Friday, May 28, 2010

Lessons from the dressing room while swimsuit shopping

Went swimsuit shopping today, which no matter how you look at it, always seems to be an enlightening experience. But rather than focus on the enlightenment that I really must pick up my workout routine and cut out the yummy yummy iced sugar cookies from United, I think I will focus on another aspect. The life of a woman.

It seems to me that the life of a woman is just more complicated than that of a man. For instance, in order for me to be prepared for the pool I must have sunscreen, lip balm, 2 good towels, a beach bag, a hat, cute sunglasses, trendy flip flops, hot mama sunglasses, a swimsuit that sucks in as much as humanly possible, and a fashionable cover up. Sheeesh. Then I think of a man. They are good with an old t-shirt, swim trunks from wallyworld, they might indulge in some nice sunglasses, and a baseball cap, and they are good to go. Now I realize I am generalizing here, but for the most part they have no worries about if their hiney hangs out of their swimsuit or if the swimsuit they bought properly lifts in all the right places and sucks in the other places, or if the cover up they bought matches the color of their swimsuit and their bag. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a girl, it is just so complicated sometimes!

And all of this barely scratches the surface of the wardrobe issues a woman faces simply when getting ready for the pool! We haven’t even scratched the surface of the emotional differences between men and woman. And I don’t know that I even want to on this blog lest I take up pages and pages, not to mention way to much mental energy.

What I do want to mention is that as women, our lives can be just plain tough sometimes. The pressure we face can be unbelievable in between trying to maintain a house, a body, work, volunteer jobs, bible studies, facebook pages, nurture-discipline-love-protect-and teach our children and our family, and the list goes on and on and on and on. It is so easy to get caught up in any one of these things, and begin neglecting the others. It is so very easy to let the balance shift slowly, and we may not even notice that we are neglecting something until things begin to go wrong.

The truth is women just have a lot to do. But no matter how much we do, nothing can ever get in the way of the time we need to spend with God. DAILY (yes that means every day). There is nothing that can replace this, and nothing else that will fill us up. All the shopping, the relationships, the power, the prestige, the new houses, the plastic surgeries in the world will not fill us up. We can exhaust ourselves trying, but we will never be fulfilled until we give all of this other stuff over to God and make him the most important thing, our everything.

God made women, he made us emotional, he made us loving, he made us huggy and feely and everything that we love about being a woman, and he made us to need and long for him. To come to him and get filled up with his love, the love that never abandons, the love that never lets go, the love that the bible speaks of that is absolute impeccable amazing sovereign truth. And then he made us to where it is not enough for us to just receive it, but he gave us the need to go share it with others. To have the need to be filled up, and to have the need to pour out. Women are complicated in every way: physical, mental, and emotional. But one thing is simple, a simple truth, God loves you and me, perfect crazy unconditional love, the simplest thing in our lives yet sometimes the most difficult to accept.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fell down

I fell down yesterday, not just like a little trip, I FELL DOWN!!! If I could compare it to when I was a little kid, I didn’t just fall and scrape my knee, I fell and busted that sucker wide open enough to need some stitches. And, no, I didn’t literally physically fall, but spiritually and emotionally, I took a nose dive straight for the pavement, and then rubbed my face around in the gravel for a few minutes.

It happened as I was cleaning out my office at work. I was already having one of those hormonal, emotional, nothing is going my way today, whiney, kind of days. So, I decided a good office cleaning might work off some negative energy. Only, as I did, I found some old journal writing, and a poem that I wrote, that is beautiful, but highly emotionally charged. And I read it, and there I went, spiraling down.

Old habits die hard, it is so easy for us to return to our comfortable ways of coping, no matter how unhealthy they may be, they are still all to easy to fall back into. They are familiar, and Satan uses that familiarity to lure you into the things you promised you would never do again, be it co-dependent patterns, a depressive state, an angry outburst, addiction, an eating disorder, whatever your poisonous pattern is, take your pick!

Then once we fall on the pavement into our icky pattern, Satan has us just where he wants us. Now…he can rub our face in the gravel…and he can get those rocks embedded into your forehead if you let him. He might even get some dirty rocks in, and then get you all infected with your own guilt over the fact that you fell down, and take you down even further. But…that is all a choice, we can fall and grovel around, or we can get mad, rebuke the enemy, and get back up!!!

So today, I am getting back up, and trying again. I have asked for forgiveness for falling back into my trap, and prayed that God will protect me while I heal. Today I am refusing to let Satan get any more of a foothold, I yanked that sucker back. Sometimes being defiant and headstrong is a good thing, LOL! And with that, I wanted to encourage all of you, that we all fall down, but how long we stay there is our own choice. Get back up girl!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Psalms 37 NLT
18 Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent,
and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.
19 They will not be disgraced in hard times;
even in famine they will have more than enough.

Days and days and days. One day at a time, the Lord takes care of the innocent. And even though I don’t feel innocent, I know that I am blameless in the eyes of Christ. Therefore, he takes care of me, day by day. He gives me enough love to survive another day. Even though it may only be enough to get through the day, I know that he will replenish tomorrow. He will give me enough love to wake up my children lovingly in the morning, to open up my heart to a student I will see tomorrow, to pour out my soul to a couple of amazing women over lunch, to get the mundane administrative tasks done in the afternoon, and to come home, love on my family, and do it all over again. He may not give me more than I need for that day, but if he did, I fear I wouldn’t long for him like I do.

Though some days are tougher than others, and some days the pain and the memories may be stronger than others, he will give me enough, in fact at times, hard times, he may even give me more than enough. And you know, sitting here, thinking about it, just the fact that he is willing to love me at all, is in itself much much much much more than enough. He didn’t have to choose to do so, he didn’t have to choose to send his son to die, he didn’t have to choose to remove our sins as far as the east is from the west, he didn’t have to be the one whose arms we know we can fall into when no one else is around, he didn’t have to be. But he is, he choose to be, because he loves us. A perfect love that is everything 1 Corinthians says love should be and more. More than enough, the only one who ever can be, who ever will be more than enough.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Who do you trust?

How many times a day do we tell God, “That’s a nice thought, but you’re wrong”. How many times a day do we trust ourselves over God, do we believe ourselves over the bible? How many times a day do we trust what we believe about ourselves over anything and everything else?

What is it that keeps us from believing the good things that people say about us, and immediately taking the bad in as the truth without question?

I have still been rolling this whole approval/affirmation thing around in my head. Even if we don’t want someone to agree with us, maybe some of us walk around every day looking for evidence to support what it is that we truly believe. If we believe that we are a piece of pooh, when we forget to put something in our child’s backpack, we think, yep, affirmation, I am a piece of pooh, a bad parent. However, if we receive compliments over something we did well that day, we may immediately discount it as just luck or some kind of freak accident that we actually did something right.

Is it possible that all of this comes back to trust? I think some of us that have past hurts (and who doesn’t have some kind of past hurt) tend to place the majority of our trust in ourselves. It just seems easier that way. I know myself. I can trust myself. And if we dare let someone past the wall, they better do the right thing, or that wall is going right back up faster than you can blink an eye!!!! Sound familiar? So we stick to just trusting ourselves, yikes. That can be a scary place to be.

And when it comes to trusting God, geeeezzzzzz, so now I am supposed to trust God, that I cannot even see? How in the world am I going to believe that what God says about me is true when I don’t even believe that I am loveable?

You know the thoughts we have about ourselves can be awful. I know that some of the thoughts I have had in the middle of a deep depression, I couldn’t even verbalize them, they sickened me so much. And if it sounded that sickening to say, imagine how sick it was keeping me inside?!? Those thoughts, especially if they have become our best friends, can really be a poison to our faith and to our relationships with others, not to mention ourselves. But, above all else, because we trust ourselves, we believe those thoughts, and we continue to add evidence to the pile that they are true.

The only way to stop this pattern is just that, STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!! We don’t just “try” to jump, we either jump or we don’t jump. Let’s jump today. Let’s trust God over ourselves for just one day, and believe his word over our own negative thoughts. We may not actually “believe” it today, but again, pray help me overcome my unbelief!!! Choose just one bible verse today, or several if you choose, but whatever you choose don’t just read it today, believe it today, speak it today, yell it in your car on your way to work if it helps, write it on a sticky note and tape it to your forehead, whatever you have to do, do it! Mine is going to be from Proverbs 31, “she is clothed in strength and dignity”. Today I choose to believe that I am clothed in strength and dignity, above all else, why?, because I am going to choose to believe God’s word over myself, just for this, just for today. One day at a time, just living for today, tomorrow will come soon enough.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Approval Addiction - Affirmation Addiction

Approval addiction. There is even a book called that by Joyce Myer, although I have it at home, I haven’t read it yet. For some reason it just didn’t resonate with me at the time I began reading it. However, I have been deeply convicted lately about this “addiction” and finding security in Christ, nothing more, nothing less.

So…I began to wonder, what exactly is it about approval that we get so addicted to? Well, at the root of it can be insecurity. We don't believe in ourselves enough so we seek it externally, because we don’t have it internally. But for me, honestly, I have come to realize that approval is not what I am addicted to. When the day is done, I am stubborn enough that I am going to do what I want to do, wheather others approve of it or not. I am not looking for someone to agree with me. I think this comes down from my family line, but I definitely have an “I am always right” streak, not such a good thing, but the truth isn’t always pretty.

So, then, if I don’t really want others approval about the things I do or do not do, what exactly is it that I am addicted to? I think it might be affirmation. I am stubborn and downright defiant sometimes, I want to do what I want to do! But…the beliefs that I have about myself, in my inmost little girl self, still radiates with shame at times. I am not quite sure where or why I developed such a core, but it still rears its ugly head up at times.

The definition of affirm is to declare the truth of something, unlike approve which is to agree that something is good. If approval were to work for me, I would first have to decide that I am good, before I could have someone agree with me that I am good. No…what I am addicted to is affirmation, for someone to declare to me that I AM OKAY. However, the problem with seeking affirmation from others is that they can’t stand over you and speak the truth over you every second of every day for the rest of your life. You have to begin to be able to affirm yourself, and what you cannot make yourself believe, you have to accept as truth from God.

If you beat yourself every day, saying, I can’t do anything right, I’m so lazy, I will never feel better, I should have done this or that-or why don’t we just say what we really mean when we say all these things-I am not good enough, nor will I ever be, and I am just flat unworthy.

Let’s speak some truth here. We are not good enough, all have fallen short of the glory of God. If we were good enough then Christ died in vain. We will never be good enough on our own. The only way we are good enough is by the grace of God. So here is the truth, plain and simple, as I see it. Christ speaks to us and says “I AM ENOUGH for you”. That’s it, that’s all. Weather we seek approval, affirmation, or both from the world, it will never ever ever ever be ENOUGH. We will always need more and more leaving a trail of worn out people in our lives that we thought could save us from ourselves, but never did. He is enough. His truth is enough. What the bible says about you, that his spirit lives in you, that you are a co-heir with Christ, in him and only in him you are made worthy, that is the truth.

So claim it, look up some bible verses that claim who you are in Christ, and pray and speak those over yourself. That is the truth. You may not believe it at first, and that is okay! Check out Mark 9:24, CRY OUT DAILY, help me overcome my unbelief!!!! And keep saying those verses that are powerful to you as an individual over yourself, and before too long, I believe with all my heart that we will come to a place where we truly find all the affirmation we need in him. It probably won’t happen overnight, we didn’t become insecure overnight, and we won’t crawl out of it overnight either. But he is who he says he is and he has the power to do what he has promised. Romans 4:20-21

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Let me fall

Let me seek it only from you
The deepest desires of my heart
Let it long only for you
My heart seems to long for foolish things
Things that will all too soon come to pass
And pass they will without the blink of an eye
Before I notice, they will be gone
Let me fall no longer to the bondage of need
Givers, they give, receivers, receive
Let me only receive the blessings you give
So my heart will fall completely to you
Take my joy and place it only in you
Only here is it safe from damage and pain
Let me fall to the feet of your loving grace
Seeking only, forever, your beautiful face.

The battle for happiness

So I am sitting at home watching TV the other night when the commercial for an antidepressant comes on. And usually, this doesn’t capture my interest, but today for some reason it did. I got depressed from viewing an anti-depressant commercial, that can’t be good, LOL! But the reason I got teary is this, for the first time it hit me, hard, what a struggle we are having as a people. The number of teens dealing with depression is astonishing, not to mention women, and let’s not forget all the men that are dealing with this issue as well (although it often appears as anger).

It hurts my heart when I realize that so many people battle this daily. That so many people hurt so very much, some of them even taking their own life. That so many women are depressed and don’t know why. I don’t have the answer to the why either – there are a million reasons that this could be – and I have certain theories I ascribe to more than others, but that is not the point. We are hurting, as a people, as a nation, we are hurting.

I believe wholeheartedly that God has placed upon my life a need and a longing to work within this issue. He has even given me my own battle with depression so that I may have empathy. I remember Beth Moore saying once that it was never enough for her to be free; she had this burning passion for others to be free as well. Well, it will never be enough for me to battle my depression on my own, I have to, I want to, I need to help others in the battle of the mind and body and spirit that depression is.

Any of you that read my blog could easily guess that I LOVE to write. I really have been praying for God to show me how to use this gift and passion of mine in a way that glorifies him. I am contemplating writing either a Christian based book or group bible study that addresses depression from 3 perspectives: mind, body, and spiritual. It may or may not pan out, but I believe that if this is what God has for me, it will fall into place. So as I begin writing, I wanted to ask this question of anyone who reads my blog and has struggled with depression, or knows someone who has: What is the thing that stands out as the one thing, that without it, you could have never moved forward in your battle with depression? Or if you have never struggled with this yourself, what is the thing that you saw help pull someone else out? I know what the answer to this question is for me, but was very curious to see what other people had found the most helpful! I appreciate any and all responses, and hope you all have a wonderful week! Love n Blessings Always! Steph