Thursday, January 7, 2016

Body Image vs. Image Bearing

Sitting here drinking my My husband is playing the guitar and singing all the best country songs including the ones he has written...they are my favorite.  My life is so blessed, so crazy blessed that most days I struggle with feeling guilty about it.  And yet, I am not happy. It plagues me most days, one small emotion can take such a deep root that it destroys all other wonderfully positive emotions. We all struggle with this to some extent. Some more than others, some of us are winning the battle currently and some of us just wish we could get some good punches in. Do you know what I'm talking about?.... Our body image.  

I'm coming clean, I am in a deep struggle. That holiday fudge and 20 cups of hot cocoa were so delicious and felt like the best thing...and now my clothes seem to be liars. When did this fit like that? This wasn't this tight? My face wasn't this round? Then the excuses start building. We've all used them, "whew, I am so bloated!"...4 days later we still a bit blimpie. I'm here with you. I mean how many times do I have to tell myself I'm just constipated after I've just finished in the ladies room with 12 sprays of Poo-Pourri. Girl, I know. How many of you wanted to make a resolution about being healthier, fitter, thinner...happier...and have made the same promise to yourself 4 years in a row? Friend, I have.

And I made it again this year, you know why? Because I am a failure. It's true. This is the time where all my friends come circle around me and tell me I'm not a failure and agree with all the excuses I've made and even tell me ones I haven't thought of. But secretly they need to know that it's okay...because they are also failures. Humans aren't perfect, except One. 

Some trick that I've learned in the past year is to come to terms with this truth instead of hiding from it. It's amazingly freeing because Jesus is right there with you saying...I know, I made a way for you. And you admit your constant defeat at the feet of Christ and all He has for you is Love and Grace upon Grace. Why don't we as women tell each other that in our circle pep-talks? It's because we've been invaded by our culture of feel-goods over true theology...even in the smallest of ways. We have grown up thinking the best of ourselves is what overpowers our negative emotions when the truth happens to be the opposite. We need to identify with our sin and shortcomings then we are able to let go of our failures and look to Christ in a way that is Right and Good and Holy. We realize we need Jesus, and that is where true happiness, freedom, and loving your image-bearing body even though it's a bit lumpy in the winter months. Christ gives us the strength to keep going when we've fallen the gazillionth time. It's a strength that comes from knowing He never fell and that makes Him able to be the only One strong enough to help you back up. 

Now, my weight loss process will be slow and I know I will have days and nights where if I try to pep-talk myself into more negative thoughts...but then I will remember Jesus. He is there to wash my filthy bad talking mind and replace it with His Truth, His Love, His Grace, His Beauty, His Strength, and best of all...Himself. 

Peace is mine through Christ alone. Praise the LORD O my soul.

Tomorrow is another chance to battle, and with Christ on my side I will have victory. 

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27

"Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.  There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." Romans 7:24-8:4

Monday, January 4, 2016

For The Dreamers

The last day of the year are for dreamers.  We wake up from our backslide-slumber-stupor and are revived in lists of new possibilities.  For we were raised on dreams, and we crave the positive 'what ifs'.  With my generation, we are drunk on finding our true calling and are deeply affected by the way we are living in it or without it.  

This is when I loosen my grip, let my plans fall at His feet and say with my heart and mind "Your face, LORD, do I seek".  Giving God your past present and future doesn't mean you do not strive for what you've prayed for years, or dreams you've begged God to help. It means you seek Him, find peace in His plans, search out who He is in everyday living. 

I will again make my beautiful list of dreams for the next year.  Some selfish, some selfless, all desired to make some difference.  I pray for courage, life, adventure, bravery, strength, endurance, faith, love, hope, and joy all rooted in who Christ is for He is before all things and In Him all things hold together.

Mercies are anew.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Utmost of Unattainable

I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it.” Isaiah 60:22b

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end-it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”  Romans 11:29

Writing helps me.  It smooths emotions out and organizes thoughts that have become hyper children.  The problem with this is when God puts me in awe of Himself…in my current state of mind, my vocabulary comes up short when trying to write about this.  There is a reason the phrase ‘stand in awe’ is such.  You do not sing, or expound in verbal rapture.  You do not dance.  You do not take a photograph or paint a picture.  You simply just stand.  Sometimes I think that the only reason we are standing is that somehow our brain is shooting off so many connections that our bodies are at such a state that we do not fall to the ground, and are still able to be upright, taking it all in.  Although, then the next stage for me is processing…I usually sit for that one, which then the writing, singing, dancing, and what not come into the fold. 

My mind is a simple place in the grand scheme of life.  My thoughts are always running in fields of never ending dreams an imagination, and yet Creator God surprised me…still, He surprises me.  I love that about Him.  A random phone call, or verses that just so happen to collide the same week.  I stand in awe of His timing and plan.  I love that He is God.  I love that He has called me to be His child…in awe of His workmanship.  Just when I am tempted to think that I can out dream God…impossible to the utmost of unattainable. 

He calls us to a life of faith in Christ that He is who He says He is and He does what He says He does.  Amen.  So be it.  I start to question my faith when my trust in the Truth of Who He Is wavers.  You see, if I really let it sink in that God is Creator God, His Love is Pure Love, He is Sovereign, Holy Holy Holy, Perfectly Good, Christ Jesus is Savior and Lord, and the Gospel is Real…then my dreaming can take flight to new heights in the knowledge of God through Christ.  My hopes in life due to what my calling is, what gifts I have been given…if I live everyday knowing, trusting, understanding that Christ is LORD…I will not ever doubt in my dreams and passions.  I will trust that He will provide a way to explore my adventures deeper than my imagination…having me go to places I could not invent.  He calls me to trust and obey. 

I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it.” Isaiah 60:22b

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end-it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”  Romans 11:29

So be it my Lord Christ Jesus. 

Praise the LORD O my soul.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hurt but not Hopeless

Hard things have already taken place.  Hard things that are right, better, and completely responsible…they were done and they hurt.  My debt journey has begun and I am just feeling the ‘Braxton Hicks’ of this full time line.  You can hide from your debt, and only feel the weight of it when you reach the end of your chains, but actually dealing with it and staring it in the face and telling it to leave awakens it…and the fury is real.  One day I will look back and say, ‘the hardest part was starting’.  One day I will look back and see how God truly blessed us for being obedient, for not being foolish with what He gives, but glorifying God with what He originally gives.  Debt is like eating chocolate lava cake six times a day for your whole life, and getting out of debt is like looking in the mirror for the first time. 

But right now I am an emotional mess.  Right now the right things are hard to do, but we do them.  We must be free.

The marvelous thing about what has happened is that it has actually happened.  There is a reality.  No turning back.  The marvelous thing about what has happened is that I am still able to find joy.  I am still able to find thanksgiving.  Yes, it is hard…but it is not hopeless.  Another day seems to bring new meaning, new passion, new threats, and new excitement. 

When those times of hardness come, I fall on my knees and give the hardness away.  His plan is best, His plan is right, His plan is good, and His plan is perfect.  One day I will look back and rejoice in the hardness knowing that He rescues us from our pit of destruction and sets us on His beautiful solid ground. 

I dry my eyes and say another prayer, moving into trusting His path.  His love never fails.  I take hold of who He is.  I breathe Jesus in deep and long. 

I am already learning so much.  I am learning how amazing my husband is.  I knew he was amazing, but really…my husband is getting ‘more’ amazing with each new task.  I am learning what being content is rooted in, learning what satisfaction really is, and learning that they are all connected and stem from Christ.  All answers are truly found in Him.  We are growing in our faith, and our lives are reflecting that awesome change.  Praise be to God, who changes us to be more like Christ.  Praise God for He never leaves us, and is constantly pursuing us. 

Layer by layer we are striping off the filthy clothes of sin and putting on Christ finish work on the cross…imputed righteousness never looked so good.

I love that Christ loves us in our emotional mess.  I need Him to love me in those moments, so that I may love the way He loves me. 

That is Beauty.  That is Healing.

Praise the Lord, O my soul.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Change is Here

It’s here.  The wind rises, the leaves begin to lighten, and my heart warms as the air turns cool.  What is it about autumn that gets everyone so giddy?  There must be some deeper meaning that has been lost in my culture.  Some unexplained reason from Creator to created, that spikes during this time of change.  Maybe one day I will find the reason behind the joy.

This weekend I have a short retreat with some women at my church.  The atmosphere will be perfect for a country living magazine cover.  I am very selfish with my weekends, but I’m really excited about this time.  Our evening and afternoon tomorrow is focused on prayer.  I.cannot.wait. 

Heart Pounds has been living on in my life, but not posted.  My brother is working on my logo for my photography.  My computer died, so I have no way of downloading pictures to post.  For many years, I posted writings without photographs, but something was missing.  I do not think it is because words are lesser without visual aid, but it is more because word + photos are Heart Pounds for me. 

On another note, Charming Charlie’s is finally open in my town.  The store is absolutely beautiful.  I bought a pair of earrings on clearance for $5.  I have told myself that I will not get anything else unless it’s on a gift card.  haa haa! 

I am passionate about finances.  You’d think that I’d be in a different situation because of this.  That is why my life is about to change.  I’m ecstatic about it.  I’ve ran the numbers ten or more times.  2 years.  That’s it.  Just 2 years.  From January 2016 – January 2018…then freedom, and possibly babies.  It is not a coincidence that our women’s retreat is on prayer this year…God is setting up knowledge and understanding for a strong follow through.  Pride, Selfishness, and a Lack of Contentment will be challenged every day.  It will be the same instruction that I have received about disciplining children…you have to follow through with the rules you set, you cannot say one thing and not do it…you have to stick with your plan and not succumb in weakness or laziness.  You will get what you put in.  I.cannot.wait. 

I will need to live in a way that is blameless.  If I say ‘no’ to going out to eat because I’m paying off debt, I cannot get a pair of earrings for $5 and a pair of boots for $11 because it was a great deal.  Blameless financial living.  I think that will determine the emotions.  Anger will not rise because they see blameless spending.  I am praying for that.    

Change is here.  I see it, and I can feel it.  I.cannot.wait. 

Praise the Lord O my soul.  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Responsibility & Faith

A quick word search lets me know that ‘responsibility’ occurs 1 time in the bible in the English Standard Version.  The word ‘faith’ occurs over 400 times. 

My mother and I have an ongoing joke about the word responsibility.  We actually refer to it as the “R word”.  This all started when I told my mother that I was sick and tired of hearing that word, and I never wanted to hear it again.  Please add high school attitude to get the complete dialog reference.  Obviously, she had to use it in her speech to me often, because I was the opposite of the “R word”.  So as I got older, her loving, kind, patient, caring heart would calmly use “R word” in its place.  My mother is so grand. 

Let me take some time to be open and honest.  I have a lot of debt.  It makes my heart hurt.  Student loans seems to be my Dementors most days.  Joy sucking.  Now, if I knew what I was getting into I would have made some changes in my past…true.  Truth be told, even after I knew what I was in…I continued to make horrible choices, and live a life of ignorance and false hope.  I still remember a conversation with my brother about student loans, he called to tell me that he found out that once you die, you school loans die with you.  To which we both finally felt hope that there is an end, but it is such a sick hope. 

A change in my life has to be made, and I am terrified to make it.  They say that is when you know that you are addicted to something, you are absolutely frozen with fear when you think of your life without it.  That is when I knew I was addicted to sugar, and I lived through my detox.  Although, that was a short period of time, this will be a bit longer, and much more intense.  People will think I am crazy, they will get mad, they will not see reason behind my choices.  I like to please, I like to repair situations, and if that arises I will have no control other than to love without change.  Which to them will not look like love at all, but selfishness. 

One good thing that comes from this, is that I have a deeper love for these verses…

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”  Colossians 2:13-14

To God be the Glory, Great things He has done.

I had a greater debt that could only be paid by the Son of God.  And Jesus paid it in FULL.  There is none left, and not only did Jesus pay my debt, He brought me into His family with riches that surpass the world around me.  Beth Moore wrote an identity declaration which sums up what Christ has done for those who put their faith in Him. “I am a woman of God, redeemed by Jesus Christ loved, pursued, and chosen, equipped with words of life, clothed in strength and dignity, commissioned here and now, gifted  by the Spirit, forgiven and unbound.  Blessed is she who believes.”

With all of this, I step forward with my left foot of responsibility and right foot of faith.  Although they seem so opposite, they move me on my pathway toward something much greater than I.

So be it, Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My New 30

It is always amazing to see God working in our lives.  It always stuns me.  Always takes me by surprise.  God always catches me when I least expect it.  I love that about Him.  I love that Jesus is constantly pursuing my wandering heart, because I gave it to Him and He loves me with a love that knows no bounds, that is Everlasting…what greater romance is there than that Truth.  The Steadfast Love of Jesus.

Another coffee morning Tuesday and I find myself again thanking Him for small things, and big things.  My friend and I list out 30 things we are thankful to God for.  Since He is the Supreme Designer of all ‘things’ and all ‘moments’.  Becoming “God-Aware” is part of giving thanksgiving.  It is a beautiful act that somehow my Christian culture has looked over, or maybe even watered down.  It is terribly simplistic.  

“Thank You God for _________.”  This thanksgiving has changed my life.  Thank you Ann Voskamp for discovering how thanksgiving rocked your anxious life and writing about the depth, freedom, and easy way of giving thanks to God, and finding Jesus in every moment.

My new 30….

74) Ree Drummonds humor
75) Pioneer woman tv cooking shows
76) cast iron skillets
77) real butter
78) whole milk
79) wood countertops
80) learning
81) teaching
82) fantastic clearance sales
83) feeling God in a moment
84) Le Pen
85) wooden cutting boards
86) home grown vegetables
87) cinnamon in not-so-good coffee
88) living free in the USA
89) Americana clean design
90) auctions
91) my baby nephew falling asleep in my arms
92) good hair days
93) black tee shirts
94) brown boots with buckles
95) excitement of a new season
96) taking our dogs for a walk with my husband
97) trusting God with the unknown
98) frozen pizzas for easy dinner
99) wearing my husband’s baseball hats
100) laughing with my sister-in-law
101) crunchy fallen leaves
102) decorating our house for autumn
103) fires in the fire pit
104) s’mores

This week is a week I’ve been waiting for.  It is a vacation day and a holiday weekend.  It is traveling with my family, seeing family-friends, eating a huge breakfast in a comfortable kitchen, watching my nephews play on the stairs, shopping with my family, and just living out blessing after blessing.  O God, I give all of these moments to you, for You created them for me…that I may see Your Love in each of them.  Jesus, thank you for the hard days, the difficult moments that bring me closer to Your Heart, Your Love, Your Peace, Yourself…these moments are just as grand because You are in them.

May your day be filled with personal thanksgivings, whether they seem insignificant or monumental.  Jesus is in them. 

Praise be His Name.