About Me

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I'm a wife, a mom, a singer/songwriter, an author, a public speaker, an abolitionist, an encourager & freedom coach, a seminary student, a worship leader, a lover of life and joy, and most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Freedom Fridays: Make It a Break-out Year

It's Freedom Friday!! And I'm taking yet another break from the series, "Learning to Walk in Freedom", to talk yet again about the holiday that is upon us.

It's New Years.

Are you making resolutions this year? Lose weight, quit smoking, cut down on your Starbucks spending....

How about making some freedom resolutions?

Back in 2003 or 2004, I started a new way of creating resolutions (my former pastor's wife taught me this practice). Rather than focusing on specific things I wanted to change, I started to do the following:

1. Brainstorm the different roles you have in your life. Here are a few examples: wife, mom, friend, musician, child of God, daughter, etc.

2. Pray, and using God's direction, pick 2-3 that you'd like to work on for the year.

3. Brainstorm statements about what you'd like to improve upon (priorities).

4. Formulate goals accordingly.

Here's another things I learned. Goals should be SMART:

A quick note about goal-setting and figuring out if your goals are "SMART": try to think about whether or not your goal is something that someone would be able to hold you accountable to. If you say, "I'd like to read the Bible more" or "I'd like to make more Christian friends", it's not really measurable or specific enough, so someone wouldn't be able to hold you accountable to that. But it also needs to be realistic. Saying, "I'm going to read the whole Bible in a day" isn't really attainable nor is it realistic. Saying, "I'm going to find a weekly Bible study to join in the next 3 months" or "I'm going to read a chapter of the Bible 5 days a week" would fit the SMART model.

Think of a way to frame your goals so that you can assess whether or not you've reached them. Some goals may be more general and those are the ones that are more difficult to narrow down. Another question you could ask yourself is what are some practical steps I could take to achieve this goal?

Here are some examples of what I've done, in terms of brain-storming roles and making priorities and goals out of them.

For 2005, my focus roles were:
Lover of God

Yes, I chose too many, but as the year progressed, it became clear which ones were to be my main focus.

Based on that, my list of priorities:

To Keep my Focus on God:
• In My Actions
• In My Marriage
• In My Recovery
• In My Music and Singing
• In My Work with Others

That year, I ended up really focusing on healing. That focus naturally overflowed into my other relationships and roles. Practically, I focused on healing by growing in my understanding of who God is and who I am as His daughter, through reading the Bible and Christian books, listening to Christian speakers, growing in my friendships and praying. I unfortunately cannot find my specific goals that I set, but you get the picture.

Here's what I wrote at the end of 2005 as I reflected on my resolutions.

2005 has been a "breakout" year for me, truly. I heard a pastor preach on this theme at the beginning of the year, and I embraced it.

It was a choice.

And it was a hard choice, but healing and victory and joy and freedom are always choices that we can make, if that's what we truly want. If it's not what we want, then we will keep making the same mistakes. I decided I didn't want to live that way anymore. And praise be to God, I'm choosing not to live that way anymore, with God's help.

When you look toward 2011, what are your hopes and dreams? What are you looking forward to?

Do you want it to be a "break-out" year, like 2005 was for me?

What roles or areas of your life can you focus on in order to make it a break-out year?

Do you need to go to counseling, find a mentor, get a life/freedom coach, join a Bible study or support group, start going to church regularly, pray for God to re-make you, allow His spirit to illuminate who He is in new ways?

In the sermon I referenced above, my pastor played the Switchfoot song, "Dare You To Move". I wasn't super-familiar with the song, but I walked away thinking, over and over, "I dare you to move."

Today you have a choice: to stay stuck in the same place, doing the same things that are not working for you, or you can allow God to move you into true freedom.

I dare you to move.

I dare you to trust that the God of the universe has a vested interest in seeing you learn to walk into freedom.

Make a choice today: to do whatever it takes to make 2011 a break-out year for you.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Freedom Friday: A New & Glorious Morn

Today I'm going to share with you the One Thing that is the key to learning to walk in freedom!

This is not a continuation of last week, but a separate teaching due to the holidays :) When I say "due to the holidays", what I mean is "due to the fact that I am out of town and left my notes for today's entry at home." Then again, I thought it'd be kind of silly to ignore the fact that much of the world is celebrating Christmas tomorrow!

Last year at this time, I published an article entitled "God Gave His Only". You should read it.

God knew before He created you and me that we'd inherit from our ancestors in the Garden of Eden a propensity to make bad choices, with the complete inability to throw off the chains of struggle.

Before the foundation of time, God devised a master rescue mission. Jesus was not God's Plan B or C, as my pastor pointed out last week. He was God's plan A.

My 3 year old son thinks Christmas is all about presents and for the past few weeks has daily presented me with things he cannot live without and must get for Christmas. I realized, quite pitifully, that he had no idea why we even celebrate Christmas in the first place.

Mommy FAIL.

Anyway, we started reading about the birth of Jesus in his kid's Bible. For the first time, I noticed that little manger packed with straw and it really struck me: Jesus was a baby.

Mary pushed that baby out the old-fashioned way with no epidural or fetal monitoring in a barn with animals and their poo hanging out everywhere.

I'm sure this struck me as especially interesting because I had a c-section with my 3 year-old and a homebirth with my youngest. I had people ask me if having a baby at home is sanitary. More sanitary than a barn!

Anyway, Jesus was a baby. He cried when He needed His mom (contrary to what "Away in a Manger" says), He was breastfed, He had poopy diapers. For years, He needed adults to meet His every need.

Jesus could have easily come as a full-grown man. He was God, after all. He could have floated down from the clouds and made quite an entrance for Himself!

Instead, as my acquaintance Alicia Britt Chole says, Jesus had 30 hidden years (get the book with your Christmas money) during which He knew His call & His purpose, yet He lived a life that looked pretty normal from the outside - and did not sin.

Jesus was God's plan A for learning to walk in freedom.

God saw that people He loved were drowning in their sin. Because of His great love for His creation, because of His compassionate heart for His children. He knew that it would be painful for both God the Father and Jesus His Son, but He did it anyway. He spared no expense, but extravagantly gave His only; He did what needed to be done in order for us to have the opportunity to be reconciled to Him, the chance to live in freedom, once and for all.

As The Message says, "Christ has set us free to live a free life."

As we meditate on the birth of the Freedom Giver, let us reflect on the words of this song that are heavy on my heart:

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Jesus, in His birth, His life, in His death and in His resurrection, gives us the opportunity to become recreated into the person He designed us to be. Because of Him, we can walk into "a new and glorious morn": an abundant life of true freedom.

"Let all within us praise His holy name."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Freedom Fridays: Act Like a Free Person, Part 2

Freedom Fridays: Act Like a Free Person, Part 1

Recap: we as believers should not be surprised when we fall into old habits and patterns. That's why I call it "learning to walk in freedom". We need to proactively make choices to act like a free person.

Acting like a free person means in those "moments of maybe", as a former pastor called them, those moments where we are tempted:
Tempted to sin
Tempted to see ourselves in any other way than how God sees us
Tempted to believe the lies and fall back into old patterns, tempted to take our unhealthy/unhelpful thoughts and run with them

In those moments, we choose to act like a free person.

A free person would realize the temptation she is experiencing is common to man. That person would choose to act as if she were free rather than act as if she is still enslaved to that temptation and has to give in.

A free person would say to that dark thought, "That's not what Jesus says about me!" A free person would say to that boundary violation "I will leave the room if you continue to speak to me that way." A free person would say, "In the past, my emotions have felt overwhelming, so rather than choose to feel them, I choose to medicate my emotions through food, sex, power, escape. I can make different choices today, knowing that I can experience these emotions and they won't kill me because I can handle anything with the Freedom Giver and other Freedom Seekers at my side."

So you see this isn't just about saying no to sin. It's about saying no to bondage in all its forms and saying yes to throwing off the chains.

Don't forget it's a process. We’re back to the analogy of training, running a race. When we were slaves to sin, our body and mind was trained that, when faced with temptation, we sin, we give in to the negative thoughts, we let our boundaries be trampled on. So like an athlete needs to discipline himself or herself to train, whereas it feels much more natural to sit on the couch and watch TV, we too need to train and discipline ourselves so that when we are faced with temptation, we, like Joseph when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him as told in Genesis 39, flee the scene rather than give in to old habits and say yes.

We read this in Romans 6: “From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did. That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don't give it the time of day. Don't even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you've been raised from the dead!—into God's way of doing things. Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God.”

There are a million different reasons why we choose to old behaviors/patterns/choices rather than choosing to act free. It's not just because it feels good or natural. We sin because we have emotions, feelings & experiences that we have trouble dealing with. We sin because we lack coping mechanisms. We sin to avoid uncomfortable feelings. We feel lonely, we feel rejected,, we feel unlovable – so we go out & try to hook up with someone. The feelings are still there, but we get to escape them for awhile. We sin - because we're used to the chaos.

So when we start taking a risk & saying no to our old nature, these feelings will come up & we need to make sure we have a support system in place to deal with them. I heard someone who struggled with same-sex attraction share in his testimony that he would go to his counseling appointments, feel all these overwhelming feelings, and on the way home, he'd hook up with someone. Finally, he contacted a friend and said, “Look, I just need someone to hang out with me for a couple hours after my appointment.” We need to learn appropriate self-care.

Next week we'll find out the freedom step that makes it easier to say no to the old nature.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Keeping Feelings in Their Proper Place

On Saturday, I started thinking about Tuesday. That's today, December 14, the day on which in 2002, I married my husband. The day on which in 2008, I found out I was pregnant with Bunny Boo, the baby who was born much too early and straight into God's arms.

I don't know why God allowed those two dates to be the same. It's one of many times in my life that a date has significance for multiple reasons. Another example is the day Bunny Boo passed away: 4 weeks after we learned of his existence. It was on the same date my father's parents, my grandparents, passed away, except my pebble baby died 1 year after my grandmother died and 40 years after my grandfather (my grandparents died on the same date, 39 years apart). And then my baby JJ, who wouldn't have been born had Bunny Boo survived, is now 1. He was born on the same date that my aunt, the sister of my grandmother, passed away, just 1 year later.

I can't say why God allows dates to line up like that. In this case, maybe He didn't want me to forget. But on Saturday, I started feeling quite sad and very sorry for myself.

Then I decided to take some of my own advice. I decided to allow my feelings to be indicators rather than dictators.

I could allow myself to feel my feelings without choosing to wallow and drown in them.

It is absolutely OK for me to be sad that I lost a child. Absolutely. But often we start to feel bad and then we analyze and rationalize all the reasons we are feeling bad. We stare deeply into our feelings, gazing into each cell and picking apart every nook and cranny. We choose to dive straight into self-pity rather than allowing God into those moments: not only to give us insight but to allow them to be redeemed.

Deeply feeling our emotions is part of the healing process. But it's not the end. Sometimes we have to stay in that place for a little while in order to learn that our feelings are valid, as many of us have been told time and time again not only to ignore and deny our feelings, but also that our feelings, our emotions, our reactions are just too big and too much.

That said, as much as we do want to recognize how we are feeling, we need to remember that our feelings are valid as indicators. If we dwell there too long, we can allow them to transform into dictators.

Today on this beautiful and painful anniversary, I will allow myself to feel my feelings, but I won't permit them to engulf me. Instead, I can acknowledge that my feelings of grieve can coexist with my feelings of rejoicing in all this day encompasses.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Freedom Fridays: Act Like a Free Person, Part 1

What have we covered so far in Freedom Fridays?

Intro: What is Freedom? Part 1 & Part 2

1. Spend Time with the Freedom Giver: Part 1 & Part 2

2. Spend Time with Freedom Seekers

PSA: I Am Not a Superhero

And today: Act Like a Free Person

It may seem pretty basic, but part of learning to walk in freedom is choosing to act like a free person.

We've already talked about freedom being a one-time gift and a process. 2 Peter 1:3 says that “His (Jesus) divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” Everything we need – and not just for life, but also for godliness.

Galatians 5:24 says that those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh (or sinful nature) with its passions and desires. It doesn’t say “are in the process of crucifying the flesh” or “will someday master crucifying the flesh”, but it says it has already been crucified!

Lest you think this is a typo of some sort or a copying error, remember Galatians 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Jesus Himself said in John 8:36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Galatians 5:13 says that the reason God called us was to be free, not so that we would struggle through life, just barely holding on till heaven.

Romans 6:6 says “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.” Verse 17 says we used to be slaves to sin, and verse 18 goes on to say that “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”

So now that I've bombarded you with Scriptures stating that we are now free and no longer slaves in our sinful desires, you may either be feeling 1) empowered or more likely 2) defeated and discouraged. Either way, please keep reading! There is a way out of the cycle of sin.

If this is really true, if I'm really a free person, why do I continue to act as if I am enslaved to sin?

Shouldn’t it be easier, when we are faced with temptation, to just say no and walk away? Why did Paul even talk about, in Romans 7 directly after writing all these verses about not being a slave to sin, his struggle with doing what he didn’t want to do?

I remember a former pastor of mine sharing a story about elephants. I used to think it was about chickens, so if you heard me speak, this is the story I used to share about chickens. But my husband said it was actually about elephants and now it makes a lot more sense!

So, back to the story. In the circus, a common way to train elephants is to tie them with strong ropes to a sturdy pole. The elephants are tied to the pole when they are very young and quite small. Naturally, they initially fight being tied to the pole, but eventually resign themselves to the fact that they cannot get free.

As the elephant grows, the pole and rope stay the same size. Though the animal has everything in him that he needs to break free, he stills acts as if he is in bondage to this pole & rope. The elephant is so used to being enslaved to the pole that he never takes the time to try and see if he could be free.

We as believers often act the same way. We are so used to responding to the desires of our flesh that we don't realize we can make different choices. We can act like a free person.

Let me share another analogy. Imagine that a person who has walked with a limp his whole life finds out there is a procedure available to correct that limp. He has the surgery, but he is so used to walking with a limp that he needs to undergo physical therapy to relearn how to walk.

Therefore, we as believers should not be surprised when we fall into old habits and patterns. That's why I call it "learning to walk in freedom". We need to proactively make choices to act like a free person.

And with that, stay tuned for the conclusion of this next week :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Freedom Fridays: I'm Not a Superhero

I'm taking a break from today's scheduled Freedom Friday post to do a public service announcement of sorts.

There are 2 issues I wanted to address in this blog post that have more to do with my story and my personality than really the topic of freedom. So bear with me :)

First, you may have noticed that when I write, I speak very matter-of-factly. I think sometimes I likely come across as unfeeling - or even worse, I come across as if I think the things I'm saying are easily done or achieved. That I've somehow "arrived."

That's not it at all.

I'm still growing as a writer and figuring out how to let more of my personality come out in these blog posts. If you've heard me speak, I share lots of personal stories; I'm told I'm good at laughing at myself (I think that's a compliment!). Those things are much easier for me to work in to my teachings as I speak than they are for me to work in to teachings as I type.

That said, I do feel I've written lots of articles (such as Bye Bye Pebble Baby) where I'm pretty free with sharing my life and my heart. I need to go back through and add some personal stories and anecdotes to my Freedom Fridays :)

Second, I am not a superhero. News Flash, I know :) But I do find that some people look at me that way. The reason I am sometimes idealized is the same reason I was drawn to Keith Green during the period of time when I became a believer. I thought Keith Green was awesome, authentic, passionate, had an amazing heart, and he had something I desperately needed. So on that night in January of 1999, I wasn't all that sure what that "something" was, yet my declaration was simple: I want what Keith has.

I know the life I live and the things I have overcome are like a breath of fresh air to many. I have come out of and overcome many thing - big things: same-sex attraction, self-injury, disordered eating, to name a few.

I'm still coming out of and overcoming other things - things that don't seem as "big," but can be far more insidious: selfishness, impatience, envy, greed, resentment, bitterness, entitlement, pride. just to name a few.

I may not be a superhero, but Jesus is. That's what I've been telling my 3 year-old, who is in love with all things superhero. I'm not sure he understands completely, as he still thinks "Jesus died on the crosswalk," but we're working on it.

In all seriousness, though, it's perfectly Biblical to, as Paul said, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" the original superhero. It's just important to recognize that while I may be further down the journey of freedom than you are, I'm still just a human being, like all believers, who has been empowered to be free by a supernatural God. The promise of the Gospel is life-changing transformation. That's available not just to me, but ALL believers.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

If you want what I have, it is available for you. Press on and take hold of it.

Remember that "freedom is not the absence of something; it's the presence of someone." Bob Hamp. Ask the Freedom Giver to continue to reveal Himself to you as only He can.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

He is Jealous for Me

"He is jealous for me."

A line from a song by John Mark McMillan, made famous by Dave Crowder and the Jesus Culture.

"Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." Exodus 34:14

"For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." Deuteronomy 4:24

Words spoken by God, made famous by Moses.

A jealous God. An all-consuming fire.

"Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation." Psalm 24:3-5

Idols of today are not likely statues or little gold calves. They may be a nice house, a fancy car. A relationship. A certain body size. Food, sex, power, romance. Making God's unconditional forgiveness & love conditional. Refusing to accept that you are created in His image. Shame, condemnation. Hiding from His love.

What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.....An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought.... An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”
Tim Keller's Counterfeit Gods

"He is jealous for me."

As we sang this song today in church, I thought: I want to live a clean life. Pure. I want to be holy, as He is holy. I want my life to be uncluttered, my mind to be clear and confusion-free.

Because He is jealous. Because He is good. Because all I want is all You have.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Freedom Fridays: Spend Time with Freedom Seekers

So far in this Freedom Friday series "Learning to Walk in Freedom", we've talked about:
What is Freedom, part 1 & part 2
Spending Time with the Freedom Giver, part 1 & part 2

Today, we're going to talk about the importance of spending time with other freedom seekers.

Hebrews 10 says “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

This is the often-quoted verse that many Christians use to say we are required to go to church. And they have a point – we can’t encourage other Christians and spur each other on if we never see each other. But why? Why does God want us to spend time around other believers?

Jesus spent a lot of time telling the disciples how to treat each other and what they could learn from each other, as did the authors of the epistles. There are at least 46 examples of what I refer to as “one another” and “each other” statements in the New Testament, the most common being that we love one another. The Bible repeats over and over that believers must not only love one another, but admonish, submit to, instruct, encourage, offer hospitality to each other. And how do we learn how to do this? In the company of other believers!

But that’s not the only reason the Bible tells us to continue meeting together. Specifically, learning to heal, but also to walk out our freedom, always happens in the context of community. This isn’t something we can learn alone. I think one of the biggest lies the enemy tries to convince us of is that all I need to heal is me & God: no one else. That’s simply not true and frankly, it’s not Biblical. In James 5:16, it says “confess your sins to one another (notice it doesn’t say “To God alone”), and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” It's talking about believers. There is something about confessing our sins that continues to put the secrecy of sin to death, silences the lies we’re believing about ourselves and about our sin, and ultimately brings healing into our lives.

It's completely inaccurate to think that the Christian walk is something we can live out in our prayer closets. And, again, not Biblical.

You may be reading this blog not for your own struggle, but because of a loved one who is struggling with a life-controlling issue. This point is just as important to you.

In John 11, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and Lazarus emerged from the tomb, Jesus told those who were there to "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." Who was at the tomb? Mary, Martha and a crowd of Jews.

Was it easy for those people to even consider unwrapping Lazarus? Jews were forbidden to touch a dead person, but Jesus saw something quite different.

He saw through the grave clothes

Jesus saw someone who once was dead, but was now alive. He saw a new creation, and He didn't ask that others be involved in the healing process. He didn't say, "would you mind taking off his grave clothes?"  He commanded that they be involved. It wasn't something Lazarus could have done himself. He was still all bound up. So we need to allow other believers to be involved in the healing process. It's not only Biblical, but God commands it.

Sometimes we try to buck up, be strong, & get through things on our own, but that’s not what God requires of us. Instead, God calls us to be utilize His strength, not our own.  In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about this very concept when God says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Paul says that because of this, he will boast (or confess) "all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."  You cannot avoid this concept in the Bible; you will run into it again & again.

So we need other believers – to learn about God, to learn how to love and to bring freedom and healing in our lives. And not just recovery-oriented groups. At the ministry I direct, we have a strong suggestion that, in addition to regular church involvement, people also be involved in a church small group and not another recovery group. We have found that another invaluable component to the healing process. Recovery-oriented groups are not necessarily an accurate representation of what it looks like to build relationships with those outside of recovery-oriented ministries.

Spend time with other freedom seekers. Remember the transparency of Jesus, that there was a level of transparency He reserved only for certain people in His life. Not everyone needs to know all our business, but a few people need to know most of it. Find people who are not afraid to be weak, who talk about sin and struggle in an honest and redemptive way.

I've actually written a whole article on how to build healthy relationships. There's definitely a lot more to be said on this topic, so feel free to read it :)

Next week? Act like a free person.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Freedom Fridays: Spend Time with the Freedom Giver, Part 2

As I shared at the end of last week's post, we've got to take the time to listen to & learn about God's heart. As believers, we have been adopted into God's family as His children; no concern or desire is too small for God. This has struck on an even deeper level since I had my sons.

Though it can be unbelievably challenging, especially in the early days, there is no joy like having a child. It has really helped me to understand God's heart for His children in a whole new way. I get so excited about every little thing my kids do. "Oh, my goodness! He stuck out his tongue! Wasn't that amazing?" "Wow! He's getting teeth!" "He smiled at me and grabbed my hair!" It's amazing to think God rejoices over every little discovery and victory in our lives.

I also am amazed at how much I love my kids. So much love for someone who comes into this world, relatively helpless. As infants, babies don't give us any particularly compelling reason to love them. Yes after my first son was born, I caught myself thinking, “Wow, is this how much my parents love me?” He didn’t do anything to earn or deserve my love, except that he’s my child.

So often we try to earn God’s love by our actions. Or we worry that we’ve lost God’s love when we struggle with sin, doubt, or unbelief. But God simply loves us because we’re His creations, His children. And He loves me (and you!) far more than I could ever love my son. THAT is unfathomable.

We not only to read His Word to learn about Him, but also pray & practice spiritual disciplines. I don’t really have time to go into this topic in depth, but I’ll say a few things.

One of the most important disciplines that can help us get to know God, besides Scripture-reading & prayer is silence & solitude. Ps. 46:10 says “Be still, and know that I am God”. The Hebrew word for "know" there means “to experience.” If we become still, we can create the space we need to really know God. There are so many things in this world that cry out for our attention, and it can become increasingly difficult to quiet them. We need to still the noise and the clamor and the chatter of our lives and just wait.

We know that even Jesus has short & long periods of silence, solitude, prayer & fasting. You can find little pockets of solitude in your day. Early in the morning when you first wake up. Sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Since having a baby, sometimes I just sit quietly and take deep breaths as I watch him play. Besides those little pieces, we need to create bigger spaces where we just sit in silence and allow God to work in our lives. We may not hear anything specifically. Actually, we can frustrate ourselves if we try to heard to hear, but our simple prayer can be that God would work into our hearts the knowledge of who He is and who we are in Him.

We don't have any trouble meditating on things we are passionate about it. If you're a big Harry Potter fan, did you have to remind yourself that a new movie just came out? Did you have to write yourself a reminder to see it, or put it on your to-do list? No, of course not! In fact, the thought of seeing it was likely consuming much of your thoughts in the days leading up.

Are we that passionate about God and knowing Him deeply? Are we like the church in Ephesus, who was serving God with all their hearts, but had lost a passion and a true love for the reason they were serving? Have we forgotten to take the time to rest in God's presence, to not only learn to trust Him, but also to allow Him to know us deeply?

You will get to a point in your Christian walk, if you’re not there already, where your motivation for spending time with God is simply because you need it, because you notice the difference in your life when you don’t make the time to spend with Him, praying and reading His Word. Until you reach that point, it’s OK for your motivation to be obedience. Psalm 119:45 says “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” Knowing God’s Word and His principles brings freedom. “Quiet times” or “devotionals” don’t have to look like sitting in a chair & reading the Bible. It could mean taking a prayer hike and listening to the Bible on your iPod. It could mean blasting worship tunes & dancing in your living room. It could mean going to a nursing home & doing a Bible study with some of the residents. Feel free to be creative. Gary Thomas' book, Sacred Pathways, has some great suggestions.

Next week we will talk about the next step in learning to walk in freedom: spending time with freedom seekers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Did My Sin Cause My Issues? Christian Counseling Snafus

I recently got into a discussion about why I don't recommend a certain local Christian counseling center.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a huge advocate of Christian counseling. You can read about that here, here & here. I explain in those testimonies how the 3 years of Christian counseling I sought (after having gone through close to a decade of secular counseling) were life-changing to me.

But I've also heard some horror stories of how poorly handled Christian counseling can scar people.

A few years ago, I heard from a friend who went to the above-mentioneds local Christian counseling center. She is someone I know fairly well who is relatively well-adjusted, but went through a challenging time and sought out some counseling. The counselor's philosophy seemed to be that all of your issues are related to your own sin.

I can't help but think of the man born blind who was described in the Gospel according to John, chapter 9. The basics of the story were that Jesus was walking along and he ran into a blind man. The disciples wanted to know whose sin caused this man to be blind. The guy's sin? Maybe his parents?

Jesus' reply? "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

Yet after the man is healed, people keep badgering him. How did this happen? Why did it happen? Who did it & where did He go? Finally the former blind man answered, "Listen, this what I know; I was blind, but now I can see!" You really need to read all of John 9 to get the fullness of this amazing story.

Like Jesus said: "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

What an awesome answer that is! And how particularly relevant it is to those dealing with life-controlling issues. We often dig and dig and dig into our lives and the lives of our family-of-origin to figure out why we are dealing with what we are dealing with. What if it's simply so God can be glorified? That's one reason a simple "your sin caused your issues" message is harmful and often wrong theologically.

There's another reason. Our sinful choices often flow out of a deficit or brokenness in our hearts.

An old friend used to say sin is an attempt to meet a legitimate need in an illegitimate way. Though usually not consciously, we sometimes decide to take our needs into our own hands and meet them as we see fit. We think, "God isn't going to meet this need, so I'm going to have to meet it myself." We misunderstand or don't know the fullness of who we are in Christ and who God truly is. Thus, we make broken choices out of our broken understanding.

Yes, sometimes, even as believers, we sin as an act of rebellion, but I actually think that's pretty rare. I was making a conscious decision to rebel against God's best for me when I entered into my last lesbian relationship. But underneath that rebellion was a broken child crying out to her heavenly father, "Are you really enough for me? Can I leave behind everything I've known and built my life upon for the unknown that is a relationship with You?" My girlfriend dumped me, and I decided to painstakingly, one-step-at-a-time, choose to trust God.

That's why I think a simple "your sin caused your issues" message from a Christian counselor (or anyone) is harmful. It's a total oversimplification. Maybe God wants to be glorified (actually, is there even a question there?). Maybe God wants us to choose to heal our brokenness rather than choose to act out of our brokenness (again, not really a "maybe").

Check out some suggestions on how to find healing over at Freedom Fridays.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Freedom Fridays: Spend Time with the Freedom Giver, Part 1

The past couple of weeks, I've talked about what is freedom, and why I love to talk about it :) This week, we're going to start to dive into the practical side of learning to walk in freedom.

Spend time with the Freedom Giver.

Before you check out mentally, let me be very clear in saying this is not a post that will say: "If you spent more time with God, you wouldn't be facing the issues you are." That's hogwash. I know LOTS of people dealing with life-controlling issues, particularly those of a sexual nature, have likely been told ad nauseum to pray and read the Bible more. I'll be the first to say that yes, it's an important piece of the puzzle, but it's not the whole puzzle. In the coming weeks, I will also share that we need to spend time with believers, we need to correctly understand grace, and some other practical tips. But the reason I encourage you to first spend time with the freedom giver is strategic.

I minister primarily to Christians dealing with unwanted same-sex attraction. This is broadening slowly as people approach me outside of the ministry I direct, but this is its primary focus. They come to the ministry because they can't figure out how to deal with a particular problem/temptation.

Well, there are a few things about approaching your issues in this way that are not super helpful. First, we were never promised a life free of temptation. After all, Jesus was tempted, but did not sin. We're pretty much promised temptation! It's how we respond that we have more control over.

Second, when we spend our lives micro-managing a particular struggle, we quickly lose sight of the bigger picture. We are not simply a problem. Our identity is not defined by what we struggle with. Our identity is defined by our Creator. The often-quoted verses in 1 Corinthians 6 list a string of offenders that will not inherit the kingdom of God. And then the punchline: "That is what some of you were". Our identity doesn't lie in how our struggle with sin manifests itself anymore! We are new creations. Our identity now rests in God. And all our problems wouldn't go away if this one problem went away :) We'd just get a new set of problems because we haven't dealt with the core issues of who we are, who God is, and what true freedom looks like.

Bob Hamp has said that freedom is not the absence of something; it's the presence of someone. That someone is God. This is so important. This is why we need to spend time with the Freedom Giver! This is where we find out who we are and who He created us to be.

When we begin to follow Jesus Christ, often we talk about how we have a relationship with Christ. And that’s true. Whereas sin used keep us from truly knowing God and being able to be in relationship with Him, Romans 5:1 says that when we “have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” But let’s think about what it really means to be “in relationship” with God.

I use a lot of marriage analogies because I’m married :) I talk to my husband every day. If a day goes by when I don’t get to sit down, look into eyes and talk with him face to face, I miss it. This time is increasingly difficult to find after having 2 kids :) Even though I am in Roy’s presence quite frequently, it’s not the same if I don’t get to sit down and spend time with him, talking to him face to face. In Psalm 139:7-10, it says there is nowhere we can go and NOT be in God’s presence. But while we’re always in His presence, that doesn’t mean we’re actually spending time with Him. We can’t be in a relationship with someone we don’t know. And how do we learn about the Freedom Giver? One primary way is by spending time in His Word.

Being in a relationship with God is all about surrender. In order to completely surrender, we have to grow to trust Him. But we can’t trust someone we don’t know. And in order for us to truly grow in our knowledge of God, we not only need to read the Word; we need to do what it says. James 1: 22-25 says:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

We need to read the Word and do what it says. We've got to take the time to listen to & learn about God's heart. The things He desires for His children -good things! God loves us more than we could fathom & is concerned about our everyday needs in a way that we could not even imagine. No concern or desire is too small for God.

More on this point next week :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Freedom Fridays: What Is Freedom? Part 2

Last week, I started a series called "Freedom Fridays". Go read Part 1.

A very brief recap:

Why talk about freedom?

Freedom is my anthem - it's my life's theme. And the questions that come with the word "freedom" are questions I continually ponder.

I ended last week's post, sharing that Scripture teaches that freedom is both a one-time gift and a process. The moment we come to Jesus Christ, He gives us freedom through the Holy Spirit, so that we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:17-18). But that freedom is something we need to learn to walk out.

The epistles often use the analogy of the Christian walk being like running a race or training like an athlete, and so I use this analogy: those who will one day become elite athletes have the gifts and natural talents they need to become elite athletes when they are born — but you would never put newborns at the starting line of the Boston marathon and expect to see them at the end. First, they need to learn to walk. Then they can jog. And then run. And the first run they go on will probably not set a world record. They must train to become elite athletes, even though the potential is there.

As believers in and followers of Jesus Christ, it's the same for us. While in that moment when we first come to Christ we have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and we are free in Christ (John 8:36, Galatians 5:1), we still need to learn to walk out that freedom. We need to train ourselves to respond differently than in the past, both in our actions and in our thought lives.

So how do we learn to walk in the fullness of the freedom that is available to all of us?

Next time :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

“Talitha koum!" Expelling the Laughers

How do you respond to the laughers in your life?

From Mark 5:
When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

*******Skipping ahead*********
While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old).

I read these verses when I was in NY at the Exodus Regional Conference. I thought, "How appropriate!" We who are making such counter-cultural choices will often have laughers in our lives; I know I did & still do. Do we respond as Jesus did and put them out? Do we then also surround ourselves by a few close friends who are supportive of our choices to walk in freedom and to choice obedience and holiness? Jesus knew it would be scary. That's why he encouraged Jairus to not be afraid and to rather actively make a choice to trust in Him.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ promises life-changing transformation. Promises. Choose to trust in the God who calls out over you "Talitha koum: do not be afraid, but rather believe."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Freedom Fridays: What is Freedom? Part 1

I'm starting a series I'm going to call "Freedom Fridays". I'm hoping to at least post here every Friday on Freedom Fridays and make that my focus for now.

Why talk about freedom?

Freedom is my anthem - it's my life's theme. And the questions that come with the word "freedom" are questions I continually ponder.

What is freedom? What does the Bible have to say about it? Is it attainable? If so, what does that look like?

I do not have all the answers. What I can say is that most of the time, I feel free! Plus we already know it's not about how we feel; that does not dictate my reality. Do I still have struggles? Yes, but I don’t feel enslaved to anything.

This wasn't always the case. I struggled for years with several life-controlling issues (an eating disorder, sexual brokenness, self-injury, to name a few). I also wrestled with what I thought “freedom” should look like in my life, and these are some of the things I've learned in the process, as well as things learned while ministering to others.

Galatians 5:1 says "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Jesus said He came to "proclaim freedom for the prisoners" (Luke 4:18). Let's start by understanding our terms: What is Freedom? In the New Testament, there are several words that are translated as “freedom”, “liberty” or “release”. And they basically mean the “liberty to do or to omit things having no relationship to salvation”, “living as we should, not as we please” or also “release from bondage or imprisonment”.

I would go a step further to say true freedom is living in the fullness of all God created you to be. It's learning to walk in His design, what He wanted you to be when He created you. This is the freedom that Jesus died for.

Why is this topic so important? Because I believe it’s one of the most misunderstood topics in the faith.

Most Christians seem to reside in one of 2 extremes. Some settle for a lot less than God has to offer. If asked, they would say they, of course, believe that God is the able to do the impossible (to deny this would be to say Jesus was lying), but they don’t really believe God wants to do anything extraordinary in their lives or in their struggles. They just hold on till heaven. Then there’s the other extreme where believers can have an unrealistic idea of what freedom looks like, and how long it should take. They expect some sort of “zap” experience wherein temptations & struggles disappear in a moment. They quickly forget that even Jesus, who was without sin, was tempted! The Bible says we are a new creation, so shouldn’t we just snap our fingers and all our troubles should vanish? Well, that’s not Biblical either.

Let me explain a little more what I see as the middle ground of these 2 beliefs. If this freedom for which Christ died was a simple process & easy to grasp, then the direction offered to believers in Romans-Jude would be unnecessary and you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog. I believe Scripture teaches that freedom is both a one-time gift and a process. The moment we come to Jesus Christ, He gives us freedom through the Holy Spirit, so that we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:17-18). But that freedom is something we need to learn to walk out.

So how do we learn to walk in true freedom? More on that next week :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

How To Keep Dreams Alive

How do we keep out dreams alive?

Through the mundane of life, how do we keep dreaming about the plans that God has laid and is laying on our hearts? How do we not get bogged down by the bills to pay, diapers to change, mouths to feed? How do we get our eyes off the obstacles in the way and rather lift our eyes a little higher, keeping the prize in view?

When I had already written all the above, I came across this blog entry. He gives some practical advice on how to get out of the rut you may have fallen into and get back into focus.

Some of it is not super practical for a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom like me. Finding a big chunk of time to spend alone and focus on God, the giver and sustainer of my dreams? Near impossible!! I'm thankful for the 10 minutes I sneak by myself in the morning to read God's Word. But on a very rare occasion, my kids do sleep at the same time, and I really need to take hold of those moments and focus on Him.

I can also do small focus moments throughout the day. I enjoy having a Bible reading application on my iPhone, as well as a couple of devotional apps. I also listen to podcasts of some Christian speakers I enjoy and am inspired by as I go about my day. Sometimes, while my children are playing, I may even have the opportunity to read a few pages of a book! And just interacting with my children reminds me of who God is as my perfect heavenly father, and how His singing and rejoicing over me to exponentially bigger and greater than what I feel for my own children. The bottom line is that It's easy for my focus to get sidetracked, so I can use these small things to bring it back to Him.

It certainly can be (and is at times) easy to get discouraged when I don't feel as if I have the time & space to see my dreams come to fruition. As a mom, I need to remember that my primary mission is here at home! God has given me & my husband two (so far!) beautiful children to care for. God forbid I ever look on them as an obstacle to what God has for me in my life. On the contrary, when God knit together His plans & dreams for me, He already orchestrated all the great things my husband, my kids and I would do together!

Rather I keep my focus on the giver and perfecter of my faith, the One who is able to make His plans come to pass in His perfect timing. I'm just along for the ride :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Importance of Practicality

Today, I heard a great teaching on the importance of transparency and authenticity in our relationships, as we desire to live in freedom from life-controlling issues and grow to be the people God created us to be. I walked away from that time, wholeheartedly nodding my head and saying "Amen!" I also walked away, feeling as if there needs to be more practical instruction on how to develop these authentic and transparent relationships.

It made me think of this great quote:

“Preaching a sermon that is strong on information but weak on application is like shouting to a drowning man, ‘SWIM, SWIM!’ The message is true, but it’s not helpful." From Jay Kesler via Kathy Koch

This quote is a bit harsh to blanket-ly apply to the teaching I heard because there was some application and some examples, but I'm a 3-point sermon kind of girl, and I like to walk away with a handful of things I can do today! So I followed up, asking for some helpful hints :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Is Having One Best Friend Biblical?

This is not a new topic, nor is it one I thought up. I actually first heard it at an Exodus conference, and then read more about it in the book Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend. I've since wrote about it at Boundless.

I'll quote myself is saying that Jesus had 12 good friends, His Apostles, but He also had three intimate friends whom He took with Him certain places, such as the transfiguration, and the raising to life of the dead girl in Mark 5. At the Garden of Gethsemane, He had the nine other disciples sit at a distance while Peter, John and James went further into the garden with Him.

I never made the connection that when Jesus called the first disciples, Peter (also called Simon), James & John, they already had some sort of established relationship. I read today in Luke 5 that James & John were Peter's fishing partners. Jesus built a relationship with the 3 of them together.

Just a tidbit I found interesting :) I'll actually be writing about Mark 5 in a future blog post about how to find the right kind of support.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm Twittering

OK, yes, I know it's called "tweeting", but "twittering" sounds like more fun.

I'll be sharing faith thoughts throughout the day, as well as any public events, etc.

My Twitter name is "livingunveiled". Livingwithunveiledfaces was too long!

There's also a feed on my blog home page.

If you are tiwttering yourself, add me and/or tell me your name and I'll follow you as well :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Memories of Bullying

I wrote a post today over at the Exodus blog about being bullied.
The recent suicides that are related to bullying have brought back some not-so-pleasant memories for me. I’m sure I’m not alone. Coming out of the closet (or rather, being pushed out kicking and screaming) as a high school student....

Go read it :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

God is Trustworthy

God does what He does because of who He is.

We can't separate the two.

Often, we are willing to praise God and to thank Him when we see how He's working and when we know that He's answering our prayers. But during the times when it seems as if He's not hearing us, the times when we can't figure out what on earth He's thinking, we tend to turn our backs on Him. We praise Him according to what we see rather than what He sees. God's character hasn't changed. We have changed. He is still the same God, whether we know how He is working or not.

What we think we want isn't always what He supplies, but He will supply.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Perspective: Happy Horizons Children's Ranch

Today, the founders of Happy Horizons Children's Ranch visited my church. They had visited our church several years back, and their mission has been heavy on my heart. It was great to see them today and hear an update.

Their main work is the rehabilitation and defense of street children in the Philippines. Happy Horizons monitors and cares for hundreds of street children, many of whom have been abandoned or orphaned by civil war, abused or rejected by dysfunctional and poverty-stricken families, and further traumatized by the indifference of the societies in which they live. They also rescue children from the sexual slavery. You can read more about their mission here.

Did you know it is estimated that:
~ 27 million people are currently enslaved
~ 80% of those are women & children
~ 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year

Glenn Garrison, one of the HHCR founders, shared a story about how children at the Ranch need to be told that they will be having meals 3 times a day; otherwise, they don't finish their meals but rather stuff food in their pockets to save for later. They are used to eating every few days. This, in particular, struck me. My parents never gave me the "there are starving children in Africa" line in order to get me to finish my meal, and we do not participate in the "Clean Plate Club" at our house. But having overcome an eating disorder, I still sometimes struggle with knowing when I've eaten enough and definitely have eaten when I was not hungry because I felt like eating or the food tasted good. There are children everywhere who do not know where their next meal will come from. This striking story reminded me of the importance of giving my body what it needs and stopping there.

Glenn shared that these children are often completely defenseless. A man comes along and buys a girl a meal and a nice dress and she feels indebted to him. Many of these children don't have a name and don't even know their birthdays or how old they are.

I can't help but think of my own children. Jesus said "whoever welcomes a little child in my name welcomes me." The Garrisons are doing exactly that. It's an important work. Check out their website and support them if you are able.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Practicing Acceptance in Personal Growth

I had a great conversation with a friend via Facebook chat the other day, and thought I'd cut and paste the highlights for you all :)

The question was raised: how do I know the difference between giving myself grace and indulging my struggles? How can I tell what I should be praying for? What does God want me to work on?

I shared that one of the keys is to practice self-acceptance.

Practicing acceptance is about accepting where and who you are today and at the same time, trusting that God cares about your personal growth. I believe we are called to practice acceptance not only of our circumstances, but of our limitations and strengths. Practicing acceptance is about trusting in the Creator and whom He made you to be, and trusting that He is also the Potter and is in the process of molding us.

I always love to share this: If you are a believer in and a follower of Jesus, You & God are friends. I said to my friend, just like in our friendship, if he offends me, or even if I see that there's an area in him where he could use some growth, I would tell him.
So will God! And He's even more emotionally healthy than I am ;) So if we're in communion with Him, we don't need to go on a fishing expedition to figure out what needs to be changed. He will reveal it to us.

He is also our Father, and a good, healthy Father disciplines His kids with gentleness, not punishment. The goal of discipline is growth, not shame, and definitely not condemnation. God will gently reveal to us, with His still small voice, the areas that could use some work. As I shared above, we don't want to go fishing in areas that God isn't calling us to fish in. Instead of making a to-do list of "Areas I need to be aware of" (though it's not bad to be aware of them), we are to allow God to show us those issues when He wants to.

Our prayer should then be, "God, I trust You, as my Father and as my friend, to continue to work in me. I trust that You will reveal to me, whether in prayer or as I go about my daily life, what I need to be aware of and what needs work. I open my heart to Your discipline and Your still small voice."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Regional Conference Update

What an amazing conference we had this past weekend! Union Center Christian Church could not have been more warm and welcoming. They had an amazing crew of volunteers (140+), a truly talented music team for me to work with (you guys rock!), and a great turn-out (as of Friday night, including walk-ins, 215+ were registered for the conference). And Joe Dallas was encouraging and challenging as usual. My testimony was well-received, and I got a ton of great feedback about the songs I shared.

One of my favorite things about Exodus conferences is reconnecting with old friends! You know who you are :)

For those of you who are looking for the lyrics to the songs I wrote, here they are, including one recording (I hope to have the other 2 up soon - will let you know when they are posted). If it's easier to just download the chord sheets as a document, I have some of my worship songs posted here. They are free for your use, but please do give me credit, as they are protected by copyright.

And here is an iPhone picture from the rear lobby, where my husband Roy was sitting with the baby, and the words of my song on the big screen. Fun to see :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Exodus North Atlantic Regional Conference This Weekend!

If you follow my posts on the Exodus International Blog, you know that the Exodus North Atlantic Regional Conference is this weekend! In fact, my family & I will leave tomorrow to attend an evening music rehearsal. Pray for us! My kids don't always love the car :) I'll be leading the music, as well as sharing a re-worked version of my testimony, entitled "What's in a name?" I'm quite excited. I'll definitely share the testimony either here or over at the Exodus International Blog - I'll let you know :)

Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 13, 2010


I got the best compliment yesterday. I bumped into an old friend at a ministry event. We got to chatting, and he said I seem "at peace with life." He definitely got me thinking.

Peace, like so much else, is really a choice. I have a choice in how I allow myself to respond to the chaos and challenges I face every day. The Bible has quite a few references to eagles, and in particular God raising us up on eagles' wings. I recently learned that during storms, an eagle can be found soaring above the clouds, totally unaffected and almost unaware of the storm raging below them.

That's what I want to experience. When the storms come, I want to know that I know that God is in control. Just as Jesus rebuked the waves and the wind in Matthew 8, I can choose to trust that God is Lord over the storms in my life. He may not have caused them, but He has power and dominion over them.

So yes, I do feel very content, peaceful, joyful - even happy lots of the time. It's been a long road to get to this place! I can only pray that 10 years down the road, I have even more moments of peace in my life.

Friday, February 26, 2010

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week - My Story

It's National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Read my story of overcoming an eating disorder.

It began oh so slowly and I tried to ignore
That I was so caught up in it
But I realized so quickly like never before
That I couldn't escape from it