2016 Word

A new year full of promise, hope, new adventures, and dreams.

Not exactly…

Just more of the same-old, same-old.

I’m not one for keeping New Year’s resolutions. I’ll let the fitness hype go this year. But, now that we are getting settled in the new house I’ve returned to working out a bit. My youngest loves Wii dance games and I like to join him. I try not to think about how awkward my attempt at dancing (especially to some of the hip-hop songs) must appear. Sometimes I jump (not literally) on the treadmill and walk a bit. New songs on my iPod would be motivating…but every year it seems the learning curve for iTunes grows exponentially.

Progress in healthy eating of the slow and steady variety is coming along nicely too. Not out of desire for health though. Mostly to escape pain. So many foods (the stuff that actually tastes good!) aggravate my stomach or ignite my inflammation troubles. I quit trying during the move but time to get back to taking care of my health. The joints in my hands and wrist are so painful. I expected the pain but not the weakness or the crunchy gritting sound in my wrists. I’m back on my ginger now that all of the holiday travel is over so some of the discomfort is already starting to ease up a bit. Sadly, the strength doesn’t come back…I’ve learned that sad fact this year.

I wanted to choose a word this year. A point of focus. Originally, I had clarity or perceive in mind. But as I spent time meditating, praying, reflecting and remembering my reaction to this year’s trials…well, those chosen words were without meaning.

my childhood in a picture

my childhood in a picture

Fear beat me down this year. Fear brought on by rejection. My wee little black hole, you know, the one in my soul? The core center of my very self. (Please see my series on Made To Crave if you are interested). As this year’s events unfolded my black hole began to grow in strength. My deep sense of unworthiness threatened to overwhelm me as I felt discarded…again. I’ve broken down and cried many, many times since July. All of the fear from my abusive childhood returned. I felt like an unwanted little child all over again. Unloved and not even worthy of being loved.

I’m wise enough to know that I’ll never be rid of those feelings…not entirely. I’m blessed to be loved by an ever patient man. My husband is the warmth that keeps those old demons away. I should have been a pillar for him this year but he supported me instead. Only out of love for my husband did I not torch and burn a few bridges to lifeless ash. I am consumed with fear.

I do not want to be ruled by fear. I do not want to be that nearly lifeless child pleading to be loved.

My word is brave. My word terrifies me.

Let me be brave…

 

Wibbly-Wobbly…Slow Going

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yours truly, after a workout

This week’s chapter in Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese is about examining why I am not taking care of myself. Ellie‘s primary focus in this chapter is on emotional eating and discovering the root cause so we can all take proper care of the body God gave us. Another point she makes is that when I do not value and care for this body that God created and gave to me…I am living in disobedience. Really sobering thought…puts that extra serving of chips into place.

When I sat down to write this post last week I just couldn’t find anything to say. I have no words of wisdom or help for emotional eating. I struggle with it so much! The book Made To Crave by Lisa TerKeurst helped me to uncover why I struggle with emotional eating. I could honestly go through the book again…I think it would help. (All of my posts about the book and what I learned about emotional eating are under the Healthy Living menu at the top and then just click on the Made To Crave sub-heading…you’ll learn more about me than you ever wanted to know.) Knowing why I am an emotional eater has helped me to get it a bit under control. But on weak, hard days I feel helpless. Anxiety and stress are the hardest for me to handle. Especially if the stress comes from feeling judged by the people around me…people I love. I just crumble. Sometimes I get anxious and feel like the worst wife and mother ever created. I know this fact isn’t true but feelings are often irrational and not based on truth. Only dependence on God has carried me through those times…

Some days I can beat these feelings. Now that I understand why I succumb to emotional eating it isn’t as hard for me to deal with intellectually. The emotions are still there…the wound is forever a part of me but it no longer owns me. I’ve noticed that if I make my priority on prayer and seeking time with Jesus then I am stronger. However, if I let other things (even good things) take priority over my relationship with the Holy Trinity then I fail in all things including emotional eating. I admit that I haven’t been faithful lately to prayer and seeking Him everywhere. So much pulls at me but the past few weeks I have been making changes to my schedule. Time in prayer and with Jesus is my priority and still everything that is important manages to get done. I have a greater peace in my responsibilities as a wife, home maker and homeschooling mother.

Clarity is a better word. I have clarity. I listen to the Spirit and know what to let go and just…be. Well, sometime anyway.

I’m down three pounds so far this month. I won’t make my five-pound goal and I’m okay with it. Next month will be better but I will continue. I’ve added a few new workouts to my playlist on YouTube. My favorite workouts are from FitnessBlender and jessicasmithtv.

 

 

Embracing Nineveh

Last year I struggled with my childhood abuse. I really just wanted to bury my past and leave it there. I blogged about some of it through the Made to Crave study I did with Future Flying Saucers. I started the study to lose weight and begin a healthier lifestyle. Jesus chose to use the study to show me my need to forgive and surrender my pain to Him. I was quite content to ignore my pain and keep it all to myself…buried in my black-hole. No matter how hard I tried I could not bury my blackhole…it defined me. My pain was slowly killing me.

Some time has passed now. I am free of my past. I am no longer defined by my past. I have forgiven and am no longer bitter or angry. I live forgiven and cherish my newfound redemptive joy in Jesus. But toward the end of my struggles I asked the Lord why did I have to go through all of this…why was it so important that I forgive and surrender this past? I had this sense of urgency through the entire process that I must find a place of healing and peace with this constant pain.

Now as the days approach for my brother’s arrival in my home…I understand. If I was still nursing unsurrendered wounds I would be useless to him. Though I cannot understand his pain I can be a rock for him in his storm. My brother needs a strong shelter, a place of refuge and healing. Our home and open hearts are ready for him. Sometimes we go out into the world to minister to God’s people and sometimes his wounded come into our very own homes. I feel completely inadequate for the task before me…but my God is with me…He is my rock and strong shelter.

No running, no hiding…only embracing my Nineveh.

Healthy Living

I’m working on my resolutions for this new year. I know from many past failures that a diet won’t work for me. I never stick to them…not ever. Too many rules…too many restrictions. And really…I do not have time to read lables….getting in and out of the grocery store with four kids and remembering to pick up everything on my list…crazy enough! And sometimes the ingredients in healthy recipes are…different. Call me crazy or stubborn but I’ll never eat cinnamon on my chicken…not happening. This past couple of weeks I checked out several healthy cookbooks and only found two recipes that we might like to try…

I wanted to cry.

But maybe trying to change my family’s entire way of eating was too big a task to tackle at the moment. I did learn in the Made to Crave study that a goal needs to be broken down into small steps. Changing our entire diet is too overwhelming. So, instead I am going to work on making the meals we like a little healthier. Part of this goal will be to make as many dishes as possible homemade instead of store-bought. Starting with breakfast…

Homemade Granola

4&1/2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup sliced almonds (does the package say “slivered”?), 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, 1/2 cup pecans, 1/4 cup wheat germ, 1/8 cup crushed flax-seed and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix all this up in a big bowl. Really you could mix in any nuts and seeds you like…this is just what I had on hand.

Simmer together 1/2 cup honey, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour this into the bowl of oats and work together. Try to get it all nice and moist then spread onto cookie sheets and bake until crisp and golden at 300F for about 45 minutes. You will need to stir it once or twice.

My kids liked it and ate it with milk. My husband ate it a handful at a time. WOW!

I like granola with yogurt and this week I am going to try my hand at making homemade yogurt…maybe greek yogurt. I did read some labels of the yogurt brands we like at the store the other day…not really as healthy as I thought yogurt should be…

I am also taking Elli’s advise over at her blog. Chewing my food slower and gradually increasing fiber in my diet. Small steps…

Linking up with Wellness Wednesday Blog Link-Up.

 

Made To Crave….End Game or Silence Revisited

Finally, I can shut the cover of this book and give it back to my friend (thanks J for loaning it to me!). Don’t get me wrong, this is a great book and will change your life if you take the message to heart. My life has changed in rather unexpected ways since opening the first page. Some of the changes have been a bit too dramatic for me and others…just beautiful. I’ve let go of exhausting emotional pain and received a deeper appreciation for my husband. That one experience of grace alone made this book a cherished experience for me…even if I only lost five pounds (so far).

Not every loss and gain I’ve experienced in the past few months has been as easy to accept and understand. Most notably walking away from a beloved Church Family. That hurt and sometimes I still get a bit mad and want to throw something. Sometimes we have to leave our comfortable places, routines, and friends to encounter Jesus anew. Visiting different churches has been fun but mostly scary. But I am at church to worship my God and not see friends or worship with familiar faces and music. The hardest part has been accepting the sometimes unkind words from friends for leaving or the not so nice comment on which ever church I am attending at the moment. Ministry is also absent since I have been church adrift. Not being involved in ministry or service has been hard for me. But Jesus does not want me to be involved in much right now. I felt useless and guilty. But I think He wanted me to experience these feelings so I could understand that being a Christian is not about what I can do for Jesus. He does not need me to do anything and I cannot make myself better in His eyes no matter how many good works I perform or sacrifices I make. It took the experience of feeling useless to Him and unable to earn His love for me to realize that my worth is in His redemptive love for me…not in anything I can do to earn my place in Christianity. He chose to love me and in His love I find my worth…not in doing and earning but in being and accepting. Scary kind of freedom…

Funny part of all this is just as I accepted being ” useless” He gives me a ministry to embrace. Wow! I am now in small group leadership training for an online church called Beliefchangers. (I promise to tell y’all about them in another post soon). I feel a bit freaked and completely unable to be a part of this ministry…this is completely different from tending to preschoolers. But His grace is sufficient for me…I really am not capable of this without Jesus. Maybe that is the point. I can do preschool ministry without really needing Jesus but now I will have to totally rely on Him. I think I am slowly learning that this is the heart of Christianity. Everything I do should flow from His strength…every breath. Abide.

This book sent me on an unexpected and spiritual journey. I was at a block in my relationship with Jesus. But ever since I let go of my past the spiritual desert or overwhelming silence I found myself in has slowly faded. My life and love for Jesus is blossoming anew. I find it a little humorous that I feel like springtime as nature descends into winter.

Now about the reason I started this book…get healthy and lose weight. I’ve really only just started on this path. I started to keep a food journal and noting when and why I was eating. I really want to eat when feeling sad. To help with this I started keeping a gratitude journal. Being thankful does keep the munchies away for me. I am also slowly adding exercise to my day but with four little children that is not always easy. I may have to bite the bullet and get up really early to accomplish this task each day. I have also substituted one of my meals each day for a smoothie. On days when I exercise and eat healthy I feel better physically. I am hoping to have a before and after picture to post in the future…well I have the before picture…

MTC Chapters 10-14 or Gnosticism Lives

Lysa TerKeurst is a pretty funny gal. I laughed pretty hard at some of the stuff in these chapters but I won’t spoil it for you by mentioning any of it.

What I did find ironic within myself was the heresy of Gnosticism is living strong inside of me. Crazy but true. I was stunned to find that I carry around ideas that St. John and St. Paul warned against in the Gospels so long ago. I thought this stuff was ancient history! I’ve been living with it for a while and maybe some of you have too…or maybe it is just me…

I have fallen into the trap of thinking that my spiritual self is important but my body is not. I would have told you that my body is a temple and all that…and I was good to my body by not abusing it with drugs and smoking. And that is about as far as I have gone in taking care of this body….because my spiritual life is all that truly matters. Living with that attitude is Gnostic in nature but I could also make the argument for Platonic dualism as well…

Taking care of myself isn’t really about losing weight or getting healthier. I am actually happy to stay the way I am. My husband loves me the way I am. I would not be any happier a few sizes smaller and there would be no major change in my life.

Why do I really want to be healthier…really?

I live in this body. I worship in this body. I seek God with this body and HE DWELLS IN ME.  Isn’t it my responsibility to care well for this Dwelling Place? To care with a heart of joy and gratitude?

Encountering my inner Gnostic was something of a revelation for me and I am working on kicking her out…but it takes some diligence to change a way of believing. I think revelation is a nice term. By revelation I mean…it’s like God thunking me on the head and saying, “Wake up, dummy!”

MTC chapters 6-9 or following Christ out of Starbucks

In chapter six Lysa teaches that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit and we grow closer to God when we exercise it. In other words by denying myself cappuccino (and a yummy cup of sugar and cream with some coffee is not a sin, mind you) I can grow closer to God because I have denied myself, took up my cross and followed Christ right out of Starbucks. The old Catholic girl in me is ready to get all legalistic and bring out the rules and my rosary (made from actual rose petals). Well, not really…legalistic Christanity leads down a road I do not plan to EVER travel again.

We are called holy. Being holy is to be set apart. When I think of what it means to be holy I think of Daniel. You remember Daniel…he was thrown into a furnace and to the lions…there is an entire book about him in the Bible. He chose to keep himself holy by keeping the dietary laws. Now, I am not about to start a Jewish diet. I like the part in the New Testament when God tells Peter that BBQ ribs are good to eat…maybe not in so many words but you get the point. On the other hand, stuffing my face until I am so full that my pants are uncomfortable isn’t all that holy.

The Holy Spirit dwells within me. I am not only a creation of God’s but now His child. I am holy. I think I really need to let this sink in. Daniel was a young teenager and he understood what it meant to be holy. I’ve spent most of my life treating myself like a garbage can. I had my reasons and the Lord pointed much of that out to me during the first part of this study. He went through too much for me and the least I could do is honor His decision and treat myself as someone holy. Holy people do not eat a bag of ranch Doritos in one sitting. Maybe holy people do not eat them at all…I don’t know. There is a connection in how we treat ourselves and how we relate to God. I do not fully understand this whole mind, body, spirit connection…but it is true.

I may not be a very beautiful woman by the standards of the culture I live in. I do not have awesome abs or a fantastic waistline. God made me just the way He wanted me. He gave me a body able to bear four healthy children. How many women would give everything to bear just one child? In Christ I have everything. I only need to abide with Him in every moment and gratefully care for everything He has placed in my care…my husband, my children, my friends, my little world…and this body that I have taken for granted and judged ugly.

Practically, I am not sure about what diet plan to follow and all that. I am going to concentrate on small changes, healthier changes. Do my best to get some exercise each day and make better food choices. Small changes work, there is even a book called The Tipping Point that discusses this point. If I decide to follow a certain diet I’ll share the what and why, but right now I need to discern…listen to the direction of the Holy spirit.