Give Thanks

DSC_0304We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Every Thanksgiving. But this week as I was looking for a verse to put on our kitchen chalkboard I stumbled onto the Psalm 118 the Thanksgiving Prayer. We use pieces of this prayer all the time, but in total it is really powerful, so I thought I would share it here with all of you in hopes that some part of it resonates with you as well.

DSC_0403Psalm 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
    but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];
    he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad.

25 Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you.[b]
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
    up[c] to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
    you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Admitting it is The First Step

This is the second in a series of posts on dealing with an eating disorder. Read the first one here.

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I went into the therapists office for my first meeting in full denial. I didn’t have mental problems, I had heart disease. But I was so scared about what was going on with my body I was willing to get someone to say I was fine in the head so I could go back to my doctor and tell her to check again.

After a few sessions, I was given a diagnosis. My therapist, Marcia, who had been solely working with eating disorder patients for 15 years informed me I had one of the worst cases of anorexia she had ever seen.

Well then. I still thought she was wrong, but I was scared, really scared. I could feel my body dying and many nights I would wake up with serious stomach pain from starvation and such weakness that I couldn’t stand up. I slept with grapes by my bed to stave off the hunger pains. A few grapes would often get me back to sleep. But I knew deep down my body was failing and I feared I would not wake up one day. So my fear kept me coming back and listening to her words and attempting to answer her questions.

Immediately after her diagnosis a whirl wind of things happened. They happened so fast I didn’t have time to run screaming from the office. Before I could spell anorexia I was connected with an amazing team of professionals who worked with me on many levels in different capacities. I was given names and addresses of where and when to show up. That was pretty much it.

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I met with Marcia 3 times a week to begin with. Most of the hard work happened here. Gut wrenching, soul searching, truth telling stuff.

My psychiatrist, Michael, was very nice, and patient. We met monthly and he mainly helped me cope with what I was dealing with in therapy through medication which I did not want to take, and often didn’t, much to his dismay. But in the end he was a key piece of my recovery whether I liked it or not.

Pam, my diatician, met with me twice a week for a weigh in and education on good nutrition. She was unbelievably patient and kind to me as I very slowly began to re-eat. I had to put on a paper gown and step on a scale twice a week in front of Pam and provide documentation of my food intake to her. She put it all in a computer so we could see what I was really doing and how my body was responding. She was a great friend and I loved meeting with her. She taught me so much and seemed to truly love me through a very difficult recovery and learning process.

Finally, there was Dr. Kimberly, the one who diagnosed me to begin with. She monitored me as needed to make sure my body was healing and rebuilding the way we hoped it would. She delivered the good news, bad news and the unknown to me with understanding and kindness in her voice.

That was it, my full, amazing, talented, gifted and patient recovery team. I will forever love and cheris them in my heart.

They saved my life.

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About 6 months into therapy I finally agreed “I may have an issue”. Just a small one though. I wondered how long this was going to take to get over, but all my therapist would tell me was she was going to be with me for a long time.

After a year I realized I was dealing with a giant and I was fully onboard – willing to defeat it, but incapable of doing it quickly. It was going to be a long road and Marcia assured me she wasn’t going anywhere. Those were comforting words to me.

And we were just beginning.

 

 

 

All moms have stuff

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Everybody has stuff. Everybody.

Even that mom at the pool who, after her third baby, still looks great in her college bikini.

Even the mom who’s children never seem to fight (in public at least).

Even the mom who cooks super healthy food for her family and claims her kids just “eat it up.” She uses no trans fats, sugar, gluten, or high fructose corn syrup. No veggies that have been genetically modified, no sir. She only buys organic produce, grain-fed beef and nothing that is farm raised- only wild caught with no steroids or antibiotics used. Her milk- not a whiff of rBST, only soy or almond. Chicken and eggs – free range, We could go on, couldn’t we?

Even the mom who is always dressed perfectly and who’s children never have holes in their leggings or a shirt with stains.

Even the mom who makes sure her children are getting to try every prectice or game without it affecting the family negatively at all and even appears to really enjoy the racing from event to event.

Even the mom who never misses a beat, she never forgets pj day, picture day, a field trip permission slip or to put money in her kiddos school lunch accounts.

It gives me indigestion just typing it. Because I know these people.

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I’m not sure why I still get jealous of these moms. They have stuff too. You know that, right? Trust me, they do.

I can say that with great confidence because some people have told me they think I’m that kind of mom. I appear organized, patient and calm.

But I have stuff.

I’m an anorexic. Yep, I said it. At the age of 8 I developed a deadly eating disorder to help me cope with some things that happened to me when I was really young that I had no control of. What I could control was what went in my mouth, and so I did.

That eating disorder ruled my life for 16 years. Then one day I ended up in my doctors office with a heart that was leaking, organs that were failing and a body that was feeding on itself to survive. My doctor very sweetly told me she believed I was anorexic and that there was nothing she could do for me. I had to fix this myself and if I didn’t I would have a heart attack. She said it could happen in the next month or in a year, but that was where I was headed. Then she handed me three cards of psychologists that worked solely with eating disorder patients and with a few words of encouragement, she sent me out the door.

Out of fear of loosing my life I went to see one of those psychologists. And that’s how it all began.

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No one is only what they appear to be. Everyone has stuff. So the next time you feel jealousy coming on, or put yourself down for your inadequacies, remember that you aren’t alone. You are in good company. And remember that the ones that try hardest to make you think they don’t have stuff, have more than the average! They have to cope too, somehow.

So hold off on the jealousy, judgement and harsh thoughts. These moms may just be coping with a curve ball life has thrown their way. They may work hard in one area of their life to cover up another that isn’t so together. They are likely dealing with real life too. Just like you. Just like me.

Hello Again…

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I’ve been absent for a while. Since last fall it’s been mostly quite around here. I’ve missed it, writing, that is.

I was quiet because I couldn’t talk about the mundane blah, blah, blah stuff when I had so much going on in my head that was real and meaningful. But I didn’t know how to talk about that stuff, or I wasn’t ready to, so I didn’t talk about anything. It was too personal and raw. But I knew I would write about it one day. One day I would be ready.

So here we are again, 9 months later and I think I’m ready now.

So much exciting stuff has happened this (school) year. And I really want to get it down, and out of my head. It’s hard, though. So I’m going to take it a little at a time and see if I can make it make sense of it. Come with me if you wish, or don’t, it’s ok.

The Lord took me on a journey this year like none other. It was exciting, amazing, humbling, and REAL.

I have a story to tell. A story of how God redeemed my life, gave me hope and a purpose. A story of his faithfulness, mercy, and unrelenting love for me. How he gave me peace and joy and answers to hard questions in my life.

I have a story to tell, and I’m ready to tell it. A little at a time.

Intentional Holidays – Advent Calendar

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One way I wanted to be intentional about Christmas this year was through our Advent calendar. I want to help my children be others-focused instead of me-focused during this very self-centered, consumeristic season. In the past I have filled my Advent calendar with little gifts, or treats each day. Oddly, this didn’t get the results I was hoping for – instead it perpetuated the me-focus.

So this year I will fill the Advent calendar with kind deeds for us to do each day and promises we receive because Jesus came to earth as a baby and grew up to die for our sins.

The list of kind deeds are fun and silly and all the stuff kids love, but instead of focusing them on what they are going to get, they focus us on giving to others. Click Here: Advent Kind Deed List for a list of more-than-you-will-need ideas. Pick a few you like and add them to your Advent calendar this year!

Here is a list of Promises God gives to those who believe in Jesus. I hope these help us focus on the gifts Jesus brought to each and every one of us through His birth and life here on Earth.

 

 

 

When Moms Are Weak

My mother suffered from serious depression during much of my childhood. I don’t remember her ever getting me up for school, making me breakfast or packing my lunch. I did all of that myself starting in the 1st grade. I was given an alarm clock, poured a bowl of Cheerios for myself every morning alone, and made my own lunch everyday.

I don’t tell you this so you will feel sorry for me, I turned out ok. But I tell you to explain how I turned out OK.

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My mother and I had a conversation recently about these years when I was young and taking care of myself. There is still much pain over the subject that we are slowly working through. But at some point in the conversation she said to me, “I knew I wasn’t being a mother to you. And when I couldn’t do things for you or be there for you – I could pray. And that is what I did. When I couldn’t do it myself, I asked Him to fill in the gaps for you.”

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And I can sit here today and tell you that He did just that. He filled in the gaps. He pursued me, gave me strength, discernment and wisdom. He was with me and had a great purpose in mind for my life. I had to go through some hard stuff along the way, but He was with me in every painful step.

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This fall has been a difficult one. We are over scheduled and I hate that. I can’t spend time with the kids as much as I would like, we are always rushing and I feel like I am not being the mom I want to be. So I take hope in prayer. Because of my story, I have buckets of faith that when I am weak as a mother, God is strong. He will fill the gaps and protect my children, give them strength and bring people into their lives who fill them as well.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

On the days that we just don’t have it to give or when we make mistakes in mothering our little ones, He is made perfect in our weakness. It’s not fashionable to boast about such days but maybe we should – at least to ourselves and close friends!

Thank you Lord!

 

 

My Personal Monologue

About a week ago I wrote a post about “Who God Says I Am“. And in that post I said I had a fun exercise to do with that info. Well, here it is.

Some, no, many days I need a good dose of who God says I am to combat what the world says I am, or I say I am, or what I think others think I am. Right? Do you ever do that too? Well, I have a terrible habit of letting those negative messages sink in  and run my life instead of letting God’s message dictate my attitude and mindset. After looking up what the Bible said about me I came up with a personal monologue that I wrote down and keep somewhere that I can easily access it when I am needing a little dose of God thinking.

I took several of these things I found that really resonate with me (and combat some of my typical negative recordings) and put them together in a short paragraph. Really simple. But so impactful. Throw one of these together for yourself and see what difference it makes for you.

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So the next time I start getting down on myself with the lies that fill my head I will say:

“I am God’s child and I belong to Him. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am not condemned for the wrong I do because I am saved by grace. I am never alone. I am a co-heir with Christ. I have a  heavenly calling. I am a temple of God and His Spirit dwells in me. I am God’s workmanship created in Christ to do His work that He planned for me. I am chosen and called by God. I have wisdom from God. I am the light of the world. I am a victor. My labor is not in vain. I can never be separated from God’s love. I am strong. I am forgiven. I am chosen by God, holy and dearly loved.”

Yeah, take that!

I may even play the “Rocky” theme song as I read it.

Now you write yours…and please share it, I would love to see what you cone up with.