Monday, September 1, 2014

"Stick with Me kid, I'll take you places"

I know it's labor day, I hope you are getting the rest you need.  I have been traveling down memory lane lately and found this.  This is my most embarrassing work.  Finding it has caused a great concern.

Why am I concerned about this video making the rounds again?  I reminds me that I have been a bit calloused toward my freedom, perhaps I haven't celebrated God's work enough.  Friends, a look back will always remind you of the journey in which you have just overcome.  Reminders are good in that it helps you stay where you need to stay, in a place of overcoming a huge battle to victorious living.

Today I once again, on this Labor day, celebrate my freedom from food in finding that freedom God's way.

Overcoming a life long battle of the bulge is dreamy and something I have been longing for...well, a life-time.  May I never go back to being a slave to food.  No longer will I hide behind my own imperfections.  I don't speak about it often but it's time to let this little secret out.

I don't have a big story to tell but I do have a big story of God's telling in my struggle of how I have overcome a HUGE battle, one that has plagued me since I was born, or at least since I can remember.  In the losing of 132 lbs. of excess weight, I have uncovered a new me.

Guess what friends, I am not chopped liver.  I am a lovely redeemed daughter of the King and am free to tell His glory story.  I am free.  No longer do I have to make food behave because I have learned to behave myself around food.  Addictions of any kind are just that, addictions, and we all have them.  Mine doesn't make me better than you nor more shameful.  I was just desperate enough to seek God's deliverance from it and in my searching, God revealed His loving character and truth.

I had been looking for love in all the wrong places.  There is hope for all of us, the least of us, the lost part of our dreams, and the last in line.  There is hope.  Jesus says to his friends, "You are truly my disciples if you live as I tell you to, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." ~ John 8:31-32 (TLB)

The Janelle Keith paraphrased version is this:  "Stick with Me kid, I'll take you places"

I am free indeed, and I have hope.  It's come with a great price but every step has been worth it when you see from where you came from to your new place in this world.

Freedom changes everything, one decision changes everything, small changes add up to make a big difference.  The results are worth it, the courage and bravery I have found in me are refreshing and oh so lovely.

Freedom, truth and courage run hand in hand.  Run with me to the land of courage of being honest with yourself to take a look at where you have been, and to discover God's best life for you, and where He wants to take you to, the land of truth and freedom.

Here is where I once was, my most embarrassing moment.    Below see the me that has been set free.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dear you, It's been six long years,

Today I am celebrating the work that has been accomplished here.  I am so taken aback by your generosity in linking arms in my mundane to see God in our everyday life.  It's an honor for me that you spend time to read the thoughts that have spilled out here.

Why do I come here often and write to you?  Because...

It's my heart's response to what God has already done in my life.  It's my expression of God's glory to do the work that has been placed in my hands.  It's my heart displayed for you to see.  Sometimes when you come around you cheer for me, and I thank you for that, it encourages me to continue the work that God has begun.

Honestly there are days I have to remind myself of why I do this.  Being transparent with you is probably the hardest part of doing this.

Sometimes when you don't come around, well you don't encourage this.  I've learned how to get past the doubt in living my spiritual life online.  It's not about that, it's about having faith in knowing this is my calling and then being obedient to write what God has placed on my heart.

I don't show up to highlight my problems.  I'm here to show you who God is in my everyday life.  So thank you again for your cheers in lifting the name of Jesus high in the thoughts that are spilled out before you.

It's the shoes that God has fitted me with.  Ironically, my very first post six years ago was all about shoes.  Little did I know the pair of shoes that God was fitting for me today.  I wish for you is that you too would go in and discover the difference written from that place to this one.

Thank you for believing in the fact that this pair of shoes fits well.  I'm learning how to go the distance in this faith gig, this dream, this what I call a crazy life.

Everyday we all have the opportunity to display God's glory when we do what He has lovingly designed us to do.  My pair of shoes will never look like yours, and that's okay.  Your shoes will pinch my little stubby toes, or the heels you wear might be too tall.  I have to learn this balance this dream for myself, with the Holy Spirit as my teacher.

But friends as you discover what pair of shoes that God has for you, as you recover the dreams laying deep inside that you think will never happen, have hope today.  Don't give up in seeking God's best for you.

God's dream for you is to know who He is in your life.  You just want to do God's will?  Know who God is, then His will is evident to you.  If your prayers are asking for what He wants in your life, then believe me, and if you listen to nothing else that I say here, lean in on this...

God loves you.  You don't have to earn His love, you don't have to look to your husband, or food, or your earthly parents to love you like you long to be loved.  You don't have to look to anything but God for the love you yearn for.  Lift up your eyes and see the keeper of your heart, your soul, your future, your destiny, your calling and just receive the love that HE has created you with.

Once you know the depth of God's love for you, things fall into place and you stop searching for all those missing pieces in your life that you long for in your dreams.  So far in my trying on shoe after shoe, dream after dream, I have found that God's love, his words to me, the fullness of His love is all I need to get out of bed.

I know nothing can separate me from that kind of agape love.  It's all I need in my life, in my dreams, in my today, in my tomorrows, in my full life.  If you never come back, please know that this is on my heart today.

Yes, God you have prospered this writing in very long loving way.  Thank you God for the journey you have given, may I faithfully serve you with all the love I can give back in response to your great and everlasting love.  When it comes to words to encompass your love for me, well I don't have them.  You are everything You promised You are.  It's not just words I proclaim here, it's your Word, it's Jesus, who's name stands forever.  Amen.

There are some changes coming soon.  So excited for what's ahead.  Thank you for joining in!  So thank you for the encouragement you have given in your comments, your prayers, your cheers along the way.  Please holla back anytime.  I love to hear from you.

Love, lattes, and laughter all along this way,
your word nerd

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lessons from bowels of my kitchen rennovation

No truer words were ever spoken over me.

This cute little sign now hangs in my new kitchen. You've been waiting for this, so thank you for your patience. I don't need to give you a play by play of my recent kitchen renovation project but you can know that I'm still licking my self-made wounds over this little project.

The main thing is our kitchen is still standing, it's complete, and we are all alive.  Here are a few things I learned while living in transition and a big mess:

1.  Change requires a lot of time.  Every waking moment.
2.  It requires energy.  Every ounce of you have.
3.  It requires hard work.  Every drop of blood, sweat and even a few tears.
4.  It requires team work.  Everyone doing what they can to work together.
5.  It requires you to show up.  Bring your winning attitude and check your ego at the door.

Unless, you are financially stable enough to afford someone else's labor, you can kiss about 6 weeks of your time, that you will never get back, good-bye when you say that you want to change a few things in your kitchen.  A few more lessons:

1.  Say good-bye to clean.
2.  Say hello to sea tickle blue on your fingernails.
3.  Tuck your regular to-do list away for a rainy day.  
4.  Say good-bye to your friends and Friday nights.
5.  Learn the international symbol for "I can't breathe".  Repeat, breathe deep.

That sinking feeling when seeing your stove like this, good-bye all clean spaces.
Unless, you are a saint, or can do perfect and do things right the first time, remember there will be some frustrations along the way that will cause you to run outside your house and scream a little.  Here are some good things to remember in the middle of a mess:

1.  Remember the end result will be worth it.
2.  Remind yourself who you are doing it for.
3.  Forget the words that are spoken at the end of a moving drill bit.
4.  Clean a little space everyday, even if it's just your coffeemaker.
5.  Practice kindness and bite your tongue.

Making changes can be hard, especially when you encounter some unexpected bumps along the way.  Things usually don't work out like you had planned or expected.  But a good attitude helps win over the worst flub-ups.  Mistakes can always be covered up or corrected if you just refocus and get some rest.

Ta-Da!  My like-new place to steam my broccoli and make my coffee!
One thing remains, change is hard but worth it.  There were days I didn't know what to do but cry.  But in and through all of the changes to my new kitchen, I rose above the challenge of what was ahead of me and just did the next thing.  It was hard work, and seemed intense, but I had too much invested in it to give up on it.  

Perseverance, patience and endurance pays off.  I now have a clean kitchen and am proud of the work that was accomplished.  Our family worked together as a team, and had much patience with each other.  We did the next thing and did it with kindness.  We worked together for a common goal of a now clean, uncluttered, tidy, shiny and like-new space.

We made some small adjustments along the way to accommodate the few problems we had but we rose above the challenges and just kept the momentum going, working forward instead of letting ourselves get overwhelmed.

We had a vision, a dream, a goal worth pursuing and we did it!  High fives everyone!  Why is this so important to me?

1.  It's my place in this house, everyone woman can testify that the kitchen is her space.
2.  I end my day with a shiny sink, smiling good night and sweet dreams.  
3.  Each day begins clean.  I want clean to remain.  
4.  I worked hard toward a goal and lived through it to now enjoy it.
5.  I not only survived a kitchen re-model, now I'm writing stories to share, all from my new kitchen.

(Bonus - No one was killed in the process.  I know that was a little dramatic but sometimes in the heat of the battle, you have to remember who's idea it was to start such havoc in the first place.)

As we make changes, we grow.  As we work towards a goal, we change.  We adapt, we get better at what our hands touch.  We learn, we stretch, we do hard things, we do new things.  We chose to overcome the hurdles and just work through them.

We choose victory and the end result is always worth it.  Results take work and determination.  Results take practice.  

Special emphasis on the large print.
Practice.  Over and over, day by day, with time you will get to your goals too.  Whether it be 10 lbs, 10 blogs, 10 books, 10 miles, whatever personal goals are haunting you on repeat right now, just bite your tongue and practice doing them.  You won't be sorry if you honestly show up with your winning attitude and check your ego at the door.   

Choose to overcome.  Rise above what's telling you can't succeed.  Practice.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The patient's patience

I wanted what he had but I didn't know how to get it.  I wanted the peace and his calm demeanor that he walked in with.  I wanted that so badly, and my soul craved a tear-free day.  Just once....

I prayed again for God to calm my nerves.  On the inside I was a emotional wreck.  On the outside I was the concerned dutiful escort.  I didn't know how to be a wife anymore, nor a loving caregiver, and forget the idea of filling those "Nurse Nightingale shoes."  Forget that, my emotions had run the gambit from one extreme to another, and never landed in the middle of peace that my husband had.

Never... until that day he showed me his peace.

It was a day we all land in at one time or another.  We had been in this place before, and for some of you maybe today is the first of a long journey that is cancer-led.  Another day of wondering if your teenager will come home, or you just lost someone that has left a void in your heart that can't be replaced with food.  There are those times in life when we can only respond with tears and those ever present "why" questions.  Those days, where just a calm peace needs to flood your soul, a constant reminder that God's knows your conflict, strife or today's list loaded with problems.  

Just some days you need an extra dose of God's presence and peace to overwhelm you. 

I needed to get some peace of mind, soul and spirit, that kind of peace that smiles in knowing that God has today in the palm of His hand.  I longed for that kind of peace that passed whizzed by my wondering questions and left them in God's holy dust trail.  I longed for that feeling of rest where my heart could hide out and find refuge.   

Especially today.  My husband and I walked into the surgeon's exam room, again, to get some surgery staples removed.  My gut tightened.  I knew from experience that this was tender time for my husband, the patient patient.

From the way he describes it, the feeling of removing tiny staples from an incision site doesn't tickle.

My gut winced for him.  We wait for the attending nurse to come in as we sit in silence together.  He's such a patient patient.  He lays back on the exam table in the face up position.  I watched, perched from my supportive chair, with my finger bookmarking my faith in my journal.

We both close our eyes, resolved to our own private thoughts and silent words.  There are days of marriage, when saying "I do" surprises you with the "worse" parts of your vows.  Those days are when the silence just falls hard.  I know all to well the depression that runs deep from a life of pain. My lids were a welcome dam to the pent up the emotions.  It was safe to say we walked in worn and emotionally exhausted.

"God, here we are again." I prayed.  I wondered if my patient was uttering my same tired words.  This was not the first time around for either of us, years of testing have left us both a little spiritually exhausted.  Cancer and it's after effects have gnawed at our faith.   We both know it can rear it's ugly head like a pre-teen pimple, ready to bust open, spewing worry.

What I needed in that exam room was a reminder that God's got his recovery too.

We both believe the Good Shepherd healed this disease from our lives forever.  But the reality is that cancer is pernicious, presumptuous, and unpredictable.  When you are handed a pink-slip of fears, God's comfort is your only anchor.  Without it, a patient's peace slips to the depths of an unknown abyss, fear wisps in and out of a burdened soul like a vapor.

My patient reminded me of his Healer's peace as he silently breathed his prayer of Psalm 23.  He knew it by memory, it had calmed many a family storm.  "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want."  He quietly mouthed the words.

His calm face was prostrate and God spoke to my concerned heart and asked if He could be my peace that day.  "Will you let me lead you by my healing waters that flow deep?"  I couldn't stop the waterworks.  My busting heart leaked into my open hands as I realized Jesus, my Shepherd, was the only One who could lead me out of "what ifs and what's next" questions.

"Be still my little lamb and be stilled by My silent and peaceful waters that flow deep."  Yes, God you do have this.  I quietly spoke the words.

I felt like I was the patient on the table now.  God's peace flooded my soul.

The Lord watches over us in the better and the worse, and the many vows in-between.  He is never far like a good Shepherd, He constantly looks after those in His care.  I know today that when the next wave roars, God will faithfully and patiently anchor my peace.  Waves of anxiety will come and go, ebb and flow like the days tide, but in the stillness, in the silence, I will hear His comforting voice.

"This is the way, walk in it.  I am the Lord, your Shepherd.  I will not leave you in want."  My response to His way of peace was to make His patient peace my priority.  That can only be done in my silence, as I wade through the wedded worry headed to His green pastures, dabbling my toes in the comfort that only He can give.

Yes, Lord you patiently lead me, to your still waters, the waters of Life that calm my fears and still my storms, anchoring deep in what I know about you.   You are my keeper and caretaker, my peace and patience, my love and may I linger in your green pasture.  You are found on the mountains and in the valleys.  I am never alone. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Midge personality

When I was a child I played with dolls.  At the mature age of seven, I wanted a Barbie for my birthday.  I got a Midge doll instead.  I was very disappointed that year.  My sister had a Barbie doll and I wanted one just like hers.  So I pretended my Midge was a Barbie.  Every time I played dolls, I measured my wild imagination against something that didn't exist.  

My Midge doll never measured up to my sister's Barbie doll.

I never told my mom how I really felt about my Midge doll.   I packed it away in my personal paraphernalia, neatly folded in my heart and became skilled in comparisons.  I didn't unpack that cluttered thought  until years later when it hit me that I would never measure up to be "Barbie" perfect.  

As a child, I was compared to my siblings in everything.  In school, I was lacking in any sport skill.  I was always the last to be picked for a team.  I was the first out in kickball.  The last to grab a swing on the playground, the slowest, the weakest, the least, and the heaviest.  I compared my worth to the abilities I saw in others.

I grew in wide stature, thinking everyone was my competition.  My efforts in everything centered around pleasing people with what I could do.  I could make people laugh, I could be a good friend who tolerated just about every kind of treatment, and I was loud.  

On the inside though, I just wanted you to like me.  Days upon days I used to wrestle with just seeking approval.   Gratefully, I have moved from that insecure place, those feelings of failure in the life department.  My past comparisons don't  hold a fearful grip on my thinking anymore.

How did I kick this bad habit of self-comparison thinking?  I signed up for God's Triple A Team.  I am approved, accepted and anointed because I am His.  You are too.

What teaches us to measure ourselves as unacceptable, unworthy and longing the discovery for our place in this world?   We pin our hearts on what the world says about us instead of believing what God says about us.  We look to to find our best look instead of seeing God's reflection of His deep love for us as recorded in Psalm 139.  We train by imperfect sources.  God longs to perfect us, for His creation to know and live from His approval.  

Our worth is from Jesus who has already compensated for our imperfections.  Your worth was worth dying for.    This changes everything.  

Comparisons are deadly. Comparison breeds discontentment. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says, "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."  It's not a good practice to measure yourself to the standards of man. The danger of comparison is no matter who you compare yourself to, there is always someone whose prettier, skinnier, smarter, faster, more connected, reads faster, blogs better or is in a more prominent position than you.

Comparisons create pride. "We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or clever, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking, there would be nothing to be proud about." ~ C.S. Lewis.  Comparing only makes me think I have to measure up to man's imperfect standards of success.   It leaves me wanting more of what man has accomplished.

Comparison leave us resentful.  We become resentful of God's blessings when we compare His goodness at work in our lives.  We ignore God's mercy with the idol of entitlement.  We receive God's grace and mercy by faith in the proven worth of Jesus.  Knowing that should drop all the competitions for the the blue ribbon comparisons that we seek.   "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. " Philippians 4:11-12.

Know who you are. Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." God loves you, and has chosen you to be His child before the foundations of the world were created. Accept that He loves you uniquely just like He has gifted you individually and with a specific purpose.  We are to use what He's planted inside of us to bring Him glory.  

Stuff or people will never fill a need that only God can fill.  God doesn't compare His children.  In fact, God hates comparisons.  We are created and gifted individually by God who loves us the same.  Knowing who are in Christ is also knowing who you don't have to be. 

The danger of comparison is that we find ourselves looking to other people for our value and determining our worth by how we compare with other people. It's fine for bargains, cars, apples and shoes but not for people. When we compare, we become the focus.  We pinpoint ourselves, we hang ourselves in the noose of man's judgement, above God's proven love for us.  Our long lists of who gets the "what"...the car we wanted, the job we needed, the spouse we desired, the most gifted children, the bigger ministry, the greener grass on the other side of the prettier fence, this dwelling in the land of shiny things  is meaningless.  Searching for our dreams at the mercy of man's measurements will never satisfy. 

Man's measurements can't compete with God's measure of us.  Live from God's approval and don't look for man to feel approved, accepted and loved.  Knowing the deep love my Heavenly Father brings all the acceptance I need.  I am His daughter accepted, approved, and anointed.

What sorts of comparisons seem to have the most negative impact on your life?