Monthly Archives: December 2013

Carnival Mirrors and Mocking

Pretty much any time we step out into new territory we are opposed.

If you haven’t experienced this, please let me know. I want your secret.

Several years ago I began a weekly devotional called Soul Scents. It wasn’t long before I got hate mail telling me all the reasons I wasn’t good enough or holy enough to write about spiritual things. After a few tears and lots of prayer I kept going. How? I clung to the truth. I didn’t have to be good enough. The only way anyone is that good is because they are covered by the blood of Jesus. That writing experience was one of the best of my life, and a few thousand came on the ride with me.

What if I’d listened to the critique?

Fast forward to now. I’d known for a long time I was supposed to offer videos on my blog. A few weeks ago I finally stepped up. I felt exposed and nervous, but that first Monday Makeover was a personal victory! It wasn’t perfect, but I said what I knew I was supposed to say. I DID it.

But after a day or two the opposition started.

This time it wasn’t from people; it was an oppression that became so tangible it was as though the very air I breathed cried out, “hopeless,” telling me there would never be true success, that I would never really influence this world for the better. Even the air around me seemed tinged gray.

I pushed through videoing my second Monday Makeover, sharing Truth I absolutely believed, but speaking out of a determination to move forward, not out of free-flowing joy.

That Monday was awful. Tuesday morning was not much better. I read my Advent devotional determined to embrace the beauty. While it shined pencil light into my darkness, I still felt I was suffocating.

I tried to journal, to talk to God, but instead of free-flowing conversation there was confusion and an overwhelming sense of condemnation. In my mind I saw a strong man standing before me, glaring at me, arms crossed. I cried out, “Lord, this is not the True You, the Loving God You’ve revealed to me.” I think the last thing I wrote in my journal is that I felt powerless and needed Him to rescue me.

I went on with my day, attending my critique group. When it was my turn for advice on my manuscript I asked for prayer instead. My friends surrounded me.

It wasn’t long before one spoke up. “I believe the Lord has given me a picture that reveals what you’re dealing with. I see a “fun” house full of a maze of distorted mirrors. Over a loud speaker comes mocking laughter, playing over and over. You’re fighting to look in a true mirror, but you can’t find it.”

She was right. Those three women began praying and before I went home that day the gray film no longer suffocated me.

I knew who I was. A daughter of the King.

Maybe I’ll tell you the whole story someday, but for now my message is simply this: You will be opposed when you move forward; but you will NOT be defeated.

Believe. Keep walking forward. Grab your friends for prayer and encouragement. Ask God to rescue you. Read TRUTH.

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The darkness wants to destroy all that is good in this world, to keep us captive to despair and doubt. To tell us we are unimportant, ineffective, and unable to succeed.

But the Good News is “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does NOT overcome it.” (That’s from the Gospel of John.)

I hope to hang some lights later. If you happen to drive by my house know that I’m shouting victory to the world with their every twinkle.

The LIGHT shines in the darkness, and the darkness has NOT overcome it!

Victory over the Carnival Image

Monday Morning Makeover~Voices

What voices do you listen to?

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Balance and Transformation

san diego 6How are the social situations going for you? Do you struggle even more to maintain your eating goals with all the parties and special events?

It’s super hard to resist the goodies as gatherings with friends, and I grew up in a culture where lots of yummy food equated love. I’m afraid I’ve passed that onto my family, especially our boys. Mom cooking sure seems like love to them.

This is an area where I’m trying to find balance. I want to still bake my mother-in-law’s famous chocolate cake for special occasions, treat the family to homemade pizza or challah bread, or surprise them with homemade cinnamon rolls. In my quest to be healthier and thinner, I’m not willing to give up my love of baking or the joy the family receives from such treats.

But this BeNew journey is about being transformed. Real, lasting change. Lysa TerKeurst of the Made to Crave Devotional said, “short-term sacrifices will lead to short-term results.”

While I’m not willing to forever avoid making my mom’s oh-so-good banana cake or my grandma’s apple pie, I am also learning that there has to be a life-style change if I’m going to be healthy. I don’t make treats as often, and when I do make them I practice moderation in enjoying them. Every day I seek to add in lots of healthy stuff, like spinach and nuts, cut back on pastas, bread, and sugars, and enjoy the goodness of fresh and frozen fruits.

But all of this pondering eating habits doesn’t really get to the heart of the struggle, does it? Lysa encourages, “Every time I make a choice I have to ask myself, ‘Am I being conformed, looking a lot like the crowd and staying stuck in defeat? Or, am I transformed, breaking away from the vicious cycle of defeat by courageously saying no? No more. No thank you’.”

I especially love the phrase, “every time I make a choice.” This journey is on-going. Every single day we make multiple choices, choices that either conform to social pressure to eat (or our own need to fill a void with food) or lead to transformation of our lifestyle and body. For me, this is also a spiritual journey as I draw near to God, inviting Him into my choices, my thoughts about food, my struggles and my successes.

Lord,
Please help us to trample the old ways for good. We don’t want short-term solutions, but transformation life change. Give us the wisdom as we navigate treats and holiday celebrations, showing us the balance of enjoying good things without sabotaging our health. Please pour out your strength and your guidance. Give us new desires for healthy living. We don’t want to make our bodies off limits any more. We give You permission to ALL of who we are. Inside, outside, body, spirit, mind, will, and emotions.

DTC Press-Release on Yahoo!

san diego 64Just as I sat at my computer wondering what to share on A BeNew Journey today, I found an article on Yahoo Finance about the new company Jerry and I joined, DTC. The article calls our company (the one I wrote about in my last post) an “industry changing concept!”

Had to share it with you!

We’re very excited to be on this new business journey–and a bit breathless as we watch how God is shaping unexpected opportunities for us.

Last summer Jerry spent some time processing life with a spiritual/business mentor. They prayed about Jerry’s future as a businessman.

The next morning Jerry “happened” to read this in the Bible: “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.” (Duet. 8:17-19 NIV)

We’re looking to the One who teaches us how to be business leaders.

If you think this company is a fit for you, we’d love to grow together with our friends. Check out our new website, watch the videos. There’s a place where you can ask for more information.

New Energy

I hear a lot of talk about energy these days. Friends who wish they had it. Friends who claim they do. Some circles talk about the positive and negative energy around everything in life from people to money to ideas. On this blog you’ve heard me talk about getting more energy as I lost weight and started supporting my body nutritionally.

There’s also a lot of energy happening around a new company that launches in January. It’s the dream child of some people I respect a lot, including two sisters, Kathy and Marjorie, who were a part of the company which created the products that helped me get healthy and shed that 55 pounds. Together with some really smart people they are starting a brand new company called Ditch the Can (DtC), which offers energy drinks.

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With 80% less sugar than their competitors and only 30 calories, this new energy drink is a great alternative for people like us who are watching what goes into our bodies. It tastes very similar to other energy drinks I’ve tried and packs the same punch–with perhaps less buzz and more staying power.

I know all because Jerry and I saw the unique opportunity to grow with company from the ground floor up and hopped aboard this ship.

Why resist the chance to be a part of something new? We found excitement in the idea of building and growing with a new company, and we believe the potential for financial reward is great.  The concept is simple: Get cash back when you drink energy drinks. Tell others about it so they can get cash back and you’ll also get a commission.

The company gave us our own website where people can order right off the QR code on our business cards.

We had a lot of fun dreaming together about our new venture while we were at the convention in San Diego. The company has developed lots of fun “swag” and videos to support us in marketing.

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Our daughter and son-in-law caught the vision, too, believing it is especially suited to their demographic. (And folks, after seeing all the energy drinks my daughter has downed, I’m excited about a healthier alternative for her!)

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The left shot is of the newlyweds holding hands. While the DtC tattoo isn’t permanent, the love tattoo is. They each got one on their wrist to stand in solidarity with the fight against one of the most damaging recent trends, cutting. I’m proud of the passion Sarah and David share to fight for the spiritual and emotional health of their generation.

The last picture is the amazing Allison. She might want you to think she’s as tough as she looks in that picture, but really she’s a softie. I briefly met her before our trip to San Diego, but sharing time together in that condo made me fall in love with her even more. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the people in a community say a lot about whether or not it’s for you!

Catching the vision and puttin’ on the swag

(Hey, do a girl a favor. If you already drink energy drinks, give ours a try. The price points and energy boost are competitive and the quality better, so why not buy from a friend?)

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Ruts

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~

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Photo taken in the Rocky Mountains by Stephen Moldenhauer

Funny how something that sounds so simple can be such a profound journey. The first snippet of Scripture I learned as a child was probably, “God is love.” Yet my life journey is somehow about discovering that love, believing in that love, receiving that love, living from that love.

Sometimes I get it. Several years ago I was thinking through all kinds of worries, stresses, and questions. Then suddenly they all just vanished. I thought, “None of it really matters. All that really matters is God loves me. He LOVES me. I AM LOVED.”

The years since have included a lot of testing of that ideal. It’s too easy to get into the mindset Lysa TerKeurst pointed out in her book, the Made to Crave Devotional, “When I’m trying to be loved, I wonder why God would allow trials.”

Or what about this one: “When I am loved, I can cast all my anxiety on Him. When I’m trying to be loved, I cast all my anxiety on my performance.”

Living from a place of knowing, deep down, that I am loved changes my whole perspective on life. It builds my ability to trust God. It gives me hope in trials. It makes me stronger when I am tempted. It takes the churning of life and changes it to peace.

Let’s focus these thoughts on weight loss: When I’m trying to be loved I look to the scale or others for validation. When I’m trying to be loved I am hard on myself, angry with every step backwards. When I’m trying to be loved I am angry and fighting the food cravings, trying to fill a void. When I’m trying to be loved the weight loss journey is about my performance. I seek to prove myself to God, to others, to myself.

But when I’m loved I rest in love. The scale and other’s opinions can bring joy or frustration, but they don’t validate or invalidate me. I am already validated by HIS love. When I am loved I can forgive myself when I am not perfect and draw on love to do better next time. When I am loved I can eat for sustenance, not to fill an empty emotion. When I am loved I can lose weight to embrace God’s gifts, seeking to be all He created me to be. My sacrifices of calories or sugar or fatty foods can be offered in praise and done to honor Him, taking care of my body because it is loved and because it pleases Him when I value the body He gave me.

How About You? Can you think through one or two phrases that contrast When you’re trying to be loved with when you ARE loved?

When I live in Love I eat for sustenance, not to fill empty emotion