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!!!!



Truth Cards 101

Truth Cards 101

One of the best tools for renewing our minds is Truth Cards! As you’ll see herein, there are many ways to do them, and no one right or best way! Thank you to all the ladies who allowed me to use their truth cards as samples to give you even more ideas than just mine!


I’m going to give you several options for styles of Truth Cards as well as how and where you can find content for them! You may, like me, want to do a combination of various styles, so be sure to read all of these to get ideas beyond what you might have thought of thus far!

To become more familiar with the concept, watch this video by Heidi Bylsma entitled “Truth Cards -Thin Within Support“! Have a note pad handy as she shares several of her own truth cards that you can use as ideas for making yours!







As you’re reading the Word, you might find a verse that, prior to now, didn’t seem like it would pertain to renewing your mind regarding food, but all of a sudden it takes on new meaning! You’ll also come across some really helpful verses in a Thin Within book, workbook, or a related resource, like Barb Raveling’s Freedom From Emotional Eating. For example:

“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)



These can be from any reading you do, Thin Within or not. It can be anything that stands out to you as being TRUTH that you want to capture and go deeper in you. Or the quotes can be things you hear in a video, such as the ones Heidi and Christina provide.

“I really can choose to put to death the deeds of the flesh and say no to ________.  … I am free to offer my body to God for righteousness.” (from Thin Within, page 140)



Barb Raveling’s books typically have many questions. These are to help us process the material for ourselves. Heidi has turned several of these into truth cards! For example:

“What will happen if you continue to reward yourself with food whenever you accomplish something?” (from “Reward Eating” in I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling)



These can be any truths or sayings you hear in passing, reading through posts in a Thin Within group or elsewhere on social media, or something God drops into your heart that you want to be sure to keep. It can be something profound, funny, or just helpful. For example, I found several in A Taste For Truth a 30-day study by Barb Raveling. I also turned something Heidi said into a photo truth card:




Heidi wrote under hers: “Life without boundaries; do you really want to go there?” (So we aren’t out to disdain ourselves!) Here’s mine using her idea:


If you are on the Thin Within journey and are using even just one or two of their many resources, most of the above content opportunities are coming at ~ splashing on ~ you all the time! Grab ones you like and get them onto Truth Cards so that you’ll have these life-changing, heart-transforming, mind-renewing truths in a format you can refer back to and get imbedded in your mind and heart! They will actually become part of your spiritual DNA!





There are several methods for making Truth Cards, and I enjoying using all of them! But if you want to stick with just one that you’re comfortable with, that’s totally fine!

Most start with a simple pack of spiral-bound index cards. The ones I got are 4X6″ and have lines on one side. I’m currently using the plain side to make mine. I’ll eventually hand-write on the lined side. Here’s the card pack I’m using:

There are other ways to do them (as you’ll see in a moment), but having them spiral-bound keeps them all in one place, making it easy to go through them.

In the Thin Within Discussion and Support group, people have posted lots of Truth Cards that they have made! (I’ll tell you at the end of this post how to easily find them!) I’m sharing a few of those truth cards herein so that you can see the variety of styles right here in one spot.

You can do them on your computer or totally free-hand; you can decorate them or just leave them plain! Here are several style options with samples of each.



You can write or print your cards freehand, in your own simple handwriting or fancy-schmancy calligraphy.


Judith Eastham made these two:


Jodi Ghere did her truth cards lengthwise:

(Start at the bottom and read upward! The word “grace” ends up covering you, with “the law” being under grace!)



For those who are computer-savvy, creating them this way is fun and handy! You’ll want to create a template, test it out, and adjust font sizes and margins to make sure your cards fit whatever cards you’ll be putting them onto. (I have a free printable for you further down!)

Here’s one I made using a photo I took and combining a verse with a truth:


Barbi Oakley Curtis created these three Truth Cards on her computer:



Kathryn Felts printed and then cut out the verse, glued it on to a card…

…and then cut out pictures (nostalgically appealing to all of us paper doll lovers of yesteryear!) that go sweetly with the verse, and glued them on around the verse.


Here’s one I made; how I decorated it is in #4 in the “Scrapbookesque” section below.




Those who enjoy doodling, crafting, and cut-and-pasting (literally, like with actual glue) can embellish their Truth Cards with papers, fancy fonts and/or pictures they get from magazines, newspapers, etc.


Amy Flink made this one:


This was made by Kathryn Felts:


Deanna Lewis hand-printed this and added a strip of designer paper on the left:



I type up my truths on my computer, and then format them into the size that fits onto whatever page I want it to go in. (I only had to format once, after that I just enter my truth sayings, and then resize the font to fit into that template.) Then I print them from my computer, and create mini scrapbook-like pages with using scrapbooking supplies I have on hand.


I used corner punches, designer papers, and a die for the scallops.

(This one above is a different size/shape from the free printable that I’ll give you shortly.) 


Cynthia Sullivan gathered scriptures she found in magazines and that people gave her, cut them out, and glued them onto index cards:


Marge Purvis’ sister had these made for her, with her name inserted into the verses!


(If I got any truth card credits wrong, or missed you, pleeeease let me know!)



Christina Motley suggested getting a flip calendar (old or new) and choosing verses from it that would work as Truth Cards. I loooove Thomas Kinkade’s art, so here is the Thomas Kinkade flip calendar I got:


For example, here’s one of the inside pages…


To transform it into a Truth Card, rip it out of the calendar, trim it, and glue it to a card in your card pack. Fast and simple! And it fit perfectly on the 4″X6″ card!


[OCD WARNING!!!]  I didn’t like having the date on there, out of context, so I covered it with a little punched-out piece that I wrote a related mini prayer on:

(You could just as easily write on a rectangular piece.)





First, here’s that FREE PRINTABLE! 24 Truth Cards that I created. 20 of them are just text, the last 4 are photos + text on the photos. Here are screenshots of them:





You are welcome to decorate them any way you like! Or just use these for ideas to hand-print your own! Here are the downloadable files:


24 Truth Cards (Word file / EDITABLE)

24 Truth Cards (PDF / NOT EDITABLE)


There are many ideas in the Thin Within Discussion & Support group!!! Amy Flink and Cathy Maher posted hundreds of pictures of their own Truth Cards! (Thank you, ladies!!!)

You will not necessarily print these out and use them (though you could), but this is a treasure trove of truth card statement ideas!!! Plus you can get ideas for how to decorate them, if that doesn’t come naturally to you! Here’s what they look like, once you get to that area:




Go to the Thin Within Discussion & Support group, click “join” if you aren’t a member, once you are (a member), click on “Photos” and scroll down to 2014. They’re easy to spot, as many of them are lumped together, as above!

Here’s how it looks on my computer. You can see “Photos” in the column on the left side.


Here’s the same page on my phone ~ “Photos” is circled in red. (File locations vary on different phones, but at least you have two ideas of where to look.)


Once you’re in Photos, scroll all the way down to the bottom, January 2014, and they’ll be nearby. Scrolling up…  and up…  and up…  you’ll find LOTS of Truth Card ideas!




I’d love to see any Truth Cards YOU create!



Objectionable Obligation or Inviting Opportunity?

Objectionable Obligation or Inviting Opportunity?

[Inspired by Terri Graham]

Am I the only one who finds it SOOOO hard to wait for a zero ~ “true hunger”? There are many things in my life that I do even though I don’t want to do them…  like doing the laundry…  dishes…  going places when I’d rather stay home…  I even shower, floss, wash my face, and make my bed when I’d really rather not!!!

And there are many things in the Thin Within world I do even if I can think of other things I’d rather be doing…

Having a phone chat with Heidi and Christina and our group? ~ I’d rather be napping at the 3:00 hour, but these chats are worth staying awake!!!!!!

Writing a blog post (which is like journaling for me)? ~ Lots of work, even drudgery at times, but a richly-rewarding process!!!

Making or reading through my Truth Cards? ~ Encouraging to read, fun to make!!!

Reading and commenting in the forums? ~ I love being encouraged and giving encouragement!!!

Adding to my God List? ~ A joy that helps shift my mood and my focus!!!

But waiting for zero? ~ UUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!!  I DON’T WANT TO!!!!


There!!! I said it!!! I just reeeeeeeally DON’T. WANT. TO!!!!!!!!

In my favor, there have been lengthy seasons in which I have been able to shift into that dreaded-yet-coveted state of being able to eat within the 0-to-5 eating boundaries. But then [whatever in the world?!] happens, and the weight that I so diligently and joyfully lost, inches its way back onto my person! Annnnd  :::sad exasperated sigh:::  the favor dissipates.



In the midst of one of these downward detours in my forever-long struggle, one day I happened upon a post by Terri Graham in the Thin Within Discussion and Support group on Facebook. (At least I was searching and not just retreating into a dark corner, which is my tendency in such times.) And Terri graciously allowed me to share it here. She wrote:

I just finished the chapter titled “Holy Struggle” in the Hunger Within book. A question following the chapter asks:

“Do you view the principle of choosing to eat only when hungry and stopping before you are full as an ‘objectionable obligation’ or an ‘inviting opportunity’? If you don’t see this as an inviting opportunity, why not?”

I realized that I do indeed view it as an objectionable obligation. Why? Because it is hard and takes time and patience.

My food (and my right to eat it) is “mine” and I really have held onto it like a petulant child not wanting to give up her pacifier when it is time. 

Today I confess this and I repent. I ask God to change my mind and my heart so that I will see it as an inviting opportunity. I need to renew my mind in this matter.

What about you? Why is this an obligation vs. opportunity? What are the truths you use to help you see it as inviting and as an opportunity?



So, getting real with myself (not my favorite thing to do,) why do I see this as an “objectionable obligation” rather than an “inviting opportunity”?

It feels like an obligation because my “flesh man” – which wants what it wants, and wants it now – is being restrained and constrained. It’s not getting what it wants right this very second.

Terri’s reference to the “petulant child not wanting to give up her pacifier” rang embarrassingly true as that very thought had just recently crossed my mind.

Many times, in the heat of a battle of whether to eat when I’m not hungry or to go ahead and indulge and eat more than I need (beyond a 5), self-discipline is the last thing I’m interested in! The image of a baby not getting what it wants is a perfect depiction of ME! Well, lacking the baby-cuteness.

So I thought I’d explore that a bit, and asked my friends on Facebook for photos of babies and their pacifiers. I actually only wanted one photo ~ of a baby whose pacifier had just been removed ~ so they’d be angry ~ which would give me an in-my-face view of what I myself must look like to God when I’m not getting my way.

What I got was several pictures!!! And I realized that, together, they made up a darling, but a little-too-vivid composite picture of my own attitudes toward food. Since this is not the cutest thing to see in a grown woman (me), I will let these babies “say it all” for me! Cutely, which my attitudes aren’t, but these babies are!


“I love my food. Totally contented with my food. See how contented I am?”


“You’re not really going to ask me to give up my food, are you?”


“But I wannnnnnnt it! I neeeeeeeeed it!!!”


“Nooooo!!! Please let me have my food!”


“I know!  I’ll HIDE some so no one will know about it!!!”


“You wouldn’t really take away something I cherish SO much, right?!?!”


“I’m warning you; do NOT take away my food! Seriously ~ JUST. DO. NOT!!!”


“Pleeeeeeease let me have it!!!!!  I waaaannnt it!!!”


“I CAN’T believe you TOOK it from me!!!!!!!!!”

(Thank you to the mommies of these little dolls ~ Shannon, Beth, Trieste, Maggie, Mandie, and Stacie, plus a grandma, Mary ~ for letting me use these precious photos!!! )



Okay, that was a fun ~ even though too-familiar-feeling ~ detour. Back to discipline and my distaste for it…  

I’m not off in disliking it. This verse in Matthew (11:28) says:

“For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant…”


“Seems” painful?!?!? Feels pretty outright painful to ME!!! No “seeming” about it! But it’s in the Word, so it must be true. So I’ll come back to it in a moment.

Viewing “having to wait till I’m hungry to eat” as being an opportunity requires thinking beyond my current flesh-indulging state of mind and heart. However, it’s the only way that the rest of that verse can become reality, which is actually a pretty sweet reality:

“…but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”


And getting that peaceful fruit of righteousness is really the ultimate “opportunity,” isn’t it?!?! 

So, once again, back to Jesus’ feet I go to confess this sin of self-focus and self-indulgence, and repent. 



And I must remind myself (again) that repenting means I turn 180° and go ~ as in live and walk ~ the opposite direction! Not 360°! ~ a gaffé I’ve heard spoken by a well-meaning teacher! Which, if you think about it mathematically, actually means “coming full-circle,” right back around to the very state of sin we wanted to repent from. 

Not exactly repentance, but it sounds sadly similar to what I have too often done. 😣 (The verse about a dog returning to its vomit comes to mind.😣)

I ask God to change my mind and heart so that I will see eating only when I am at a zero as the “inviting opportunity” that it truly is. My flesh man can’t see this because of its inherent trait of being blind.

Solution? My flesh man needs to DIE so that my spirit man can be free to grow and thrive, which will enable me to see things as God sees them. This is no small feat (specially in ME), yet I know it is nothing that God can’t handle. And it’s totally accessible via re-surrendering my will and then renewing my mind on an ongoing basis!!! 



Back to the question of whether we see this as an “inviting opportunity.” I thought it would be fun to look into the word inviting a bit more deeply.

An invitation always bids the invitee to come to something. So what might that “something” be, specifically, if the Lord is the One doing the inviting?

Just for starters, here are three things I found in the Word that we are invited to:


1) Come to the Lord’s own TABLE.

Jesus, the King of Kings, invites us to dine with Him and tells us in Psalm 23 that He prepares a spread for us! And I’m sure is not just scraps! 

“You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalms 23:5)

(He’s not going to feed us flowers either; those are just the decorations!)


2) Come to JESUS and find REST!

This journey through life can be full of heaviness, but the Lord doesn’t want us to carry the burdens by ourselves! He invites us to:

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)


3) Come and TALK with Him!

The God of the universe actually wants to converse with us! And He has time for us!!!

“My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me, O my people.’ And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (Psalms 27:8)


What we get out of the deal by submitting to God’s discipline ~ which, for us Thin Withiners, is 0-5 eating ~ far outweighs, outshines, and overshadows any pain involved. This is why I believe it’s worded that “all discipline seems painful…”  What’s truly painful is not accepting God’s loving invitation to embrace discipline and receive ALL that He has in store for us. Living with our self-indulgent heart day after day, month after month, and year after year is anything but pleasant!

Terri had a bit more to say:

“One of the baby pictures of a sleeping baby brought to mind, strangely or maybe not, the parable of the wise virgins. Does that food pacifier keep me from filling my lamp with oil? Does it dull my hunger for God? I think so. I need to make some truth cards for this.

Come, Lord Jesus, YOU are the answer to our every need!!! Help us GET this, HEAR this, RECEIVE what You are saying to us, APPLY it to our hearts and our thinking, FILL our lamps with the oil of the Holy Spirit, STOP dulling our hunger for You and things of You, and WALK IN VICTORY in this!!!!!



I’m sure there are many more “invitations” in the Word, and I’d love to hear any others that you find!!!

And I’d also love to see your responses to Terri’s two questions above:

What about you? ~ Why is this an obligation vs. opportunity?  ~and~  What are the truths you use to help you see it as inviting and as an opportunity?

Spiritual Constipation, Pile-ups, & Burdens

Spiritual Constipation, Pile-ups, & Burdens

No matter what the motivation behind or purpose for it, a get-away is a good idea! One get-awayer might be wanting to simply get away from the routine and cares of daily life and have a change of pace. Another wants to get away to visit or do something fun, exciting, and different. And yet another wants a get-away where they just relax and do absolutely nothing.

But additionally, and sadly for me, “vacation” has been synonymous with “license to EAT everything I want”! I have basically deemed vacation a time to vacate my food boundaries, toss all reason and restraint to the wind, and indulge my taste-buds in whatever sights my eyes might behold. Bad idea!

But my days of wayward appetite indulging have been getting challenged and are drawing near to their end. I had been participating in Heidi Bylsma’s Thin Within Coaching group for a couple of months prior to our trip, and it was clear that my old appetite regarding vacation feasting would not be getting to accompany me this trip. Actually it just needed to be killed and buried forever.


So I had determined in my heart and mind that our most recent vacation would be different. I was not going to be focused on FOOD, but rather on having fun with Dave, doing the various outings we had planned (which included some “rising above” experiences ~ like ziplining through a mall 115 feet up and going on a helicopter ride), bubble baths with Dave, and just relaxing in our room.

And, even though it was hard on my flesh ~ which just wants to eat whatever it wants whenever it wants ~ the Lord helped me rise above the temptation to eat when I wasn’t hungry.

For most of our time there, I was both “doing” and “being” very well with my eating, meaning I had surrendered my self indulgent heart to the Lord and was not allowing our trip to be about food. This alone was fun! A new experience for me, which, on one hand, I’m embarrassed and sad to say, but on the other, “better late than never,” right?

But there were a couple of days while there that I was struggling to keep afloat. It took me a while, but I finally realized at least one of the reasons…

Several “concerns of life” had piled up.


Kind of like on a freeway when one car rams into another, and then the car behind that one rams in to the first two, and then the next car back crashes into those, and so on…  until there’s a huge pile-up!!!!!!  (I do realize that the photo above is of toy cars on a village map carpet. There were actually plenty of real-life photos of car pile-ups, but in case any of you have been in a traumatic car accident, I thought the toy car pile-up would be less traumatic. 🙂 However, when I showed this photo to my little 2-year-old grandpunkin, Henry, his eyes popped as he said “UH-OH!!!” So he “got it”! 🙂 )

There were quite a few concerns that I had allowed to pile up. I don’t need to get specific as to what those were as it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we all have our own pile-ups of concerns, and I had not been dealing with mine.

A more “natural” way to put it is that my emotions had gotten “constipated.”


This was because I was not taking my “concerns” to the Lord. Nor was I even recognizing things were piling up that I needed to take to Him! I was just kind of unconsciously stewing and mulling over several different things that had stealthily snuck their way in to my subconscious. I was unknowingly letting random thoughts and feelings churn around in my mind and heart, which naturally clouded and clogged up my emotional state.

(By the way, my time with Dave was absolutely wonderful, so these concerns had nothing to do with him, but were going on “elsewhere” in my life.)

But then I “came to” and became aware of what was happening, and realized that I needed the Lord to pull me out of the quicksand.



The Lord actually brought a few things came to my rescue!

First, I came across a sweet but powerful little video in the larger Thin Within Discussion and Support group on Facebook. It was by Asheritah Ciuciu, a very sweet, Jesus-loving gal who has done lots of short encouraging videos like this one here. This particular video was about quieting our minds and emptying our burdens before the Lord, and receiving what He has for us in exchange. She has you hold your hands down and empty out everything you can think of ~ one by one ~ that’s weighing on you; just dump it all before the Lord. Then turn your empty hands upward and open them to the Lord to receive whatever He wants to give you.

(I was originally able to watch this video in the above-mentioned Thin Within Discussion and Support group, however Asheritah has since changed the way her videos are viewed, and it can be viewed only from inside her “MyOneThingAlone” community where monthly membership is available. You can learn more at www.myonethingalone.com.)

It’s just a very simple tool, but because I’m very visual and hands-on, it was really helpful to me. Right there in the hotel room! (Dave was gone, so I had this time to myself.) And it gave me a hand-on way (literally) to UNconstipate ~ or unclog ~ my pile-up of burdens!!!

It’s actually a very practical way to “take every thought captive,” and then DO something with them!



Through Heidi’s book. By the same name.  🙂  The Lord knows I need reminders and reinforcing, so to add to, clarify, and confirm the above hands-down and hands-up exercise, along came some gems on Days 23 and 24 in Heidi’s book, God Speaks to Me!!!!!!



On Day 23, Heidi talks about being able to “discern what is best.” It dawned on me that I have never thought of “discernment” as being something to use in the area of eating. Like I hadn’t thought of it as discerning when I’m at a 0 or a 5, or as discerning what kind of food I’m hungry for or that would be helpful to me right now.

I thought of “discernment” as a “spiritual” tool used in a counseling or prayer setting. “Common sense” is what I have called what I use to determine my food issues. So I was kind of separating my eating from the “spiritual” realm. But in reality, it’s all “spiritual”!!! And I needed to integrate the two worlds!

So I asked the Lord for discernment in this matter of eating, and then also for self-control to accompany and activate that discernment!



Then on Day 24 of the same book, God Speaks to Me, Heidi leads us to hear the Lord asking us to “draw near to Him, to come close, to eat what will satisfy, to rest in His presence and cease carrying my heavy burden.” Aaah! The whole “heavy burden” thing again! This delightfully brought me full-circle back to Asheritah’s video with her little tool for how to lay down our burdens! Not that you couldn’t do it on your own without her little tool! I just like her “visual” for doing this.

I want to add that a “heavy burden” is not necessarily just ONE big burden. It can certainly be that, like dealing with cancer, marital infidelity, unemployment, an extended illness or death of a loved one, just to name a few biggies. (Or “heavy-ies”?) But it can also be many smaller things. Imagine a wheelbarrow packed full of many weeds, dirt chunks, and rocks from around the yard. Each one is not heavy in itself, but it all adds up. Lots of little things all piled up – and not handed over to the Lord – create one…  big…  heavy…  burden.


“Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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 souls.”  (Matt.11:28-29)


Does your appetite need to have its “license” revoked? Does it need to be sent on a permanent vacation ~ away from being in charge of you? Or if it’s extra tenacious, willful, and wayward like mine, it just needs to be put to death. Of course, appetites don’t usually die a quick, easy death. But you can surrender it, and ask and allow the Lord to help you get victory over it, which He does by transforming our minds and our hearts!

The Thin Within groups are an excellent way to get very practical, loving, grace-based and wisdom-filled help and companionship on this arduous journey! Really good idea!!!



About those burdens…  Because of how deeply they affect us as well as how we live and respond to Life, I want to look more closely at those! All burdens are not “happenings.” Some stem from other sources, like wrong thinking, or heart issues that have us spiritually constipated. So how did they develop? What did they come from? How can we recognize them? And then how can we deal with them in practical ways? More on that in my next blog post!

Stay in the Lines

Stay in the Lines

“Try to stay inside the lines,” said my teacher when I colored the picture of an an apple.

“Stay inside the yard,” warned my mother me when I went outside to play.


As a people-pleaser and big-time rule keeper, I complied. And that mindset colored my Christian faith. “What are the rules? Where are the lines? What am I supposed to do, Lord, to get into heaven?”

I was in my mid-twenties before I realized I could never be good enough or do enough good deeds to earn my salvation. Imagine the weight off my shoulders to know my salvation was based on God’s grace and Christ’s finished work on the cross. 

However, I still tried to stay in the lines albeit most of them were self-imposed based on man-made rules. I didn’t always love the rules, but I wanted to earn God’s love and approval. I was in my forties before I realized God loves me as much today as yesterday. He loves me not because I’m good, but because God is good. And nothing—not even straying outside the lines—can snatch me out of my loving Father’s hands.

Only to say, I thought I understood freedom in Christ until Heidi sent me an email. She was concerned about me. Was I stuck in a diet mentality? Did I understand freedom? We never talked, but her question had me thinking. What does freedom look like? Am I enslaved to bad eating habits, faulty thinking, and idols that have nothing to do with my weight?

For the first time since I joined TW, I didn’t read the Lesson. I postponed listening to Heidi’s webinar on boundaries.  https://soundcloud.com/heidi-bylsma/webinar-09-boundaries.  

Perhaps that was God’s intervention. Because after a week of straying from TW principles, I realized I was going outside the lines because I have no boundaries when it comes to eating. I just think I do because I refuse to stock my pantry with soda and the junk food that I love.

Left to my own understanding and strength, I’ve lost weight with the help of TW principles, but I didn’t get the whole enchilada…the bigger picture…until I listened to another webinar by Heidi on the benefits of a Grace-Based Approached to Eating. She said, “We lose weight, but grow in character.”

Grow in character? Until now, my God list and Truth Cards had been eye-opening, but I saw them as a secondary benefit to my main goal: LOSE WEIGHT.

Then, Gina recapped Lesson Nine by quoting Jeremiah 2:25, But you said, ‘It’s no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.'” She might as well have hit me over the head with a watermelon.

Could it be the little girl (me) who grew up learning to stay inside the lines…who wanted the lines so I’d know how to live without fear of retribution or displeasing God and people…is really a rebel at heart? 

Is it possible that avoiding boundaries (or justifying them in favor of what I love) seems like a small thing when it comes to food. But in fact, points to a deeper heart problem

The gracious conviction of the Holy Spirit gave me this major Truth to chew on: I need to lose my rebellious pride and sense of entitlement, more than I need to lose weight.

If I’m ever going to stay in my boundaries while experiencing the freedom in Christ, I’ll need to follow Jesus more closely. And focus on Him instead of the lines.

Photo by: Pixabay