Secrets?

I’ve been a bit quiet the past week.. Yet what is coming today needed time to roll around in my head 🙂 I hope you understand!

This is really not something I want to talk about. But isn’t that exactly what secrets are? But as I’ve processed over the past week, there is not doubt. Its time to talk. So here we go…..

I have struggled with an eating disorder since my early teen years. It was always about control whenever it reared its ugly head. Thankfully I was blessed with parents who kept a pretty close watch on me and never let me get so far down that I couldn’t recover. (seriously, Praise God for that one!) It is something that will be put to rest for a while, and then will “relapse” from time to time. After my second baby, I went a little bit in the other direction with over eating. It consumed me at times (coke and m&m’s anyone?!) And I ended up making an idol out of food. Kelly Minter in her book “No Other gods: Confronting Our Modern Day Idols” gives this definition for idol:”something other than God that we set our heart on, that motivates us, masters and rules us, or that we trust or serve.” Ouch. Does that hit you as hard as it hits me? No wonder Satan tries to hit us in the area of food and body image….its a good master and ruler huh?

Last Monday, my sweet family took a trip to Sweet Frogs for frozen yogurt. We do not do a ton of sweets at home and like to do special treats from time to time. This planned-a-week-in-advance trip was actually a celebration for our big girls learning the Lord’s Prayer (oh can I tell you how sweet it is to hear their little voices quoting scripture?!?!) So… I got a small bowl (same size as my girlies) and ate along with the crew. Out of nowhere shame hit me over what I had consumed. It confused me a bit because thats not an area I’ve ever dealt with. Like deep, ugly shame. Before I knew it I found myself in the bathroom sticking my finger down my throat (there’s another first!). And in the midst of it all I knew it wasn’t right. I didn’t understand what was going on in my head or my heart at the moment. Ugh. That night after my run I only ate about 2-3 bites of dinner because the thoughts were back and I just couldn’t take it..and I didn’t want a bathroom repeat. Ugly..I know. Thankfully, I knew I needed to reach out. Someone had to know because eating disorders are such a slippery slope. I was already having thoughts of keeping it all a…….. SECRET. But secrets can choke us out (like big HUGE nasty weeds!) When I’m clear headed, I want to be healthy. I want my kids to see their mom have a cookie, or frozen yogurt. They need to not only be told about enjoying things in moderation, but see it lived out in front of them as well. Thankfully they are too young to even grasp what went on that day….but they wont be for long. And the sad thing is Monday isn’t the only day I struggled. It happened again on Wednesday with dinner. But God is faithful, and He is carrying me through this place.

Satan loves to tempt us, cause us to sin, and then keep it a secret. So there are three areas we need to be standing guard:

1. Are we keeping any secrets? Today, I’ve opened up about eating disorders. But there are so many areas that Satan tries to get us: it may be a relationship that does not need to be, it can be a love affair with food..just wherever Satan keeps our battles with him. Ask the Lord to show you any place that needs to be visited.

2. Being a trustworthy listener for another. If it were not for a few people I knew I could trust this secret with, I don’t know where I would have been. We need to be willing to be there for each other (community is a common thing around here huh?) Be the friend that people know they can trust no matter what.

3. Always be on the look out, lest a secret be growing: 1 Peter 5:8 gives us this warning: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Peter wasn’t kidding. And it sounds like our great enemy has been at it for a very long time. Be on guard, always.

I want to leave you today with some encouragement. Here are some scriptures that have been a huge blessing to me:

2 Thessalonians 3:3  But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

We serve a God who loves us more than we can ever imagine. He longs to see us restored and to live each day walking in his presence and in his mercy. Praise God that His mercies are new every morning.

We’ve been singing this song quite a bit at our church lately. I love it! I don’t know about you, but music is such an avenue of worship and prayer!

Picture Perfect?

Do you ever have those days where one minute you are basking in just.how.amazing. it is to be a mom. How precious your children are… How well they do x.y.z….and before you know it, BAM! That “perfect picture” is shattered! That was our family earlier this week. The weather was amazing, we were all outside playing. My husband was doing some landscaping, while also taking breaks to blow bubbles with baby cakes, and then letting the big girls “help” him with the mulch. Bike riding, bird watching, chalk drawing (and spelling work ) and then it hit…..I’m not sure what the fuss started over, but it was big and ugly and time outs followed….ugh. And immediately that mean voice in my head starts blasting me about my mothering. (Please tell me I’m not the only one with a bully in my head!) I know logically that children are just that, children. Three girls all 5 and under are going to squabble from time to time!

You see, the problem here isn’t 2 or 3 girls fussing. Its the lie of “picture perfect”. its unattainable, by anyone. But if we aren’t careful, we can all get in the cycle of comparing ourselves to this standard…..and may I even say to each other? It is so important for us to be real with each other. Life isn’t a big pintrest board, filled of only the beautiful and crafty things we accomplish. It’s feeling like pulling our hair out and oh-my-gracious is it only 9am! Its struggling, some days, to be the spouse God calls us to be, to speak kindly to the little ones when we just want to scream.

Are you ever a little scared to let others see the imperfections?

I am.

But when I’m hiding behind picture perfect, I’m believing the lie.

Yet its when my picture perfect is shattered that I am reminded that I don’t take a breath without Jesus. He breathes life into this mama when I’m tired, and weak, and lacking all of the fruit I’m supposed to be bearing. Its not pretty to look at the shattered….but thats not where my eyes are supposed to rest. Praise God for that! “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” – Hebrews 4:16

We belong in community with one another. And when we open up and let our imperfections show, that is where true friendship begins. We need friends who can speak truth into our lives, who can hold us accountable, and who we can laugh and cry with over the ups and downs of life. When we can actually be real about life with our girlfriends we stop hiding behind the lie….and sister, that is where freedom can be found! And as we receive Gods mercy and grace, it will overflow into our lives with our families and friendships.

So… the real joy that day came after the time outs: we talked about how the girls acted, I asked them to recall their actions and think about if thats how Jesus would want to see them act (that was a big NO!) And then getting to hear their answers of how Jesus wants us to treat our sister…and the giggles, and hugs and I’m sorry’s and thats ok..and hey– you want to go ride bikes together?? As their mom, I long to live out the words of Hebrews 4:16 before their eyes. That audience is really the one that matters. They see me on my good days, and my bad. Their lives are the ones on which I will have the greatest impact– whether for the good or the bad. And some days, its mama saying “I’m sorry”, and they get a small glimpse of just how much their mama needs Jesus, too.

Different day, but aren't they cuties!

Different day, but aren’t they cuties!

Weedless

Weedless is my God lessons. Curious about my title selection? Here’s the story:

One hot summer morning, about 5:30 am, a very pregnant me decided to go weed the garden. It had been a neglected task. If we waited past 7 am, the bees were everywhere and it was just too hot. Not to mention 2 sweet kids would be needing their mommy. I love gardening- it is one of the places I connect so much with God (and a lot cheaper than a trip to the beach– my other “special” God place). So, on this hot, muggy morning, I started at the last row pulling up weeds. some were small, just sprouted– man those were easy! Then there is the “ground cover” weed– it spreads like wild, but doesn’t take deep roots. Among these two “easy” weeds, were some monsters who had taken root over a few weeks and were buried deep. I had to be very careful to not disturb the root system of the plants we were growing as I dealt with those weeds. And over the next two hours, God really spoke to me:

  • the new sprouted “weeds” in life are so easy to pluck out. This could be the start of a bad habit, or temptation to sin. If its dealt with quickly, no real harm is done.
  • “ground cover” weeds spread quickly. Like, literally…overnight. This reminds me more of bad habits. Or things that we let take the place of our time alone with God. Hey, they might even be good things…..lets call them the “BUSY” weeds.
  • Ah…and then there is the dug-down-deep, can cause a crisis in life if you don’t do something weeds. These stink. Its when we’ve let temptation grow and lead to sin. But you see, there is a gradual change from the “sprouts” to the monsters. at the different stages, plucking those weeds might move a little dirt, or create a hole. But as I said before, once they were monsters, they could very well kill the plant by destroying its root systems.
  • There were a few deep, thick rooted weeds that I could not remove alone. Ah, what a lesson we see in scripture. James 5:16 says “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Confession of our sin to each other brings healing, it lets some much needed oxygen in. And then praying together, as well as the accountability allows us to lay ourselves open before Jesus, and BE HEALED. Will new sprouts come? Absolutely, but when we are grounded in truth and have accountability with the Holy Spirit that resides within us, and our fellow Christians, we don’t let them grow a single day.

Our quiet time with the Lord is made to bless us, and to keep the open lines of communication. An awesome Bible teacher once reminded me that “missing our quiet time does not wreck God’s plan”. And it doesn’t make Him angry at us either. One of my favorite verses in Scripture is found in 1 John 1:9 “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” It’s in the time I spend at the feet of Jesus that he gently opens my eyes to the sprouts of sin in my life. And He will even pick them out, and it really doesn’t hurt. The truth we see in 1 John 1:9 also applies to the monsters we quietly grow. The confession and removal may “hurt” a little, or even a lot. But He forgives us, and He cleanses us. And a life cleansed by  Jesus is a life worth living my friend.

Here’s to living WEEDLESS!