Hiccups & Sneezes

Hiccup, sneeze, hiccup, sneeze…this went on for the next 20 minutes. What is it about my husband getting the hiccups that makes me erupt with laughter? It only happens about once a year, but it’s like a special birthday present when it happens.๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ˜† The combo of hiccups and sneezes was more than I could handle. My sides ached and I couldn’t breathe from laughing so hard. Being desperate for relief from his current situation, he pulled into a McDonalds drive thru to order a drink, in hopes it would cause the hiccups to cease. Here’s where things got interesting…neither one of us could talk, I mean ZERO words could be enunciated between gasps of laughter, breathless, belly aching tremors, where no sound could escape. You can imagine the frustration for the person taking our order.๐Ÿ˜ณ What proceeded was such silliness that it still makes us laugh today. We kept trying to answer her question, but inevitably Randy would hiccup or sneeze, and it all started over again. We genuinely felt bad for the woman on the intercom, who was becoming increasingly frustrated, but we felt powerless by the laughter. It couldn’t be stopped!๐Ÿ˜† At some point he was able to recover just enough to respond with his drink order, but I was hopeless. I’m sure I looked a mess when we got to the window…more like I’d been crying than laughing, face red, still shaking with tremors as I painfully tried to stifle giggles. I felt so juvenile. I mean seriously, get it together! But, you know what? It was such a gift. I’m pretty sure God nudged our funny bones and allowed us to find humor that we were desperately needing.

It had been a tough season of ministry. We were hurting, but only us and God knew the full extent of our pain. Our times together had become problem solving, venting our frustrations, and praying for wisdom…it was quite dreary and way to serious. Joy seemed to elude us most days. We had just arrived in Florida for a conference and were hoping God would renew and restore us while there. God knows what we need, so in His divine wisdom he gave Randy hiccups AND sneezes that evening…a recipe for relief. (Well, it’s not for everyone, but it was for us.๐Ÿ˜‰) The atmosphere felt a lot lighter that night. We even began joking about some of the hard stuff we were dealing with. It was glorious relief in the midst of our desert season of drought and pain. It didn’t change our circumstances, but it was a reminder to not take everything so seriously. The weight of the world doesn’t rest on our shoulders. We laid our weights down that night and picked up His joy. It’s lighter and gives us the strength to press on.

Don’t miss the moment by fretting and fuming over what can’t be solved in the immediate. Pray. Start by thanking God for the myriad of blessings in your life…to numerous to count. Ask Him for wisdom, His perspective, and to meet your needs. Then, embrace the moment. Find the funny. It might cause a belly ache, but it soothes heart aches.

Is your life feeling a little dreary right now, maybe way to serious, burdened by the weight of the world? Lay your weights at His feet and trust Him to carry them. You don’t have to have it all figured out right in this moment, or even tomorrow…or next week! God sees the beginning and the end. He’s already got it all figured out. Pour out your pain to Jesus and ask Him to help you choose joy today. I’m praying He will nudge your funny bone. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You can do all things through Him!

Proverbs 31:35~She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Neh.8:10~This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Phil.4:6~Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

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Please Don’t Label Me

If you do have a fault or a weakness or make a mistake and you do not own it, you still have it. You will repeat it. It will occur again.~ Henry Cloud

Please don’t label me with anorexia, just call it for what it is, sin. My counselor looked stunned at my statement. In her twenty-ish years of counseling no one had ever made that request. She chuckled at my reply and said she needed to have a diagnosis in order for insurance to kick in. Regardless, I insisted the diagnosis could be depression (or control freak, which seemed more fitting for me), but not anorexia.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew I had those tendencies, but I didn’t want to be labeled. A label felt like an excuse, as if I couldn’t control eating, or not eating. I was concerned that allowing myself to be labeled with a “disorder” would give me a mental license to feel as if I was a victim of my tendencies, like I didn’t have a choice in the matter. The reality was I had a sin problem….the root of it was control. Infertility, among other things, had left me feeling out of control, and controlling my food became my method of coping. In my fear and impatience, I took matters into my own hands and decided to control what I could…food.

Apart from God we can do nothing…..nothing good. And so I journeyed down the rabbit trail of control. I ate less and less, working out more and more. Everyday, I got a little closer to the “perfect” weight. (As if there is such a number). It’s an endless, hopeless, dark pursuit, which can ultimately lead to death. It took an ย infertility specialist to shine some light in the darkness of my thinking. Thank you Jesus for the truth, even when it hurts!

No, I wouldn’t make excuses, I would call it for what it was, sin. This didn’t feel condemning, it felt freeing. Taking responsibility helped me loosen the chains. I wasn’t resisting the chains, I was surrendering, and by God’s grace, they fell off. It didn’t happen in one single moment, it happened one victorious moment at a time, eating one “taboo” food at a time, all of it, not hiding any. There were times I thought I would never be completely free. But that’s a lie of the enemy, for if the son has set you free, you are free indeed! So, I kept seeking Jesus, finding Truth, and pursuing holiness as best I could, until one day I realized, the inward battle was gone. No more chains of distortion binding my heart and mind. Surrender is peaceful and freedom weighs less than chains. I would never go back.

The counselor never did diagnose me with anorexia though she could have. But it really wouldn’t matter because that label would no longer define or describe me. I am not defined by my worst mistakes, or even my best works, neither are you. I’m defined by WHOSE I am, not by what I’ve done….thank you Jesus!

Are you struggling to overcome something? There is nothing that you can’t overcome by God’s empowering grace. Remain in Him. Ask Him to help you and surround yourself with people that can help you achieve victory over your battle. Take it moment by victorious moment, and He will set you free! When you trip and fall, He will pick you up and send you on your way to victory. You can do ALL things!

(If you have a love/hate relationship with food, I’d love to pray for you. The battle of the mind is a powerful one. Send me a message and we will battle it together in prayer. Prayer is where the battles are won!)

John 15:5~I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 8:36~So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Romans 12:2~And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Hope When Hopeless

His chest, the width of Randy’s fist, rose and fell with the machine. I sat, helpless, with my hand against the glass, being told I shouldn’t touch him “to much” for the stimulation isn’t good for preemies. The room was dark, with only the sounds of beeps and alarms when babies needed assistance. It was a long 5 weeks in the NICU. For 48 hours we didn’t know if Logan would live or die, due to the staff infection which raged in his body and his underdeveloped lungs. Such despair, such hopelessness, I couldn’t even pray. It seemed futile and irrelevant in those dark moments. But then, nurse Julie….she walked me to a hall, grabbed my hands, looked me in the eyes and said,”God wants me to tell you this is not your fault.” In that moment I broke. It felt like a cloud burst. I couldn’t control the tears, and I was so thankful. You see, that is the exact thing I needed to hear. God saw me. He knew my pain and He cared. Not only Him, but my sweet nurse Julie faithfully followed God’s promptings. I’m so thankful she was listening to Him! Are you in a seemingly hopeless place today? You have a God who cares. He will meet your needs, even if you don’t have strength to ask Him. Be encouraged, the trial won’t last forever, but His love for you will. If you’re in a place of peace right now, who is God asking you to reach out to with His love? Are you listening?

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Truth Sets Us Free

I was causing my own infertility. Ouch. He wasn’t nice about it and he didn’t mince words when he shared this insight. The doctor believed I was just to thin. BUT I knew other women that were thinner…BUT I wasn’t THAT thin….BUT other doctors told me that my weight was fine….BUT he was just a meanie…BUT…BUT…BUT….But, deep down inside I knew there was a nugget of truth, not that infertility was my fault, rather, that I WAS to thin. My weight, or lack of it, became a means of control for the things I couldn’t control in my life. Friends and family had tried to share their concerns gently, to no avail. Truthfully, I needed his words, though they were harsh. (Sometimes God will use tough love) It struck a chord in me and I began to seek out counseling and accountability for the chains that had begun to shackle me…without my awareness. I found freedom in the Truth, and I became grateful for that freedom over time, even when added pounds didn’t immediately result in my dreams of a baby. Still, I was free, and freedom weighs less than chains! ย What truth is God speaking to you that you have been resisting? Sometimes He uses other people to expose our areas of blindness. Are you listening? Freedom can only be found in Truth.
John 8:32~Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™Œ

Waiting

Seven.long.years. The struggles of infertility are agonizing. Those dreaded single pink lines when you’ve prayed ceaselessly for that extra line. Each time dreams felt shattered by the disappointment. I remember sinking into a rhythm of going to work, coming home, eating dinner with Randy, and then praying /crying in a corner of our house as I listened to “Be Still and Know” by Steven Curtiss Chapman. That cassette (yes I’m that old), was worn out. It seemed as though a heavy darkness was suffocating me. No joy, no peace, just pain…and silence.

While there is definitely a time to be still, I believe God had other instructions for me, if only I would have had ears to hear! If I could go back to that fearful, hopeless self, I would say, “This is the day the Lord has made. GET UP, rejoice, and be glad in it!” To many days were lost and I couldn’t see the blessings all around me. (You can imagine how much fun it was to be married to me๐Ÿ˜ณ). While we live and breathe on this earth God has great things in store for us! So, if you’re overwhelmed with grief and sadness, be still and know He’s God. Cry out your hopes and dreams…but then, GET UP and rejoice in the life you’ve been given!

Psalm 30:5~Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 118:24~This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it!