Day 505: Incapable Capability

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I really don’t have words this morning.

This is the eighth draft I have started for this post. I’ve changed the positivity verse three times, but I just can’t seem to get anything to work for me this morning.

Ironically enough, look at what I ended up with for the positivity verse…

POSITIVITY: I am capable.

I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

You see, I wasn’t able to write a post because I was being nit picky about my wording, about my anecdotes, etc. But really… we don’t need a bunch of “my words” today… all we need is that truth right there.

I am capable.

I can do everything.

I have been given strength.

PRAYER:

God, it’s funny… this morning as I write and pray to you, I feel so terribly incapable. But I am just reminded it is because I am so incapable… without You. And, oh God, how often I attempt to function without you. And how often I fail epically because I attempt life without you.

But now… now I remember God that You make me capable. You make me able to do things that seem unimaginable. Sometimes that’s eating right, loving the unlovable, healing over deep hurts… but when I use YOUR strength… I am suddenly able.

Today, God, help me to tap into that strength. Remind me over and over again that I am capable with You. That I can do anything and everything with You. That I am strong with You. Help me to triumph today over sin and sadness!

You alone are God. You alone fulfill. You alone are strength and hope.

May I focus on You. alone.

Amen.

Day 500: Strong Spirit

Gonna admit… I’m starting my writing of this on what is technically Day 498. It’s just that I got such encouragement from the positivity (I am new!) and prayer (Draw me closer to you, God) today and so I wanted to get ahead a little bit to make sure that each day coming had that positivity and prayer already set for me.

POSITIVITY: I am strong!

God has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

Honestly, this is one of those verses that I have heard a gazillion times and so at this point I sort of just let it slide through my brain and then trickle down into long term memory. And in true pessimist form, it’s probably because I so often focus on the first part of the verse. All I hear is “fear” and “timidity”. But as I focus on the positive aspects today I just zone in on the second half of what He HAS given me!

POWER! LOVE! SELF-DISCIPLINE!

And really, what a wonderful spirit to have… a combination of power, love, and self-discipline!?!? How cool that He threw those three together into a combo! But really, those three are THE things that I would want! Power… to stand up for what is right and to do whatever God calls me to. Love… to balance the power so that I don’t just run over everyone and everything with power but that I am kind and caring and patient and all that stuff from 1 Corinthians 13. Self-discipline… honestly this one almost throws me off at first as to why it’s in there, but then again, no, it belongs there. For what is power and love is all the more powerful when controlled.

PRAYER: God, You are strength. You are power. You are love. And you are self-discipline. Thank you for giving me all of these things as well. God, please remind me that I already HAVE all of these things! I need to know that you give me the strength to resist things, and well… not just to resist things, but also the power to be above those things. Remind me today God that I have the power to focus on You. to keep my mind on You and Your… awesomeness. to think about the things of eternity instead of things of the earth. Help me to see over and over again that You and Your Words and Your Love is lasting and fulfilling. Keep my eyes lifted to you today God. And remind me that I am strong! Amen!

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Day 483: Way, Way Out

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Looking back at my last post, Day 481: Black Sabbath, I realized that there were so. very. many. “outs” that God gave me to not have to take that downward plunge.

My husband saying “Get a pizza for you.”
Not previously having had any wine in the house.
The moment at the store where I thought “I could get something else entirely.”
When my husband hung out in the living room longer so I had to wait to sneak out the cookie dough.

God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

He was all over it… on my behalf. And, honestly, I saw the signs then too. I knew that He was giving me a way out, but I was so determined to do wrong at that point that I just ignored all the lifelines He was throwing at me.

But Monday was another day entirely… a new day… with new mercies. And then this morning I was going back through my bookmarks and came across this one:

God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. Philippians 2:13

It’s so cool when the Word of God expresses just what you need to know, just what you need to hear, just what I needed to be reminded of.

And ya know… this post is pretty short and sweet, but honestly, there isn’t a whole lot more to say about it! That last verse is what I’m gonna focus on today.

Day 351: Last Days

“Today is the last day. Then tomorrow I’ll get back on the wagon.”

Ohhhhhhhh, how many, many, mannnny times I have said that to myself. And said it to myself while eating something “wrong”. And, well, today was one of those days. It’s like I’m skipping past rationalization and just admitting to myself, “Okay, so I’m just gonna go ahead and sin today and then tomorrow I’ll get righteous again.”

So, I stood in my kitchen and ate my fourth muffin of the day after polishing off four biscuits from yesterday’s breakfast and said to myself “Today is the last day. Then tomorrow I’ll get back on the wagon.” And I might have added a little “It’s Christmas, after all” there at the end as well.

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Only, it’s not Christmas.

And, who cares? Even if it IS Christmas… why would that mean I should or could eat four muffins and four biscuits in addition to everything else I’d eaten for the day!?!?!

I dunno… maybe it’s that mindset of “Every day is a new day.”

But really, it’s not like all of those sins are washed away. I mean, yes, we sing that song. And, yes, when I meet up with God and am asked to account for my life, all of those sins will have been “paid for”. But, there will still be an accounting. I will sit with Christ and account for every moment of my life. every seed of hate. every wisp of gossip. every slide of laziness. every bite of gluttony.

And it’s not that I want to feel bad or guilty for those things… it’s that I want to choose good. I want to choose holiness. I want to choose righteousness. and purity. and power.

I want for those to be the things He sees.

In those true last days before I start my eternity in worship, I want for Him to sit with me and see the choices I made and look in my eyes and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant… Let’s celebrate together!Matthew 25:23

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RANDOM ADDITION: By the way, I live in Texas… and we had snow… on. Christmas. Day. (I actually don’t like to go IN the snow, but it is pretty to look at and my oldest son thinks the stuff is awesome!) I stuck my head out in the stuff for about .4 seconds to get a pic of me in it! Ha!

Christmas Snow

Day 333: Sing A New Song

The number 333 is one of our family’s favorite numbers… it’s because of Psalm 33:3…

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.Psalm 33:3

That’s the verse that helped inspire my husband to invent Chord Dice (which helps people to write a new song). And then God started to just… use those numbers to communicate His Love to us.

I know I referenced it earlier in another post about how He made that be the time that our dice were delivered for Chord Dice. That night my husband and I sat at Rick’s Chophouse having a date night and we cried with joy… not because the hope of this investment. not because of my husband’s dream. we cried because of the raw knowledge that God. loves. us.

He, in all His Greatness, reached out and arranged the cosmos so that those dice were delivered and scanned exactly at 3:33. For us. Little, puny, relatively insignificant… us. It was overwhelming to be “spoken to” so directly.

And now every time I see the time 3:33 or the number 33 or 333 anywhere it serves to automatically remind me that God loves me. And sometimes that reminder can be the thing to support me and redirect me and encourage me.

When I know that Someone loves me so purely. so perfectly. so completely. and so wholly. Well, it empowers me to do… right.

When I want to eat some chips, I can know that God loves me. And they lose their pull (at least a bit)! And when I give-in and eat the dadgum chips, I can know then too that God loves me. And I can hope that the next time those chips call my name that I will tap into that love.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” )

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35-39

Day: 315 Hunger Is Hard

I have been becoming more and more aware that I had fallen back into a trap of eating, eating, eating. Eating too much at meals, eating too much for snacks, eating when I wasn’t hungry, eating.

And I’m afraid that I cannot deny that it was a mild case of emotional eating. You see, I’m a beach bum at heart… nice warm weather is the ticket for me. Sooooo, winter is tough on me. And yes, I live in Texas… and some might say that we don’t even have winter, but it’s cold. And that’s all I need to be a little party pooper. I mean… look at this:

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40°?!?! And it’s only just the beginning!!! {I’d better watch out or all this cold weather talk is gonna make me want a Snicker’s bar! Ha!}

So, since we are inside an awful lot more that also means that I am in the same room as my kitchen and pantry a lot more. So, I just… eat.

I have really noticed it because the last few days the weather has been decent (actually pretty close to idyllic today) and so I have spent much more time outside. And eating has been sort of an after thought.

I have also been trying to be more aware of what is going in my body. I put on my size 8 jeans on Sunday to wear to church and had to make sure I was wearing a lose-fitting top because I had me a little muffin-top going on there. Like I said on Day 306, not fitting into clothes was simply a “Dangeometer” that indicates that something is off.

Sure enough something has been “off”. And it’s interesting… I just need to be aware… consciously aware, that is… that something is wrong and then sometimes I have the power to fix it. Now, let me be clear that if “I” have any power, it is only because Christ’s power is still in me and the residual effects of having to rely solely and completely on Him for the past… wow, essentially for the past year… are still there.

    To those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:24

But anyway, what with eating meals again (trying to stop the snacky-meals and actually cooking), the weather being nice, and not fitting into my “skinny” jeans acting as an indicator/reminder for me… I have had a pretty good few days. (Hopefully this post doesn’t put a Murphy’s Law curse on me for having said that!)

Day 300: Almond Joy

Ahhhhhh, day 300. Now, I’m not so hot at math but I know that if I am on day 300 and there are 365 days in the year, THEN I have less than 100 days left. (How’s that for a word problem??? My 4th grade teacher would be so proud! Ha!)

And still my journey is rocky and rough at times. Although, I continue to grow and discover why it is rough and rocky. And so I consider myself “well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.Philippians 3:12

I laugh at myself a bit here as I look back at the first sentence of that last paragraph… “And still my journey is rocky and rough at times.” This is true, but when I think back on the grief and weight (both literal and spiritual) of last year… it is so. much. better.

And it is honestly exciting to think, as I come closer to starting in on year two, how it will be THAT much better next year on day 300!

Thinking about that made me want to find a verse, and I was looking for a verse about the future and had seen Ecclesiastes 9:4There is hope only for the living.” And then I kept reading and I came across verse 7: “Go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this!” (Ecclesiasties 9:7)

I was kinda like… eat my food with joy!?!?! Hmmmm, ya know, this focus on weight and weight loss, this struggle with gluttony and food-greed, the lack of self-control and discipline with food, and the ill-placed comfort from food… it has stolen this opportunity for finding joy in my food. Food is the enemy. Like this sign I saw recently at my retreat…

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All we think about anymore with food is how it will affect our rear end or our thighs or that flabby stuff under our arms. We think about if it is off-limits or allowed and then we pine after those things that are off-limits or, worse, we give in to the off-limits food and then have to endure the guilt and shame, failure, and inadequacy. We find ourselves enveloped in despair and hopelessness. All of these things… because of FOOD. Oh these words are a far-cry from eating with joy.

But, now, as I sit here, I am able to happily, joyfully snack on almonds and raisins. Why? Because for 300 days I have been freed from the guilt of food, the shame, the failure, and inadequacy. I’m not saying that I am totally free of food… but oh so much closer just to have a freedom from sugar-food. It’s certainly a step in the right direction!!! I can look at a plate of brownies and know that I don’t need to despair… that it is not hopeless… that Christ has given me power and strength… and oh what a joy that is!!!

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 170: Pantry Pinings

I haven’t wanted fruit the past week. Like… at. all. Veggies? Nope. Not so much.

Pantry food? Ohhhhhhhh yeah.

And I have this sort of… numb… feeling about honoring God right now. Pretty sure that it is an aftermath of not reading the bible religiously (i.e. habitually) and not really praying for a couple of weeks. But nonetheless, gotta get my focus back. I need to care about honoring God. I mean it’s not that I’m breaking the covenant (although I got realllllllll close to that line this morning when I made the boys “Cookie Dough Soup”… essentially oatmeal with brown sugar and chocolate chips… and Saxon didn’t want his and I was super hungry so I ate “around” the chocolate chips… ya know, the ones that had melted making it virtually impossible to eat “around” them), but I’m not at all worried about making choices that please Him, or choices that are beneficial, or eating to live instead of living to eat.

And I asked my friend Alice to pray for me because I was really struggling (and honestly I’m writing this on day 173 and I’m still struggling with it), and she said that she didn’t really have any major wisdom for me, but she did say “He’s got this.”

And that’s pretty much the reminder that I needed at that moment. Did I immediately start craving an apple instead of a bowl of granola bathed in almond milk? Nooooooo, but it was a start. And then yesterday, I came across this verse in my regular bible reading and it really struck me as what I’m asking for at this point (I changed it to a prayer, by the way)…

God, please work in me. Give me the desire and the power to do what pleases You. Philippians 2:13

Day 109: A Day At A Time

One of the things that has been the best for me as I go down this journey is this blog. Sure, I fall behind three or four days when life gets crazy (like, this week, when ev.ery.one. in my family, including me, got sick) but being able to come back and refocus my attentions to God has been… well, a God-send!

Even though I read the bible every day sometimes it’s not necessarily a direct connection to my covenant. Sometimes I need to remind myself of how the Word applies to my covenant specifically. And that is how this blog has helped.

But as I talk to more and more of you that are signing up with God to do a covenant of some type, I have realized how a lot of people… for a slew of different reasons… don’t really have thirty minutes to journal or blog or meditate or whatever every day.

So, I have an idea that I got from my friend Alice who is doing a 40-day covenant. It was sort of an accident. We text back and forth scriptures or express how we are doing or a need for prayer. Well, she texted me recently this text (and yes, I even changed her name before doing this screen shot! Haha- does that make me a huge nerd?!?!?!)…

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And her little statement of “Day 5 and Jesus’ love is still enough” sort of made me think. Wow. Just taking thirty seconds every day to write down either how Jesus has worked in your life or a scripture that helped you or a prayer. It could be such a neat way to see what God is doing for you. Or a way to find that verse again really quickly that ministered to you when you wanted to break.

You could get a little week at a glance calendar (my grandmother used to do this) and write in it every day at lunch or at bed or something. Or I’m suuuuuuure there is an app out there for this. Or start a private twitter account that isn’t public.

But I would say that being able to write down every day at least one sentence about the renewal that God has given you… well, it could be the thing you need to keep you going.

It makes me think of this scripture:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Deuteronomy 6:6-8

I mean I’m not saying write your sentence in sharpie on your forehead every morning- haha- but it’s the same concept. We need a daily reminder of God. a daily reminder of how far He has brought us. a daily reminder of His Goodness. His healing. His power.

So, there ya go. A suggestion to you and me: take it one day at a time.

And as for me too, Alice, day 109 and Jesus’ live is still enough!