my salad. It’s helped me to know that while broccoli and squash and stuff like that isn’t “free”, it is certainly a great way to “foof” up a meal that would have otherwise been plain.

I know this isn’t a very Jesusy post (but the last few have been pretty spiritual if you need some Jesus: Day 734, Day 730, Day 729, and Day 728), but it’s something that is helping me along my journey from gluttonous to glorious, so I just thought I’d share some of the nitty gritty!

Day 734: You Gotta Pray Through For A Break Through

Looking back over the past year, I learned one really, really, really important thing about dieting.

It doesn’t work.

It’s gonna fail at some point. Your goal is gonna be achieved. Or the wedding you were losing weight for will come and go. Or you’ll just get plain ol sick of dieting. Or you’ll somehow wake up one day with no resistance to all things chocolate.

As much I have learned that dieting doesn’t work, I do know that God has still called me to honor Him with my body… and that includes what I put into it. I know that it includes a lifestyle change… and, well, sometimes a lifestyle change doesn’t come easy and a lot of times it doesn’t come with quick weight loss. Sooooooo, despite my overwhelming desire to just give up… I’ve had to just keep my eyes on Him.

When my pants didn’t fit… I had to look to Him.

When the scale was shocking (like, in a bad way)… I had to look to Him.

When I found myself halfway through a tube of cookie dough… I had to look to Him.

And pray.

Sometimes in a sob. Sometimes in a whisper. Sometimes in an angry yell. But this past year, all I could do was pray.

And after a year of not having a lot of success with your “diet”… well, that adds up to frustration. But here’s the deal. God doesn’t want us to just sit and pray over something once or twice. He doesn’t want us to pray about something for a month or two.

He wants us to go to Him 365 days a year.

He wants us to pray through the thing.

Not pray up until the thing. He wants us to pray through the difficulty. He wants us to pray through the triumph. He wants us to pray when it looks like there is no flippin way things will ever turn around. He wants us to pray when we have seen Him work a miracle. He wants us to pray through.

We have to pray through for a true break through.

Cause it could be that the very thing that gives you so much frustration, anger, and sadness… well, it could be that it is the very place where God wants to show up GLORIOUS in your life.

Not just show up.

Show up GLORIOUS.

So if you are struggling under something, you gotta keeping praying through… and wait in anticipation for Him to break through!

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{Quick props: My husband, who I call Mr. Chord Dice, came up with the little phrase “You gotta pray through for a break through” while reading Praying Circles Around Your Children by Mark Batterson.}