Monday, April 29, 2013

Tough Times

With my back on the concrete floor and arms open wide, I stared at the fluorescent light overhead. The girls were finishing the last of their sit-ups and I was waiting my turn.

“All glory to our God and King,

Every crown thrown down in offering

Every knee shall bow and voice proclaim

You are God, You are King”

The words rang clearly in my ears as they drowned out my quickened heart beat. It was my turn to finish the sit-ups. I thanked the Lord that the end of the workout was closing in. Team workout days are my favorite but they are hard.

The light seemed to shine brighter, and I could hear the song even louder. And, I thought of my sweet Amy who shared the Gospel with her dying friend yesterday. I prayed that God would give her great wisdom and would show Himself faithful as she speaks the truth of His Word.

And the words screamed out at me...

“Oh praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him.”

The image of my friend Susan who has just returned home from over two weeks at the hospital bedside of one of her children...not to mention that she has only been home from Colombia for a little over two months with a newly adopted child. That’s a tough road to take.

“Oh praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him.”

God, you want me to praise you during sit-ups?

Yes, even now.

“Oh praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him."

Giving God thanks during physical pain isn’t near as hard as praising Him during trying times like my friends have faced these past few weeks. Praising God in the midst of pain and suffering is tough. So, how do you do it?

CONSISTENT DISCIPLINE of praising God daily. That’s the answer. And, it’s NOT easy. Consistent discipline in ANY area is attained by daily performing that task/duty/thought/behavior well over a sustained period of time.

Small things, like making the bed, brushing your teeth, and exercise are physical tasks that, when performed daily, become a habit or a discipline in your life. Larger items including daily Bible study, memorizing Scripture, quality time with your kids, eating healthy, and sharing the Gospel are developed OVER TIME when we consistently (daily) do them.

My husband used to teach people to rappel and rock climb when we were in college. Hanging off the side of a cliff 100 feet up in the air with only a rope around your waist will get you to thinkin’. And, then JT would say, “If you can attach a physical principle to a spiritual concept, you will never forget it.” As the person began to descend the mountain, they would hear about trusting in God and a great hope for the future. I can never read Isaiah without thinking about the true hope of the Lord and what it means to wait on Him!

Today, there are small things (and big ones) that you can do to develop those daily disciplines that will prepare your heart and mind for tough times to come. Will you be ready to face those days knowing that you have done everything He has required of you? What can you do today to get ready?

“Oh praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him.”

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Run, Forrest, Run!

Last night, we looked at the fact that 3500 calories equals one pound. A deficit of 3500 calories will be one pound loss and an additional 3500 calories will be a pound gained. No matter how you look at it, that’s the fact. But, what is really going on? Look behind the meals, food choices, exercises, etc to what really is lacking in your life.

Lysa told the background story on her childhood and how her father had left their family. What a hole that initiated in her, and all she could do was park her mind on the negatives of not having a dad. Then, she had a recollection of a time when her dad had gone out of his way to show love to her. It was years later that the memory came but it gave her something sweet to ponder.

For me, there have been so many negative memories of my mom. Just this week as I was reading the material again, I thought, "Now, why can't I think of one really good memory?" Don't you know that God provided one just ON HIS TIME! A lady who had been in my church when I was younger had called to ask me to speak at a women's event. Then, she began to tell me about a time when my mom had served her so well. A smile came to my face as I thought of how much God loves me to send that memory my way. It was perfect timing, as usual.

To park our mind on hard things constantly just deepens that emotional neediness and triggers the desire to fill it with something else.
We MUST deal with our triggers. We must identify our places of emotional emptiness and admit how futile it is to try and fill those places with food.

We looked at the rationalization that if no one sees you, the calories don’t count. The fact is most of us know that they do, but we think that what’s hidden will STAY hidden. It does not! For me, the issue was always just a secretive one will know. The enemy uses those little lies to keep us out of fellowship with the Father!

In our Bible study time, we focused on 1 Corinthians 10:12-14. We WILL be tempted. There's the first fact. No amount of wishing and desiring will take away those things that will tempt us. However, we KNOW that God will provide a way out...He even tells us what it is in verse 14...FLEE! Even when you are at a party and cupcakes are calling your name, step outside! Phone a friend...go to the your Bible...pull the fire alarm (okay, not that one). You are at a wedding and there's NOTHING healthy to eat, drink water and find someone to talk to..share the Gospel. You are at work and someone is offering doughnuts, RUN AWAY. I wanted to entitle this post, Run, Challis, Run, but you would have had to be in class last night to understand. It's a situation we all have been in...we just NEED to run away from the food. Picture yourself as Forrest Gump and keep running until you can run no more. FLEE from the temptation!!!

Join us in two weeks (next week is our faith family prayer gathering) to finish off our study in chapters 17-19. Can't wait to see you all!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Exception

I could hear the conversation very clearly...I tried not to listen but they were talking so loudly. And, here’s what they said:

Lady 1: Today was an exception. We had company last night and stayed up late. Doughnuts were the easiest things to get for a crowd.

Lady 2: How long have they been at your house?

Lady 1: Three days! So, I haven’t been able to eat right or exercise for THREE days!

Lady 2: What are you going to do now?

Lady 1: I would start tomorrow but Son 1 (don’t remember the name) has a ballgame, so that’s out too.

Lady 2: And this weekend is the tournament. You can always start next week.

Lady 1: Yeah. But, we have two parties next week too. Oh, there’s always the next week.

I wanted to scream, “Look here lady, EVERY day is NOT an exception!” But, I quickly remembered that I have been in that same boat. Every day was an exception to the rule or a special occasion or something out of the normal. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

Let’s step back and look at ourselves. Take a good look in that mirror. When you look over the past few weeks of your life, how many days have been “an exception” to your healthy eating and exercise plan?

Does that reflect the consistency you desire? Are you faithful to the call God has given you to honor Him with your body? Are you making excuses? Do you refuse to call them excuses but reasons because they are really good? Are you rationalizing?

Now, look in that same mirror. Do you see the results you desire? Are you where God wants you to be? Why or why not?

If nothing else, let’s be honest with God, ourselves and each other. Let’s admit our failures and shortcomings, our sins and our struggles. Start there. Then, seek God’s wisdom in how to overcome excuses. Begin with taking every thought captive...eliminate the excuses and reasons for NOT doing the right things...replace those thoughts with God’s Word!

Now, let’s get started people. No Excuses!!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

God IS my portion...

Last night, we started our time together asking the question, "How many of you have an 'I Have A Dream' section of your closet?" You know, that one piece of clothing or a whole wardrobe that you haven't fit into for years? You have a dream that one day you will, but it is NOT happening any time soon!

I had a pair of what I believed to be Old Navy denim capri pants in a size 10. They didn't fit for a long time as I was a tight 18 at best...I'm trying to erase the memories of buying a size 20 from my mind, but it is still there. I worked and cried and worked and succeeded in losing the weight. Time for a wardrobe change...and what did I discover? That one item I wanted to wear...a size 10 Old Navy SHORTS? Yes, they ended up being more like long shorts that hit me at the knees...why did I buy those in the first place? Never mind. I still put them on, and they were too big at that point. But, I had hit success. Or so I thought.

As Lysa Terkeurst says in Made to Crave, "If my happy is missing when I am larger, it will still be missing when I am smaller." So TRUE people. Sure, you can buy smaller sized clothing and not have a mental fall apart in the dressing room. But, your happy won't be found there. Momentary The books reminds us that tying my happiness to the wrong thing is partially what caused my weight gain in the first place, and attaching my happiness to food, skinny jeans, exercise, etc. sets me up for failure.

We all have a soul longing to be a vacuum. God instilled in us a longing to be filled to draw us into deep intimacy with Him!
If we fail to understand how to fill our souls with spiritual nourishment, we will forever be triggered to numb our longings with other temporary pleasures!

Then, we dove head first into God's good Word! We looked at Isaiah 55:8-12 which tells us to remain in God’s love so that we won’t tie our happiness to anything else! This is such a good word to memorize...God’s ways and thoughts are NOT like ours. He has a BETTER plan! Do you know what it is for your life? The Creator of the Universe made YOUR body, and He knows what foods and exercises and daily lifestyles will work best for you. Go to Him to seek wisdom on how you should proceed!

My favorite part of this passage is the knowledge that His WORD will NOT come back void. It is powerful. In times of need, speak it!!! Know that it WILL accomplish what God set it out to do. When you are hungry or sad or lonely or angry, speak His Word. But how can you speak it if you don’t know it? Let's look to Colossians 3:16 where we are encouraged to let the word of Christ RICHLY dwell in us. Not just a little bit but in depth. How much time do you spend on Facebook or sending emails or talking on the phone? How does that compare with time in His Word?

Exodus 16:2-4 shows us a process of portion control that God put into place intended to put the in the habit of dependence on God alone each day. God PROVIDED for His people! Not their wants but their needs. He is the CREATOR of PORTION control. Find out what the right portions of protein/carbs/fat are for your body type, weight and age. Then, stick to it!

Lamentations 3:22-24 is a reminder for us: rejoice that His mercies are NEW EVERY DAY! Sometimes all we need is to sleep!In fact, that is critical to getting healthy...plenty of sleep!

May He be our SATISFACTION! May He alone be our portion each day! Run to Him today...frequently. Sit at His feet. All else can wait..this is YOUR life, and He wants to use YOU for His kingdom. Repeat this mantra's for MY good and HIS great glory...for MY good and HIS great glory. Rewind. Repeat. Rewind. Repeat.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Nothing is going as planned. NOTHING.

Here was “our” plan for the day:

4:00 Wake and have quiet time
5:00 Leave for Crossfit
5:15 Crossfit
6:15 Shower and get dressed for day
6:45 Prep lunches and breakfast
7:15 Breakfast
8:00 Leave for tutorials at Brook Hills; JT home with Z and E
9:00 Tutorials for older girls; Jett to have school with Mom; JT to pick up supplies at Lowe’s for bathroom
12:00 Lunch for JT, Z and E; Drop Jett off for lunch at tutorials; Mom to take lunch to friend at Children’s Hospital
2:00 JT continue work on bathroom; Mom to have a class at the Apple Store
4:00 Pick up kids at tutorials. JT finish with framing
5:30 JT and Jett to soccer practice
6:00 Dinner at home, etc, etc, etc

There’s just simply no need to type any more as it makes me frustrated to see just how “off” our day was by the time it know because you’ve had THESE days too.

It went more like this:

6:00 Wake up. Missed exercise because of a late night with family (not planned well in advance but necessary)
6:45 Prep lunches and breakfast (yep, this is the only thing that went according to schedule)
7:20 Breakfast (everyone seems irritated already)
8:10 Leave for tutorials (one kid forgets her phone which is necessary with impending weather, we are running behind, Mom is not being kind)
8:35 Arrive at tutorials for morning prayer time (it might help to be in a good mood since I’m supervising the student prayer session)
9:00 Receive word that classes will dismiss at noon. Jett is not happy because he will not have class and misses seeing his friends. Mom and Jett in bad mood and irritable. Call JT who has to change plans to come pick up kids so Mom can go downtown to deliver lunch as scheduled
10:00 Bank calls - they need a new document in order to process our home equity loan. Document can only be obtained by going to the courthouse in Columbiana.
12:00 JT arrives and we learn that friend downtown is now scheduled for a CT scan and no need for lunch today. Change of plans. Everyone go to lunch and then divide to finish bathroom and go to courthouse
1:30 Arrive at courthouse. Go somewhere else to get documentation first.
1:40 Guy at new place demands a number from courthouse...could look it up online but does not and sends Mom back to courthouse.
1:50 Mom becoming friends with security guard at the courthouse. Enter again and get number. Return to other business. Receive has to be notarized. No notaries available. Convince guy to find a notary. Guy takes 20 minutes to get it notarized and then returns.
2:25 Back to courthouse and get paperwork as needed.
2:30 Head home and call friend on the way. Girls in the car fall asleep.
3:15 Arrive at bank to drop off paperwork.
3:45 Finally get home. Elly still asleep and gets tucked into our bed. JT working on bathroom. Boys playing. Storm rolling in.

No exercise. No quiet time. Schedule obliterated. Messy business. Frustration. Irritation.

And, how do I want to comfort myself? With chocolate! Lots of it. Here was the line of thinking:

1. I want chocolate. I deserve it after the day I’ve had.
2. Whoa..wait a minute. Pity party. That’s a sign that I am relying on me.
3. God help me. Post to FB to get some support. Spend time in His Word (should have done that first). Pray.
4. Drink water and a protein drink.
5. Hear the lies of the enemy...speak God’s Word to combat his evil schemes.
6. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Okay, the day hasn’t gone as planned. But, I rejoice in His victories today. He accomplished His good work in me, developing patience and reliance on Him. I will build an altar and remember this day.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It is NOT fair!!!

It was time. Many of us had been making excuses. Some of us have fallen completely off the wagon. Others are barely hanging on by a thread. Yet, God's voice has never been clearer. Remember. Return. Rejoice.

Remember what I have taught you and what you have learned. Return to me and take comfort in me. Seek your satisfaction in me alone. Rejoice in the victories I have given you. Take joy in me...because I AM and not because you are anything. I AM ENOUGH!

He whispers the thoughts in my head and they are replaying like a movie in my mind. Teach them my ways. Show them your weaknesses. Lay your soul bare...hold nothing back. When you show your sin, your messiness and your ugly side, I am most glorified because then NOTHING is about you. My strength, grace and mercy are seen in your weaknesses.

Those are the lessons that the Lord has been teaching me lately, so I called for a "Come to Jesus" meeting last night in our Bible study time together. And, we all need it. Me first and foremost. I need to learn the lessons over and over and over again. I am a very slow learner apparently.

The biggest lie we dove into was the "It's NOT fair" argument that ALL of us as women have faced, shouted and promoted throughout our lives. Saying “it’s not fair” has cause many of us to toss aside what we know is right for the temporary thrill of whatever it is that does seem fair. In fact, it’s one of satan’s biggest temptations - it’s a special occasion, just one won’t hurt, you deserve this. But, once we taste the forbidden fruit, we crave it worse than we did before.

We looked at a clue that we are relying on our's called a "pity party." And, we are good at hosting parties. We decorate the room and make it look so appealing. We serve drinks and food to delight our guests. We are the center of attention because we are is is way harder than anyone else. Also known as "I'm drowning and I can't breathe. Somebody help me. The least I can do is to treat myself to something special since no one is helping me."

Satan's lie that life is not fair leads to the idea that special times deserve special exceptions to your usual parameter. Anything else is definitely not special and certainly not fair! Light bulb moment...stop and say “that feels good now, but how will it feel in the morning?”
weakness doesn’t mean is my opportunity to experience God’s power firsthand.

Okay, those are the problems. But, how do we tangibly face them and combat the enemy. There's only one way...God's Word. My opinion and my tips mean NOTHING. They are weak and lame. They have no power. But, His Word is powerful and can defeat the adversary. Let's jump in:
-2 Corinthians 2:9-10: weakness is HARD but it does NOT mean defeat. It can lead to defeat but it does NOT have to! Compromise leads to compromise which leads to failure. But resisting temptation leads to promise after promise being built up in our hearts as real. That leads us to the Holy Spirit’s power to resist and say no! God’s power working through my weaknesses!
-I cannot slide even for a second or a moment right now. That day WILL come but it is not now. I am not strong enough yet in Christ.
The reality is that we ALL have things in our lives that we need to surrender, back away from , say no is part of laying down our own agenda each day. I MUST decrease and He MUST increase! John 3:30
-James 1:3-4 Resisting temptation is a learning process of not relying on my own strength but on God’s strength...which leads to perseverance!
-Deuteronomy 2:3 - we have to determine that we will stay the course. We will not stray or look away. How? (1) by being honest before the Lord. Prayer honestly before the Lord admitting issues. (2) being still before the Lord - Romans 8:26 (3) Empty ourselves of the lies and replacing them with God’s truth.

Here are two lies that replay constantly in my mind and the truth that God has shown me:

(1) You can not do this. Look at are getting old and you have kids and this is just what you are stuck with. God, one of Your names is El Shaddai. You are the All Sovereign One and the God of More Than Enough!

(2) Why don’t you just give up now? What difference does it make? No one else will know. Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Psalms 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Life is not equal but it is fair. Why? Because the Creator of the Universe made the world and mankind, and He is a JUST and Holy God. Everything He does is perfect and is for our good and His glory. So, life is just. We deserve hell and death, so anything above that is WAY more than is good and gracious. Today, I will be thankful for that.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Do you ever wait in traffic for hours only to see a police car on the OPPOSITE side of the interstate and no one is even broken down on your side? You totally expect to see an outline of a body on the pavement or even tarps/sheets covering something you don't need to see... Or you watch Nascar just to see a massive multi car pileup? Are we really a people who desire to see destruction and despair?

Yes, I think we are. We somehow thrive on the failures of others. We expect and sometimes want others to fall. We even anticipate it. It makes us feel better or at least for a few moments.

At the same time we long for honesty and truthfulness. We have lived far too long in a society where adults were NEVER wrong, admission of wrongdoing is seen as weak and perfection is required. We, especially as women and mothers, have turned the tide. Racing to read the latest blog of a mom who messes up, feeds her kids cookies or chips for breakfast, barely gets clothes on her kids and admits to long stints of not seeking the Lord, we cuddle up to our computers longing to KNOW that other women are not measuring up. We YEARN for God to be our all in all and to not rely on ourselves.

In light of those facts, I admit this...If I title the blog with something that indicates my failure, more people read it...a LOT more people triple the usual numbers. Why?

At first I had the defeatist and negative attitude...why do people want to see me fail? But I have to realize that I do the same thing. While on the surface I may look for the negative, I truly want to KNOW that I am not alone in falling... I want to truly know that I can fall and mess up and then get back up. I need the encouragement to keep going.

This past Saturday we went out to dinner with some friends. I was wearing a baby doll type dress over leggings. When I went to the restroom, one of the employees came in and practically shouted, "Oh, you look SOOOO CUTE..." (insert one-half second of thankfulness for the compliment) "I wish I had looked like that when I was pregnant!" I smiled and went straight for the stall. My mind was reeling when I took a few moments to think through the situation. My dress is loose, but I do NOT look pregnant, for the first time in a LONG time. It was an innocent comment, and it rattled me. Why? Because my mind goes back to the image of what I was...

In light of the recent Easter holiday, I am reminded that God makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). He turns life into death, and He is the One who has transformed my heart and body. I am overwhelmed with His grace and goodness, and I will continue to rely on Him.

I am at the end of myself...exactly where He desires for me to be. He is my all in all, and I desire nothing more. He is good, and He is more than enough!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Haggai is for me....

We jumped into last night's study with the stunning fact that not many women alive (or dead, for that matter) are satisfied with every part of their bodies. Now that you are shocked to your core, keep reading!

We are not supposed to get our satisfaction from the way our bodies look. True satisfaction only comes from obedience to the Lord. If I allow myself to get caught up on any part of my body (and my dissatisfaction with it), I am allowing the enemy to get a firm grip on me. He will slowly move in with the lie that all of my efforts are not worth it and ask that age-old question, "Does it REALLY matter""

The most frustrating part of exercise for most of us has been half-hearted efforts that led to only mediocre results. We are always looking for the least amount of work for the most results! Infomercials sell billions of dollars of exercise equipment and pills each year because we are looking for the easy way out.

I must rely on God’s strength which will replace my excuses step by step as I obey Him! Begin with an undivided heart. I can either be loyal to the Lord and taking care of my body in a way that honors Him or give in to cravings, desires, laziness and excuses!

Our time in Made to Crave led us straight to the book of Haggai. Have you spent much time there? I have NOT. But, Haggai was written not only for the Israelites who had come home but for you and me. There's a clear message to us.

Haggai was written to God's people to call them to accountability concerning their priorities. They were finally back in the Promised Land, and instead of focusing on rebuilding God's temple FIRST (as He told them to do), they built their own homes. Because the temple was not going to be glorious and spectacular like the one Solomon built, the people were disheartened and discouraged. They longed for the days of old but didn't even bother doing the work.

The prophet begged the people to turn from their wicked ways and trust in God's sovereignty. Verses 4-6 in chapter 1 tells us, "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin? Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.'"

Ouch!!! Even though this temple would not be as ornate as Solomon's, verse 9 of chapter says, "'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty."
God was at work, and He desired the people to join Him!

How do you need to readjust your priorities today so that rebuilding your temple is shown as important? How can you change one thing in your life to honor God with your body? Confess your ways to Him and ask Him to show you what to do! Then, OBEY!!! And, obey ALL the way, RIGHT away, and with a CHEERFUL heart. Oh, I'm preaching to myself! I long to be a woman who relies on God more than food. I desire to battle the enemy when he says, "Quit!" and God's strength prods me onward.

Lord, I am weary of eating healthy and exercising daily. I want to sleep more, eat more and just be lazy. I admit my desire for things of this world and not for You. You alone are my strength, and I WILL trust in You. I love you more than I love doughnuts or chocolate or ice cream. I want to long for you every second of every day. Show me Your ways that I may walk in them. Guide me to honor You always.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Goodbye running...

Confession time...I haven’t run since the Disney 1/2 marathon back in February. At all. Tried once and it didn’t work out so well. I’ve even given the treadmill a whirl, and well, that was a nightmare. Running and I are parting ways...for a month.

The plan has been to begin Crossfit daily the week after my trip to Guatemala. I will go daily Monday-Friday. On Saturdays, I will run a 5K distance only. For one month I want to see how my body reacts to a daily Crossfit routine. Plus, I’m hoping it will improve my running.

For the past month, Ellyson Faith Turner, has hounded me to let her run a 5K. She’s five (technically 4 according to her highly accurate...insert sarcasm and skepticism...birth certificate). She has regularly asked me to take her running...and to buy her appropriate running clothes. The girl...she is persistent. And, she’s from the border of Uganda and Kenya, so who knows, I might have a Kenyan on my hands.

Off to Academy I go to buy some cheap running gear for a kid...I’ll invest in better stuff if she can prove her commitment. A bright yellow tech t and a pink running skirt...cute. Even cuter on the kid who ripped it out of my hands, ran upstairs and threw her new clothes on only to parade them around in front of the family. I just about had to take her down a notch based on her constant question, “How soon are we going to run?” Sounded a lot like “How much longer?” on an 18 hour road trip. I promise she doesn’t know the limits of questions. Once is enough.

With friends over, we couldn’t go at my preferred crack-of-dawn-no-one-else-is-awake-and-I-can-have-the-road-to-myself-4:00-am-run. Plan breakfast, say goodbye to friends, and then go to a local park. Good call for me. Patting myself on the back even now for the great weather and decision to go later.

The girl...she can run. She only ran 1 1/2 miles today, but it was a start. I think she could probably run an entire 5K in just a matter of weeks. And, I’ll be the one chasing her.

You know that saying, “Never chase a Kenyan?” How does that work when it’s your child, and she’s only 5?

No excuses today my’s time to get moving. Eat less. Move more. Don’t give in to the enemy’s lies. You are worth more. Now, prove it.