Monday, June 29, 2009

How I walk out recovery

I employ the Nike slogan "just do it."
I evaluate the discrepancies between my behavior and my words.
I open my days and close my days with the truths that are to replace the lies. I spend them in the Bible and in prayer.
I keep it real with accountability and my treatment team.
I recognize that recovery is a process, and there is joy in the journey.
I realize that I cannot "negotiate" with the eating disorder. I am either on its side, or I am battling against it.
I see that the thoughts about size, weight, and food are symptoms of deeper issues, and I explore the true issues rather than give in hook, line, and sinker to the lies.
When I want to work out to burn calories, control emotions, or feel thin, I refuse to work out.
When the ED tells me to do one thing, I do the opposite.
I recognize fears as indicators of areas of potential growth.
I continually recall to memory the milestones and recovery points that I have crossed.
I give to others and get out of my me, me, me mentality.
I spend time with children.
I dream about and plan my future that can only take place if I continue in recovery.
I sit at the feet of Jesus and behold His face.
I spend time outside, soaking up vitamin D.
I write my victories and struggles.
I take time to rest and listen to my body.
I incorperate fun into my daily life.
I set healthy boundaries with myself, family, and friends.
I refuse to settle for anything less than complete freedom.
I remember that things often seem a lot worse at night than in the morning.
I worship.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Joy Cometh in the Morning

I am doing the Beth Moore study on the Psalms of the Ascents. Another name for this series of Psalms from 120 to 134 is “Psalms of degrees.” These were the songs of pilgrims, as they returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity. They were songs that were sung as the pilgrims ascended the 15 steps into the temple. They were songs of celebration. The captive children of Israel had not sung in years, nor had they broken out their sadly unused harps. The song after a long, sorrowful night of captivity, however, was so much more beautiful.

The children of God had long been in mourning. They had been journeying and yearning. They were anticipating a time of rejoicing and celebration. This time of rejoicing was made all the more appealing because of the sorrow that preceded it. I find it fascinating that these pilgrim songs follow and juxtopose the longest Psalm in the collection. They are short and repetitive and easily memorized.

I love the way that God orchestrates my study of His word and my supplementary reading. I am presently reading “Hind’s Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard for about the seventh time. I love this book. It is a beautiful allegory of a young shepherdess’s journey to the “high places” under the leadership of the Shepherd (God) and in the company of her two guides, Sorrow and Suffering. Her name is Much Afraid, and she follows the Shepherd out of the Valley of Fearings into the high places where no fear can enter. Her journey is one of ascent. She is traveling the degrees of obedience and surrender. After great grief, trial, and death, she comes to the high places where she is given a new name, “Grace and Glory.” A key verse in this beautiful allegory is Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

The long night of the soul comes to a close. We have journeyed in obedience to our Lord through the night of weeping and sorrow. We have stumbled, fallen captive to fear, and found ourself badly bruised a scratched out of our own willful pride and stubbornness, but we have said, “Lord, I have no one else but Thee, and I must trust You.” We have surrendered, crawled off of the altar, and asked God to bind us to the altar. We have allowed Him to uproot the weeds of desire for human love from our hearts so that His seed of true love can grow. Through our journey, we did not realize that the suffering, thrashing, and trials were equipping us for the promised high places.

In her song, “Painting Pictures of Egypt,” Sara Groves sings a profound lyric: “If it comes to quick, I may not appreciate it. Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?” Through the Pilgrimage of weeping, we have grown to long for Jerusalem. As we ascend the steps to the temple finally, we are filled with songs of celebration. I am sure that the Jews memorized the Songs of Ascents before the time of Ascent so that they could sing them perfectly as they climbed the stairs. They had what seemed like endless time to learn them by heart, to live in joyful anticipation of the future liberation and glory. As Much Afraid made her journey through the desert, the great precipice injury, the great mist, the forest of danger and tribulation, the shores of loneliness, and finally to the place of anointing, she learned various songs. Sorrow, Suffering, and the Shepherd taught her songs for the journey. These were love songs, full of joy, celebration, and expectation of the high places to come. She would have not made it through the perilous journey without the practice of song.

I am called to sing in the night, to sing in the valley, to sing in the storm, to sing in the face of the enemy, and to sing through the journey, so that I can worship my Lord when I fall on my face before His throne.

In church this morning, we sang, “How can I keep from singing” by Chris Tomlin.

There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring

And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise?
How can I ever say enough?
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name?
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives

And I will walk with You
Knowing You'll see me through
And sing the songs You give

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne

I will keep singing because He has called me to be a worshipper. I worship on the journey, and I anticipate the glory and grace that will be poured upon me in the high places, in the temple of Jerusalem, when I sing with joy in the morning.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Burden of Favor

Bent down, overwhelmed, undone,
Brought low by abuses unjust,
Persecuted for the sake of the One,
Wondering if this vessel is crushed.
Our frailty reinforced by Divine,
This pottery proves the impossible true,
The priceless treasure is mine,
When these momentary trials are through.
We obey, our burdens are strengths,
When the veil of time is rent,
Doxa glory crosses the lengths
Of eternity never to be spent.
Weight of glory the pledge,
As we stand firm under the perplexities today.
While our enemies create a hedge,
The burden of favor shall stay.

This Eternal Weight of Glory

Eternal Weight of glory…

Ok, so I think that I see the significance of the “eternal weight of glory”. My great friend Tamara texted me last week and asked me what “Glory” means. On Sunday morning, I found myself tripping on the phrase in 2 Corinthians 4, “eternal weight of glory.” Why weight? This weight is actually the term “baros” which I assumed earlier this year to be the negative kind of burden, one that we place on ourselves, which is overwhelming and unmanageable. But this weight/burden, with the same Greek name, is a different sort of weight, because of what it is composed of. The Greek word for glory here is “doxa,” which is high esteem and honor, as seen through the eyes of someone else. But when I looked up one of the Hebrew words for glory, I found the word “kabod,” which actually means weight but in a good sense. It is splendor or copiousness. It is abundance.

This context of this passage is encouragement for the church at Corinth as it faces hardships, persecutions, falls, and troubles. This is all part of our situation as earthen vessels. These are heavy weights that threaten to crush us. But we are not crushed, because the power and fortitude is of the Lord and not of ourselves. Our frail, human vessels could not alone withstand this sort of trouble and hardship. Only the power of God in us can prevent us from being struck out or destroyed even though we are struck down and wounded; therefore, Paul is juxtaposing the weight of earthly trails with the “eternal weight of glory.” Each word in the phrase “eternal weight of glory” is vital.

1. Eternal: We are being prepared for this. It is future tense. It is also present tense. These trials are achieving and producing this weight in us currently. This thing which is not seen is deathless and everlasting. It is for the present life and the life to come.

2. Weight: This word is vital in our understanding of glory. It points back to the Hebrew word for Glory, which is “kabod.” This weight is positive. It is abundance. According the Amplified version of this verse, this weight is “beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all calculations, vast.” It is very different from the weight of the persecutions, trials and hardships. It is “baros” in its best sense: Vast, abundant, copious.

3. Glory: The word glory, as I stated earlier, is the Greek word, “doxa,” which is blessedness, honor, favor, and esteem. This glory is specifically in relation to Christ and His manifestations. What we know of Christ now is incomparable with the knowledge and esteem that we will progressively be able to give Him as we experience death’s active work in our temporal lives. For Paul, knowing Christ was his greatest goal in life, and I believe, knowing that the Bible is the inspired Word of the Most High God, that we need to model this value system. With this priority established, Paul could see that every adverse situation was opening up the door for new revelation and understanding of the Person and Character of Christ. I believe that this New Testament use of “glory” reflects on the Old Testament use of the word “glory” as “kabod.” The idea of weight was intrinsic in the Hebrew word for glory, and with Paul’s training in the Jewish tradition, he knew this.

I don’t know what the practical application of this insight is. I think it is simply an encouragement for the persecuted church in Corinth and also for the beaten down believer in the world today. Reading statuses on facebook and interacting with struggling believers, I see evidence of this discouragement and weariness. As we walk in obedience to the Lord, we can know that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory. The quantity of glory that arises from the trials is infinitely greater than the quantity of suffering that we are now experiencing, so let us not grow weary.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Let's Go

Are you ready, beloved?
No, Lord. Not yet.
Ok, my love. I will wait.
Are you ready, dear child?
Lord, no, I am too scared.
Child, my love drives out fear, but I will wait.
You must come forth, precious daughter.
But Lord, I don’t know what will happen.
The mountain looks steep.
I cannot imagine climbing it without falling.
How can I ever get to the place of promise?
I have been waiting for you to ask, apple of my eye.
Lift your hands,
Surrender your feet.
Fix your gaze on Me.
Come forth, and we will go together.
Do not delay your healing any longer.
Ok, my King.
I trust you.
Let’s go.

Lift up the hands that hang down

I am coming to a place where the Lord wants to bring further healing. Therefore, the enemy is fighting all the more fiercely against that healing. I am finding myself facing temptation after temptation to slip back into old patterns. I have been so discouraged the past couple days as I have faced fatigue, feelings of frustration regarding food and body image, and feelings of depression and despondence. This is all my resistance coupled with Satan’s attacks against God’s next moves of healing.
Lift up the hands that hang down! I cannot evade this growth point in my life. I face this crisis of belief head-on, or I miss the healing that the Lord has for me at this juncture.
The Lord is no longer satisfied with where I am. It is time to move on and to step into higher levels of healing, to develop the hind’s feet that He has for me so that He can take me to higher heights. Those strong legs will not develop from these feeble legs if I walk around the mountain that He has for me to climb. This is where the rubber meets the road and where I choose which way I will go. I hate it when what was ok before is now disobedience. But this is refinement, sanctification, and maturity. Praise the Lord that He has done so much restoration and has more to do.
In my frustration tonight, I tried to go to bed early. I became horribly sunburned today, however, and could not sleep for the pain. I believe that the Lord used this sunburn to bring me to His throne. He will use anything I suppose. I opened up my favorite devotional, and it fed my soul in a way that was beyond perfect. This appropriate application of scripture doesn’t always happen, but it seems that God brings it in my crises of belief to call me and to convict me. The author highlighted Hebrews 12:12-13, which says, “Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight the paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way; but rather let it be healed.”
The author of Hebrews calls us to lift up the hanging down hands. He calls us to strengthen lame knees. I think that this is where we “work out our healing.” God desires to heal me; however, I have a great responsibility in that process. Verse 13 says to make straight the paths of my feet and to go in the right direction. I have the glorious responsibility to choose to walk straight forward to the mountain that so frightens me. I must face the obstacle that depresses and frightens me in order to see God’s supernatural healing and power come in the face of it. My healing is not passive. It is active cooperation with Jehovah Rapha.
So many times, I have come to the crisis of belief, felt the pain of brokenness and surrender, and run away whimpering, back to my comfort zone of illness. This time, I am ready to face it head on, drive through it with hands stretched to the heavens, with strengthened feet, walking a path straight forward in obedience up the mountain of testing. The only way to see the walls come tumbling down around Jericho is to keep marching the entire duration of the seven days. What if they had stopped on day six? The walls would have never fallen, and they would have retreated defeated and discouraged. I am called to march forward, with hands raised in worship and feet set in obedience until I see the promise of the Lord come to fruition. I will plow ahead to see the waters divide, the Red Sea open, the walls come crumbling down, and my full healing take place.

My Favorite Things

1. Singing.
2. Awake tea with cream and honey.
3. Sundresses.
4. Getting lost in a book.
5. Dutch blitz.
6. Rook.
7. Watching birds.
8. Oxford.
9. Decorating.
10. Dancing on the beach at night.
11. Flying.
12. Dairy Queen.
13. Blogging.
14. Poetry.
15. Truth cards.
16. My “little sister.”
17. Daylilies.
18. Rainbows after fierce storms.
19. Adventures with friends.
20. Getting a random email from a long-lost friend.
21. Diet Sunkist in a can.
22. Jumping waves.
23. Ballet flats to go with sundresses.
24. Fresh laundry.
25. Reading C.S. Lewis.
26. Funny movies and popcorn.
27. Manicures.
28. Early mornings with Jesus.
29. Late nights with Jesus.
30. Making birthday cakes.
31. Wit.
32. Thrift shopping.
33. Singing in the shower.
34. Laughing with my brothers.
35. Reading the perfect scripture at the perfect time.
36. Being on my face before my Savior in worship.
37. People-watching.
38. Remembering God’s faithfulness.
39. Mercy.
40. Dreaming of God’s plans for me.
41. The Philippines.
42. Fresh strawberries.
43. The chimes at Asbury that ring on the hour.
44. Hearing trains in the distance.
45. Conversations in Spanish.
46. Hebrew.
47. Writing with the perfect ball-point pen.
48. Seeing who God is creating me to be.
49. Warm home made whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.
50. Sharing my testimony.
51. Experiencing miracles.
52. The catharsis of a good cry.
53. Learning new words.
54. New shampoo and conditioner.
55. Funfetti cake.
56. Looking at my mercy ring.
57. Re-reading my prophesies.
58. The transparency of youth.
59. Word studies.
60. Psalms of Ascent.
61. Revelations.
62. Glimpses of grace.
63. Dreaming of marriage.
64. Losing myself.
65. Meeting new people.
66. Reunions with old friends.
67. Hearing verses multiple times in one day.
68. Tears in worship.
69. Total abandon.
70. Clarity.
71. Being loved without condition.
72. Table decorations.
73. Bouquets from my dad.
74. Rose gardens.
75. Running trails.
76. Huge hugs.
77. Have a child come up and plop down in my lap.
78. Picnics.
79. Gerber daisies.
80. Long hair.
81. Fun earrings.
82. Big, comfy chairs.
83. Beauty from ashes.
84. Completing lists of tasks and checking them off.
85. Being still.
86. Sticky notes.
87. Amazing worship concerts.
88. Seeing thousands of worshippers with hands raised before the Lord.
89. Putting on the armor.
90. Remembering the victory that is mine through Christ.
91. Seeing joy restored.
92. The feeling of my fingers running over the keyboard.
93. God-given names.
94. New born babies.
95. The smell of sunscreen.
96. Warm, fuzzy blankets.
97. Cookouts with homemade ice cream.
98. Recognizing progress.
99. Foretastes of the life to come.
100. Listening to my favorite song 20 times in a row.

Monday, June 15, 2009

27 Lessons for 27 Years

1. Praise is my greatest weapon against the enemy.
2. Head knowledge can only get you so far.
3. God’s plans prevail.
4. God’s mercy goes infinitely beyond what I deserve.
5. Life is too short to focus on pant size.
6. Sanctification is a state of being as well as a life-long journey.
7. Until I accept the Love of God, I will be a slave to fear.
8. Contentment is destroyed by comparison.
9. God extends beyond any box that I can ever try to put Him in.
10. The Lord’s burden for me is so much better than the burden that I try to place on myself.
11. Freedom is in the Truth.
12. As I gaze into the face of my Jesus, all else fades away.
13. We are not long here.
14. Victory is in getting up rather than in not falling.
15. Where there is life, there is hope.
16. As long as I am seeking man’s approval, I will always be striving and always be in bondage.
17. Apart from God, I can do nothing of eternal value.
18. The way up is down in God’s economy.
19. Self-abasement is only a mask for pride.
20. GPA is over-rated.
21. Music ministers to the soul in mysterious and profound ways.
22. What God begins, He finishes.
23. When I walk in obedience, I can trust the consequences to the Lord.
24. Someone is always watching, and we can never ignore the influence we have.
25. It is easy to forget the mercies of the Lord, so I must continually remind myself of His works in my life.
26. We should put on the armor of God before we get out of bed every morning.
27.Live each day as though it was your last on this earth.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Psalm 121

When I look up for help, I sigh.
There is no help to be seen.
I cry out for help.
From where will it come?
It comes from You, my Lord,
Maker of the depths of the earth,
And Lover of the depths of my soul.

You molded each pebble and grain of sand.
And order my steps and days.
You ignited the Sun with flame,
But protect me from its burning rays.
You shaped the face of the moon,
Yet shield me from its lunacy.
You cause me to lie down and sleep,
Though You never close Your eyes to slumber.
You tell me to cast my burden on you,
And You hold me in the palm of your hand.

I have nothing to fear, for my hope is in You:
Protector, Sustainer, Helper, and Shield.
You keep me. You guard me. You guide me. You hold me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


How do you make sense out of the senseless?
How do you order the chaos?
How do you regain innocence?
How can you hope for the impossible?
I don’t see the options,
Or feel the presence of the Divine.
The Word is dry as sandpaper,
The truth rubs sores on chapped lips.
My heart aches,
My tears flow,
My mind reels,
My body recoils.
Where are You in the grief?
Where are You when rationality flees?
Where are You when choice is revoked?
I believe You.
That is enough.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Gift of the Moment in Light of the Hope of Eternity

We are not long here…I was listening to a song yesterday as I was mowing my yard. It was about this beautiful, broken world. It said, “Would the day still be as sweet if it had no end?”

Frailty of flesh….transitory lives…..dying daily.

I turned 27. I don’t feel 27. I don’t look 27. But I am 27. Some call this young. Others call it old. In the span of eternity, three years is the same as 27 years is the same as 95 years. In the indefinite nature of time, one hundred years is nothing.

I have lost count of the number of people who say that time seems to go faster as they get older. What makes time seem faster? Perspective? For a person who has more years, a year is relatively smaller than for a person who has fewer years. For a five-year-old, a year consumes one-fifth of the child’s life. For a 60 year old, a year only occupies a brief one-sixtieth of his life. For an eternal Creator, a year is a flash, a millisecond. Literally. How many days have I woken up in the morning to be shocked 16 hours later when I fall into bed at night that 16 hours have passed? How many times have I looked at 8-hour shifts beforehand, dreading the eternity that they will encompass? How many 8-hour shifts have I left, thinking, “Wow, where did the time go?”? Then I think, “Maybe I shouldn’t have wished that shift away.”

Every single vacation has ended, even when I prayed that it would last forever. I anticipated Christmases and birthdays for weeks or months, and in a flash of 24 hours, they were over. The next year comes, with more anticipation, and more time passes. Where does time go? Where does time exist? Can we pause a minute? A second?
My father gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my birthday. In the center is a yellow Gerber daisy. It is surrounded by a host of roses and lilies and various flowers. They are stunning, on display on my kitchen table. Some of the flowers have died, and the petals have fallen onto the table. Others are still alive. As I enjoy them, I find myself feeling a twinge of dread, knowing that tomorrow, more of the flowers will be dead. This time next week, I will have to throw all of them out. I truly wanted to cry today as I watched my flowers die more and more. They are living. Every living thing will die. Every single person alive on this planet at this moment will face death at some point sooner or later, as the Lord tarries. I try to avoid this thought. I shudder at its lack of discrimination. We are not invincible. We are not long here.

Is it possible that our life is but a breath? Is it possible that we were not even made for this world? Why do I crave more if I am only destined to live on this earth, and within at the most 100 years, perish? We know that this earthly body is decaying. Vision and hearing decline. Taste buds loose their keenness. Bones grow porous. Metabolism slows. “It all goes downhill.” Poets capture this process. Doctors witness this process. We all experience this process. We try to deny it. We try to outsmart it. We try botox, good nutrition, supplements, fitness, and other “fountains of youth.” I try to outsmart it. Whenever someone says, “You don’t look older than 16”, inwardly I smile. “Yes,” I think, “that means I have more time…to get my master’s, to get married, to have children, to make up for what I have missed.” But it will come.

I see two facets of this realization. I don’t think it is about becoming depressed, and I am sorry that this has turned somewhat depressing, but tarry with me for a precious moment more. I have been sobered. Life can be squandered and wasted. Days, years, and decades can be spent pursuing comfort or avoiding pain. How long will we walk around this world numbly going through the motions? If every moment is so fleeting, do I really want to spend moments arbitrarily tickling my fleshly cravings? I guess that the writer of Ecclesiastes faced this dilemma. What does it mean to waste our lives? We were created to find pleasure and delight in life in relation to the progressive knowledge and experience of God. If we believe that the pleasures of life are all that exist, we will forever be left dissatisfied. If we taste the sweetness of a watermelon, walk along the shore of a calm stream, watch the sunset over the ocean, enjoy the precious presence of our closest friends, and see that these are only foretastes of the life to come, we will be living in joyful anticipation. All of this is only pointing us to a greater pleasure, and a more perfected wholeness of a life to come—the life that we were made for. We know that though our outer man is decaying day by day, our inner man is being renewed in joy unspeakable. It would lead me into utter despair if I knew that my body was deteriorating but had no perception of another force at work. Though my body deteriorates, my spirit is being strengthened and made more like Christ every day, until the perfect comes when I see Him face-to-face.

Each day is a gift. To live is Christ. Every day is an opportunity to take delight in God and share His delightfulness with all those in our path.

Hasten the day on which I see Him face-to-face. To die is gain. There will be a day of perfection, when I will see Him as He is and when I will be made like Him.

I pray for wisdom to embrace each moment, living in joyful eagerness for the eternal.