Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Let's Face It

The word FIGHT has been coming up quite a bit in my life recently.
Not sure I like the implications though.
Seems to indicate struggle, battles, trials, tough times, getting hit in the gut and then kicked while I am down.  Not my idea of fun at all.

BUT, the idea of FIGHT resonates with my soul right now.
I want to FIGHT for my dreams.
I want to FIGHT for my teamies and THEIR dreams, their families, their lives.
I want to FIGHT for my girls, showing them how to run after their dreams and work hard and believe anything is possible with God on your side.

I want to FIGHT for my boys, still in Africa and unknown to me, but loved with all my heart and desperately wanting them safe in my arms.
I want to FIGHT for ALL children all around the globe, praying for them to have a forever family where they feel loved and accepted and can grow into the people God has made them to be and reach their full potential and live out the amazing plans God has for them.
I want to FIGHT for anyone trapped in the human trafficking industry, freeing them and showing them they are valuable and precious and worth so much more!
I want to FIGHT for my marriage and all marriages.

I want to FIGHT for freedom, freedom from debt, freedom from stress and anxiety because of bills and student loans and mortgages and car payments.
I want to FIGHT for God's kingdom to be come here on earth.

And like any good fight, there are going to be OBSTACLES.
The enemy is going to throw punches, jabs, left hooks, and low blows.  He plays dirty.  And hard.
It's tiring, fighting him every single day.
It's exhausting, battling the same struggles day in and day out, over and over and over again.
It's warying, makes you want to give up and throw in the towel.

Keep fighting.
You are NOT alone.
I am fighting WITH you, and even better yet, JESUS is in our corner.  He has our back.

Here's the deal though...
I tell my friends time and time again, "I want to punch Satan in the face!"
And that's all well and good.  I do want to defeat him, to see him run away with his tail between his legs, head hung, knowing he has lost and has no power over me whatsoever.

BUT, if I am going to punch Satan in the face that means I have to actually face him.
I can't run and hide when he comes to attack.
I can't crouch in the corner and hope he just goes away.
I can't fall to the ground and wait for the round to be over.  The bell will just ding again and another round will start, with Satan more than happy to pounce on me while I am a crying heap on the floor of the fighting ring.

No, if I am going to WIN and come out like the overcomer I already am, I have to stand my ground, look Satan in the eye, and go on the offense.
I need to be the one throwing the punches, not the one getting hit by them.
I want to be ON the attack, not the one being attacked.

And how do I go about doing that?
I emerse myself in the Word.  When Jesus was tempted, that's what He did.  For every stupid thing Satan said, for every trick he tried to play, Jesus answered with Scripture.  "It is written..."  Those words are like a knee in Satan's groin, a slap across the cheek, a punch right in the mouth.

THAT is what I want to do!

And guess what?  If we STAND TOGETHER and FIGHT TOGETHER, we will shorten the round and quicken the victory.  Side by side we can defeat Satan so much better than when we go at him solo.

I am making it my daily practice to wake up each morning with intention.
As my feet hit the floor, I am going to immediately "put on my armor" and enter the battle, ready to FIGHT, ready to WIN!

Anyone else ready to face Satan and put him in his place?!
Then, join me!
Let's stand and fight TOGETHER.
Let's punch him in the face, over and over and over.
Until Jesus comes back and raises our hands high, declaring us VICTORS and throwing Satan into the firey pit of hell, never to bother us again!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Broken, Together

This morning I cried in the shower.
I cried when I stepped into my closet to see what I was going to wear today.
I wanted to fall in a heap and ball my eyes out, then crawl into a corner and hide.
I did NOT want to go anywhere.
I did NOT want to get dressed, because nothing fits right.  I am at that weird stage where I'm not pregnant anymore, but I'm not back to my pre-baby body either.  I'm in the middle.  And nothing fits right in the middle.  Literally.

I have been super frustrated, if I am going to be completely honest.

I eat clean - no processed foods or sugar.  Very limited grains, no gluten.  LOTS of lean protein, fruits and veggies.  All the good things you are supposed to eat, I eat them.  All the bad things you aren't supposed to eat, I don't eat them.

I eat small meals and snacks throughout the day.  I'm not starving myself or overeating.  I'm following all the guidelines and rules that are supposed to help you lose weight or maintain the healthy weight you want.

Nutrition is KEY to a healthy lifestyle.  I have heard that 80% of weight loss has to do with what you eat and drink. When you eat, how much you eat, combining the right foods, etc.  Somebody posted a great MEME the other day reminding me that the GYM is not the difficult or confusing part.  Really, it's in the meal planning and nutrition department.  However, I do feel like I have a pretty good handle on nutrition. I'm not a certified trainer or a registered dietitan or anything, but I'm not oblivious either.  I take great care as to what goes into my body.

Yet, I have not lost a single pound since the day Craedyn was born.  I gained 40 pounds during her pregnancy.  10 of that was baby and fluids.  Other than those 10 pounds, the scale has not moved one iota.  I know, I know, I know it's NOT all about that number on the scale.  It's just a number.  I realize that.  Don't send me messages reminding me.  I am fully aware.  I get that it's more about how you feel and how your clothes fit and all that jazz.

Well, my clothes do NOT fit.
I do NOT feel good about myself at all.
I have taken pictures (that I will NOT be showing publically) to record progress.  I see hardly any noticeable changes.

And so I am frustrated.

To top it off, I have also been working out 5-6 times a week. I started out gradually, but have increased my intensity each week over the past 10 weeks.  I do weights, focusing on both my arms and legs.  I work on my abs.  I do cardio.  Again, I am NOT a personal trainer, but I have hired one before and have been in sports since I was 5.  I know a little something about exercising.  And I truly enjoy working out.  I feel energized.  I know I did something good for my body.  I feel accomplished.  I have all those good endorphins flowing through me.  I'm not sure why or how, but for me, I feel like my physical health is deeply connected to my spiritual health.  When I work out, I can listen to music.  When I'm on the elliptical or out running, I can think and pray.  It's my ME time and helps me fuel up so I can pour myself out during the day.  Exercise is really important to me, for many reasons.

You would think with the way I eat and the consistent exercise I am doing, I would have seen some sort of progress.  Either on the scale or in the way my clothes fit or BOTH.  But NOTHING. Seriously, nothing!

Did I mention that I am frustrated?

Not knowing what else to do, I reached out to a dear friend.  She had the privilege of looking at my pictures and immediately suggested that I check myself for diastasis recti - separation of your ab muscles.  YEP.  I have it.  Total bummer.  Not only does that mean I have a pooch I don't want, it also means that I shouldn't be doing all the normal exercises I have been doing.  Why?  They make it worse!  Instead, I need to focus specifically on healing my core, reconnecting my muscles, breathing correctly, and other fundamental things to get my body back on track.

Well, that explains part of the problem.  BUT, what about the "failure" in the weight loss department.  If it's related mainly to nutrition, shouldn't I be able to drop at least a pound or two?  I'm not expecting 10 pounds in a week or anything ridiculous like that!  Seriously, though, a pound a week is a reasonable goal.  Yet, here I am at 13 weeks postpartum and haven't lost a single pound!  That seems "off" to me.  So again, I asked for help or ideas from my friend who knows way more than I do.

She suggested I look into postpartum thyroid and adrenal failure.  Sure enough, I have quite a few of the symptoms.  Ugh.  Why?  Why is my body broken?

That's what I don't know.
There's not really an answer other than SIN is part of this world, part of our daily lives.  And it affects our bodies, our health.  Sad, but true.

I have wanted to cry, and HAVE cried, so many times the past few weeks.
Tears of frustration, discouragement, defeat.
Tears of confusion, heartache, disappointment.
Tears of bewilderment.
Tears of HURT.
Why me?  Why am I broken?
Why can other mamas lose weight and get their bodies back just fine after having babies?
Why do I have to struggle?
Why, why, why?

The answer God gave me wasn't really the one I wanted.
I wanted Him to assure me that He would "fix" me.
Instead, I feel His response was more along the lines that through my battles and struggles, I can be an encouragement to others in the same place in life.  I can be a voice in the wilderness, the desert, the dry bleak wastelands, the long dark winding vallies.  I can be a source of HOPE to those on the same path.  I think of the song, "Broken, Together."

We may not like our situation.
We may not feel lovely or beautiful.
We may not want to look in the mirror.
Or walk into the closet and try to find something to wear.
We may not want to leave the house.

But here's the deal.
Sitting in the corner and crying doesn't do us any good.
And by isolating ourselves we certainly aren't fulfilling the GOOD plans and purposes God has for us.  We are letting the enemy win.  And THAT is one thing I will NOT let happen.  Not on my watch.
He is the source of these lies we are battling day in and day out in the first place.
He knows how strong and powerful we are.
He knows the "damage" we can do as we go out and spread hope and peace and joy and love.
He knows we can change the world.
And he wants nothing more than to shut us down.  So, he finds our weaknesses and attacks.  Over and over and over and over and over and over agian.  He is relentless.

BUT, he forgets one thing.  One VERY important thing.
He is a loser.
He has already lost.  Meaning, we have already won.
WE are victorious.
WE are overcomers.

We may be broken, but that's not the end of our story.
And it definitely doesn't have to sideline us.  Not at all.
God is an expert at using broken people to do AMAZING things here on this earth to build His kingdom and bring Him massive amounts of glory.

So, what am I going to do about my personal circumstances?
I am going to learn how to reconnect my abs and fix my diastasis recti.  I am going to talk to a doctor about having my hernia repaired.  I am going to do some more research on postpartum thyroid and adrenal fatigue and meet with a natural doctor to help me get my body functioning better, the way God intended.  I am going to keep eating healthy and incorporating the right exercises into my daily routine.  And I am going to PRAY my heart out.  Not only for me, but for the countless others who are struggling today.  I may be praying for you, even if you aren not in the exact same situation as me.  I am praying for YOU.

We can be broken, together.
And together, we WILL defeat Satan.
We will CRUSH him and remind him that we are ALREADY victorious.

Anybody else out there feeling broken today?
Let's be broken together!!!!!