Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Resting Assured In Who I am in Christ!

Yesterday afternoon I had the most amazing luxury...time alone! For 20+ minutes I was all alone in the van. As a busy homeschooling mom of 3 that doesn't happen very often! I was so thankful to be able to use most of the time praying out loud to my Abba Father. What incredible peace and joy comes from those moments!

I love how God is teaching me right now. What I came to realize yesterday, is that God is requiring something of me that He's been teaching me my whole life. Something that applies to almost every area of my life! He wanted it when I was a sad & lonely high schooler, He wanted it when I was trying to find my place in life those long & lonely years after college, He wants it every time I start to question who my friends really are. God wants me to want Him. To want Him more than I want anything else in life. To care about what He thinks of me, and not what anyone else does. He wants to be enough. Wow!

In a current situation we're walking through as a family, it would be very easy to think we need to justify ourselves to others. To not let certain things go unresponded to. To make sure that the truth is understood. But what God's asking us to do, is to let Him handle it. To keep our mouths shut. To only care about what HE thinks, and not what anyone else does. It takes a lot of grace, forgiveness, humility, and trust. Some moments in the day I do really well. Others, not so much. But God is really making His wishes clear. What a blessing that is!

A friend reminded me yesterday of how many times Jesus was treated unfairly, yet He said nothing. Who am I to think that I have the right to act any differently? Certainly my circumstances will never come close to what Jesus endured. Any time we're confused about how to walk out our faith, we should always look to see Jesus' example. We'll never do it perfectly, but He gives us a clear example of what to strive for. He was tempted in many ways, yet He never sinned. He felt all the emotions we do, yet He kept His focus on the Father's plans. Just what we're supposed to do.

There is a lot going on in my life right now. Lots of changes and growth opportunities. Lots of chances to rely totally in my relationship with the Lord! What I love so much right now, is that the more I reach out to Him the more He pulls me closer to Himself. The more He reveals His wishes. The more He surrounds me with peace. Isn't it amazing that the Creator of the universe has THAT personal of a relationship with us?! Mind blowing.

Praise the Lord that I know who I am in Him! My confidence comes, not through my relationships (with people or food or anything else), nor through my personal achievements or earthly successes. My confidence comes because I'm a daughter of the King of Kings! May I never forget that for a second. And may you never forget it either.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Been a GREAT Week!

This has been a really good week. For many reasons, it's been good, but want to know the biggest reason? My thought life. God has been showering me with such grace and love and teaching me how to shower myself with the same. For me...that's HUGE!

I don't normally do this on here, but I just have to make a short list of some of my biggest blessings this week:
  • worked out on the treadmill five days in a row and actually looked forward to it each time!
  • lost enough weight that I'm down to the next 10's bracket on the scale! (YEAH!!)
  • I'm finally (after over two years of this hanging on the wall in my bedroom) within 4 pounds of being able to start marking my progress on a chart! (I'm motivated by such silly things)
  • God has been helping me to change my internal dialogue (a short statement for a VERY BIG deal!)
  • got to enjoy coffee and great conversation with two different friends on two different nights this week (and had a husband who was excited for me to be able to do that!)
  • got to meet Mikayla's new basketball coach and team...I'm just continually SO impressed with all the homeschoolers I meet. Homeschool families are (for the most part) so down-to-earth, genuine, big-hearted, outgoing, caring, hospitable people. I LOVE being part of the homeschool community!!
  • God reassured me of some things in a very clear way. LOVE it when that happens!!
  • Dave and I made the decision to take a mini get-away in a few weeks. Just the knowledge that we're doing it, is incredibly exciting. I just love my husband and am extra blessed every time we get some special time together (which doesn't seem to happen often enough anymore).
  • I've been blessed to see my kids interact with others, get excited about new adventures, and just make their momma proud this week!
Can you tell it's been a good week?!

I need to get off the computer and get some housework done before our BIG night/weekend of basketball kicks into high gear. I just had to take some time and share my blessings with my blogger friends. When God is setting me free from some strongholds that I've had most of my life...it's hard to contain my excitement! I know the road ahead is long and full of lots of twists and turns...but I'm SO excited to be off to a great start. This time IS different. Want to know why? Well, I've never been 39 before. God is doing a BIG work in me (mentally and physically) and I can't wait to be a few months ahead on this journey and be able to look back and see all the progress. But I'm also going to enjoy each day as it comes. I am living in the moment over here!

Thanks for praying for me and holding me accountable. Leave me a comment and let me know how I can pray for you this week!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oh How Much I Love You, Lord!

So, this is going to be brief (LOTS to do this morning), but I just had to give a quick shout-out to the complete awesome-ness of God. (Yes, I really said that.) In my last post I was sharing the difficulty of some changes God sometimes asks us to make. Well, He knew I was having a few minor doubts on whether our family's new path was indeed God-directed. Thankfully, He gave me 100% reassurance out of the clear blue yesterday morning. Thank you Lord! I sure needed that. Boy, did I ever.

Isn't it awesome when you feel God that closely? It makes me fall in love with Him all the more. Makes me want to shout His greatness from the tallest rooftop! We serve an incredible God. There aren't enough words to describe Him. I think I'll ponder all His majesty while I get busy with the morning's to-do list.

As you go through your Wednesday, I pray you're constantly reminded and reassured of Who God is. May your love for Him grow immeasurably this week.

Blessings friends!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Following Him

Oh, change is hard. Isn't it? Some changes, like the ones made on the road to getting healthy, are hard but they produce exciting results. Not immediately, of course, but at some point. Other change, however, is downright stinky. I mean, I'm sure God has a perfectly wonderful plan in all of it...but at first it just seems 100% lacking in any amount of fun or even good reason.  But...sometimes God doesn't ask us to do the fun or reasonable thing. He asks us to do His will. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)

In the midst of hard things, it's easy to get caught up in emotions. Feelings. Let our hearts rule us. But, my friends, our feelings often deceive us. In fact, more often than not, that's the case. I'm walking through one of those times right now where my feelings are having a rough go. My feelings, if I allowed them to, could totally get me off the path God is leading our family down. My feelings would much rather I stayed on the easy path. (Or at least the path that looks easy to me right now.) The "easy" path, is the path of least resistance. It's the path that you choose when you don't like change or having to get out of your comfort zone. We've been stuck on that path for quite awhile.

But, now we're stepping out in faith and following God down a new path. A path we're sure He's leading us down...but one that's full of hard choices. And we've left the comfort zone far behind. FAR behind. I'm sure there are great things on this new path, and that a new level of comfort will eventually return. As of yet, though, the path is a bumpy one.

What do you do when God asks you to leave your comfort zone? And how has He asked you to do that? Has He asked you to step out and share your faith with someone? Has He asked you to begin a new journey as a family, like homeschooling? Has He asked you to remove something, like TV or certain movies, from your free time? At some point or another, God WILL ask us to do the hard thing. He WILL require that we move out of our comfort zone. Thankfully, though, our obedience in these areas always leads to us growing in our faith.

How much are you willing to give up for God? How far out of your comfort zone are you willing to go? To be honest, it scares me to even think about that question. Sometimes (like right now) I feel like He's stretched me far enough. At least for a while, I don't want to be stretched any more!

I've been hearing a lot from God on this new journey. Here's some of what I've been comforted with:

Matthew 19:26 ~ "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (so the hard path isn't so hard after all!)

Philippians 1:6 ~...He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Deuteronomy 31:6 ~ Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

James 1:2-4 ~ Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


2 Peter 1:5-8 ~For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You see, this journey we're on, while not currently easy...has a purpose in God's plan. As long as we stay grounded in Him, He will continue to make us more like His Son. We can't let our emotions determine our direction. We have to cling tightly to the garment of Christ and allow Him to guide our path. Remember, His Word is a "lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Psalm 119:105) That means it's lighting up just enough to get us a few steps ahead. It's not daylight. It's dark. It's not flipping a switch and having the whole path lit up. It's a small lamp lighting up just enough to see what's just ahead. Don't run ahead of God, friends. Allow Him to guide your way, one step at a time.

So my hope today is that if you're also being led by God down a path that isn't an easy one...you'll find encouragement to stay the course. One step at a time. Covered in prayer and His Word. Allowing Him to do a good work in you. That makes even the most uncomfortable of journeys a whole lot more exciting, don't you think?!

Be blessed along the journey...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ready, Set, Go!

Friday mornings seem to make me want to write. I was just thinking about all the things God is teaching me this week, and I thought I better get it on the blog before He reveals much more. My brain can only process so much at one time! I just love how writing helps me organize my thoughts. And my prayer is that maybe some of this will encourage you as well.

As you may already know, I'm on a mission over the next 11+ months. That mission is to become "fit at forty". Turning 39 a few weeks ago means it is time to crank this mission into high gear! Thankfully, my participation in the Lysa TerKeurst "Made to Crave" filming in August got my brain thinking in a new way. And trust me when I say this: my #1 stumbling block on the road to weight loss is my brain. Is it yours? I think women are definitely more prone to struggling in this area. I won't re-hash the whole head game thing (that was a previous post). I'll just say that praise the Lord...God's doing a BIG change on me already! Can I get an Amen?!

Let's back up to the "Made to Crave" idea. First off, as an FYI: the book and its DVD's and participant guide won't be released until January. But, you can pre-order them now at: http://tiny.cc/2iyo0.  If you want to join me in a 6-week Bible study of "Made to Crave", let me know. I plan to have one beginning sometime in the end of January. So what is my "Aha" moment from what I've learned so far (just from participating in the DVD filming)?

Not taking care of my body is a sin.

Poor eating habits (and food addictions) are a sin.

A poor self-image joined together with negative self-talk is a sin!

Have you ever thought of it this way? It sounds so simple, yet I hadn't looked at it this way before. I'm always focused on how I can be living a life that is bringing glory and honor to God. Yet, somehow, this aspect of my daily life never registered on the "sin scale." It seemed like a personal struggle that was definitely a huge roadblock in my life. But I'd just never considered that God was calling it a sin. But , here's the deal: God doesn't want us to crave (or think about) anything more than Him. Not money. Not success. Not our family. Not sex. Not food. Nothing.

So how often do you think about: the number on the scale, the food you want to eat (or can't eat), the way you look in the mirror? Do you think about that more than you think about God? Do you filter your thoughts on all these issues through the truths of God's Word? How does God want you to talk to yourself? How does He want you to treat your body? These are the types of things I'm thinking about right now. Thankfully His Word is very clear...and thankfully He's overflowing with grace.

The last week has been a good week in this journey for me. God has really healed my hurts on a lot of my past failures. He is showing me how to offer myself the same grace He offers. He is showing me how to have a positive self-talk. He is gradually taking away my unhealthy cravings, and filling me with more of a craving for Him. And, slowly, the scale is showing some reward too.

It's all a process! I am confident that no matter what date this goal of mine will be achieved, it WILL be achieved. Just having that amount of hope and assurance for me is HUGE! I am so thankful for the changes God has already given me. And I'm excited for the changes that are yet to come.

So many more great things swirling through my mind. You'll just have to stayed tuned for more on another day. Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Need This Reminder (Again!)

I'm really struggling with fear today. Remember how I said I wasn't going to live in fear anymore? That it's the opposite of faith? Well, it is rearing its ugly head big time right now. Some is related to our financial journey, some is related to my own personal health goals, but mostly it's related to the fear of losing the ones I love.

My Dad had another appointment with his cardiologist today. I find that every time he has a doctor appointment, I sit on pins and needles waiting to hear the latest news. I can usually tell by the sound in my Mom's voice when she answers the phone whether the news was good. I guess today's news wasn't necessarily bad. The results from his latest cat scan on his lungs showed there was no change from the one he had done in the hospital on July 9th. That's especially good considering that we were worried about some long-term damage from a particularly strong heart drug he was on. The doctor referred them to a new pulmonologist. The good of that is that hopefully this one is better than the previous one he went to. The not-so-good news is that it means we wait longer for an answer of how to help him. His breathing has improved slightly, but it's still bothersome.

Last night I had a dream that someone close to me had died. It wasn't my Dad, but the raw emotion of the dream stuck with me even after waking up. I hate those kind of dreams! As I go through my day today, I keep trying to filter this fear through the truths of God's Word. I even have been thinking (once again) about what the people in the town of Blessing, North Dakota (Lauraine Snelling's awesome book series) would be doing in moments like this. It all goes back to trusting God to do what He says He will do. Trusting that nothing is a surprise to Him. Trusting that even when the things of this earth crumble and fade away, He is still right here with us. Praise God!

So, I don't like waiting. I don't like the unknown. I don't like the thought of losing the ones I love.

But. (and this is a BIG but)

But God reminds me to make the most of today, and let tomorrow take care of itself.

But God reminds me that He is my Rock and my Fortress and He will hold me up during the rough times.

But God reminds me that today is an amazing gift. Make the most of it. Treasure the ones you love.

But God.

Ahhhh. I can feel His peace surrounding me even as I type. Thank you Lord for allowing me to feel Your presence.

Now it's time to enjoy this amazing day and the wonderful things God has in store for us! Have a great weekend everyone!!