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?


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!!!

Starving the Skinny Idol

Starving the Skinny Idol


A few weeks ago, the Lord told me to “starve the skinny idol”.  This was shortly after He showed me that I had made “skinny” an idol in my life.  It was quite shocking news!  Me?  Serving an idol?  Yup!

I dreamed of having “rock hard abs” or “flat abs”.  I had envisioned myself looking like Denise Austen or other exercise gurus.  I sought after it.  I deemed myself too flabby and went on a quest to “live the dream”.  Well, that so-called dream became my master.

“That other person, idea, or dream is your master, and it takes you over without your being aware of it.”*

That’s exactly what happened to me.  I lived and breathed this desire to have a certain look.  I wanted to be strong and to be at a certain weight.  If there was a book about it, I read it.  If there was a diet to help me live out my dream, I tried it or at least considered it.  I joined a fitness forum online so I could discuss this dream.  I counted calories.  I tracked points.  I stopped eating certain foods.  I tried to eat only raw foods.  And on and on and on.

I made skinny my “functional god”.

“They’re trapped, they’re deceived, and they’re miserable because they made a functional god of something or someone other than the one true living God.”*

I thought, when I am skinny, I will be happy.  I wouldn’t be satisfied until I lost a certain amount of weight or looked a certain way.  But even when I lost the desired weight, I thought, “How about 5 more pounds?”  You see, the enemy loves that we serve the skinny idol, or any idol for that matter.  He wants us to feel like we are never enough.  So I thought if I tried a different method, diet, technique, workout program, etc., that then I would have what I wanted.  Sure, I asked God for help, but “God won’t help us chase our idols.”*

My heart was set on being skinny.  “Idolatry is who or what you worship, what you long for, what your heart is set on.”*  And the sad thing is that back in the day, when I started on this quest, I was completely fine the way I was.  I believed the lies of the enemy that I needed to be more or less.  I didn’t think I was good enough where I was; so without realizing it, I built up my altar and started serving the skinny idol.

This is a photo of me from 2005, when I thought I needed to lose weight:


Oh how I wish I could go back to that young lady (myself) and tell myself that I was fine and to STOP obsessing.  I wish I could go back and tell her the truth.  I know different ones in my life did try, but I wasn’t convinced.  I really thought something was wrong with me because I didn’t have rock-hard abs.  I remember asking my husband to take pictures of me when I was sitting down so I could see if my stomach stuck out and rolled out as I was imagining it to be (it wasn’t).  The funny thing is, after having two babies, and looking back, those abs look great!  Ha!

So when the Lord revealed this idol to me about a month ago, I started to sort of panic.  I have served this idol and it has served me.  It’s been my familiar friend, my companion, my security blanket all of these years.  It’s what I could obsess over; and boy, have I obsessed!  “It’s hard [to demolish the idol], not only because they don’t want to leave, but also because we don’t really want to lose them.”*  Exactly!

This idol has kept me “fixed”.  It’s like a drug.  I feel “high” when I focus on the things that feed this idol: like thinking about starting a new diet.  “We may experience initial relief, so then we cling to them, making them the objects of our desire.  As these objects grow in importance, our behavior becomes habitual and we can no longer satisfy or relieve our needs in healthy ways.  Even if we want to break free, we find ourselves enslaved.”**  I have looked to my idol to fulfill me; but only God can fulfill me.

I’ve often asked myself why I would give into this idol, this addiction.  When I look back to when I erected this idol, there were a lot of things in my life that I felt were spinning out of control.  Relationships were changing.  Boundaries had to be placed.  There was a lot of emotional uneasiness.  Looking back, I am beginning to see that instead of depending on God completely, I began to place trust in this idol to help me through.  I grasped onto anything that felt solid at the time to hold me up.

Now that He’s revealed this idol to me, I’m accountable to tear it down.  In 1st and 2nd Chronicles,  it talks about how there would be a new king on the throne and it would say if that king demolished the high places and idol altars or not.  Kings built, tore down, and built them up again.  I want this idol to come down for good and not ever be built up again.  I’m starting to see that it comes down to 2 choices: either I can trust God or I can trust the “golden calves” of the skinny idol.  I can serve God or “mammon”, but I cannot serve both.

I didn’t trust God to take care of this area of my life.  Oh, I would claim He was leading me (which I think He did at times–to turn away from the idol), but I did NOT want to give up the control of this area of my life.  It’s ridiculous because idols only hurt us.  “We think they’re more predictable than God is, and they keep us in the driver’s seat.”*  Oh yes, I have told God to move over plenty of times.  I’m driving!  I will get my rock-hard abs no matter what!  Trust God?  Whatever!

I didn’t want to wait on God.  “And so we turn to idols, often just to remove the uneasy feeling of waiting and depending on God.”*  I think a lie I have believed is, “God won’t help me, so I will do this myself.  He probably just wants me to be fat.”  Yeah…not cool!  “We are anxious about our idols.  We think, “What if I don’t get what I want?  What if I lose it?””  I held on dearly to what I wanted because I was afraid God wouldn’t give it to me in my way and in my time.  Truth is, God is more concerned about my heart than my outward appearance.  Of course He wants us healthy and at our God-given weight, BUT He wants my heart.  He is a jealous God.  He doesn’t want us bowing down to any other gods.  And I certainly made a god, an idol, out of skinny.

Addiction and disordered eating end and dependence begins when we stop relying on our own will to get what we want and begin trusting God to give us what he knows we need.”**

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be slim, but it’s not ok when it’s ruling my life.

I want the guarantee that I will never be overweight again and that I will lose the “fluff” if I am going to follow God’s ways.  But the thing is–nothing in this life is a guarantee!  Only God is unshakable and unchangeable.  He is our only guarantee.

So what it all boils down to is this–is God enough for me?  If I never release another pound, is He enough?  If I never have rock-hard abs, is He enough?  Yes, yes, yes!!

What does it mean to “starve the skinny idol”?  That’s something I’ve been asking the Lord and learning about.  When you starve something, you don’t give it anything that will keep it alive, not even a crumb.  So what’s kept this idol alive in my life?  I can name a few things: obsessing over food, researching food and diets, being fixated on my body, reading anything that brings on the obsession, etc.  So by starving the idol, that means not doing any of those things.  And it also means changing my focus.  We were all meant to serve God and have a relationship with Him.  There is a yearning in every person’s heart for Him.  But we find things that become “functional gods” to us.  I want to serve God.  I want to give Him all of my heart, mind and soul.  I don’t want to give anymore of my time, heart, mind, or soul to “skinny”.  My focus needs to get back onto Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, my Deliverer!

So as I’ve been working on taking down this idol and demolishing it, the idol has tried to remake itself in my life using what I listed above.  And the areas this idol has served me has been tricky to pin down at times and it seems like it has 1,000 lives.  I wrote this in my journal, “I have to ask God for help if I’m going to spot them, pin them down, and kill them as fast as they appear.”

“Whenever we erect and bow down to an idol, we displace our dependency on God.  We struggle to stay at the center of it all through willpower, manipulating people, doing everything in our own strength, trying to look just right, and falsely believing that we are in charge of our life.  We think we can do anything through willpower, even control our addictions, but the blessed gift of addiction is that it fails us.  If we are honest with ourselves, we eventually reach a point where we must admit we can’t go on like this; that we are out of control.  It is God who allows us to see the futility of placing our hope and trust in the false idols of our own making.  Then he helps us discover and articulate the aching, unfulfilled emptiness at the core of our being and invites us to take the first step toward God-centered healing.”**

And that’s the thing, I was placing my dependency on this idol, not on God.  I thought if I could just control my eating, that then I would get what I wanted.  But what I truly needed was the Lord.  I’m coming to realize that if there’s an idol, an addiction, or something is just plain wrong, that’s an indication that something within me needs more of God.

The lie is that the idol will make us happy, that it will fuel us.  But the truth is that we cannot live on substitutes.  My heart will “never be satisfied apart from God in Christ Jesus.”*  Only God can satisfy.  Substitutes never satisfy.  The skinny idol just made me lust for more, more, more.  And I was left wanting more.

This is like Paul, in Philippians chapter 4, saying, I will be content whether well-fed or hungry.  It’s choosing to be content.  It’s getting to that place, that no matter what, we are satisfied in God alone and that He is enough.

Something else I wrote in my journal was this: Going to an idol instead of God is committing spiritual adultery.  Ouch!

After the Lord revealed truth to me about this idol in my heart, I realized that I needed a plan to starve this idol and to renew my mind, because there were literally days where “skinny” was on my mind consistently all throughout the day.  I didn’t know how to pinpoint the thoughts and take them captive to the obedience of Christ.  And so I figured that starting somewhere is better than doing nothing.  Part of my plan (and what I’ve been doing) is putting my focus more on Christ.  I’m reading through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and I’ve been reading Galatians over and over again.  It’s been awesome!  I wake up and instead of thinking about “skinny”, I get so excited to be in the Word and to get to know Jesus more.  I’ve also been reading my truth cards more often.  I also picked out sets of questions from the I Deserve a Donut app by Barb Raveling to answer in my journal: which has been extremely helpful in renewing my mind (the sets of questions I’ve been using are: Discontentment, Greed & Lust, Envy, Insecurity: Feeling Inadequate, Insecurity: Living Up to Expectations, Insecurity: People Pleasing, and Insecurity: Self-Condemnation).  And when I look in the mirror and feel any sense of dissatisfaction, I thank the Lord for my body.  Through all of this, and putting my focus on Christ, I have noticed that I’m no longer focused on skinny like I once was.  Praise God!

I still have work to do.  There are times I’m tempted to go on a diet to have my “guarantee”, so I have to keep pressing on and looking to the Lord and His truth.  This is a journey.  We learn and grow every day.

How about you?  Have you made skinny an idol in your life?  Have you served the scale or the food?  Where do you turn when the going gets tough?  Are you clinging to a “functional God” or the one true living God?  Ask the Lord to search your heart and He will show you.  If you are afraid you won’t like what you see, know that He is there to forgive as we repent, and He is there to help to get us where we need to be.  He will help us follow Him, but He won’t help us chase our idols.

P.S. You can hear more about what God has revealed to me in this Sound Cloud file I recorded:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/160296439″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

*Quoted from Gospel Treason by Brad Bigney

** Quoted from Hunger Within by Arthur & Judy Halliday (chapter 6)


Goodbye Scale!

Goodbye Scale!

Photo courtesy to www.freedigitalphotos.net

Photo courtesy to www.freedigitalphotos.net

Dear Scale, I’m done with you!  I’m finished!  You no longer get to tell me who you think I am or how well I am doing.  You do NOT define me!  You are not my friend anymore. Goodbye!  Sincerely, Christina

This is overdue.  I meant to write this weeks ago.

It’s Sunday night, July 13, 2014.  We had a glorious weekend with BEAUTIFUL weather!  We live in Southeast Alaska.  It rains a lot here.  We get 14-feet of precipitation a year.  Yes, you read that right, 14 FEET!  Our temperatures this weekend were in the upper 70’s.  That is warm for us.  It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

Last night, I had this idea that I would weigh myself this morning.  About a month ago, I removed the scale from my bathroom and put it in this storage space we have below our house, which is in a room above our cistern.  (Because of all the rain we get, we collect the rain water into our cistern tanks, which is then filtered, and that’s the water we use for drinking and bathing).  The room above the cistern is like an above ground crawl space.  That’s where the scale lived for a few weeks…until last night when I got that [evil] thing out.  Some of you may be wondering if I prayed about this: NOPE!  I was full-throttle on-a-mission and I think the Lord was like, “Okay, have your way.  You shall see…”

Mirror, mirror…who is the most beautiful of all?  Well, let’s just say it’s, “Scale, scale, tell me, am I beautiful?  Have I been good?  Am I too much?  Or not enough?”

I thought, “I’ve been doing really well (I’ve been good).  I’m following my boundaries pretty consistently.  God is changing me and transforming me.  Let’s see the proof in the puddin’!”

I woke up.  I got out of bed.  I went (yeah, you know what I mean, let’s empty everything so no ounce counts against us).  I put my 8-pound weight on the scale just to be sure it’s accurate (oh boy!).  I stepped on the scale.

I gained 2 pounds!  TWO pounds!  GAINED!

Wait!  This can’t be right.

Step off the scale.

Let’s try that 8-pound weight again.

Ready.  Let’s try this again.

Step up.

Still a 2-pound gain.  Sigh.

Now remember, it’s a beautiful day.  But the majority of my day was spent in with this cloud hanging over me, all because of a number.  A number.  Two measly pounds.  I let it define me.  I let it steal my joy.  I let it steal my whole day.  I was grumpy.  I set the mood for my home and my husband was affected, and so was my daughter.  I was in a stinkin’, rotten mood all because of a contraption that spits out a number.

Really?  I’m going to let it have that much leverage?

I’m DONE with it!

I am NOT what I weigh.  I am defined by Jesus Christ.

So hours later, which really should have been right away, I sat down and renewed my mind using the Dumb Scale Eating questions from I Deserve a Donut app (there’s also the book) by Barb Raveling.  That helped, but I still had a bad attitude.  So then a little while later, I renewed my mind with the Discontentment questions from the same app.  One of the questions asks what God wants me to do, and right away He showed me that I needed to apologize to my family for having such a bad attitude.  And so I did, and they forgave me (along with hugs and kisses).

I’ve never walked away from the scale feeling better.  Even if I had a weight loss, I still felt discontentment rising up in me.  It will never be enough.  It’s a tool the enemy has used in my life to make me feel like the scum of the earth.  Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but really, I have allowed it to define me.  I am not my weight.  I am more than a number!

So this is what I’m going to do.  I’m going to ask my husband to hide the scale and I’m going to ask him to not let me have it back–ever!  (Unless the Lord clearly gives me the “ok” to weigh).  Really, I’m so done with it!  We actually have a use for the scale for weighing our luggage when leaving town since Alaska Airlines doesn’t really like a bag to be over 50-pounds (sometimes we are just tired of the rain and we would rather see snow or sun, you know?).  We aren’t light packers, what can I say?  So…he’s going to hide it and I’m going to be done with it.

Will you join me in this?  Will you get rid of or ask a family member to hide the scale?  Or wean yourself off the number-spitting contraption?  Maybe instead of every day, how about once a week?  And then once a month, and then every 3 months?  And then never?  The number isn’t important.  You are important!

This is a scripture that was included with the Discontentment questions from I Deserve a Donut.  It really spoke to me:

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being RENEWED day by day. For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor. 4:16-18

I don’t want to look at what is seen (the scale).  I want to believe by faith that God is doing a work in me.  Because He is transforming me, from the inside out.  One of the questions asked in the Dumb Scale Eating questions is: Is it more important to lose weight, or to consistently renew your mind so you change the way you think about food?

Well, obviously it’s more important to consistently renew my mind.  Because I have chosen to renew my mind and because God has transformed me (and continues to do so), I have seen some amazing changes take place.  I no longer think about food like I used to.  I used to lust after hunger (being at 0), but now sometimes when I’m hungry, I feel like it’s an inconvenience because I’m working on a project or spending time with my family.  I’m no longer fearful about food (I used to think that sugar and carbs were doing deathly damage to my body).  I eat smaller portions at restaurants (this is a new change).  I don’t like feeling full, which for me is a “6”, where before, I used to numb myself with food.  I no longer immediately think about eating after my kids are in bed (that is a HUGE transformation change–praise God!).  And by following my boundaries, I was able to stay at a very healthy weight during my pregnancy.  So WHY would I let a number make me feel like a failure?  No way!  I’m not doing that anymore!

I don’t know why I gained 2 pounds.  But I’m not going to spend my time focusing on why.  I’m just going to continue doing what I am doing: following my boundaries and most importantly renewing my mind.  Taking the time to renew my mind about this got my attention today.  God exposed the lies and revealed truth.  The lie: you are what you weigh.  The truth: the scale doesn’t define me; Christ defines me.

So would you join me on this quest to say goodbye to the scale?  Let’s do it!

P.S. About 1-1/2 weeks after I weighed myself, I was able to tighten my belt one more notch.  Praise God!  So obviously something is happening.  A new thing is happening!  God is doing work from the inside out!

Mind Transformation


image“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God,” Romans 12:2 (NKJV).

Romans 12:2 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. I began truly meditating on it when I became a part of Thin Within as the workbooks have quite a bit of teaching on this process. Mind transformation is a total necessity if we are going to walk in victory concerning any area of our lives. Victory for me not only applies to my issues with food, but it also applies to other areas of my life.
Struggling with major insecurity for many years, I knew that as a minister, I could not go on in defeat and expect to help others to victory. I began to apply the mind transformation scripture to my insecurity which, by the way, contributed to much of my emotional eating.

One of the first steps in mind transformation is recognizing lies from the enemy of our souls. We can fall for his lies and not even realize that we are wearing a cloak of deceit. For example, I believed the lie that I was not good enough to work in my church, witness to people, or have successful relationships with people. The source of much of my insecurity was wounds I had suffered from relationships with men before I met my husband, people in the church who had lied about me, and friendships that had seemed to dissolve rather quickly. What was wrong with me? Why could I not maintain relationships?

I had to recognize the lie Satan had put into my mind that I was not good enough. Of course, I am far from being the perfect person, but if I am a child of God, I am made worthy through the blood of Jesus. Recognizing this truth took time because the lie was engraved in my mind for such a long period of time.
Once I recognized this lie, I could begin tearing it down through the power of the Holy Spirit.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing EVERY THOUGHT (emphasis mine) into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV).

I had what I needed to tear down these lies, not in myself but through the Holy Spirit. I had to participate in my mind transformation. I say this because we often want God to just pour victory on us without our participation. He must have our cooperation in the process, or we will just as easily return to bondage.

Now that the lies were torn down, I did not need to stop at that point. My mind was now empty and something had to replace those thoughts or the lies would return with a vengeance. Luke 11:24-26 is proof of the need to fill the empty places. Jesus spoke of an unclean spirit leaving a man and returning to find the house empty so the unclean spirit brought more with him causing the man to be worse off than before.

imageI believe this is where we often miss the mark in mind transformation. We begin to recognize the lies and tear them down, but we fail to replace the thoughts with God’s thoughts concerning the situation. 1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us that we have the mind of Christ so we can think his thoughts toward our situations. Philippians 4:8 describe the thoughts we should dwell upon.

Let me give you an example of the process. When I felt I was unworthy of ministry and relationships, I had to recognize the lie. Many lies will have some degree of truth which makes deception come into play. Without Christ, I am not a good person or a good friend, but with Christ, I can do all things. I have made a major step in the process, but I am not finished. I must realize that although I might have been at fault in previous relationships, those people had issues of their own so I could not be blamed for all of the failure.

Now that I had recognized a bit more truth, I needed to replace the lies. When replacing lies with truth, you must have scripture that applies to your situation. Some scriptures that I used in my battle were 2 Corinthians 5:21 concerning being the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. I read Ephesians 1 and 2 aloud concerning my spiritual blessings in Christ. I read Proverbs 18:24 claiming that I was able to show myself friendly. Philippians 4:13 about being able to do all things through Christ works in many situations. Aside from these, I found scriptures on the love of God. Recognizing His love made me able to have healthy relationships and a godly ministry. Renewing-your-mind (1)

The process was not easy but had I not participated in my mind transformation journey, I would not be able to tell you about it. You have to participate and cooperate with God in your own mind transformation. He is more than willing to be your strength, but He will not force His will on you. Your willingness to work through tearing down the lies and replacing them with truth is a must.

What about you? How can you cooperate with God in your mind transformation? What lies need to be torn down? What truths need to replace these lies with truth?

Letting Myself Be Free

Letting Myself Be Free

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On June 6, 2014 at 3:00 am, the Lord gave me a dream.  My son woke up shortly after I had the dream for a feeding.  As I was feeding him his bottle, the Lord gave me the interpretation to the dream.  I couldn’t wait to write the dream and the interpretation in my journal.  This has been monumental truth in my life!  I pray that this will encourage you as well!

In the dream, some other girls and I were kidnapped.  I won’t go into the details, but I could tell that we had been with these kidnappers for quite awhile because we got used to them and after awhile we were looking to them to take care of us and protect us–even though they were still evil.

This is what I wrote in my journal at 3:30 am:

We are held captive for so long that we become friends with and trust our captors.  We begin to rely heavily upon their “protection” even though they are harmful to us.  And when we are actually free to run away or get help, we stay captive  because we become like the elephant and think the rope is still tied to us–but we are actually free.  We are actually strong enough to escape captivity, but being held captive is all we know.  (I think it was Ginger that Heidi posted on Facebook about writing a book and she shared a story about how when they are training baby elephants to be in the circus or maybe the zoo, they tie a rope around one of their legs so they can’t go anywhere.  As the elephant gets older, it stays in one place and doesn’t think it can move, but the rope has been removed a long time ago).  It becomes a comfort to us.  We get hurt because we are held captive, but we cling to our captors for help.  It doesn’t make sense.

So this is what the Lord showed me–this is what I am doing with the diets and obsessive researching and thinking about trying to change things with what I am eating all the time.  These are the things that held me captive for so long, and now I am free, but I’m like that elephant–I’m strong, but I am so used to being in one place and thinking that I am stuck in one place, that I haven’t moved.  So even though the obsessive thoughts and diets have been harmful, it’s a comfort zone for me, so I keep on wanting to stick around.  And even though in the dream I could have jumped out of a car, made a phone call, or cried out for others to help me get away from the kidnappers, I chose to stay because it was safer that way and didn’t cause me as much harm–even though these kidnappers could have harmed or killed me just like that and without even a care in the world.  I have put my trust in my captors–in these programs, obsessive thoughts, etc.

“Prisons can be safe and comfortable.  They can become a known life, a familiar way.  Resignation is safe; dreaming is dangerous.  Letting someone else control your life is easier than rising up to deny them control; the relationship will never be the same…The known is always more comfortable and less risky than the unknown…Not a one of us was created to live in captivity.”*

So I am free!  God has thrown the prison doors wide open.  The shackles have been removed.  I can walk in freedom!  I just have to choose it!  “We will have to choose freedom and fight for our freedom as the Scripture urges…You pay too high a price to stay in chains.  Freedom is what you are made for; freedom is good.”*

Just like I posted about Galatians 5:1, I have to LET myself be free!  I’m still learning this.  (Even the night before this is being posted, I’m still trying to keep myself from being free by giving myself another food rule; this has got to stop!  I have to choose to stop it!)  It baffles me that I would even let myself be held captive when I really am totally free!  The prison doors are open, so why don’t I just run out?  Probably because this has been 12 years of familiarity to me.  And honestly, it’s sort of scary!  I’m sure the Israelites felt the same way when they were out wandering in the wilderness.  Egypt was slavery, but it was what they were familiar with.  For some, it was all they knew.  They had never lived a life of freedom before.  So why is freedom so scary to us?

“A known captivity is more comfortable than an unknown freedom.”

–author unknown

How do we hold ourselves captive when it comes to our eating and body image?  For me, it’s been opening links to before/after pictures of someone’s success with a particular diet or exercise program, it’s thinking critical thoughts of my body, researching different ways of eating, focusing on a body part that I’ve never really liked (but I’m learning to love), etc.  It’s also been thinking I need to change the way I eat, do an exercise challenge, or thinking I need to be skinny (I will be sharing another post about this some time soon).  These are all things that hold me back from experiencing the freedom God meant for me.  Being critical of myself and my body holds me back from loving who God has created me to be.  Reading about diets or thinking that I need to change my eating is me searching for some perfect set of boundaries.  Thinking I need to do some intense exercise program puts my eyes back on me, me, me, me, me–instead of Christ.  These are the things that trip me up.  The excessive focus and the obsession with food, my body, and thinking I need to be ‘skinny’ is like slapping the chains right back on.  Christ is like, “You’re free!”  And I’m like, “I’m scared of this freedom!”  Christ is like, “Follow these simple boundaries.”  And I’m like, “But Lord, I know these other paths will lead me to where I want to be (worshipping the ‘skinny’ idol).”  I put the shackles back on.

You see, I have been comfortable with those things that held me captive for so long.  It’s become like a friend.  I could run away, but this is all I’ve known for a long, long time.  For some of us, being overweight has felt comfortable because it’s sort of like a wall we have put up, a defense mechanism to keep the people away that could hurt us.  For some of us, driving through drive-thru after drive-thru is comforting because we get to eat and numb ourselves.  For some, not eating brings us comfort because we are in control (even though it’s completely out of control).  I don’t know your particular reason, but I know that Christ wants to free you from those chains.  The devil has spewed out his lies upon you long enough.  It’s time to bruise him under our feet (Romans 16:20) and throw off those chains and RUN out of captivity!

Shake off your dust;
    rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
    Daughter Zion, now a captive. 

Isaiah 52:2

Sometimes, I think, in a humorous way, that the Lord must slap His hand to His forehead in disbelief that I’m doing it again.  But there I am, looking back at Egypt.  “Those leeks and onions sure look good!  What is this manna anyway?” 

So how to I stop being so stubborn and free myself?  I am already free, so how do I walk out that freedom?  This is probably going to come as a big surprise to you (not really):

I need to renew my mind!

Big shocker there, right?  *wink*

“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.”  Romans 12:2

What’s God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for me?  FREEDOM!

How will I be transformed and be free from the pattern of this world?  RENEWING MY MIND!

What is the pattern of this world?  To be selfish, proud, serving other gods, envy, greed, lust, etc.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the “pattern” of this world.  I’m tired of the world telling me that I *have* to be skinny, that I *have* to eat a certain way, that I *have* to bow down to the gods of this world if I want to be happy and blah, blah, blah.

Can you tell I’m getting feisty?

So I’m doing it!  I’m taking off the chains and taking those steps in my newfound freedom!  I’m renewing my mind every time I am tempted to go back to captivity.  I’m going to choose not to open the books or sites on the internet that would trip me up.  I have to keep my eyes on what Christ has asked me to do, not what the world is beckoning me to do.  It also might mean excusing myself from conversations that would only ensnare me.

I’m going to fix my eyes on Christ!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:1-3

Are  you with me on this?  Are you ready to release yourself from what has held you captive for so long and live your life in freedom?  Freedom from diets, from being critical of your body, from counting, weighing, etc.?  We can do this together!  Let’s throw off those chains and RUN to Jesus!!!  Let’s renew our minds together and watch the beautiful transformation take place!

*Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge