Thursday, March 31, 2011

He Wants Your Ugly!

For years I hid the ugly part of my life. I hid it from the ones I loved and from my God, or so I thought. Of course, I know that nothing is hidden from the eyes of the One who created me.

I had a secret. It started when I was a little girl. My parents did not know about it. When I married, I managed to keep this one little detail of my life from my husband. My friends did not know. The people at my church did not know. I lived my life wanting to please everyone. I wanted others to see a perfect picture. I wanted everyone to believe that I had it all together and that was the image I portrayed.

It worked well for me until a little over a year ago. I had been on the mountain top with my Lord. His presense was so very real to me. I experienced Him daily. We walked together. And then one day it changed. I felt Him telling me to withdraw from my responsibilities. I stepped down as the Women's Ministry leader at my church. Friendships that I had treasured for years suddenly changed. As I sat in church one Sunday listening to the message, these words came to my mind Victory In Jesus, No Longer Living a Life of Defeat. I scribbled them down on a scratch piece of paper I found tucked in my Bible. What did they mean? Was it the title of a Bible Study or a book I was to write? Was it something I was going to do for God?

As I pondered these words in my spirit, I immediately knew that God was on to my little secret. He wasn't asking me to do something for Him rather He was about to do something huge in me. He was aware of my hiding place. Not only was He aware of my hiding place, but He wanted it. I began to run. It seemed like I ran forever. The distance between me and my Lord was cavernous. I was very lonely. I longed for Him, but the price was too great.

Meanwhile, I maintained the picture perfect facade. I didn't want others to know that the woman that had led them for years was now running from the very One she tried to point them to. What would others think? I had to just keep going through the motions. I attended church, but my heart was not there. I facilitated a Bible Study, but it was all just empty words strung together. How long would this last?

One day, I was laying on my bed doing my Bible study homework. It was very much me just going through the motions. Spiritually speaking, we were at a stalemate. He wanted this one area of my life and I was not giving it up. I knew why He wanted it. His daughter was being held captive. My secret had held me captive for more than twenty years. It had become such a very real part of me that I could not image my life without it. Yet, I hated it. Why couldn't I just let it go?

The secret that I carried with me was that I hid food -- mainly sweet things like Little Debbie cakes and candy bars. I had made food my god. I retreated to my hiding places when I was sad, lonely, depressed, happy, or bored. I used food to fill the void I was feeling at the moment. I hated myself for this. When I looked in the mirror, I hated the women looking back at me. I could not imagine how my husband loved me and wanted me. I was useless, ugly, worthless. My feelings about myself were dependent on the number that looked at me when I stepped on the scale. In my mind I had come up with a tolerable range. When I went over it, I loathed myself. This is the cycle I lived with for more than twenty years. It was not an everyday occurance, but was more frequent that I care to remember. Why would God want this?

Now back to that day where I lay on my bed doing my Bible study homework. I was reading in the book of Psalm. My assignment was chapter 146. When I got to verse 7, the breath literally left my body. Verse 7 reads ..."The Lord sets prisoners free." My sobs were uncontrollable. It was as if my Jesus had been running along side me all along and right at that moment He grabbed me by the shoulders. He began to whisper in my ear, "I can do that for you! I can set you free!" I could not catch my breath, all I could do was cry. Finally, I was able to whisper "Can You really Jesus? Can You really set me free?" In that moment I wanted Him to take it. The pain of hanging on to this area of defeat was too great. I struggled with how to give it to Him. I wanted Him to have it, I really did. I struggled over the next few days. I wanted to be set free but really did not know how to grab hold of the freedom that Jesus was extending to me.

Several days passed. I felt the Lord telling me to share this with my husband. He is a Godly man who loves the Lord more than he loves me. I am very grateful for him. We were on our way home and I told him that I needed to share a secret with him that I had hid from him for years. I know his heart had to skip a few beats wondering what bombshell I was about to drop on him.

The words would not come but the tears flowed. We sat in our car talking for what seemed like hours. We prayed together and then I took him by the hand and showed him my hiding places. I opened cabinets that for years had concealed my secret. I reached in jars that he thought were just for decoration, but which secretly contained evidence of my bondage. He collected it all and we threw it away. I was embarrassed. His strong, confident wife was broken and fragile. But that day I grabbed hold of the freedom that Jesus extended to me and I have not looked back.

I can tell you today, a year later, that Jesus has taken my cravings away. He has freed me from the self hatred that held me captive. Food is no longer my god. I no longer run to it to meet my needs. Jesus set this prisoner free!

Is there an area of your life that you can't let go of but you constantly feel guilty about? If this is true, then you are being held captive. Just as He set this prisoner free, He will do the same for you. All you have to do is lay down your yoke of slavery. Dear one give it to Him and let Him carry it. He wants your ugly!

This post was submitted in a giveaway being offered by Ann at A Holy Experience for a change to win a scholarship to attend the She Speaks Conference. This is a conference by Proverbs 31 Ministries and it is for those that feel God is calling them to speak, write and lead. If you have ever felt God prompting you in any of these areas, I would highly recommend the conference.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Mirror Does Not Define Me!

Last weekend, I had the priviledge of attending the Girls Night Out with Anita Renfroe and Mandisa. It was a wonderful evening full of laughter and even a few tears. You know you have had a great girls night out when you can say that you laughed and cried.

Mandisa had several great t-shirts for sale. One of my favorites was the one that stated "The Mirror Does Not Define Me!" I first saw if while we were waiting in line to enter. A young girl on crutches behind me was wearing it. Her hair was very short and later I learned that she was battling cancer. I don't know about you, but if you have ever struggled with image issues this shirt speaks volumes. I spent many a year looking in the mirror and being unhappy with the image staring back at me. Over the last year, I have really enjoyed my freedom from the mirror and learning that it does not define me.

Yesterday I went in a store and decided to browse through their dresses. I love the new styles that have the ruffles around the collars. Some were even sporting a few flowers in with the ruffles. I decided that I would go for it and try a few of these dresses on. I knew that the lack of structure in the dress would not work well for me, but the ruffles drew me in. To be honest, I should have sold tickets to the fitting room show because it was quite entertaining. I do not have a body that can wear just anything. I have some issues, if you know what I mean, and some of my issues need hiding. There were no hiding places in these dresses. So needless to say I came home empty handed except for the small victory I was carrying in my heart.

It wasn't too long ago that a dressing room episode like the one I had yesterday would have sent me to my hiding places to seek the comfort of food. But yesterday as I looked in the mirror dressed in the ill-fitted garments I said aloud...The Mirror Does Not Define Me! These clothes not fitting me does not define me. And then my mind began to run away with the truth of who I really am...dearly loved, forgiven, the apple of His eye and the list goes on and on. So I want to encourage you today to look at what is defining you. Are you being defined by the truth or are you being fooled by lies.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Something to make you laugh!

I have opted not to post because all that has really been on my mind is my watery eyes, hacking cough and headache. And let's be honest...who really wants to hear about that? So last night as I was laying in the bathtub dosing on an off (I laid in there for almost an hour) I remembered a funny story that I wanted to share.

Several years ago, my childhood best friend was moving back to this area after being gone for about two years. Since we had not seen each other for two years, we decided to rent a cabin in the mountains for the weekend. We included our families in the mini reunion.

So the weekend arrives and as we are on our way up the highway, I tell my husband that I am not feeling well. My not feeling well, turned into an emerency stop on the side of the road for me to "hang my head" if you know what I mean. I felt better and decided that maybe I had just gotten car sick. We continue on our way to the cabin. As time passes, I am certain that I didn't get car sick. I had a lovely stomach bug.

The big selling feature of our cabin was the jacuzzi tub. The owners really liked their tub. This was not the selling feature for us, but it was a big bathtub. I think we all could have fit in it because it was huge! Since I was feeling all achy and yucky, I decided I would go for a soak.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it took forever to fill the tub up. I was laid back in the tub just waiting for the water to cover the jets. My arms were resting on the sides of the tub (a.k.a. small swimming pool) The button to turn on the jets is right at the tips of my fingers on my right hand. Finally the water is covering the jets. With my eyes barely open, I reach and tap the button to turn on the jets. The water begins to gush out and I crack my eyes open just enough to see black stuff shotting out. For some reason, in my mind I immediately think of rats and assume that I am now taking a bath with rats. In less than two seconds, I am out of the tub and screaming.

Once I collect myself, I discover that I am not taking a bath with rats just large sheets of black mold!

I look down to see that I am covered in the mold. To say I am grossed out is an understatement! I run over to jump in the shower to get the mold off. When I turn on the water, I discover that the shower head is pointing straight at my face. So now I'm the one that looks like a wet rat.

As a result of that experience, I have decided that I will not longer use other people's jetted tubs. I think it is a really good rule to live by and one you might want to consider adopting.

I was reminded of this story last night as I reached to turn on the jets in my bathtub. Thankfully I was not greeted by rats or black mold, just a giggle or two.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Weekend Recap

We had a big weekend of celebrations. I can not even begin to comprehend that my baby girl is 8 years old. I am not even kidding when I say that just yesterday she was my chubby cheeked baby and now she is considered a tween. You know she has just entered the stage before teen. I should go ahead and ask you to pray for her daddy!

She had a big celebration with her friends. We enjoyed having seven squeeling little girls for a sleepover. They busted a pinata, played air hockey, sang and danced the night away. There favorite game is one we made up called musical sleeping bags. You play it like musical chairs only there are no chairs only folded sleeping bags on the floor. When the music stops, the girl not sitting on a sleeping bag is out. It was loads of fun!

A couple of years ago I bought a Pure NRG cd for the kids and can I tell you how glad I was to have it this past weekend. This is a Christian singing group which consists of two girls and one boy. They are pre-teen age and have a great sound. I was just thrilled that all the girls were dancing around and starting to sing Christian music.

Here lately, I have been so aware of the war that is raging against our little girls. If you are a mom of a daughter let me assure you that it is a war. It seems that everything in our culture is sexual in nature. Just the other day I saw the commercial for Orkin Pest Control and the roach in their commercial is talking in a deep, sexy voice saying "What if I came back to your place..." I can not believe that even pest control commercials with roaches in them are having a sexual tone. It is a war and it is time for us mamas to gear up for the battle. I will fight, fight, fight for the innocence and purity of my little girl. Eight year olds don't need to be thinking about kissing boys. They don't need to hear about boyfriend and girlfriend feelings in songs. Now if someone will give me their hand, I will step down off my soap box!

Also over the weekend, we were back at the baseball field. I was so excited. My son started playing baseball when he was four years old. And then a couple of years ago he said he didn't want to play anymore. This year out of the blue, he asked if he could sign up and play again. I was so excited because I love watching him play.

He and my hubby are warming up before the game. He played an awesome game. He was two for two and he caught the whole game. He made an awesome play throwing a guys out at second. Their team lost by one run but we all enjoyed a beautiful day at the ballpark.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

How Busy Are You?

I had to go back to the doctor today because these lovely sinuses of mine are DRIVING ME CRAZY!!! I use to never be bothered by the beautiful bloomings of spring, but over the last few years that has all changed. Normally I can handle the symptoms with some over the counter stuff, but this time it decided to settle in my ear. MawMaw here can't handle an ear ache! I went on that rant to say that the nurse asked me if I was tired. She and I both started laughing and confessed that we are never not tired.

I want to share with you what my devotional said this morning. This comes from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (you need this book if you don't have it). Sarah writes as if Jesus is speaking directly to you. Today it said, "I have prepared this day for you with the most tender concern and attention to detail. Instead of approaching the day as a blank page that you need to fill up, try living it in a responsive mode: being on the lookout for all that I am doing. This sounds easy, but it requires a deep level of trust, based on the knowledge that My way is perfect."

This is so contrary to how I live my life. I pack my days full and hope to squeeze God in to what I already have planned. What I have been reminded of over the last few days is that God has a plan and a purpose for everyday of my life. If I busy my days with meaningless stuff then I miss out on what God had planned for me.

How do we know what God has planned for us?

We have to ask Him. We have to be still before Him and listen to His prompting. We have to read His Word. These things don't just happen, we have to be intentional about them.

Can I tell you that one of satan's biggest tricks that he uses on us is to keep up busy. He has been using it for generations and we keep falling for it. It is time that we wise up to his schemes!

I hope you will join me in examining your days and seeing if you are like me and just too busy for God.

On a totally different note...I have to add this for my friend Michelle. My friend is very organized and I am not so much. Well, I was at my friend's house last night and left encouraged to get more organized. So today while I was out, I picked up some containers to organized my medicine, bandaids, etc. I keep all of this stuff in my kitchen and it was in desperate need of help. I get busy working and discover that I have lots of stuff that has expired. I finally get it all organized and back in the cabinet. My sweet daughter was working on her homework and said, "I don't even know whose house this is!" I asked what she was talking about and she just pointed to the shelf and said "we are not that organized!" I love it!

Pray for me...this weekend I'll be entertaining a house full of seven and eight years olds as we celebrate my daughter turning 8! (I can't really discuss it because the thought that she is eight is more than I can handle!)

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