Friday, December 31, 2010

Only One Life

We only have one life. I have wasted many years doing my own thing with a "no one's going to tell me what to do" attitude. I am where I am today because of the decisions I made yesterday, many yesterday.
I stand at the threshold of absolute surrender. I am so ready. My way hasn't worked. My thoughts of me, my plans, are not as high as my Father's thoughts and plans. This isn't a trial run. This is a commitment to be the me He saw me to be before the foundations of the earth.
I am so excited about day and the days ahead of me. This will be the trip of a lifetime.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

No Thing Can Separate Me from the Father's Love

No Thing Can Separate Me from the Father's Love, but I can choose not to receive it. It's there for the taking, but I can choose rebellion instead. I can choose fear instead of faith. Only my choices bring separation; not my circumstances, but my response to those circumstances.
It is all about being willing to lose control. In this journey I have to surrender my appetite to a Father that knows best instead of an enemy that wants death and destruction.
With the holiday, visiting and then company, I have chosen to begin the "training phase" of this journey on January 4th when my house and life return to a familiar routine. Until then I am practicing. What does that mean? Well, tomorrow night there is a dinner at church and I will eat moderately, not the more defined parameters of the training phase. But already my body is pitching fits. Today I went to lunch with friends. A large platter of chips and dips was placed on the table. I had ordered salmon and steamed veggies. The chips still warm from the kitchn were calling my name. I resisted.
Made it all the way to the finish line when Nick said, "Anyone want my cherries?"
"I do," I heard myself say.
While two maraschino cherries will not add pounds, when you have a sugar addiction, it is best to stay away altogether in the detox stage.
So today was a practice run. Didn't breakthrough, but I didn't beat myself up either.
I can do this. Baby steps. I cannot do this on my own but nothing is impossible with God and He isn't going anywhere. It is time to run to Him for help rather than from Him because I've blown it. It is time for absolute surrender.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Bewitchment

Some people lie to themselves and say, "Well. I know I have a problem with food, but at least I am not an alcoholic or drug addict."
Wake up! An addiction is an addiction is an addiction. There is no grading system. I can be totally sugared out by 10 am and walk into church and people think I have it together. However, there is little difference between the drunkenness of a six pack of Reese's peanut butter cups and having that extra beer. Simple carbs convert to a low grade alcohol when you overindulge.
I was already reading the book, Feeding your Appetites, when I received the following message in my inbox: "If you don't know how to deal with the stresses of life that can bring hopelessness and despair, you can develop an addiction by continually attempting to soothe or comfort yourself rather than resolve the source of pain. If you cannot stop a behavior by simply choosing to lay it down, you may have an addiction. It doesn't matter what it is. It might be pornography; it might be drugs; it might be food; it might be gossip or television. It might be an ungodly relationship. Many people are in relationship with someone, not because they are best friends, but because they have a need. Almost anything you can think of can be an addiction. The enemy's kingdom uses many mechanisms and knows how to control you with your needs. Addictions are common to every nation, every race, every culture and every economic status.
The foundational root of all addictions is spiritual bewitchment.
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Addictions are rooted in the need to be loved. You stand complete in the gospel by accepting God's love and receiving the love you need for yourself. Accept who you are in the new birth once and for all. Love God, love yourself, and love others. Be complete in that love and you will never need to find love in any of the wrong places. But because your enemy knows that if he can get you into a place where you do not feel like you are loved by God, or that you do not love or like yourself, and you are not sure about your neighbor, then he can get you to start looking outside for a "fix."
When you don't love yourself or when you don't accept who you are, the first thing that happens in your body chemistry is a dip in your serotonin levels. When you have a serotonin deficiency, you do not feel right physically or spiritually. The enemy knows there is no way you can increase your serotonin level unless you take a drug because you are in chemical imbalance. The pharmacist knows you can take a drug that is a serotonin enhancer to make you feel good. Then you become addicted to the drug which serves to create a chemically altered state of consciousness or false peace. Your enemy caused the problem without your realization or consent. He will begin to engineer thoughts to ensure you will take steps to enter into the various areas of counterfeit fulfillment. If you take your peace with God, yourself and others, the hypothalamus will recognize your fulfillment and signal the brainstem to release and increase serotonin values. This causes your spirit and your body to come into balance again so you feel more complete. Addictions are found in people that are separated from love. When someone is struggling with any type of addiction, that person has been spiritually bewitched away from the simplicity of the gospel, which is love."
These mini-teachings come free from subscribe to them. The timing could not be more perfect. It was time to get real.
I had a boyfriend once who said, "You were perfect before your mother spoke to you."
What he meant is our parents program us with the stuff they were programmed with. If they weren't nurtured, they probably didn't know how to love and nurture you properly either. So the cycle continues.
We were born with a desire to be loved. Yet if I earthly father did not or could not love us, it is difficult to believe that Father God can or will. So we look for love in all the wrong places.
Some of the addictions that we are going to look at in the coming year are:
Dependent Relationships
Knowledge Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:7
Self including self-pity and self-idolatry
This is an an all-inclusive list. However, in my life's journey, I have discovered that where there is one addiction, there is another. Deal with one and the other(s) will manifest. This is simply because you are not dealing with the root of the problem.
Step one recognize that there is a problem and that you cannot do this by yourself. You are God's creation. Only the Creator has life's manual.
I could blame the abuse, the pain, the betrayals or I can accept responsibility for where I am right now and repent for taking the the less painful route.
His mercies are new every morning. So today I choose to repent and begin anew

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More of Him, Less of Me (literally)

During 2010 I lost 40 pounds. My goal for 2011 is to double that.
I am not ready to share my weight with the world yet, but seven and a half pounds a month is doable at my present weight.
I have had some serious health challenges the past couple of months and have decided it is time to leave the Isle of Denial and take up residency at Hoped For Cottage.
A couple of months ago I was asked to teach the class on Fear during the For My Life course available at Be in Health (see for more info).
When I moved here over nine years ago, if you told me that I had fear, I would have laughed at you. My whole identity was wrapped up in being a survivor and an overcomer of 25 years of abuse. I would go from one abusive situation to another.
Now I can see clearly that I had a generous portion of the more than 4,000 fears identified my psychologists. They changed from fear of failure to fear of man. Guilt piggy-backed each one of them.
Rather than confront and deal with those fears, I chose to find comfort in food. I am now addicted to carbohydrates. Yes, it is an addiction. Addictions cannot be overcome by sheer will power. A person may be successful for a season, but until I came to a place of repentance for willful disobedience, I was not ready to surrender. Even now I am practicing surrender.
My set date is January 4th.
So I am getting things in place much like one would prepare for a journey. Indeed this will be a life-changing journey.
I will be using the tools that I have learned at Be in Health, a couple of books like Feeding Your Appetites by Stephen Arterburn, some accountability partners and record keeping.
If you have any addiction, you are an excellent liar. Lying to yourself is much easier than admitting the truth. Lying buys time, but speeds up destruction. That is why accountability is important.
My commitment to you, my reader/follower, is to quit lying and to share the good, the bad and the ugly of this journey. A life of excessive indulgence is a life full of wilful disobedience which is sin. Sin separates me from God. The answer then is for there to be More of Him and His way and less of me and my disobedience until you can no longer distinguish my image from His.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fruitcake Bashing

Several years ago there was serious fruitcake bashing. Anyone who ate it was considered a freak. This led to fruitcake jokes like:A fruitcake walks into a bar, throws himself on the counter, the fruitcake breaks in to pieces. "What are you, nuts?", said the bartender. "Yes, and jellies and fruits" - the fruitcake replied before the bartender yelled,"Look, get out of here, you reek of rum!" "I'll be back next year, and every year", shouted the fruitcake.
People have said that the only good use for a fruitcake was a doorstop. but I LOVE fruitcake.
Perhaps it is because it conjures up memories of Christmas past. Both my grandmother and mother made fruitcakes. They lined the many loaf pans with heavy brown paper- often grocery bags. It took several days to prep and bake and wrap.
They were a treasured gift among extended family memories. I even remember my mom hiding it. It was no ordinary fruitcake. There was none of the bitter citron. Instead there were cherries, pineapple and lots of pecans. In fact, it was so chocked full of goodies there was little actual cake- just enough to hold it all together.
My granny never baked one, but she would take a store bought one and soak it in brandy for a week. Something my teetotaller mom would never do.
Mom doesn't make fruitcake any more.
But there is a suitable substitute in a Claxton fruitcake.
Thank goodness for the website because unless you live in their region, you are probably not going to find it on your shelves. It is moist and rich. You can only eat a little at the time. I love it ice cold from the fridge so it slices thin.
If you get fruitcake for Christmas and you hate it, send it my way. If it isn't the right one, I will doctor it up like Granny did.
Now if I could just get Sally to send me some of her buttermilk fudge, my Christmas would be complete.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Faithful God

I had no shoppers and therefore, no sales yesterday, but I am not discouraged. To affirm my faith, I received this devotional in my Inbox this morning. God may not do things the way we plan, but His ways are higher than mine and I will praise Him because He's my daddy and He loves this daughter.

I was teaching the class on Fear the other day and we use the scripture in Job that says, "

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. Job 13:15

The word "maintain" in the Hebrew means adjust and reprove. So in essence the verse says to me though there are some things that have to die in my life (like overeating when in fear), I am going to trust Him with my life and make the necessary corrections. He has been so faithful to me. It is time for me to be just as faithful.

Thank you for your love, support and prayers.


This is the devotional from Os Hillman.

"So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, 'Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!'" (Job 2:7-9).

I walked into the room and my friend burst out crying. "I'm so discouraged! I don't know what else to do. Will I ever get better!?" After three years of fighting a medical condition the doctor just told her no progress had been made in the last six months of treatments. Alternative treatment was needed that might have more severe side effects.

Great men of God with healing ministries had prayed for her. A string of doctors had failed to yield any position results. When hope is deferred, the psalmist says, the heart becomes sick. During these seasons, we can only do one thing. We must hang onto whatever faith we have to get through each day and entrust our lives to Him. "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior" (Hab 3:17-18).

When faith doesn't see results it challenges what we believe. We must pray as Job prayed: "Teach me what I cannot see" (Job 34:32). God says there is a purpose in everything we go through. Later that day another friend who once had the same issues, but was now better, had a word of encouragement. "God is going to reveal things to you through this season of adversity that you would never receive had you not gone through this. This is part of your calling even though Satan is the instrument. God is always bigger than Satan's afflictions."

Our greatest tests come when we cannot see positive results from our faith and obedience. In such cases we must die to our expectations and entrust them to our Lord.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Time to Live Fully

There are more dreams buried in the cemetery than there are people.
Recently I started teaching the Fear class in For My Life at Be in Health. There are over 4,000 fears identified by psychologists.
When I came here nine years ago, I didn't think I had any fears. After surviving and I thought overcoming 25 years of varying kinds of abuse, I thought I was an overcomer, bless God and nobody was going to mess with me. You want a piece of me?
I was one tough cookie! But it was all fabricated! Inside I was scared of what others thought of me (fear of man), scared I would do things perfectly (fear of failure), fear of rejection, fear of things falling apart, fear of poverty, etc. The list was exhaustive and frankly, exhausted me!
After layers of more serious stuff were peeled off slowly (again because of fear of change, then that principality of fear was no longer masked as stress, anxiety and drivenness, and I could see it for what it really was. It had to go!
Then last month I was asked to teach it. As I studied it, I could see how I had been duped by the enemy and had come into agreement with his plan for my life instead of God's (to be continued)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Let Us Never Forget the Reason for the Season

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. This week alone I have to teach four classes,lead a Mary Kay meeting, audit a class, have a two day Mary Kay Open House and prepare the house for four guests who are coming in this weekend and staying a week.
Then I begin to recover myself and remember Philemon 1:6 which says, "That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
In the chaos of life, I need to communicate at all levels- speech, actions, attitude- that my faith will increase by acknowledging that every good thing that comes from within me is only because I am His.