Posted in Blog, Encouragement/Motivation, Faith & Religion, Health & Wellness

Getting Back on the Wagon

As I slowly work my way out of the pit I had gotten myself into during the Covid crisis, which you can read about here, I find that my life has become a series of change. Being cooped up for two months without being able to see my oldest daughter or elderly grandparents spun me right into a depression.  (The fact that I spent my days in pajamas, because I didn’t have to go anywhere, didn’t help.)  When I returned to work and realized that most of my pants no longer fit comfortably, I had a come-to-Jesus meeting and realized I had to get back on the wagon, and fast!

Before now, I always thought I would leave all of my journals to my three daughters.  I imagined that having something so personal, and in my own handwriting, might become something they would cherish someday.  I’ve been keeping journals for longer than I can remember.  From the beginning stages of my marriage when I first learned of my horrifying childhood experiences, to my battle with food addiction, to the long and painful medical journey we took with our oldest daughter, to my battle with food addiction, to our financial stresses, to my battle with food addiction, to the devastating venture with our middle daughter when she suffered a traumatic event at college, to my battle with food addiction…  you see where I’m going with this right?

I have since decided that I am not leaving all of my journals to my girls, after all.  I am going to be throwing most of them into the burn barrel, because they all contain the same thing.  “I did it again, Lord.”  “What is wrong with me, Lord?”  “Maybe this time will be different, Lord!”  Well, my current journal entries are no different.  I fell off the wagon yet again.  I gained back all of the weight I’d lost since I began my healthy lifestyle journey four years ago, and I am completely and utterly back at Square One.

I’d like to blame the whole thing on Covid-19, because I fully admit that I completely let myself go during the time I was cooped up in the house, but if I’m being totally honest, I had started to gain weight back long before that.  I have begged the Lord to reveal to me the reason behind this ongoing struggle, and I thought I had found my answer.  But, if it has anything to do with past childhood traumas like I thought it did, I am out of luck, because I’ve made peace with all of that, and nothing has changed…. until now.

This one little thing happened to me recently….  I found out that I’m going to be a grandmother!  And a grandmother of twin boys no less!  My goodness, I’ll have to get in shape just so I can chase them all over the place.  My dream has come true; my WHY is quickly becoming a current reality.

My “why” is the reason I want to have a successful business—so I can quit my day job and enjoy spending as much time as I can with my grandchildren.  My “why” is the reason I want to be more lean and fit—so I can get on the floor to play with my grandchildren and not have any trouble getting back up.  My “why” is the reason I want to live a long and healthy life—so I can watch my grandchildren grow up and have children of their own.

I decided with this new, exciting future just six short months away, I needed to take a new and exciting approach to getting back on the wagon and staying healthy permanently!  In the past, my bible studies have been about trying to reveal some deep dark secret that may have been the cause of my food addiction.  Most of my bible studies have been about trying to drudge up the past, because I always thought I would find answers there.  But the answers aren’t in my past; they are in God’s Word.  It’s time to leave the past where it belongs and try a new method of bondage breaking—learning how to love God more than I love food.

Understand that I am not saying if you have skeletons in your closet you have yet to awaken, you should just leave them buried there because it’s easier than facing them.  On the contrary, if there is something in those deep, dark corners of your mind preventing you from becoming the best version of yourself that you can be, I encourage you to face it.  I have spent over twenty years cleaning out the cobwebs and opening the windows to let in some light.  I am 100% on board with facing your past when it’s necessary to do so, but I am also a believer that there is no benefit in beating a dead horse.

There comes a time in your life when it’s evident that your focus should lie with the future, not the past, and this is that time for me.  (Finally!)  Honestly, because of my history with repeatedly falling off the wagon and getting back on again, learning to love God more than I love food is not a completely new concept to me.  I have been chasing the “food freedom” dream since the late nineties, but nowadays it’s called “Intuitive Eating.”  It’s high time to make that dream come true, too!  If I can just learn to obey my body’s hunger and fullness cues, and finally learn how to let the Holy Spirit guide my decisions instead of letting my own fleshly desires do it, I can make it happen.

Galatians 5:16 states, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.  Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” (NLT) I don’t know about you, but my sinful nature isn’t happy with one brownie; it wants four brownies!  I am certainly not implying that eating brownies is a sin; of course it isn’t, or there wouldn’t be a pan of brownies at almost every church function you ever attend.  Actually, brownies are a good gift from God.  He created cocoa beans, and He gave wisdom and creativity to the first person who ever decided to pound them down and mix sugar cane into them.  Over-indulgence is the sin.  I’ve talked about this in another post, so if you’d like to dissect this concept a little further when you’re finished here, visit Food Freedom for another good read.

The good news about getting back on the wagon for the eight hundred ninety-fifth time is knowing that I am not alone.  In fact, one of the most spiritual leaders to have ever walked the earth experienced this yo-yo cycle long before falling off the wagon became a coined phrase.  Consider this passage in Romans that was written by Paul, a villain-turned-hero who went on to write most of the New Testament after his own life-changing come-to-Jesus meeting!

I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.  Instead, I do what I hate.  But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.  So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.  And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  I want to do what is right, but I can’t.  I want to do what is good, but I don’t.  I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.  But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love God’s law with all my heart.  But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind.  This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am!  Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?  Thank God!  The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.  So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature, I am a slave to sin.”  Romans 7:15-25 (NLT)

Wow!  How powerful is it to know that someone like Paul shared the same struggles that we do?  Let’s dissect this passage for a minute.  Paul states he really doesn’t understand himself, because he wants to do what is right but does instead what he hates.  How many times have we dealt with self-condemnation– beating ourselves up because, as much as we hate giving into our craving for Doritos or Double Stuff Oreos at one in the morning, we do it anyway, knowing full well that we will regret it as soon as we’ve done it?

Paul states that he agrees the law is good and that he loves God’s law with all his heart.  Me, too!  How many of us can express our undying love and devotion to our Lord and His Word one minute, then question that love and devotion when we make bad choices which prove opposite of what that Word tells us?

Paul states that it is sin living within him that makes him do the things which he knows are wrong.  Now, I’m not about to tell you that you’re possessed by the devil, but let it be known that every one of us has fallen short of the glory of God.  Not one of us is righteous by our own merit.  When Paul talks about the sin within him, he’s referring to the sinful nature—the fleshly desires.  That’s why Jesus came to earth and died on a cross for us—so we could be reconciled unto God and be blameless in His sight.  (See Colossians 1:22)

Furthermore, there is a real, true blue enemy of our souls who will stop at nothing to kill, steal, and destroy.  (See John 10:10) How many of us can admit that we’ve experienced the “devil on the my shoulder” scenario? Don’t tell me I’m the only one who has an angel on one shoulder telling me to eat the Chicken Ceasar Salad I brought for lunch and a devil on the other telling me to order a Cheese Steak on homemade Italian Bread with a side of fried cauliflower? Well, cauliflower is a vegetable after all, right?

Finally, I told you earlier in this post that my past no longer holds any answers for me, but that the answers I need are found within God’s Word.  Well lo and behold, Paul agrees with me!  He states in verse 25 that the answers are in Jesus Christ our Lord!

I love the book of Romans; it is perhaps my favorite book of the New Testament.  This letter that Paul writes to the Romans is chock-full of the Lord’s promises of redemption and restoration.  This is the book I refer to the most when I remind myself that I am valued. (Romans 5:8) This is the book I refer to the most when I remind myself that I am an heiress. (Romans 8:17) This is the book I refer to the most when I remind myself that my battle with food addiction is not just physical. (Romans 12:2)

But as much as I love Romans, and even though it is typically my go-to for times such as these, let me remind you that Jesus is central from Genesis to Revelation.  The answers are in there, if we know where to look.  God’s Word is true, and I have made it my mission to share that truth with other women like me who have been fighting the enemy of our souls for far too long.

Stay with me, and we will continue to traverse this journey together.  In the meantime, remember that even Paul fell off the wagon when dealing with his own personal struggles and temptations.  Remember that this is now, and might always be, an ongoing process.  There will be good days, and there will be bad days, and that’s okay.  Rather than focus on the destination, focus on the journey– one day at a time. Although my whole story will be sprinkled throughout this website and throughout my blog posts, I encourage you to read my About Me page if you haven’t already done so. It will not only give you some insight into where I’ve been, but it will give you some more insight into where I’m going, and I would love it if you would come along for the ride!

Before you know it, the good days will outweigh the bad, the numbers on the scale will be nothing but just numbers, and you won’t have to hold your breath to pull on your favorite pair of jeans.  These are all great achievements worth celebrating, and each one begins with baby steps!  If you are looking for some more faith-filled help along the way, there are lots of Christian resources available to help you jump on the Intuitive Eating/Food Freedom wagon.  Check out my Shop/Resources page for links to some of my favorites, and feel free to share some of your own favorites below.

Posted in Blog, Encouragement/Motivation, Faith & Religion

Princess and the P

“P?  What is P?  Like, pea?  What does she mean by that? Did she spell it wrong?”  Well, readers, for all intents and purposes, this particular “P” stands for the Prince of Peace- the Promise Keeper- the Great Physician- the Good ShePherd!  The truth is, there are more names for Jesus than I could possibly count!  And He lives up to every single one of them.  Redeemer is another one of my personal favorites.  Deliverer.  Mighty Counselor.  The list goes on and on.  So now that we know the “P” is a Who and not a what, who is the Princess in this scenario?  (We’ll get to that part.)

As time is constantly marching on, and life is constantly changing, and people are constantly evolving, so, in fact, must my blog.  As near and dear to my heart as my “Blooming Onion Theory” post is, because it was the first I had ever written, I finally had to archive it.  It was time for a new post to take center stage, because as I’ve honed in on what bloggers like to refer to as “their niche,” I have come to realize that my blog now has more of a central theme than when I first started out.  I want my new “sticky” post to be about this blog’s purpose.

First of all, some of you might be asking, “What is a niche?”  According to Dictionary.com, the definition that best suits the type of niche I’m talking about is “a distinct segment of a market.”  Simply put, a niche for a blogger is sort of their main topic, or their specialty, if you will.  It’s something specific that they write about.  Now when I first started researching the things I needed to know about writing a blog, I distinctly remember that most of the books I read on the subject inevitably stated at one time or another, “Everyone is an expert at something.”  Ha!  Me, an expert?  I’m not an expert at anything!  It was enough to make me break out into a cold sweat.

I wanted to make sure that anyone who visited my blog was well aware that I was no expert.  I didn’t have the answers to all of life’s questions, so I didn’t want to profess that I did.  I came up with the original blog name, Learning Life Together, because I wanted my readers to understand that we were in this together.  Did I have lots of life experiences to share?  I sure did!  But did that make me an expert?  It surely did not.  The one thing I knew, though, is that I wanted to encourage, educate, and edify other women like me who shared the same struggles.  I may not be an expert in anything, but I sure have a lot of experiences under my belt that taught me a life lesson or two.

If you check out my More About Me page, you’ll get the synopsis of my life story, but honestly, my story isn’t nearly as important as what I’ve learned from it- and what I’m still learning!  To put it mildly, a traumatic childhood and a lifelong addiction to food caused chronic self-loathing, self-condemnation, depression, guilt, and shame.  I felt I was too unworthy to receive love and respect, and frankly, I didn’t believe anyone would ever truly fall in love with me anyway.

But someone did!  Not only do I have an awesome husband and three incredible kids who love me unconditionally, but there is Someone who has loved me since before time began!  Jeremiah 1:5 says, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.  Before you were born, I set you apart…” (NLT) Wait, what was that?  I was set apart?  Could I really be that special?  The answer to that, my friend, is YES!  And the good news is that so are you!  And I have made it my mission to prove it to you.

For more years than I could count, my Aunt and I tried to start a ministry at our home church.  We had a passion for women who struggled with “identity crisis” just like me, and although we weren’t sure how to go about it, we knew we wanted to share God’s truth and hope with those women.  Believing God put the name on my heart, I called it the Sparrow Ministry- the Savior’s Promises and Advocacy for the Redemption and Restoration Of Women.

Our theme verse came from Luke 12:7, “…Do not fear, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”  Our mission statement was this: “Our purpose is to bring God’s truth to His daughters and His hope to their situations by helping women feel worthy, loved, confident, and encouraged.”  We had several meetings with our Pastoral leadership, and we had their full support.  But for all of our efforts, we just could never get the ministry off the ground for one reason or another.  I have since made it my mission to bring the ministry to you, my readers.

Do you have any idea how valuable you are?  I’d like to refer you to a previous blog post of mine called “His Princess.”  Please check it out when you have a chance, because it is definitely full of some gospel truth that you might need!  Here is some more truth for you: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…”  (Romans 8:16-17a NIV) I ask you, if you are a daughter of a King, what does that make you?  A princess of course! 

And because we are all princesses just trying our best each day to live up to our title, I have decided to change the name of my blog from Learning Life Together to Princess and the P—because none of us are doing this alone.  My Prince of Peace is your Prince of Peace.  My Promise Keeper is your Promise Keeper.  The Great Physician and the Good Shepherd Who heals my heart, protects, teaches, and guides me, does the same for you.

In this blog, I will share candid stories and life experiences with you, because I want you to fully understand and believe that we truly are in this together.  In fact, you will still be able to find me on Twitter @LearnLife2gethr and on Instagram @LearningLife2gethr, because I am still learning every day, just like you. That much has not changed; I am still no expert, and even when I think I’ve got it all down pat, that pesky enemy will do everything in his power to make me doubt or forget.

I will also share some of God’s truth with you in every post, because the Sword of the Spirit is our greatest weapon against attacks from the enemy.  Know that, although I won’t know your specific struggles, I am making a commitment to pray for all of my readers.  I pray that God will sustain you, heal you, restore you, and empower you, and if my blog can play even one small part in that, then I will be the one that is blessed!

My beloved Sister, know at this very moment that you are not just a daughter of a king.  You are a daughter of THE KING!  As you explore my website, and particularly my blog posts, my prayer is that you will feel worthy, loved, confident, and encouraged.  Not one little sparrow is forgotten before God, and you, my friend, are more valuable than a whole flock of sparrows!

Be blessed, my Sister, and happy reading!