Thursday, July 31, 2008

Humility 101

So, this is about my need for humility. Brace yourself - this is never a fun subject to address, but it will be worth it in the end - just like anything else of value.

As I have been working hard to lose weight (some days harder than others) I have found myself struggling with my pride. You see, so much of my identity over the years has been in "spiritual counsel, insight, and prayer". My insecurity about my appearance and my choosing to focus on the gifting God gave me instead of the temple He gave me has thrown my life out of balance in many ways. As I am trying to come into balance God is revealing how much I have leaned on my identity in my gifts instead of on my identity in Christ.

A few days ago I wrote a particular timely note to a dear friend. I waited impatiently for a response to my note, admitting to myself it was to build myself up (when the response is thanks so much for that great word!) and not for God's glory alone. I prayed about it. I asked God to forgive me but still felt a rush when I was told the note was very special. So, even aware of my motives, even repenting in advance, I still, get this, failed to acknowledge God first when the person finally did respond. Nice, huh? I had to follow up the phone conversation with a text message mentioning that it was God's message for the person, not my own words.

I hope this is making sense. The punchline, I guess, is that all my motives are still questionable. Even when I know better. Even my motives to lose weight are being questioned by the Lord. Do I want the approval of man? or Do I seek the approval and blessing of God by choosing to walk in the healthy, full functioning life God created for me? Not that God's blessing is removed from me when I am not choosing to walk in obedience. I rob myself of walking in abundant life when I choose not to obey.

I need to be motivated by my love for God alone. Motivated to pursue Him above all other gods, like me (building myself up), the food I choose at times to love over His path for me at this time, and entertainment before pursuit of Him.

Lord, please forgive me for all the ways I pursue my own glory instead of Yours. You alone deserve glory, honor, and praise. All things must bow to You alone. I am vapor and dust without you. I beg again for Your mercy and grace to walk each day, submitted to Your will and seeking to bring You glory. In Jesus name, amen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Testing...testing...1,2,3...

"A crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart." Proverbs 17:3 (NIV)

He doesn't test us to torture us. Just like how working out improves your strength, His testing increases our faith and trust in Him and challenges our motives.

Praise God that Jesus took the final test for us. He passed because there was no way we ever could. His real life blood dripped down that wooden cross for me so I would never have a doubt about His love for me. Yes, there are people here on earth we think deserve His love more than us - but that is not true. Ever. There are people in our lives that have affected our ability to believe in His love for us but that doesn't change the FACT that His love is not based on whether we believe in it or not.

The verse above has been floating in my head for weeks. I feel as if I am being tested. Not on a pass/fail basis, but on "Do you, Jennifer, trust Me or don't you?" The honest answer is "Sometimes". It seems so silly to question the trustworthiness of the Creator of the Universe doesn't it? Silly I am. Do I have the faith to change my current behaviors to pursue Him over my own comfortable habits? Am I motivated by my love for Him or by my need to be considered valuable? Again, silly... of course I love Him and I am valued. But do I feel that way? Not always. Does anyone? Only if they really believe and take to heart God's Word on who we really are to Him (see Eph 1).

I am having a hard time dying to my own understanding of what I need. Not that I actually know what my real need is... and like so many of us I need to believe Him and what He says about me.

Example: Today was rough. The kids were busy, unsettled and restless. They did not want to go to bed at nap time or bedtime. It was stressing me out. I became impatient and even yelled a few times. After over an hour battle at bedtime, instead of crashing in my own bed, I leaned on food. I had several "snacks" - not any of which were horribly unhealthy, but they certainly weren't included in my daily calorie allowance. I heard the Lord tell me I should just go to bed. I didn't. I just kept eating. I wanted to soothe myself instead of letting Him soothe me. I wanted my own choice of comfort rather than letting Him comfort me. I leaned on my own familiar sin instead of on my Savior and Friend. The testing that took place was "will you obey and trust Me to meet your need?" Not tonight. In my choice to go my own way I missed the chance to experience His best for me tonight.

Maybe tomorrow.

This road is hard. God is always good. I love the fact that we have a new chance every day to walk differently than the day before. Maybe tomorrow I will skip. Or take my own advice and dance! I'll let you know what happens...

Thanks for your prayers. I hope this makes sense. As always, I would love your feedback. My sweet littlest guy is stirring so I'd better go tend to him. God bless each of you!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

At a loss...

I feel compelled to write about loss today. My current weight loss is 16lbs and almost 22inches. That is great. But there has been a lot more loss than I really want to admit. I have discovered how much pride is related to my weight. Weird huh? I want to be like all my thin friends who can eat whatever they want. After all, I'm not really "That" fat anyway... yeah, that has actually crossed my mind, a lot. Pathetic. I am. I am "that" fat. Sure some of it is genetics, and some is having 3 babies in 4 years, but I was overweight before the babies. I really just want to be like everyone else (whoever that is). OK, back to the pride thing. I pretend I am thin. I focus on other people's thin-ness and ignore my own fat-ness. Nice huh? Then it comes time to really look in the mirror, or buy new clothes, the illusion has to die. Grrrrr... humiliating to admit.

So, I am a fat woman in the process of becoming thin. I am not built to ever be skinny, but I believe that when I fully get a grip on what I really look like, and what changes I really need to make (which is happening), the process will become my passion instead of a challenge or something I have to defeat. Kill the fat, bury the lifestyle that will bury me, destroy the habit of using food for anything but fuel, and enjoy the pain of it. I know that sounds a bit nuts. But, pressing into the pain works well in a lot of situations - this is one of them.

Honestly, a few of my friends have caught me more than once in tears because I was hungry in the past few weeks. Not so much stomach growling hungry, just hungry for what I used to lean on for support and sustenance. This diet is working amazing for me physically, but so much of my eating issues are emotional and mental that it is pushing me to the limit and beyond what I think I can handle in my head. I am so thankful that I KNOW that God has called me to this season so I can't deny the timing - I just need to walk out the obedience of living a new way and trust the reward will be more than I could ever ask for or imagine.

I don't remember a time when I felt like I looked good. Sad huh? I look back at some old photos and think, gosh, I looked good back then, I wish I knew it! So, I press on, not knowing what I am aiming for, what I might look like when I get through this process, and trusting it will be good. And in moments when I am choosing to eat instead of have a shake, or a healthy snack, I know that I will choose - ultimately - God's will for me to die to this old thing that has run my head and body for way more years ( I think since the 4th grade) than I care to recall. However, something I am always saying to others is that "you are never late, God has, in His perfect plan, factored in your humanity (your mistakes), so you are never outside His plan when your heart is for Him". I wouldn't say that without a doubt that is theologically correct, but from my experience with the Lord, that is what I have felt He has shown me.

I know I will be walking this road for a while and part of killing my pride is admitting in this blog what is really rolling around in my head, what I am eating from time to time and staying in an attitude of worship because when I keep my eyes on Him and His desire for me (instead of my own selfish desires), I feel like I can really do this.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you that I matter that much to you. Thank you for your prayers as I walk in this new place - trying to learn how to show my love for the Lord in how I treat my body, the one He gave me for the rest of my life.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Onward and upward...

So, I just finished consuming a bratwurst. Yes, the whole thing, when my defenses were down from a day of "cleansing" and now I am going to go to bed polluted. Ugh! Well, here I am. Just me. Struggling with my sin of self-preservation instead of going to bed like the Lord told me to.

So, tomorrow is another day. Another start. Another chance to choose Him over me. One moment at a time. One day at a time. Keeping my feet in motion, one step at a time, eyes toward Heaven and the Author and Perfecter of my faith.

I am so glad my God is not as fickle as my flesh! What a mess my life would be.

Going to obey now and go to bed. Wish I had done it sooner. Heard a quote at church tonight that stuck with me (apparently not quite enough yet) "Repentance is sorry enough to quit."

Lord have mercy on me. Please save me from my self serving and self preserving ways!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Never a dull moment...

When I walked around the corner and saw my middle son drinking from the construction helmet his Nana bought him a few months ago I knew some sort of water hazard was in the making. Sure enough, the lake below the sink required my entire bath towel to clean it up.

The previous day it took 3 washcloths, 2 bath towels, and one rag to soak up the milk that had made it's way to the floor while my oldest was drinking from the carton. When I asked my husband if he had drunk from the carton in front of them he said no, so I must only conclude that somewhere in the male genetic makeup is the desire to drink milk from a gigantic jug.

My reflexes have improved over the past few years. I know from the above comments you might think I was in another room ignoring the antics of my little guys. Nope. I move from one room to the next in record time pretty consistently just for the above reasons. It is AMAZING what can happen in just a couple of minutes! When I am trying to choke down the anger I gaze into their innocent (or not) gaze and thank the Lord for the chance to be a mom. Today when I was yelling at my oldest because he had not picked up the 3 items I asked him to pick up easily 2 or 3 times already I caught a twinkle in his eye. For a split second I couldn't imagine why he was about to laugh. Then, taking that ever so important step back to imagine what he is seeing , I yelled "Am I yelling at you?" then I started laughing. He started laughing. We were both cracking up for a moment. Then he picked up the toys. I am sure he was laughing because it certainly wasn't possible his mom was so angry over just a few toys on the floor!

I am sure I left a mark on their psyche the other day when they were flinging books off their shelf and I went running in, fresh from the shower (don't hold that thought too long!) to remind them that if they made a mess they would be very late to the fun activity we were going to go do. O, that I would not take things so seriously! Sometimes I think I need to dial it down a few notches, then other amazing and creative disasters come along and I think "Nope, I'd better stay close on them so no permanent damage can be done.

I LOVE the activity. I even don't mind the disasters from time to time. I love having adventurous and exciting children. I just think I would be a better mom if I slept at night. I am not sure. I haven't had a chance to find out. When my youngest sleeps for 6 hours, my middle guy doesn't and then some nights everyone is up and I feel like a human pin ball in my own surreal machine.

Before my children arrived, life occasionally threw me a curve ball or two. It would cause me to make a few changes, jump to attention and get busy to do something new. Now, especially on my new diet, because I feel so much better physically, I am embracing all the craziness and trying not to lose my temper over spilt milk, water hazards, or toys on the floor. I am not entirely successful, but I am thrilled to report that we have more fun than drama. Praise God!

Who am I?

My photo
I am a wife and mother of 3. I have been married to my best friend for over 25 years and our children are 12, 11 and 9 years old. I have struggled with infertility, suffered the loss of a baby by miscarriage, and endured multiple career paths. I have experienced a crisis of faith that shook me to the core and lost a dear friend to a tragic death. I have had a personal relationship with Jesus for most of my life. The Bible and my relationship with Christ has been essential to my surviving and even thriving in my circumstances. I hope you will be blessed by joining me in this process of life. I thank you for showing up to read what I have written.