Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Take: 1 of 6 things I wish I wouldn't have heard after the Sandy Hook massacre

When I first began a studying the book of Revelation several years ago, I wasn't a Bible scholar so I just simply asked God to reveal to me what He needed me to see. As I read each seal, each trumpet, each bowl, each judgment... I thought how awful! How horrible of a world to live in! Then, I began to notice that instead of those things opening people's eyes to the truth, they would shake their fists at God and dig their heels in deeper and refuse to repent.

It made absolutely no sense to me why people would choose to respond that way when instead they could be on God's team and also have God on their side. Why would they choose to keep reaping harsher judgments when they could be forgiven and set free? How would they dare be so cold as to shake their fists at the very God who created and loved them?

As I was sitting there so deep in thought begging God to help me understand, a vision of the world around me flashed through my head. At that time there had been an earthquake or something and the world was mad. I continually heard people blame God and make statements such as, "How could God? or "If there is a God..."

I looked down at my Bible and re-read the words of Revelation 16 that had triggered my initial thoughts,

9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory...
they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 

11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds...

21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great."

The truth hit me hard! That horrible world I was seeing was the world I was living in! Those things happening were happening right in front of our faces! The Christians I had learned from up until this point had missed something... something big!

Here we were deep into the tribulation; yet, the "church" had not been "raptured". (At least not as it had always been taught to me but that's a whole different subject too deep and complex to go into in this blog.) Here believers were right along side of unbelievers going through the thick of it! People had always envisioned it to go down a certain way, fluffy clouds and people disappearing and those ingrained beliefs kept them from being able to see it taking place right in front of their faces! 

From that day on, I haven't had anything involving this subject hit me that hard... until today. The recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary has caused quite an uproar. When I was much less experienced Christian, I used to share the knowledge that I had received from God openly. However, by now, I've learned that just because God shows it to me or gives me understanding doesn't mean that the unbeliever, or even Christian, next to me is ready to hear or receive it. I've learned to pick my battles and keep my mouth shut unless I know for sure that God wants me to open it. I've learned that not everybody receives revelation the same and while one person may need or desire the information, another can be set back by it so you need to be careful to follow the Spirit. I've learned some important things not to say when disaster strikes and most importantly to try not to make anyone feel a way I wouldn't want to made to feel if something like that happened to me. 

So, when I first came across a blog that had been shared on facebook titled, "My Take: Six things I don't want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre", I actually agreed with a lot of what the author had to say to an extent. In fact, I personally have learned that even if any of numbers 1-5 could possibly be true (which at times they can be at at other times may not be depending on the circumstances but only God knows for sure when they are and aren't), right after a tragedy is definitely not the time to bring them up and especially not to already hurting people. However, when I got to number 6... 

The first 2 paragraphs were some facts on a topic that has good points that could go either way mixed with some degrading opinions toward believers hat had been subtly given off throughout the whole thing; but, the last paragraph...

"If you believe in a God who is all powerful and all good, then covering up for the Almighty at a time like this is in my view deeply unfaithful. Today is a day to shake your fist at heaven and demand answers, and then to shake it harder when no answers are forthcoming. To do anything else is in my view to diminish the idea of God, and to cheapen faith in the process." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero. 

...might as well have slapped in the face. It was if I had gone back in time nearly 7 years and was sitting there reading the book of Revelation asking God to reveal the truth or the future which is so obviously my present. If Stephen, or any other believer, wants to shake their fists at God after going through such horrible things then by all means go for it; but, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And, if they see that as diminishing the idea of God or cheapening faith, I'd still rather be in my shoes than theirs.

Be sure to subscribe to my blog if you would like to read more on this subject in the future :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

My trip to the doctor's yesterday....

Yesterday, at my health check up, the doctor asked me if I had any loss of memory and I asked, "Isn't that normal with age and 3 kids?" To which he responded, "Let me ask you some basic questions... What year is it?"

Me inside, "Oh, crap! What year is it? Oh yeah, 2012... right? Or is it? Oh gees! Yeah that's it... Ok." 

Then out loud, "2012" To which is looked at me and said, "I'd better ask some more."

Me inside, "Oh great!"

Him, "What month is it?"

Me, "Ummmmmmmm August?"

Him, "What day?"

Me inside, "Crap! Figures! Gees! How stupid can I be? I have a doctor's appointment today you'd think I'd at least know the date today! I just looked at my phone a little bit ago. What the heck day is it? What did it say? Oh yeah, the 30th."

Then, I smile and reply, "The 30th" while wondering if the delay told him what I was asking myself inside! Haha

So, he continues, "Who is the president?"

Me inside, "Oh crap! It's not Bush any more... Who is it?.... oh yeah, Obama." So, I bust out, "Obama" as quick as possible so that he doesn't start thinking I need to be kept overnight.

Then, the killer question, "Who's running against him?"

Me inside, "Oh no! It figures! What the heck is that guy's name? It's constantly running through my news feed on facebook. What is it? What is it? Hmmmm...... mmmmmm..... (while he's staring at me) hmmmmm..... OH YEAH ROMNEY!"

Then I reply, "Romney; but, these questions really aren't that fair! I never know the date, I hardly look at a calendar. Every day goes by so quick so I just look at it the day before and tell myself what I have to do tomorrow. Who cares what day it says on the calendar, they're all the same, as long as I do everything I need to do that day? And, I really don't watch the news since about 4 years ago when Obama took office because that's pretty much pointless too. It's all the same stuff different day and it's going to happen regardless if I know about it or not so why waste my time and energy on it?"

Thank God his reply was, "Yeah, I don't really watch the news either. It is all negative!"

Then, my phone (that I just got that day!) rang and I had no idea how to make it stop so it just belted out Third Day, "Magnificent Holy Father, I stand in awe of all I see. Of all the things you have created and still you choose to think of me. Who am I that you should suffer, your very life to set me free? The only thing that I can give you, is the life you gave to me. This is my offering."

While I frantically searched for an off button I was thinking, "So close but now I'm doomed! He's going to have me committed! It looks like I forgot how to work my phone! And, he knows I'm a Jesus freak!"

I just looked at him and smiled and said, "Sorry." To which he replied, "Don't be, that's a good song."


I guess, compared to the other people in his office, I seemed normal, lol... You all know that running a street ministry, I typically have a lot of patience and compassion for people, nothing seems to phase me, but there were some real characters in there. I spent the whole time in the waiting room explaining to a lady that I wouldn't give her money to buy pills, cigarettes or pop and trying to keep her hands out of my purse and her eyes off of my text messages before I even got to read them, lol.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cry Out to Jesus

The other day I heard the song, "Cry Out to Jesus" on the radio and it reminded me of years ago when my husband left me. I spent days just laying on the floor listening to this song and crying and praying. Then, I heard God tell me to get up and fight! So I did and I thought I won! But, here I am years later still fighting, still praying.

Hearing that song for the first time in a long time, my reaction was totally different. When I heard that first verse about losing someone you love that used to make me feel sad inside and want to fight, instead I said inside, "If only I could go back and tell myself to give up! Just let go!"

But then, I heard a verse in a different way than I ever had before, "For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on. They lost all of their faith in love. They've done all they can to make it right again. Still it's not enough." At this point, that is exactly how I feel! I have done all that I can and all that I know to do! I have spent so much time trying to get along with an unbelieving family that I feel I have no faith left! I have read nearly every marriage book on the market and pray nearly every minute of the day and yet when I was forced to do a fair evaluation, I realized that the only reason I have a marriage is because I try so hard to be perfect and treat others the way the Bible says to and if I didn't work so hard, it would be gone and so would my kids :(

So, now I'm just going to be and do what I know I need to be and do. And, that is live in reality and be real and speak truth; and, those who don't like me or what I have to say are free to not care or listen but I can't keep wasting years of my life pouring all of my energy into people who just drain me and put me down.

At this point, truly the only hope I have in my marriage or desire I have to see it survive is that I know that God says it's possible! I know what it can be! And, I know what He is capable of! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Would you like a really good laugh at my expense?

God must find me pretty darn humorous at times!

This morning I was thinking about all of the photography themes on G+ and said I was going to just start curating some off the wall group like "thimble thursday" and see if it took off. Then, I moved on and forgot about. But, during my prayer time, I picked up "The Power of Simple Prayer" by Joyce Meyer and she began to discuss what most people pictured as prayer. She explained a famous painting of an elderly gentleman kneeling with his head bowed, hands clasped and eyes closed. And, to myself, I thought, "I would love to create an image completely opposite of that to open people eyes to what prayer really is." 

Then, my next thought was, "I would love to actually throw the idea out there to all of the photographers/photo-manipulators on G+ and see what they come up with. Kind of like the Chrysta Rae Scavenger Hunt but with only one item and one goal. How awesome would that be?!?!"

Then, that thought connected me to the next one, "Wouldn't it be cool if it could be a constant running daily theme." 

Oh, and there it was! Full circle back to my original thought this morning! So, I finally allowed the thought to brew for a minute and started to think of titles and what day I could choose. I would love to incorporate my two passions... both things I use G+ for, photography and God. 

But how? I know there is a "sacred sunday" theme but that goes against everything I'm trying to get people away from. The goal is to open peoples' eyes to the fact that God shouldn't just be shoved into this little religious box and only pulled out once a week. God is with us all the time, everywhere! Prayer is something that we can do any time anywhere! It can't just be a day, it has to be every day! But, "What should I call it?" hmmmm.... "What should I call it?" .... hmmmm Something that involves everyday???" hmmmm... LOL!!! 

Are all of you laughing at me yet?!?! I mean God must have been up in heaven ready to jump out of His seat or push me over the edge or something! I mean if I can be used in this whole "Christianity" thing, then surely anyone can! 

Oh, and for those of you who don't know me that well, the name of my photography business that God birthed in my life last July is called, "Everyday Art". Laughing yet? :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is being a hypocrite really such a bad thing?

Often, when someone learns of my blog, they question the title. They seem to think they need to educate me on what "hypocrite" means or inform me that it's not a good word to have beside the word "Christian", as if I don't already know this. However, what I also understand is the truth that so many Christians like to pretend doesn't exist. 

A survey in the book "unChristian" by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons reveals that 85% of young non-Chrsistians belive that present-day Christianity is hypocrritical. And, even more amazing is the fact that 47% of young churchgoers agreed! (myself included)

We are hypocrites! Or at least that is how we appear as a whole to those around us who don't understand the gospel. I mean think about it! If you didn't truly understand what Jesus did on the cross then how could you understand someone who is imperfect stating that sin is sin. Really, let it sink in! I'm going to re-word it as many possible ways as possible until I'm sure you are picking up what I am putting down.

Without true understanding of what Jesus did how could you grasp someone saying that lying is wrong and then catching them in a lie? If someone told you that it wasn't ok to steal and then they took home paperclips from work would you want to listen to them? Yes, paperclips! Taking something as small and simple as paperclips is still stealing if you do not have direct permission to do so! And, while it may not big that big of a sin to you, it may be horrible to the person who has had to pay for everyone else's theft of paperclips for 20 years! And, no, I'm not trying to add one more boulder on your shoulder for you to carry around. I'm not trying to give you another law to memorize. It's actually just the opposite, I'm trying to help set you free! I'm making a point... No matter how close to God you are or how spiritual you believe you are, you will NEVER be perfect! You will always commit sin and there will always be others around to witness it! 

I mean let's face it, our actions will undeniably appear to contradict our beliefs at one point or another rendering us hypocrites in the eyes of those around who don't understand the main belief (which of course we could never contradict). And, can we blame them? Didn't Jesus say in Luke 23:34, "Forgive them they know not what they do"? How can we expect those who know not what they do to know better? How can we expect those who don't understand what being a Christian is all about to understand what being a Christians is all about? 

The sooner we grasp and embrace the facts the better! Isn't admittance the first step toward overcoming a problem? Why does being called a hypocrite have to be a bad thing? When I hear that word what I really hear is, "I don't truly understand Christianity." One may have head knowledge, they may have studied the Bible their whole life, but that is not equal to true God-given revelation. And, is preaching at them really going to help? Is getting angry at them and demanding they behave properly really going to inspire true change?  Should we want others to behave properly on the outside when they don't truly understand the beauty of Christ on the inside? And, if they did truly understand on the inside would we really need to give them laws to live by on the outside? Doesn't the Bible say countless times (Heb 10:16, Jer 31:33, Prov 7:3) that He will write the laws in their hearts? Even Jesus Himself did not choose to physically reign as King while He was here on the earth because He understood that people are changed from the inside out no the other way around!!! Do we really need to keep trying to do his job for Him? I mean it really hasn't been working that well anyways! Don't they already have enough laws to live by and isn't that the reason they are so fed up with us hypocrites anyways? 

Yet, if instead, we were to humble ourselves and admit that we understand and even agree with their point of view, perhaps they would be a little bit more willing to be open to ours. Imagine how much different the church would be viewed if instead of trying to hide ourselves and our problems, we were open with them. Imagine if, instead of trying to pretend we were perfect, we all just got real and admitted that we aren't and we won't ever be! 

And, if we were to admit our shortcomings and failures then perhaps those around us would be free to extend a little compassion and sympathy instead of waiting around for opportunities to point their fingers. I have kids and when one of them gets caught doing something wrong, nothing irks me more than their refusal to admit they did it. If they refuse to own up, I come down harder and harder until they do. However, if they come to me with the truth and they are already confessing and repenting then what else is there to do but love them? 

Besides it's all in the way you look at it, hypocrite really just means imperfect human and isn't that really what we all are? People who make mistakes. And, doesn't the word mistake itself imply that you know that it's wrong? That you did something you didn't think you should have? And, don't we all do that? 

Oh, and on a quick side note... I'm excited to announce that there is now going to be a co-author on this blog. When she posts, it should state that she is the author at the bottom and when I post my name will appear there :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's funny how God will often use my own words or lessons I've shared in my past to help me with something new. Dealing with the current situation I shared this morning, I began to waiver back and forth if the way I handled it was the correct way. Then, someone on fb liked the note (that I copied and pasted below) that was written months ago, drawing my attention back to it and it spoke to me in a whole new way and gave me the answer that I needed. Go figure! LOL... Plus, the irony that the only other status I shared this morning was about how I don't like to re-edit old pictures or re-read old books but perhaps that's something else I should change about myself, haha ;)

Caleb just came to me crying and said that he had to pee but there was paper in the potty. Which he has a habit of not using the potty because he will not flush for someone else. So, I assumed I knew what he was saying and lectured him all the way to the bathroom and then flushed it and walked out to which he replied, "Uh oh! Momma!" Now, I could have continued to ignore him and walk away which would have resulted in one huge mess left behind (which would have rightfully been my mess to clean up, not his)! But instead, I chose to listen and turned around to notice the toilet starting to overflow. I immediately grabbed the plunger and was able to do some damage control which helped the mess be a lot less than it would have been. However, there was still a pretty big mess that could have been avoided had I not been so ignorant and full of pride.

Then, I realized how this mirrors when people just choose to ignore the wisdom of those they believe are too small or weak. And, it particularly reminded me of a friendship in my life that recently ended this same way. Someone made an assumption and turned to leave and refused to listen to the "Uh oh's" then tried to come back and pretend like there wasn't a mess to clean up. And, even worse treated me as if it was my mess to clean up.

I know a lot of you are going to judge me for this. But, I watch the Kardashians and I do so because I believe it's a good example of how relationships should be. They have aweome boundaries with each other and when one is wrong or crosses the line, the rest tell the truth. They don't pretend it didn't happen. And, the person who is wrong, regardless of who it is, is always the one to apologize and do the damage control.

In a recent episode, Kim heard a rumor that her best friend was writing a "tell-all" book about her. So, she started out good by going to directly to him; however, she went about it all wrong! She treated the rumor she heard as truth and tried to scheme him into fessing up. Then, when he tried to explain to her that she had it all wrong, she completely ignored him and stormed out! I could tell by the look on his face that he hadn't done anything wrong and didn't even know why she was so upset; but, she didn't even know her own "best friend." She couldn't read him. She couldn't take a second out of her rant to acknowledge the words and thoughts of this guy she had known and trusted for so many years. So anyways, when Kim finally got a copy of the book, she learned of her mistake and tried to make it right. She went to this guy and flat out admitted her wrong and apologized, something so many seem to never be able to do. But, he told her that he couldn't just overlook the fact that she had treated him so badly and the fact that she didn't have any respect for him at all to even listen to him hurt too much and he asked her to leave. This is where nobody could fault Kim, she did what she could but now it was on him. Yet, she didn't just take the no. She continued to do what she could to fight for the friendship and it paid off. Her friend forgave her and the bond was strengthened.

When I watched that episode, I literally cried because I saw a cycle I have gone through over and over in my life with friends. When people wronged me, I was taught that love just always overlooks the wrong instead of the one in the wrong being taught that they did something wrong. So for the first 28 years, I always took whatever treatment anyone wanted to give me while I still did all that I could to treat them the way I would want to be treated. Then, I began to learn that was unhealthy and that it was my duty as a Christian to hold them accountable and not to enable. So, I would tell them what hurt me and, even if they owned no fault and weren't sorry, I just continued in friendship with them. Then, I started learning that just saying something yet still receiving it was still enabling so I began to set boundaries which resulted in a lost friendship every time. Then I would dwell on that loss and re-play over and over again what I could have done differently to keep the friendship. I even have some severed friendships, that even though I was the one wronged, I have gone to that person over and over and over again trying to fix it. Eventually, after enough rejection, I learned that I have to wait for a person to come to me. And, that's where I am now.

I think I've finally officially learned to wait until a person who has wrong me comes back on their own; but today, just before the flood in my bathroom, I found myself still trying to do all of the work for a person who wronged me. I couldn't imagine if Kim had gone back to her friend and pretended like nothing happened or even worse demanded that he apologize to her and treated him as if he should feel so lucky to even be given another chance to be her friend. She would have lost a person very close to her for sure! Yet, why is it so easy to see what's right other people's lives and not in my own? Why do I so desparately want to get along with others that, even with all of the knowledge to not do so, I sill just receive whatever treatment they want to give me to some extent? Why can't I just let the closed doors be closed doors? Why do I hate broken fellowship so much that I allow it to be used as a tool to manipulate me? Why can't I just let go? Why are some things so much easier said than done?

Oh, in case you are wondering what this spoke to me... it's that ignoring and acting like something isn't happening is never the answer. I can't believe I even was considering continuing down that path since the book I've been reading by Leslie Vernick repeatedly taught that the answer to an ongoing problem is never to just ignore it and pretend it isn't there nor is the opposite end of the spectrum, to explode, the proper way to handle it; but, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. It's weird how you can grow so custom to living in sin and even using the Word to justify it that you don't even recognize what you are doing! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Me and my big mouth... or, maybe not

Today, one of the books I'm reading brought up a subject that has always really gotten to me. A subject that I have studied over and over trying to wrap my brain around and understand... Moses not being allowed to enter the Promised Land. 

It seems no matter what way it's explained or how deeply I delve into the scriptures, I just still feel bad for Moses. He poured his heart and soul into serving God. He gave all of his life only to make one mistake and face such a severe consequence. No re-do's, no apology, no fixing it. Forty years on a journey and he would not be allowed to reach the final destination. However, as the author of the book I'm currently reading pointed out, Moses took it like a champ. He didn't cry or complain or beg or plead. He was fine with it and just accepted it as the way it was and respected God's decision. And, while he wasn't able to enter the Promised Land, God did still grant him the greatest desire of his heart. 

I stopped reading to take it all in. It was nice to see another side that the Promised Land wasn't really Moses's heart's desire but I still wasn't able to fully fathom it. So, I asked God for help. I asked Him to help me understand, to help me see through Moses's perspective. 

Then, the answer came... 

This evening I drove into cell phone range to check all of the messages on the AID line. It's quite common for us to get nasty messages and they've never really bothered me, I just see them as opportunities to show love to a hurting person which is why I've always been the one to take the calls. However, tonight, the lady's voice and tone and attitude were too much. She apparently called the day before and was very upset that we did not get back with her quickly enough. If someone gets my emotions going, I'll normally wait until they subside and I feel loving again before I will contact them; but, her voice made me feel so pressured and I didn't want to upset her any more. After all, she was already clearly angry that I was taking too long so I couldn't take even longer, then she'd be really mad and what kind of Christian testimony would that be? So, I forced myself to call her back and told myself everything appropriate to say before she answered. Then, she answered and it was a whole different story. 

I tried to repeat what I had rehearsed. I simply explained that we are 100% ran by volunteers and so we can only guarantee to be open on Sundays from 2-4 but do our best to meet people during other times and we will pick items up when we can. However, while the words were coming out of my mouth, I realized that my fear of calling her back when I wasn't feeling it was causing my tone to not come across very well either. She then told me where she lived in one word and I wasn't familiar with the word so I asked, "Is that in Martins Ferry?" To which she replied, "(nasty sound effect) You aren't from Ferry?" And that was the end of the pre-rehearsed script. 

The thoughts in my head just started coming out... "No, I'm not from Ferry, but I am from the valley. But why should that matter? Even if I were from Ferry does that mean that I should know the name of every street? I really don't get where your attitude is coming from and why you were felt that it was appropriate to speak to us the way you did on the message when you called us back. We give up our lives and time with our families and do the best we can to make a difference only to be treated like this and talked down to because we can't always keep up with the demand." 

She replied quite snottily, "Well, I didn't know that you were ran by volunteers. I didn't know anything about you. I just got your number off of the building." 

I tried to calm myself down and be understanding but it just wasn't happening. Inside I was thinking that if she didn't know anything about us then she wouldn't have even known to get our name off of the building or that we take donations and my mouth started moving, "Well, I don't see why that would matter but I guess those are things you should ask before you pull out your attitude then if they make a difference to you."

She had an astonished tone at this point that I would dare say something and quite frankly so did I. I think I was asking myself the things she was probably wanting to ask me! But instead, she just said that she would just take her items elsewhere to which I had to end with a bang, "Please do because I'd rather not take them if it means also having to receive your attitude." 

I hung up completely shocked at myself and disgusted with myself! Why did I let this woman get me so upset? Was I just completely burnt out? Had I reached my end? Should I just take some time off and focus on my family and friends and stop pouring so much of myself into others who treat me as if they pay my invisible salary? 

As I was racking my brain, the million dollar question came to mind... Was God going to punish me as He did Moses? After all, I knew better just as Moses did. I should have been able to control my attitude! Was this my version of striking the rock that I should have been speaking to? Was it this going to be the end of AID? Suddenly, it hit me why God had allowed this situation to occur. Well, truthfully, there were a few reasons for me and probably for her as well; but, the main reason was because I asked for it! 

And, my response to the question... I'm ok with that. If it all ends right here right now because of my mistake, I'm ok with that. I do the best I can and if it's not enough then it's not. If I'm not usable then I'm not. I did know better and I'm sorry that I failed God, but I did. And, if it all ends today then I'll just spend more time enjoying my family and less time being screamed at. It would be kind of nice to not have so much responsibility on my shoulders all the time and people lumping pressure on me. It would definitely be nice and peaceful to just live a quiet, ordinary, mundane life. It could perhaps even be a blessing in itself! Perhaps, Moses never wanted to lead the Israelites. Perhaps he never even cared about the Promised Land from the start. After all, we do know that in Exodus 4:13 he begged God to send someone else and pardon him. And, the fact that he called himself a "servant" tells me that he was going to do it if he had to and that's the only reason he would. That his only goal was to follow and obey God wherever it took him whether that was to the Promised Land or not. Perhaps he'd been waiting 40 years to be set free and have some time to himself and what seems to be a punishment is actually an answered prayer. After all, God's Word is always true and it says in Palm 37:4 that if we delight ourselves in the Lord that He WILL give us the desires of our heart. It's quite clear that Moses delighted himself in the Lord and if that was truly the desire of his heart then it would have been granted to him. God knew Moses long before He chose him which means that He knew he would strike that rock! 

Or perhaps, he knew he'd still eventually ended up there anyways... In Matthew 17:3, many years after his death, Moses appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration which was the physical location of the Promised Land! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I'm no longer ashamed of or hiding the fact that I'm overweight.

Growing up, I was always the "skinny" girl and people would always compliment my figure. Then, after high school, I entered into modeling. My measurements were 34, 25, 36 and I weighed 109 pounds; but, my agent was constantly on me about my weight, specifically my hips. I was told the biggest hips that I should have for my height and frame was 34 inches. However, it just rolled off and I didn't care because I still knew that I looked good, I hadn't change any and I still had plenty of people complimenting me. 

Until the age of 28, I hadn't experienced any weight issues and honestly didn't understand those who struggled with them. Then, when I was pregnant with my son, I began to learn about being healthy and eating healthy. I read a book called, "The Great Physician's Rx to Health and Wellness" by Jordan Rubin and realized that I was always sick. I had a cold or flu nearly once a month and had been told many times that I needed to have my tonsils out, which I avoided because I didn't want to mess up my singing voice. I also often threw up for no reason what so ever. And, once several years earlier when I was modeling I visited a doctor, he diagnosed me as anorexic! I knew he was wrong and quickly switched doctors, I wasn't anorexic I ate, I just wasn't ever really that hungry. Now, this book was helping me to realize that doctor was right. I wasn't intentionally anorexic, I had just trained my body to survive off of very little food and when I ate too much I threw it up. So, I guess he was a little off, it was a mixture of anorexia and bulimia at the same time and my modeling agency considered me "fat".

Once I started applying the things I learned, I started to gain weight. At first, I didn't mind and I told myself that it was necessary to be healthy. Then, as the scale continued to go up, my self-esteem continued to go down. And, skinny people around me started offering me clothes that were "too big" for them. I suddenly realized how offensive that can be, lol. I thought back to when my butt was considered 2 inches too big and now it was 4 inches too big! It was horrifying! I tried to give it to God and grow into my new image but it started to seem that everyone around me who weighed was calling themselves fat. I would think, "if they're fat then I must be a barge!" I later learned that I had the same measurements as Kim Kardashian and J Lo, two females known for being big and are considered plus size models! It was a horrifying thought! 

I was determined that I would lose the weight; but the more I worked out the more my weight would go up. I gained 5 more pounds by exercising. So, I gave that up too and decided that I didn't want to be any bigger. Then, J Lo was voted "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World" and it helped me to get a grasp of the reality. I read a book a while back called, "Every Man's Battle" and men were advised to not compare their wives to other women but to instead study her body only and that they would begin to value it and not be tempted to cheat. So, I realized that until the age of 28, I never once checked out another woman. I never even cared to. But, as my weight went up, and other women began comparing me to them, I started asking myself, "Am I that fat?" I would look at other women trying to find one who looked like me to know if I looked ok or if I really was fat. However, I mostly compared myself to the old me, I found myself wishing I were the old me again. I realized that, if I was ever going to feel good about myself, I was going to have to accept the me I am now and learn to embrace her and make her the best me I could be.

So, I decided to try working out again. At first, I dropped a pound and a few inches within a week; but, as I continued, I began to go back up. I started to get upset but reminded myself that I was doing it to be healthy and in-shape and as long as I was following the Word in my choices then what my body looked like was what God wanted it to look like and I am going to appreciate what He has given me instead of wishing I was someone else. 

My current measurements are 36, 29,39 and I weigh 137 pounds and I'm between 5'4 and 5'5. The perfect weight for someone who is 5'4 is between 108 and 132. For someone who is 5'5, it's between 113 and 138. So, I technically am overweight, lol. And, just yesterday, I saw another person call 140 at my height, "fat." But, I'm ok with that. 

I shared this picture last night and did not share my measurements and one person, not knowing my weight or measurements, told me that it "would make a great p90x cover." Another Christian female actually warned me about sharing it because she was afraid it would entice men and women so I can't be that unattractive, lol. Although, as I mentioned earlier, I don't believe we should compare ourselves with others and that's why I was hesitant to share this picture and why it was  cartoonized to disguise it a little. I felt that covering my stomach took away the effect though and, in a world where there are so many calling me and others like me fat, I felt a good dose of healthy reality was needed for those like the most recent old me who haven't yet learned to love themselves. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fly Eagle Fly

Oh, the life lessons we can learn from nature! When I was struggling with the church I

was attending, a good friend shared the story below with me. I went from being the

founder of the "Eagles' Nest" to being just another chicken in the coop, it was no wonder

why I lost all of my passion and identity. When you learn you are an eagle, you can't go

back to being a chickenand you can't fit in with the hens no matter how much you desire

to; but, some times it takes a good friend to come back around and remind you of who you are ;)

Fly, Eagle, Fly! An African Tale

retold by Christopher Gregorowski

A farmer went out one day to search for a lost calf. The little herd boys had come back without it the evening before. And that night there had been a terrible storm.

He went to the valley and searched. He searched by the riverbed. He searched among the reeds, behind the rocks, and in the rushing water.

He wandered over the hillside and through the dark and tangled forests where everything began, then out again along the muddy cattle tracks.

He searched in the long thatch grass, taller than his own head. He climbed the slopes of the high mountain with its rocky cliffs rising to the sky. He called out all the time, hoping that the calf might hear, but also because he felt so alone. His shouts echoed off the cliffs. The river roared in the valley below.

He climbed up a gully in case the calf had huddled there to escape the storm. And that was where he stopped. For there, on a ledge of rock, close enough to touch, he saw the most unusual sight - an eagle chick, very young, hatched from its egg a day or two before and then blown from its nest by the terrible storm.

He reached out and cradled it in both hands. He would take it home and care for it. And home he went, still calling, calling in case the calf might hear.

He was almost home when the children ran out to meet him. "The calf came back by itself!" they shouted. He was very pleased. He showed the eagle chick to how wife and children, then placed it carefully in the warm kitchen among the hens and chicks and under the watchful eye of the roosters.

"The eagle is the king of the birds," he said, "but we shall train it to be a chicken."

So the eagle lived among the chickens, learning their ways. His children called their friends to see the strange bird. For as it grew, living on the bits and pieces put out for the chickens, it began to look quite different from any chicken they had ever seen.

One day a friend dropped in for a visit. He and the farmer sat at the door of the kitchen hut. The friend saw the bird among the chickens. "Hey! That's not a chicken. It's an eagle!"

The farmer smiled at him and said, "Of course it's a chicken. Look - it walks like a chicken, it talks like a chicken, it eats like a chicken. It thinks like a chicken. Of course it's a chicken."

But the friend was not convinced. "I will show you that it is an eagle," he said.

"Go ahead," said the farmer.

The farmer's children helped his friend catch the bird. It was fairly heavy but he lifted it above his head and said: "You are not a chicken but an eagle. You belong not to the earth, but to the sky. Fly, Eagle, fly!"

The bird stretched out its wings as the farmer and his family had seen it do before. But it looked about, saw the chickens feeding, and jumped down to scratch with them for food.

"I told you it was a chicken," the farmer said, and roared with laughter.

Next day the friend was back. "Farmer," he said, "I will prove to you that this is no chicken but an eagle. Bring me a ladder." With the large bird under one arm, he struggled up the slippery thatch of the tallest hut.

The farmer doubled over with laughter. "It eats chicken food. It thinks like a chicken. It is a chicken."

The friend, swaying on top of the hut, took the eagle's head, pointed it to the sky, and said: "You are not a chicken but an eagle. Fly, Eagle, fly!"

Again the great bird stretched out its wings. It trembled and the claws that clasped his hand opened. "Fly, Eagle, fly!" the man cried.

But the bird scrambled out of his hands, slid down the thatch, and sailed in among the chickens.

There was much laughter.

Very early next morning, on the third day, the farmer's dogs began to bark. A voice was calling outside in the darkness. The farmer ran to the door. It was his friend again. "Give me one more chance with the bird," he begged.

"Do you know the time? It's long before dawn. Are you crazy?"

"Come with me. Fetch the bird."

Reluctantly the farmer went into the kitchen, stepping over his sleeping children, and picked up the bird, which was fast asleep among the chickens. The two men set off, disappearing into the darkness.

"Where are we going?" asked the farmer sleepily.

"To the mountains where you found the bird."

"And why at this ridiculous time of the night?"

"So that our eagle may see the sun rise over the mountain and follow it into the sky where it belongs."

They went into the valley and crossed the river, the friend leading the way. The bird was very heavy and too large to carry comfortably, but the friend insisted on taking it himself.

"Hurry," he said, "or the dawn will arrive before we do!"

The first light crept into the sky as they began to climb the mountain. Below them they could see the river snaking like a long, thin ribbon through the golden grasslands, the forest, and the veld, stretching down toward the sea. The wispy clouds in the sky were pink at first and then began to shimmer with a golden brilliance.

Sometimes their path was dangerous as it clung to the side of the mountain, crossing narrow shelves of rock and taking them into dark crevices and out again. They were both panting, especially the friend who was carrying the bird.

At last he said, "This will do." He looked down the cliff and saw the ground thousands of feet below. They were very near the top.

Carefully the friend carried the bird onto a ledge of rock. He set it down so that it looked toward the east, and began talking to it.

The farmer chuckled. "It talks only chickens' talk."

But the friend talked on, telling the bird about the sun, how it gives life to the world, how it reigns in the heavens, giving light to each new day.

"Look at the sun, Eagle. And when it rises, rise with it. You belong to the sky, not to the earth."

At that moment the sun's first rays shot out over the mountain, and suddenly the world was ablaze with light.

The golden sun rose majestically, dazzling them. The great bird stretched out its wings to greet the sun and feel the life-giving warmth on its feathers. The farmer was quiet. The friend said, "You belong not to the earth, but to the sky. Fly, Eagle, fly!"

He clambered back the farmer.

All was silent. Nothin moved. The eagle's head stretched up; its wings stretched outwards; its legs leaned forward as its claws clutched the rock.

And then, without really moving, feeling the updraft of a wind more powerful than any man or bird, the great eagle leaned forward and was swept upward, higher and higher, lost to sight in the brightness of the rising sun, never again to live among the chickens.

Friday, March 16, 2012

We brought home an extra child from the Third Day concert last night...

Ever since I was a young child, I wanted to be a foster parent so that I could  provide for other kids who were born into difficult situations like myself. However, while that dream has continually pulled at my heart over the years, I just haven't been in the position to do so; but, I continue to pray about it often. Then, last night at the concert, we were asked to sponsor a child from another country. At first, my thought was, "I already do so much, I can't possibly take on any more." Yet, as they led in prayer, my heart began to soften and I realized that just because I can't take another child into my home at the moment doesn't mean that I can't provide for and help a child going through hard times. Then, the speaker said something unique, he called it "child support" and it hit me that 40 dollars a month is equal to the tithe off of the child support my oldest daughter receives every month. Which then caused me to remember her asking me if she could adopt a child from another country not too long ago. Before I knew it, my hand was in the air and Ndebenuwo's picture was in my hands. I thought that I was going to regret my decision when I got home and would only be able to see how much I have going out in giving every month but that wasn't the case. All I can see is Ndebenuwo's face and all I feel is joy and satisfaction in knowing that, even if things are tough and money is now a little bit tighter, we are truly doing all we can for God. I wouldn't have even been able to remember where that money went if we wouldn't have adopted Ndebenuwo; but, next year and ten years from now, I'll know that because I rose my hand, we made a difference. And, now my prayer is that God will use me to provide for as many kids as He possibly can :)

Please join me in doing all that you can and adopt your own child, just visit http://www.worldvision.org/ 

Thursday, March 8, 2012


How awesome to have finally realized to combine all of my blogs and writings on all social networks into one! What a smart idea! I have no idea why I didn't do it sooner! LOL