Thank you Father for not allowing me to stagnant any longer in Ohio. Thank you for forcing me to move so I could be walking with you again! I only know what the earth to heaven relationship with is like. With the separation of the physical aspects of your love removed. It is powerful and all consuming! I can only imagine what it will be like…in eternity with any limitations gone forever! Maybe today Jesus…maybe it could be today that you choose to take us home! I’ll be waiting and watching…
A story for you!
For a couple of days now I’ve noticed random ants in my apartment. Big,black ants. They’ve been on my floor,in my sink,and on any dishes I didn’t get taken care of. I’ve cleaned and cleaned and cleaned! Perplexed by these ants that were not like any ants I’ve seen before, today I finally bought something to kill them with. Only one problem….I couldn’t find any ants this afternoon. “Where did my ants go? Did I imagine them? Did I just dream them up?”
I went to organize my fruit bowl only to discover where all of my ants had gone! There nestled in the juicy,sweet,fruit were dozens of now dead ants. They had enjoyed the merriment of the life of gluttony and now have paid for their indulgences with their life.
I had to wonder about the parallel between my own gluttony and these giant ants. Ants are known to be diligent workers and strong yet perhaps in this scenario not so wise! How much am I like these ants when I choose to binge? I work,work,work! I work to serve in my jobs.I work to help others. I work on my nutrition. I workout in the gym. I work to have a good mindset. I am working hard! I’m no longer the grasshopper that wasted his summer away only to be found desperately hindered come the winter. Yet in all of my hard work I allow my pride,gluttony,and selfish desires to entrap me for a moment of pleasure, to numb what I don’t want to feel,or in most cases to fill the void that boredom brings. Sweet temptations can turn bitter rather quickly as it begins to rot. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to encase myself in a life that will indulge my pleasure for a moment only to turn on me and take pleasure in my death. I want a life that supports life,peace,and purpose without the fear of when then next binge of failure comes. I don’t want to be found surrounded by cages of my own making but rather by a life well lived. The ants have eaten themselves to death but I refuse to allow myself to be like the ant.
No one wakes up in the morning with the hopes that they’ll spill their coffee all over the floor. No one..I mean no one. However as it would go, you clean up the mess,pour a little bit more,and you move on. My life looks nothing like I imagined it to be. It’s far better in a lot of ways. I never imagined that I’d drop out of high school in the 9th grade. I never imagined that joining a “plain” fellowship would be so much cultural work. I never imagined I’d get all of my dreams only to find they weren’t what I wanted at all. I never imagined having to escape an abusive apprenticeship situation. I never imagine that I’d be fired. I never imagined that I’d know what having daily panic attacks was like. The list goes on and if I chose to focus on the negative, I’d be forever stuck allowing “the spilled coffee” to ruin my day. Instead I fill my personal life cup up with the positive. I never imagined that someone would love me even for a little bit. I never imagine that I’d have the opportunity to help weary families. I never imagine that I could love to teach. I never imagined that I’d like to eat vegetables. I never imagined that I’d lose 50 pounds. I’d never imagined that others would look up to me. I never imagined I’d be taking classes in the fitness field. I never imagined so many things but now I imagine my future and it excites me!
So what are you going to do? Will you stare at the spill coffee on the floor or will you clean up the mess,pour yourself some more,and move on with your day? The cup is in your hands. Only you can take a sip of imagination. No one can do it for you. #imagination #transformation #spilledwords #coffee #future
1)Needing to use two bath towels or ordering an xl bath towel to be able to completely cover yourself. Only just now are regular towels fitting me!
2)Having your rolls/flaps of skin sweat/smell/stick/get sore. I once got a boil under my belly flap when I was a teenager. So gross and painful! I have a scar from it!
3)Not being able to take care of basic hygiene like clip your toe nails or wipe after going to the bathroom. Not my experience but I have people reach out for help all of the time that have that struggle.
4)Always being afraid that a chair won’t hold your weight. this is still a fear I have.
5)Being asked if your pregnant
6)Never being able to go shopping with your friends for clothes. It’s not fun needing to be in a completely different section of the store or events different store.
7)Being afraid to eat in public because people judge you so instead you wait until you get home and then you binge. Hello eating shouldn’t be only for skinny people! Also food will NEVER fix an emotional need.
8)People assuming that you’re lazy and have no dreams in life. ALL OF THE TIME!
9)Chub rub aka legs rubbing together like two sticks creating the worst hell fire that you can imagine. Such a pain! I personally buy slip shorts.
10)_ comment your own experience.
For myself I didn’t even know the mental weight I was carrying around having to hold on to all of these stigmas,fears,and realities of my own unhealthy life. It wasn’t until I became “Stronger than my excuses” that I could start living my life without most of these things holding me back. This shirt was a gift a size xl. I saw it and mentally thought “Oh bummer I can’t wear that yet.” Because in my mind I still think I’m a size 3x…I’m not. In a good majority of clothes I’m pretty close to an xl! I decided to just try it on IT FIT! Today I want you to try to pick something either from my list of things that mentally hold you back and I want you to make it your goal to bust out of that physical situation so you can be mentally free! Let me know.
Recently I had a conversation with someone about our clothing choices. She said something to the effect of that we as women should make the room when we enter more beautiful. We don’t need to be beautiful to draw more attention to ourselves but rather a gift to those who enter. That can be in our physical beauty as well as the beauty we share in hospitality,compassion,or any other trait we possess.
That conversation has stuck in my heart over the past few weeks as I’ve mulled it around. I have a firm conviction that we are to dress in a way that respects ourselves as well as others but this took my thought to a new level. “What if the spaces I enter,I could bring beauty to?”
I can get into a rut of haphazardly getting dressed,forget my sweater,not seeing the need for a coat,and well my hair is in a bun so who cares what it looks like…I’m single and no one wants me anyway. Is that respecting myself? Is that respecting others? Do I make the places I go more beautiful? I’d have to say no. I started trying to be more prepared over the past several days and weeks. Some days more than others. I’ve dressed for success and I’ve seen a huge difference in my attitude. I’ll probably never stop wearing my tennis shoes even if they don’t match and are ugly but they are comfortable and practical. However by being put together I’ve felt beautiful and in return I believe I have made wherever I go a more beautiful place!
What do you think about this thought of women making the spaces they dwell more be?
January to January (err…Drcember) 365 days, and many moments that made up the 2020 year. For many, this year will go down in their life history book as the worst year of their lives. With Job cuts, loss of loved ones, and total or partial isolation. 2020 has brought to the forefront of the depravity that our world faces. Even for those of us with a hope in Jesus Christ, there may have been at times an eerie feeling of possible doom up ahead.
2020 will not be marked in my book of life as the worst year of my life. I can say with unshakable certainty that as of this moment when this is being written that 2020 was the best year of my entire existence here on earth!
Sure with the onset of the “big C-corona virus” there were moments of asking myself “what is right? What is true? How do I personally choose to move forward as the world around me is locked inside in fear?” I don’t feel the need to share my conclusion with you all at this time. However, I want to share what 2020 has done in my life.
If you have followed my journey for any length of time, it is no surprise that 2020 has been a year of transformation. I’m January I let go of the strongholds of anger in my life. releasing them from my hold subsequently allowed the chains of being entangled with bondage to slip away! For sure I’ve had to let go over and over again because my fleshy human spirit tries to grab for them once again. The Lord’s goodness and mercy have found me victorious over this sin!
February before the country went into lockdown I attended my fellowships Titus 2 day. This is a day centered around women teaching women. I had not gone out around mixed groups among my fellowship since I was fired and my life crashed. The day was joy-filled and full of peace! One particularly exciting moment for me was being able to fit into a dress that had been so tight before just the July before!
By March we hit lockdown right in time to celebrate my entering into my 29th year of life. It was an enjoyable day with the couple I live with including weight watcher friendly foods. 29 has been very good to me! I can’t wait to see what 30 will hold!
Apr, May, June, and July all seem a little blurry as they say. I’m sure I did things I just don’t know what! I mainly focused on my overall health journey. I found that my sleep cycle has stability, I have mostly joyful days and very few days that I feel down! I wake each morning ready to greet the day because “This is the day the Lord has made! I will rejoice and be glad in it!”
I spent the month of August working in Georgia with a family with children that have RAD. This was a tremendous opportunity that opened up further opportunities to return to their home in the future (including right now over Christmas as I write)! I’m thankful to get to do what God has for me and what I love to do. More importantly, I’m thankful for the friendship that can come in unlikely situations.
Returning home I spent September and October focusing on my health journey, I started babysitting a set of adorable twins, and I continued my local RAD work. I must pause to share how thankful I am for the jobs that I have. God has blessed me richly.
November was a highlight as a friend and I took a celebration trip to Florida! I have officially lost 54 pounds and she has lost 70 and is so close to her goal! We did many exciting things that made this trip an absolute celebration. There were two highlights that I must mention! One was a bucket list experience! We got to go Up, Up, Up into the sky on a hot air balloon! We floated over alligator swampland, neighborhoods, saw the sunrise, and even smacked right into a TREE! Truly an experience I’ll never forget! The second was getting to find opportunities for exercise on our trip! We even took a run! I never thought I’d be someone to go running but here I was doing my best! I have a ways to go before it’s a regular activity! I’m proud of both myself and my friend for all of our achievements over 2020!
Here I am at the end of December spending Christmas away from my family for the very first time. Yet I feel right where God wants me. My heart is full of thankfulness for my family understanding and supporting me.
As for the coming of 2021 and my hopes and dreams for the future. I plan to take another year to be singularly focused on my health so I can freely be solidified in good physical, mental, and emotional health! I believe that if I take this journey slow that it will become a permanent fixture and not a fleeting chapter in my life book. I sometimes feel self in my self-focus yet I trust that this is part of the journey and what I need to become fully who God created me to be.
To each of you, my friends, family, support system, and everyone else. I want to thank you for being the steadfast cheerleaders in my transformation inside and out! I’d be lost without every one of you! You all have been beyond good to me in every way!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
As we go through life we are going to face a number of emotions. We will celebrate the victories of overcoming a challenge with the emotion of happiness. Find ourselves in shock at the stupidity of the world. Anger is bound to bubble up at injustice. We will laugh at ourselves and with others,and if we’re lucky it’ll be full belly laughs that reach us to the core. Shame will be felt when we sin,harm others,or make a mistake. Sorrow will fill our hearts as we mourn the loss of someone we loved. Emotions are unavoidable and overflowing to every area of our life. We were given each one for a reason. I’m a firm believer in embracing the emotion of the moment but not allowing it to have control over you.
Anger in itself is not wrong.There are a number of reasons a person may become angry. It when we lose control over the emotion we’ve been given or have an emotion that’s oddly positioned it’s where it doesn’t belong that we find a huge problem. A righteous anger can inspire a great deal of positive change. Where as anger from pride can lead to harming others. It’s all in The Who and what is in control.
Let’s look at happiness for a second. What could possibly go wrong with happiness even uncontrolled? Happiness can fill us with the warmest and fuzziest of emotional feelings which leads to emotional health,living life abundantly,and seeking what will produce that over and over again. Happiness can also be manufactured from alcohol,drugs,and unsafe practices. A never ending state of “happy” loses the ability to emphasize with others,feel the depth of the other given emotions,and can give a false sense of security.
I used to ride the roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. In fact I used to get so nauseous from my own yo-yo like emotional state that I regularly wished that I was void of emotions. It would be that in one day I’d be the stereotypical example of a woman feeling every extreme emotion. For me it was very real. That or for a few days I’d be so high on life I was told on multiple occasions that I seemed intoxicated. Then for days and weeks on end I’d be so blue and down that nothing felt right in the world. Likewise others couldn’t relate to this because just the day before everything was peachy! It was not until I realized that we must have control over our emotions and that hormonal imbalances can play a huge role that I was able to find emotional freedom. Most days I wake up happy and ready for the day. I am still a human and I have off days or blue moments but no longer do I wonder if I’ll ever get over the hump of sorrow. It’s because I’ve learned how to have a healthy relationship with my emotions and also have worked long and hard to have hormonal balance.
My encouragement to you is if you find that you are seasick from tossing and turning on the ocean of emotions that you carry, seek guidance on how to control your emotions vs. them control oh you. For myself I did a lot of research,started a health journey,and sought God’s heart. For you it may look different. I bless you in finding the key to embracing with control the emotions that have been given to you!
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
My sorrow was deep. My anger was dangerous. My sin grew more out of hand each day. Broken,restless,fighting,crying…so many tears. I felt as though all hope was lost and I’d never feel peace again. I believed that there would be no restoration between the Lord and I. I thought my problems began in April of 2019 but the more I heal I acknowledge that I had issues that were created and building ever since 2013. I had gotten used to allowing others the treat me less than I deserved and in return I treated people unfairly. By the time my life exploded the only emotions I had left were anger and sorrow. I couldn’t enjoy the happy things, although I tried. I would overthink every situation,conversation,motives of others,and my choices. I was beaten down and had no confidence.
One day by the grace of God I saw my weakness. I saw that I was withering away and had become a shell of the happy,bubbly,joy filled person that once was. The Lord awakened my slumbering soul to see that the rage inside of me was dangerous to my salvation but that it could go beyond revengeful thoughts but could lead to actions I would regret. The Holy Spirit lead me to verses about love. It was impossible for me to love Jesus if I didn’t love my brothers and sisters in Christ. Further more the thoughts I was having were one in the same as if I had committed murder because I had hate in my heart. I reached out for help and no one believed me, how desperate I was,and how far my sin had taken me. I’d get simplified responses or even open mockery of what I was asking help with. Looking back I’m glad that I had to work out my depravity with just the Lord and I.
You see, I couldn’t lie to the Lord. He knew the innermost thoughts I had thought. He had seen how the past year had played out. He watched as I built a wall of anger between Him and myself and others and myself. Most of all His love never changed where as the people I had asked for help now saw me in a different light. I’ll never stop being thankful for my Lord’s unfailing love in pulling me out of the pit of darkness that had been created around me! He has truly taken my tears and transformed them into shouts of joy!
This evening while taking a bubble bath as I do often. I felt compelled to worship. I sang Sweet Hour of Prayer,King of my Heart,and Thank You,Jesus. There in the bathtub,completely naked,bubbles glistening, I praised my Lord in a way that I haven’t in a long while. I had to recognize the irony of my literal naked state. We are all naked before the Lord. No masks,filters,or walls stand between us in our creator. There is no need for modesty or shame as we stand before Him each day because He formed us before we were in our mother’s womb. He isn’t phased by our lumps,bruises,stretch marks, beauty,or anything else. He longs for our unashamed worship! Sadly tonight I realize that I have not been spending time with Him as I ought to. When was the last time I wholeheartedly worshipped my savior? Was it last week at meeting? Last month? Last year? I’m sad to say that I can’t recall when it was last that I gave my undistracted voice,heart,and spirit in worship to the creator,savior of my soul,king of my life,Spirit that comforts.
If I haven’t been worshipping my God then who have I been worshipping? I think it has been me. Have I slipped oh so subtly to listening my own voice? Isn’t it my own image I’m seeking after? What are my thoughts in the morning and when I lay my head down at night? “My journey,how far I’ve come,and where will I go?” Those are not reflective of a life of worship of a great king but rather a life of self preservation and inward thinking.
The lyrics from one song in particular,stood out and grabbed my heart inside of my chest,as I sang to my God this evening.
“Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus, thank You
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied
Jesus, thank You
Once Your enemy
Now seated at Your table
Jesus, thank You”
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied! Once “I” was your enemy now “I” am seated at your table. Singing,naked,tears of the daughter who has been “too busy” to seek her Father’s face, it dawned tragically what that wrath was like and to think IT IS COMPLETELY SATISFIED in the blood of JESUS CHRIST for me the daughter that is worshipping her own self,her own achievements,her own newness from the brokenness! What a shame. The singing continued to a new song and still the line “once your enemy,now seated at your table.” I had to utter a prayer something like this. “Oh my God my God how is it that you love me even as I neglect my precious time with you? Father you don’t remove my seat at your table or shun me for my selfish ways. You always have a place for me when I am so undeserving. I’m sorry for taking the journey you have me on and turning it into self worship. I’m sorry to taint your beautiful work in my life with taking credit for my broken pieces becoming whole again. Jesus you are the healer through your blood. Thank you!”
I don’t know where you find yourself tonight. If it’s far from your creator I urge you to turn off your phone,worship your savior,and read or listen to His Word. Tonight take the precious time given to you in this moment to reconnect with the lover of your soul.
When God created people He created them in His image. His vision for His image is not to be in an unhealthy state whether that be various addictions,sin,unhealthy relationships,or even depression. I believe His vision for each of us is to be healthy,happy,and living life to His glory. We cannot do that effectively if we are beat down,attending a chronic pity party,judging others,and hating who we see looking back at us in the mirror (physically or mentally). Someone asked me if the words I said to myself and thought about who I was were things I’d say to my best friend. That opened my awareness that what we believe and say about ourselves will impact how we thrive in life. No I wouldn’t tell my friends that they were worthless. I’d never look at them an announce that they would be better off dead. I wouldn’t be caught thinking they were unlovable. When I realized that I was created in the image of God for “such a time as this” I began to see that there was no possible way to continue living the life that had some how become my new normal. I didn’t have to settle for pain and hopelessness. My pride didn’t need to get in the way of me fulfilling my today and my future. Becoming healthy looks different to each individual that chooses to take that first step. I know for me it started out as a need to overcome despair and to gain strength to be able to do my job. It has taken many new forms as new visions of possibility take place. I dream of a day that I can run in a race! I long to not be the “big girl” in a group of people. I want to grow the list of vegetables that I actually enjoy! Most importantly I want the strength to continue to grow within me both mentally and physically. Let us all remember today and everyday that we have value, one we didn’t earn or must strive to keep. From that knowledge let’s move forward,head held high,and treat ourselves as we treat others.