Tag Archives: Made to Crave Devotional

Spirit Seeker Sunday – Rise Up!

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photo by Stephen Moldenhauer

“Rise up, do battle with our issues and using the Lord’s strength within us, defeat them.” Lysa TerKeurst

I like the sound of that. Not temporary victory, but full-blown defeat.

I was praying for someone the other night. These people were in crises and the enemy was having a hay-day with them and their emotions. I prayed that the enemy would not be allowed to mess with them, that they could work through their issues without him playing them and escalating their problems and anger.

As I prayed I got a shadowy picture in my head of God’s leg and boot pinning the enemy to the ground so that my friends could have a fighting chance.

It reminded me of something I learned about the famous Bible passage in Ephesians 6, which likened spiritual armor to the armor of the day, worn by the Roman soldiers. The passage says the Christian’s feet are covered with the gospel of peace. The shoes of a Roman soldier were weapons of destruction. They had spikes on the bottom of them designed to literally trample down/over the enemy. At first these two images seem to contradict each other, but as I thought about it, they didn’t. The gospel of peace says that Jesus, the Son of God, gave His live to bring us into a perfect, peaceful relationship with His Father. When He connected us to God He trampled down the enemy, held him back so we could do business with our Father.

But what does all of this have to do with weight loss? This journey to better health DOES have a spiritual component. The enemy doesn’t want us to live in the body we were created for. He wants us to be tired, discouraged, and held back. But as Lysa said, we CAN rise up, do battle, and win!

A huge part of the battle is simply tackling our excuses head on. I have been the queen of rationalization. As the weight crept on during those 7 years of struggle in my family, I told myself I couldn’t deal with one more thing. Thinking about my weight wasn’t even an option. All my energy had to go into survival and caring for the overwhelming needs of my husband and children. Finally, in the last couple of years I began to acknowledge my weight and cry out for help. I wasn’t ready to tackle it yet, but, especially in the quiet of the night, I admitted I had a problem. I asked God to give me the strength and courage to face it. Then I asked that He would show me how to win that battle.

I don’t know where you are today. Maybe it’s all you can do to simply face the struggle, admit your rationalizations, and give God permission to change you.

The beautiful thing about our Lord is He is patient and willing. He brought BENew into my life when He knew I was ready. He answered my prayer for direction and help. I’m still in process, not perfect on this journey to reclaiming my body–but I feel stronger and more victorious than I did 50 plus pounds ago for sure.

Father,
Help me to be courageous enough to face my stuff and surrender to Your Spirit of change.

How about you? Feel like fighting? Playing dead? Giving up? Or socking it to the enemy?!

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Rise up and win the weight battle

Spirit Seeker Sunday~Filling the Empty Place

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photo by Stephen Moldenhauer

“Somewhere behind all of the numbers, a less measurable force is at work within me. It’s emptiness or lack.” Lysa TerKeurst

I KNOW I have eaten out of exactly what Lysa said in the above quote. She can trace the beginning of this to the day her dad left. I’m not sure I can find such a specific moment when I starting using food to fill emptiness, but I know I do. I’d love to say, “did” but the journey out of old habits can be slow. I’m walking forward, but I haven’t conquered completely.

For Lysa, forgiveness was an important aspect of find the strength to turn from food instead of trying to eat her way out of emptiness. About ten years ago I went through an intense cleansing time of forgiveness. I remember feeling like I’d lost weight because I felt so light inside.

But over the last ten years I put on physical weight, despite the beautiful change inside of me. I KNOW I was different after I forgave (and forgiveness is on-going, not something that only happened back then), but somehow I had a disconnect between my body and the rest of me.

Early in my weight loss journey, when I’d lost about 20 pounds, I was convicted by my daughter’s observation. Sarah said she’d watched me take care of my heart and spirit over the years, but never my body.

Ouch! In her whole life she’d never seen me focus care on the temple where God dwells. Not only did I neglect my body, I’d never given Him permission to deal with the outer me. I just keep sitting, writing, praying, studying, eating, and . . . gaining.

Then Jerry almost died. We went through bankruptcy. Our home was put on the auction block (then rescued, but that’s another story). All four of the kids had surgery or broken bones or both. All four of the kids were diagnosed with learning issues that required intense therapy. Jerry went through depression before and after the heart issue that almost took his life. And I cried out to God. I only got through all of that because of God.

But I also ate my worries, my emptiness, my fears. I ate for energy. I was too tired to care about my body.

While everyone I loved most went through crises, I stayed strong, pushed through, and took care of them. They started coming out of their stuff, and then I had two car accidents. I felt like Job. I was finally personally attacked, and I was done.

The Lord allowed things to get bad enough last summer that I spent much of my days in bed. It got bad enough that I finally had to change. I’ve seen a chiropractor, a counselor, a trauma doctor, and made changes with my health. Some days it’s still a fight to look toward what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

I’m finding that how I treat my body has a lot to do with my emotions. If I try to eat away the emptiness, I am left not only empty, but more discouraged than ever. If I go for a walk and stomp around and eventually surrender to God’s will as I move beneath a blue sky (or even a snowy one), my emotions ease, and I am better able to “park my mind and heart on thoughts that refresh instead of one that depress me, I am filled.” (thanks for the perfect words, Lysa.)

Father,
Help us to taste and see that You are good today. To fill up on YOU instead of trying to eat away our emptiness. Help us to be defined by YOU, nothing else. And help us to receive and experience your love.

Food Doesn’t Fill the Empty Place

Spirit Seeker Sunday

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Drink deeply of grace. Let His spirit bubble over and through you. Refresh you. Make you new. Photo of Stephen Moldenhauer, taken by Caleb Linville

“God did not run out of grace at the dawn of mankind. And He will not run out of grace for you or for me . . . Receive grace and let it wash away all shame and guilt form every unhealthy choice you’ve regretted and fretted over.” Lysa TerKeurst*

May was an incredible month for us, the season of the marriage our of beautiful Sarah to our new son-in-law, David. But challenges often come at the same time as incredible blessing, and soon after the wedding I faced a difficulty and I whined pretty loudly at God. Let’s be honest. I threw a fit.

dancing in the dark - David

David and Sarah dance. Photo by Creative Pixel Photography.

Throwing a fit mad me really mad at myself. The Lord had done amazing, miraculous, tender, sweet things for me and my family around Sarah’s wedding. I’m not sure I’ve ever known a time of such pure joy! He was SO good to them, to us, to me. And there I was a week later yelling at Him.

Geesh!

As I drove down the road I thought, “I wonder how God feels about how I treated Him after He was SO good to me.”

Then I knew.

He simply accepted me where I was. His grace covers me. His love pours over me. There are no walls. No condemnation. No pouting. As Lysa wrote, “This grace and the unfathomable depth of God’s love settle me. Breathes hope into my dread and trust into my doubts.”

Whether I’m stumbling on the general journey of life or the specific journey of losing physical and emotional weight, His grace covers my imperfections, my pettiness, my faults and failings. I don’t have to give into shame.

I don’t have to wallow in disappointment.

I don’t have to punish myself.

I can simply be.

Lean hard into His grace.

And start again.

And so that night I slipped off to bed telling God how much I love Him. Thanking Him for the many gifts. Asking for self-control in the area of my mind so that negative thoughts don’t boil up and sabotage the myriad of good gifts I can embrace. I ask Him to help me not give into temptation to further sin.

Every moment I can start fresh. Walking forward as whole, beautiful, clean, and forgiven. Step into victory and away from defeat.

How about you?

What does shame do to your forward movement?
How does grace impact it?
Can you believe (fully, deeply, truly) that you are accepted and loved right now and always, just as you are? Why or why not?

*The Made to Crave Devotional

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Step into grace at any moment

Spirit Seeker Sunday 4

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Holy Spirit, be the Water of my life. May I be refreshed by you, surrendering to the flow of your life-giving current. (Photo by Stephen Moldenhauer)

Wow. Urgency, firmness, resolve, consistency . . . I had no idea perseverance packed such a punch!

Perseverance is a good word for me today. I’m emotionally and physically drained. We’ve had some stuff, but in the long run all will be well.

In the long run.

Perseverance.

Meanwhile I face a new struggle with my weight loss and health goals. I’ve come so far and while the products I’m taking have greatly helped me on this journey, I’ve still worked pretty hard. My daughter’s wedding is roughly a month out, and I’d love to shave off that last bit in the tummy before buying that mother-of-the-bride dress. But honestly, I’m tempted to settle.

I’m weary of persevering, and I’m catching myself returning to old habits. Not full blown stress eating, but justifying mindless eating because I’m just so tired.

Where is the urgency, resolve, consistency I felt earlier in the journey? Would I toss all that now?

Everyday I experience the joy of ease of movement, of a normal feeling body, of being the real me in a physical sense.

The journey is WORTH it.

What about you, my friend? Do you have urgency, resolve, and consistency?

Perseverance?

If not, wanna turn where I’m turning?

Father, 
Today I am weak. I don’t want to quit. Give me what it takes to persevere. I’m tired and don’t want to think about the weight loss journey today, but I also don’t want to turn back. I’ve come too far. And Lord, I’m thinking of weight, but I’m also thinking of the other difficult areas in my life, the other places I’ve persevered. Give me what it takes not to give up. Give me a renewed sense of urgency, firmness, resolve, and consistency.

And Lord, I pray for each one visiting my blog today. I ask the same for them. Give us focus. Wills of steel that are resolved to follow you on the weight loss journey. Thank you that, as Lysa TerKeurst said, that You love us where we are, but You love us too much to leave us stuck in a place of defeat. Move us forward. Give us hearts that surrender to Your prompting. Make us strong women who follow boldly. God, we depend on your strength.

What About You?

How did the above concepts hit you? Where do you see Protection, Provision, Progess in your journey? How about firmness, consistency, and resolve?

In the Made to Crave Devotional Lysa TerKeurst says,  “a scale can measure my physical body but never my worth as a woman.” How do you respond to that statement?

*The above thoughts prompted by Lysa TerKeurst’s Made to Crave devotional.