July 28, 2012

I Think I Just Had a Moment

For as long as I can remember, I have dreaded physical activity. I have always been out of shape, and I have always felt like I was incapable of being athletic or even doing things that required coordination.

Me, far right, about age 6

 I much preferred reading over sports, and I hated every time my friends patronized me in PE. Even when I was thin in high school, it was because I had an eating disorder and I swam laps in the family's pool for hours and hours every day.
Me, left, age 17
As I grew up, I was teased a lot... I mean... a LOT about my size. It probably didn't help that I was so incredibly insecure that I never even tried to do much physical activity. As I got older, I shoved the possibility of athleticism out of my mind, and convinced myself that food was my real enemy. If I didn't eat, I wouldn't look the way that I did... so I stopped eating pretty much altogether. I lost 90 lbs the summer before my sophomore year... that's 90 lbs in about 2 1/2 months. I ate about 400 calories a day, and I swam for about 3-4 hours a day, and if I couldn't swim in our pool, I'd bum rides off my friends to swim at the local rec center, or I would walk around town as much as I could. I went from a size 20 to a size 12 in one summer, but I still only did the exercise that I knew I could do without shame over my body.

Nowadays, things aren't too much different. I have spent the majority of my life shying away from anything that could possibly humiliate me. Until this month.

Me, left (duh), November 2011

I've been trying really hard to work out every day for about two weeks now. I haven't been as disciplined as I could have been, but I am thrilled that through hard work, I've been able to see results in such a short amount of time. But, I've still kind of been playing it safe. I've been watching my portions, making sure I take vitamins, and working out about 4 times a week, but I've been ignoring the workouts that I can't seem to master, or the ones that I feel really embarrassed while doing them.

Take for instance, the aerobic move "The Grapevine."

Today, I put in an aerobics DVD, and started the program. It got to a grapevine, and I tried once and just could not get it. I've found something out about myself... two things that are diametrically opposed. 1) I love aerobic dance and 2) I have absolutely no rhythm. No joke.

I turned off the DVD and started to do my own thing, then it hit me... I was running again. I was shying away from what I thought I couldn't do... what I thought my body didn't deserve to do, and settling for something else. I turned off all of my music, and step-by-step, I went through the grapevine movement. Then I turned on my Youtube Cardio playlist, and decided I'd try it out to a beat. The first song to play was "Ready" by Britt Nicole, and let me just tell you.... I had a moment. Not only does the song describe my attitude toward Satan, and the bondage and lies I've held onto regarding my body, but I was actually doing The Grapevine to the beat.

I cannot tell you what joy filled me because of a silly aerobic step. More than that, I found myself singing along... because I am so ready to put this behind me. I am ready to stop weighing my actions based on how ashamed of my body I am. I'm ready to shed all of that pain and anger and move forward. I'm ready to stop listening to the voice of an enemy who only wants me worn down and incapacitated. I'm ready to find joy in physical movement, whether I ever lose weight or not. I'm ready to go.

(Britt Nicole)

Lately I've been reeling
Off the way you got me feeling
I've been tired of this for way too long
You give me answers when I didn't ask
You keep bringing up my past
Always play the same old song
Tired of buying all your lies
Acting like I am alright
So I hope you liked it last time 'cause that will be the final time I wear my painted smile
and sing along
Yesterday's where you belong

Ready, ready to put you behind me
Ready, ready to go
Ready, ready to show you the doorway
I think you need to know
That taking your time is out of the question
You're moving way too slow
I'll never stay down
I don't want you around
Ready, ready to go

Can I make it anymore clear?
You're no longer welcome here
I guess you need to hear it again
I've got a brand new life
Love's on my side
Games over, you lose I win
Yes, I'll tell you one more time
No see you later it's goodbye
Hey, you need to pay attention
I don't know how you keep missin' everything I'm trying to say
Listen close, I'm moving on


I'll put this behind me
The way you define me
Love says I'm something more
I'm over the pain
I'm done with the shame
I found what I waited for
You left me with scars
But He healed my heart
I found my place
Secure in His arms
So, I'll put this behind me
Yeah, I'll put you behind
I'll put you behind me


taking your time is out of the question
You're moving way too slow
I'll never stay down
I don't want you around
ready, ready to go

Yeah, I'll put this behind me
Taking your time is out of the question
Yeah, I'll put this behind me

July 04, 2012

The Fire of Consecration

Tonight, I'm going to write about something that I rarely ever talk about outside of my immediate family. I'm going to talk about children.

Obviously, I want children. I mean, I want children a whole lot.

Even before I met Mark, when I was in my "I want to be a nun" phase, I couldn't quite square away the concept of celibacy simply because I couldn't stomach the idea of never having children. Once married, both of us really looked forward to it. I, however, have always had a lot of trouble with my reproductive system and hormonal balances. Due to all of this, the entire span of our marriage has been a roller coaster of hope, seeming certainty, false alarms, broken hearts, and repetition of this entire list. From the time that we were married (October 2009) until the beginning of this year, I did not once have a regular or healthy period. While that might seem like a bit too much information, hear me out... when you experience healthy functions for years, and suddenly, there is an unexplained absence, it is very frustrating. It is scary. It is disheartening.

For a long time, I struggled with God. I wept in bitterness of heart, just like Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. I curled up on the floor of our apartment, run out of tears or words to pray. Nothing changed God's mind. But, of course it didn't.

In December, I shoved all of it to the back of my mind. I took a pregnancy test, knowing it would be negative, and knowing that there was nothing I could do to make it positive. I researched and selected an herbal supplement for regulating menstrual cycles, and I decided that I wasn't going to hope anymore. If it happened, it happened, and I wanted so badly not to care. At the beginning of this year, my cycle slowly began to return to regular. For six months, it came every month, right on time. Until June.

I will not lie. I was convinced that I was pregnant. There's really only one confirmation, though... And, I started my period five hours after the test came back negative. That was last Saturday.

Since then, I've cried quite a lot. I've also learned a few things.

1) No matter how much you try, it is impossible to ignore a desire that God has built into you. I can't fake not wanting a child any more than I can fake hating coffee. It is something God gave me... the desire to be a mother... and the only way that I can deal with the hearksickness that comes from my hopes being defered is to submit everything by prayer and petition to God, so that He may guard my heart. (Philippians 4:4-7)

2) I've been listening an audio Bible this week, and the story of Noah caught my attention.Sometimes, I really feel like I am "stuck in an ark" with this whole baby business. From my eyes, that is a horrible thing. It is a horrible thing to want to walk on solid, dry ground, and only be able to sit in a stinky boat with no land in sight. But when you look at what God said about it-- His reasoning for flooding, for stranding Noah and his family out in that ark for so long, it makes a lot more sense. God said that He was using the flood waters (keep in mind that water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit) to cleanse from the earth all flesh. All flesh. Could it be-- that this trapped feeling I have so often is actually God putting me in a spot where I cannot move-- cannot change my circumstances to match my desires-- because He is using His Spirit to clease from me all of my own flesh? If so, then God's promise lingers at the end... and therein lies my third lesson...

3) I am learning that our relationship with Jesus has very little to do with the past, and it only has to do with the future when that future includes Him. We are to trust Him in the present-- to love Him and relate to Him and obey Him NOW... we are to forget what is behind, and tomorrow will worry about itself... what does that leave? It leaves now. It leaves me, Jesus, and Mark... growing and learning and loving.

With all of that said, I want to express some of my desire... I want to be a future mom, even though nothing now points to that.

I am not barren, because God is the opener and closer of wombs. I am currently seeking to be cleansed (consecrated... Isabella) by an All Consuming Fire (fire of the Lord.... Josiah) that removes everything that is shakeable.

I think Mark and I have agreed on a couple of officially awesome baby names. I can't wait to meet you, Josiah and Isabella... but for now, I'm just going to sit in this ark and wait on the Lord.

On Aprils

Ten years ago, I sat in the dining hall of a Christian camp. A man my father's age sat with me. It was April, and I had no idea... I had...