Sister, you’re not alone!

Just thought I would let you know that if you are having a difficult day, or if you are still struggling with the same old stuff after many years: You’re not alone.

I was reminded of this when I did my Bible study today in the late afternoon (and you thought I always get it done early in the morning:) I was surprised to read a very honest piece written by Beth Moore about how difficult and sad her life can be at times. It made me feel better, not that I want her to go through any of those things, but I tend to put famous and influential women on a pedestal, forgetting that they too are only flesh and blood. There are lot of Spiritual qualities in Beth and other women that I admire and that I desire to have in my own life, but sometimes it helps my heart to hear that I’m not the only one who has off days.

So I thought I would encourage you: You’re not alone. We are sisters in Christ and we can encourage each other with our spiritual gifts, but also with our honest acknowledgment of our own humanity. So be blessed today to know that I too get tempted, sometimes I overcome, and sometimes I don’t. I too get sad and sometimes God lifts me out of it in a moment and other times I have a journey to complete before I get over it. Whatever you’re going through, you can be certain that somewhere on this planet another precious sister in Christ is going through the same thing.

The good news: We can make it, because we have Jesus and we have each other! Even though I might not personally know you, I pray that you will be blessed and God will bring along a friend in your life that can be both a Holy example and a real shoulder to cry on when things get tough.

Give me strength!

I have yet to meet a woman who always has time on her hands, never looks exhausted, and always seems relaxed. In heaven we might see more of those, but here on earth most women are overworked and underpaid, seriously!

Okay, so sometimes we choose a lifestyle that make us run a hundred miles an hour. In this case some serious self reflecting and maybe counseling might be an option to regain our sanity. However, most of us, as our mothers before us, are simply caught in the rat race of life, where everything seems urgent and pressing.

We know the answer: We have to slow down and make time to get into God’s presence. The Bible encourages us so many times to wait upon the Lord. The results are miraculous: You will run and not grow weary, you will walk and not be faint (that would be me), and you will rise up on wings like the eagles (Isaiah 40:31). If your life is anything like mine, you will know that we need nothing short of a miracle to start running without pulling a muscle!

Some days I am so exhausted and emotional drained that I just lay before God and cry. It reminds me of my little girl, when she’s really tired she can’t find the words to tell me what’s wrong, she just cries. God is such a compassionate father. Whenever I’m just laying before Him, too tired to utter a word, He never fails to comfort me, give me wisdom, have me take a nap, or just give me that miraculous infusion of strength straight from heaven’s storerooms.

“Holy Spirit, please keep nudging me every day to go to my Father instead of turning to things that don’t satisfy (such as overeating and watching TV) and can not help me”

No greater joy!

I am shamelessly crying while I’m typing this post. These are not tears of sadness, no it’s tears of joy and wonder. I am in awe of our wonderful Lord and Savior.

Tonight I received an email from a lady who gave her life to Jesus through my program. I don’t think I will ever get used to this kind of news. To me there is nothing in this world that compares to the feeling of seeing someone, especially a woman who is heavy burdened under the load of eating disorders, accepting the voice of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28)

I’m just as human as the next lady, and you can believe me if I tell you that there are days when I’m not sure that I should ever have written anything. Other days the enemy attacks me with condemnation and doubt about my past. But when I hear a testimony like this, I know it was worth it, and I know that God can and will use any broken vessel, like me, if we will only let Him.

I can never get enough of His amazing love for us! I can still not believe that He is just so willing to take all of our sin, all our sorrow, all our pain, all our overeating, all our struggles with food, all of our unbelief and change it into a beautiful life.

There is truly no one as happy, just plain happy, as the captive that has been set free. Even now Jesus’ words in Isaiah 61:1, the words that brought freedom to my life, are ringing in my ears
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners”

Hold the advise, please!

If you have been dealing with food addiction for a while, the last thing you need to hear is another human being telling you to just get over it, have some self control and eat less already!

Some individuals are just plain rude and like to give advise about everything (including things they don’t know anything about). But there are also people who honestly intend to help us, but don’t know that their well meant advise can make us feel worse and sink even deeper into the eating disorder. It doesn’t help to take away food, count our calories for us, go on a diet with us or bring us every new diet that comes out. All these things just add to our stress level and self condemnation.

We have already tried all the diets and our answer does not lay in diets at all. The thing we need more than anything is acceptance, love, support and prayer. We have to figure the rest out with God and a professional who knows that we can’t just “get it together” already.

Just recently a lady told me that food is just a temptation, and overweight people should simply say NO. God helped me not to say anything, because words would have been wasted on this particular lady, but on my way home I prayed that God would grant me grace to “hold the advise”.

There were times when I gave people advise about things I knew nothing about and situations I have never been in. This advise giving can especially be going around when it comes to raising kids: As if any of us really know all the answers. I asked that God would help me to guard my mouth ( what goes in and comes out), but also search my heart for any pride that causes me to give unwelcome advise. After all, what is in the heart spills all over the place (my translation:)

Dear Blue Jeans!

021217_0017_0016.wbcYesterday I bumped into one of my dear friends who I haven’t seen for a while. She had a pair of blue jeans on and a twinkle in her eye.

Her story reads very much like mine and for this reason I understood exactly where she came from when she blurted out “I fit into my jeans!”
It takes a certain type of women to understand: The one who battled overeating for years, who had to wear black sweat pants for decades, and tried forever to fit into a pair of jeans. So I was immediately on board, ready to celebrate with her! God has done an amazing work in her life and for the first time in many years she could take a pair of blue jeans (without elastic) from the back of her closet and put it on.

Another friend couldn’t get over the fact that she now, for the first time in her life, have been able to wear long boots. These are truly spoils that we take back from the enemy when we overcome. Sure the major victory lies in the ability to maintain a decent weight and to have peace like a river flowing through your life. However, let’s not forget about the little joys that means so much when you break free form the claws of overeating and food addiction.

You too can experience the peace and the joy: God has it, and it’s available to all who believe and refuse to give up!

5am: The Hour of Horror!

Don’t let this picture fool you. That is not me at all! You can probably tell from the title that I started getting up at 5 am. It’s terrible. It’s dark and gloomy and everybody is still asleep and I feel so sorry for myself.

I started doing this for the last couple of weeks because I have had sick kids and there is no way I can get to the gym or have some alone time with God when I have to tend to the poor little sick ones. So I chose to get up before the crack of dawn and get it done.

Of course, Mondays are the worst. This morning I dragged my sorry bones out of bed and felt waves of self-pity sweep over me. I was convinced that I have invented some form of self-torture, and just like every other morning during the last two weeks I couldn’t help but wonder “How is this worth it?” While pulling on my sweats I started making plans to get out of this hour of horror. I would go through every excuse and every alternative in my mind.

You would think that once I reach the car I would feel much better and my mood would change, but no such luck. Ice on the windows and a sleepy neighborhood is not exactly the best mood lifter. So I shiver all the way to the gym, and lo and behold what do I find: Lots of people, awake at this terrible hour, walking, sweating and running like you won’t believe. At that point, the self-pity started to vanish a bit. If I want to look good, feel good and have a good day, I guess there is a price. So I gave the receptionist a weak little smile and started walking the treadmill, armed with my scripture cards, ready to give the enemy a kick in the head.
Half way through my routine all thoughts of hating exercise and quitting left my mind. I felt good, I was going to be okay, life is not that bad after all.

And when I left there at 6:30, what do you know, the sun was up and the world looked beautiful. I felt God’s touch in the early morning breeze.
The best part for me: Exercise is behind me and I’ve put my spiritual armor on at the same time. I don’t have to worry about that for the rest of the day. This day sure looks promising.

Heleen

 

 

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Hunting down Jealousy and it’s evil twin, Envy!

I must admit, it has been a struggle for me. All my life I have to beat down this green eyed monster and it’s sidekick, envy.

Part of it had to do with eating disorders. Struggling with food, set me up for a low self esteem and in return a low self esteem pushed me deeper into a food struggle. So you really get trapped in a vicious cycle.

While going through the process of healing God and I spoke a lot about this. Why do I feel jealous of some people, and more so, why do I envy other women that look better, act better, have more stuff, are happier, do and say all the right things, and for crying out loud, eat whatever they want and never pick up an ounce. Getting older doesn’t really help. These days I have to contend with those who are younger as well.

I have learned a lot about how the enemy plays women against each other to keep us from being what God intended: sisters in Christ, best friends and allies against the Devil. I am so amazed how much God have changed me in this area and I wrote a lot about this in my course for women struggling with food.

However, this time my bout with envy looked a little different. My focus was on other families that seem to have so much more than us, do so much more, and just seemed so blessed in comparison to us. You know how quickly the enemy can color the picture, until we forget all about the countless blessing in our own lives.

It started with a little uncomfortable tweak of envy towards good friends of ours. Nothing serious, because I love them and I want them to have things and go places… I just want it too. So I let this envy go unchecked. Harmless, right? Or maybe not…

A few days later I found myself stewing about acquaintance who are younger than us, yet have everything we can only dream of. This time I wasn’t so generous in my approach though. I shook my finger at God and whined: ” This isn’t fair! They are not even Christians, how can they deserve any of this!” I was getting angry and mean. I thought about them all the time, hoping to come across some dirty laundry. I spent hours comparing “us” with “them” in my mind. I simply had to find a weakness. I even had imaginary conversations with my new “enemy”,¬† where I would “enlighten” them on all our family’s accomplishments.

I know, it’s sad and especially shocking now that I write it down. This went on for a few days and then God got a hold of me early this morning. How could I have missed the fact that I was completely without love: Love does not envy or boast and it certainly does not rejoice in the misfortune of other. Okay, granted, it’s very much human behavior, but it’s a far cry from the Agape love that has been poured out in my heart. Why does it always take me so long to see my own sin? I could have saved myself days of agony and hours wasted on people that I (for a few days) exalted above my God.

Oh, that I will keep my eyes more on God and less on people! I am so grateful that He loves me even in my prideful state. He opened my eyes again this morning to see: Some of the envy I felt are really just desires, good desires He places in my heart and the “envy” should nudge me to go after those things!¬† Other things I envy in people are just foolish, things that are certainly not in His plan for me.

I said sorry, really sorry for being such a spoiled brat, and I asked Him to plug the envy out of my heart and give me the strength again to go after my own dreams instead of being envious. Last, I asked Him to fill my heart again with His love for people.

I got up from that carpet, and you know it… Peace like a river and Love, amazing love even for my enemy…