Testimony: My Ashes for Christ’s Beauty – Isaiah 61:3

Testimony: My Ashes for Christ’s Beauty – Isaiah 61:3

Hi my name is Kay and I live in New Zealand. I found Thin Within in July last year (2017) ‘by accident’ when in desperation and crying out the Lord for deliverance and help He led me to Heidi’s TW videos. They were water to my thirsty soul! Since journeying with the Lord and learning TW principles, i.e. devouring the TW book and workbook, as well as the amazing website, I’ve found the freedom and joy I’ve always desired.

I’m 53 years old and have walked with the Lord since the ‘80s. I love Jesus and am so thankful for having a wonderful loving Heavenly Father who speaks to me daily through His Word. I have a long history (since age 14) of suffering with severe/persistent eating disorders (EDs) – anorexia and bulimia (non-vomiting but purging with exercise) for many years up unto recent times. My journey with the EDs (initially anorexia – severe food restriction, obsessive weighing and exercise) began in Fourth Form (age 14) when I began to develop and experience puberty. This triggered off a lot of painful emotions, deep shame and fear. I felt ashamed of my body’s changes and felt utterly betrayed by it. I wanted to hide it away and starve it back “into childhood”… so I did. I began to research diets in the American magazines in our library and became secretive about how much I ate, existing on a pathetic amount of food each day. I became dangerously thin as I carefully and obsessively calculated my food and calorie intake down to a very minimal level. Ironically, I was already thin, having been a very thin child and High School student. I definitely did not have a weight problem and did not need to diet.

But one careless remark during a lesson one day with our Gym Teacher (to the entire PE class) had triggered off the fear/shame and the ED obsession. She had simply said “Some of you girls need to diet and lose weight!” She was from Helsinki – attractive, fit and athletic – everything a self-conscious teenager admired; she was a past Olympic-class Gymnast who was also underweight and very body-conscious. Of course I now realise she was not at all talking to me – I was already thin, and to diet would have been unhelpful. However, due to my low self-esteem and because of my past history which I detail briefly next I was filled with self-hatred, rejection and self-loathing.

I’m a survivor (and overcomer in Christ) of severe abuse (physical/sexual) since the beginning of my life and but my clearest and earliest memories of the worst of the abuse were from the age of three. Our home was sadly one of pain and dysfunction. I’m so thankful that with the Lord’s help over the last 10 years I have processed (with professional assistance) the worst of this. It has been a long, and at times daily, journey of forgiving and blessing my offenders, and then releasing them into the Lord’s hands with His help and grace. Our Lord is so amazing. In light of His forgiveness of me, I can do as His Word commands me and that is to forgive those who have sinned against me. God promises me that His ways are the pathways of peace and life, and I have certainly found this to be true.

On my TW journey I have experienced the freedom from weighing (I no longer weigh myself at all – yay!), and I haven’t binged since July 2017 with the Lord’s help. I no longer count calories nor do I weigh and measure my food. My focus now is on “feasting on the Lord”, spending time with Him daily, praising and thanking Him for His goodness, and meditating on His Word. I certainly do not do the journey perfectly, and at times still struggle with 0-5 eating but I try to just “observe and correct” and move forward daily. After decades of starvation, I find it hard to find “0” at times, and also find it painful/challenging to stop at “5” because of the fear of deprivation which has long been entrenched in my mind. But God is amazing; He encourages me and is teaching me how to renew my mind daily with my truth cards, TW readings, watching/listening to TW resources, and participating in the TW Facebook groups. I’m so thankful for Thin Within and its wonderful resources and leaders; it has been such an integral part of my healing journey with Jesus!

Kay P lives in the lower North Island of New Zealand. She’s 53 years old, and lives with her hubby and their wee Bichon Frise dog called Ollie. She and her husband both love the Lord, enjoy walks and spending time in the great outdoors (in the bush). She describes herself as a fledgling writer…. and has begun writing her personal story in the form of an Autobiography. Kay is a qualified English Teacher and works for herself as a Freelance TESOL Teacher in NZ teaching English to children with learning disabilities and literacy challenges. She also works with adult immigrants. She and her husband are a childless couple but Kay has been privileged to work for the last decade with children which she really enjoys. Ollie-dog is her furry blessing from the Lord…

8 Tips to Get the Most out of Small-Group Coaching

8 Tips to Get the Most out of Small-Group Coaching

I have noticed that there are two types of people in Thin Within:

  • Those who stay on the fringes of the ministry, dabbling here and there, reading some, participating in a group or two –  which I did for years! And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it! I was welcomed, accepted, and loved, and I received much in the way of encouragement and resources. And I learned and grew. But there was no “connectaccountability” – meaning no one knew when I was coming or going, or how I was doing with the program, other than what I chose to reveal in a group.

Fringe-stayers; comfy, but you don’t go anywhere (at least I didn’t!)

 

But I personally could just not get to a place of fully embracing the Thin Within message or implementing it into my life. That’s why I was SO glad when Heidi and Christina began their small coaching groups, as this was the opportunity I needed to be part of the second type of Thin Withinner:

  • Those who jump in to the program head-first, with heart in tow, and become participants in a much deeper, real-time, connected way!

Woo-hooooo!!! So glad I jumped in!

 

This is now ME, too!!! And I like it much better than being in the first group! (Don’t worry, it’s much easier than doing the above jump would be, but it felt almost as scary right at the beginning!)

In fact, I love small group coaching – and Heidi and Christina(!) – so much, I’m now in my fourth group!

Perhaps you have made the jump into joining a small coaching group, and started out, but then got cold feet part way through and opted to pull out.

Or maybe you stuck it out, but didn’t feel you got out of it what you hoped.

No matter what boat you’re in – or not in – I have a few tips that will help you get the most out of your involvement with a small coaching group. Note that many of them are decisions.

1) Decide right up front – as in right now ~ that you will jump in to this program, specifically into your group, with your whole heart, and that you will give it all that you can! This isn’t just about Heidi and Christina giving to us, although they do much of that! It’s about what you bring to – and give to the group. In fact, if you decide to GIVE more than you receive, you will be even more blessed, because, as we all know, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Part of what they do is facilitate us connecting with and blessing each other! 

I’ve often gone to a call just feeling grimey, like I’ve failed (cuz I actually had!), and like I need a good cleansing. But after each of our calls, I feel like I have been washed fresh and clean – by the Word, by sharing my heart and being showered with encouragement, love, and compassion. My focus gets changed from being downward-focused, to being focused on Jesus’ cleansing grace, excited to jump back in whole-heartedly and right-heartedly.

 

2) Do your prep work for the call each week, as much as possible, not as a legalistic or performance-based thing, not just so that you can check it off your list (which, as confirmed “To-do-a-holic,” I do LOVE checklist-checking-off!), but rather, simply because these assignments are part of the work that God is doing to bring us out of Egypt and into his promised land! In our case, it’s the Promised Land of FREEDOM FROM EMOTIONAL EATING AND BONDAGE TO FOOD!!! I SO look forward to this, but, thanks to these coaching groups, I am much closer to it than ever before!

 

3) But, even if you are not able to do all of the assignment, or even any of it ~ and there will be those times – decide right nowthis very moment(!) – to come to every single call that you’re able to, even, if not especially, when you you don’t want to come! Heidi and Christina are sooooo gracious – ALL of the time!!! Even if we have been unable to do the assignments, we are still just as welcome on the calls! We have ALL been there, and there is no condemnation, and we have still gotten much out of our time on the call, with noone thinking less of us for it!

 

4) Show yourself GRACE ALL through the process, because that is absolutely the theme of this ministry, and at the very core of Heidi and Christina’s hearts! There have been many times that I have felt like I deserved a little bit of scolding, but that has NEVER EVER happened! I have received nothing but encouragement, grace, and love!

 

5) Determine that you will discard any and ALL thoughts of self-condemnation! This includes being down on yourself, feeling like a failure, or entertaining any ideas of quitting. Since what we are doing in these small groups is really part of our walks with the Lord – in an area we have heretofore kept in a dark closet of our hearts – there’s really nothing TO quit! This is very much part of our journey with God! We are just bringing an area of our lives into a place of allowing God to have access to it – to heal us, and bring us out of that darkness and into His wonderful light! Sometimes that light can be blinding and uncomfortable, but it’s the only place we’re going to get fully healed!

 

6) Decide, instead, that when you fail or “blow it,” you will “observe and correct,” and focus only on what you can learn from any failure. And we get plennnnty of practice at this with Heidi and Christina, who simply don’t accommodate any attempts to beat ourselves up!

 

7) Likewise, decide right now that, when the Holy Spirit shows you any sin, you will repent quickly! No groveling, no retreating from Him, no justifying, no pummeling yourself for doing it again, no pity party. Just quickly come into agreement with the Lord (about your sin) and REPENT! Respond to His loving conviction and come back quickly to Him. Do not allow it to keep you away from Him. He is our only hope for transformation anyway, so staying away from Him will only cut us off from our Source of power and change!

 

Jesus’ arms – and those of Heidi and Christina and everyone in our small group – are wide open to receive us and swiftly get us back on the path to peace, healing, freedom and victory!

 

This is actually more like what it feels like sometimes!!!

 

And finally…

8) Come to each call ready to be vulnerable and share what is truly on your heart! This is not the place to come with a happy-face mask and act like everything’s fine when it isn’t. This is truly a loving, caring, gracious group of ladies, under the loving and wise leadership of Heidi and Christina, and you can be totally yourself, totally vulnerable with them! You will absolutely FALL IN LOVE with these amazing people!

 

It’s like being part of a living, vital, growing, fruitful vine! We are all connected, all growing together, and in many ways producing sweet fruit together because of the input we all have into each others’ lives on this inter-connected leg of the journey. Yes, it’s difficult but we are in it together!

 

So – can you see why I am sooooo deeply grateful to be in a Thin Within coaching group with Heidi and Christina?!?

I know weight numbers are not a focus, but just so you know this really works from not only a spiritual angle, but from a physical one as well, I have lost about 30 pounds since starting this Thin Within journey! And I have another 20 or so to lose, which will put me at my natural God-given size, not necessarily “skinny.”

These small groups help me keep “walking in the light” where it’s much more difficult to hide in the darkness than when I’m “Lone Rangering” it! – which is SO easy to do when I am struggling and failing and sinning!

 

So if you are still on the fence, I encourage you to take this to the Lord, ask Him if this is something He wants you to be part of, and if so, don’t wait another moment to sign up and jump into this! It might feel like you’re about to do this…

 

…especially when you first join and come to your first group phone call. But I encourage you come to the water, LET GO of the rope – whatever is holding you back – and JUST JUMP IN!!!!

 

I can wholeheartedly assure you that…

the water is WARM!!!

 


 

3 Strategies to Overcome Obstacles on Your Thin Within Journey

3 Strategies to Overcome Obstacles on Your Thin Within Journey

Thin Within principles are simple:

  1. Eat when you are physically hungry
  2. Stop eating when you are physically satisfied
  3. Go to God for everything else that has lured you to eat for other reasons than to fuel your body.

But as simple as this is, it isn’t easy.

What is the road block?

The core of many of our challenges on our Thin Within journeys can be pulled out and dismantled if we deal with two really important issues…

  • Are you convinced that God is calling you to the Thin Within approach of eating any food between the parameters of physical hunger and physical satisfaction?
  • Do you wonder if it will work?

Without a rousing YES answer to the first of these two questions and a definite NO to the second, it will be hard for anyone…even with the help of a coach, book, material, testimony, blog article…to convince you that you should get back on the horse, back into your Thin Within journey. You will be likely to struggle a lot with consistency. Perseverance isn’t likely to happen when the going gets tough.

Ask the Lord to meet you and show you if this hunger/satisfaction approach is for YOU because He has called you to it or if it is the most palatable “diet” that you selected from all the options that you could have chosen…is it your will? Or is it what God wants for you, His child?

The FIRST STRATEGY to overcoming obstacles in your Thin Within journey is to prayerfully evaluate if either of these are missing:

–>a conviction that God wants you to use this approach for your eating/body issues

–> an assurance that Thin Within will “work” for releasing weight (if your body requires it) and to give you peace with your body and with food

SOLUTION: If you lack the conviction and assurance that God wants this for you and that this approach will “work” to accomplish what *HE* intends for you: 

A. Ask the Lord to build a conviction.

B. Browse through the testimonies at the Thin Within website.

So often when we have been on diets, we did it because we wanted to get thinner for a reunion, a trip coming up, a friend’s wedding, swimming at the beach, etc.  When these are the reasons we begin Thin Within, then–like in our experiences with dieting–when our motivation lags to keep at it because we want to look great for the upcoming event, we end up lacking commitment. We burn out. We throw in the towel. We quit.

But if there is a conviction that God wants me to do this, it takes my motivation to a new level.

The SECOND STRATEGY to overcoming obstacles is to realize the impact of our dieting years and the influence of our culture. We are bucking a long standing system! Be aware of the dieting mentality and how it can undermine our efforts in Thin Within.

Dieting teaches us that we are either successes or failures when we try to lose weight. Our culture is all about performance.

For years we did the pendulum swing…at the one extreme we would commit (like at the first of the year) to a new eating program or maybe even Thin Within. We could hold on for only so long and then we felt like we weren’t doing it well enough and we bailed…or quit…or stopped trying…and swung to the other extreme…threw all caution to the wind.

What we have to do is allow the cross of Christ to stabilize and stop the pendulum swing.

I have often likened our Thin Within journeys to being on a trail ride. In dieting and in other areas of life, the whole point is riding the horse from here to our destination perfectly. It is all about our accomplishment. It is not about the journey. In fact, success or failure seems to be determined by getting to the destination or not. We have been results oriented. Not process oriented. Dieting taught us to be self-focused and very black or white in our thinking.

BUT On the Thin Within journey, riding down the trail and never falling off–as wonderful as that may sound–isn’t our goal! Being really good at getting back up ON the horse instead of wallowing around in the dirt each time we fall off IS the goal. THIS is doing the journey well!  When we fall off our horses, we don’t wallow in the dirt. We get back in the saddle and evaluate what we can do differently next time to be victorious.  This IS doing “Thin Within well!”

SOLUTION: If you know you are being affected by perfectionism or all-or-nothing thinking:

A. Accept that FAILURE IS A TEACHER, not an UNDERTAKER. Failure is what you do, not who you are.

B. Allow God to use your failures, mess-ups and mis-steps to show you what hasn’t worked. In this way, you can develop a plan of action for emerging victorious the next time by doing things differently.

The THIRD STRATEGY to overcoming obstacles on the Thin Within journey is to see that God’s grace isn’t just a one-time event when we come to Him for salvation. It is an ongoing power, presence, and provision even in my failures.

This is where we apply God’s grace in the tool called Observation and Correction.

With Observation and Correction, God redeems my failures. HE can redeem whatever has caused me to fall off the horse (or eat outside of my hunger and satisfaction boundaries). He turns my failure into a learning opportunity–if  I am willing.

Recently, our Coaching Groups were having their last group conference call for the current coaching session. The assignment I had given them ahead of time was to consider looking back over the time since they began their first coaching group and jot down a list of lessons God has shown them through observation and correction. What “corrections” had God given them that are keepers as they go forward?

The results were nothing short of inspirational. It is the heart of grace. It is the heart of Thin Within.

Each one of the participants experienced failures in their lives.  By God’s GRACE and wisdom, they had used what they learned from the failures to write down options for making different choices in the future or to prepare for challenges in a new way…like by developing needed skills or renewing their minds.

Counter to our performance culture or dieting mentality, we need to know that messing up with our eating is something that happens on this Thin Within journey. Consider each time you “hit the dirt” to be an opportunity to learn how to “get back on the horse again.” View each time that you are on the ground as an opportunity to practice getting going again.

SOLUTION: If you know you need to grow in applying God’s grace to your journey:

A. Develop and add to a Victory List – each time you recognize that you stopped eating before you would have in the past, or if you pray or renew your mind, or…whatever it might be! Jot it down and keep an ongoing list of the many “baby step” victories that God gives you. Review this list often and go through it, thanking him out loud for each one!

B. Make liberal use of the Observation and Correction tool. (Even better if you keep a running list of the “corrections” that God has given you.)

God may be up to something larger and more important than what size your body is!!!

How About You?

What specific challenges are you facing? How might applying these ideas help? We want to hear from you in our comments section here at the blog!

How to “Take Every Thought Captive”!

How to “Take Every Thought Captive”!

Do you, like me, tend to carry a lot of “weighty matters” in your heart?!? Things that weigh you down emotionally and snuff out your joy? There IS a solution, and it’s in II Corinthians 10:5:

“…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

“Taking every thought captive” is a great idea, and I know what it means generally, but I have certainly not been very good at actually implementing this into my own life!

Analogies help me “see” things more clearly, which, in turn, helps me know how to do something that’s difficult for me. The Lord recently gave me a tool to help me understand and implement this concept of “taking every thought captive” – which I’m excited to share with you.

Not all thoughts are created equal, of course, so only certain thoughts need to be taken captive. The ones that need to be “made obedient to Christ” are those that concern me and weigh heavily on my heart; any thoughts in the atmosphere of my thought life that wreak havoc on my peace.

Here’s what I’d like the terrain of my mind to look like on a normal basis:

But when obnoxious, pesky, mood-darkening thoughts dart around in my head like an asteroid shower, whacking me emotionally when I least expect it, they drag me right down emotionally.

These thoughts run wild, having a free-for-all on the otherwise serene countryside of my mine, trampling my peace as easily as wild horses trample flowers!!!

Some days they can totally derail me, and knock the wind completely out of my sails.

The cumulative result is that the heaviness of these thoughts often tempts me to EAT in an attempt to quiet them down or numb them – which, of course, never works. In fact, it only adds yet another “weighty matter” to the whirling mix!

It occurred to me that this whole crazy, destructive process is not the Lord’s will for my life! It’s a LIE, not the TRUTH, that I have to live this way! Even if it only happens once in a while, it’s still too much!!! (But, for me, it’s more than just once in while; usually a few times a week.)


(Actual depiction of actual thoughts hitting my mind!)

God wants me to stop allowing these haywire thoughts to assail me and effectively mess up my peaceful pasture!

So, instead, I need to take God up on His offer of giving me a “spirit of power, and love, and a sound mind,” take the proverbial bull by the horns, and round up these thoughts, taking each of them captive, and put them all into a “corral” where I can deal with each of them, one at a time, as I have time.

These thoughts come in a variety of forms:

• Some are things I need to ask the Lord about and get His perspective and/or direction on.

• Other thoughts I need to bring to Him and surrender to Him.

• Others I need to drag out into the light before Him, confess as sin, and repent of and ask forgiveness for

• Others I need to soak in His presence and get healed.

• And still others I need to put in a back burner, put a lid on, and not even think about until the Lord brings it back to my mind to deal with – another time, maybe  when I am more ready, with Him.

One thing I know for certain is that God does not want EVERYTHING to be out on the forefront of my mind all at one time. That just completely overwhelms me and freezes me in my tracks.

So that’s exactly what I did yesterday! Some rounding up of some “wild horses” and corralling them into a pen – on paper!!

Throughout the day, as thoughts came into my mind, rather than letting them harass me, I jotted them down, one at a time as they came.

By the time I got done, I felt pretty relieved and unloaded!! Of course, I still have much processing to do of these things, but I feel that they are now corralled, and waiting their turn to be tended to ~ because I have a lot of work to do!

I want to interject here that a major victory for me in doing this was that I did not get all perfect about it! The corral fence is very uneven and rustic, and my writing is just legible enough that I can read it later!

I would normally want to make a beautiful, straight, even fence and do my best writing, but instead I just let this be an exercise in dumping, not in perfectionism!

(No,  your vision hasn’t gone bad – unless, of course it actually has gone bad. The reason you can’t read my writing is because I blurred it, only because several of my points are private and not for public viewing. 😉)

I have a little plan for what to do with all these concerns next, as in how to deal with them on this paper (which, by the way, is on the back of a page in my Fresh Wind Fresh Desire notebook…)  Using a highlighter, I’m going to put a heart over each one after I’ve prayed it through.

If a concern is something I don’t know what to do about, I will ask the Lord to show me how to deal with it…

If it’s something that makes me sad, I will ask the Lord to lift the heaviness of it…

If it’s a mess I don’t know how to fix, I will ask the Lord for wisdom…

If it’s a wound, I will show it to the Lord like a child shows an “owie” to Mom or Dad and expects it to be taken care of and fixed…

At my age, (65, if you care; hah, I’m still 65 even if you don’t care!), I have fixed a good number of messes, hard things, and “owies,” both literal and figurative. Like the kind in people’s hearts.

But there are still many things I can’t fix, that I need to have my Daddy-God tend to, instead of holding onto them and letting them fester inside me.

Some of these matters I may end up coming back to many more times, and, if so, I will just put another heart – in another color, of course – over it! Some of them may end up with several layers of hearts on them if the matter is ongoing! At least it will not continue to be a pesky, pain-producing asteroid zooming around in my head!

And if a concern ends up answered and becomes a “done deal” that I no longer need to pray about, I will thank God for this, and then put an X through it.

And even if you have only a small number of weighty matters, you can still have just a small corral with only a few rounded-up “weighty matters”!!! Keep ’em under control before they get out of hand ~ and consume you!

I will close with a little amplification I did of Hebrews 12:11, as the Lord applied it to this new “corralling” tool:

For the moment, all discipline (in taking thoughts captive) seems painful (or pesky) rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained (and whose thoughts have been corralled) by it.”

Thin Within: What To Expect When You Are Expecting!? #02 – A Man and a Plan

Actually, a better title might be: “No Man… but I have a Plan!”

During my second month of pregnancy, when I may have been feeling my worst, my husband announced he would be going to London on a two-week business trip. I was very concerned about being left alone with the two kids, work, housework, and in my first trimester of pregnancy. But most of all, I was concerned about being left to my own devices in the evenings… all alone…

Historically I would have used the evening times alone to “indulge” in over-eating, and late-night movie watching. But I know that inevitably, I wake up the next morning regretting staying up so late and regretting what I ate! So, I decided to use it as a re-framing opportunity. I wanted to think of an evening alone in a whole new light. I knew from experience that would take planning, accountability and a new way of thinking.

I started out with a favorite prayer pneumonic from John Piper. It’s “APTAT”:

  • A – Admit that you can do nothing on your own.
  • P – Pray for help
  • T – Trust a Promise
  • A – Act in response
  • T – Thank him for helping you.

In the past, this little reminder has helped me calm my anxiety and refocus on God and his ability to influence me and my circumstances. So that’s what I prayed. And then I made a plan.

Truth Cards

My attitude about this whole situation was not great. I felt panicky and like I was being left out of the fun. So I wrote some truths about what this time really was about—or some of the potential benefits of this short season. Truths like,

“Thank you God for this more relaxed week to make memories with my children.”

“Jesus is my Perfect Companion. He never gives up on me, grows weary, stops loving me, or walks away.”

“God, you know I am not perfect. But you have said I have your resurrection power in me. You said your Divine Power has given me everything I need for life and godliness today.”

I reviewed these in the mornings usually. A quick way to get my mind right for the day.

Evening Mind Renewal

One of my goals was to renew my mind every evening after dinner and before I started watching TV or having any snacks. This was an Accountability Point for me (see below) and was very helpful. In fact, I got a big surprise! I discovered new things about myself! I discovered I love to go out on the porch after dinner. Listening to the night sounds and looking up at the moon and stars gave me a wonderful calm and new perspective for the evening.

I came to look forward to that time to just “be” with my Heavenly Husband. We enjoyed such satisfying moments together that TV didn’t even interest me some nights (!) This time of mind renewal looked different on different nights. It might be praise time, reviewing my Truth Cards or using Barb Raveling’s I Deserve A Donut App or my own Bible study.

Extra Boundaries for TLC

I also tried to listen to what the wisdom of God’s Spirit was nudging me to do to protect myself during a particularly vulnerable time. I decided it was best not to buy or bake any sweets/desserts during that time, since those are particularly difficult for me to resist, especially when I’m alone. I also knew that the later I stayed up, the weaker I became. I was more likely to make choices I’d regret later. Plus, I need my rest—after all, I’m growing a baby! So my other boundary was to be in my bed at 9:30 on weeknights and by 11 on weekends.

Accountability

I knew that on my own, I’d be less likely to finish strong. I tend to thrive with that extra boost of encouragement. So, I called up my friend Molly. We met in one of the Thin Within online Facebook groups and really hit it off. We periodically text or call so I knew she’d be willing to help. She was so kind to touch base with me daily and encourage me that we were doing those two weeks together. Even when I had a disastrous day, it really helped me to Observe and Correct, when I had to reflect back and report in about what had happened and the choices I had made.

God was so gracious during the time my husband was away. He answered prayers and gave me extra energy, grace, and patience with the kids. He kept everyone safe and gave me strength to survive fever and floods! He is so Good.

So whether you have a challenging weekend coming up or a new life situation that has you baffled…I pray these ideas will prove useful to you. I have to remember: the main thing is the Main Thing—Jesus! He’s the one who empowers me to walk wisely in the way he instructs me to go. Keeping my eyes focused on the Author and Perfector of our faith is what makes life full and satisfying, regardless of my outward circumstances.

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Emily lives in South Korea with her husband and 2.1 children. She enjoys being the token American in her neighborhood and baking for the Korean neighbors. She is grateful for the chance to lead worship in their small “expat church”. Like most mothers, she’s also good at multitasking–like cooking and putting on bandaids, rubbing four feet while reading two books and driving while chewing gum and talking on FaceTime with family back home. 

Thanks, Emily!

If you are a pregnant mom, won’t you post here and let us know? We would love to have a little support community right here on the blog for you all who are hoping to navigate the waters of your pregnancy (and after) while applying the Thin Within principles. Not only does Thin Within “work” during pregnancy to minimize weight gain, but many women LOVE the way they feel when they do this! EVEN when pregnant!

~ Heidi

 

A Berry Fruitful Lesson

A Berry Fruitful Lesson

I’d been picking berries over a period of a few days, trying to gather enough to make a batch of blackberry freezer jam and a blackberry pie ~ that I had a tiny piece of on a tiny plate, of course!

 

And, in so picking, I noticed something interesting that I hadn’t given much thought to before:  that the berries on a bunch all ripen at different times! Only one or two berries in any given bunch are ready to pick at any given moment.

For your farming education and berry-viewing pleasure, here’s a photo that I took of said berries, and then drew circles around each of the many bunches. (You may notice that a few of the bunches are lacking a dark, ripened berry ~ this is because I had already picked them off!)

 

This is similar to how I see myself as coming into “fruition” regarding growing in and applying principles of the Thin Within message! There are many areas ~ in Thin Within and in my life as well ~ that I’d like to be adept at all at once. Like immediately!!!  

But, alas, I am a slow learner. And  :::sigh:::  some days go better ~ and some worse ~ than others.

Just when I think I have one area conquered, I fail miserably the next day, as if I’m starting from ground zero! UGH!!!!! I know I’m really not, but some days it just seems like it!

Getting specific

One cluster of berries represents several areas that I need and want to grow and become more mature and skilled in! Like what, you ask?

Well, like…  waiting for zero…  stopping at 5…  which equals eating withing my 0 to 5 boundaries…

creating my truth cards…  reviewing my truth cards…  getting truths on my truth cards into my mind and heart…

drinking more water…  being more faithful at renewing my mind…  being more consistent at working in my workbooks…

eating more slowly…  exercising 0–5…  applying myself to conscious and undistracted eating…

running to Jesus instead of to food for comfort or help in decision-making…

truth journaling…  letting go of the dieting mentality…  learning to not beat myself up when I fail…

allowing God’s truth to replace lies…  for that matter, learning to even recognize lies!!!

And these are not things that I feel bound to do; they are things that God will use to set me FREE, “if I don’t get discouraged (or distracted) and give up”!!!

In fact, since I am berry ~ I mean very visual, I went ahead and labeled most of the individual berries in the bunch in the photo above so that you could visualize exactly what I mean right along with me!

(The above varying berry stages are not exact representations of MY actual maturity in these areas!)

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could mature in all of the areas we want, all at the same time!?! But that’s not too likely given the fact that we are human, weak, and imperfect.

But, as long as we are on the Vine, and remain connected to Him, who is also the Vine Dresser, we will mature! And I assure you that it won’t be because of our own ability to hang on! It will be because of His life-giving, transforming grace that flows through the veins of our souls and nourishes, grows us up, and ripens us in the “wisdom and stature of the Lord”! In fact, He even helps us to hang on!

So as we “seek him first,” all these berries – I mean things – will be added unto us!

I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

 

Heavy on the “apart from Me you can do nothing” bit!!! And thinking I can when I’m on a good streak is part of the wrong thinking that needs to be renewed in my mind!

Since that verse is about grapes, I thought it would be appropriate to include a photo of grapes ~ which turned out to be prettier than the blackberries! Aren’t the variations in color as they ripen amazing?!?! (Wish I looked this pretty as I’m ripening!!!)

 

Let’s close by praying through that same verse:

Lord, You are the vine, and I am one of your branches. My heart’s desire is to remain in You, and for You to remain in me, so I ask You to help me do this, Lord! Help me allow You to transform the “home of my heart” into a place You are comfortable residing in.

I want to be a fruitful branch of Yours, and to produce much tasty fruit, but I know this is a byproduct of allowing You to live Your life in and through me! For, apart from You, Lord, I can do nothing! (As in ZIPPO… NADA… ZILCH!!!)

Thank You for choosing to dwell in my heart, Lord!!! … Aaaaaaamen!!!!