Thursday, February 28, 2013

My You've Gotten So Big

'park scales' photo (c) 2008, Evan Bench - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

"My you've gotten so big!" words that used to make me cringe when I would see someone that I hadn't seen in a while.

I took it that they thought I had gotten fat. And honestly depending on what point in my life it was I could have been, or at least comfortably chubby, as I liked to call it. :)

Innocent enough words, but to a young insecure girl they are devastating. As long as I've been in this world, it loves skinny people. It's not a fat person's world. And if you start to gain weight there is always some well-meaning person to let you know it. :)

I forgot about the impact of those words until recently, when my son mentioned how often he hears it when we go home to visit, and my daughter piped up, "Well Jackson, it's because they think you have gained weight."

Do what?!

Her words stopped me in my tracks, quite literally.

I looked at her and tried to explain that honestly that isn't what I think they meant by those words. That when someone says, "My, how big you've gotten" they are simply commenting on how tall and grown up you are looking.

Keeli looked at me like this was the first time she had understood this, and understanding swept across her young 12 year old face. Had all this time when someone said this to her had she really thought they were calling her fat?!

Sure she has gone through the chubby stage, very few get out of childhood unscathed by that stage { I know I didn't!} But not fat. And even if she were, she wouldn't have been loved any less.

She said whenever someone said this to her, she felt like they were saying how "big" she was, literally. Even now when she hears those words she wants clarification.

It was a wake up call for me. Fat, skinny, whatever, our words matter. What we say and how we say them matter.

I've often thought You can be anything you want in this world, as long as your not fat

It almost doesn't matter what you accomplish in life or how nice of a person you are, if you are overweight, that is what people see and remember.

And that's so sad.

It's taken a lot of growing up on my part and coming to God moments to come to realize my worth isn't dependent on my weight. It doesn't make it any easier to deal with, but who I am as a person, doesn't depend on the number on the scale or my pant size.

It can be frustrating and depressing sometimes, especially when you work hard to lose it, and your body refuses to give it up. But who I am in Christ tells me who I am, and sometimes I need to be reminded over and over when I forget.

I strive to have a healthy mindset about weight and pass that onto my kids, it's not easy, because my husband struggles with his own body image issues too(see it doesn't just affect women), we want them to be healthy and confident because this world will tell them so many lies of things they should be.

And only the truths and affirmations they receive from us will help keep out the dark.

Our world is SO consumed with being skinny and not healthy that our children hear one thing "Be skinny or else"

Or else you will be made fun of, or else you will be an outcast, have no friends, be embarrassed, shamed, guilted.

Our world loves skinny people.

And it's detrimental to our health. Physically and mentally.

Currently, I depend way too much on food as a source of comfort when I'm stressed, tired, bored, or angry.

There is no quick solution, no magic pill, no shake, or drink that is the cure.

"..You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Cor 6:19,20
This is one more area that HAS to be taken to God and laid at His feet. It's not too silly or too unimportant. He cares even about this area of our lives. God is in the details. And if this is an area of your life that is keeping you, from being all He created you to be and living in His freedom, then He wants you to give it to Him too and let Him help.

You may not think this is a spiritual issue, but if you are using food as a way to cope with life instead of going to God, then I think you are wrong.

"If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" 1Cor 10:12
Alone we are weak and diets fail. In Him we are made strong and will prevail.

Become re-acquainted with your body, and fall in love with the person God made you to be. Then food will be put back in its rightful place: instead of being an obsession, it will become a means of worshiping the creator, by honoring his creation. Nothing more; nothing less. {Chasing Silhouettes}

This is not an area of strength for me, I used to be able to keep my weight in control. But life and hormones (especially the hormones!) have led me on a rocky road (ice cream) to getting it back.

I realize that it's not about fitting into the skinny jeans, it's about being confident and free in this area of my life. That's worth more than pizza and chocolate combined.

I'm laying it down at my Father's feet, again. As many times as I need to until I have victory in this area.

"Everything is permissible for me- but not everything is beneficial" 1Cor 6:12




Product Details
Recently Emily Wierenga came out with her book  "Chasing Silhouettes" that

details her battle with anorexia. Her struggle and story are laid out in a very raw

and honest way for us all to read. But it's not just a book on anorexia it's so

much more. It's about the battle of food, rather too much or too little that most

of us face.




"How many times have you heard me cry out, Lord, please take this? How many times have you given me strength to keep breathing?
God I need you,  God I need you now!" Plumb
                                                                Watch and be blessed

"You have circled this mountain long enough, Now turn North." Deut 2:3
Maybe your issues aren't with food but something else, are you tired of going round and round with them? It's time to head north, toward freedom!

He's waiting, not to condemn you and make you feel ashamed, but to set you free to live the life he created you to live!









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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What Sets A Fire Under You?




This week, us dreamers are talking about what or who is was that made us realize we had  more to offer and that we have no excuse for going after our dreams.

I'm not sure if I have any one who or what, but there are people that have inspired to walk the roads I have walked.

Several years back I attended a women's conference with several gals from my church in Birmingham AL. It was the E-Women's Conference led by Julie Clinton, there were several good speakers, including Lysa Terkeurst, Karen Kingsbury, Sheri Rose Shepherd, and many more. It was so good, and I think one of the first women's conferences I had ever been too.  Watching these strong women of God sharing their failures, their successes and opening up to complete strangers about their broken pasts and redeemed lives challenged me in ways that I had never thought of.

I realized in those two days how much we women hide out of fear of being known, really known. We want everyone to think we have it all together that our marriages and children are bordering on perfection and the reality is they're not.

I  remember times when I would be completely shocked when I heard of a couple divorcing in our church that by all appearances seemed to be doing fine. When you would see them out they were all smiles, when you would ask how they were you got the standard "fine" without so much as a flinch.

All because we are so afraid of letting people see our humanness and our mess. We are all messes, some do a better job than others of covering it up, but if we're honest, we all have things we don't want others to know about. We keep it to ourselves in the name of "it's none of their business," or "if I say anything, they'll just use it to gossip and judge and alienate me, because I don't have it all together like them"
{Granted, now, there are some things that should remain private}
"If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness." 2 Corinthians 11:30
And then we are shocked when a couple from the church announce they are divorcing and come to find out that they have had problems for years. No one knew there was any trouble. No one saw a thing!

All this to say that this conference changed me. It changed me, because I realized that if I wanted to be authentic and allow others the same freedom, I had to start fessing up, I'm not perfect!! {I know, you're shocked! :) }

The bubble we allow ourselves to live in out of fear of being found out, will eventually bust. And everyone is going to be in shock and awe of what comes spilling out.

The hiding needs to stop. And it's not easy, it's a day to day moment to moment choice, am I going to be real, or hide and cover up my shortcomings.

I write, to be honest. I'm not perfect {gasp}, just ask my husband and kids, they will gladly tell you how many times I mess up in one day. And then laugh, because they know they can, because mom will laugh too and for the most part has gotten to a point where she knows she will fail and has to keep picking herself up, learn from her mistakes and keep going.

As is life.

Those women showed me that day that a perfect God can and will use imperfect me, in spite of me. There's nothing I can do that will make him desert me or love me any less.

I'm discovering this freedom and want it for others so badly. I want them to know that God loves them when they mess up and want to give up, .... because he is God!

I know that if I don't start showing my vulnerabilities that I'm missing out on helping and blessing others who may be struggling too. All the hiding and covering up, lead to shame. And that's not how God wants us to live.

So, that's what set me on my course, what was it for you? What set that fire a blazing in you and inspires you to do what you do? Please, share below.



The following is a video of Nick Vujicic, who was born with no arms or legs. But is now a preacher and motivational speaker. He is an awesome example of what God can do through us and in us...if we let Him.


                     
        If you are reading this in email or reader, please click here to watch









Linking with my fellow dreamers at Holley's place and sisters at Soli deo Gloria, Women Living Well, Winsome Wed, #TellHisStory




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Monday, February 25, 2013

I Once Was Lost


I'm so honored to be guest posting over at Tracy's new site Encourage 24/7, would you mind joining me over there?

I wrote about moving from just being saved into a real relationship with Jesus, and the difference you can make in someone's life when you move in Jesus' name and reach out to someone whose lost or struggling.

See you there, friends!!





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Thursday, February 21, 2013

You, Me, and our Perceptions {along with a book review}




Did you know we are made unique and different from every other person in this world? Sure ya did. But most of us don't live like we know this little nugget of truth.

We spend a lot of time trying to be different instead of looking inside ourselves to see what unique gifts and talents we have.

These gifts are given to us from birth and if not affirmed by our parents (the way God intended) then we grow up trying to fit into a mold created by others.

When we're not sure of who we are we can we live in this Cycle of False Identity.

This Cycle of False Identity as identified by Joseph Cavanaugh III in his book The Language Of Blessing, starts at 1. Lack of Self Awareness 2. Minimizing 3. Projecting 4. Unfounded Expectations 5. Judging 6. Labeling

The cycle starts with not knowing who we really are, so we aren't self aware, we don't recognize our own giftedness, then we,

Minimize-"if the primary focus has been on what you lack rather than on what you possess-then it is very difficult not to minimize the gifts you do posses."  

Then we start projecting- if we don't believe our own gifts are special then we start to think that everybody should be able to do what we do. This is especially hurtful for our kids who may not have the sports ability that you have, but instead they may be more inclined to music, and if you don't recognize that and keep pushing sports on them they are going to grow up feeling defeated and never good enough.

How many times have you heard "Oh, if I can do this, I know you can do it too?"  Many times I'm sure, and Mr. Cavanaugh says this is  "classic minimization and projection, and we have all done it."

There are things that come so natural to us that lead us to "Unfound Expectations of others based on our own gifts and not on the talents of the individuals...

 Judgments and labels- how we expect people to act based on how we act and react to situations, we then judge(or misjudge) and stick unfair labels on people that dehumanize them because we get tired of trying to figure them out.

"After all, they are sure their children, employees, or friends could do what they do-if those people just tried harder, practiced longer, tried to be more sensitive..."


People spend so much time over coming weaknesses (perceived from others) that they never grow into their true selves and end up "hiding one's true self behind a mask" Amen to that!

We can try really hard to be what others want but if we are never honest about who we really are our lives never seem to work out the way we want them too.

This book explained what I've been discovering about myself . It gave it words.

There are many consequences to living out this false identity and a few of them are fear and toxic thoughts, "..anger, unforgiveness, self-pity, and jealousy...they suppress our immune system, makes us physically sick and constantly tired, affects our ability to reason, and much more." These thoughts are detrimental to our health!

Fear
With fearless being my word this year, the section on fear also really hit home. In his sessions Dr. Cavanaugh asks his patients "What is the opposite of love?" and most of them say hate. To which he points out is incorrect. In 1 John 4:18 it says "Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear."

"Fear is the opposite of love

The two cannot exist together. They can't. God didn't give us a spirit of fear. Out of his love he blessed us with gifts and talents that no one else on this earth has. When we realize this and walk in this there is no need to fear we aren't good enough or no reason to compare our gifts with others and be jealous of what others have.

We will know that we each have our own purpose. And that purpose is to love and serve God and others through the gifts He has given us.

We walk this world hand in hand. Not trying to change each other or judge for the different ways we do things but we can embrace who we are individually, and know that we are each the way we are because God planned and prepared us this way.

Such sweet relief and peace.

When we work outside of our God-given talents trying to be what others think we should be it exhausts us!

When we get to the point of being comfortable in our own skin then we can more easily turn around and listen and affirm others for who they are. Their personality can be celebrated.

My question to you, what do you love? What it is? Do you not do it out of fear of what others will think? I pray you will not let others,( who may not even know for themselves) tell you what you were made for.

We are all missing out on your special one of a kind gift if you hide it. You have this one life, don't be scared.

This book has so many beneficial elements to it. I wish I could cover them all. There are things that I won't soon forget, especially the chapters on how parents can recognize and affirm the gifts in their children and how I can be better at not pushing my own agenda on them.







****I was given The Language of Blessing, by Joseph Cavanaugh to review by Tyndale for exchange for my honest opinion. No money changed hands here. This is my honest opinion and endorsement of this book.



Linking with the Faith Barista at Faith Jam, Intentional Thursdays



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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Keep Pushing Play



I do what I ought not to do instead of what I should


 I often trip myself up, I start out strong with good intentions then somewhere along the way. I decide I'm not making enough progress so I  give up, slowly.

I start making excuses of why it won't work, start comparing my gifts with others, especially when good things start happening for them and I feel like I'm still at the starting line.

I realized this morning as I was going through the all too familiar routine of, should I or shouldn't I work out. Yes, I know I should, but I don't want to!

I want to pretend I don't need the exercise that I'm fine not feeling my best physically, that it doesn't really matter, because I have more important things to worry about.

But later, when I 'm getting dressed and I'm beating myself up when my jeans are tight (I usually like to blame the dryer when this happens) I remember I did myself no good when I made the choice to not work out.

All my good intentions lead to nothing if I don't make the steps towards my goal. Whether it's weight loss or working on a dream.

This morning, I got up got dressed and made up my mind to workout as soon as I got home from dropping the kids off. Then, I could get showered and dressed and have plenty of time to write and do my other stuff around the house; before it would be time to pick them back up, do dinner, homework, and rush off to baseball practice.

But....I got home and realized I hadn't eaten breakfast yet, so I was pretty hungry. And you know you can't make it through a workout on an empty stomach. So I ate.

Well, then I couldn't work out on a full stomach :)

You know where I'm going with this...

An hour later I was caught up on emails, Facebook, and Twitter, I also read a couple of posts from other writers...and then decided it was time to workout.

yay!! {insert sarcasm}

I got my workout video in got everything all set up...then sat down. Why oh why, did I sit down!?

The couch~my nemesis.

I sat and pondered, it was already almost 10 o'clock do I really want to spend the next hour working out, when I could just get dressed and get busy? Because once I sit down to write job hunt, hi hunny! :o), time gets completely away from me.

Hmmmm, what to do, what to do.

So, I bent over to untie my shoes, I decided to hit the shower. There's always tomorrow. Besides, I didn't know what I wanted to write about today anyways. We are supposed to stop delaying and start doing this week, so I'd better get on that and figure out what I wanted to say.

That's when it hit me...conviction. Hard. I'm always putting off till tomorrow. Especially when it comes to my health and well being.

If I don't stop making excuses and start today, I will always keep putting off until tomorrow.

I almost cried as I bent back down and retied my shoes, I know, sad.

I pushed play, and finished the whole darn thing!!

It felt good to finish and I felt strong afterwards. I felt a sense of pride for following through and not giving in to the sloth monster.

It's the same with anything else. Whether it's working out, or going after a dream, we have to start. I think the hardest thing about starting is starting. The first day is the toughest. After you get over that slump the rest is much easier.

And as you see I found my words for this post. I can think of a million reasons for not starting. But none of them are any good. They show my procrastination, fear, laziness for not doing what's in front of me each day.

I don't have to be a rock star, I just need to show up and be and do what God has called me to each day.

No more excuses.






Linking with my God Sized Dream Sisters, and Soli Deo Gloria, Winsome Wed


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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Watch Me, Watch Me...Doesn't She Know I See Her?




Momma watch me, watch me, are you watching??!

I hear this quite frequently from my  now 12 year old daughter, always have. She wants to make sure she is seen.

And honestly, don't we all?
We want to be noticed, praised, loved, and seen.

I see you trying so hard to fit in with your new clothes and hair styles. You are trying out a new attitude like you are trying on a new pair of shoes. You walk around seeing if it suits you, who cares if they're uncomfortable, as long as others approve.

I see you are trying to hide your insecurities and fears and put on a brave I-know-everything face.

You can't scare me or fool me.

I know who you are deep down, you're a little girl trying to find your way in this world just wanting to be seen and loved without being rejected Blending in enough to get noticed by the cool kids, but not enough to be singled out for something grand or misunderstood for being different.

I see the girl who loves big and gives unselfishly. You may dish it out, but it's only cause you want to be heard. To know you matter and that you're important.

Well, you are, important. And you are seen whether you like it or not and you are loved, deeply.  Not only by me, but by God. He knows why you weren't born with blond hair the way you wish you were. Or why he gave you a little brother to boss around instead of the sister you begged and prayed for.

He knows why he gave you to me and your daddy, and why we spend countless nights scratching our heads and wondering what in the world are we going to do with you. :)

You infuriate me and make me laugh all at the same time, and honestly I don't know what I would do without you.

God knows. God knows what He is planning on doing with your blaze your own trail attitude and He knows you will try to go where others have gone before and failed. He knows that even if you end up turning away for just a little bit, you will return one day. Because He promised me long ago that if I raised you in the way you should go you wouldn't depart from it, and I plan on holding him to it!

I see you, my girl, little miss bossy pants with big ideas and dreams of five kids through adoption and me staying home with all of them, so you can be a teacher :) (ain't gonna happen by the way)

You've known it all since the day you were born and no one could tell you any differently. I knew from the time you were just barely walking, which of course you took your sweet time doing,  that God had big plans for you.

He sees you and he knows what that big personality and always thinking brain of yours can do.

I see your insecurities even when you think no one is looking. I know deep down you're scared and you just want to be noticed, I know, me too.

So when you're out in this big world doing the things God has called you to, and you feel like no one cares and you're all alone, remember, you're seen.

And I am so proud of you!

Happy 12th Birthday girl of mine! I love you!


What about you? Do you know you are seen and loved? We all want to be seen without the big spotlight because being seen, means being known and possible being rejected.




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Linking with Imperfect Prose, Faith Jam, Studio Jru, Faith Filled Fridays, Fellowship Fri

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Choosing the Best



I don't know about you, but there are so many things clamoring for my attention at one time, that sometimes I  don't know where to start, so I end up doing nothing.


Idleness.

Lord help my idle hands.

Idleness is not sticking to what's in front of me. And trying to do everything else but what I should.  So, at the end of the day it looks like I got nothing done.

Dreams don't happen to those that don't work for them, I have to choose. Sit around and be idle or do something, anything that means moving forward. Something is always better than nothing

May the works of my hands be pleasing to you My Lord.

Right now, having recently moved, both kids in school, and being new to town. I don't have very much on my plate. Looking for a job has shown to be fruitless so far.

But yet,
I wake up and my mind has cried a do over before I've even gotten out of bed.

My best is only my best if if I wake up and start it out with God. I've learned this about myself a long time ago. I let him take away all the chatter and noise. Let him show me what a mind at peace can do with  a busy day, or even a not so busy day.

You take it one task at a time. Nothing more and nothing less. Keep putting one foot in front of the other even when it seems futile.

Working on dreams is no small task. Faith and works go hand in hand.  If I want God to be faithful I have to be faithful myself and show up each day. Schedule what I'm going to do and even set a timer for some tasks so that I can move on to the next thing when the beep goes off.

It's not always easy to show up each day, but it is choosing the best.


What is something I need to let go of in order to accomplish what I'm called to do?
I've been thinking this over


If I were to say one thing that needed to decrease to let God increase, I would say me.

And my thoughts of how things should and could go. I can be my only enemy, my worst enemy.  I get in my own way more than anyone or anything.

Fears, procrastination, fears. They hold me back.

So my prayer today would be,

"Lord keep me from idleness and wasting my time on this earth, and help me to get up out of your way, so that your will, will be done. And Lord, help me not to worry about the details, because, you know how they always get to me too. In Jesus' name, Amen."


What are some things you need to let go of in order for your best to come through each day?




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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Who Told You?




Who told you?

 you weren't good enough?

 you can't do this?

 you aren't smart enough, brave enough, beautiful enough, talented enough?

 you aren't capable?

Fear...that's who

He says "Just who do you think you are? You can't do this. You will fail, better give up now.

You will always be on the outside looking in, never accepted, never seen, and never a success.

It's selfish to chase after dreams and try to be different from everyone around you. Just do what everyone else is doing and be satisfied with that. Why do you have to want something more, do you think you're better or something?"

On our bad no good rotten days, it's easy to believe the liar. Easy to give in and want to wave the white flag.

The truth is we are capable and made for more even when and especially when we mess up and feel defeated.



Fearless




It isn't just a word, it's a choice, a lifestyle. A chance to take every opportunity to God and ask for His will to be done.

When we have full confidence that we won't be shamed (Is 54:4) because God encamps, around those that fear Him ( Ps 34:7) and He is pleased to give us the kingdom (Luke 2:32)



I wonder, if we were affirmed of our gifts would it make the fear of using them go away? Would it put a wind in our sails and give us wings? Confidence to go after what's in our hearts?



I recently read this quote,

"If you lose your purpose it's like your broken." Hugo-from the movie Hugo

And isn't that the truth? When we aren't sure what we are made for we wonder why on earth am I here?

Is it hard to believe that you were created for a unique purpose? A special gift that no one else has?

 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Gen 12:1-3 emphasis mine

Our gifts are the blessing, and they come from God.

What if our gifts relate to our calling somehow? And we are just waiting for someone to affirm it in us?

We are blessed so that we can turn around and be a blessing to others. From the overflow.

Today lets be the person in someone's life that recognizes and affirms the talents and gifts in others.  Lets be someone that bring life with our words because words are powerful and can lift someone up or bring them down low.

Of course we could always choose to do nothing and not step into our calling and miss out on a great blessing, but I don't want to do that, and I doubt you do either.

I hope that when it's all said and done and I'm standing in front of God one day He will say "Well done, my girl, well done"

And all the fear and dragon slaying will have been worth it just to hear those words from my heavenly father.



Where faith starts fear ends.







The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom should I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Will you join me and the other dream sisters at Holley's place where we are talking this week about fear and facing your dreams head on anyway?
And also my sisters at Soli deo Gloria, WinsomeWed, Faith Filled Fri, Fellowship Fri, Studio Jru



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