Day 460: Name Change

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Yesterday, a dear friend of mine got married.

It was a beautiful celebration.

I even cried. And let me tell you… I nev.er. cry at weddings. Like, it just doesn’t happen. But, she had music from Pride and Prejudice for the bridesmaids so I was already a little sappy-minded, and then when they opened the doors for her, and I saw her there just beaming with her gorgeous smile… well, I lost it. I was so incredibly happy that she had found her match that I just started to bawl… joyful bawling, but well… way too much sniffling to become a polite southern woman (not that I’ve ever been “a polite southern woman” despite my mother’s excellent training in such matters).

So, I took a few grainy iPhone pics and posted one of them on my new instagram which is connected to facebook. So, I went in and tagged her in the pic.

And then… next thing I know… her name is changed.

Like, she was no longer Ashley Hepsted. She was suddenly Ashley Amron.

I was like… whoooaaaaa. that was quick. I mean, I know she got married and everything, but before Facebook I had time to let the new name settle in for a while before I actually SAW it in black and white print. But nooooooo, now I have to come to grips with my friend being a married woman all of a sudden!?!?! So. totally. weird. (Like, in a totally awesome cool kind of weird way.) Cause, it’s not like just because her last name changed all of a sudden she was just an entirely different person! She’s still the same Ashley that she was before she walked down that aisle, right? Right?!?!

Well…… it sorta hit me.

When a woman gets married, her identity truly and actually changes. Like, we get new social security cards. new driver’s license. new email addresses. new monogrammed towels (okay, maybe that’s pushing it). We start out marriage changing little bits of ourselves. And although on a basic level, we are still the same person… we are taking on a new identity. One that is fused to us through love.

That’s just like our switch when we covenant ourselves to Jesus. Because of Love, we have a new identity. We are still the same basic person, but that new identity is starting to change little bits of ourselves.

And it happens just. like. that.

This new identity that we grab on to… it takes effect as quickly as a name change on Facebook.

And it changes… everything.

So, while I’ve got you here… a few years ago I was in a bible study called Me, Myself, and Lies. (Awe.some. study if you are looking for something) and she had a list of verses that helped with truthfully labeling yourself… or, in this case, correctly stating your identity. I typed them out and reworded them into the first person.

Read a couple (or all) of them out loud. Allow the Word of God to remind you who you are now.

I am…

  • New: I belong to Christ, and so I’ve become a new person. My old life is gone; my new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Cherished: He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased my freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave my sins. He has showered his kindness on me, along with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:7-8
  • Strong: God has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
  • Chosen: I didn’t choose Jesus… Jesus chose me. He appointed me to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give me whatever I ask for, using the name of Jesus. John 15:16
  • Complete: In Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So, I am also complete through my union with Christ who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:9-10
  • Loved: If God is for me, who can ever be against me? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for me, won’t he also give me everything else? Who dares accuse me whom God has chosen as his own? No one! For God himself has given me right standing with himself. Who then will condemn me? No one! For Christ Jesus died for me and was raised to life for me, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for me. Can anything ever separate me from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves me if I 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 mine through Christ, who loved me. And I am convincned that nothing can ever separate me from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither my fears for today nor my worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate me 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 me from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39
  • Unfinished: I am certain that God, who began the good work within me, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6
  • Free: Now, I am free from my slavery to sin, and I have become a slave to righteous living. Romans 6:18
  • Pardoned: So now there is no condemnation for me who belongs to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
  • Capable: I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
  • Saved: Even though I was dead because of my sins, he gave me life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that I have been saved!) Ephesians 2:5
  • A Masterpiece: I am God’s masterpiece. He has created me anew in Christ Jesus, so I can do the good things he planned for me long ago. Ephesians 2:10
  • Welcome: Now, I can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit as everyone else because of what Christ has done for me. Ephesians 2:18
  • Understood: Since I have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let me hold firmly to what I believe. This High Priest of mine understands my weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings I do, yet he did not sin. So let me come boldly to the throne of my gracious God. There I will receive his mercy, and I will find grace to help me when I need it most. Hebrews 4:14-16
  • Guarded: I died to this life, and my real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3
  • Valuable: God bought me with a high price. I must honor God with my body. 1 Corinthians 6:20
  • Loved: See how very much my Father loves me, for he calls me his child, and that is what I am! 1 Corinthians 6:20
  • Family: But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that I am God’s child because they don’t know him. I am already God’s child, but he has not yet shown me what I will be like when Christ appears. But I do know that I will be like him, for I will see him as he really is. 1 John 3:1-2
  • Included: So now I, as a Gentile, am no longer a stranger and foreigner. I am a citizen along with all of God’s holy people. I am a member of God’s family. Ephesians 2:19
  • Selected: I am a chosen person. I am a royal priest, part of a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, I can show others the goodness of God, for he called me out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9-10
  • Holy: Since God chose me to be a holy person he loves, I must clothe myself with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12
  • Changed: I have had that veil removed and can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes me more and more like him as I am changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18
  • His Heir: And since I am his child, I am his heir. In fact, together with Christ I am an heir of God’s glory. But if I am to share his glory, I must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17
  • His Friend: He no longer calls me a slave, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now I am his friend, since he has told me everything the Father told him. John 15:15
  • Delightful: For the Lord my God is living among me. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in me with gladness. With his love, he will calm all my fears. He will rejoice over me with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17
  • Bold: Because of Christ and my faith in him, I can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12

 

Day 172: I Don’t

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A while back on Day 148, I mentioned that I was going to a wedding and well, I went!

Not that it’s particularly related to this post, but it was so not as much of a big deal (in regards to my weight) as I thought it would be… there were some good friends there, some people that I knew but never got a chance to talk to, and a few people that I might have purposefully avoided… what can I say? I’m still harboring a bit of a low-self-confidence-teenage-girl deep in my soul. But, it was entirely irrelevant whether I was wearing a size 16 or a size 8 (although, for the record, I was wearing none of those things… I was wearing a medium! ha!) and all that really mattered was getting to catch up with a good, good friend that I haven’t seen since graduation. And her life story was far more captivating than my dress size!

Okay, but back to the topic at hand… which does have to do with the wedding though (more precisely, the reception), so stick with me.

The wedding wasn’t until 3:00 and my husband, knowing that it would be just me wanting to talk to old high school friends, opted out of going, so he was going to stay home with the boys. Well, I was ready to go by 1:30 and I decided to duck out before the boys woke up so we wouldn’t have to go through the whole rigamarole of me leaving and their tears and waving to me and watching me drive away.

And after I finished my one need-to-do errand, I realized that I had forgotten to eat lunch and… I still had an hour until the wedding. Afraid that they might not have something that I could eat at the wedding and being at the point where I was getting hunnnnnngary, I started heading toward Petra (this aweeeeeeeesome fresh Mexican food bistro in McKinney).

I got their fish tacos (yum.may.) with charro beans and tortilla soup… it was all uhmazing (there’s a pic of it at the top)! And I sat out on the patio all by myself (cause everyone else likes this stuff called air conditioning… weird, I know) and faced out toward the green belt behind the restaurant and listened to the music that mimics that I would hear on the beaches of Mexico.

I ate just enough until I was full… okay, maybe a smidge past full but not feeling gross or anything, and then I went on to the wedding. The wedding was beau.ti.ful. and so special and I was just so… happy the whole time. It made me both relive the awesomeness of my own wedding and also made me want to renew my vows just so that I can have another wedding cause really, although they are a lot of work, they are also a lot of fun… and there’s the whole white dress thing. Loved her wedding dress.

Okay, okay… the point.

Well, at the reception, there was a whole lot more than just cake and punch… they had a brilliant spread! Sandwiches, fruit, cheese, crackers, etc. etc. etc. And my friends all got up from their table to go get some grub. I wasn’t hungry, but I also really wanted to hang out with them… so I went through the line with them… and didn’t get a thing.

And I didn’t spontaneously combust because I didn’t get food.

And no one pointed and laughed at me.

And I sat back down with my friends while they snacked.

And it was all good.

And I was reminded once again of

a) how much food is intertwined with our lives… to a lot of people wedding = reception = good food and cake
b) how I don’t have to eat when I’m not hungry
c) how far God has brought me
d) how far God still can bring me!

So, although I’m so extremely pleased that my dear friend said “I Do”… I’m just as pleased that I said “I Don’t… want anything to eat.”

Day 148: Wedding Weight

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Coming up at the end of June is the wedding of one of my friends from high school. I graduated back in 1997 and I haven’t seen quite a lot of people since that day. Thanks to Facebook I have been able to keep up with a lot of them, but still… some of them I have yet to see.

And… well… I’ll be honest… all of that difficulty that I had with the weighing a few weeks ago. Yeah, it’s because of the wedding.

You see, I had figured out… by the time the end of June is here then I should be able to be down to a size 8… down to 145 or 150. And then… when I wasn’t on that (self-made) track anymore and it looked like I wasn’t going to be a cool 145 by the end of June, well, I got panicked. Cause (in my worldly-focused mind) I needed to weigh LESS than I did in high school, and I’m pretty sure I was around 160… bumping up against 170 in high school. All of these people I went to high school with don’t know that I got up to 210, so they won’t know that I’ve already lost a huge chunk of weight. So (again, let me repeat, in my world-focused mind) I needed to weigh at least twenty pounds less than I did in high school in order for people to say “Ooooooo Ahhhhhh, January… wow… you look so great… Ooooooo Ahhhhhh.”

Yeah. It’s soooo lame. I know.

I guess part of it is because, amazing Christians as they might have been, I spent a lot of my high school years trying to chase after their approval. I was still so new to living a life with Jesus that I hadn’t gotten rid of the need of “praise from men” yet. And I wasn’t in the “popular” church crowd. The sad part: I had such great friends during that time… but it took me years, and years, and yearsssss before I could appreciate them. And by then it was really too late to salvage those relationships that I let slip and slide into the past.

But anyway, I finally came face to face with the realization that I wanted to lose that weight by a certain deadline for a reason that had nothing. to. do. with. God. and had everything to do with this world.

And, well, this covenant… it IS God. It is only about God… weight. life. skinny. clothes. chocolate. vegetables. None of those things matter ultimately. On December 31, 2012 when the clock turns over to a new year… all that will matter is God.

So, even now, I am having to renew my mind. to reset my mind. to focus my mind. on things above and forget about the wedding (well, in terms of weight at least… I really am excited to see this wonderful girl… the best of girls… get married).

If then you have been raised with Christ to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead, aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your mind and keep it set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. Colossians 3:1-2