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The Untruth of Ostrich Syndrome

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When life has its’ ups and downs and twists and sometimes drop-offs, where are we looking?  Are we focused on what happened in the past?  Are we gazing upon the disaster right in front of us?  Or are we fixed on Jesus?  For many of us we live staring blankly at the past or try to close our eyes from the messy places we are currently standing in.

For me I used to believe in the untruth of Ostrich Syndrome.  Never heard of it?  Well it’s the syndrome you get when there is so much fear in your life you panic and do the only logical thing you can think of:  bury your head in the sand like an ostrich.

In my first marriage I did a lot of closing my eyes and hoping things would go away or change.  When fear got really bad I just buried my head in the sand because not only could I not SEE the disaster, I couldn’t HEAR it either.  I often got caught up in believing nothing would ever change and that I was stuck in a spin cycle of turmoil and the washing machine was never going to stop.

I ignored bills I could not pay which usually resulted in a garnishment which in turn cut my finances every two weeks for months which caused us to have utilities shut off which drove us to bad eating habits and turned into poor nutrition and that led to sickness…ugh!  Do you see the spin cycle?  If only I had called the collection places instead of hiding and ignoring phone calls.  It’s not like they don’t give you enough chances, but I did not see a way of getting out of the cycle.

So today I was hit in face with a bill.  The amount is not huge BUT it is coming smack dab in the middle of a home remodel.  I have three things to do right now in this moment:

  1.  Do not stick my head in the sand

  2. Do not look at my current financial circumstances

  3. Trust God.  Put my gaze upon the One who is my Provider.

So the question at hand is how did I arrive today to be calm and keep my eyes open?  Wisdom and learning has a lot to do with it.  As I was preparing to speak to a group of women last year I did some research on ostriches and do you know what I discovered?  The don’t actually bury their heads in the sand.  Hmmmm imagine that!  There was a lie I had believed as a truth which meant the fear wasn’t going anywhere and as soon as I lifted my head the disaster would still be there in front of me completely unchanged.

We have to learn how to take life one step at a time with our eyes wide open on Jesus.  We make mistakes small, big and HUGE, however God already knows we will do that.  He already knows He has a plan to help us, we just need to come to a place of trust.  His Word tells us Who He is and it says He is faithful and our Provider, why do we doubt?

We doubt because the author of fear whispers in our ears, “Where is your God now?  This is your fault.  You will never get past this.”  We need to choose to stop listening to the enemy and believing who God really is.  We need to keep our focus on Jesus and stay the course set before us.  Our future has nothing to do with the whisperer of lies but has EVERYTHING to do with our Heavenly Father.

Hebrews 12:1

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…

Dear Lord,

Today I choose to believe what the Bible says about Who You are.  I choose to stop listening to lies.  I choose today to focus on the good things and not the past.  I thank You in advance for everything you are doing on my behalf.  Thank You Jesus!

Amen

The Trap of Disappointment

IMG_9746.JPGA question was posed in my last Bible Study group and I was the one with the opposite answer. Of course some of you who know me could have guessed that!

“Are you more disappointed when you disappoint someone else or when you yourself is disappointed?”

Everyone but me said they are more disappointed when they disappoint someone else.  Hmmm wierd huh?  How would you answer this question?  As I sat in class that night wondering why I answered the way I did I felt the answer come to me.  I answered the question with full honesty from a very broken place.

I am not the type of person who needs to get ahead in life.  Even though as a leader I often end up in a leadership role, it is not my drive in life.  In fact if I could just be a follower I would be perfectly happy, however, that is not the way God intended me to live. (which means I probably wouldn’t be truly happy lol)

I am also the type of person who goes with the flow very well.  Good or bad I just go with it.  I accept things for what they are and move onward.  Take for instance my house right now.  It is torn apart at the seams, literally, as we are  in the middle of a massive overhaul.  One day the bedrooms walls were gone, then the carpet and now today it is a shell of a house with no walls at all.  But, I’m okay.  I am learning to look past the debris and disruption to see that this house will be a beautiful home once it is finished.

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I can be labeled also as a person who gets disappointed.  Like the ONE thing I wanted in the house is not going to happen.  I really wanted a tub and it’s been a see-saw kind of decision from the get go.  When it finally came down to that we can only fit a shower in, I lost it.  Literally sat at work and cried as I let my husband gently know I wanted nothing to do with the shopping for a shower.  Matter of fact as I type this now my eyes are brimming with tears because of that disappointment…HOWEVER…I also know when God says no He has something much better in mind and I find my peace in that.

Back to the question and the answer I felt I received.  I tend to be more disappointed when things do not go my way because I have already accepted the fact that I am a disappointment to others so when I let people down I feel they knew it was coming.  There has been a running, infected wound in my life which runs around telling me lies in every situation I encounter.

i am not good enough and i cannot do anything right

I have battled this my entire life and Jesus is working hard to heal me.  It’s just a day by day process.  Things I am plagued with:  Why write? No one wants to read it.  Why take pictures?  Who wants to see them?  My books are not any good.  My photos are not up to par.  How do I keep my job?  How do I keep friends?  Why work out?  The scale hasn’t moved.

I could go on and on with dumb questions and it would just frustrate the people in my life who see me differently.  The point of all of this is that disappointment is different for everyone.  These are just the things which bother me.  Disappointment is a trap and often we set the trap up ourselves.  We EXPECT reactions from people before they even get a chance to express how they really feel.  When we are feeling the pain of disappointment it hurts in ways we can’t often express to others.  Some of you might be wondering why not getting a tub is so important.  I can’t really tell you, it was just something I really wanted.

I am fully aware of how disappointment affects me and I am finding more and more that I no longer get my hopes up.  I often don’t trust things will go in my favor.  I am afraid to dream.  I am held tight in a trap that doesn’t have any wiggle room.  Is this right?  No!  this is not living the victorious life God has given to us.

where is the disconnect?

I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory.
Reread that verse.  It is our faith not our gold which will display His victory.  We have to life this life from a place of great faith, trusting God the ENTIRE way not just in certain circumstances.  We need to believe beyond the shadow of a doubt He has our BEST interest in mind.  If He called me to write then I must write.  If He gave me a passion to take photos then I must run with my camera.  If He called me to be an encourager, then I must encourage those in my fitness group with all that is within me no matter what the scale says.
I am a conquer through my faith in God.  That’s it.  There is the disconnect.  We do not trust God enough to see past our current circumstances.  We cannot see past the muck and disarray to grasp the vision of what is to come.  We serve a God who has our best interest at heart and this my friends is where our faith has to come from.  We have to give God the opportunity to take what we find as disappointment and turn it into something better.  We have the begin to trust “Father knows best” for everything in our lives.
Dear Lord,
I choose today to trust you completely in every area of my life.  Help me to trust the process and to spring free from the entrapment of disappointment.   Show me again the path of peace so my faith will become huge.  Let me lay these lies at the foot of Jesus and rest in Your goodness.
In Jesus Name
AMEN

Time to Really Love Me

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So I have been on this “weight loss get in shape lose weight” thing for a couple of years now.  I have not tried every diet know to man, however, I have tried enough to know it HAS to be a lifestyle change and the heart of the matter really isn’t what I eat.  I have changed things in my “diet” like not drinking soda for the last two years.  Reducing my sugar.  Eliminating high fructose corn syrup (which is in EVERYTHING), learning I cannot do dairy anymore, switching to this and that to try to substitute what is wrong with what seems to be right.  Yet, here I am still frustrated.  Still struggling.  Still not happy.

My daughter and I went for a 4 mile walk today with her puppies and it felt Amazing!  But it was all shattered the moment I saw this photo.  Yes I realize I was bundled a bit since we live in Michigan and the lake is still mostly frozen BUT this is not how I want to look.  I was so mad at me for looking like this in a photo.  For a moment I just wanted to give up.  Say “Screw It!”  “This is too hard”  “It’s just not worth the effort”  “Nothing is changing”

Then I stopped and said “I am Beautiful”  I looked at myself in the mirror and told the girl staring back at me that she is beautiful.  Then I cried.  

Three years ago I started a group called Faith & Fitness Support Group.  I posted videos of encouragement.  Invited a few friends.  Had a good thing started and then I got frustrated and gave up.  I had several health issues at the time and could just not focus.  I weighed more than I had every weighed in my life even being pregnant.  I weighed 208 pounds.  I was slipping into a size 18 and very unhappy.  As I was beginning to crash in desperation I learned I needed to have a hysterectomy.  I  lost weight after that.  I was regaining my health and finally was getting close to the 200 mark.

That jump start was enough to get me going in May of 2018.  I then began to walk a bit and bike ride occasionally but nothing serious.  I had a pretty good food program down (very close to the Daniel Plan) and I felt I was on my way and then I was stuck at 201 pounds FOREVER.  Once again I was discouraged, felt like giving up.  I was still  having one health issue and it caused me not to want to workout.  I finally went to the doctor and said I need help but I do not want a diet plan or a pill or the latest and greatest fad or surgery.  I wanted real help from a real person.  I know those things have helped a lot of people achieve their goals, it just wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in.

My doctor referred me to a nutritionist and my hope was stirred!  I had just started going to the gym in December.  I was going 3 times a week and feeling great!  I restarted Faith & Fitness and we DOUBLED in size in like a week.  We went from 30 members to a grand total right now of 84 fabulous people! I was so excited!  Felt like I had turned a corner until my first follow-up with the nutritionist.

I had three things to accomplish in 8 weeks, lose 6 pounds, drink 64 ounces of water a day & exercise 3 times a week.  When I showed up for the appointment I had only lost 5 pounds, I had not reached a steady pattern of the right amount of water BUT I had the 3 days a week exercise down.  Oh!  I did have one more thing to do, follow the low carb diet plan which I failed miserably.  So I’m sitting in that room waiting for the disappointed look and instead he gives me a high five.  Can you imagine the bewildered look on my face?  I explained to him I failed at all of his expectations and he handed me this ball of flab and said “This is what you lost along with three inches off of your waist.  You are doing FANTASTIC!  In fact, here is another High Five!”

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In four short months I had done a great deal of difference but because I “FAILED” to meet the expectation before me I felt defeated.  What did I learn?  Progress is Progress!  Every inch lost, every ounce gone is a gain of life.  But like I said it is not all about diet and exercise.  There is so much more to this and I have found it to be so true.

I have been watching this reality TV show where people go through this process of transformation with their own hard work no surgeries.  And at the end of the show they walk down this red carpet among their friends and family.  There is so much emotion.  So many tears.  I cry at the end of every episode.  So isn’t is just like God to allow me to see the episode tonight, after seeing that top photo and feeling sorry for myself, where the trainer sends the guy off to make amends with his father because he understood the reality of just how important mental health is in the journey of weight loss.

So on that note!  Stayed tuned!  There is so much more to come.  My husband and I start training in April to run a 5K in July.  I am not a runner.  Not sure if I have every really run in my life but this is a goal.  A goal I want to work towards for me.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step and for me that one step is learning to love me. To love me in the victories and the failures.  To love me at 208 and at 194 and at the goal of 150.  I need to love me whatever the scale reads because I am not defined by a number, I am defined by my heart and how I move forward in life.

I am defined by a God who created me in His image and that is who I love.

 

 

stuck between seasons

Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV 

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

img_8684Ever been in this place where you have gone through some things and you feel as though it’s time to just move on yet you are in a limbo state between seasons?  You know, that feeling of being stuck and almost wanting to go back to the old way of doing things yet you sense there is a break through coming into a better place?  An emotional ball of ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and valleys…  A collage of old thinking and new ways of approaching things…  A messy paint by number painting which looks nothing like what the box shows…

Sometimes life is messy, much like a box of chocolates left out in the sun on a 90 degree day.  Nothing makes sense.  Nothing has shape to it.  Days are just running together.  Emotions are on autopilot.  You are not sure what is reality and what is lies from the enemy.  You have days where you take everything people say as absolute truth and then apply them your life only to discover none of it is really who you are?  Ya know those days where you just can’t put the chocolates back into their appropriate squares.

You read into everything as if you are not good enough.  You can’t do a single thing right.  You tried so hard to be what they wanted you to be but failed.  Even your own expectations for yourself do not warrant any attention.  Those days where you would rather just shut the lights off and pretend you are not home.  Those weeks where you would rather be hibernating than being with friends and family.  Those months spent chasing after some unattainable goal.  The years of just going through the motions but always thinking you are on the edge of some big change.

Yes.  Yes I have days like this.  Sometimes weeks.  A few times months.  And I had 18 years of wanting things to change but never believing they would.  No matter how accepted I was I still was not good enough.  A few years ago God stepped in and asked me if I wanted something different for my life. He then proceeded to walk me through several very tough things to bring me to this precise moment of time.  A time where I have allowed God to show me who I am and I believe it.

Still there are days.

Even though I have seen the mountains moved and the waters parted in my life I still get caught up in thoughts from yesterday.  I’m not good enough.  I have failed.  I can’t do anything right.  Nobody really cares.  I hate those days.  I despise those thoughts.  It is in those moments when everything I  know to be the truth about God and who He is disappears for a minute and I am left in this faded picture of yesterday.  I am right back in the time where life did not make any sense.  It brings tears to my eyes to revisit the me who usually thought she had to figure everything out before she could bring it to God.

Thank God these days are few and far between in present day life.  I now know these are enemy tactics to get me to doubt the goodness of God.  The lies try over and over again to trap me into believing I have not changed.  They whisper to me that I am still the same broken person I was 10 years ago.  They try to show me the fuzzy pictures of how life should look like and I have to strain to see any truth in the photos.  The lies beckon me to go back to seasons which are over but it never works.

When you have been delivered out of something, the desire to go back is quenched.  When you begin to walk in the truth of God and He changes your perspective you start to realize there is nothing to go back to.  There is no reason to see the old you even for a visit.  When God moves your mountains and parts your seas He means business.  When God says “Don’t look back” choose not to look back.

Seasons will continue to come and go in our lives.  We will learn the truth from the lies.  Our sense of who we are will be the definition of how we live life.  As Winter gives way to Spring and Spring to Summer and Summer to Fall there are still reminders of those preceding seasons.  These are not meant to be something to dwell on but rather a moment to reflect.  A glimpse of what once was a part of who we were where we believed a lie about ourselves.  They are simple reminders of the grace of God.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today I choose to live in the today of life.  I pray for anyone reading this that they would sense Your presence in their life and they would begin to see the lies from the enemy.  I pray for Your peace to overtake them right now wherever they are.  I thank You for what You are about to do in their lives as they choose to not look back.  In Jesus Name AMEN

It’s okay. I promise.

It’s okay to Just Be you. No matter what size. No matter what shape. No matter what color. No matter what nationality. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and God your Creator accepts you and loves you. If something needs to change in you ALLOW Him to do it because all this trying to figure it out and doing it on your own will just stress you out. -Brenda M. Czarniak

2 Shoes

choose to believe

Today started out with all the classic signs of a bladder infection.  Woke up in pain and kinda of connected the dots over the past few days and decided to call the doctor after praying about the pain.  I just had a partial hysterectomy a week ago so it is hard to decipher what is normal pain after a surgery and what’s not.  I had a one and half pound fibroid removed as well so one cannot quite discern what pain is what.  I know at this point the title may seem a bit off topic, however, hang in there I promise you God has turned this day into joy rather than pain.

After calling the doctor she directed me to go to the nearest lab and be tested, to which my beloved husband said, “Okay, let’s get this day started.”  After guzzling like 20 ounces of water we started on our journey.  First stop was the gas station (after all I did not feel the need to go just yet as it had only been 15 minutes since I got the direction to go to the lab) where we got a snack and much needed coffee (decaf of course).  While there we had the usual chat about the weather outside and then the attendant asked if he wanted any lottery tickets to which he declined BUT clearly stated she could always up-sell a car wash to him in the future.  This led to a conversation with the manager who gave us 2 free car wash passes.  Here is evidence of the firstDouble Blessing.

After following the direction to go to the nearest lab to give them a urine specimen, I noticed my hubby was getting a little frustrated with how the day was going.  Being off for two weeks with no short term disability to back us up, things are a bit tight.  While in the parking lot still we discussed our recent blessings:  phone bill was much less than expected and a few other things where he had actual over saved to make ends meet.  Then we received the text from the pharmacy  the medication to numb my bladder until we find out the results of the test was ready and the kicker was it was $40.  Ikes!  I quickly reminded my husband about our conversation a few moments ago after I freaked about the cost.

As we were driving to the pharmacy we have to pass this expanse of highway with beautiful river flats where I often look in the trees to see birds and what do my wondering eyes see whilst I am in mid conversation??  Two eagles on a tree branch watching the rising sun!  This caused my heart to leap with great joy because I knew God was already all over this day.  This was DoubleBlessing number two.

We get to the pharmacy and the girl says she is even nervous to tell us about my prescription so right away fear arises BUT then she says she can’t allow us to pay $40 for a prescription when the same thing can be bought over the counter for $3.  What? Jesus is so good!  Praise God that whether she is a believer or not, the Holy Spirit convicted her heart in our favor.  Even though we were in the drive thru she went to the aisle and retrieved the medicine for us.  She came bearing two boxes because they were buy one get one half off (of course they were Jesus) and the kicker was the total of $5.07.  Five is the number for Grace and Seven is for Completion.  So here is Double Blessing number Three!

As we drove away we prayed for God to bless her just as He had blessed us.  Next up on the agenda was getting my husbands tags for his car done.  In our city we travel to other places to get things from the Secretary of State because there is usually a long wait, so we drove about 30 minutes to do so.  During the drive many internal things came up in conversation including some from personal issues I have with intimacy.  I firmly believe when God does a physical healing there is always an internal one to coincide with it.  A friend of mine who promotes essential oils sent me what a fibroid represents in the spiritual aspect of things and I had not really dealt with seeking God about it. In the car ride I revisited it after my husband said a few things which had reminded me of the text she had sent me.

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Wow!  Here was Double Blessing number four.  God not only removed the physical thing which was causing much unnecessary pain, He was also leading me into a time of inner healing.  In a simple conversation with my husband He was revealing the next steps to my healing as I fought back tears knowing it was not going to be an easy.  I am just as excited about walking this out as I was about seeing the eagles.  Yes I will have to face the past.  Yes it will be painful.  Yes I will have to look at things about me internally that I have buried.  AND Yes God will be with me every step of the way as He has been throughout my entire journey with Him.

Okay the final Double Blessing, blessing number five and the reason for the title of this blog.  Sometimes we expect God to just bless us and other times He does it just because He can.  To go back to the beginning of the day during the conversation about finances we began to thank God and let go of our worries.  It was in that moment of time that God grabbed our worries out of our hands and sent us on a day of Double Blessing which we will not soon forget.  Like my husband so wisely put it, “How do you feel when someone is thankful for what you have done for them?  You are willing to bless them even more.  Willing to give them abundance because they are so thankful.”  Well friends that is the God we serve and His word is always true.

Oh!  The shoes!  I almost forgot….My hubby has needed new work shoes for some time now but just not on our priority list, however, it was on God’s and today (not sure of the details) he received a free pair (two) of work shoes in his exact size…tell me God did not do that for him?

Dear Heavenly Father,  We come to you today with a Thankful Heart.  We thank You even when we don’t see it coming or the full view of what is happening You are right there ready to shower us with blessings.  As we seek Your face in our lives we praise You and Thank You ahead of time for blessings.  We Thank You for turning our pain into joy.  We Thank You for healing our bodies and our souls at the same time.  In Jesus Name we pray.  AMEN