Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sharing my story

If you are visiting today from  www.makingmuchofhim365.com/ welcome!
If you are just checking in  today I am over here today  www.makingmuchofhim365.com/          .
(The story may not be posted until later in the day on Wed...so keep checking!)
(I am still working on my blog design so excuse any unorganization!)

 Many of my insecurities came raining down on me this week as I anticipated the publishing of my story.  I say my story even though I know it is God's story...but when I write it out and present it, I allow the enemy to tell me that I didn't make sense, that I didn't say the right things...all of the critical comments that echo in my ear.  But regardless of me or what I do...God is the star of the show.  He restored and redeemed my thoughts and my identity...He took all that was destroyed and made it new.  He lifted me out of the pit I jumped in and set me on solid ground.  What I wrote is just a summary of my testimony...it only gives bits and pieces. But this journey through life..this story...it is God's story...it is a story of darkness turned to light. 

Are things always easy? No
Do I always look in the mirror and see the person God created?  No
Do I always talk true and pure things to myself and only listen to the truth? No

But what I do know is that regardless of how I feel, God never changes.  God's love never changes. 

One of the most important parts of my story is when all of the secrets, the shame, and the guilt became exposed to the light.  When I was able to take all of the things that were stuffed deep inside that choked the life out me...when they were spoken...When they were out there...in the open...in the light, the weight of it all began to lift.  The veil that blinded the truth was lifted.  The lies that were shouting in my ears every day, they were quieted...I want to say they were silenced, but I am still learning to fight.

The following is an excerpt from a book I am writing.  This part of the story starts when I met with my counselor at the eating disorder treatment center and for the first time told my whole story.  Most of it had never been spoken before..almost all of it was stuffed so deep in my heart that I wasn't sure the words would come out.

My life now exposed was suddenly out of the dark and in the light.  The light.  Finally.  My breath that was before so hard to find, that I sometimes had to force in and out, now seemed to flow with ease.  The darkness that swallowed me up and hid me from he truth now had a stream of light shining through.

John 12:46 "I have come as a light to shine in this dark world so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark." 

How can exposing all of the darkness--the dirty, ugly places of our life--be good.  How can we share what burdens us, ugly or dark or shameful and think for a moment our life will be any better?

Genesis 1:3 "Let there be light and there was light.  And God saw that light was good.  Then he separated the light from the darkness."  God said light is good.  In this scripture we see that light and darkness are separated.  Light is good. 

If you are feeling shame, guilt, darkness, fear...know that God is light.  He already knows what has happened in your life and He loves you.

If you have darkness that is choking you...keeping you from living the life God has for you...I encourage you today to find a Christian counselor or a person who will speak godly wisdom to you.  Maybe you first need to write out your story first...so that you can see it all written on paper...expose the darkness to the light.  God did that from the beginning.  He said light is good.

A few scriptures to meditate on regarding light:
"The Lord is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid?"  Psalm 27:1
"Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."  Psalm 119:105
"...but even in the darkness I can not hide from you."  Psalm 139"12
"This is the message we heard from Jesus, and now declare to you.  God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all... But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin" 1 John 1:5,7 (emphasis mine)

The ultimate glory goes to God.  I shared this part of a devotional with some of my friends yesterday, but wanted to share it again. This comes from Oswald Chambers in his book My Utmost For His Highest"If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all.  They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others.  Because of this process, you will never be surprised by what comes your way."  

Blessings!  May you feel the showers of love that God is raining down on you today!

Friday, November 2, 2012

expectations, comparisons, and analysis

Five teenage girls...maybe sixteen years old...sat circled around a small cafe table.  School was over for the day and their minds were full of the what had happened over the past 6-7 hours.  Their eyes spoke of insecurities and expectations.  Their words they spoke of comparisons and analysis of the girls who walked amongst them today at school.  "Their hair...".  "She wore...and always looks..." dominated the conversation. They spent over an hour of their time criticizing, analyzing, describing others.  I listened as I worked.  They sat in the cafe part of the grocery store where I work.  We are close to the schools and are often a hang out place at the end of a school day.  I was covering that area of the store this day.  I wanted to pull up a chair and sit with them.  I wanted to ask them about what those girls are like...not their looks, but their behavior and integrity.  What were they like as a person?  I had so many questions...why are you so fascinated to spend an hour of your day talking about the clothes, the hair, the boyfriends, the cars of these girls...an hour of their day. 

They are teens...I know...this is normal.  But why is it normal?  It is normal at my age..at any age really. We want to compare.  We want to analyze.  We want to see if we measure up and fit in.  Are we good enough?  Do our clothes or hair look right?  What will others think?  So we break apart the other person...the one who seems like they have it all put together.  What would they do?  What would they wear?  What would they eat?  What boyfriend would they have?  What do they drive?  We want to emulate another person or group of people.

I remember in school wanting to be able to talk, act or dress like some of my friends.   They were so outgoing and I was quiet.  They knew how to have fun and I was afraid of trying things.  They wore cute clothes and had cute bodies and I didn't know how to find my own style.  They...They...They. I wanted to be like them.  Not like me.  I wanted different hair, a different body, a different personality.  I wanted to be liked and accepted.

I wasted so much time wanting to be someone else.

God made me ME...for a reason. I didn't know that.

God made me ME...with a plan in mind.  I didn't know that.

God made me ME...with brown hair and 5'5" with a size 8 shoe.  He gave me blue eyes, a mole on my chin and the side of my nose.  God chose for me to be born at this period in history.  God knit me together with a careful design so that I could serve him in the way he wanted.  But for so long, I wanted to be someone else and change this carefully designed body. 

We aren't someone else.  We never will be.  We will always be the one that God created in the perfect fashion He chose.

Those girls...what if they could have spent that hour...talking about how they are going to use their gifts to serve others...to spend time with others...to do something for others...to speak edifying words over another person.   We all can be like these girls...we want to huddle up at a table and see if everyone feels the same way. 

God wants us to emulate Him.

Today I am going to focus on Him.
Today I am going to put aside my desire to be like someone else...and to be like Him. 
Today if I speak about someone it will be words of encouragement.
God gave me a specific amount of time on this earth.  I want to use it well.

The girls walked away and I have thought of each of their voices since then.  I want them to know that they are perfect and they don't have to compare.  I wonder if I wasn't working that day...would I have been so bold as to pull up a chair and had a conversation with them...an encouraging view in to who they really are...lovely young ladies created for a purpose.

Lord give me a spirit of boldness.
Lord help me speak truth and encouragement to those around me.
Lord help me see the truth of who you created me to be.

You were created for a purpose...perfect the way you are. 


Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Good Morning!

It is 5:25 in the morning.  I have been up for a about a half hour but my mind is still a bit groggy.  My daughter Madie is in the shower and I am waiting for my turn.  She is in a program called Running Start.  This program is available to High School students what are juniors or seniors.  If they qualify they can attend community college classes for free (except books) and earn their Associates Degree and High School Diploma at the same time.  There is an option to do part high school and part college, but Madie chose to do all college classes.  She loves going to college.  The teachers treat them the same, in fact they do not know which students are running start or regular college students except for the fact that most of them look younger!  They are college students.  In the morning, Madie rides the community bus up to the school and sometimes she rides it home.  All of this is new to Madie and such a big step.  Yesterday she had her first mid term.  We have had many tears during homework...writing papers and analyzing text at college level...but she gets up every morning excited about going to school.  This is a huge change for a girl who literally covered her head with her blankets, "hated" getting up for school and was an angry mess every day.   The students at the college accept Madie as she is.  They include her in their discussions, treat her with respect and talk to her with out judgement.  She has longed for years for this. 

Don't we all long to be accepted...to be included...to be treated wtih respect...to be talked to? 

We long for people to look at us and believe we have it all together...we are smart, fit, doing something important...approval.  This morning this has been heavy on my  heart.  I want to be free of that.  I really want to wake up in the morning and not wonder if I am approved or disapproved by people, but living my every day life for God.  I am already approved by God. 

How do we abandon our desire to live up to people's expectations?  How do we keep our eyes focused on Jesus instead?

The world's expectation (or for the most part):  Look a certain way.  Accomplish much.  Acquire stuff.

Jesus' expectation:  Love God.  Love others (our neighbor).

The world's expectations keep our eyes on ourselves.  The expectation of God keeps our eyes off of ourselves and on the needs of others.

I remember a time when I could only dwell on my past, how much time I had wasted and that I wasnt' doing what I thought I was suppose to be doing (ok...I still do that sometimes)...And a woman with godly wisdom asked me "Did you do today well? Did you love God?  Did you love others?" 

My hope is that today you will "do today well" by loving God and loving others.


(note:  I started this message yesterday morning and am finishing it this morning!   It may be a bit scattered!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Letting Go

Letting go.
Is hard.
Letting go.
Can hurt.
Letting go.
Giving somethings up.
Is hard.

I need to pay my bills.  My hours have been cut.  The Lord said He will provide.  I have been tithing.  I haven't always done that.  Maybe when I "could" based on how I felt.  Now I write my check as soon as I get paid.  Letting go...giving with cheerful heart....knowing God will provide.

I don't have many valuable things in my home.  But I have things I love.  Things that I like to look at and know that are in my house....Like my Willow Tree Angels.  The ones I purchased when I was in treatment for an eating disorder.  I bought one at a time.  Each one has a name on the bottom...mine sat on my shelf..I saw them every day.  Courage.  Healing. Health. Love. Prayer. Wisdom.  Each time I bought one I was in a different place in the healing process.

I have bills that need to be paid.
I am a single mom. 

They are just things. 

A platter with scripture swirled around the edges.  A bag of books.  Wood blocks with encouraging words.   A wrought iron server.  Two hangng wrought iron candle holders.  Two trivets with words of faith.  My angels.

I had to sell them
I had to let go of them
It was hard.
It hurt to hand them to somene else and know I wouldn't see them anymore.
I thought it wouldn't be hard.  They are just things. 
But it was.
I wanted to be strong and tough and all holy...

they are just things.
They are just things.
And God does provide.
The money I needed.  It came.  I took some precious items and let go of them,
And God provided.  I let go of my money and tithed and God made a way.  I had to let go though.
I had to give something up first.
It was hard.
Those angels...I loved them so much...but I they are just things.  just things.  just things.
I still have courage.   I still have good health.  I still have wisdom.  I still am healed.  I still am loved.  Even if those angels aren't sitting on my shelf.  I had to let go to receive.  I had to let go to give room for God to do His work.  I had to let go so that I didn't put things ahead of God. 
They way the money came...it was only in a way that God could have fashioned.  It was only in a way that God created.  All of the items were listed individually.  Someone took it all.  She asked what I needed.  She wrote me a check.  I gave her my things.
I tithed....I let go.
I sold things that I loved...I let go.
I let go...and God provided.

"In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples."
Luke 14:32-34

If I believe everything in the Bible...then I get to let go so that I can give and serve and share faith. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Story to Tell

Wikepedia states that the definition of story is "the recounting of a sequence of events".  I love to read stories.  I love to hear stories.  On of my favorite times as a Kindergarten teacher was reading stories.  I used stories to teach math, language arts, social studies.  I love that characters and plot lines bring people in and captivate their attention.  Stories can teach a lesson, make people laugh, help someone understand a difficult concept.  Stories tell...they can tell of life's fortune and misfortune, of setbacks and triumphs, of gains and losses. 

Yesterday during worship the Lord whispered in my ear that I must share my story.   I know that the Lord has given me a testimony to share.  I started the non profit What Is Beautiful as an avenue for that.  I am slowing (and too slowly at that) writing a book.  I have shared my story early on in this blog.  I have shared with people who have asked.  But during worship the Lord was clear, that the time is coming that I must share my story.  I am not sure what that looks like.  During prayer after worship the pastor asked us to pray for something that the Lord placed on our heart.  I prayed not for provision, which we need badly, because when I started God said "I already said I would provide".  I started to pray for my children,  God said "I already said I would take care of them".  So I prayed for what felt urgent in my heart and that was "how to tell the story of how God restored me so others could be restored". 

I had to work in the afternoon yesterday (Sunday).  On my break I got out my journal and begin to write a few notes:

Stories:  God used stories.  The Bible is full of stories of people.  God used peoples stories to share wisdom, lessons, pains, hurt, triumphs, redemption, and their journeys so that we could learn and have guidelines....so that we had an example of how He wanted us to live or not to live...so that we had a way already forged out....so that we could learn. 

God used stories to tell the good and the struggles...not just the good.  He shared restoration, redemption, strengths, weaknesses, guidance.  God used stories.  Jesus used stories. 

God showed us David...He could have just shared the little Shepard boy David who faced a giant with three stones and won.  He could have just shared how David was favored by the people and made a great king who fought and won many battles.  But God showed us more.  He showed us his affair and how he handled that mess and in the end a person died...and then his own newborn died...God showed the struggles his sons had and how he wasn't the perfect parent.  But he also showed us David's heart and how he loved God...sought God...even through the heartache and the sin...even when David seemed far from God, we got to see the restoration.  And there are so many others...I could list out so many times God showed restoration...all parts of people's stories so that we could know how to live...so that we could know that there is a promise of restoration in the Bible. 

On any page of God's Word we can find a story.

So I love that this morning I read this blog post http://www.marlataviano.com/ ....about telling stories.  The title of her blog..."wanna share your story?"  Love...when God speaks something to my heart (I want you to share your story) and the next day I open my email and someone says "wanna share your story?"

My then events in my story are many...events that stole my identity...but God...He restored and redeemed my life.  Alcoholic member of my family brought secrets, fear, and a stripping of my voice.  Rape as a teen brought more secrets, fear, shame, and guilt.  Searching for love and identity in relationships and my outward appearance.  Eating disorder.  Abortion not once but twice.  Date rape in my twenties.  A marriage ending in divorce.  An immoral decision that brought so much shame and guilt, I wanted to die.  The eating disorder...it almost took me there. Treatment center, hospital stay (psych ward).  But God...He never took his eyes off of me.  He placed people in my life that never gave up on me.  He never stopped holding out his hand and when I took it He never let go.  Healing.  Restoration.  Redemption.  Forgiveness.  Joy. Peace. Love. Still hard many days...but my eyes they have to stay on Jesus...I have to stay in the Word.  I have to stay connected to those who love Jesus. 

That's my story in one paragraph.

Thank you Jesus for your saving grace.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Overcoming Fear

Fear has a way of settling in my heart.

It becomes a barrier, a wall, a mountain.  

Fear holds us back.  It keeps us from normal everyday life.  It keeps us from our God calling.  It keeps us from demonstrating His love to others.

My middle daughter is learning to drive.  Before she turned 16 she told me she didn't want to learn.  She didn't care about getting her license.  She said it was "no big deal".  I didn't push the issue.  But one day I asked her if she wanted to go to the elementary school parking lot in town and try driving out.  Panic struck her face and she said no.  I didn't push the issue.  I really wanted her to just try it out.  I asked her again a week later.  I told her she could drive 100 feet in a straight line and be done...just try it once.  She finally agreed.  

On a Sunday after church her and I got in the van and I drove us to the empty parking lot.  It's big and open and the best place to practice.  She got in the drivers seat.  I began to talk to her about the gas pedal, the brake, the parking brake, the gear shift (park, reverse, and drive).   I told her about the steering wheel.  We talked about when she learned to ride a bike and how at first she pushed the brakes hard and she jerked to a stop...but soon she learned how to push them just right.  I told her it would be the same with the car.  We adjusted the mirrors.  We fastened our seat belts.  We turned the ignition.  She put her head in her hands and cried.

I gave her a minute to cry.

I asked her what was making her cry.


She was scared.

She didn't want to have the responsibility of driving.

She was scared.

Fear held her back all these months.  The reason she said no.  The reason she didn't want to try.

Fear.  It became a barrier.

I told her it was okay.  That I wouldn't let her try if I didn't think she could do it.  I told her I believed in her and that is why we were sitting in the parking lot in the first place.  I told her just to go straight  and stop and we could be done, but she had to try.  She could do it.

She drove a few feet...and then a few more...and then some more...and then a half hour later I got in the driver's seat and drove us home.  

She conquered fear.
She stood up to it.
She tried.  She took one step, which led to another, which led to another, which took her around the parking lot.

She got her permit. 
Now she wishes she had done it sooner.
She has to wait to get her license until after driver's ed.
She conquered fear, but it stole time.  
My sister and brother in law graciously let her borrow one of their cars for a while...to use as her first car.  
We practice.  She rides the bus to school.  She has conquered more fears....intersections, driving over 35, parking, getting gas.  But she is sad that she is 16 and has to wait to get her license.  Fear stole time.  

At church last week, I was thinking on things that were not lovely....the things that I allowed fear to steal from me.  I was thinking about worry....and the book I am writing for the last three years and am afraid to finish...my master's degree I started and afraid to finish...the non profit I started and afraid to pursue...fear it steals time.

But God showed me...

He parted the Red Sea.
He moved a mountain.
He saved Daniel from the lions.
He made the sun stand still.
He healed the sick.
He raised the dead.

He didn't do this for himself.  He did it for us.  For me.  
So that I could write my book.
So that I could speak truth to the lost.
So that I could share my story and bring hope to the hurting.

So that you could serve in His name.
So that you could love your neighbor.
So that you could love your own children and raise them in His name.
So that you could do the things He called you to do...whatever that is.

God conquered fear for us.

God restores the stolen time that fear takes.

Madie is going to take driver's ed next month.
She was given an amazing gift of a car to drive.
Her time is being restored.

Fear...take one step today to show it that it can not steal anymore time from the things you are called to do.

Psalm 34:4
"I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.  Those who look to him will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces."

Under the banner of God let go of fear.  Here are some practical steps:
1.  Get in the car.
Take the first step. Whatever it is, take one step forward.  Like Madie who was afraid of driving, she got in the car and sat there.  The first step. 

2.  Fasten the seat belt.
Pray and be prepared.  Buckle in and get ready for an amazing ride.

3.  Put the car in drive.
Get ready to be in motion. 

4.  Pull the parking break.
Let go and let God put you in motion. 

5.  Push the gas pedal.
Move forward.  Just go straight ahead.  Don't look back.

6.  Take a practice drive.
Just do it. 

7.  Keep going.
Get back in the car again.

What if we sit in fear all of our lives and never know the drive that God has in store for us.  It is a beautiful ride.

In Love,


Monday, July 2, 2012

The Number on the Scale

This morning I woke up and followed my normal routine.  I usually keep the same order in how I do things...It is just how I do it.  I wake up, go directly in to the bathroom, get my things on the counter that I need (face cleanser, lotions, washcloth, etc), brush my teeth, and then I weigh myself.  Four years ago I use to weigh myself at least 10 times a day.  I was obsessed by the number on the scale.  It defined my day...it defined the moment...I allowed it to be a measure of who I was...It defined me.  The number--where ever the line stopped at---I let it tell create a definition of who I was.  In the midst of the worse part of the eating disorder...in 2008...there were many times when friends would come to my house and take my scale.  There were times when I would voluntarily hand it over.  But that only lasted a few days.  I would buy a new one.

A scale measured my worth.

A number told me who I was.

The size of my body became a definition of my identity.

I would step on the scale and then I would curse myself.  I said words that I would never want to hear anyone speak.  I said words that would hurt the person with the toughest skin.  I spoke hate and death over myself...never understanding what that was doing to the God who created me.

Why would I allow a number to measure my value?  Why would I allow a scale to become my identity?

Today I stepped on my scale.  Today I weigh a number that in my flesh...I don't really like...but the difference is I have chosen to allow something else to define me.

My value is not a number on a scale.  My value is from God.  He says, "For you are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."  Ephesians 2:10 NLT  

God says in Psalm 139 that "He made me wonderfully" (v14) that His "workmanship is marvelous" (v14).

I am made in the image of God.

When I curse my body or let the world define my value based on what my outside looks like, then I am literally telling the Lord that he made a mistake...that what he did was not good enough for me because I value the opinion of the world over His.

"But the Lord said to Samuel, "Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him,  The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them.  People judge by outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart."  1 Samuel 16:7

I can't find anywhere in the Bible where God says that my weight or the shape of my body defines my worth.

I just want to encourage any one who has has allowed others or their scale number to become their means of a value scale...to take the first step today and every time those thoughts or beliefs begin to creep in...to rebuke them and remind yourself that God is you defining system.

I know that this isn't a instant change moment...that you are not going to read this and be instantly transformed...because I can't do that for you.  But I know that the God that I serve can.  He can. He is the source of our worth.

Today...as a first step decide on one statement you are going to counteract the lies that you have come to believe as true.  Every time your thoughts go in the wrong direction...say that statement or scripture verse over and over...every day until you begin to believe that instead.  Get in the Word!  If you believe that everything in the Bible is true...then search out how God defines us...and root yourself in the truth.  We are to live in the world but not of the world...meaning that we have to live in the world...but we can not live by the world's ways.  We have to live by the Word of God.

Today the number on the scale...it was just a number.

Today the Word of God...is my value.

If I can support you in anyway by praying for you...speaking truth to you...sharing the story of God's restoration in my life...please leave a comment or email me at redefinedbeauty@gmail.com.

In love,