Wacky Weather

This winter in Middle Tennessee had been a very odd one.  In a week, there might be two cold days, three warm ones and to moderate ones.  This week alone, we’ve had snow & freezing rain on Sunday, cloudy but warmer on Monday; intense thunderstorms and high winds with hail on Tuesday; Wednesday & Thursday has had warmer weather but then a cold front moved in overnight and Friday was filled with blustery, cold wind. We’re expecting cooler weather for the weekend too.

You just never know what to expect.

Well, just like the weather, day-to-day life can in an instant.  One day its smooth sailing. The next day you’re fighting your way through the high winds of a storm.  I know because my life is like that.  And I used to worry over every miniscule detail of those tumultuous times.  However, I’m learning that no matter what the “weather” is like in my life, Jesus is always with me.  When its good, He’s beside me, rejoicing with me.  When its stormy, He’s holding my hand, calming the storm and allowing His Light to shine so I can start to see where the storm ends.  I’m still learning to rejoice and praise Him during the storms (I still worry some), but it’s becoming easier and easier with every trial I go through.  I emphasize the word “through” because I’m NOT staying in the storm!  Just like when there’s a rainstorm outside, I’m going to run to shelter.  I just so happens that Jesus is my shelter in the storms of life.

He is your shelter (and comfort) too!

Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

Jeremiah 29:11 New King James Version (NKJV) 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 8:28-31 (NKJV) 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

God cares for you.  That’s why He sent Jesus to save you and me. Trust Him and He won’t let you drown in the storm.

NSV?? oh….non-scale victory. now I got it.

I was reading some posts the other day on a lap-band forum and someone mentioned NSV’s.  I’m a newbie so I asked what it meant. Then the big “duh” landed on my forehead when I read that its a “non-scale victory”.

Whew…I’m glad it wasn’t some horrific side-effect of this lap-band thing.

So, now that NSV is a part of my vocabulary…I want to count some.

Last week I wore a pair of slacks that were a size smaller than my usual size.

I went shopping in my closet and found a blouse that I haven’t worn in two years because it had been too small. I love this blouse. My cousin Katie gave it to me and she had found the perfect shade of blue.

My rings are nowswirlingaround my fingers.

I’ve started cleaning out my closet of things I know I will never wear again.

And just five minutes ago…okay…maybe ten…I was able to take a pair of jeans (that were too tight just a month ago) and pull them down, over my hips, without unbuttoning or unzipping them. (Was that TMI?)

But even with all these NSV’s, I still am proud to say that, as of this morning, I’m down a total of 23 pounds in just 5 1/2 weeks!

I am so thankful that the Lord made a way for me to have this procedure done and that its working!

Trust me, this is no easy-way-out or a get-thin-quick scheme. However, it does force me to eat better things and forces me to eat smaller portions.  I still have to make the choices though. I still have to make myself stop eating at the right time.  I have to choose to take smaller bites and put my fork down between them.  I still have to get myself outta bed at 4AM to go to the gym. The lap-band surely does not do that for me!

So…no matter what…I will celebrate the victories, whether they are “scale” or not. 🙂

And when the trials and mistakes come along, I’ll learn from those and do better next time.  Isn’t that one of the things that life is about anyway?

LAP-band-1st fill yesterday, liquids today

Good afternoon Peeps!

As you know, yesterday was the first fill on my band. Therefore, I am on liquids all day today, returning to “mushies” tomorrow.

Let me preface what I’m about to write with…”I’m not complaining…just stating fact.”  🙂

My “meals” today have consisted of a protein shake made with unsweetened almond milk; a bottle of water; alargecup of beef broth; a half-bottle of water mixed with sugar-free Hawaiian punch mix; and 2 cups of sugar-free jello.

I’m hungry.

Again…not complaining. Just stating facts.

However, as I walked down the hallway just now, someone was heating left-over Chinese food in the microwave.  Oh my word! Who knew left-over Chinese food could smell so good?  PF Chang’s lettuce wraps….wait for me my friends!!  Hopefully I’ll be there soon!

I told one of friends here at work how beautiful her salad was.  What?    I’m an obsessed crazy, hungry lady today.  Is it weird to dream of 16 hours from now when I can have (maybe) a 1/2 cup of scrambled egg?

I think I’ll go get my protein shake out of the fridge, throw the mini-blender to it and pretend I’m making tomato bisque or something like that. Yeah…chocolate protein can taste like tomato bisque, right?

LAP-band Faux Pas—REMEDIED!

Ah!  My 3-week, post-op check-up is in the books!  I was so worried about how it would turn out. I mean…I messed up two weeks ago with that whole “do-an-adjustment-and-didn’t-really-need-one” thing. I have struggled for two weeks to eat only 1 cup of food at each meal, make sure I get all my protein (at least 60g a day) in and no more that 25g of carbs (yeah…didn’t do so well with that one). I’ve been hungry 2 hours after I eat…on the dot. No lie.  If I finished eating at 1:15p.m., by 3:15p.m, my stomach was screaming at me!

So…do you want to know what happened today?  You do? Good…because I was going to tell you anyway. LOL.   First, the nurse weighed me.  Down 2 pounds. Yay! I worried about gaining because I had been “eating too much”.  That puts me at an even 20 pounds (by the doctor’s scales) in just 5 weeks. Yep, on average, 4 pounds a week.

Then the doctor comes in. Of course, I have to relay and remind him of what has happened since January 25th, but that’s okay. My surgeon is a popular doctor and he can’t possibly remember all the details of all his patients.

For those of you who don’t know, the LAP-band reminds me of the zip ties I used to used to hang banners at radio events. It is attached around the top portion of the stomach to make a smaller pouch, thereby making one feel more full for a longer period of time, on a smaller amount of food. The restriction is controlled by adding or removing saline from the ring around the stomach or “the band”.  There’s a port placed just underneath my skin for the saline to be injected (to tighten) or removed (to loosen).

So, Doc numbs the area around the port and then grabs his syringe with the saline it. He starts with adding back 1 cc (which is what was removed at the time of my faux pas). I drank some water and it went down fine.  He added another .5 cc. Again, no problem with the water.  Might I remind you that the slightest bit of too much restriction will definitely be obvious very quickly?  Doc tried 2 cc of saline. I took a sip of water. Keep in mind that I am in no way ill at this juncture of my life. However, after about 10 seconds of sipping that water…oh! Doc must’ve seen the look on my face because he asked, “Is it coming back up?” I replied, “It might!”. He took the saline down by .5 cc. Within less than a minute, that “toss-my-cookies- feeling” left and I was fine.

Its a stranged sensation to know that you are well, have been sipping water fine and then all of a sudden…BAM!  It might not stay there.  It was also a weird sensation to feel the band tightening around the “stoma” as the saline was being added.

I’m just glad its over and I can move on. I’m on liquids today and tomorrow. So that will be fun. not.  On Friday, I’m going to try “mushies”.  I’ve been at my job for over 5 years and our Service Awards are Friday. I wonder what they are serving for lunch?  I wonder if I’ll be able to have any of it?  Maybe someone on the committee will share the menu with me so I can plan for a possible alternative. 🙂

Did I tell you?  I joined a weight loss challenge tonight at Snap Fitness!  I’m very excited about this. There are cash prizes! woo-hoo!

Ooops! Just drank my broth too fast…I now have the hiccups. Somebody scare me….quick!

LAP-band–2 weeks and 6 days post-op

Well Peeps….tomorrow is the day!  Its my 3-week post-op check-up. I cannot wait for 2:30p to get here tomorrow! Why?  Have you read my “LAP-band Faux Pas” post?  LOL!

I can get re-adjusted tomorrow…also known as a “fill”.  Even though I’ve only been eating a cup of food at a meal (WAAAAY less than I used to eat), I am already in the mindset that that is too much food!  I never thought I’d ever say that. ahh…ch-ch-ch-changes. 🙂

I have no idea if I’ve lost any weight these past two weeks.  Every scale I’ve stepped on has given me a different number. Therefore, I shall only “officially” go by the doctor’s digital scales. I’m praying I’ve lost, but either way I will report the results tomorrow…good or bad.  I mean, you guys are with me either way, right? RIGHT?!?  😉

Sorry…just a little anxious, excited, concerned, all of the above for this appointment tomorrow.  I will say, though, that even though I really can’t see much of a difference in the mirror, I get comments every day from my friends that they can already see a difference. Well…I’ll take it then!  I need every ounce of confidence boost I can get!

So, thanks again for letting me rant a little about this journey I’m taking. Thanks for making the journey with me.  I’ll let you know tomorrow how the check-up turns out.

Muah!

My first LAP-band faux pas

I took this six days after the surgery. I'll try to keep the progress photos updated.

Well peeps…its 2 weeks and 2 days since my LAP-band procedure.

I wish I could give you an update on my weight loss..but, to be honest, I cannot.  I messed up.

You see, my brain caused me to make a mistake which has hindered me these first two weeks. I suppose I should back up for a minute (or two or three).  The procedure was on January 25th.  I was on liquids for two days, “mushies” for two days, and then I could start incorporating whole foods as tolerated.

My guidelines are:  1/2 cup -1 cup of food, small bites, chew slowly, chew at least 27 times, nothing to drink at least 20 minutes prior to a meal, nothing to drink for at least an hour after a meal.

So, during “mushies” time, I was only eating about 1-2 ounces of food. I thought, “Man, this LAP-band thing is great!”  I felt full and satisfied, wasn’t hungry and could go at least four hours without eating anything. (oh yeah…that’s another guideline…I should be able to go that long in between meals. Remember that people.)  As I started incorporating regular-texture food though, I could tell a difference.  I was more uncomfortable and was having various abdominal pains. The pains were normal. As my nurse stated, “Its like you’ve been stabbed a few times. Those muscles have to have time to heal.”  duh me.  That’s what I get for not thinking.  Anyway, we decided I should go in for an adjustment to loosen the band a bit.  I don’t know how much my doctor removed, but I could immediately breathe easier.  And (so I thought) I was on the right track.

That was on Wednesday, exactly one week after my surgery.  On Thursday night, I was measuring out some grilled chicken. Now, keep in mind my guidelines: 1/2 cup to 1 cup of food. In my head, I was thinking, “A cup is 8 ounces. Half a cup is 4 ounces. I can have up to 4 ounces of chicken.”  So, as I weighed out my chicken on my kitchen scale (you can see where this is going, right?), the pile of chicken got larger & larger and finally hit 4 ounces. I’m thinking “geez, that’s a lot of chicken. there’s no way I can eat all of that!”  Then the light bulb cam on. “Chrissy, you dummy!  You were measuring your food wrong!”  So I put some of the chicken in my 1/2-cup size measuring cup.

People, can I tell you (in case you have already figured it out)…a 1/2 cup of chicken by volume is a LOT less chicken than 4 ounces by weight?!?!

That realization of my stupidity almost caused me to have a panic attack and pass out in the floor!  Ugh!  I hadn’t needed the adjustment after all!    Well, I decided I was just going to muddle through the weekend because my doctor isn’t in on Fridays.  And besides, I would just call on Monday, tell them what happened and go in to get “refilled”. Right?

WRONG.

They told me I had to wait for my 3-week check-up…on the 15th!  What?  A week and a half of eating more than I expected at this stage of the journey?  What am I going to do?

Well, I prayed. I prayed for calm and clarity. I prayed for strength to get through this self-induced bump in the road. And…I have made a plan.  I have my 1/2 cup and 1-cup measuring cups always ready.  My meats are grilled or baked OR they are easily-measured deli meats.  When I get hungry two (yes I said two) hours after I eat, I drink a protein shake or a lot of water to get me through until food time. Beef broth or the aforementioned deli meats help too. However, I try not to food-snack between meals. Why?  Because I have to wait an hour before I can drink anything and that makes it so much harder to get in all my water for the day.

I started this journed on my parents’ 44th anniversary, January 11th.  Two weeks later I had my surgery, on January 25th.  A week later, at my adjustment appointment, I had already lost 18 pounds! That’s 6 pounds per week! Wow!

I don’t know if my little faux pas is going to mess me up or not on “pounds lost”. However, I remind myself of something I learned from Weight WatchersWe don’t always measure success by the scale.

So help me celebrate because, in addition to the at least 18 pounds lost, this week I’ve:

-started going back to the gym

-lost an inch in my waist

-wore a pair of slacks yesterday that were a size smaller than my usual size

zipped up a leather jacket that I could not zip up a month ago.

Its the little things, People!  🙂

Mostly though, I’m turning this journey over to God. I believe He made this tool available to me and led me to a wonderful doctor with a caring team of people.  I believe He made it possible for my insurance to be approved and cover most of the cost.    I know I am blessed beyond measure and more than I deserve to be.

So…as I kick my faith back into gear and take the next step on the road to the true me, won’t you join me?  I am using some tracking tools on LAPband.com. One of those tools is motivation from, and sharing with, my support group.  If you would like to be part of my support group, please e-mail me at c.chrissy1@hotmail.com. I’ll add you to my support group and you’ll receive periodic e-mails from LAP-band & me. You may also be asked to send notes, encouragement, etc.  I thank you all so much for your encouragement, support and for following my story. God bless you all.

LAP-band Journey

Well…here I am…on day 8 of my LAP-band journey. Last Wednesday, I started my pre-op diet: two high protein shakes, one meal with a meat protein and a 1/2 cup of vegetables, and all the water, broth and sugar-free jello I want!  I also had my pre-op bloodwork done…2 1/2 hours. I can’t blame the hospital though. I have small veins and they move. I also, was probably not properly hydrated. Have you have had blood drawn from your neck??  (Vampires need not answer.)  Its an experience. 🙂

Today, on the 8th day, I started my liquids only diet: 4 high protein shakes per day, and all the water, broth, sugar-free jello, etc that I want. That is, until Tuesday. Tuesday is the day I go to clear liquids only.

But…one week from today, the procedure will be done and I’ll be on the road to assisted weight-loss.

I’m sure a lot of people would wonder why I would have a foreign body inserted into my abdomen to lose weight. For the same reason people have their stomach by-passed or partially removed. I’ve tried all the traditional routes and my weight still yo-yos.   Even with a better diet and excercise, I have difficulty losing weight. So, I realized that I need help. I’m not the type of person that can go full-force all by myself. I know lots of people who have had amazing success with the LAP-band and some of the other procedures. My mom, for instance, had gastric bypass a couple of years ago. She looks amazing!  She is probably the smallest I’ve ever seen her!

I have a doctor with a great track record for successful surgeries and results from the surgeries.

And…most of all, I believe God allows advances like this procedure as a tool for people to help themselves.

I pray for your support as you read this. Its a big decision and one I did not make lightly or casually.

I plan to blog about this journey regularly. You may not be interested…but then again you might.  You might be one of the people considering this procedure…and if so, this blog may help you in your decision. I don’t know.  However, God gave me the ability to write, so I will write. and pray. and have faith.

God bless you!

www.baptistweightloss.com

 

You are on my heart today!

That’s right…YOU!   God has placed you on my heart today…in such a way that, the first time I tried to write this today, I had stopped getting ready to work just to write this to you.  But, as they say, the devil is in the details and my laptop crashed. That’s okay though. I have other resources. 🙂  So here I am…telling you that you are loved!

For God so loved the world that He gave is only begotten SON, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17.

He sent His SON! Because He loves you.

Think about it this way. How many of us would give our child to save someone else?  To save the whole world?  How many of us would give even just a part of ourselves for the salvation of another?    Well God did both!  He gave a part of Himself and His Son…just so that we would not have to die in our sin and be eternally apart from Him.

Think about how you feel when your child goes through some type of pain or disappointment.  Its agonizing because a lot of times we can’t do anything about it. Now think about the agonizing pain that Jesus and God must have felt in the moments that Jesus was separated from His Father as He took on the sin of the world!  Its exponentially unimaginable.  But the Love is so great for you and me that, that sacrifice was made…willingly and lovingly. Jesus even cried, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)  His thoughts were completely on saving us from eternal separation from God.   Wow! Now that’s love!

My heart hurts and cries for you this morning if you do not know the love of Christ. You may think I’m crazy. Yes, I am. I’m crazy for Christ.  You may wonder how I can believe in someone I can’t see. I would answer that I have seen Him and I pray that you will too.  You might ask how I can have faith in God with all that’s going on in the world. I say, its because I have faith in God that I can deal with all that’s going on in the world. I know that this world is not my Home. My life here is just a blip on the radar screen of eternity. But my purpose here is eternal. My purpose is to tell you that there is a God who loves you; who will provide for you; who can heal your pain; who can reconcile your family; who can save your loved ones from addictions; who can help you manage your life. He’s a God who will meet you right where you are….just call out His Name.

You don’t have to try to be perfect. You don’t have to try to be good all the time. None of us are. He just wants you to trust Him.

I love my Lord. I don’t know where my life would be without him. I pray that the Holy Spirit is quickening your spirit as you read this.  I probably don’t have all the answers to all your questions, but I have The Answer.  His name is Jesus Christ.

If you want to know how to know Him, just ask me. Or…you can ask Him. He will tell you.

I love you with the Love of Christ…whether I know you in person or not. But He knows you like no one else…and His love is right there beside you.

Reach out and take hold, won’t you?

God does not fail….but People do.

You know…ironing or taking a long shower are great ways to just empty your mind of worries and stressors. When I do either of those daily rituals, inevitably, my mind wanders to all sorts of things.  On many occasions, God has used these times to speak to me regarding my own life; prompted me to intercessory prayer for someone; or just revealed a basic truth about Himself or His people.

This morning it was the latter.

I was pondering a post I made on facebook about Jesus’ love.  His love is everlasting & meets you right where you are.  I really thought I’d get some comments and maybe even some questions. I prayed for someone to read it and want to receive Christ.  I was bothered by the fact that the post only garnered a couple of “likes”, and by people who’ve already accepted Christ.

Of course, as I meditated on this earlier today, God reminded me that, no matter what, a seed was planted in someone, somewhere.  He also reminded me that people hurt. They either administer the hurt or they receive the hurt.  So what does that have to do with today’s title?  Or even what I’ve written about so far?

Well, the Lord reminded me that one of the reasons people don’t accept Him or believe in Him, is that they’ve been hurt. A lot of them have been hurt by Christian people.  They start to think that if Christian people can hurt each other, what’s so great about this God they supposedly serve?

Well, I can understand that thought process.  I’m a Christian and I’ve been hurt by Church people. In all honesty, I’ve probably…no…I know…I’ve hurt others with my self absorbed thoughts and actions. I’m not excusing these actions, but I will say that PEOPLE fail. GOD does not.

To any of you who have ever been hurt by anything I’ve said or done, I just want to say I’M SORRY! I don’t mean to cause pain, distress or sadness. However, I’m human and I make mistakes. Sometimes (okay…a lot of times), my carnal earthly side of life takes over & I say or do things I shouldn’t.  I get convicted of that sin and I go to The Father and repent. I FAIL. Bottom Line. 

But just because I’ve failed (or anyone else for that matter), please don’t blame God. He does NOT fail. He is always a refuge and a respite.  He can be your courage and strength when you have none.  He IS love and He loves you!  He wants you to choose Him–but He won’t force you to.  He is always right on time–even when we don’t think He is. HE does not fail.

But we do. When a person becomes a Christian, there is no magic transformation that makes that person perfect in thought and deed.  That person is forgiven and has accepted a promise from Jesus. As long as we live on this earth though, we have that carnal man inside us  that we must battle…and sometimes we mess up and the carnal side has won. I believe it was Paul who said we must die daily to ourselves….killing that carnal man and allowing Christ to rule in our lives.  However, we don’t always do that.  So…on behalf of church people who (in their carnality) may have hurt you, I ask for your forgiveness.  I also pray that we will also do a better job of representing our Lord. In fact, we shouldn’t just be “representing” Him. We should be setting our carnal life aside and allowing Him to an expression through us.

I pray that if you haven’t given God a chance, that you will. If you tried before and some “church” person ruined it for you, try to look past him or here and into the Lord…because people fail…but GOD does not.

Don’t Worry…Be Happy

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e] 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Don’t worry…be happy!  Ha!  That song is going to be stuck in your head now–rolling around and around all day–isn’t it? 🙂  I hope that makes you smile. I love to make people smile.

However, I have to admit that I’m not always smiling.  Which, as a Believer, is hard for me to admit since our Joy should come from the Lord; always springing up from within us.  I know though that I worry too much, and allow that worry to squelch that Joy inside me. 

But…worry is not what Christ wants from us. In fact, it is not what He commanded of us.  Take a look at our reference scripture above, from the book of Matthew.  Those words, in the Bible, are written in red. “So what?” you say.  Well, words written in red were spoken by Christ.  Our Saviour told us (not asked or suggested) not to worry in verse 34.

Yet, we worry anyway.  Have you ever thought about this as being disobedient to our Lord?  I hadn’t until recently.  When I think about how I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit in my disobedience–simply by worrying (of all things)–well it breaks my heart and I have to stop and apologize to my Lord.

I must also admit that I struggle with truly repenting of worry.  See, repentance is not just admitting your sin & asking forgiveness for it.  It is actually recognizing that sin and consciously turning way from it, never to return again.  My struggle comes in the “never to return again” portion.  The least little fall in my budget or possibly the wrong word spoken…those little things can send me into a worrying tailspin.  But…I’ve noticed that as long as my prayer life is strong, and my Bible study is dedicated–basically when I’m in communion with Christ–I don’t worry very much.  It becomes much easier for me to take one day at a time and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.

But…when I step (even a 1/2 step)  outside of that communion; outside of His Will, I’m in a state of worry and fear.  Whether it’s over bills, lack of money, my job, relationships, health, whatever…I can start to freak out over some of the smallest things in my life.

So, what can we learn from all that I’ve been rambling about here?

Well–first, worry is a form of fear–a fear that something’s going to go wrong or not the way we think it should, etc.   And what have we previously determined that fear is?  Fear is a lack of faith. Now, I’ve written about that being a lack of faith in skills, experience, abilities, other people. But…in the instance of worry (at least for myself anyway), I see it as a lack of faith in our Lord. 

He is:  Jehovah Jireh–the Lord of Provision;  Jehovah Rapha–the Lord of Healing; Jehovah Shalom–the Lord of Peace; Jehovah Sabaoth–the Lord of Deliverance; Jehovah Shamma–The Omnipresent Lord; Jehovah Nissi–the Lord of Victory….and many, many more.

Jehovah is the highest, most Holy name with which the Jewish people refer(red) to God. I’ve read that, they revere it so much that the names of Jehovah God are not spelled out completely because of their complete Holiness and Power.   This means He is absolute.  LORD, RULER, and CREATOR of all.  So…being LORD of All, shouldn’t we trust that as children of God, He will provide great things for us?  (Matthew 7: 9-11– 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!)

Secondly, as absolute Creator, He created us not with a spirit of fear  but with power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).  So if we are created (born) without fear–why do we worry so?  I think fear is a learned behavior (and that will be discussed further on another day); but things come into our lives that shatter the trust with which we are born.  Whether it’s an event that someone else forced on us or whether it’s a bad choice we’ve made on our own, those negative things can tear down the confidence (trust, faith) we have in ourselves or in others.  When that is gone, fear (or worry) starts to make our consciousness its home.

However, if we read more of Matthew, Chapter 6, we see that our Father has adorned the lilies in the field in their finery; and the birds of the air He says do not toil for their food.  He loves us even more and the Word says, “will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”   We have to trust that He will…and He says He will…”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ”

I admit that there are days when the world caves in on me so hard that I have trouble trusting that Provision. But I am His child and He has never  failed to provide what I or my family needed.  We might not have what we want but we have food, shelter, clothing, transportation, water, electricity and work.  It is in the moments when I realize that, despite my doubting, my Lord has delivered me anyway…well, that’s when my faith grows a little stronger and the worrying becomes a little weaker.

I am making a conscious effort to trust Him more everyday to take my worry away.  I hope you will take this walk with me.

Heavenly Father, help us to trust you more…to focus on You and Your Wil rather than worry over the little things in this life.  After all, You already have all those things under control anyway.  We may not understand the hows and the whys of your Control and Provision–but helps us to trust it anyway in order to live life to the fullest, inside Your Will. 

In the Holy Name of Jesus I pray…Amen.

Fear isn’t always about being afraid…

Okay…the following doesn’t really go with my blog message today…not directly at least…but I feel led to post some lyrics from a song by Christian Artist, Carmen:

Fear not my child; I am with you always. I know every pain and every tear you’ve cried.

Fear not my child; I am with you always. I know how to care for what belongs to me.

I believe someone needed to hear that this morning.

Now…fear isn’t always being afraid…

As I was driving home last night, thinking over what I had written about fear, God reminded me that fear isn’t always about being afraid.  It isn’t always a lack of faith. Sometimes fear is the fullness of faith.

Wait a minute ChrissyLu…you’re contradicting yourself. 

I suppose it seems that way on the surface, but let’s dig a little deeper.

Another way to describe fear is “to revere in awe, respect, give honor.” With that being the case, we can fear something (revere, respect, honor it) without being afraid of it.

For example, I fear God–but I am not afraid of him.  In other words, I stand and look at Him in awe, revere His Holiness, honor His ultimate power; but I am not afraid of Him. I am not afraid to go to Him in prayer, or in the midst of my helplessness, or in the middle of my sin. In His awesomeness, He still meets me wherever I am, and lovingly wraps His arms around me, just as any good father would do and He deserves reverent fear from us.

In fact, let’s look at Fathers (and Mothers).  We learn to have a certain amount of respect for our parents just because they are our parents. When they are good at being parents, we inately know that, and our respect and honor grows.  We start to “fear” or revere them when we realize they know more than we do; they love us enough to sacrifice for and protect us.  That kind of love deserves a reverent fear for our parents.  Do you see how this can be the same kind of relationship we can have with our Heavenly Father?

On the flip side of that, I realize that  there are parents out there that create fear–actually being afraid–in their children.  That kind of fear can do all kinds of damage in a child…and I believe that, ultimately, that is a tool of the enemy to tear our families apart.   But, the fact remains that there is still our Heavenly Father to whom we can turn, and He will and can parent us when or if our earthly parents fail.  We just have to learn to trust Him (see previous blog “Fear? What Fear??”). 

So you see, fear doesn’t have to be bad; its all in what we are talking about. I can have a reverent fear of heights even.  I can look at a beautiful, tall structure and see it for its usefulness. I can see the beauty in the architecture, and I can even revere it in its awesomeness to be grander than, say, a doghouse.  I can respect the fact that if I stood at the top of the structure, I could probably see wondrous sights of the landscape before me.  However, I also respect the fact that could fall off the top and die.

So…there’s fear…and then there’s FEAR. 😉

I suppose that what I’m getting at is that, some fears are okay–you know your boundaries (i.e., not going to the very top of a tall structure). However, sometimes its good to push past those boundaries (or walls we’ve built) and find our faith….faith in something or rather someONE…who is bigger and great and more deserving to be reverently feard than we could have ever imagined.

That’s where this journey is taking me. I hope to see you at the end of the ride too.

Psalm 111:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

Fear? What Fear??

Fear.  What is fear?  Well, my dear friend and pseudo-mom, Brenda, has told me (too many times to count), that fear is a lack of faith. Wow. That’s simple. Yes, it is…and to quote a line from a movie I saw recently, “Its simple…but its hard.”

Now you can probably surmise from the previous paragraph, that I’ve had some fear in my life. I mean, “Fear is a lack of faith” has become a mantra in my head (and its ALWAYS Mama Brenda’s voice. LOL!)  Fear is something I work on daily to overcome.  It isn’t always big fears. In fact, its usually little things like: “Did I say the wrong thing to that person?” or “Am I doing a good job?” and “Could I really write a devotional?

Of course, a lot of people who know me, will think that I’m writing about faith and fear from a purely spiritual aspect. I will admit that, for the most part, it will be.  But faith isn’t just about God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost.

I’m also talking about faith in one’s self, other people, abilities, dreams, etc.  Remember, fear is a lack of faith. If you are afraid of driving a car, your lack of faith might be in your ability to handle the car or in the ability of others to watch out for you…or even a lack of faith in their driving skills. My fear of large bodies of water and/or swimming comes from my lack of faith that the water will buoy me, and my lack of faith in my ability to actually swim.

So…the question is..how do we overcome fear??

This is something I’m still learning daily but I believe its quite simple.

1) We gain faith to over come that which we fear.

2) We trust that God is purposeful and omnipotent in His creation of us, so why should we fear?

So we gain faith…well how in the world do we do that ChrissyLu?  Well, we learn more about that which we fear. Take my aqua-phobia for instance.  I should learn more about the properties of water and how it would carry my body.  I could take swimming lessons to help me learn how to manipulate the water and my body to make me float or to give me the ability to swim.  Then I put those things into action. When I “test the waters” so-to-speak, I will learn to trust what I know, thereby increasing my faith in that thing.

Well, “what about trusting God?” you might ask.  Again, its simple…but its hard…because it takes some discipline.  It goes back to learning more about your subject matter.  Its hard to trust God if you don’t know Him.  He gives us a wonderful book called The Bible which reveals his character and nature to us. It shows us His promises and His love for us. By learning more about Him, and how He can live in us, we learn to trust Him…and His creation of us…and the fact that He gives us what we need on a daily basis.

Both of these things, I’m putting into practice right now.  You see, I’ve had a fear of writing this devotional series, even though God has been telling me to do it for a couple of years now.  My fears have been: “What if no one likes it?”  “What if I write something that makes someone else angry?”  “I’m not as far along in my Christian walk as other writers…what if I say something wrong.”

But God says those things are not for me to worry about…or to fear.  You see, writing this is part of MY journey in dealing with fear and worry (yes..the two go together). But if someone else benefits from this, then all the better.  I have to trust that God knows what He’s doing in planting this idea in me. I have to trust Him to bring it to fruition…not myself. 

I plan to take a look at scriptures that pertain to fear–mainly ones where God tells us not to faear.  Of course, ultimately, I plan to follow wherever He leads me. So, here I go.  You can come along for the ride if you want. There’s plenty of room!

Isaiah 41: 8-13

8 “But you, Israel, my servant,
   Jacob, whom I have chosen,
   you descendants of Abraham my friend,
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
   from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
   I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 11 “All who rage against you
   will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
   will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
   you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
   will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the LORD your God
   who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
   I will help you.

Starting to blog….

Well friends…here I go. I’m branching out into the world of blogging. This is one area of the internet that I thought I might shy away from. However, God has a plan for me and I see blogging as one of the tools He intends for me to use to work that plan.

So, with that being said, I hope you’ll take a few minutes, when I start posting, to take a break and read the blogs. Share your thoughts…just be gentle. I’ll be honest in saying that I don’t take harsh criticism well. LOL.

Hope to see you all on the blog-side!

ChrissyLu