2.28.2013

My Food Story

It's #NEDAwareness Week. To be honest, I haven't shared a thing about it (sorry!), but I thought I'd share a little bit of my struggle because of that.

When I was a child I began finding satisfaction in food. Like, real satisfaction (or so it seemed, it was actually just temporary). I would hide food around the house, I would eat massive portions, and as I got older, the weight came with me. I packed on the pounds. The more I saw myself, the more I hated myself and the more I ate.

This is real life for me. I was being defined by my pants size, my portion size, and the number that was on the scale.

My life revolved around when I ate and how much I ate.

When I came to Christ I wasn't eating quite so much and I'd learned the value in a little exercise, but still I struggled with eating too much and my thoughts were being consumed by it all over again.

I found 'The Lord's Table' course last year (I think?) and God really used that to open my eyes to the sin of gluttony. No one really talks about it. I mean, have you ever been to a church service that listed gluttony along with sex, gossip, impure speech, etc. in their list of sins? 'Cause I sure haven't.

So I went through this course and found a lot of freedom, but let's come to the present time: February 2013. I've noticed patterns starting to creep back in and the fear of being too fat and looking bad (in my eyes) has crept back in and the desire to eat more than I should has roared it's ugly head again.

I was tempted to get mad at myself and probably throw myself into a binge, but instead I've turned to God. I've turned to being honest with Him and telling Him that right now is a really rough season and I need Him.

And He knows that. I think once we're honest with God it's like He can really begin working in us because we've chosen to not work against Him anymore. But that's not to say He's not working in a person who wants nothing to do with Him, because He does what He wills. He pursues us.

So, while I'm still learning to see food as just food and not an idol, and while it's a daily battle for me, I walk in victory because of Christ. Take Him away and I'll fall right back in to old patterns.

If you're in a battle with food, God is with you. He knows your battles and sins and He sent His Son so that we can be free from all that and He does want you to be free. I encourage you to check out 'The Lord's Table' course and I want to encourage you not to let the mirror or the scale define you. Go to God's Word. Psalm 139 hits the spot, y'all!

Oh, how He loves us. :)

2.27.2013

When The Darkness Comes...

How do you fight the darkness when it comes? How do you fight for joy when your heart tells you it's not there?

Here's a few things I've learned and am learning that I'd like to share with you guys. Hopefully, if nothing else, you'll resonate with what I'm saying and get something out of it.

1. Spend time with Jesus (even if you don't feel like it). I put this as number one because I think it's that important. There have been a few times I haven't felt like spending time with the Lord these past few days, but it's blessed me to do it and so I encourage you to continue to cling to Him even if it takes everything within you because we have the glorious promise that He's already holding onto us.

2. Get around other believers. This past Sunday I had to absolutely force myself to go to church. It's not that I don't like church, because I do! But being around people when you're feel depressed is not exactly appealing. However, being around other people does two things- the first thing it does is it helps you get your focus off of yourself which is very important. The second thing it does is remind you that people still love you and you're not alone.

3. Focus on Christ. I've noticed that in each season of darkness I've gone through, I struggle to believe the promises of God. So what do you do? FOCUS ON JESUS! Y'all, even if you don't believe what He's saying, tell Him that! Then, after you've been completely honest, look. to. HIM. Trust in a God who can hold you when you're doubting (because He can). Honestly, that's where I'm at right now.

4. Serve. I know that seems like a stupid thing to say when you're fighting to get out of bed in the morning, but when you're going through a season of darkness the best thing you can do is serve others. Again, it helps you to stop being so selfish and remember that this life is about His glory.

Those are just a few points that will hopefully help you out.

Friend, if you're going through a hard time I pray for you to press into Christ and to know that He is enough even when you're hurting. Know that these trials are producing a better character and more solid faith and that He is indeed using this for your good.

I'd like to remind you that none of these things may help produce joy in you, because ultimately that's Christ's work, but your endurance will be rewarded by the Father some day. Trust Him. <3

2.25.2013

Embrace The Broken

How can I glorify You in this?

A thought and prayer from the past 2 days.

--
My emotions have been all over the place. I can take the approach of "tell them to shut up" (my emotions that is), but I don't believe in that anymore. I thought it was a good thought, but what if I do that with all the issues in my life? Sin? Unforgiveness? Hate? Then, I would push them down and not deal with them.

Better thought: take them to the cross. Take them to Christ.

There's nothing the Father God can't fix. Nothing to embarrass Him. Nothing to make Him blush.

No, but don't you think you can make God blush sometimes? With your secret sins and your dirty mind?

Nevertheless, He knows your sin. Sees your sin. And He made atonement for it by sending Jesus to die. So why aren't you letting it be atoned for?

--
I don't do well with feeling down for absolutely no reason. My joy has been missing for the past few days. Some would say I am not finding delight in Christ, hence why my joy is gone. But what if I'm seeking Him and I still feel joyless? Or what if it feels like a spark is trying to start, but then it dies down again?

John Piper has written books about this stuff. It's serious.*

It's why I can't trust in my emotions (though, to be honest, I have at times). It's why I must trust in Him alone.

It's when I don't have strength, when all I want to do is sleep, when I don't feel like getting up out of bed in the morning, or praying, reading the Word, or journaling. It's when I'm weak that I'm most open to His help/strength.

I need Him.

Why do we view this as a bad thing? It is GOOD. So good.

This past week has been a wild one, but it has allowed me to see my great need for my Savior. It has opened my eyes to pride that says I can do it all by myself when I can't. For that, I'm thankful. Like, I literally thanked God for my pain and trials earlier for He has used them to open my eyes. Hallelujah!

I can't save myself, just as you can't.

We all need Christ.

Embrace the broken. Embrace being in pain before the Father. Why? Because He sees and He knows and He's with you even if you can't feel Him. He loves you. No matter what happens we must remind ourselves of this constantly. His love is not based on circumstances. His love is constant because He is constant. When you doubt His love, look to the Cross.

So, tonight I'll probably meet Him for night-time prayer with tears rolling down my face as I have the past 2 nights, because I'm sad and don't know why and I miss Him, and He'll meet me there and whisper words of comfort to my pain and remind me that I'm not forgotten and I'm still His.

I need You, Lord. Always.


To note: I have not read "When I Don't Desire God" or "When The Darkness Does Not Lift", (though I did just order that last one), so I can't tell you what his point of view is or what he says. I'm just saying that I have seen books written by him that prove that maybe this isn't a matter of will, but possibly demonic forces that God has allowed. Maybe.

2.23.2013

I Can't Be Strong Enough

I can't be strong enough for you.

I'm not sorry about that. Ask me a few weeks ago and I would have apologized, but not today. Not anymore.

I'm not sorry because I know Christ is strong enough for the both of us.

I know He makes up for what I lack and for what you lack.

This past week has been a roller coaster emotion wise. I'm tired and frustrated. I'm learning what it means to let go, to surrender to His control, and to trust in His grace.

Easier said than done.

When things go against your flesh, you gotta trust that His spirit in you is stronger.

I've learned to trust in myself and in what I can control.

That's not good.

When things are out of my control I get upset and frustrated and this week God has really opened my eyes to that.

"Trust Me."

He says over and over.

I can't be perfect or make you love me. I can't do everything "just right" or make up for the things in your life that are lacking. Sometimes I'll say things that hurt others and sometimes I won't say anything because I don't know what to say.

All this to remind you not to trust in me or another human for life that only the One who died on a cross can give.

I can't be strong enough, but God is. Trust in Him, not in man.*

I repeat these words to myself daily.

2.21.2013

Tired?

I want to be honest.

Oh my, y'all. I want to be completely honest with you, with God, with my friends, with my family.

But I hate being told I'm wrong or that they've been there too and you'll get out of "it" eventually (whatever "it" is). Or that no one knows what the heck you're talking about so they just smile and look at you wondering what you're talking about.

I'm tired. So tired.

I'm tired of not knowing all the proper theologies and sometimes I don't want to. I mean, I love to learn, but can't I just learn at His pace and not at theirs?

Can we leave room for grace? Grace that says, though you are ignorant now, He will open your eyes and your heart and you won't be lost anymore because He's with you.

Sometimes I stop myself from posting things such as these. To avoid the confrontation. Not really from you, my reader friends, but from God. I guess that's called running.

But you know, even when I don't post these things He knows. He knows how I'm feeling, He knows my heart, He knows those petty little thoughts I have.

I just want to live in this little land of rainbows where there is no pain and where I believe all His truth and where I don't wrestle every single day with some new lie.

But that world isn't here yet. He'll bring it to pass one day, but until then I must trust and obey and deal with these things and endure.

Endurance.

Can that be the word of the month? I've been doing a study on Revelation with Dr. David Platt. Last one I listened to he talks about endurance to the end. Following Christ to the very end. I read Hebrews 3:14 and write it on sticky note and commit to memorizing it because, friends, that's what I need right now.

Endurance.

Because I'm tired and life is hectic and I don't really know what I'm doing, but He does and so I know I can trust Him. There are many loose ends that haven't even begun to show how they're going to come together and I don't know. I just don't.

But He knows. Oh, He knows.

I trust You, Lord. I trust You.

I don't know where you are, but I want to encourage you to continue in Him. Continue despite the fact that your family thinks your nuts, or your friends have ditched you, or you're tired. He is with us. We can't do it alone, but with God all things are possible.

Let's believe together.

2.18.2013

Getting Real - Monday (night) Reflections


My father hasn't been a very good one.

I say that not to bash him. Rather, it's a fact.

So, when it comes to father/daughter relationships (or any relationships which involves a father) I am clueless.

Problem I've become aware of as of late? My Abba and I have been having issues. I'm the main problem really (obviously), but still it's hard.

I want to know He's always there for me, loving me. I know. I do. Don't I? But if I know that then why is it so hard to accept it? Believe it?

Honesty with God. Honesty with my Father. One and the same, yet I dislike this part.

The part where I sit before Him and cry or babble on and on about how I do have this problem but I don't want to acknowledge it for fear of looking weak (which I am) or for sitting upon His judgement. It's hard for to see judgement and love from God in the same sense as I see judgement and love from people helping orphaned African babies.

Can I get a witness?

Yet, His love and discipline go hand in hand. Yes! Hallelujah!

It's a fact that, though He is a just Judge, He is also a loving Father and those two aspects cannot be separated, nor would we want them to be.

Who wants a Dad who's for rape or murder? Answer: nobody.

After some encouragement from a sister in Christ (who probably has no clue how she has encouraged me in this) I've decided to get real before my Daddy and stop pretending.

It's not that I'm entirely fake before Him, but I like to hide my true feelings sometimes. You know, the "ugly" ones. The unrighteous ones.

Not anymore though. If I can't be real before Him, the One who made me and knows me better than myself than who can I be real with?

Have you struggled with this too? What's your story?

2.12.2013

#SaveSaeed

I live in a free country.

I take it for granted sometimes. But not lately... as least, not as much.

Think of this- you're a Christian, you love Jesus and He has set you free so now you want others to know this same freedom. You decide to actually do something about it and you begin sharing Christ with everyone in your path. Your heart breaks for your people back home, that place you used to live, and you decide to go back.

But there, it's illegal to share Jesus with people. Not only that, it's dangerous.

You get arrested and imprisoned for 8 years in one of the toughest prisons. You've been lied to so much that you begin to lose all hope that anyone, even your own family, is trying to do anything to get you out.

Does that break your heart?

It does mine. I've spent many days these past couple weeks thinking of a man who has been enduring all those things. I've cried for him, his family, and others who are going through the same. I've prayed for his abusers and accusers.

There's one thing I would love for all of y'all to do- go here and sign the petition. When you're done with that, will you please pray for Saeed, his family, and his accusers?
If you're on Twitter feel free to follow @savesaeed.

This is our brother and he's hurting. We can either care about him and do what we can where we are right now by God's hand, or we can look away and pretend it's not happening because it messes with our happy-go-lucky attitudes.

I pray we stand with him as we all stand for Christ.

2.11.2013

Lost Expectations - Monday Reflections

I'm losing my expectations.

I think it's a good thing.

Not that I don't dream or hope, because I do both. The expectations I'm losing are the ones I have of people.

My expectations damage friendships.

Example: some things didn't go my way last Friday and I pouted and gossiped about this person for a while (Father, forgive me.) and then I got up and had to repent. I went to have worship and my heart was crushed with what I'd just been doing for the past 2 hours.

James 3:9-10.

What if I loved people as they are? What if I stopped trying to make everyone fit into my little bubble of "right" and realize that the only right One is Christ? What if instead of spending an hour in gossip, I spent an hour in conversation and pray with them?

This letting go process is painful.
It's also worth it.

Because as I let go I surrender my plans, dreams, hopes, etc. for His. I don't lose it all for nothing, I gain Christ and who He is. This is an awesome thing to be a part of, y'all!

As Christ has redeemed me, so He redeems the rest of the world and as Christ has confronted me in my sin, so He will confront others. I don't have to force you to be like Him because that's His work and your choice.

I can still love those I disagree with. 1 Corinthians 13. (check out v. 5)

I'm sorry for placing unfair expectations on people who were being themselves.

Lord Jesus, love through me.

2.08.2013

Rings vs. Christ

I finished watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy the other night... for the second time in my life. *Thumbs up*

By far one of my favorite movie series for sure. While I watched them, though, there was one thought I had to fight back.

What was that thought?

It's just a ring.

Why was I fighting it?

Because isn't that what we do daily?
I'm convicted by my own thoughts.

We consider something of little to no value, eternally speaking, as something of the most value and we. just. can't. give. it. up. We won't give it up.

And all the while the Father is standing there, telling us that we must give it up and take up our crosses and He will be with us and yes, it's hard but He'll be there.

So I ask... is He enough?

Is Jesus Christ and all He is enough for us?

Kind of arrogant to say He isn't, but be honest with yourself.

The problem is we are condemned without Christ. We are stuck with sin. We can't save ourselves, we can't make ourselves stop sinning (and to believe you can is legalism, trying to "earn your way" to God... and you can't. I've been there before too, friend.)

Do we believe God is who He says He is and will provide for us what He says He will? 'Cause if we do I think our lives and hearts will start looking a little different. We will stop clinging to worthless rings and start clinging to our worthy Savior who now makes us saints- clean and pure before the Father because of His sacrifice.

Hallelujah.

I think we don't know Him well enough. Or we don't believe Him. Or both.

All we are can be traded in for all He is.

And He is enough.

2.06.2013

Trusting God, Sharing The Gospel, & Letting Go

It felt fresh.

I hadn't been to church in a couple weeks. Still searching around for the "right one".

I've met the man preaching at camp before. He's extremely joyful (like one of those people who can find something good in just about everything), and he's hilarious. That's my kind of pastor (of course preaching the Bible completely, not just the sweet and nice parts, is of most importance... and yes, he does that too. ;) )

We sang hymns and greeted one another.

Really, it was beautiful.

Then, he got down to business. He talked about boldness and Christians needing more of it. He talked about how evangelism should be a part of everything we do, not just those fun evangelism trips you take with your church.

This part was just as beautiful, but also very painful.

Sharing the Gospel scares me.

There, I said it. Judge me as you may (do remember Matthew 7:1), but that's the truth. I've been praying for less fear and more boldness and for a moment I feel peace and I'm ready to do this thing... but a few moments later the fear comes back.

I asked myself a simple question last night,
What scares me about sharing the Gospel?


A few answers came.
Rejection. Not knowing what to say. Giving them a bad taste for who God is, because I'm finite and make mistakes.

But those are all excuses and if you want to know the real issue with my lack (and probably yours too) of sharing the Gospel I can tell you very simply: we don't trust God.

I don't trust He'll provide the words for me to speak. I don't trust that even if I mess up, He'll bring healing to that person. I don't trust Him to take full control and I believe that it's all on me and I must take over.

So it brings me back to His constant lesson of letting go. Knowing that I'm just a small part of this story and that He has full control.

I'm praying for boldness and opportunities, and though I'm nervous about those opportunities that will come, I trust He's gonna provide the words and even if I mess them up a little, they'll be for that person's good and His glory.

Do not fear, for He is with us. Hallelujah. Be bold because you can.

"For nothing will be impossible with God." - Luke 1:27

2.04.2013

Searching For Him

Always searching.

Isn't that all people?

Searching for love and joy. Searching for a smile.

But soon, those things that made you so happy don't anymore and you wonder why not.

Maybe it's His hand working in your life.

That's been me the past few days. Wrestling with temptation and wondering why what made a smile creep upon my face now only leaves me questioning why I liked it in the first place.

"Because I can either cling to the One who made me or search for Him in things that will never be Him."

Written on my Twitter and Facebook and no one knows how I've thought that over and over and prayed for help in loving Him for who He is.

I read a quote today that fit so well:

"What will you place your hope in today? Will you ask the creation to provide what the Creator alone can give?" -Paul Tripp

I smile and say amen because these are my thoughts exactly.

We aren't just searching for joy or happiness, we are searching for Him. We are searching for love and He is love.

I'm thankful for God telling me, "No." when temptations arise and I want to give in. Because that's His love.

His no's are for His glory and our good.
But we think it's a Father ready to punish His children for doing wrong and not a Father disciplining His children because He loves them. (Hebrews 12:6, Proverbs 3:12)

Oh, how He loves us! Enough to send His only Son to save us and free us and yet we want to go back to those things He died to free us from?!

I'm thankful for the times He has told me no. Yes, because it has saved me from some stupid decisions.

So, when you sense His disciplining hand upon you today, don't fret, worry, or scream about how hard it is. Trust Him. Let go. We don't know better than He does.

Seek Him, not cheap images that will never be Him. God loves you.

2.02.2013

I Am Not But I Know I AM - Book Review

I didn't think I'd like it.

At first, I thought I'd totally enjoy a book by Louie Giglio.

But sometimes he gives information that, while astounding, I can't even begin to grasp it and being the person I am, that annoys me.

But I enjoyed it.

In fact, I was reminded of a wonderful truth- my name is: i am not.

Little i, little a, little n. I am little.

Louie speaks this truth in every single chapter of his book. But he doesn't leave us there. No, he talks about His name; God's name... I AM. And my mind is blown by some of the truth and God comforts my heart with it.

The chapters aren't super long (and I think most people like that), but they are filled with funny stories, deep thoughts, and beautiful truths.

It's a pretty easy read. I can't really think of any complaints or things I didn't like about this book.

Not sure if it would go into my top 5 or even my top 10, but it's a wonderful book that is great for all age groups.

If you need a reminder (and we all need them) about how small you are and why you're really here on this earth then I would say this is a good book to remind you of that. If you're a teenager or you're involved in youth ministry, I think this would be a really good book to have your youth group go through together.

If you get this book, I hope you enjoy it and find comfort in knowing that the I AM loves you so much.

*Note: This book was given to me for free for reviewing purposes.