Just Got 2 Tell

Anything & Everything I Feel Compelled to Share with the World!

God Is So Good! March 30, 2014

There are many places in the Psalms where the writer reflects or calls the audience to reflect and remember what the Lord has done.  Remembering is key to moving forward.  I know so many say not to look back on the past to leave it there and press onward.  Paul says, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on…” but there are still times, most especially in the Christian life when we should reflect on the past, with a focus on what our Father in heaven has done for us.  By remembering what He has already done for us and all the ways He has proven His love for us, His provision and protection, whatever challenge may lie ahead seems so much smaller and easier to conquer.  Sometimes it takes remembering what He has already accomplished in order to believe and trust what He will continue to work in our lives.

I am writing this post with these thoughts in mind.  I have shared in past posts about my fitness journey, It’s Just a Number, but I think I really have tried to avoid writing about the topic.  Maybe because part of me was still afraid that I would fail and have the condemning eyes of whoever reads this blog looking down on me.  Maybe because another part of me is still embarrassed over the fact of being overweight for so long, and I really think at least part of it is because I really don’t want anyone saying ‘hey look at what she did’.  I do NOT like being in the limelight.  Some attention is nice every once in a while, trust me no one likes to be ignored, but I can only take small doses.

Why am I going to write about it now?  For God’s glory, not my own.  He has given me this story in order to show His greatness and His power.  So read the following if you like, but know that I had little part it in all.  I merely followed where He led.

I have been overweight most of my life.  To put it this way, I have never been skinny, slender, trim, etc.  Words like thick, solid, and chunky were always more fitting.  I was never very athletic, preferring to read or watch TV.  There have been many failed attempts at losing weight.  In college I did well, instead of gaining the freshman-fifteen, I lost it.  But after graduation I fell back into old habits, and so the cycle kept going.

In 2011, I started having problems with my knees, clicking cartilage and pain with excessive use.  There’s no telling how many times I’ve scraped and banged up my knees over the years.  Add that to the abuse of carrying around 200+ pounds for too many years = mild osteoarthritis.

That truly was my wake-up call.  It wasn’t anything major or life threatening, but at the age of 24 wondering about if and when I may have to have knee replacement surgery down the road.  It was scary.  August 2012 I joined the gym.  I went.  A lot.  That September I sprained my ankle.  Satan wanted to deter me early on.  After two weeks, when I could go with a brace instead of a boot, I was back to the gym.

Made to Crave Devotional has been one of my favorites.  I had heard the phrase “we all have a God-shaped hole” before, but this book made it more real.  God created us with the ability to crave.  He gave us cravings and desires.  He made us so that we could not feel complete or satisfied on our own.  It is an inherent need for HIM.  Only the signals get mistranslated and we think we’re really craving food, relationships, other substances, money, things, etc.  What we really need/want is God.

This fitness journey has been different.  Even my attempts before my goal was rarely to “be skinny”.  Most of the time it was to be healthy, to be not fat.  This time I wanted to serve God, to love Him and worship Him by how I took care of this earthly vessel.  I remembered that this body is a gift from God, a precious gift.  It is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, making my body a holy place.

How would we feel if someone filled our church building with trash and was never used for its intended purpose?

Taking care of my body is an act of worship. Not self-worship, a way to worship God, just as much as singing praise songs, sitting in church, and praying.  God wants everything we do to be an act of worship, a way of glorifying His name.

I think because of this attitude God has blessed me in this journey.  My knees still click, but there is rarely any pain.  My ankle is stronger than ever.  I have lost 63 pounds that I never want to see again.  It has not been easy.  I have failed in many ways.  God will pick you back up, but only if you’re willing.  He loves us too much to leave us where we are.  But we also have to want to move.

Praise God for helping me to be willing, for reminding me why I am doing this.

Exactly one year ago, I could only run 10 minutes before having to walk.  Yesterday I ran my first half-marathon, that’s 13.1 miles, in 2hours and 34minutes.

 

To God Be The Glory!!!

Left is from July 2012 on vacation to Niagara Falls.  Right is March 2014 before my half marathon.

Left is from July 2012 on vacation to Niagara Falls. Right is March 2014 before my half marathon.

 

Perspective October 19, 2013

Honestly, so much has been running through my mind this past week, things I would like to blog about or on, but I’ve kinda been busy and haven’t had much time to blog lately. I guess it’s like most everything else in life, it’s not about finding time it’s about making time. But now that I am sitting here blogging, the question is what do I write about first. I find myself wanting to talk about how weird I feel using the word blog as a verb, but I’ll refrain as there’s no lasting value there.

I actually started writing this post with a different aim, but after the events of this evening, I felt just a bit more compelled to talk about perspective.  It’s actually been on my mind for a while. It was even something one of my focuses when speaking to teen girls last month. But in the last week, God’s given a new realization of it, and after watching Soul Surfer tonight with a group of beautiful young ladies, Perspective shouted out at me once again. So I’m pretty sure I should stop avoiding the topic and just hash it all out for all to read.

Perspective is individual. We all have our own take on everything. It’s something I try to teach my students. When there is a problem I always want to hear from all involved. Each story has two (or more) sides, those sides are perspectives. Perspectives can also often be limited to what we can see, to how we are looking, how we are feeling, etc.

The event I spoke at in September, held for teen girls, focus was be-you-tiful. It wasn’t just about finding beauty but on being you, the person you are. Speaking as a female, we as a gender have trouble finding beauty in ourselves. I’m still not sure how or when it started, but we are very self-critical and can rattle off a whole list of things that make us anything but beautiful. But it’s due to our perspective.

The Bible is filled with verses that speak of our beauty, as a daughter of the King, so if I believe the Bible is the Spirit-breathed Word of God, then I have to believe that I am beautiful, even if I don’t always feel it.

Last year, after reading Stasi & John Eldredge’s Captivating, I began to pray for Jesus to show me my beauty, for Him to help me to see myself the way that He sees me. And He has. He’s done it in little ways over the year, revealed things about my character, my body that previously I had seen negatively.

Somehow it really seems to have culminated recently. It’s like all of a sudden I see myself so much differently. I’m also realizing that certain people have been telling the truth for years, even though I didn’t believe them. For instance the boldness I spoke of in It’s Finally Happened.

My best friend in the world lives all the way on the other side of the country. Bummer, I know. But we keep connected with 3 to 8 page emails, and I still have one she sent me detailing things I had done that she saw as bold and brave and courageous, no matter how meek, timid, and shy I feel I am. Perspective. Those things she mentioned such as spending a summer serving God in South Carolina and again in Texas, I had never seen them as bold. To me they were just the natural course of action for what God had told me to do. When I went to Guatemala in March of this year, so many thanked me for being brave enough to fly to far from home. It wasn’t scary. I didn’t feel courageous doing it. It was what I was supposed to do.

Now I see that what I have seen as ordinary things, others see as something so much different.

So I pose this question for you to ponder. How accurate is your perspective?

 

Watch What You Say July 31, 2013

Last week a good friend of mine, the author of The Adventures of Samuel, wrote a new post entitled “Chuckling with Children”.  He told of his week working with his church’s annual VBS, giving an account of several comical anecdotes of his time with the children.  Let’s admit it:  kids say the darndest things.  The largest percentage of my time spent doing one thing, is spent working with young children.  I love it, especially during moments when they say or do something that would fall into the category of “the darndest things”.

However this week, I was horrified at what came from the mouth of a student.  No, it wasn’t a curse word, those don’t frighten, nor surprise, me.  It wasn’t even a child telling of something shocking that their parents did.  We had just finished getting wiggles out before our Learning Circle, and one of my girls said, “My legs are ugly.”

Her Legs Are Ugly?!?!

What preschooler thinks that way?  I mean, we kinda expect teenagers to say things like that, young women, older women.  I’ll be honest, I enjoy being female, wouldn’t want to trade genders for the world. But women as a whole, at least as I’ve noticed in our U.S. culture, are terrible self-critics. There is a constant degrading of something about our own physical body.

I’m sick of it.  I can’t stand it.  This is something that I can honestly say that I abhor. Maybe because it takes my mind back to my most insecure years.

I love doing missions, serving others, loving on children.  Not just telling kids of God’s love but showing it to them because you don’t care that they haven’t bathed or brushed their hair/teeth recently, you hug on them and let them sit in your lap anyway. But I have to say my 10 weeks serving as a “Critter” with Mission Centers of Houston was not one of my best experiences, and it had nothing to do with the work we did or the people we served. It more or less boiled down to the 15 high school and college girls I shared a bedroom with. It was like the bedroom from Madeline, beds lining both walls, everyone sharing two bathrooms. What made it so difficult for this 200+ pound, recent high school grad was listening to much thinner girls saying “I’m fat”, “My face is too round”, “I hate my butt”, “Oh look at my bat wings”. Hearing these young women, who to my eye were much more beautiful than my fat self, berate their own body, my thoughts remained along the lines of, “Heaven knows what they think of me” the entire summer.

And I’m sure they never even considered the damage of their words, the effects it could and would have on others around them. Which leads me back to my beautiful, bright-eyed 5yr-old who said,

“My legs are ugly.”

This is not something a child just decides on her own. It is conditioned, and I highly doubt someone told her, “Those bug bites make your legs ugly.” No more likely a mom, grandma, or aunt made a thoughtless comment about the status of her own legs, something maybe along the lines of “Ugh, I hate these veins; they make my legs so ugly.” And my student’s mind connected the imperfections in the other persons legs to the blemishes on her own and equivalated that her own legs must be ugly as well.

Maybe this is just a continuation or rant of In the Pursuit of Happiness, but whereas that post was more or less geared towards changing our own thinking about our appearance, which is extremely important for our own well-being, we have got to start watching what we say out loud. Others are listening.  We never know what the person across the room, who is well within hearing distance, is struggling with, and when we make careless comments, such as “I’m so fat, I wish I could lose fifteen pounds,” you may not only be publicising your own poor self-image but also inlfuencing another’s.

Please make an effort to encourage and uplift one another, and also to encourage yourself.

And please know that You are BEAUTIFUL!!