Beauty is in the Eye of Our Beholder Part 2

Just a quick update! Praise God, I was able to find the song that had these beautiful lyrics I was talking about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfyutFUdUEw&feature=youtu.be

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Beauty is in the Eye of Our Beholder

I’ve been thinking a lot about how God sees each of us since my last post. I remembered a scripture prayer that I wrote about 3 or 4 years ago about that very subject. Unfortunately, I don’t have the scripture references that I used, but I’ll be referencing several in here. I wanted to post this prayer. It’s all scriptures (Amplified version, of course):

“Beautiful Father, I confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful, and I am full of awe at the wonder of my birth! Your thoughts to me are so precious and so many, God! The sum of them is so vast! You blot out and cancel my transgressions for Your own sake, and You will not remember my sins. You will not forget me. You have indelibly imprinted and tattooed a picture of me on the palm of each of Your hands. You rejoice over me as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. Father, before You formed me in the womb, You knew and approved of me as Your chosen instrument. Even before I was born, You separated and set me apart, consecrating and appointing me. You are with me as a Mighty One, a Savior Who saves! You rejoice over me with joy, and You rest in silent satisfaction. In Your love, You will be silent and make no mention of my past sins. You won’t even recall them. You exult over me with singing. As far as the east is from the west, is how far You have removed my transgressions from me. I am not called a servant or slave any longer, because Jesus calls me His friend. He has made known to me everything that He has heard from you. Everything He has learned from You, He has revealed to me. You have chosen, appointed, and planned me, so that I will bear fruit and keep on bearing. And my fruit will be lasting, remain, and abide, so that whatever I ask of You in Jesus’ Name, as presenting all that He is, You will give it to me. The Spirit that I have received is not a spirit of slavery to put me in bondage and fear again, but I have received the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit producing sonship, and in that happiness, I cry Abba Father! Nothing will separate me from Christ’s love. Not suffering, affliction, tribulation, calamity, distress, persecution, hunger, destitution, peril, or sword. Since I am united with You, I have become one spirit with You. My body is the temple, the very sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, Who lives within me. I have received Him as a Gift from You. I am not my own. I was bought with a price and purchased with a preciousness, paid for, and made Your own. I will honor You and bring glory to You in my body. You foreordained me, destined me, and planned in love for me to be adopted and revealed as Your own child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of Your will, because it pleased You and it was Your kind intent. I am no longer an outsider, exile, migrant, or alien excluded from the rights of citizens, but I now share citizenship with the saints, Your own people, consecrated and set apart for You. I belong to Your own household. I was darkness, but now I am light in You. I will walk as a child of Light, and I will lead a life as one native-born to the Light. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me. I am ready for anything, and I am equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me. I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency. I am in Him, made full and, since I have come to fullness of life in Christ, I am also filled with the Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and I will reach full spiritual stature. I fearlessly, confidently, and boldly draw near to the throne of grace, the throne of Your unmerited favor to me, a sinner, so that I can receive mercy for my failures, and find grace to help in good time for every need. I will receive appropriate and well-timed help that comes just when I need it. What an incredible quality of Love You have given, shown, and bestowed on me! Love that permits me to be named, called, and counted as one of Your children! And I am! I absolutely know that since I am born of You, and if I do not deliberately and knowingly practice sin, Jesus, Who was begotten of You, carefully watches over and protects me. Christ’s divine presence is within me and preserves me against evil. The wicked one does not lay hold of, get a grip on, or touch me. I am convinced and sure of this very thing: that You Who began a good work in me, will continue until the day of Jesus Christ, and even right up to the time of His return, developing that good work, perfecting, and bringing it to full completion in me.” I purposely underlined that part about honoring and bringing Him glory in my body. I needed that reminder!

The Bible is full of scriptures that show us how much God loves us, but do we really grasp the enormity of it? Do we really understand it? One of my prayers today is, “Lord, I want to understand and KNOW Your love for me. I want to walk in it, live in it, and know it every single second of every single day.” Someone once told me they never fully understood how much God loved them until they had children of their own. In fact, I’ve heard that more than once. I don’t want to have to wait until then to really know His love for me. I want to understand it now!

Of course, the most important outpouring of God’s Love was the precious gift of His Son, Jesus. I don’t know of any parent today who would sacrifice their child for the life of another. Probably the most famous scripture in all of the Bible is John 3:16. We all know it, and unfortunately, we have heard it so much, sometimes we just read/say it almost without thinking about it. But that is one scripture that needs to be pondered. Meditated. “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” But more than that, Jesus died for all of us. Not only those who loved Him, but for those who didn’t. So many through the years have felt that Jesus came as a judge. Someone to point His holy finger, but the next verse in John 3 says otherwise: “For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.” Grace! Amazing Grace that we couldn’t possibly deserve. Even on the cross, the soldiers and people mocked and hated Him, because they didn’t understand why He hung there. And in the midst of Him hanging there feeling more pain, anguish, rejection and agony than any human ever could in a thousand lifetimes, He asked God to forgive them! Why? Romans 5:8 – “But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.” LOVE. Perfect, agape Love. I heard a song recently, and I wish I knew who sings it. I don’t even know the title, but the chorus says something like “nails didn’t hold You to that cross. Love did.” I have yet to be able to catch the title and author of that song, but it is beautiful. And it’s true. He didn’t have to do what He did. He had a choice. That’s Love. John 15:13 says “No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.” Jesus didn’t die for just His friends. He did it knowing not everyone would receive His Love and His gift. He did it knowing there would be people who would hate Him, despise and reject Him. No greater Love, my friends…

It doesn’t matter what you have done. It doesn’t matter what you have said. Jesus Loves you, and NOTHING will EVER change that. Whether anyone accepts Him or not, He still Loves. He paid for OUR sins. He didn’t just die for the people who walked the earth with Him. He did it for ALL OF US. Another great song from a while back was titled “While He Was on the Cross, I Was on His Mind.” I believe that with all of my heart. Before He went to the cross, He prayed for His disciples, and for all of us in the future. John 17:20-23 “Neither for these alone (<– He is speaking of His disciples here) do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching, 21 That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me. 22 I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: 23 I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.” (underline and insert mine) If you’ve read the Bible or heard teaching on it, then you have heard the disciple’s words and teachings, which means you and I qualify for the underlined statement there. Think about that! Jesus was praying for all of us! You and me! And it didn’t stop there. He continues to intercede for us to this very day..this very moment. Romans 8:34 “Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?” Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.” Again..Love!

God could have left me in my sin. He could have left me on the path I was on, but He didn’t. He plucked me out of the darkness that surrounded me, and He showed me His immense and unending love for me through His precious Son. It’s no accident He took me in this direction today. He knows what needs to be said and when. And He knows who needs to hear it. I need to hear it! Each time I post, my desire is that HE will write. He will lead, guide and direct , and He does. Why? Because He LOVES you. He can’t love you more than He already does, because He Loves you with all that He is. And He IS Love! I John 4:8 “He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love.”

I would love for y’all to comment about whatever you feel. Please feel free to do that anytime! Comments, questions, testimonies, stories..whatever!

Again, be encouraged! Be blessed! God is in Love with you!

Your Sister In Christ,

April

The Truth Hurts

So y’all remember when I said I promise to be brutally honest, right? Alrighty then.

I’m only in day two, and already, I’m having to have that “either I’m going to do this or I’m not” talk with myself. When I got home tonight after work, I was exhausted, and my butt felt like it was dragging so far behind me, it was still on the interstate when I was unlocking my door. Needless to say, someone didn’t want to cook (there’s no reason to point fingers, so moving on :p ). One thing I will mention, I have been trying to get into the habit of making menus every couple of weeks. That way, when we go to the store, our list is organized, and we don’t buy a bunch of things we don’t need. Our most recent two week menu was finished, but we have yet to follow most of it. Anyway, tonight’s menu was supposed to be stuffed bell peppers. I have all the ingredients for this dish, but when Jason got the bell peppers out of the fridge, there were only two. And they were itty bitty. Any takers on what we did next? Yep..we went to visit our friend Wendy. She’s a generous sort. Makes us whatever we want and offers a trio of sizes: small, medium and large! True story!

Now, for the truth hurts part. It hurts to know I failed today. It hurts to know that I am bruised from falling off the proverbial wagon. But in the midst of the hurt comes the knowledge that Jesus is right there with me with His hand out to help me up, dust me off and show me where I went wrong. I have to really ask myself, how bad do I want this? How bad do I want to be healthy and whole? How bad do I want to be rid of aches and pains, sluggishness and the expense of having to pay more for clothes that have way more fabric than most?

As I type this, the Holy Spirit has gently shown me that I need to shift my focus back to where it needs to be. Yes, I have messed up, and with gusto. But He forgives me, and I need to forgive myself. He has reminded me that I didn’t get this way overnight, and it won’t be a quick fix. Yes, God can, and I’m believing He will, do a quick work in us, but these are habits that I’ve spent years “perfecting”. I need to rest in Him and accept His grace for me in this situation. I need to understand and remember that when I’m tempted to visit Sugarville or take a ride on the Fast Food Freeway, I need to stop and just say one thing: “Jesus”. And here’s why:

A couple of years ago, I did something I never ever thought I’d do. I did a 40 day fast. No food. Not a crumb. But let me just tell you, God was with me. One day, I was sitting at work, and I was being tempted to eat like I have NEVER been before. I was literally being BOMBARDED with “Just order a pizza. God will forgive you. It’s only once. You’re hungry. You have done well, so you deserve this.” I was alone in the office (thank God), and it got so bad, I was shaking trying not to pick up the phone to order some food. It was in that moment that the Lord reminded me of a precious scripture –  Hebrews 2:18 “For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering].” (underlines mine) I prayed out loud “Jesus, please help me. I can’t do this. I need You to help me.” It was INSTANTANEOUS! The temptations were IMMEDIATELY gone. Every imp from hell that was attacking me, He took care of. THAT is what I should have done tonight. And that’s what makes me ask the question “how bad do I want this?” Am I truly done with treating the Holy Spirit’s temple with such disdain? Am I truly done with taking the precious gift of Jesus for granted?

By the grace of God, yes, I am. Right now, I am taking this second by second. In the literal sense. And as I walk in and receive the grace of God second by second, it will progress to minute by minute. Eventually, He and I will work up to day by day. I will ALWAYS need His grace. There will never be a time when I don’t. I have spent so many years trying and toiling to do this on my own, He’s having to teach me to focus on Him and rest in Him. Trust Him. Love Him. And let Him love me. That’s the clincher right there. God wants me/us to realize we can’t earn His Love. There is absolutely NOTHING we can do to earn anything He’s given. And we don’t have to. It’s already been done! It’s a done deal! This is another lesson I’m learning minute by minute. For so many years, I’ve been convinced if I didn’t read my Bible enough or pray enough, God was unhappy with me. Even angry. The Bible paints a vastly different picture of my Savior and my God. It paints a picture of a DADDY. My Abba Father – Daddy God. HE’S the One I want to get to know. And HE’S Who I WILL get to know in that way. I believe with all of my heart, it’s the main reason for this journey He’s taking me on.

There is another scripture that has brought me so much comfort (there are lots of them, but this one keeps coming up in my spirit). Hebrews 13:5-6 “Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?” (Underline mine). How incredible is that?

Well, like I said in my first post, there will be good days and bad days. And that’s ok. The important thing to remember is, He’s there no matter what we do. He knows we’re going to fall and fail before we do. He’s not in Heaven smacking His forehead saying “Dude, I did NOT see that coming!” And I, for one, am SOOOO glad He’s not!

Tomorrow, I’d like to post some scriptures on how He DOES feel about us, unless He takes me in another direction. I would also like to post some of the resources I’m using for the eating plan He gave me. That will be an interesting one, too!

Rest in Him. Rest in His Love for you. Rest, be still and know HE IS GOD. I am praying for all you who are and will be reading this blog. Know I love you, and I’m cheering for all of you, too!

Your Sister In Christ,

April


 

 

A Picture is Worth 280 Pounds

Ok, everyone! I think I have figured out how to upload a picture. Here is the before picture I promised. Before pictures always look like someone was dropped on every branch of an ugly tree, and the after is a glamour shot, so my before is..well frightening. :o) 

*takes a deep breath and holds*

 2014-03-05_19-09-08_915

The Moment-um of Truth

Good morning! As promised, I have weighed and measured, and I also have a “before” picture to post. Before I do that, let me start off by saying thank you, to those who have stopped by and left a comment. I’m so appreciative of the love and support. Please know, I love and support all of you, as well!

I was reading my Bible this morning, and the first verse I read was Psalm 25:1 – “Unto You, O Lord, do I bring my life” (any scriptures I reference will be in the Amplified version. That’s my personal favorite). How fitting, isn’t it? I have struggled for most of my life with my weight/food addiction, and until now, I’ve tried to overcome on my own. I’ve said in the past that I give God control, but every time I’ve handed Him the steering wheel, I’m hanging from it, refusing to let go. Outside of Him, we can do nothing. He says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. We are to cast all of our cares onto Him, because He cares for us. Why? Because He knows what stress, worry, anxiety, fear and unforgiveness will do to our bodies. I have given my heart to Jesus, but today, in this new endeavor, Lord, I bring to You my life, my body. I lay myself at Your feet, because I can’t do this outside of You. 

Verses 4-5 and 12-14  in Psalm 25 were very good, as well: Vs 4-5: “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long.” Wow! Without His guidance, we are literally flying blind. He’s the light to our paths. We need Him! I know I do! Vs 12-14: “Who is the man who reverently fears and worships the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way that he should choose. 13 He himself shall dwell at ease, and his offspring shall inherit the land. 14 The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.” Thank You, Jesus! I am so wanting that companionship with Him! And He wants it even more than we do! Think about that…the great God Jehovah wants and LONGS to spend time with us! That’s one of the many things I am believing for in this whole thing..to get closer to Him than I ever have before. 

Back in June, the Lord reminded me of something I had written in an email to a friend of mine quite a while ago. I had been asking Him recently, to show me how to get this weight off and how to overcome the things in my life that are tripping me up. Here is what my email said: “So I’ve been really discouraged with the way I’ve slid right back into old habits, and I’ve been praying and asking God why I do that. This morning, He showed me that I’ve been so focused on MY eating, MY habits, MY weight. My focus needs to be on HIM, HIM, HIM. I’ve got it backwards. I keep saying it needs to be His strength, Wisdom, etc., but as long as I’m focused on what I’M doing, I won’t get anywhere. My eyes need to be always fixed on HIM. No matter what is going on..remember Peter walking on the water? As long as he was looking into the eyes of the Savior, he was safe, and he knew it. But the SECOND his focus shifted, he sank. Same exact thing with me. My focus needs to be on my Savior only! Otherwise, all my “efforts” will fail. By doing that, I will succeed, because it will be me moving in His strength, Wisdom, etc.” Pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? I’ve made myself an idol right along with food and TV (which will be a future blog. Just sayin’).

After weighing this morning, I was really dreading putting it on here for the world to see, but the Lord showed me it doesn’t define who I am. And it’s temporary. So, casting pride to the wayside, here goes. My weight this morning was 280 – depending on the accuracy of the scale. I’d like to think my actual weight is 150 and it’s just way off, but I digress. Measurements are as follows:

Right arm: 18.5″

Left arm: 19.5″

Chest: 47.5″

Upper stomach (my tummy is in three parts..yeah, I know): 48″

Waist: 47″

Lower stomach: 54″ (this one looks like I have a built-in fanny pack)

Butt: 57″

Thighs: 48″

And there you have it. I have titled this blog The Moment-um of Truth, because with God’s Grace, I will be picking up momentum and this weight has no choice but to go. I’m choosing to be obedient and make the right food choices and use portion control. Proverbs 25:16 says “Have you found [pleasure sweet like] honey? Eat only as much as is sufficient for you, lest, being filled with it, you vomit it.” (underline mine) I’m choosing to be obedient and exercise. I like to think of it this way: Would you walk into a church and dump a ton of garbage into it? Why do we do that to our bodies, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit? Ouch!!

I have to figure out how to post pictures on here. Once I do, I’ll get that done. Before I sign out for now, I was also reading in Romans and I really liked Romans 1:5-6: It is through Him that we have received grace (God’s unmerited favor) and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name’s sake among all the nations, And this includes you, called of Jesus Christ and invited [as you are] to belong to Him.” Let us live by example in EVERY area.

More postings later! Have a wonderful day, and never forget: God is in Love with You!

Your Sister In Christ,

April

Weight For His Glory “Ribbon Cutting”! Drum Roll Please….

Let me start by saying welcome! I begin my blogging and weight loss journey simultaneously, because I feel it will be not only therapeutic, but because I felt an urgency from the Lord to do so. I’m a writer at heart, but, so far, I’ve been much better at writing than losing weight. I hope to – no – I WILL improve both, as I daily walk in God’s Grace. I promise to be brutally honest about the good, bad and ugly, because what’s the point of sugar coating everything..especially when one is addicted to sugar! 

So, in honor of my pledge to be honest, here is my story….

Growing up, I was very athletic. I loved to be outside, and I played any sport thrown at me (no pun intended). As I got older, I was still very athletic, but my eating habits were becoming less than healthy. I would sneak cookies (by the handfuls) every chance I got. I would PRAY that when desserts were being passed out, I’d get a piece the size of a small country. Looking back, especially in Jr. High and High School, I wasn’t fat by any means, but I wasn’t rail thin, either, so I was teased and made fun of by some boys in school. The fact that I had a C cup bra size in the 5th grade didn’t help matters, either. Needless to say, the way I saw myself was skewed at an early age. Add braces and glasses (at the same time, mind you), and well…

Things got a bit better when I became a Junior in High School. I got contacts, the braces came off, and a very, very dear friend taught me how to take care of my skin and wear makeup. She knows who she is. Keep in mind, I was still athletic at this point. Loved sports (still do, actually), and I was very active in volleyball. Then, we moved to Tennessee, and the weight started to creep on. Not because of the South. You can maintain a healthy weight ANYWHERE. They sell healthy food there, too, ya know! Once I got into college..forget about it! The weight gain race was on! Late nights “snacks”, eating out…yes, you can imagine. I ballooned like the Goodyear Blimp! And it didn’t stop. I don’t remember what weight I was at that point (I promise!), but it wasn’t good. I watched my friends all fit into petite clothes, and I was buying ones with X-tra fabric. I would love to be that size today, but the Bible says don’t look back, so I won’t. I’m just going to keep my eyes on Jesus!

After college, and several years later, I got married. I was in such wedded bliss, I gained like a banshee. Neither of us were health nuts at that point, so you can imagine. After about a year and a half into the marriage I got pregnant. Talk about happy! But, I was at 280 pounds, and I’m 5’4″. The only reason I didn’t look like a Weeble Wobble was because I carried it well (my body didn’t feel well, though) and had a lot of muscle. I immediately started to rethink how I was eating. I know, shoulda, coulda, woulda. Better late than never, right? Well, from the beginning, I was sick as a dog, and it wasn’t just morning time. It was morning, noon and night! After 11 weeks, I miscarried. I was devastated, and like in times past, I ate to comfort myself. I ate myself happy when I was sad, angry or depressed. I ate when I was bored. I ate when I watched TV. I ate because it was raining. You get the idea. I ATE. The only time I didn’t eat was if I was nervous or scared. A month after I miscarried, it was revealed to me that my husband was cheating. Lo and behold, I stopped eating! Not by choice. I was completely and utterly devastated, and food, for the first time in my life, took a backseat. I dropped 25 pounds in a very short amount of time, but I had no idea I was losing, because I was still wearing my baggy clothes. People were commenting about how much smaller I was, and I had no idea. My friend Brandon intervened, because he noticed, too. He took me clothes shopping and was picking out clothes that I KNEW were NOT going to fit. Guess what…they did! 

Long story short (I know..), I moved away after the divorce, met my now husband Jason (a wonderful man), and I am back up to where I was before. *sigh* But that’s ok. God is faithful, and He has shown me the path He wants me to take for this weight loss journey. And that, my friends, is why I’m here. He has put it on my heart to share my story and my journey with you. He knows who needs to hear it, and He knows why. He knows what story He wants to write in our lives, and I’m more than happy to give Him my pen. And now, you and I are in this together! 

I haven’t weighed lately, but I will in the morning. *gulps* I will also measure, and I will post that, as well as a “before” photo. I will post highs, lows and everything in between. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, whatever you feel. One thing you will find about me, I’m and open book. I’m not afraid to answer questions. I want this to be a site of encouragement, freedom to vent, cry, laugh, all the while keeping in mind this is a clean establishment. You can speak your mind without being abusive or rude. I thank you all in advance.

Please be patient, as I am brand spankin’ new to blogging. I’m going to be trying to figure this all out in the process, too! I’ll share more later. For now, I wanted to do the intro. More to come!

 

Be blessed! Be encouraged! God is in Love with you!

Your Sister In Christ,
April