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Cornstarch and Cuss Words

matt1128

So our youth group is having a bake sale every Sunday until Jesus comes (or October 8th, whichever) and naturally I had to hit up my “home away from home” in order to do my part in fundraising. And, because I don’t do anything easy, I needed cornstarch to make a scratch made chocolate meringue…
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Treat Yo Self

treatyoself

Growing up I was Bill and Nagatha’s daughter. Through school I was Chris’ sister. Then I was Jason’s girlfriend, then wife. Now I’m Max, Reagan, Phoebe and Ellie’s mom. It’s usually in that last role that a lot of women lose their “self.” When I was in the trenches of raising babies, the days when my…
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New Year! New You!

award

Sounds like a super cheesy late night infomercial doesn’t it? For the low low price of 3 easy payments of $19.99 you’ll get a month supply of ‘Changeyourlife Lotion’ BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Order within the next 30 minutes and you’ll get TWO bottles for the price of one! Don’t you wish it were that…
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The Gospel According to Fitbit

As Christmas approaches I have had my eye on a new Fitbit.  My $100 investment in myself almost three Christmases ago has proven to be money well spent.  And being the tech geek that I am, I am wanting to upgrade to a Fitbit Surge.
Sounds SO cool.

Say it with me…”SUUUUURGE.”
I love it.
I need one.
I faithfully wore my tracker every single day.
I lovingly charged the battery and tracked each and every step.
As I started losing weight, people started asking me, “What are you doing?!”  I would quickly tell them about the power of the Fitbit.  “Oh, it’s so easy!  It tracks your sleep, your steps, your calories burned, you just have to wear it and it does all the work for you!  It’s SO cool!  Yeah, it’s just $100!  THE best $100 I’ve EVER spent on myself.  I love it!”
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Over the course of the year more and more people in my life started buying a Fitbit.  Each day I would get a new notification of “So and so wants to be your friend!”  “Help such and such get more fit!”  Looking over my friends list now, there are over 20 people who got a Fitbit because of my testimonial.  And like throwing a rock into a lake, those people tell the power of the Fitbit to the people in their life and they too get a Fitbit.  The ripple just keeps going.

Once upon a time Jason and I ran a skate shop.  One evening he came home and said an old classmate of ours had died of a drug overdose.
I was so saddened to hear about this unfortunate passing of a schoolmate.  But Jason seemed extra troubled and I asked him what was wrong.  He said, “I just talked to him the other day when I saw him outside of the skate shop window.  I didn’t even tell him about Jesus.”

In a book study I’m leading at church I came across the scripture in Ephesians 6:19 that every time we open our mouth, we need to speak the gospel.

Whoa.  Wait.  What?
Yes.
Every.  Single. Time.

Not just when you come from a powerful church service.
Or when you are in a good mood.
Or when you are surrounded by your church friends.

I’m guilty. 
Sadly I can’t remember the last time I witnessed to someone by blatantly saying, “Do you know Jesus?  Can I show you how to know Him?”

2015 has been a less than stellar year for me.
Disappointment has been a constant companion as I continue to measure my worth with a number on a scale.
I still wear my Fitbit and strive for the vibration of a 10,000 step goal met but as old habits creep in, I don’t talk about it as much.

You think you learn a lesson only to be reminded by the One who created you that nothing can be done outside of His power.

Could it be that my daily struggle, my thorn in my side, could be so I can rely on Christ and not my Fitbit?
To rely on power that comes from Him?  And not myself?
Possibly.
How different would my life be if the ripples I made wasn’t for a piece of technology but instead for the Kingdom?  It saddens me to think of all my missed opportunities.

I highly doubt that when I get to Heaven God will announce with enthusiasm, “Enter in thou good and faithful servant!  You impacted hundreds of lives with your testimony of the Fitbit!  You accumulated over 2 million steps each year and those steps were made with conviction and dedication to weight loss!  Enter into your great reward!  Your treadmill of righteousness!”

Does that mean walking trackers are a bad thing?
No.
Does it mean that they can become a god thing?
Absolutely.

Just like everything else that we put above Christ.
Our job.
Our children.
Sports.
Our children’s sports.
Our looks.
Television.
Ministry.

It ALL can be elevated to god status and can become the idol we serve.
All while serving God we can become so consumed with it that we ending up serving it.

Believe me, I’m preaching to the choir.
And it’s hard.
But I don’t want to let God down on the most important job He’s given me.
I can not let others down by not sharing what I know about the absolute freedom that is found ONLY in Christ.
More than carrying around extra weight…
Denying someone knowledge about eternity is an unbearable burden to carry.

 

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Chasing an End with a Beginning

Deep breath.
I never thought I’d make it this far.  My prayer mirrors Thomas’…Lord I believe.  Help my unbelief.  2014 has been transformational in so many ways.  My heart is so full of gratitude to the Lord, it could literally burst.  I’ve blown it many times this year, but God is so faithful.  He is SO faithful.  In August I was doing my devotional in “One Thousand Gifts” by Anne Voskamp and p.74 said “Transfiguration can be the long miracle.”  I underlined it and then went to another blog I follow called Thrive Moms where I read their devotional listing 1 Corinthians 3:18 as the main scripture.

“Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of His face.  
And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually
becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like Him.”

So what next?

This year has been a process.  Accepting the Lord as my Healer is not something that came overnight…or easily.  The Lord never expected me to carry this struggle with food and my body at all.  Much less alone.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) says :
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Being yoked to something or someone is very intimate.  If I’m yoked to someone then I’m side by side, on the same level as them, sharing the load. If I’m yoked to Christ, which is what He wants for us, then He’s telling us that He wants that intimate relationship with us.

He wants to be the load bearer.
He wants to trade our heavy burdens
and all of our weariness
for something easier,
…lighter.

But…
handing that “thing” over to the Lord…
well, it’s not always easy.

Laying stuff down at the foot of the cross to only pick it back up again has been my cycle for years.  During this year of transformation I felt the Lord asking me, “Jill, do you trust me?”  I knew that every time I was picking up my hurts and burdens and struggles that I was flashing a thumbs up to the Lord and with a wink saying, “It’s all good God…I got this.”

Clearly I didn’t.
Accepting God as our Healer is an act of trust.  An act of obedience and faith where we finally take God at His word.  That He is who He says He is and He’ll do what He says He’ll do.  In our life.  Because 1 Corinthians  says,
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
He has a full life waiting for us.
Will we take it?
Will we trust Him to do what He promises He’ll do?
He’s our burden lifter…
…if we’ll allow Him to be.

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Just the facts, Ma’am

“God, you did everything you promised,
and I’m thanking you with all my heart.
You pulled me from the brink of death,
my feet from the cliff-edge of doom.
Now I stroll at leisure with God 
in the sunlit fields of life.”
Psalm 56:12-13
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This scripture was one I adopted this time last year when embarking on my healing journey.  It went straight to the heart of how I physically felt…on the brink of death, the cliff edge of doom.  Sounds dramatic…but it’s true.  There were literally nights that I prayed that God would let me fall asleep and wake up in His arms.  BUT, praise God, He gave me hope!  And this scripture opens up with hope!  God is true to His promises and I was thanking Him in advance for the work He, and only He, could do in my heart!

So, here’s the facts.
In one year I lost:
81 pounds (no, I didn’t have surgery…I get asked that a lot.)
4 inches off each arm
8 off each leg
11.5 off my waist
14 off my hips
With a total of 37.5 inches.  Yes, that’s almost how tall my 3.5 year old daughter is.  Sheesh.

I dropped 4 pant sizes.

According to my Fitbit, I blew my goal of 3 million steps out of the water with 4.2 million steps.  That translates into almost 1800 miles and over 1 million calories.  I set this years step goal at 5 million steps!

Above all these statistics, more importantly than what reads on a scale…I have a new heart.  A healed, whole heart that is SO full of gratitude and love for a Father who is so much more than God.  He is everything He says He is; Healer, Comforter, Provider, Victorious, Prince of Peace.
I could have done none of this without Him.
NONE.  I can do anything for a little bit.  Log food, count calories, exercise.  But, when I came to the realization that I was being a pawn for the enemy who wants to destroy me.  I was making his job easy.  I was believing his lies.  THAT realization is a good motivator for a heart change.

We are so much more than people wandering on hard ground.
God has SO much more for us.
If we would only take Him at His Word.
I know I can’t imagine if most of the people I talked to didn’t believe a word I said.  It’d be heartbreaking.

Am I finished?  Perfect?
NO. WAY.
God’s not finished with me yet!  But I’m off to a good start.  This is my new battle cry…

“Goodbye to shallow love, sharp words, self pity and suspicious fears.
I am an unsettled woman who no longer wishes to take
part in the enemy’s distractions or destructions.”
–Lysa Terkeurst

Here’s to 2015 and continued freedom!