Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Lion at our Park

I have to, I just can't help it. His faces make us smile. aaaand these photos are from probably the end of May, so they were just due to go on the blog before his 5th birthday (sheesh, mama!)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Truly Free

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

I am free. If Jesus is your Savior, then you are free, too. I was in chains. I was in denial that I was in chains. The way I ate, and hoped for others to eat as well, was, as you have heard, "not a diet - it's a lifestyle." It became my life, while my spiritual life took second place. I often said, in response to, "you can't eat cake?! chocolate?! pasta?! pizza?! ice cream?!" "Oh, I can but I have no desire to." I thought I was in complete control. Food had no control over me, I assured myself. I won. Every day I won. I chose carrots over cookies. I grabbed my smoothie while co-workers grabbed donuts. I was winning. Slavery? Every one else - they were the ones in bondage; to a salt, sugar, fat addiction. 

I was free indeed.

I was lying to myself. 

Because the moment I told myself to, "go ahead, eat," I couldn't do it. Not without hearing all of the rules: that's not good for you, that will make you gain weight, that will make you sick, that will make your child sick, that isn't nutrient dense... Similarly, the moment I told myself I had zero issues with body image, and had complete self control, and thought people that struggled with their weight were silly, I am now falling prey to the lies since I'm gaining weight: "you're less beautiful, your self-worth is slipping away, you're out of control, you're weak, you're less loved by family and friends.."

I have been so tempted to return to slavery.

Of food rules. Of intense exercise. Those will bring me my perfect weight. Those things will make my joy return. Those things will fix everything. Only then (when I have lost this weight I have gained, when I feel physically fit again) could I focus on my walk with Christ. Only then will I be really free.

Dieting is slavery. Exercise regimens are bondage. In my case, they become an obsession to perfection. If I don't do them perfectly, I fail. 

So I am very aware. That I have to trust Jesus in this. I cannot go back to my old ways.  I have to trust that the way God has formed my most inward parts, every cell He perfectly place, every organ He designed, and the way He made my stomach are the perfect route to go. 

Eat when you hunger, daughter. Stop when you are no longer hungry. That's how He made us, friends. Denying myself in hunger (for the sake of weight loss) and eating after my body says its full (simply because: that looks good or, that will make me feel better in this moment of stress) are not God's plans for how we are to eat.

He is good. He is gracious. He is compassionate and giving.

I can eat a donut. I can eat a salad. I am not a slave to rules. I am a slave to Jesus Christ, and it is Him that I want to follow, seek, and be faithful to. Not to a legalistic diet.

Christ has set me free. I do not have to diet, or make exercise my total focus in order to be FREE. I am FREE because HE has set me free, I am free from condemnation. I am free from rules and regulations. I am free from the lies of the enemy, and the lies of this broken world. 

I love this freedom.


Onto Santi. Let's title these images, shall we?

Concerned slurp.



Successful pour.


Baby Lion Noise.

Balancing Cup.

Puffy Cheek Kiss.

The Neighbor's Cat is Sleeping.

Santi is a funny book of joy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Craving Christ, Not Food

I need to trust God regarding the way He has made me: to crave delicious food. Even though I wish I could be content with just a small meal, without seconds, without over-eating... I praise Him for fearfully and wonderfully making me this way. Because it is only through my struggle with over-eating that I am coming to realize how much my SOUL craves its SAVIOR.

It is only through this battle that my eyes have been opened to how rich the truth is in Christ saying, "I am the bread of life!" That means He sustains me, He fills me, He satisfied my cravings, I need to feast with my King often, just like I would grab a meal often in the day, in order to have LIFE.

Only now do I really long for Christ's return, only now do I really comprehend how much my soul thirsts for the living God, how much my flesh faints for Him. Because He made me exactly how He desired, without fault or flaw on His part, and He knew I would struggle at this point in my life, but didn't stop it from happening.

I pray my (our!) eyes would continually be opened to the comparison of my food struggles and my deep, profound craving for Christ - and that I would not suffer in vain, but constantly cling to Jesus, and remember that what He is preparing for me in Heaven cannot even compare to the rich taste of food - it's going to be vastly richer up there!!

I call this photo, "Santi makes grimmace-look while eating blueberries and mushy bananas."

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Independence Day

The fourth of July was fabulous for many reasons; ONE: hubby was home, so we had a family day. TWO: we went to the park, played with baby Santi, and chatted about life. THREE: we prepared and delighted in homemade pizza. FOUR: Santi burst out laughing and shouted, "more" after each firework we set off. FIVE: my sister, brother-in-law and 6 week old nephew came over and caused us great joy.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ask HIM!

"Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting!" 

Psalm 139: 23,24

Okay. If you ever read a bible verse and think, God, can Your really do this in me? Can you reveal the deep purpose of this verse? Can You help me out of whatever I am in right now?

Please. I guide you. Just ASK OF HIM. Pray to God, do this in me. Tell Him, make this real in my life. Ask God, what does this mean, guide me!  And He will. He so, most definitely, positively will. He did this in me just recently:

I really truly asked God to open my eyes to the WHY I am struggling so hard with over-eating, where did this longing to eat and eat and eat come from, when did it start, why do I feel completely trapped? I was always the girl who had food under my control, didn't I? I was the self-control queen! I was on top of the health-world! Fitness? Of course! I was master! 

Wow. Self-centered much? A lot. I had no, no idea.

It was amazing because He definitely searched my heart and revealed it to me. I come from years of extreme dieting that completely scarred me, even though I did it all "so innocently" it turned into what feels like slavery to food. But our amazing God CAN lead us into the way of everlasting life, abundant life in His presence, resurrected bodies, no pain or longing.. And I am not a slave to food (although it feels like it, even yesterday) but I belong to Jesus.

There is hope. There is healing. 

And we can laugh at the enemy for making us think he is going to defeat us!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Look at Your Heart!

1 Samuel 16:7 "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

I have read this verse so many times and it only recently hit me. As I am out and about, I look at women (and men alike) and I no longer see, "thin" "over-weight" "super fit" "too thin" "obese" "beautiful" "average" "cute" "ugly" "young" "old"/ I see souls, I see hearts, broken, longing, craving their Creator. Craving something that nothing in this world satisfies, just like me. Craving the acceptance of others, or the sweet comforting taste of food, craving pleasure or success, trapped in sin, slaves to addiction, slaves to their jobs, trapped in abusive relationships, coating their brokenness with shopping, only God knows.... God sees their hearts, all I see is their outward appearance.

We all crave something. My heart is heavy for every single human out their trying to satisfy their heart's need with worldy things, when our only hope is Jesus Christ. And now that I have been so deeply convicted of judging others based off of their outward appearance, God is transforming my mind to stop judging myself. We are all in the same boat.

I just realized: God is completely, fully answering my prayer. I have been asking Him to transform me by the renewing of my mind (Romans 2) and really thought it was going to be a long, long, hard, results-come-in-the-distant-future, process. But day by day, He is doing it. I am being transformed. I am free. I am so, so thankful!

This is my sister's sweet baby boy on his first week of life. That first picture is when he was just hours old. Santi took a while to warm up, but is now a pro and giving him sweet kisses. Also, the walking around the hospital in his pajamas with his hands behind his back: priceless. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

All or Nothing?

I am doing a bible study online called "HEAL: Healthy Eating Abundant Living" the book is on Amazon for small group bible study - I recommend it!! I am in a Facebook group with the ladies I am doing the study with, and the leader posts questions. Recently her question was regarding what the author put it in the book on being an "All, Balanced, or Nothing" type of person. Here are my examples of what these look like:

All: I have to exercise 60 minutes a day, run for 30, do weights for 30. I have to eat all fruit for breakfast, a big smoothie with greens in it, a salad and low carbs during dinner, no dessert ever.

Balanced : I can exercise today with my toddler, if time allows. I can go for a jog, I could vacuum, I could teach Santi how to play tag outside. I will enjoy breakfast, enjoy lunch, and enjoy dinner - even if we go to a friend's house and all they serve is steak and later ice cream.

Nothing: I don't care about exercise, might as well not do anything. I am so destructive with eating, I am just going to forget taking care of myself all together and eat whatever I want how ever much I want and have zero control.

and what I realized when looking at this:

I WAS 1,000% an, "All" girl. Exercise, food restrictions and perfectionism in everything. Because I am human, I failed in one way or another (based off my expectations) every single day. And because of this, I was bummed out and defeated almost daily. Either my exercise regimen didn't meet my standards, my diet slipped once or twice, or a dozen other things.

Now, out of rebellion to that food/health idolatry I was deep in, I am 1,000% a "nothing" girl. Exercise? Who cares! No time, no motivation. Food restrictions? No way! That's evil, that's my past, let me eat EVERYTHING IN SIGHT, I deserve it, food rules are foolish! Binge, over eat, hate the monster in me.

I trust this is a part of healing for me, though. By eating flan with egg in it, a caeser salad with cheese in it, a pesto wrap with cream cheese in it - I am breaking free from strong holds of diet restrictions and health idols.  I am remembering my my self worth isn't based off of perfect dieting, incredible fitness, or complete self control. Christ still died for me, still loves me, and His Spirit is still in me.

I pray for balance. I pray for God to continue to remind me that I am His, I am wonderfully made, I am cherished, His daughter. I can enjoy exercise like the 5 year old girl I used to be, I can run and play with my toddler, I can eat yummy foods when I am hungry and stop when I'm not hungry, then PLAY again! I can wear dresses that make me feel beautiful, even with my transparent white vein-y legs, I am beautiful in God's eyes, I am not here to please the world, I am free!

Toddler activity tip: a few cups, and some raw beans.
Parent tip: supervise your toddler. They are speedy when it comes to sneaking beans into their mouths.