Hello, My Name is April, and I’m…

Addicted to sugar. That’s me. I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill addicted to sugar. I’m talking all or nothing, no hold’s barred kind of addicted to sugar. I don’t just eat sweets. I EAT sweets. In my world, there is no such thing as “I just want a small piece,” or “I’ll just eat one.” Nope, not in my world. I’m also a closet eater. I wouldn’t dare eat this way in front of people. I hide. Unfortunately, my body tells on me with every pound gained and with every ache and pain. Sugar causes my body pain, and you would think that would be motivation enough to quit. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? 20 You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.” I Corinthians 6:19-20 (Amplified). For a lot of people, this scripture alone would be enough to stop. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people.

A few months ago, I had been praying and asking God for help with this awful addiction. It was getting out of control, to the point of absurdity. I’d eat handfuls of candy (I’m not exaggerating), and I would eat them often. If I were able to go back and count the amounts, calories, grams of sugar, etc., I’m sure I’d faint. I began to realize things were spiraling into an abyss of gluttony, and if something didn’t change, I was going to die. Maybe not that day or that year, but I knew I was in a dire situation, and the only thing I could do, was look up. One day, following a particularly binge-filled day, I heard the Lord challenge me. He said “Go 7 days without eating sugar. Try just 7 days.” So, the very next day, I began the challenge. I’d like to say I met it with ferocity and ardor and with the utmost success, but alas, I did not. By noon, I was going over to my coworker’s desk (where a buffet of candy was kept), and I grabbed a container that had two different sides to the lid. One side was like a shaker with little holes in it, and the other was a larger opening that allowed the sugary goodness to flow into whomever’s hand happened to be waiting to catch it. I knew I was about to disqualify myself from God’s request, but in my life, sugar usually wins out every time. But, as Sophia Petrillo would say, “I digress.” I marched over to her desk with every intention of digging in, all the while justifying my actions with every step. As I was talking to her, I grabbed the container, and without looking at it, I opened it and began to shake the candy into my hand. As I’m talking, I realize nothing is happening. I looked down, and lo and behold, I had opened the shaker side (God is funny that way, isn’t He?). I looked at her, and when I showed her what happened, she said “You shouldn’t be eating that anyway, since you’re giving it up for the next 7 days.” I said “You are absolutely right,” and I put it down and walked away. When my 7 days were up, I was feeling amazing. I was in no pain, and my energy level was through the roof. A month later, I was still going strong, and I had dropped about a size and a half in inches. It was amazing!

Here is where I’d love to tell you I kept right on trucking with this God-given challenge, but I didn’t. I made the mistake one day of letting my sugar get too low, and I was shaking. I walked over to the candy buffet, and mowed through it like nobody’s business. And guess what? No one was around. I was pouring candy into my hands as fast as I could, and I got back to my desk and hid it even faster. *sigh* This is truly embarrassing, but it has to be said. I believe with all my heart, in that month, God had delivered me from my bondage to sugar. But, as the scripture says, when a house (body) is swept clean, if you don’t fill it with the Word of God, what you were delivered from will come back even worse than when it left: “When a corrupting spirit is expelled from someone, it drifts along through the desert looking for an oasis, some unsuspecting soul it can bedevil. When it doesn’t find anyone, it says, ‘I’ll go back to my old haunt.’ On return, it finds the person swept and dusted, but vacant. It then runs out and rounds up seven other spirits dirtier than itself and they all move in, whooping it up. That person ends up far worse than if he’d never gotten cleaned up in the first place.” Luke 11:24-26 (The Message). Now, I’m not saying I was possessed, but I was oppressed. Oppression to me is like having to carry a very heavy weight on your back or on your shoulders. It’s a burden. In other words, these spirits were weighing so heavily on me (ironic, isn’t it?), but when I got my deliverance, I wasn’t able to keep it, because I didn’t get into God’s Word and stay there. I didn’t fill my spirit up with His Word and with His presence. Now, I’m back where I started and worse.

But, God is faithful, and He has been with me through all of this. He sees my struggles, and He hears my cries. He knows my desperation, and He knows right where I am. It has been the absolute grace and mercy of God that I haven’t died before now. He has kept me from having a heart attack, stroke or whatever else might be lurking in the shadows as a result of my gluttonous life. His Love has sustained me. All things considered, I’m relatively healthy, other than sleep apnea (weight-related), asthma (also weight-related) and several aches and pains (yep, weight-related). The way I have treated my body and my spirit is abysmal. Once again, it goes to show how much He Loves me. The devil has been trying to kill me since birth (literally. I almost died at birth, because the chord was around my neck and I was breach). He has made SEVERAL attempts since then, some of which were obvious. Others, not so much, but the attempt was there, nonetheless. In each circumstance, God has intervened, and I have no doubt when I stand before Him and see my life played out, I will see MANY, MANY more instances of His Divine Intervention that I was never aware of. Being addicted to food is as much of an attack on my life as the day of my birth; it’s just more subtle. I have absolutely no doubt, God has shown me that’s exactly what the devil is up to. If he can’t kill me with accidents or illness, he’s going to try to do it through food. And if I don’t let God do what He wants/needs to do with me, he will succeed. God has told me through His Word, through other people’s prophetic words for me and through dreams He’s given me, He has a plan for me. He has something big He needs me to do, and I believe that, because why else would the devil go through such great lengths to try to make sure that doesn’t happen? I love what Lisa Bevere said: “The devil isn’t afraid of who you were or who you have been in the past. He’s afraid of who you will become.” And it’s so true! He’s terrified of what we will become. His time is short; shorter than it ever has been, and he’s desperate.

Something needs to change. I need to change, and I need to allow God to do it now. I need to be obedient and do exactly what He tells me to do. This blog is supposed to be about my weight loss journey in the Grace and Wisdom of God. Up to now, it hasn’t really been. I’ve been hearing Him whisper to me that it’s time. I’ve heard this whisper before, but up til now, I haven’t truly responded with “Yes, Lord.” I’ve allowed my flesh to have its way. I’ve put the desire of my flesh before the will of the Lord. Galatians 5:16-25: 16 “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”

It’s now or never. It’s not go big or go home. It’s go big BEFORE you go home. I don’t want to get to Heaven by the skin of my teeth. I don’t want to get there and see my life played out and feel regret. I have wasted enough time in my 41 years on this earth. I want to get to Heaven having done all He’s called me to do. I want to finish my race. And, in Christ’s strength, Wisdom and Grace, I will. Thank You, God, for Your forgiveness. Thank You, for not giving up on us.

Thank You, for Jesus.

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Count the Rainbows

After recently going through my fifth miscarriage, God sent me a very special message. Three days after I miscarried, I went to the doctor for what would have been an appointment to hear our baby’s heartbeat; an appointment I was to share with my mother. But, instead, I found myself in the oh-so-familiar situation of a miscarriage follow-up with my OB/GYN. I went alone, but I wasn’t alone. My Jesus was right there with me. As I sat in the waiting room, I was struggling to understand why I miscarried what we thought was a perfectly healthy baby. I sat in the children’s play area – a place I have never sat – looking out the window (it happened to be empty that day). My eyes caught sight of a picture that had been drawn by a child who will probably never know the message written in crayon would be for a heartbroken woman longing to have a baby of her own. A child who will probably never know God Himself whispered those words in their ear, because it was something I so desperately needed to hear. The Heaven-sent message was “Count the Rainbows, not the Thunders.” Now, I am someone who loves stormy weather, but when it comes to the storms of life, not so much. Who does? But one thing I’ve learned, especially through the last two miscarriages is, God is with me. In those moments of having to give our babies back to Him, I’ve felt His presence so tangibly. I have cried out to Him in pain and anguish, and immediately, His Love and peace came. The pain didn’t go away, but He was there, and I knew it; He made sure I knew it. He was there when the miscarriages were in full swing. He was there with me, as I sat alone in that waiting room. He was in the loving hug I received from a nurse who took my blood for tests. She held me while I cried and made no effort to let me go, because she saw my pain and wanted to do what she could to make it better. Her arms were God’s arms embracing me in my brokenness. He was there in the moments my precious husband did everything he could to comfort and love me through it all. And He was there in that message drawn by someone’s child, who heard the voice of the Father. My Father. My Father, Who gave up His only Son to get me. My Father, Who loves me, and you, that much.

Don’t count the thunders. It’s sometimes hard not to, when it seems they are all you can hear. But, as I watched my husband try so hard to love me through this, I began to count the rainbows. Jason is one of my many, many rainbows. Even though this baby was not meant to be, and I don’t understand why right now, God has given me rainbows. I have a Savior Who gave everything He had for me; a Savior Who would have done it all had I been the only one He’d gain from it. I have a husband who loves me beyond my human comprehension. I have a home, food on the table and clothes in my closet. I have a purpose. I have a destiny. I have a hope and a future. My favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11-13 (AMP): 11 “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. 13 Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” What an amazing promise.

There will be thunders, because in life there are storms. I don’t always understand why they come, but I know not to count them, because beyond the thunders are my rainbows; with Jesus, there will ALWAYS be rainbows. I will keep my focus on Him. He’s always with me, and He’s always waiting with rainbows.

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