Monday, April 14, 2014

Lord, Anything But...

I read a line in a book where the author defined the word Anything.  Anything means nothing is held back.  When we tell Jesus that we will do anything, we have to really be willing to do anything.  No conditions.  No Anything But....

I joked around that my Anything But... was Detroit.  For a while the thought of being called to live in the worst of the worst inner cities was my But.  And then I realized that was silly and gave that one to the Lord.

Today I realized I have a much deeper Anything But... in my life.  I am ready to go anywhere, do anything, cast my stuff aside, put down my nets and follow Jesus anywhere.

And then I opened my devotional and read this:

When I give you no special guidance, stay where you are.  
Concentrate on doing your everyday tasks in awareness of My Presence with you.  

And this:

The radical act I was being called to commit to was the one thing 
I dreaded more than anything: to be normal.

My spirit immediately rebelled.  Like hardcore rebelled.  No, Lord!  I don't want to stay here!  Anything but here!  Yup, I found my anything.  And here, my normal life, is exactly where God is calling me right now.  

Why is it that it is easier to be okay with selling everything, giving to the poor, and moving to Africa than it is to be okay with staying home?  A great big story is exciting, but continuing to be faithful in your normal, every day life is, well, it's kinda boring.  I found myself praying:

Lord, following You is a real death to self.  It hurts.  

And I think that is exactly where God wants me to be.  Dying to self.  To my plans.  My dreams.  My version of Anything.  To be willing to give Him anything and everything when it means to keep doing what you're doing.

The Next Day:

I wrote the first part yesterday.  Today I was continuing on reading Little Pilgrim's Progress to my kids and we read about Passion and Patience.  Passion is sitting in a chair crying because he wants his treasure RIGHT NOW.  Patience is sitting in a chair, content to wait until the King gives him his treasure at the proper time.  And Patience's treasure will be a lot better in the long run.

Funny how much reading Little Pilgrim's Progress has convicted me, and we're only on chapter 10 out of a lot.  I realized my attitude is much like Passion's.  Give me an assignment to do something grand, and give it to me now!  And it better be a really good assignment and not some boring one.  Yes, I do recognize the similarity between my thoughts and those of a petulant child.

God is teaching me that for some people--Me--the more radical, hard thing is not moving overseas, but to remain right where they are, digging in roots, committed to family, friends, a Community, with a mortgage and 401K plan.  Because every day life doesn't feel radical or important or exciting or "holy."  It just feels like...every day life.

And yet, it is radical to be able to say that I have lived within a 10 mile radius of my birth place my entire life.  Many of my friends have been my friends my entire life.  I married a man I played with when we were toddlers.  I have been a member of the same prayer group since birth.  I live down the street from my parents, my grandma, and my inlaws.  I have roots.  Deep roots.  I am steady and committed.  Every day life may not seem all that glamorous and exciting, but to God it is.  It's important; it's necessary.

So I am waving goodbye to my dreams of being an overseas missionary and embracing the call to Normal that God has given me.  I will just have to learn how to be radical and grand in the midst of Normal Every Day Life.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My One Year Trim Healthy Mama-versary

A year ago I started on an adventure that I didn't really have a lot of hope for.  But I decided to give Trim Healthy Mama a try because I really wanted, no, needed to lose weight.  I'd tried Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, The Beck Solution, The Blood Type Diet and many other plans that promised to help me lose the weight.

They/I failed.

I had little reason to believe THM would be different.  I bought the book anyway, read through all 650 pages in under a week, and got to it.

I did really well at first.  I stayed on plan 100% for the first few months.  But then summer hit with its many vacations and parties and BBQs.  I tried to stay on plan as best I could, but that wasn't always possible.  I still managed to lose weight, though slower.  And it has always been easy to pick back up where I left off once I returned to an eating environment where I had control over the choices.

I watched my scale slowly move down, and I celebrated every single lost pound as a major victory.  Because to me, it is!  I watched my too tight jeans get loose.  And then fall down without a belt.  And then look ridiculous, forcing a shopping trip.  I walked into the store wearing a size 22 pair of jeans and walked out holding a pair of 14s.  I was flabbergasted.  This can't be real.  They must have reworked the sizes.  But then I went home and tried on a pair of old 14s I had stored in the basement--and by golly, they fit!

Just this past week I saw a cute pair of shorts on sale and bought them in a size 12 without trying them on because I had all 3 kids with me, but when I got them home and tried them on, they slid right on.  Sometimes there are moments that nearly bring me to my knees in gratitude.  That was one of those moments.

I wish I could say that my THM journey has been fast and steady.  But that isn't the truth.  The first 30 pounds took about 4 months.  The next 15 took 8 months.  But I have not been completely consistent, and throw in 2 surgeries, 2 hospital stays, a trip to an all-inclusive in Cancun, holidays and birthdays, and a really harsh winter that left us virtually shut-in from November through March??  I am pretty happy with how much I still managed to lose.

I knew going into this journey that it would not be a sprint.  I was standing at the bottom of a really big mountain and it was going to take a lot of hard work, sacrifice, perseverance, and time.  I wanted it to be quick, but that's not reality.  At the beginning the mountain seemed impossible.  I figured I'd lose 10 pounds and call it good.  But something happened.

I was explaining this to my Hubby the other day.  There is something about THM that is different from all other weight loss programs out there.  Yes, the actual program is different, but it's not that.  When I read posts on the THM Facebook page, when I read the testimonies, you can feel that this one is different.  People are reporting major victories over health problems, food addictions, eating disorders, etc.  When they share, they give glory to God.  It's like the program has a special anointing from the Holy Spirit to help people experience freedom from life long struggles.

I thought about that for a minute after saying it and then realized that it does have a special anointing.  Because Serene and Pearl, the authors of the book, are two very strong Christian women who prayed over that book and pray for the people who buy the book and do the program.  That they will succeed not only in losing weight, but that they will regain their health, that walls would come down.  Victories would be won.  Lives changed.  This is what makes this program so different.  It's beautiful.

I will be forever thankful to the Lord for bringing this program into my life.  And I look forward to what the next year has in store for me.

This post may contain affiliate links – Ladybug Farms is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tired of Living a "Safe" Faith...So I Jumped

There has never been a moment in my life where I thought I wasn't a Christian.  I was raised by two very strong Christian parents, I grew up in a very spiritually alive prayer group, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit when I was eight, I went to a Christian school from seventh grade until graduation.  I did the mission trip thing, the year of Christian service thing.  I married an equally strong Christian man, we have been raising our kids to be Christians, etc, etc.

And then about a year ago, God stepped in.

Wait.  What???

That's right.  About a year ago, God stepped in.

He started knocking down walls in my life.  He took satan's strongholds in my life and destroyed them like they were tinker toys.  Once He was done blasting my lifetime habit of being afraid and anxious, of avoiding social situations because talking to people in large groups gave me stomach pains, smashed my anger problems that were leading to my yelling at my kids a lot, and many other things, He started teaching me.

The Bible started to make a whole lot more sense.  The Holy Spirit revealed things to me that shook a lifetime of assumptions.  People who do outwardly sinful things are just like me--the only difference being that I am better at hiding my sin??  What??  I have a big list of "Rules To Be A Good Christian" in my mind, but all along these have been a stumbling block to a true relationship with God??  You mean there is only one rule that God insists that we follow??  To love Him and the love others??  That's it??

Mind blowing.

I started looking at people differently.  I no longer held them up against my "10-Step Program to Faith" litmus test.  Instead, I looked at them with God's eyes.  Eyes of love.  Eyes that see people.  Eyes that love people.

This is where God showed me something else.  I was a Christian my entire life.  Saved, going to heaven, and all that.  But I was living a safe faith.  A faith that was real, but it was comfortable, designed to get me to heaven unscathed.  And God stepped in and told me that safe faith is not enough.

He was calling me to a Messy Faith.  Faith that is messy and scary and wild and crazy and "step out of the boat and walk on water and come to Me," and keep on preaching even from prison.  This sort of faith isn't safe or comfortable, and it isn't going to keep me unscathed in the end.  But it's a whole lot more exciting and daring and it's the sort of faith that will move mountains and take risks for the sake of the gospel.

For months I have felt like I was standing at the edge of a cliff, with my toes dangling over the edge, waiting for God to say jump.  I couldn't figure out why I was still standing there.  When I was in Cancun, I wrestled with God ala Jacob style.  I prayed and wrestled the entire week basically demanding God tell me to jump.  I was growing weary of seeing all that space down there, knowing I needed to jump, but God just held me back.  Why??  I couldn't figure it out.  I left Cancun closer to God, but still without answers.  Back home I kept on praying, seeking the Lord for answers.  But He remained quiet.  I decided to stop asking and to just rest in Him and accept that He would tell me to jump when the time was right, and no needling and begging and wrestling was going to change that.

On Saturday, I jumped.

But I didn't jump alone.  While I was ready to jump before, Hubby wasn't there yet.  And God wasn't going to let me jump all by myself.  On Saturday the Hubs and I prayed the "Anything, Lord" prayer and jumped.

I don't know what's down there.  I have no idea where God will lead us.  The only promises that we have are that God will be with us, that He will equip us, that He will lead us, and that it will be messy and uncomfortable and not safe.  And I have never been so excited!