Left to Clean Up the Mess!!!

Left to Clean Up the Mess!!!

milk and flowers

My arms were full of swim towels and snack bags as I struggled to open the front door.  A herd of kids, seven to be exact, jumped out of the car in a flurry of hollering and excitement, someone opened the door for me, and they all ran past in a giant blur.  Everything was wet and there was a strong wind blowing my hair into my face.  It had been a glorious afternoon!  Our dear friends from Washington were visiting us for several days, and it had been one fun event after another . . . finishing up with swimming today and a huge thunderstorm to send us home in a hurry.  Summer fun had been at a high as our two families had been spending their visit talking and sharing,  jumping on the trampoline, playing in the treehouse, scootering around the neighborhood, enjoying picnics,  swimming in the pool and seeing the sights around Colorado Springs.

milk box

As I lumbered into the house with too much to carry one of my kids said, “Mom . . . are there milk bottles in the box?  Did we forget to take them in?”  In a split second she was outside with the others, screaming something about a new game she had thought up for the trampoline.  What did she say?  I thought as I brought everything in and dropped it on the couch.  Milk bottles?  No – milk is delivered on Mondays, today is Thursday.  What is she talking about?  Everyone was busy and not paying attention as I walked out to the front of the house and lifted the lid to the milk box.  I gasped as I realized what had happened.  Oh no!  What a waste of both milk and money!  I looked down at what should have been our milk for the week, forgotten in the hustle and bustle of having guests, and now sour, clumped and starting to ooze out of the plastic, gallon size containers near the lid.  It had been an incredibly hot week for Colorado Springs, days in a row with temperatures in the 90’s.  There was a definite stench of sour milk in the air!  What to do?  No one was looking . . . I was so embarrassed.  How could I have let this happen?  I thought – I’ll just bring one bottle at a time to the sink while the adults are changing out of their swimsuits and the kids are playing outside.  No one will know – I will pour them out one by one and put them back into the milkbox, empty. Here I go.

milk jug

A feeling of gratefulness came over me as I picked up one of the bottles – bloated to it’s maximum capacity – and lugged it into the kitchen.  What a precious time it had been with our friends!  The mom of the bunch, Stephanie, has been one of my very best friends for years and years, and having her family here was one of my favorite treats for our summer.  Things were going well for us as a family. . . we were healing and adjusting to the passing of Grandma Lois, my mother-in-law who had lived with us for the past two years here in our home.  We had enjoyed a summer of play, popsicles, bike rides, and swimming not to mention a long string of guests who came to visit because they cared for us deeply.  Life was good!  Thank you Jesus!

BOOM!  I gasped in shock and was blinded for a moment as I tried to get my bearings.  What had just happened?!!! I grabbed the kitchen towel and struggled to wipe something out of my eyes when I realized that it was all over me, all over my hair . . . the milk bottle had exploded directly in my face over the sink!  I rubbed my eyes and tried to see what was around me . . . there were little white, stinky, disgusting sour milk chunks all over the floor, all over the sink, all over the window, all over me . . . oh, what a horrible sight and smell!!!  I blinked my eyes over and over again, trying to get them to see straight, but the explosion must have scratched them because they wouldn’t stop stinging.  Oh my Lord, what happened?????


Doesn’t this silly incident (it’s true – I promise, but really who could make it up?) just remind you of how life is?  We are going along, walking tall, things seem to be all under our control for a season, we are puffed up with pride about how well we are handling things, the sun is shining, not a cloud in sight when WHAM!  Something happens to completely throw us off balance.  Has this happened to you?  It has happened to me time and time again and I know there will be many more milk explosions to come in my life.  Here are some of the explosions that people around me have dealt with lately:  news from the doctor that you have terminal cancer and there is very little that can be done, a letter from a spouse on the kitchen table explaining that she is having an affair and wants out of the marriage, the sudden loss of a job that you thought would provide for your family for years, a notice in the mail that your house is finally going into foreclosure because you haven’t been able to pay the bills, a car accident that took the life of your best friend, an adult child who announces that he is addicted to drugs and dropping out of college, the sudden onset of a terrifying illness that leaves you disabled and wondering if you will ever really recover.  The list could go on and on and on and on . . . life in this world is so full of heartache, sorrow, and pain.  Or . . . what about the smaller sour milk explosions?  The fight with your husband, the dent you accidently made in the neighbor’s car, the keys that are lost, the stress at work, the hurt feelings from something your coworker said.  The sour milk explodes in your face, and you never saw it coming.

I was completely unprepared for that explosion, that evening.  I had no idea it was coming, I had not anticipated it, I had not made any kind of preparations for it, I could not have predicted that it would happen at all, much less the way it would happen.  What do we do with these unexpected explosions in our lives?  For my whole adult life I have been turning to emotional eating to deal with these situations, as so many of you on this Thin Within journey can relate to.  I would stuff my feelings in by stuffing my stomach with too much food when my body didn’t need food at all.  I medicated myself with handfuls of chocolate chips, just like taking a handful of pills.  I snuck through the drive through for a pile of french fries on the way home from work.  I stayed up late at night and ate bowlfuls of ice cream in front of the television.  Whatever emotion I was feeling . . . despair, depression, complete overwhelm, anger, frustration, humiliation, embarrassment . . . I would stuff back down into my heart with food.  I would cry out to God, Why God?  Why did this happen?  Where are you?  Don’t you care?  Take this problem away!  I am overwhelmed!  Why me???? I don’t want this!!!!  Emotional eating never failed to do the opposite of solving my problems . . . and always made things much worse.  Although I kept doing it, I knew without a doubt that it was not God’s plan for my life.

There is no question about unexpected sour milk explosions in the Bible.  God is very clear about what will happen as we journey through this world.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

1 Samuel 26:24  “As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver me from all trouble.”

Job 4:5 “But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed.”

Job 5:7 Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.

Psalm 27:5 “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.”

Yes, there is no question about it . . . we are going to have trouble in this world, and no shortage of it.  What to do?  If we look in His word, God shows us exactly what to do.  He longs for us to experience victory over our sour milk explosions, even in the midst of pain and suffering.

We can receive hope in the living God:  Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

We can fill our minds with truth:  Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We can have real conversations with God and He hears us:  Psalm 32:6  “Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.”   Jeremiah 29:12 “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

We can depend on His very real, perfect love for us:  Psalm 42:8  “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

We can trust in the sovereignty of God:  Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

flower verse

The white, stinky, chunky mess was everywhere and I realized that there was no possibility of hiding the sour milk explosion from my friends who were visiting.  I was feeling embarrassed and humiliated not to mention the pain in my stinging eyes as my friend walked in the room and said “Oh my gosh, Christina!  What happened!?”  I covered my face with the towel, trying desperately to wipe the mess away and out of my hair . . . and then I looked at my dear friend.  The look on her face wasn’t one of condemnation or judgement, in fact – there was a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her face . . . so I started laughing.  “Stephanie, help!  I just had a giant sour milk explosion and it is everywhere!!!”  We laughed together and spent the next hour or so cleaning it all up.  I took the empty, still bloated milk container back to the milkbox at the front of the house only to find that two more bottles had exploded in the box, and there were stinky, chunky, sour milk pieces all over the inside of the box, the outside of the box and the front steps of the house . . . even in my flower pots!  Oh, good grief!!! As I worked to clean up that mess through the lenses of my stinging eyes, it started to rain again, and the water made my work go faster.  I looked up at the sky and thanked God through my teary, painful eyes.  I felt his gentle squeeze as He promised to love me through all of the sour milk explosions in my life . . . and you know what?  Praise God, He will!!!

How about you?  What sour milk explosions have you dealt with in your life?  Are you having one right now?  What is God calling you to do in the midst of your pain and suffering?  God loves you so much.  What is He whispering to your heart today?


My Foot Slipped!

My Foot Slipped!

(A little side note:  This is a true story that God brought to my mind last night just as I was about to fall asleep.  I’m not sure why He wanted me to share it now, in the middle of the summer a year and a half after it happened . . . but I trust that He has a good reason!  My prayer is that someone out there who needs to hear this story will read it, and that it will touch them in a special way directly from our Lord.  🙂

“I found another one Mom!”, Madeline said as she scooped up another plastic necklace out of the snow.  Someone must have dropped the necklaces months ago.  We had been hiking for hours, up a steep mountain slope underneath one of the ski lifts in Breckenridge, Colorado.  Most of the ground carried only a thin layer of snow so late in the spring, but we were surprised to find drifts three feet deep in some places as we walked.  It didn’t seem possible that the sky could be any bluer, the sun blazed warm and bold on our faces, and the snow almost blinded us through our sunglasses.  We were hiking at about 10,000 feet and could feel the thin air in our lungs.  It had been an amazing day full of fun and adventure for our family of five.  The alpine mountain views took our breath away!  A close friend had given us her beautiful timeshare for a week, friends and neighbors were taking good care of Grandma Lois in our home, and we were enjoying a break from all of life’s responsibilities.

snowy mountain

I had been struggling with an old injury for quite some time, and this steep terrain was beginning to cause pain in my heels.  I tried to let it go as I distracted myself with a deep conversation with my son, Christopher, who had chosen this time to ask some very difficult questions about God, and why He allows terrible things to happen to people.  We talked and shared questions for about half an hour before we caught up to his sisters and my husband, David.  My ears perked up at the sound of a river that must be close by . . . and I was not disappointed when we finally came upon it.

My eyes were wide as I watched the ice cold snowmelt rushing in torrents down the steep mountainside.  The river was lined with broken branches and downed logs, and was full of rocks of all sizes, some jutting out and causing white foaming water to spray out in all directions.  The sound of thunder surprised us, and we looked up at the sky that was quickly changing from one of pure sunshine to one of dark, ominous clouds.  A high altitude, mountain storm was coming, and we knew that we needed to get out of the way – and fast.  Before I knew it my husband, David, was encouraging the kids to navigate rocks and a couple of logs to get across the river.  I held my breath and watched them, but it took only a few minutes before they were on the other side, jumping with their arms held high in victory.  There was thunder again, the temperature was dropping, and it started to sprinkle.  “Come on, Mom!  You can do it!”  my kids yelled over the deafening sound of the raging river.

snowy river

I wanted to . . . I really did . . . but I just couldn’t.  I was completely frozen, paralyzed by fear.  I knew in my mind that I needed to get to the other side of the river before the storm hit, that I needed to be with my family, and that choosing not to cross at this time would mean hiking hours back down the mountain by myself.  If only that log hadn’t been covered in snow . . . but it was – at least 3 inches of icy, cracked, slippery snow.  What felt like an electrical surge of fear pulsed through my body.  My heels hurt, my legs were shaking, and my heart was beating like a drum as I started across the first log.  I gasped as my foot slipped and my right leg plunged half way into the icy water, stopped only by an unseen broken branch.  The water rushed and raged around me as I frantically looked around for another way to get over to the other side, but there just wasn’t one.  I just couldn’t go on.  “Oh, Jesus help me!” I cried out, my voice blocked out by the sound of thunder and rushing water.

The kids were all sitting down under a tree by now, obviously wondering if I was going to be able to join them or not.  They looked nervous.  David crossed back over the stream, placed his feet in a more stable position that caused him to sacrifice his warm, dry feet, and held out his hand.  “Come on, Christina, let’s do this together.  Take my hand.  Follow my lead – just step exactly where I step.  You can do this.”

When I think back on that crazy, spring day I realize that God was teaching me something very important about trust.  What is trust?  Dictionary definitions say that trust is the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability and surety of a person . . . the confident expectation of something . . . hope.  How many times in my life have I been confronted with situations that have caused me to feel completely paralyzed by fear?  These are times when I feel like I just can’t move, I just can’t go on, answers are impossible to find, there is no end in sight.  During these times it is hard for me to have any kind of perspective, and I am totally consumed by the situation at hand.   Many of us on this Thin Within journey have felt this very fear as God gently beckons us away from a dependence on food and emotional eating and into a deeper relationship with Him.   So, what do we do?  We cry out to our Lord and Savior, just like I cried out that day at the river.  We stand on one side of the slippery log, unable to move or see a way for our future.  Christ stands on the other side, holding out His hand to guide us, then He takes steps to meet us exactly where we are and asks us to follow Him.  He has already been to the other side of the river!  He has the strength, the skills, the perspective to know that we can get there with Him, whether we know it or not.  What is our part in all of this?  Trust.  We have to trust that God will do what He says he will, that He loves us the way He says He does.  Oh yes, and one more thing . . . a step in His direction.


Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Psalm 13:5  “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”

Psalm 37:23-24 “The steps of a man (woman) are established by the Lord, and He delights in her way.  When she falls, she will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds her hand.”

I looked at David and pleaded with my eyes to please not make me cross this log.  He looked at me, knew what I was thinking and stepped even closer to me.  The kids were quiet now, watching.  I mustered up as much trust as I could (which was just a little bit at first) and started across in baby steps, holding my husband’s hand and following his steps as exactly as I could.  I slipped again but he caught me and I did not go in the water.  I must have held my breath for the full minute that it took to get me across, but somehow we made it and I have never been so relieved!  All three of my kids jumped up and cheered.  I smiled and sat down with the family under a large pine tree that worked well as an umbrella against the storm, still shaky for the next half hour or so.  Later, when the storm had passed and we were all happily hiking down the mountain again I gave David a good squeeze and thanked him for helping me across, for not getting frustrated with me or giving up on me.  He was a perfect example of Christ to me that day.  He smiled, squeezed me back and simply said “Christina, I love you.”

Psalm 28:7  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

Isaiah 12:2  “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”

Romans 15:13  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

hand bible verse

How about you?  Have you been paralyzed with fear in your life?  Do you struggle with trusting God in certain situations that seem hopeless or impossible?  Do you sense that God might be reaching His hand out to you, gently asking you to trust Him with something?  He loves you so much.  What is He whispering to your heart today?


Such A Busy Day

It was going to be an incredibly busy day.  I jumped out of bed after hitting the snooze button a couple of times, groggy and half asleep.  It had been a late night for me what with helping Katherine finish up her history project, reading just one more story with Madeline, filling out an orchestra permission slip for Christopher and cleaning up a huge kitchen mess.  Then I had to gather materials for my first and third grade groups, and yes – Grandma Lois needed her laundry folded and put away – she had called me from the top of the stairs, asking for her favorite pajamas.  My husband had been exhausted from a long day at work and an evening of working through finances with his mother.  It was hard to imagine a more overwhelming season of life as my head hit the pillow.

snowy window

I showered and dressed for work in the pitch dark and ice cold of the winter and I was grateful for a few quiet minutes alone.  I sat down with my journal and started to pray.  Lord . . . how will I be able to get it all done today?  I am so tired, there is so much to do, so much to take care of right now.  I am so inadequate, so insecure, so unequipped.  I need you!!!  I had hoped for a song to pop into my head, or a Bible verse to jump out at me, or a voice to speak in my mind, but all was quiet.  The room was as still as can be . . . I only heard the tick, tick, ticking of the clock.  It was good to be still for just a moment.  I knew what I had to do, what I had committed to do as many times as I could squeeze it in during my crazy, busy day.  I needed to renew my mind in Christ.  In the most quiet, patient, loving way I felt Jesus beckon me to come to Him and fill my mind with His truth.

I showered and dressed for work in the pitch dark and ice cold of the winter and I was grateful for a few quiet minutes alone.  I sat down with my journal and started to pray.  Lord . . . how will I be able to get it all done today?  I am so tired, there is so much to do, so much to take care of right now.  I am so inadequate, so insecure, so unequipped.  I need you!!!  I had hoped for a song to pop into my head, or a Bible verse to jump out at me, or a voice to speak in my mind, but all was quiet.  The room was as still as can be . . . I only heard the tick, tick, ticking of the clock.  It was good to be still for just a moment.  I knew what I had to do, what I had committed to do as many times as I could squeeze it in during my crazy, busy day.  I needed to renew my mind in Christ.  In the most quiet, patient, loving way I felt Jesus beckon me to come to Him and fill my mind with His truth.

I had been entrenched in emotional eating my entire adult life.  I had popped chocolate chips like pills, snuck through drive thrus on the way to a destination, eaten bowls of ice cream late at night, baked cookies for the neighbors so that I could eat half of the dough in the bowl, and eaten chips and salsa until I had to unbutton my pants . . . I had been a seasoned emotional eater for at least 30 years, and no one knew it.  After having my third child almost 9 years ago and weighing more than I had ever weighed I remember thinking, well now at least I have the excuse of being in my late 30’s and having been pregnant three times!  I told everyone, myself included, that I had tried everything there was to try – every diet, every type of exercise, every book to work through, every weight loss group – and I just couldn’t get the weight off no matter what.  This was the thorn in my side that I would just have to deal with for the rest of my life, I thought.  I remember desperately looking through the photo albums in my mom’s cabinet, hoping to find that all of the women on my side of the family were overweight.  They were, and I was able to tell myself that this was a matter of genetics and there was nothing I could do.

So, back to the cold, winter morning!  As I resolved to renew my mind I looked out the window and noticed that tiny, shimmering snowflakes were falling from the sky.  It was a magical moment, and I felt God’s touch on my heart.  Just a few weeks before, in my desperation, utter frustration with myself and despair I had decided to give the principles of Thin Within a try one more time.  I had been almost ready to give up . . . but not quite.   Something was different this time.  At first I was able to follow my boundaries just minutes at a time, then several hours at a time, and now I was completely surprised to find that I could even go a half a day without breaking my boundaries.  Dinner time was a huge challenge for me.  I would begin preparing dinner with slight hunger, nibble during the preparation, sit down to dinner not really hungry at all and then eat a regular size meal to end up way past full.  Some days I would stuff in dessert after that because after all, I had already messed the whole thing up, right?  But things were changing . . . yes, something was really different this time.

God's truth

I had a short praise fest with God, read through some truth cards and surrendered my crazy, busy day to the Lord.    Then I spent about a minute going through my day in my mind and preparing myself for the challenges with eating ahead.  Should I stop and get a mocha on the way to work?  I’m not hungry at all for breakfast this morning, should I take something along with me and eat it during recess?  What if my favorite donuts are in the lounge today?  I will be having a celebration party with my Kindergarten group today, will I be hungry when I pass out the graham crackers and grapes?  There will undoubtedly be chocolates passed around during the staff meeting after school, what should I do about that?  When I get home after school the kids will be hungry as always for snacks.  Should I join them?  What if I am not hungry?  What will I be making for dinner tonight?  What if I don’t nibble before dinner, then have an extra small portion of spaghetti and save room for a couple of oreos to eat with the family?

I walked through my busy day intentionally interacting with His truth for me, and thanking Him whenever I had the chance . . . at my desk in the morning while preparing materials, in the bathroom during recess, in the hallway on the way to pick up my next group, on my way home from picking up my middle schoolers in the car.  This wasn’t easy!  It was hard work to focus on God’s truth for me all day long, and I really did not have the time.  But it was GOOD work.  It felt good, and right, and before I knew it hours and hours were going by in which I had stuck to my boundaries.  Wow!

So, what is different this time?  My focus!  I have completely changed my focus and for the first time in my life, and all of the things I have tried to change my heart in this thorn in my side of emotional eating – something really IS different.  My heart is changing and I am so grateful.  I am deliberately, systematically, relentlessly, creatively finding the time to renew my mind with God’s truth so often during each day that I am finally starting to crowd out the lies and untruths that have held me back and paralyzed me in this area of my life for so long.  What is true for me right now, Lord, in this very situation?  God will show you if you ask.  He will show you in the most loving, understanding, gentle way, and then He will wink at you, or smile at you, or wrap His arms around you and remind you how much He loves you.  These are some of the most precious moments I have ever had with my Savior, and I wouldn’t trade them for all the baked potatos, oreo cookies and chicken sandwiches in the world!

I sang “Jesus Loves You” to my youngest daughter in the darkness of the night and kissed her goodnight.  She was the last one, the other two were already asleep and my husband was snoring, book in hand.  In my exhaustion I made lunches for the next day, finished up the dishes, called in a prescription for my mother in law, put Madeline’s homework in her backpack, threw in a load of laundry, paid a few bills and collapsed on the couch.  I closed my eyes and took a minute to think about the day.  Lord, Lord!  I made it!  I had a couple of missteps with my boundaries, but overall I surrendered my food to you today and held it with open hands.  A lovely feeling of victory surged through my body and I smiled for a whole minute.  I invited Jesus to sit down with me on the couch and we enjoyed the moment together.  It had started to snow again and there was a chill in the air.  But my Savior was warming me with His presence, and it was the best feeling in the world.

sunflower verse

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you  will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Phillipians 1:6

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.  All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”  1 Corinthians 6:12

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Romans 12:a

What about you?  Do you often feel that you are too busy to do the work of renewing your mind?  Have you tried preparing for your day by thinking through how you might eat in certain situations?  What might happen if you renew your mind with God’s amazing truth several times a day?  I challenge you to try it . . . “taste” and see that God is good!!!

A Birthday Party to Remember


old steps

Gifts in hands and smiles on our faces, we made our way down the five filthy, broken steps that led to the basement apartment door.  It didn’t smell good down there.  Around us we could see broken windows patched with tape, and someone upstairs was yelling.  We knocked on the door and heard Kathy softly say, “Come on in.”  It was her birthday today and she was 12 years old, my middle daughter’s closest friend from 6th grade.  She sat on a faded, old couch by herself, all dressed up with ribbons in her hair, clutching a small stack of paper plates, napkins and cups.  “Happy Birthday, Kathy!!!” we chanted as we walked in slowly.  Something was wrong . . . she was looking away.  It was too quiet.  “Is anyone else coming to the party?  Where is your mom and dad?”  She sighed and replied, “Dad is at work and my Mom has locked herself in her room for the past three hours . . . she is not coming out.  I don’t know what to do.”

The look on Kathy’s face broke my heart as I quickly brainstormed what we could do to help.  Would you like us to help set up?  The plates and napkins you have are so cute!  Why don’t we have the party at the park across the street?  Are the neighbor girls coming?  Would you like me to try and talk with your mom?  Mom wasn’t answering . . . she has had mental and physical challenges for years and is addicted to pain killers.  I realized very quickly that there was no one to set up Kathy’s 12th birthday party.  Kathy had tidied up the tiny, one bedroom apartment.  Kathy had blown up the balloons that were in the corner of the room.  There was no cake, and no presents except the ones we had brought.  Kathy was an only child, Dad was at work and wouldn’t be home for hours.

sad girl

Lord, Lord, where are you?

Lord, Lord, where are you?  How could you let this happen to this precious child of yours?  Why haven’t you saved her from this sad, lonely day?  Don’t you see what is happening here?  My mind took me back to when I was 12 years old, all wrapped up in hormones and self-esteem issues . . . insecure and awkward but celebrated and blessed in a warm, loving family.  Lord, what should I do?  She is beautiful, I thought as we walked outside to claim a table at the park.  I am so impressed with her – so poised, so independent, so intelligent, so amazing in the midst of such a horrible situation.  My daughter said something funny and Kathy’s face lit up in a smile.  Her contagious, high pitched laughter could be heard throughout the park.  I complimented her on the dress she was wearing and she said that a neighbor had outgrown it and given it to her.  It fit her perfectly.

Why don’t you kids play games while I save the table?  I suggested.  A couple of neighbor girls had come over, so they played every game they could think of that didn’t require any materials.  I put the table cloth on the obscenity-ridden picnic table and set out the plates and cups.  There were some cheese puffs and soda, and I thought well – it would have to be enough.  I thought . . . should I run to the store?  Should I go and buy a cake?    But I was the only adult supervising at a park in a rough neighborhood . . . no, I had to stay put.  While the kids played, a man drove up, screamed at a child across the street, whipped him with his belt and drove off.  The kids from the apartments didn’t even look – they didn’t even notice really.  Lord?  Where are you?


When I heard Kathy’s laughter again my question was answered.  He WAS there.  In an impossible situation he had provided a birthday party for this precious 12 year old girl.  He had provided a beautiful dress for her to wear, lovely gifts for her to open and enjoy, a loving adult to supervise and encourage, good friends to laugh, play with and sing the birthday song, a green, grassy park in which to play, and a warm, sunny summer day with no afternoon rain showers in sight.  Best of all He had somehow provided Kathy with what she needed in her heart to go on . . . the strength to persevere in the midst of an incredibly challenging home life that would likely not be getting better any time soon.  I marveled that she was able to set aside her earlier disappointment and sorrow and completely enjoy the happy moments at the park that day with me, my daughters and the neighbor girls she had only just met a week before.  Christ was there . . . His presence was as real as the sun in the sky.

What does this story have to do with food, body image and Thin Within?  Well, not a whole lot really . . . except maybe for one thing.  We live in a broken world, full of disappointment, grief, poverty, injury, illness, painful relationships, unemployment . . . you name it – it’s all around us.  Most of us have issues with food and our body image because we are struggling to deal with the difficult things of this world and wondering if there really is a God out there big enough to handle them.  So here is the good news . . . the absolutely fabulous news!!!  There really IS a God that loves each one of us and desires to be in an intimate, personal relationship with us.  In the midst of all of the crazy messes of this world God is there, ready to love us, guide us, and walk with us through the mess . . . but not until we ask.  Jesus has shown himself to me in so many new and personal ways in the past months during my Thin Within journey . . . why?  I am learning, one day at a time, to take the challenges of this world to my Savior – the little ones, the big ones, the medium sized ones – and ask.  Lord, Lord, where are you in this mess?  I submit to you!!!  How exciting it has been to ask that very question and find Him closer to me than I can imagine, already working my messes into good things for me and those around me.  God meets us in the storm, and surprises us with His love while it’s still raining.  Later in the day I heard the song “I Am” by Crowder and was touched by the lyrics.  There is no space that His love can’t reach, there’s no place where we can’t find peace, there’s no end to amazing grace, in the middle of the storm I am holding on to you, I am!!!  Thank you so much, Jesus!

It was about three hours before Kathy’s dad finally came home.  Mom finally came out of her room and cried because her baby was growing up, a cake of sorts was picked up, and we all sang “Happy Birthday” in the tiny, dark kitchen of the apartment.  We borrowed birthday candles from a neighbor and Kathy’s face beamed as she made a wish and blew them out.  I felt Jesus in the room, loving that precious girl and providing just what she needed, just at the right moment.    God was there all along.

Girl (7-9) blowing out candles on birthday cake

God meets us in the storm and surprises us with His love while it’s still raining.

Psalm 61:1-2 “Hear my cry, oh God, give heed to my prayer.  From the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”

Phillipians 4:19 “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

How about you?  Have you encountered a loving God in the midst of your storms?  Do you run to food when your loving Savior is waiting for you to cry out to Him?  What would happen if you brought every challenge in your life before Him, one at a time?  God patiently waits for us, He is a gentleman.  What is He whispering to your heart today?

“I Am” by Crowder

There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place where we can’t find peace
There’s no end to amazing grace

Take me in with Your arms spread wide
Take me in like an orphan child
Never let go
Never leave my side

I am
Holding on to You
I am
Holding on to You
In the middle of the storm
I am holding on
I am

Love like this
Oh my God to find
I am overwhelmed
With a joy divine
Love like this sets our hearts on fire

This is my resurrection song
This is my halleluiah come
This is why it’s to You I run

There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place where we can’t find peace
There’s no end to amazing grace

You Deserve A Donut!

DSC_0766 (1)

Mom, Christopher said I always tell on him!  No, I didn’t say that, but it’s true anyway!  You always say always and it’s not always true!  Madeline, you stay out of it.  Stop hitting me with the towel!  Katherine, you’re such a snitch.  MOM!!!!  It was one of those days.  Well to be fair it was just one of those car rides.  It was time to run errands and I needed each child for at least one of the errands so . . . off we went.  Do you ever get the feeling that your children are spending a little too much time together during the summer?

It really had been a good day so far.  Thankfully I had been up early to squeeze in a brisk walk and some time with Jesus.  I walked and walked, praised Him for who He is, asked Him questions, and thanked Him for His answers.  He walked beside me, encouraged me with the words to my favorite songs, and renewed my mind with verses that spoke perfect truth to my soul.  I asked him, “What is your truth for me, Lord?” as I so often do.  He is never impatient and understands that I forget and need to be reminded often . . . He has been human before, and He knows.  What an amazing joy it is to know that my Savior is walking with me every minute of every day – even when I am having one of “those” car rides!!!

I stopped at a red light and the kids suddenly fell silent.  Hey Mom – there’s a donut shop!  Can we get donuts today?  Pleeeeeeaaasssee?  We haven’t had donuts in soooooo long.  Look, it’s open!  Come on, Mom, please?????  I drove on, prepared my “firm mom voice”, and replied that I wasn’t ready to say yes to a single request until there were kind words being spoken and apologizing going on in the car.  Well, two of the kids said “I’m sorry!” just as fast as you can imagine, but Katherine crossed her arms, crossed her legs, stuck her lip out as far as it would go and said “I don’t even want a donut!!!”

While the other two were trying their best to convince her that she really did want one and she just needed to apologize and get over it, I was thinking to myself – wait a minute – if there is anyone around here who deserves a donut, it’s ME!  Here I am, schlepping these kids around in the car, taking care of everyone’s needs but my own.  Are any of these errands for me?  No!  I started thinking about what kind of donut I might really deserve – maybe a chocolate old fashioned?  Oh yes – those are my favorite.  How about a chocolate with sprinkles?  Maybe . . . or a nice, chocolate supreme with filling – I am noticing a theme here, are you?  At that point there was a little, annoying question floating around in my brain.  Are you hungry, Christina?  I swatted the thought away like a fly and pulled into the donut shop.  The kids had stopped fighting and all three of them had apologized and come around at this point.  Why not?  We hadn’t had donuts in what seemed like forever.  And anyway, I deserved one for being a mom of three very loveable, but crabby kids!

It turns out that this donut shop had only been in business for a short time, and boy did we hit the jackpot.  Our mouths dropped open and our eyes grew wide as we looked at the assortment of mouthwatering donuts.  There were fruit loop donuts, candy bar donuts, waffle donuts, chocolate chip donuts – even bacon donuts!  It was then that we decided to get a dozen and share them later with friends that were going to be coming over. Christina . . . are you hungry?  What is your heart hungry for?  I can satisfy your every need.  What do you need right now?

Now I have to mention here, that I have been working my way through Barb Raveling’s book I Deserve A Donut and Other Lies That Make You Eat for several months now.  It is perfectly simple, goes along beautifully with Thin Within principles, and best of all is a powerful source of God’s truth.  On my work days I would get up early, while the whole house was asleep, and pray through the questions of a page as I got ready for the day.  On my days off I would take walks with Jesus, mulling the questions over in my mind with Him, desperately asking Him to please, please renew my mind, restore my soul, change me from the inside so that I would not be mastered by food and body image issues anymore.  It was just a few months ago when I really hit that wall – the wall that marks the point where you just can’t live life the same way another minute.  I cried out to my Lord and Savior, and He heard me in a big way.  In Barb Raveling’s book under the Entitlement Eating section she writes:  “When we hold food with tightly clenched fists and say it’s our right to eat, we’re basically saying, ‘I deserve this, God, and I’m not willing to give it up.  God says, ‘That food will never make you happy.  Come to Me, and I’ll give you the abundant life.’”  Hmmmmm . . . now that’s food for thought.  🙂


So here I was, standing in front of a hundred or so of some of the most amazing donuts I had ever seen . . . and these questions were going through my mind.  Jesus was with me, here in the donut shop!  Of course He was.  He has promised never to leave me.  I felt so close to Him in that moment that I half expected Him to walk out of the back area with an apron on and a fresh sheet of donuts in His hand, smiling all the way – and perhaps a wink, just for me.  Then . . . this is my favorite part of the story . . . a man did walk out of the back area, but he wasn’t carrying a tray of donuts.  In his hand was an empty box ready to house a dozen donuts, and on the front of the box, in large letters it said, “YOU DESERVE A DONUT!”  Oh my goodness!  I started laughing out loud and I’m sure no one knew why.  But I knew, and Jesus knew – and it was such a fun moment between Him and I.

The kids picked out their favorites, I picked out mine and we filled up that box, quick as a wink.  When we got home I smiled at God, took out my favorite chocolate old fashioned, and put it in a baggie to save for when I felt true hunger.  Just one and a half hours later I was at a zero and ready to thoroughly enjoy my donut.  It was delicious.  God is so good!  I continue to be amazed every time I catch a glimpse of how intimately involved He is in my life.  Do you believe that He loves you that much?  He does!!!

Matthew 6:33  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things (even donuts!) will be added to you.”

Phillipians 1:6  “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Romans 8:28  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those that are called according to His purpose.”

How about you?  Do you believe that God is intimately involved in your life, even inside of a donut shop?  Do you sometimes feel entitled to have a certain food at a certain time when you are really trying to satisfy an emotional or spiritual need?  God wants nothing more than a real, authentic relationship with you.  He can’t wait for you to run to Him for your every need.  What is He whispering to your heart today?

Clouds Hanging Over Me


imageI heard the thunder in the distance, but we were too involved in our game to notice.  “Marco!”  yelled my middle daughter, Katherine, “Polo!” my other two kids and I yelled back.  It had been a fine day for swimming – warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky, an open calendar for the afternoon.  I jumped out of the way as Katherine laughed and dove toward me, and just as she tagged me we were stunned by a clap of thunder so loud it felt like it was shaking the whole pool.  In less than a second it was raining giant drops of ice cold water from the sky, the lifeguard whistle was blown and we were racing out of the water to gather our things.  By the time we got to the car there were rivers of water rushing down the street and under our feet, and there were powerful cracks of lightning cutting up the sky in front of us.  The kids were happy, laughing, loud, making up a silly song, talking about the storm, talking about swimming, sharing snacks and water bottles in the back seat.

What’s wrong with me?  I thought.  I have always loved our Colorado afternoon thunderstorms.  All I could think about when I looked at those dark gray clouds was how I felt on the inside, that only I knew about.  In the middle of my busy family I felt alone.  Even in the sunshine and throws of a playful pool game I had felt the heaviness of a cloud over me.  Seeing real clouds above me now made the heaviness feel heavier.  I had been so sad all afternoon . . . melancholy and slow moving and sad.  Our family is grieving the loss of my precious mother-in-law, who died just a few weeks ago in our home.  We had taken care of her for more than two years and the emptiness of our home without her was consuming me today.  I just couldn’t shake it.

As we drove home the kids asked me to put some music on from the radio.  The song that was on blended into the background noise and I heard nothing.  I thought to myself what do we have in the house?  Do we have any sweets?  I could really go for a cookie right now.  Do I have the ingredients?  That’s what I’ll do – I’ll make cookies for the kids on a cozy, rainy, summer afternoon.  What could be better?  They will love it!  But there was a tugging in my soul during those thoughts that reminded me that emotional eating was on the horizon, and coming fast.  How many times in my life had I run down this path only to find more emptiness?  I sighed and whispered Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus . . . in my mind.  We were home now and the kids were jumping out of the car, running to the house and yelling about who would get to the trampoline first.  The rain had slowed to a calm sprinkle, the thunder and lightning had stopped, and I realized that one of my favorite songs had come on the radio – it’s called “How Sweet the Sound” by Citizen Way – maybe you’ve heard it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckheyK6NXgA

Yea, though I walk through the valley

I know that You are always right beside me

And I will fear no evil

You’re my rock and my strength

You comfort me

Carry me through the waters

Where Your peaks clears away all my sorrow

Nothing can separate us
From Your love, oh Your love

It will always be

You were healing in the pain

You were shelter in the storm

Hallelujah, you restored my soul

Amazing grace how sweet the sound

I hear You singing over me

I once was lost but now I’m found…

Amazing grace how sweet the sound

It covers every part of me

My soul is silent, I am found

And it’s a beautiful sound

A beautiful, beautiful sound.


imageI closed my eyes and let God’s truth wash over me like the water in the pool, like the rivers of rain water running down the street. I imagined Jesus covering me, covering every part of me, consuming me with his love, with his grace, with his healing.  Two silent tears slid down my cheeks.  He was there with me, in the car, in the rain, during the storm.  He knew.  And he touched my soul through the words of that song . . . amazing grace, how sweet the sound, it covers every part of me, my soul is silent . . . I am found.

When I got out of the car after just 3 minutes or so I heard thunder in the distance and saw the clouds forming into a new summer storm.  My youngest, Madeline, needed a band aid, my neighbor wanted to talk with me about a tree branch of ours hanging over her yard, UPS drove up with a package to sign for and the phone was ringing.  In the midst of the business of life Jesus had touched me – it only took a minute.  He had renewed my mind, restored my soul, and poured his love and grace on me so that I could continue on as a mom, as a wife, as a neighbor, as a friend.  The sadness in me about losing my mother-in-law will linger for a long, long time – of that I am sure.  But in that moment I knew that I had been touched by my loving Savior, and I was going to be okay.

(As a side note . . . it wasn’t even an hour later that I was suddenly experiencing true hunger and was at a zero.  Feeling complete peace I turned on the oven and pulled out all of the ingredients to make chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies – just like my grandma used to make.  I licked the dough once, made the cookies, ate two as my happy children devoured the rest, and moved on!!!)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.”  Psalm 46:1-2, 7

 “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30image

 “Oh God, you are my God; I shall seek you earnestly; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh yearns for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1


How about you?  Do you sometimes feel consumed by an emotion that causes you to want to run to food?  What happens if we allow ourselves to hear God’s voice in those moments?   God loves you so much and wants to bless you in every circumstance.  What is he saying to you today?

Sprinkles, Anyone?

Sprinkles, Anyone?

Something quite amazing happened today . . . something that most people wouldn’t even think twice about. But for those of us walking this Thin Within journey – well it was a really big deal! It was the warmest afternoon here in Colorado Springs that we have had in a long, long time. Everywhere I looked there were people in shorts, capris and flip flops. The snowstorm and frigid temperatures of a week ago were forgotten as I picked up my girls from school and decided on a whim to take them out for ice cream. Why not? It seemed like the most perfect opportunity, and we didn’t have to pick up big brother from his school party for hours.

We all squealed with delight as we hopped in the car, rolled down the windows, turned up the music and headed to our favorite 50’s drive-in a couple of miles away. We were about half way there when I realized something – oh dear. I am not hungry, not even in the least. In fact I had had a late lunch only a couple of hours ago and was quite satisfied thank you very much. What to do?

My girls had no idea that I was struggling with this dilemma as we drove on and they discussed what kind of ice cream cone they were going to get. It wasn’t very long ago at all that I wouldn’t have thought twice about picking out an ice cream cone right alongside my girls whether I was hungry or not. But now, here in the car during this joyful family moment, I was having a whole conversation with myself in my mind . . . and to be honest, with my heart. Annoying questions popped into my head such as: If you only choose to follow your eating boundaries when you feel like it, how often will you really do it? Will it be worth it if you break your boundaries? How many years have you been breaking your boundaries and for what? What does God want for you? How will you feel later in the afternoon after you’ve had that nice, big, drippy ice cream cone that you weren’t hungry for? Is it ever worth it to break your boundaries? Will eating an ice cream cone with your girls right now make this a more meaningful moment for them, for us?

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasins Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasins Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No. No, no, no, no. It’s not worth it – it’s not worth it now and it never has been worth it. We pulled up to the crowded drive-in and my girls excitedly ordered two junior ice cream cones – one dipped in rainbow sprinkles and one dipped in chocolate. The lady behind the window said, “Will that be all for you today?” And I say “Yes!” I half expected the entire group of restaurant customers that were sitting outside on picnic tables to stop talking and laughing, look at me and say “WHAT???!!!” But they didn’t. I half expected one or both of my girls to say, “Mom – aren’t you going to get one?” in disappointed voices. But they didn’t. There were no thunder claps or lightning bolts either. In fact, no one noticed at all . . . except me and God.

And all of a sudden I realized that it was a pretty cool moment between me and God. I could tell by the peace that I felt inside of me that He was pleased. I had not run to food this time – for any reason. I had fully submitted my will and let His will take over in my afternoon ice cream situation. Rather than feeding the hunger in my soul with food as I had done a million times before I let God feed my soul. It felt good, it felt right. And by golly a couple of hours later I was hungry again and you know what I did? I ate the last few bites of my youngest daughter’s ice cream cone that she had saved “for later” in the freezer when we got home. She offered it to me and I said “Don’t you want to eat the rest? You saved it from hours ago!” And do you know what she said? “No Mom, you can have it. I’m just not hungry!” 🙂

How about you?
Can you relate to my ice cream with sprinkles predicament? How does our loving God call us to act when we so desperately want to turn to food? Have you experienced the freedom and peace that comes from submitting completely to God in any given situation? God loves you more than you can imagine. What is He saying to you today?



Sunflowers and Evergreens

“Mommy, look!” It was my spunky second grader, running toward me in the school hallway with something in her hand, ponytails bouncing up and down. “It’s your favorite! We planted sunflowers!” A long, skinny, bright green stem with just two small leaves at the top was growing out of the transparent plastic cup filled with soil that Madeline was holding in her hands. She held it up to show me the roots that were growing out of the bottom of the plant and talked to me about what she had learned in class, how plants grow and what they need to thrive.

Image courtesy of criminalatt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of criminalatt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

She’s right . . . sunflowers are my favorite. Why? I have always loved that they are so bright, so strong, so cheerful and so varied. There are tiny sunflowers and gigantic sunflowers, deep red ones and golden ones, those that grow wild alongside the road and those planted in perfect rows at a farm. A few years ago my husband built a large, sturdy flower box for me at the side of our house. I would fill it with good soil and sprinkle a variety of small flower seeds over it with the reward of bouquets of blooms by the middle of each summer. One year I decided that I wanted to fill the box with my sunflowers – all shapes, sizes and colors. My children helped me pick out a stack of seed packets at the local nursery, all covered in alluring photos of the amazing flowers that were to come. We filled the box with rich soil, planted the seeds and watered diligently every day. Oh, the excitement of seeing a hundred or more tiny green seedlings pop up out of the soil! Each day we watered the seedlings and watched them grow . . . slowly, steadily over the weeks of the summer. They grew taller and taller and their stems and leaves were strong and sturdy. Finally after what seemed like “forever” there were buds forming at the tops of the stems. We waited and waited as the buds slowly opened. We thought back to those photos of flowers on the seed packets that we had bought so many weeks ago and held our breath.

But . . . wait. Something was wrong . . . something was very wrong. Some of the buds didn’t open at all. Some of the buds were too tiny and the flowers were complete but very small. Some of the larger buds only opened half way, and some of the others only had some of their petals. Many of the petals that appeared were skinny and thin, not thick and wide as we had expected. Our sunflowers looked pitiful . . . there were only a few out of the hundred seeds we had planted that came out even looking like complete, healthy sunflowers and those were very, very small.

In my disappointment and frustration I asked my neighbor – the one with the green thumb – what might have gone wrong. I explained to her that I had bought the best soil filled with nutrients, that we had planted seeds from brand new seed packets, that we had watered diligently every day, and that the flowers had received plenty of sunshine all summer long. She took one look at my flower box failure and said “Oh, Christina . . . don’t you see? It’s all about the roots. You had everything these flowers needed except for one thing. Their roots were limited by the flower box and sunflowers only thrive if they are rooted very deeply into the ground. They just weren’t rooted deeply enough.

Photo by Christina Motley

Photo by Christina Motley

Oh . . . yes, yes, yes! I just love it when God shows me pictures of what he is trying to teach me. I am just like the sunflower. Oh sure, I can try to grow and change on my own power, but along with the water, sunshine and rich soil I must be deeply rooted in the truth that Christ brings me in His word. God uses this illustration all over the Bible, in both the old testament and new.

“Behind and underneath all this there is a holy, God-planted, God-tended root. If the primary root of the tree is holy, there’s bound to be some holy fruit. Some of the tree’s branches were pruned and you wild olive shoots were grafted in. Yet the fact that you are now fed by that rich and holy root gives you no cause to grow over the pruned branches. Remember, you aren’t feeding the root; the root is feeding you.” Romans 11:16-21

I am on the Thin Within journey as many of you are, struggling desperately to find the peace that comes with turning to God as my stronghold, not food, not a number on the scale, not the size of my jeans. There is a battle raging within me on most days . . . and if you are on this journey with me then you know what I’m talking about. What is the answer? Is it outward change that comes with human willpower, the latest diet or over exercise? How well we all know how fleeting those well-meaning attempts are. There is only one path to lasting change and that comes from being deeply and solidly rooted in the truth that is God’s alone.

I am that sunflower . . . growing and changing from within. Sometimes I am growing so slowly that you really can’t see it on the outside at all, and that’s okay. Some days are harder than others, sometimes I don’t spend time in God’s word, sometimes I try to do it all on my own, sometimes I lose the battle in the moment, and that’s okay too. But then there are those days (or parts of days) that my arms are stretched out wide, my hands are completely open, and I am spinning around and around in circles, dancing because of the pure joy that I am feeling inside as I surrender to the one who made me. (Last night I felt this in the midst of making dinner, helping my daughter with a school project, doing laundry and getting a prescription ordered for my mother-in-law!)

“They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers – never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.” Jeremiah 17: 8

It was just last week that I was able to carve out an hour of my morning to take a walk in the Garden of the Gods,15 minutes from our house. It was cold and windy and I prayed as I walked, drinking in the amazing glory of God’s creation – the enormous red rocks, the bright green spring grass, the strong, sturdy evergreen trees. I walked briskly around a corner and I sight that I have seen so many times before stopped me dead in my tracks. It was an evergreen tree . . . strong and solid like the others, hardly moving in the face of the strong winds . . . but it was growing in what seemed like an impossible place. It was growing at least a hundred feet up, from the side of one of those amazing, giant red rock formations. How could it be? Roots! Roots again! Somehow over the years that tree had been able to send its roots down the cracks of that red rock, down, down, down, all the way down into the rich, nourishing soil below.

Deeply rooted, deeply rooted . . . just like the sunflower that my daughter brought home from school. I can only imagine that that tree struggled for a long, long time – years to be sure – before its roots were rooted deeply and solidly enough. I am looking forward to being like that evergreen tree, rooted deeply enough that I can weather the storms without being broken or battered down. Roots again, Lord! Roots! Lord, Lord, this is your battle and I surrender to you. And I smiled as he whispered “Have I told you lately how much I love you?”

“So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me.” 2 Timothy 1:13

My daughters and I went to the nursery today to pick out a bunch of sunflower seed packets. We have a lovely spot in the backyard picked out, with plenty of room for wonderfully, deep roots, and we can’t wait to see what happens!

How about you? Where do your roots go? Do they run deep enough to help you weather the storms? Are you willing to surrender completely to God? Can you relate to Christina and her daughter’s excitement as they plant their sunflower seeds?