Day 639: It’s Not Always About You

working at la madeleine

Every Tuesday and Thursday, both my Kindergartener and my Preschooler are at school for about four and a half hours, and so I often escape away to a coffee shop (if you follow The Covenant Diet on instagram then you’re used to seeing my “I’m working” pics as proof for my husband that I am, indeed, working and not out shopping all day)!

This past Tuesday, I went to La Madeleine to work (they have a great patio… with a plug for my laptop) even though I just felt like my soul was dry as a bone. I tried to work for, like two hours, with pretty much no result. It was like everything that was coming out of me was… blah.

So, after a ginormous group of very loud, very talkative women came in and set up shop right next to me (despite the fact that there were, like, fifteen other tables to sit at), I decided to pack it up and go home and do chores so that I’d at least be doing SOMETHING productive.

And on the way home, I got behind the slowest Walmart truck in all of creation and THEN got behind the slowest lawn mower truck in the world. I kept thinking… something is going on. Like, I feel like there is some kind of spiritual battle going on right now. Like, if my life was really like the book This Present Darkness and I could see the spiritual realm then I would see demons and angels battling it out all around me… for me.

So I took it slow going home, went in and thought “I’m gonna go right back to my patio and just chill and see what God wants to say.”

Well, my husband was sitting right inside the front door when I came home. Honestly, I wanted to just blow right by him… I was afraid that he and I would talk and I would miss out on what God wanted to say. But he needed to talk, and so I was deterred from my plan.

And THANK GOODNESS because He’d been having some kind of major revival on his own while I was gone and he just started to pour out his soul to me… which basically caused me to have some kind of major revival… by association! When the joy of the Lord is around you, it’s just… awesome, no matter who He brought His word to in the first place.

The whole thing was just a reminder for me… that, it’s not always about ME.

It’s not always about MY  spiritual walk.

MY weight loss.

MY  pants size.

MY fears. hopes. dreams.

Sometimes God is at work and that work is not all about me.

And honestly, that is just downright kind of refreshing.

Day 539: Saved By The Bell

Saved by the Bell

Ohhhhhhh, Zack.

Okay, I’m gonna admit that I spent an embarrassing amount of time searching through Google images for a picture because I just sorta got lost back in my childhood of watching this show.

That, and there were A LOT of current fashion trends that I’m pretttttty sure were inspired by Kelly’s outfits. Case in point…

kelly saved by the bell outfit

I am almost positive that I saw those pants (in a legging form) at Target, those shoes are everywhere and that top would totally be at Forever21. And I’m not sure if I think it’s cool that “kids these days” are wearing clothes like this or if it is utterly frightening and mortifying.

And the best part… the title of this post has very little to do with the actual content (other than the word “saved”) and the show Saved By The Bell Has… nothing… to do with the content of the post.

So, that little trip down memory lane. Yeah… that was a freebie.

You can thank me later when you have a flashback dream tonight of Jessie’s “I’m so excited” scene.

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POSITIVITY: I am saved.

I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice.  He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me. Psalm 55:16-18

I just went through and highlighted that verse and it just really. really. hit me.

There is a battle being waged against me.

I know it. I feel it. I fight it day after day.

Just today I thought to myself, “Why is it that I broke so many habits, changed my lifestyle, lost all that weight, and then it’s like… I forgot it all? Like, the old me just snapped back awake and took over again.”

And there it was in the verse.

There is a battle being waged against me.

Cause I know… had things kept going along swimmingly I would have just gone crazy powerhouse about God’s life-giving freedom. So Satan had to pony-up and come and get me.

Cause let me tell you… that freedom. It’s the most wonderful thing you’ll ever taste.

And I miss it.

I long to have it back.

But right now… right now, there is a battle being waged against me.

{I just started silently smiling to myself.}

But I. am. safe.

I know that God wins the battle.
I know that God hears my voice.
I know that God will rescue me.

So I’m just gonna keep on keeping on. Fighting my fight. Even though so many days of the week it seems as if I’m losing. as if I’m being pushed back. as if I’m just about to be taken captive.

I’m remembering Psalm 55:16-18 up there.

And I’m remembering that I am safe.

PRAYER:

God, I come to you a bit raw today. I can’t help but feel a little defeated at the moment. I want to be over this. Honestly, I just want you to touch me with your magic wand and say “HEALED!” I want to feel Your power coursing through my blood. That same Power that healed the bleeding woman, Lazarus, the lepers, the blind, the sick, the possessed.

Heal me as well God. Please. Heal me. I reach out and touch your garment. Heal me.

But as I wait for that, I will remember that you are keeping me safe from this battle waged against me. I will remember that you hear my voice. I will remember that you. will. rescue. me.

Give me wisdom God. Give me wisdom to know what to do with myself. to know what to pray. to know what to avoid. Give me wisdom God to know how to fight this enemy of mine! I feel him trying his best to put a rift between us… he has pulled out the big guns, man. But I’m trying to hold on God. I’m trying to hold on to You.

Keep me safe God. Keep me close.

I trust You, God.

Amen.

Day 225: Limitation Station

Day 1 off of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

No, I promise I’m not gonna count every day of the days that I’ve been “off” my hard-core fast, but today it is kind of important. The days following a fast when I institute food back into my diet are often precarious.

I have been a bit nervous about adding back in coffee (and excited too… not for the buzz but because I have been missing the flavor!) and bread… cause I have been having some issues with bread the past few months.

So I had a cup of coffee this morning! And please note: I had a cup of coffee this morning. Not two. Not three not four, five, six. But a cup! It was delish!

Actually. Falsehood. It wasn’t delish. I mean. It was good. Now, I had it after the boys woke up so I didn’t really get to sit and enjoy it like I usually do before they wake up. I had to reheat it twice, but still… it was good. But mostly I was happy that I limited myself to one cup!

And then during my typical hot spot, I did my prayer time so no worries there. But about 3:00 I got hungry. Needless to say, I need to go to the store so we had like nothing covenant-worthy in the house.

Waiiiiit. Falsehood. Again.

Maybe that’s what I “told” myself but truth be known, there is an apple, a clementine, raisins, peanuts, peanut butter, beans, and several other things had I really looked. But I have been limited to those things for the past few weeks and I wanted… something. else.

So I made my “granola bar in a bowl”. It’s very filling and I really enjoy the flavors. But it can be a “dessert” substitute if I’m not careful.

So, I realized pretty quickly. Okay, if I “turned” to this on day one and I know I shouldn’t have it every day, then this might need to be a thing that I put a limitation on. So, I decided that I can have it once a week. And even just deciding that made me feel better!

It’s weird, too, when I think about it that the longer I’m on the covenant, the more limitations I want to put on myself. I guess the covenant experience has shown me that my true happiness and freedom are found as I bind myself to God. Limitations are no longer something to be feared. or dreaded. Limitation is something that I embrace because it gives me freedom from stressing about those things. freedom from the spiritual war. When I limit myself, I feel as if I have already won the battle! That is a wonderful feeling!

And this verse totally struck my mind… it totally expresses the journey that I have gone on this year:

    Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 7:24

Day 171: Honor God Tomorrow

First of all, a note: Sorry for dropping off the planet for a while there. I think I’m about a week behind on my posts, and if you’re new… this happens every once in a while to me. I lose all motivation to share, discuss, write, etc. Annnnnnd that was this past week. Like I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been struggling with the covenant as a whole the past week (I’ll write about my getting past it on day 174). So, anyway… I’m going to try to catch up over the next few days, but we’ll see how that goes!

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I know that I keep on talking about how going to sleep is a huge thing for me, and so… well, I’m going to talk about it again! Summer time is the most difficult time for me to go to bed on time because my ironclad routine that I have during the school year just goes out the window. I mean… I keep some of the same schedule like lunch time and nap times are almost always the same, but pretty much the rest of the stuff goes out the window. Soooo, the boys might wake up at 7:30 (instead of 7:00 that it is during the 180 days of school), and if we go to the mall or something to play then nap time might be around12:30 or 1:00 instead of 12:00, and the worst… if we are outside playing in the sprinkler late in the evening, then I might be too content to let a bed time interrupt us and the boys will stay up until 8:30 or even 9:00 if I’m being really risky.

And so when one of those late bedtimes gets factored into the equation or if I just did a bad job of keeping up with my chores during the day hours (and yes… I call them chores still because cleaning house, doing laundry, cooking, etc… all of that is a chore to me) then I go to bed later. Necessary for me to go to bed later? No, of course not. It’s just that when the boys are both down by 8:00 or 8:15 then I get a good two hours of “me” time before hitting the sack at 10:00. If they go to bed closer to 9:00 then that means I only have one hour left, but my mind and heart and soul still want a full two hours, sooooo I stay up until 11:00. And of course those nights that I stay up until 11:00 are guaranteed to have one of the boys either teething or having growing pains, or one of them will decide that a 6:00 or 6:30 wake up time is more in order throwing off my entire morning “me” time.

Yes. I’m rambling.

But a few nights ago I was really into reading this book for my book club (One Amazing Thing) and I just did not want to put it down. And then I had the good ol spiritual battle conversation:

I should really go to bed.

Nahhhhhhhh… no reason. It’s just sleep. You can get some more tomorrow night, or take a nap tomorrow.

But that never works. And I need to go to bed early enough so that I can honor God.

You can honor God tomorrow… this is “YOU” time!

But that’s it… if I go to bed on time and get enough rest then I will be able to honor God… tomorrow. If I don’t go to sleep now, then I will be too exhausted to properly honor God tomorrow. I’ll be cranky and I’ll want to eat everything.

So, in not-so-typical January form, I put the book down and went to bed at 10:00.

And ya know what? I woke up well rested (despite having to wake up twice in the night for my teething toddler who is still getting in his vampire teeth). I wasn’t cranky. I wasn’t hungry. I actually only needed one cup of coffee (that is a big deal for your non-coffee addicts). It was a good day.

And it was easy to honor God.

Because I chose the night before to honor Him.

And look… we even get a promise about going to bed!

When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

But we have to take action first… we have to lie down (and I don’t think this means lie down in your bed with your iPhone on…).

And although this is “all about” going to bed in order to honor God (because you’ll be less hungry if you do), there are a gillion ways for us to think of how to honor God tomorrow: if it’s food related then get out your covenant-friendly breakfast tonight so that it is ready for you tomorrow. if it’s bible related then get your bible and journal out tonight (and if you’re like me, prep the coffee pot… or even better… program it) so that you can sit down right to reading the Word and sippin on a cup of joe. if it’s child related, then get their clothes out and ready or their breakfasts or plan out the days activities.

But figure out how you’ll honor Him tomorrow and then do it tonight (if you need motivation… my husband taught me this… picture yourself tomorrow going through the steps of easily honoring God… picture yourself walking out of your room into the kitchen and seeing that banana and some granola in a bowl ready for you. picture walking over to the coffee pot and switching it on and then sitting down at your pre-prepared bible spot. picture yourself busting out a June Cleaver moment walking into your children’s bedrooms and effortlessly switching out their PJs for their day clothes.

But try to honor Him tonight for tomorrow (if that makes any sense). Just try it for one time. Maybe just once a week try to honor Him this way. And maybe, just maybe, when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Day 131: We All Need A Job

I love having “nicknames” for my friends that are doing the covenant… ya know, so that I don’t have to worry about them being embarrassed about stories I tell about them, or letting the cat out of the bag if they are “secret-fasting”, or whatever.

You have heard me talk about my friend “Christy” several times… ya know, my spiritual, emotional, and personality clone? Ya know what’s funny… we went to high school together, came up in the same church together, and I remember thinking she was cool and funny but that was sorta… it. For some reason we never really became good friends. Well, after doing a bible study with her at church I very quickly decided she needed to be my friend! (And I think she is one of those “magnetic” type of people that has like 500 people list her as one of their best friends while she would only write down four or five names of her best friends.) But nonetheless, she is certainly on my top 5 list whether I’m on hers or not! Haha!

And I say all of that to give you a little background to understand that I deeply care for my friend Christy… I’m truly elated when she has success, I’m entertained when she has some crazy hilarity in her life, and I am pained when she has sadness or struggle.

And, well, lately she has just had… struggle.

And so, well, lately I have just been pained for her.

So the other day I was praying for her and I got this overwhelming sense of Satan attacking her and then of future blessings for her. Now I know that might seem ridiculous… we all have times in our lives marked out by blessing and times marked out by sadness and struggle. But nonetheless, it was so strong that I stopped chopping the celery I was working on, and I put both hands on the island to rest under the weight of this… this… impression put on me that was nothing short of supernatural.

At this point I’m sure some of you might be wondering why in the world I am telling you all of this. You might be thinking, “Oops, January accidentally put a post up on her covenant blog that was supposed to go somewhere else!” (Now… don’t put that past me… it wouldn’t surprise me as flighty as I can be some times.) But here comes the covenant part!

Ya see, Christy is doing a covenant. And Christy is being attacked. And Satan is trying to bring her down. I told her soon after she started having troubles with being sick, “Oh no- I tell ya what, I shoulda warned everyone… number one guarantee when going on the covenant: Satan WILL attack your health.

And I think that she is a big ol target of Satan’s… cause ya see, Christy is a very vocal woman of God. She loves to talk about God in a real way. In the kind of a way that cuts down to the marrow of your soul and makes you face who Jesus really is. And Christy, during and after this covenant, could do some major damage to Satan’s goals.

So to say that she is having spiritual warfare… honestly, after that wave of Revelation from God… well, I’m afraid calling it “spiritual warfare” doesn’t quite cover what I think is going on.

I think “Christy” is having a Job-attack. (Job as in the guy from the Bible… not the word for occupation.) Has her house fallen in on her entire family? No. Has all of her money and money-making ability been stripped from her? No. Has she been plagued by life-altering illness? Okay, well, yes a little bit of that one.

Here’s why I compare her to Job. I think she is under direct attack by Satan. I don’t think any of his minions are working on her. I think it’s the big dog himself. And he is working in a far more devious way than he did with Job. He is working subtly. quietly. slowly. trying to eat away at her joy. her peace. her love. her resolve.

He is working to make Christy feel… defeated.

And I think there is nothing more devastating to us than feeling defeated. It sucks our life away. It strips us of our joy. our love. our hope. And this just just what Satan was going for when he attacked Job. And I think that’s what he’s going for by attacking Christy.

But here, too, is where I think Christy is like Job. You see, Job, at the core… was stubbornly obedient to God. I’m sure that theologians have come up with a gazillion reasons as to why Job was able to resist cursing God, but ultimately it doesn’t matter: the guy stuck by God. And well, my friend Christy certainly has a bit of a stubborn streak in her as well… and I think it will pay off for her in this: Christy is stubbornly obedient to God. I mean… the girl won’t bend. she won’t break. she is going to obey God.

So… Satan, you might as well give up. Cause you gonna lose this one just like ya lost the one with Job.

And then, God is going to bless Christy. Abundantly.

And so I guess this is a word of encouragement ultimately… for Christy and for anyone else that feels the secret, silent, stealthy, sneaky assault of Satan. But ya gotta have a bit of a Job in ya. A bit of Christy in ya.

Ya gotta be stubborn. Ya gotta wag your finger in Satan’s face and say, “No flippin way. God is mine and I am His. I will follow Him. So, in the name of Jesus Christ… go away.”

Because at the end… Job got to chat with God, and God gave Job a one-on-one lesson in Who He Is. And I love Job’s response:

I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. Job 42:5

So here is my prayer for you Christy and for all of your comrades…

God, I pray that Christy would have the same level of integrity that Job had and that you would double her blessings as you did with Job. God, please give her strength to endure Satan’s attacks and to look to You so that she will have the chance to say, I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. In The Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Day Forty-Three: Obedience Is Bliss

(FYI: I am writing this on the evening of February 21st around 9:10pm. It was a post that I needed to write immediately before the awesomeness of it wore off, but since I already posted for day forty-two then I’m scheduling it to post on day forty-three.)

I had a blunder tonight.

Hmmmmmm, perhaps that is putting it lightly. Perhaps that is me not choosing the right word. Perhaps that is me trying to go easy on myself. I’m going to try again.

I broke the covenant tonight.

Yep. Broke it. Shattered it. Demolished it.

Cause that’s what happens to an agreement when one side “breaks” their oath… their bond. The “agreement” is null. void. pointless. non-existent.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop being over dramatic (not that me being over dramatic is a shocker to anyone who knows me). Here’s what happened: I planned a nice meal for us and I even reveled in it during day forty-two’s post: potato and carrots in an onion sauce, baked apples, and a salad. Only, let me just tell you that the baked apples weren’t so much just “baked apples”. It was a Baked Apple Crisp. And I think that any foodie out there is well aware that a Baked Apple Crisp has quite a lot of brown sugar in it.

At dinner, I did a great job of not eating everything on my plate (cause I had gotten an old-me-sized portion… as in, a big ol’ honkin serving). So I stopped when I felt a little bit of pressure. I only ate a few bites of the apple crisp. And that was that. It would have been a perfect evening… except I left out the remains of my meal while I bathed the boys. And then afterwards I came in and ate a few more bites even though I was not hungry. And then after I got both boys down, I snuck (and yes, I say snuck because I walked down the hallway extra quietly so that my husband wouldn’t know that I was finished putting down my oldest) into the kitchen and started chowing down on the leftovers in the baking dish. Oh my gosh. Sooooooo good.

And then… the war began.

Stop!!! January, stop! This is not right. This is breaking the covenant. This is gluttony. This is not what God wants. It’s not what you want. Yes it is… are you kidding me, this is flour and sugar and butter and more sugar. Why would I not want this? Why would God not want this? It’s not gluttony… it’s just enjoying good food. It’s not really breaking the covenant, I mean, it’s got apples in it for crying out loud! This is fine. I don’t need to stop. January. Stop. Think about tonight. Think about five minutes from now. Think about tomorrow. Stop. I. can’t. stop. It’s too good. I. can’t. stop.

And then the moment that I have been hoping for these past forty-two days… here was my next thought…

God, make me willing to obey.

And it worked!

It’s was almost as if my fork was stuck in the next apple. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to disobey. I wanted to obey. I wanted to be willing to obey. I was going to obey.

And I will admit that I broke into tears at that moment. Because God is so great. Forty-two days in and He is greater than I imagined He could be. His Word… that one verse from just one day… written on my heart… swooped in and connected me to God in a way that saved me. And I stood in that kitchen by myself and raised my hands in thanks to the Almighty Of The Universe for His mercy. His compassion. His adoration. His Love. His help. His salvation.

And I knew that immediately I had to come sit down at this computer and write this post.

THIS post is totally going to be one of my memorial stones. I have been wondering what I could do… well, here was a moment where I needed to cross a river and God dried up the water so that I could pass… and here is a stone that I am picking up to remember that He is faithful and He is just to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all of my wrongdoing and wickedness.

Today has been the best day of my covenant experience… which is SO JESUS… because today is the day that I broke the covenant and therefore should have been my worst day. Today though… today was mercy at its best. And hope at its best. And forgiveness. And all things new. Because today He lifted me from the pit and He “turned my wailing into dancing; He removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing His praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise Him forever.” Psalm 30:11-12

Read your bible peeps. Read it. And you will. be. changed.

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