Monday, May 28, 2012

Grumble No More...

In small group yesterday, one of our fearless leaders, Andrew, discussed 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. It was EXACTLY what God wanted ME to hear. Paul is talking to the church at Corinth about the mistakes that Israel made...the mistakes we all make...the mistakes I've made!

Verse 6 is the essence of the issue: "Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved." Remember the Israelites wandering in the desert complaining about food, water and their plight? They wanted to return to slavery in Egypt rather than depend on God's provision for them where He wanted them to be. They were willing to sacrifice finding joy in God's plan for their own selfish wishes.

Oh, I have been there...I AM there! So many times I am willing to give up what God has for me for the momentary pleasure of something the past this has been food...over and over and over again. I was totally willing to give in to my selfish desires and fill my belly rather than following God's holy will for my life and my body.

As Andrew asked us all what "grumbling" means, Zeke looked to me and said, "Like your tummy grumbles?" Immediately, my answer was "No, that's a different kind of grumbling...." but then I realized that it wasn't. It was the same.

When our stomachs don't get what they want, they begin to complain...sometimes loudly. They are aching for something more. They crave something. Isn't that what we do when we grumble? We are wanting something more...something different. We are complaining about our current condition. We want what we want when we want it. And most of the time, we want it right now!

As I think about the Israelites and their propensity to complain, I am reminded that I am one of them...just like them. I complain when I don't get to eat what I want. I complain when I am hungry. I complain that others can eat without thinking or gaining weight. I complain that I'm in a rut. I complain when I don't see the results I want to see. I am an Israelite wandering in the desert.

But I have been warned (and so have you). God gave us the recording of the lives of the Israelites as an example so that we would NOT grumble and crave evil things. I pray that I will set aside my selfishness and self-centered ways to crave Him alone. Lord, I am begging you to sustain me as I seek to follow You wholly. Draw me to You as I study your Word, seek you in prayer and listen to Your heart. Remind me quickly when I begin to grumble of Your ways and not mine!

What are you craving today? If it's anything other than the Father, be may have an idol in your life. I did.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stuck in a rut There, I said it. I am a creature of habit, and I like order, really like order, adore order. If you know me well, you know that I love label makers, organization stores and anything in alphabetical order. I thrive on punctuality, details and preparation! My attraction and desire for those things comes from a childhood of chaos..never knowing what life would be like at home (that’s what happens when your mom has a mental illness and is gone most of the time). In order to have some semblance of control, I chose to place order in my life...through schoolwork, a tidy house, and a schedule. So, I’ve had to give up a lot of those orderly dreams with 5 children, but they are still there (sometimes they are well hidden). My house is picked up most of the time although rarely clean (to my standards) these days. But still, I thrive when things are in order.

Thus, the reason for my rut. I enjoy the exact same morning routine and wearing the same exercise clothes (I have my favorites and somehow think I run better in them). I like to run at the same time every day (5:30 and not a minute later). I like the same route (the flatter, the better..thank you very much). I listen to the same music (although I’m venturing out there by allowing the shuffle feature to be on).

But, just last week I was lamenting to my accountability team that I haven’t lost very much weight lately (only 2 pounds in about a month). Two different people sent me information about running and how not changing up my routine could be causing this. Uugggh…. I would rather cut out a food group or cut off my arm than change my routine…yes, it’s THAT bad! So, it’s what I NEED to do but certainly not what I WANT to do…

And hey, isn’t that the point. It’s NOT about what I want to do but what He wants me to do. Learning to eat and exercise well is a testimony to relinquishing control of my physical self to God Almighty. I am not in charge…He is. It is not my way that should prevail but His. With a heavy heart and a dejected spirit, I lay it down. I will run later today and will run a different route. I will continue to run but in different ways…hill workouts, different paths, various times.

For many of you, this is probably not a big deal. For me it feels like a huge mountain to overcome. Please pray with me and for me that I will fight this one well and will honor Christ with my efforts!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Letter to Myself

Dear Sheryl,

Six months from now, you will be a different person both inside and out. Today you are tired. You are overweight. You have been avoiding this issue for some time now, and you are sick of it. It is easy to talk about doing something and wanting to change. It is another ballgame to do something. You are done with feeling exhausted, wearing pants with only elastic waistbands, overeating, seeing your children follow your example, needing naps daily and not having any clothes that fit (do you really want me to mention the day you and your girls CRIED in the fitting room of a department store?). Today is the day that you will remember when all that begins to change.

Your husband wants you and the family to do something different and for a different reason. Yes, you will all lose weight and be healthier, but we this fight will start at the core. This is not what you want to hear, but listen closely. For you, this is a sin issue. Yes, there are people who have a physical condition that causes them to gain weight and to be unable to lose it. Those people are few and far between. You are NOT one of them.

You can read the Bible and skip over every verse that has to do with your body being the temple of the Lord, but it is still true whether you choose to read it or not. It is NOT open to your opinion or interpretation. You cannot explain it away and make excuses. God has commanded that you honor Him with your body. Clearly, you are NOT doing that. You must confess this area of sin in your life and REPENT. Turn away from these sins of gluttony, pride and laziness. Seek Him when you want to eat. Ask Him WHAT and HOW MUCH and WHEN He wants you to eat. He will direct your path. He alone will change you. No amount of dieting, healthy eating or exercise will get you to the place God wants without God at the center of it. Rely fully on Him!

Can I tell you what you will find in just 1/2 of a year? (and girl, you've been pregnant longer than that, you've taken classes longer than that, you've waited for children longer than you CAN do this in God's strength) You will aim at wearing something from the "I have a dream" section of your closet. Remember that size 10 pair of capris that you liked so much? They still have the tags on them and are sitting in the top drawer of your closet? You see them EVERY time you put on your black stretchy pants...they make you cringe, right? Well, they will be TOO BIG six months from now. You will buy the right size to fit you and find that now, even that is too big. You will be wearing clothes that are the same size you wore in high school. Hard to believe, huh? But, it's true.

You will be able to run...yes, I know you can only run 1 minute right now, and you are huffing and puffing so badly that you feel like your chest is about to explode. But, you will run. You will run farther and farther each day. You will be able to complete a 5K and will be working on a 10K. You will run at least 4 miles a day and longer on the weekends. God will sustain you and build your endurance so that you will be called a runner. Run for His glory because you know that you CANNOT do this. The only way you will be able to run is by His grace and His faithfulness on your life!

Okay, this one may be hard to comprehend in your current state..people will call, write and text YOU about how to begin this journey! You are now over 50 lbs lighter and people want to know how you got here. YOU DIDN'T...God did this. Here's the kicker....many people will want some magic pill or potion or an easy way to lose did too. You wanted it to be quick and easy and painless. It will NOT be that way for you EVER. Always remember that you have NO answers. Point people to the Father alone. Clearly, you don't have this journey figured have messed it up big front of many people including your family. You are a sinner who has failed miserably in this area (the more you admit this, the more freeing it will be). When people seek you out, remind them that the Father alone is the reason you have changed. He initiated the changed, He caused the change and He sustains the change. He is people that only He can change them!


Who You Will Be

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Help on the journey

These days I'm frequently getting texts, emails and Facebook messages asking me how to start a healthy lifestyle. First, I must laugh that anyone would ask ME that question. Just six months ago I was way overweight and couldn't even run a minute on the treadmill. But, by the GRACE OF GOD, our family is now in a much healthier HIS grace alone!

And so I've compiled this list of resources that have helped ME along the way...they may be of absolutely NO use to you, or they may get your started. It was truly a combination of all these things that got me here today....


1. The Bible (this is NOT just a Sunday School, feel-good answer. It's the truth. God used His Word to convict my heart about taking care of the temple He issued me. Search the Scriptures and find His plan for your body.)

2. Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. If there is just one book I could recommend outside of the Bible, this would be it. That pretty much sums up how important this book was in my life. God used it to speak truth into my life about how much I loved and trusted food more than I loved and trusted Him.

3. What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell

4. The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno


1. Breadbeckers in Woodstock, GA - you can order all of your whole grains from here. Plus, visit their website ( for tutorials on how to make healthy breads.

2. Whole Foods - organic foods so that you can know what's actually going in your mouth.

3. Organic Harvest - located in Hoover and has a community atmosphere. I can find grains here as well and delicious smoothies!


1. Nike+ app - this app keeps up with my runs and allows me to make notes each day. I can easily go back and look to see where I've come from and also challenge myself to improve. In addition, my accountability team can access my account to verify that I've exercised each day.

2. RunKeeper - I use this app for my girls (because you can't have multiple accounts on the same phone of Nike+).

3. Couch to 5K - to get started, this is a great app. It encourages you to run/walk a certain amount of time until you build up to running an entire 5K.


1. Fleet Feet Sports in Birmingham - the MOST knowledgeable staff when it comes to fitting your foot for your run. Experienced runners help you like there is no one else in the store...I personally love that.

2. Track Shack - we go to the one in Inverness and love races where they are involved. Also, we can find all of the local races on their website.

3. - a site where we can find the best running gear for low prices.


1. Accountability team - I cannot stress enough how important this has been to me. I send an email out to my team every Monday reporting on my food intake, exercise and weight for the week. They challenge me, hold me accountable and encourage me. Oftentimes I won't stop running because I'm thinking about what I would tell them....

2. Daily Quiet Time - there is NO substitute for the Word of God...NONE. No amount of taking care of your family, getting ready, eating, etc. can take the place of intimate time with the Lord each day. This is always the priority as soon as I wake up. When I'm running I can reflect back on what I've studied that day and pray for God's truth to be revealed to me.

There you have it...the things that have helped me the most along the way. The biggest hurdle I had to get over was the idea that somehow this would be a quick fix. I would just diet for 17 days and be finished. It is not so, and it is not to be. The truth is that it took me years to get to this point, and it will take me a lifetime to get back. I'm addicted to food and sugar and have loved them both way more than I have loved Jesus. That is no longer the case. But, I'm still an addict, and I have to fight tooth and nail daily to say "No" to foods. Just last night, my older girls made ABC muffins (which are healthy and delicious) for breakfast this morning. I could smell them and honestly wanted to eat EVERY last one of them. I can have one...for breakfast. It was 9:00 at night. I had to pull the covers over my head and pray to sleep so that I would not be tempted. But, it was a fight.... This fight will not end. I must stay alert and on guard at all times.

What is helping you to stay healthy these days? I would love to hear your might help me too!

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Thousand Excuses

Oh YES, I get up and WANT to run EVERY SINGLE body desires it, and my mind LOVES it... Okay, that's not the truth. Let's try again. I wake up and think about exercise and how good it is for my body and how I should just get out of bed and hit the road running. Nope, that's not the case either. One more time... I meander out of bed, wander into the bathroom, look myself in the mirror and beg myself to find one good and sane reason NOT to exercise. Yep, that's it. It is a daily chore, my friends. I fight the battle daily.

The battle looks something like this:

I open my eyes and think about the million things I have to do today.

I go to the bathroom for morning pleasantries and try to find a good reason NOT to do some of the things on my list.

Picking up my Bible, commentary and computer (for one of my favorite commentaries) I trudge into the kitchen and set it all down beside my quiet time chair.

I drink 8 oz of warm lemon water (if that's not enough to make you gag and want to return to bed, I don't know what is).

I spend time with the Lord in His Word (amazing how the excuses tend NOT to come during this time).

Tying my shoes leads to the debate in my head of how far I should go...a 5K? Further or less? Walk some of it or run all of it?

I grab the iphone, headphones and armband off my desk and hope that there is a good weather excuse not to run. At the same time if I see the sun up, I realize that I'm running late and may have to cut my run short.

Stretching beside my desk gives me another 10 minutes to back out of this plan and just answer emails or go take a shower...or just enjoy the quiet of the morning. Why am I doing this? Do I HAVE to do this?

I head out the door and begin walking up my driveway....uuggh, I do NOT want to do this. Haven't I lost enough already? How long will this battle last? Lord, please remove this struggle from me!

Walking toward the neighbor's mailbox, I convince myself that I don't have to run until I get to the stop sign..what's a few more feet anyway?

Oh, there's the feet don't listen to my head and begin running anyway...God designed the body to follow His plan and not mine.

I run 1/4 of a mile and the enemy whispers sweet nothings in my ear so that I will stop and just walk for a while. You've run over five miles straight don't have to prove anything to anyone...just'll be fine.

I keep running but I want to stop with every step.

Oh, I'm almost to 1/2 mile and NO ONE is anywhere around at this time of morning...can't I just walk now. God prods me the first mile.

I plant my right foot to stop but God keeps me from stopping and the running continues...trying to beat that 1 mile time is a good idea. Then I'll walk.

On and on the excuses continue until about mile 2 when I call out to God to sustain me. He always answers me the same way (or has so far)..."Who do you think has sustained you this far?" He holds the breath of every living creature in His hand, and He is sovereign over my life and my death. Nothing takes Him by surprise and He is familiar with my excuses...He knows my heart. Yet, He remains faithful to me in spite of who I am. He forgives, He teaches and He loves me every step of the way.

Lest any of you thinks that I get up ready to run with little effort and a willing heart every day, I hope you know that I am FULL of excuses every morning. One thousand of them. They are ugly. They are not Christ-honoring. They are lame. They are me. I am ashamed to admit that my brain doesn't often follow what I know to be true or right. It is a daily battle.

But it is a fight I'm willing to engage. For the sake of our Lord and His great name, I will wage war on this temple so that He may be honored through my life and my body. Battle on my friends...battle on.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Comparison kills the cat

I'm sure curiosity killed the cat too, but comparison seems to kill us all, doesn't it. When we begin to compare our lives with the lives of others around us, we began to have a little pity party and we lose all of our contentment. You see, I have found myself in this boat some days...have you?

My party goes something like this.... I see another mom who has kids who are teenagers and are off at school for the day. I imagine that she is working out by herself (or with a million friends), taking a shower alone with no one calling her name 50 times, and then jetting off to get coffee with yet another friend. Or I see a mom with a little baby and remember the days of taking naps when the baby napped (I seemed to have forgotten the other things that go along with that) and just snuggling with a newborn. Does this ever happen to you?

Other women have emailed and messaged me about how I do everything I do (I guess with 5 kids, it looks like I can handle a big schedule with lots of interruptions). I often find myself telling that mom that SHE has it MUCH HARDER than me....with only one or two children, the mom IS the entertainment. When two children fight, there is no one else to play with...that is way more than I want to deal with! It was harder when I only had one child!

I find that comparing my life with the lives of other women can lead to a spirit of resentment and bitterness. Comparison KILLS contentment every time. There is only One who I must please, and it is NOT me! The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob doesn't call me to live someone else' life. He calls me to live the one He gave me. He chose ME for THIS job... No matter how many questions I must answer in a day or how often I get interrupted when teaching or how many loads of laundry I must finish, He still chose ME to do this. I am the one He equips daily to be the wife and mom of this family. And you are the one He chose for your family. No one can do your job like you can...that's why He chose you.

Let us encourage one another today as we live out the lives God gave each one of us. No comparisons. No pity parties. Just contentment in where He has placed us. I am cheering for each of you as you seek to live for His glory today!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Expecting to be served....

If you ever want to get away from real life and experience some serious pampering, go to one of those all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. We did (okay, it was a gift from my sweet sister in law and my brother). We enjoyed EVERY second of it. We were spoiled rotten. Everywhere we went we were greeted by name. Diego came by every 20 minutes on the beach asking if we needed anything. There were no bills to pay. Servers went out of their way to bring us food that they knew we would eat (yogurt at breakfast, blueberries that had not touched strawberries, honey, fruity drinks with no alcohol). The service was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. We couldn't turn a corner without hearing our names or being served in some way.

And not just served for the sake of being served. But we were served by people who genuinely enjoyed serving. They served because it was their calling. They enjoyed it. They took great delight in it. They rejoiced in serving.

Coming home from that life was HARD. People kept calling my name. I couldn't go to the bathroom alone. There was constantly a death grip on one of my legs or arms by the youngest children 24 hours a day. One insisted on sleeping with us because she missed us so much. I had to wash dishes. Uuggh...the daily grind of life.

As I was out running one day (and it was a stinky run at that), God brought the servers at the resort back to my mind. He brought back to my memory the smiles on their faces and then I quickly saw the grimace on mine. Do I serve whole-heartedly or with an agenda? Do I serve in order to be served? Do I serve begrudgingly? Does my attitude reflect my pleasure in serving? I'll save you the time and effort and answer a loud "YES" to all these! I was convicted of a sour and sinful attitude about serving my family. I have failed at serving right after I was blessed with being served. Somehow I had come to expect service from others without giving of myself in any way. Lord forgive me. My attitude was ugly and the sin in my heart laid bare. Conviction, conviction, conviction.

Today I hope to serve my family well. I pray that I will take the "my pleasure" attitude when washing clothes or dishes or answering the 100th question of the day. I will not expect any service in return but know that I am serving a GREATER AUDIENCE...He deserves my service...with a willing and obedient attitude.