A Christmas Prayer

Do you collect anything? I used to collect Cherished Teddies. They are made by the same company that makes Precious Moments. They have the same idea as Precious Moments, except they are teddy bears instead of children. I was quite an avid collector. The bears were displayed everywhere in the small home I lived in. I had a collectors book listing all the figurines I had. I was careful to keep their boxes and name tags together along with any papers they came with. I even earned special points and was able to cash them in for members only pieces. Of course that was B.C. – before children.

I’ve gotten rid of most of them since then. There are a few favorites that have ventured the last couple decades with me. One of them being Liberty, a teddy bear figurine that looks like the Statue of Liberty. I’m not sure if she appealed to the patriotic side of me but for some reason I’ve always loved this one. She sits on my kitchen window sill right by our sink. Her flame was broken off a few years ago. All that was left was a chip of a flame. Thankfully I saved the rest of it so it could be repaired. A few days ago my husband glued the flame back on for me. I was so happy she was fixed. Then yesterday I accidentally knocked her down. Not only did her p1040058flame break clean off this time but part of her crown broke too. I was so bummed but I’m confident my husband can fix her as good as new again.

As I thought about my Liberty bear I was reminded that through Christ the Lord has clothed us in a beautiful robe of freedom. We are free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 6:18, 8:2) It rules over us no more. When we are saved we are made co-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17) We are now His children. His sons and daughters. Princes and princesses. The crown represents a physical reminder that we are His. He puts the fire of the Holy Spirit in us and tells us to hold the light out for all the world to see. That we may be a beacon lighting the way for others to freedom.

As daily life comes and goes and the storms of life strike, our flame can fizzle to a flicker. Just like my little bear whose flame was broke off with only a chip remaining.

Distractions come and we forget to fan into flame our love for the Lord, our passion for His Word and our zeal to do what He’s called us to do. Busyness and the worries of life are two of the most common distractions for us. (Mark 4:19)

One of things that wears my flame down is a struggle I’ve had for years but only recently admitted to. That’s my battle with depression. In the past it has been much worse but slowly I see healing and restoration. Yet I still struggle from time to time. It has been suspected that I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Winters can be hard on me. I notice it especially when I go awhile without being around others. As a stay-at-home mom it’s easy for me to do without realizing it. I’m not a fan of the cold and would rather stay inside til it warms up but I can’t realistically do that in a climate where the temperature may not reach 40 for three months. I have to force myself to go outside. This isolation causes me to get blue because we need other people in our lives. The battle takes its toll on me causing my flame to not shine as brightly.

149-4Yet, just like that bear I’ve always been clothed in robes of freedom and crowned with victory. I need to fan into flame my fire. (II Timothy 1:6) Just about the time we rekindle our fire our prowling enemy knocks us down again, not only knocking out our fire but trying to take our crown too. Oh, the devil can’t take our standing with Christ but he’ll sure try to make you think you are unworthy, unloved and anything less than who God says you are. That’s why we need to know our true identity in Christ. We need to know what the Word says about us. Don’t forget that you are wearing a crown because you belong to the Lord. The devil can’t take our standing as a child of God but he’ll try to make you doubt who you are.

It’s ironic to think that it’s easy to lose our focus on Christ at Christmas time. There are so many distractions, from preparations and programs to food and gifts to cleaning the house and how we are going to handle those awkward relationships. Yet I am guilty of letting those things distract me. I have full confidence, however, that the Lord can restore what’s been broken. Help us fan into flame our fire and shine for Him.

Would you pray this prayer with me?

Oh Lord – Help me focus on You. Keep me in wonder and awe at what a miracle Your birth is. Help me never lose that childlike wonder that You came as a helpless infant for me. What an amazing God You are to willingly step out of Your glorious kingdom into our dark world to save us all. What kind of love is this that You should love us so much to live among us, as one of us, so that one day we could be with You for all eternity. What can I say but thank you.

Fan into flame my fire and passion for You again. Help me never forget I am your daughter. I am yours and I am free. Free from sin, death and fear. You have set me free. Help me to shine Your light, especially in this Christmas season.

In Jesus Name – Amen

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Appetites

I’ve been living the gluten-free lifestyle for almost two years now. It took some time adjusting to different recipes and what stores carried the gluten-free food I was looking for. There’s always more to learn. Not only am I comfortable cooking this way now, but I really enjoy knowing I’m feeding my family healthy food. Along with the switch to gluten-free I went healthier all together. I stay away from processed foods and try to eat as natural as possible. I was amazed how much gluten-free junk food I found. I’ve learned so much about reading labels and what really goes in our food.

When I talk to people about gluten-free most people think it would stink to have to eat that way. They think there are so many foods they wouldn’t want to give up. There was a time early on when I would get frustrated at all the things I couldn’t have. I got hungry easily because I wasn’t sure what to replace the old food with. It was just a matter of changing my perspective not on what I couldn’t have but what I could have. After awhile my appetite changed too. I no longer hungered for the things I couldn’t have. The few times my mind would think I wanted the food I used to eat I would remember my stomachaches. My digestive system would gurgle as food went sluggishly through. I didn’t realize there was a better way to live. Had I known, I would have changed what I ate years ago. I ate because I knew I had to. I ate wheat bread because I thought it was a healthy decision. I didn’t know that it was the very thing that was harming me. My stomach always hurt. I just accepted it as a way of life but when the symptoms became more serious I had to take a deeper look at what was wrong.

So when people mention what I have to give up, what I think of is the stomach pains. I think of the low energy level I had. I think of feeling like I had a brick in my gut weighing me down. Those are the things I had to give up. I feel so much better now. I don’t have constant pain. My energy level is up and I still feel light after I eat. It’s like I have been given back life.

As I journey in my walk with Christ I hear people saying they don’t want to give up certain parts of life to live for Christ. Some of those people aren’t Christians and they chose not to be because the things they think they would miss. Others are Christians but still hold on to a few things from their old way of life.

Similar to when I was eating wheat bread because I thought that was a healthy choice for me, sometimes in our Christian walk we can be hurting our self without knowing it by clinging to our old way of life. We accept thoughts or attitudes as normal. It’s not until we have more problems in life that we seek to find out what is wrong. When we press in and seek God for answers He is faithful to shine His light on areas we need to remove. Many of these things require a change of perspective. A willingness to turn from what is hurting us and say yes to the Lord’s way. When we turn we become cleansed and healed but only to the degree we abandon what’s been poisoning us. It’s a matter of dying to yourself and your desires. Trading them in for God’s way of life. Sticking with it for the long haul.

Many times when people change to a gluten free diet they do it for awhile. Then after feeling better a few months little by little they start eating what they were eating before. Then they feel icky again. People do the same in their Christian walk. They do a full turn from their old appetites but after awhile of being delivered they forget the pain and heartache of their old way of life and begin letting past habits in little by little. Then they say the Christian life doesn’t work and walk away. You must be faithful in your new way of living to reap the life-giving benefits. Time and time again the Lord told the Israelites to be faithful in all He was commanding them to do then it would be well with them. When they fell away they would reap the consequences.

After awhile your appetites change for what you desire. The way you talk changes. The way you think changes. You won’t desire to watch the same shows anymore. Your outlook completely changes, if you let the Lord change you. Some people think that following Christ is boring. Following Christ is anything but boring. It’s quite an adventure. The joy and peace you receive is immeasurable. When God’s love surrounds you and the anointing of His Holy Spirit falls on you it’s AMAZING! You thought you were living before but now everything is fuller…richer. Life comes alive and you don’t desire the old way of life anymore. When you fall so in love with Jesus you don’t desire what hurts Him.

Some people want to know how much they can do in their walk with Christ without crossing over the line into sin or disobedience. They want to be saved but give up as little as they can. That’s the wrong perspective. Once you’ve tasted goodness you don’t want to be even close to “the line” of being worldly anymore.

I invite you to come into the presence of the Lord. Feel His all consuming love for you. Let it fill you with a passion for Him that is undying. Come and taste His goodness. You’ll never hunger for anything else again. Once you’ve tasted what He has to offer you nothing else will ever satisfy you. It’s the difference between eating the finest steak as opposed to eating processed chicken nuggets. There’s really no comparison. Though you may struggle with your flesh trying to get you back to your old your habits, your desires will be for the Lord. With His Holy Spirit leading you flesh will not win.

This is a great challenge for many but the rewards are great. Some areas in our lives are easier to submit to the Lord then others. That’s why we need other believers to encourage us along in our walk with the Lord. Everyone can go deeper with the Lord, myself included. I want to encourage you to dive all in with the Lord. It’s worth it. He is worth it.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.  Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. I Peter 2:3-4 (NIV)

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:25 (NLT)

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly the realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

Fruit of the Spirit Summer: Goodness

P1000628This week I enjoyed looking into the goodness of the fruit I picked for the week, blueberries. Blueberries are packed with health benefits. All berries have great health benefits but of them all blueberries are the best, health wise. From the research I did I found these little blue berries fight age-related diseases, are an anti-inflammatory, fights depression, improves learning abilities, reduce cancer risk, are great for heart health and skin health. WOW!!! I figured with all this seemingly super abilities our blueberries deserved a cape. P1000615 My 12 year old thought I was a little weird take a picture of a bowl of blueberries with a cape. LOL!!! It was entertaining.

So, the first day I introduced the kids to blueberries and told them in simple language the benefits of them. I connected the benefits of the blueberry to the benefits the Lord gives us. For example He helps our hearts. As our hearts are changed we begin seeing things through His eyes. He reduces our risk of getting spiritual cancers and diseases that eat away at us as we become more and more set apart for Him. Let’s certainly not forget that He fights depression. I stand as a witness to this. The Lord healed me from depression. It was a process but I am no longer on depression medication. The goodness between the Lord and the blueberry is similar. Who else could make such a magnificent fruit besides our Magnificent Creator.

After talking to them about the goodness of the blueberry and of the Lord, the kids ate some blueberries. Then we cut out our paper blueberries and taped them in our paper fruit baskets.

There are SO many verses that talk about the goodness of God. So day two I talked to the kids about how God is SO good. We can see through creation as early as Genesis chapter one how good God is. Several times after creating things the bible says God saw “that it was good”. This is also a good day to talk about the memory verse. “Let us not become tired ofP1000624 doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give us.” Galatians 6:9 (New International Readers Version for Young Readers) I also found a coloring sheet for the kids online of a farmer in his corn field. This was such great timing with the crops coming up in the summer. It helped the kids relate to this verse.

Day three we learned that Jesus is our Good Shepherd. There is a lesson in the Bob Jones 1st grade Bible lessons that helps explain it. It uses the story of the lost sheep from Luke 15: 3-7. This story is also a good lead into tomorrow’s lesson. I used a coloring sheet from ministry-to-children.com to reinforce Jesus is our Good Shepherd. The kids tried gluten-free blueberry pancakes. My oldest was the only one who liked them.

Day four we talked about the Good News of the gospel. I explained to them what that was and encouraged them to talk to people about the Good News of Christ. We had gluten-free cupcakes with blueberries for a snack. Mighty tasty!!!

Day five we learned we can let God’s love shine through us by being kind, loving, patient, etc… Look at that! Those are the fruit of the Spirit! We talked about how they all work together. We read the story of the Good Samaritan as an example of how God’s goodness can shine through us.

When we focus on the goodness of God in our lives it causes us to be thankful and makes it easier to shine His goodness to others.

Did you forget about me, Lord?

In May 2013 I went to Healing Rain, a monthly prayer service for healing at my church, because I was losing weight and didn’t know why. I was having some stomach and intestinal problems and the doctors weren’t sure what was going on. As 2013 continued the Lord walked with me through that year as we made several trips to doctors to find the source of my weight loss and digestion problems. I ended up going gluten free and studying up on the foods we eat. I learned a lot about my health and was forced to take a look at the way my family and I were eating. I made the switch for my family to eat healthier and found out three of my four kids have some type of gluten sensitivity.

In Nov. I ended up in surgery for an umbilical hernia. My husband prayed right before I went into surgery that if there was anything hidden it would be found. During surgery the surgeon discovered I had another very rare hernia. It was strangulating my intestines and bowels. He also found scar tissue that was making the movement of food difficult. He fixed those things and I have since gained back 5 of the 42 pounds I lost. I’m healthy and have more energy.

I felt God’s presence with me every step of the way. Had I been healed instantly I wouldn’t have looked at the foods we were eating, made healthier choices for my family or recognized all the symptoms in my children. Here is one instance where I can see God’s healing came through medical means but it was more of a blessing that it came that way then through divine instant healing. I think a lot of times we are looking for that instant healing and don’t understand when He doesn’t do it that why. Many times during that year I felt the Lord forgot about me. Softly, I could hear His voice reassuring me he hadn’t forgotten me. Looking back now I’m glad it worked the way it did. I hope my story can encourage those who feel forgotten to know that God not only sees you but is walking you through every step.

Recovery from double hernia surgery

I spent much of 2013 trying to figure out why I had unintentional weight loss and digestive issues. In November, after a pretty stubborn bout with constipation, I went in for surgery for an umbilical hernia. It was a laproscopic surgery so the Dr. could take a better look inside to see if anything else was going on. My husband prayed with me before I went into surgery that if there was anything hidden it would be revealed. The surgeon discovered another hernia called a spigelian hernia. After resting a few days I got online to research this rare hernia. I found very little information on it. Most of it was to doctors on how to treat patients with the spigelian hernia. None of it was about what to expect in recovery from surgery. That is why I’m writing this. I want to tell how recovery went for me in hopes that someone else can know what is normal. Of course this is not medical advice. Just my experience in hopes to help anyone else finding themselves in a similar situation.

From what I’ve researched the Spigelian hernia is rare, found in less then 2% of people. These kind of hernias are found in the muscle wall usually on the right side. Mine was on the left. If left untreated the hernia can strangulate the bowels or intestines and damage the organs around it. This breakdown had already started in my body. The Dr. said my skin was aging. He was a little surprised to see that in someone my age. When he tried to attach the mesh to my skin it was to fragile to hold so he had to use tacks. The Dr. believes that this hernia has been my problem. It was strangulating my bowels and intestines so I had a hard time digesting food. He also discovered my bowels did not have a smooth path like most have. Mine had scar tissue that caused some turns that caused me to have constipation. He scrapped away some of the scar tissue to open up my bowels.

Mesh was put in under my bellybutton where my umbilical hernia was and on my left side where the spigelian hernia had been to prevent them from reoccurring. I couldn’t tell where the mesh was for the spigelian hernia in the first few weeks but I could feel the mesh under my bellybutton. It was like a piece of stiff cardboard that didn’t flow with my body. It felt restrictive. After 3-5 days the mesh didn’t feel as stiff and I could move better. It took almost a full 2 weeks before I could laugh, sneeze or cough without it hurting where the mesh was under my navel.

Doctors orders were for me to rest for two weeks. I was not allowed to lift much. I don’t remember the lift limit right now but I couldn’t lift my 2yr old son. I was told to take it easy. He really stressed the importance of not overdoing it so I could give the mesh time to take hold in my body. It wasn’t difficult taking it easy for two weeks. I was not feeling up to myself. My energy was low and I got tired easy. It hurt to do much. I wasn’t expecting how much the surgery took out of me, so that was a little frustrating. We are used to a fast paced world but in reality you really do need to give your body time to heal. That was a hard lesson for me to learn. Especially when I went back to the Dr. after two weeks and he told me to wait another week before doing anything. He was just surprised how weak the skin in my body was, especially for being in my mid-thirties, and wanted me to have time to heal.

After surgery the Dr. didn’t want me straining to go to the bathroom so he told me to take colace. I was more faithful at taking it the first week but slacked off after that. At the two week check-up the Dr. told me to take it every day for at least a month. I needed to give my body time to retrain itself on what to do. It did help.

After my three weeks of resting were up, I was mentally ready to go. It was Christmas time and I was ready to get back to being healthy and living life. So I went Christmas shopping both Saturday and Sunday for several hours. Then went home and wrapped gifts for about an hour each day. I was in PAIN that next week. Oh man!! My left side hurt so bad. I figured I would have some pain but I didn’t think that much was normal so I went back to see my Dr. to make sure I didn’t mess anything up in there. Thankfully I didn’t mess up anything. The Dr. said if the mesh on my side had come unattached I would notice a bulge on my side. He said my body was still adjusting because he did a lot of work in there. He also said it would take awhile for my body to be strong again. Possible 8weeks or even three months.

I ended up taking it easy for about six weeks. I was putt-in around the house but didn’t do to much at once. I learned my lesson from the Christmas shopping experience. It was actually a very peaceful time. I have four children 11 years old and under so peace and rest was totally from God. Friends and family helped with the kids and with meals. My husband was absolutely awesome at helping me through all of this. I got things done I’ve been sitting on like sewing up holes in my kids clothes and stuffed animals. After six weeks life returned to normal pretty well. I just had to know my limits and work my way up to being as strong as I was.

Since my skin on the inside of my body was fragile it wouldn’t hold a stitch to hold the mesh so tacks were put in instead of stitches. I was told the tacks would dissolve in 3 to 4 months. The one put into my hip bone bothered me for 4 to 6 weeks. I am now about a week short of 3 months after surgery. The tack in my hip doesn’t bother me anymore but there is also one by my bellybutton that does bother me from time to time. I also only take the colace occasionally when needed.

I’m very happy to say the surgery worked. Not only is food flowing through my body like it should but I believe Im getting more nutrients from my food because I have finally started gaining back my lost weight. Only about five pounds since the surgery but its a good sign. I haven’t been able to gain anything for a little over two years.

I am SO glad the Spigelian hernia was found. It was truly an answer to prayer. Many prayers! The surgery took more out of me then I thought but I’m so glad I had it done. All praise goes to the Lord. I know that I know, that God was guiding the young surgeon. After surgery I found a picture online called the Chief of the Medical Staff. It’s a picture of a medical staff working on someone in an operating room and Jesus is standing right next to the surgeon guiding him. I just know that was what was happening when I was in surgery.

To anyone who has gone through this surgery or is about to I would say it was worth it for me but be patient and give your body time to heal. Put your daily tasks aside for a little while. It will be well worth it after all is said and done.

What’s in a Number?

My 11 year daughter and I just had a fun evening.  I taught her how to play Scrabble (one of my favorite games).  We were having fun and laughing at silly stuff. Then I went to take my shower.  Like most normal evenings I stepped on the scale before stepping in the shower.  Except this time I didn’t get the normal number that usually pops up.  It was a few pounds heavier and has been for several days.  I think those pounds are on to stay. 

Now most people would be bummed at this point but I have just undergone a double hernia surgery.  One of those hernias was strangulating my intestines and my bowels were a little messed up but were repaired some at surgery.  So having gained a few pounds is wonderful news! This means the surgery worked.  My appetite has been larger and I’m gaining weight again.  My body is absorbing the nutrients like it should.  God has given me the healing He has told me He would give me for a year now.  Praise God!!

So why did my heart sink as I looked at those numbers?  Why wasn’t my first response to rejoice?  Why did it bring me down so bad that it was noticable to my daughter and husband who were laughing with me moments before my shower? 

It was those numbers on that scale.  I was afraid I would gain weight to fast.  Or gain and not be able to stop.  This culture tells us women we need to be thin, beautiful and youthful.  That that is where we get our importance and value from.  Somehow when we reach that “magic” number we’ll be beautiful and valued.  That’s what the culture says.  The culture is wrong!!  What a lie!  Why do I buy into that lie?  Am I a better mother at 105 pounds then I am at 150? How about a better wife?  I am still the same woman when I step on the scale no matter what the scale says.  Those numbers don’t solve any of my problems. 

I am not beautiful because of a number!  I am beautiful because I am a daughter of the King!  I am beautiful because the Holy Spirit shines through me!  I am beautiful because I am washed in the blood of Jesus!  I am beautiful because I am a new creation through Christ!  I am beautiful …because of who I am in Christ.

Let’s stop buying into the lie that the size of clothes or a number on the scale determines our worth.  We should strive to be healthy but I need to remember to keep it in balance.  The scale is a tool to show me how healthy I am, not to tell me my value.  I know these truths but the world has so been ingrained into me that I really have to remember to look to God’s Word to untangle me from these lies.  

If you’re trying to getting healthier this year I think that’s super awesome!  I plan on doing the same thing but let’s remember to look to God and His Word for our value and beauty.

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SOOO Thankful

This week I have so much to be thankful for.  It’s been kind of a crazy week but I saw the Lord moving through all of it.  Last week I was having trouble with complete constipation.  I tried all the natural things I knew of but they didn’t work.  Then I tried to over-the-counter medicine to help.  Still nothing worked.  I was wondering if I had a bowel blockage.  It was time to see my Dr.  When I called for an appointment, my regular Dr. was not available so I saw his PA.  She didn’t know what was causing my constipation but she saw the hernia at my bellybutton. I’ve known about this hernia for about a year now but my regular Dr. said he wasn’t concerned about it.  His PA was, so she set me up to get a CT scan for the next day and to talk to a surgeon.  The scan showed it wasn’t an emergency to remove the hernia but we decided we’d like to have it taken care of a.s.a.p. 

This whole time I kept praying, “Lord, please let this be taken care of quickly.”  The last round I had with doctors trying to figure out my digestion problems took sooo long.  Months of, “Try this and come back in a month.  Now try this and come back in 3 weeks.” Ugh!  I didn’t want to go through that again.  Well, God answered my prayer.  The surgeon’s office scheduled my surgery for the next morning.  I often think God is so slow at answering our prayers but when He moves…hang on! 

Wednesday morning I went in for surgery.  We choose to have it done laproscopicly so the Dr. could see if there was anything else going on.  Before they took me back my husband prayed that if there was anything hidden it would be discovered.  During surgery the Dr. found another hernia that was hidden.  He said no scan, xray or test can find this kind of hernia.  You have to be looking inside the body to find it.  It’s also a very rare hernia.  It’s called a Spigelian hernia.  There’s a .12% chance of getting one and usually they are on the right side.  Mine was on the left.  These kind of hernias are found in the muscle wall and left untreated strangulate the bowels or intestines and damage the organs around it.  This breakdown had started in my body since I’d been sick for a few years. The Dr. said my skin was aging in that area.  He was a little surprised to see that in someone my  age.  When he tried to attach the mesh to my skin it was to fragile to hold. The Dr. believes that this hernia has been my problem.  It was strangulating my bowels and intestines so I had a hard time digesting food. 

Now that this has been fixed I have my bowels back.  I have a new chance at being healthy again.  Praise God that this was found.  I was pretty much done trying to find anything.  I was just going to eat healthy and try exercising.  I am SOOO thankful this hiding hernia was found and is taken care of.  Thank you Lord!

Also thank you to all those who have been watching my kids this week, substitute teaching for school, cleaning my house, making us dinners and praying.    

Beauty for Ashes

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I was dancing to praise and worship music in my kitchen.  My two-year-old son stood right next to me.  I picked him up and started dancing with him.  I recalled a time when I wasn’t energetic and didn’t have enough strength to lift him or dance, let alone do both.  My heart was full of thankfulness to be cuddling with my boy. 

My mind went to a time when depression was something I battled constantly.  At times it was intense.  Almost tangible, like I could touch it.  Although it wasn’t a pleasant touch.  More like a boulder rushing toward me like a freight train. I was on antidepressants for years.  They helped  but I was embarrassed to be a christian taking antidepressants.  It’s something I didn’t like to share with people but I learned not to be ashamed. Sometimes there is a medical reason to take it and you should not be ashamed in any way.        

This battle with depression drew me closer to the Lord.  I’ve known the Lord since I was a child and I knew the only place I could find hope and peace is in Christ.  So I would cry out to Him.  It was like the book of Psalms in how the Psalmist often talks about his downcast soul, yet at the end gives praise to the Lord.  That’s been me. 

The Lord has been faithful through the years to lead me out of dark places. Through biblical teachings, life lessons and most of all through being convinced of His AMAZING, unending love He’s brought me out of depression.  So much so, that a few months ago I stopped taking my antidepressants.  I still have struggles from time to time but nothing like what I’ve had.

 So I’m in my kitchen with my little boy, dancing to worship music and singing with a heart truly full of joy.  Between giving me physical strength and health to putting a new song in my heart that keeps growing stronger, this moment was a treasure to me. He truly does give beauty for ashes, strength for tears, and turn our sorrows into dancing. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness.

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“New” Clothes

It’s so awesome how God provides for His people.  The bible tells us He will take care of us.  He knows we need food, clothing and shelter and He gives those things to us.  Time and time again I have seen firsthand how the Lord has done this in my life.  Often times I get clothes for the kids from somebody.  Seeing bags of clothes for the kids doesn’t get old.  I’m always so appreciative of how God provides.  It’s always at just the right time. 

One of my favorite stories of His provision of clothes is how He provided for me earlier this year.  If you’ve been reading my blog you know I went through some health problems.  I was losing weight and didn’t know why.  I couldn’t seem to stop it either.  As a result my clothes were not fitting anymore.  They were very baggy.  It was beyond not looking good on me.  I needed clothes that fit but we had little money and I didn’t know what I was going to do.   

I remember trying on most of the things in my closet.  I would look in the mirror and just cry.  I didn’t know what was going on with my body. Why was I losing weight?  I didn’t like the bony figure I saw in the mirror.  I was scared and frustrated.  Then I remembered some boxes I put way up high in my daughter’s closet.  A couple of years ago my sister-in-law gave me some clothes.  They were all in big bags along with some clothes from my brother-in-law for my husband.  We didn’t sort through the clothes til we got home.  Then I realized the sizes were small.  I had just had my fourth child and was having troubles losing the pregnancy weight.  So when I saw these small ladies clothes I laughed.  “Yeah, like that’s every going to fit me.  I wasn’t even that small in high school.”  I remember telling my husband.  They were nice clothes though.  Some still had tags on them.  So I decided to hold on to them for my daughter to grow into. I boxed them up and threw them up high in her closet where they had been sitting about two years now.  My husband got the boxes for me and I began trying on all these clothes.  Most of them fit me.  It was a bittersweet moment.  I had never planned on being small enough to fit these clothes yet I was so thankful I had them.  So thankful that God cares enough about me to have provided for me before I even needed them.  With every item I put on that fit I felt God’s comfort. He was right there with me and cared about what I was going through. He would provide and care for me every step of the way.  These clothes were a gentle reminder to me of what a caring God I serve.   sparrow

Eating Healthy

Since discovering I had a gluten-intolerence, lactose-intolerance, and “leaky gut” issues I’ve eliminated a lot of foods from my diet. First let me explain what “leaky gut” is for those who don’t know.  When I first heard someone use the term leaky gut I thought she was crazy.  That term didn’t sound medically proper to me. Here’s a quote from an article called, “Leaky Gut Syndrome in plain English” on the scd lifestyle website. http://scdlifestyle.com/2010/03/the-scd-diet-and-leaky-gut-syndrome/

 “The term Leaky Gut Syndrome is used to describe the condition of “Hyperpermeable Intestines”.  A fancy medical term that means the intestinal lining has became more porous, with more holes developing that are larger in size and the screening out process is no longer functioning properly.  The fallout results in larger, undigested food molecules and other “bad stuff” (yeast, toxins, and all other forms of waste) that your body normally doesn’t allow through, to flow freely into your bloodstream.”

 This “bad stuff” made me feel tired, weak, and basically ill all over. Taking a close look at what I was eating was a huge key in helping me feel better.  I began to recognize the first symptoms of a leaky gut episode.  Then I was able to pinpoint it to a certain food.  So the elmination of foods began. 

 Of course discovering gluten-intolerence made gluten the first group to go. Then most foods made with corn.  Next, a breathe test from the doctors office revealed my lactose-intolerance.  Not long after that sugar (white sugar, not natural sugar such as fruit), along with anything high fructose or highly processed.  I’ve also never trusted soy.  I don’t know why, just something in me that said stay away from it.  Since then I found documents to back that up.  Here’s an article that talks more about that. http://dogtorj.com/what-is-food-intolerance/what-is-the-leaky-gut/    I used to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast but they started bothering me too, so out they went.

So now I’ve elminated a good portion of food out there.  So what do you eat?  I get that question a lot.  I found eating the basics of fruits, vegetables, and meat (“clean” beef and chicken) keep me feeling my best.  I stick with organic, no hormones or other icky stuff, as much as I can.  It seems so simple.  So practical.  Some people call this clean eating or a gamut of other names. 

I came to this diet by remembering that God made our bodies and knows how it functions best.  He is for life and health of His creation. He provided for all living things by giving the food they need in the area they live.  Look in nature at all God has provided for us.  Now, in a perfect world we could eat from the goodness he offers and do well.  However, most of us have done damage to our bodies from the different junk that’s in our food (things we may not know are in there) or willingly bad food choices or bad DNA.  Depending on what your health is like will depend on what foods in nature will be best for you.  Take a look the benefits different foods have and what your body needs and eat that.  There’s a lot of different diets out there but I believe if we would just educate ourselves on food and what it does, we can live healthier lives. 

I’m not saying diet is a cure all to all diseases.  I am saying diet has ALOT more to do with how we feel then we may think.  I’ve been amazed at some things I’ve been learning about food and our bodies.

~Did you know vegetable oil is made from soybean oil?  I didn’t until I looked at the bottle just the other day.  You can replace it with coconut oil or olive oil for a healthier option. 

~Did you know that over 95% of the bodies seratonin is found in the GI tract.  Diet then not only effects our overall physical health but also our emotions, memory and mental clarity.  (Quote taken from http://www.puristat.com/braingut/serotonin.aspx )

~Did you know that flaxseed works great for constipatiImageon?  Flaxseed  helps against inflammation in our bodies.  It can also help with cholesterol, heart disease and cancer to name a few.  Keifer is also great for constipation and it’s 99% lactose free.  I know constipation isn’t something people like to talk about but it happens and when it happens you can get pretty desperate to stop it. Flaxseed and keifer have been awesome for me in this area.  Also fruits and of couse a lot of water.  It sure beats reaching for the Miralax my doctors kept telling me to take.  Which, by the way, caused me to have more leaky gut episodes.  

~There’s a lot of talk out there about whole grain having great fiber.  Did you know that fruit has 2x the amount of fiber as grains and veggies have 8x more?  I really need to eat more veggies.  I have found myself craving fruit more instead of cookies since I’ve changed my eating habbits.  That’s a big deal for me.  I used to eat cookies like chips.  This tells me that your tastebuds will adapt to what you feed them just like they say they will.

I’ve also learned how to adapt most of my old recipes to be healthier. Except for Mexican food.  I really miss mexican food.  Does anyone know how I can replace flour tortillas and not use something made with corn?  I miss chicken quesadillas, burritos and soft shell tacos.  I also used to make a great chicken fettucine alfredo but it has a lot of dairy in it.  Does anyone know of a version with less lactose?  I think the whipping cream would not go well with me.  

One last point that really helped me is taking probiotics every day.  My GI Dr. highly recommends Align probiotics but they have milk in it so it may bother some people with lactose-intolerence depending on how sensitive your body is.  I use Culturelle probiotics.  There probiotics for children too.  I give them to my girls and it seems to help.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m not a medical professional but I’m hoping that some of the things I’ve been through can help someone else out there live healthier and feel better.