Circumstances vs. Identity

Today’s online Bible Study message got me thinking about separating my circumstances from MY identity!  Yes, I learn from the experiences I encounter, I grow through the ups and downs.  But that is not what defines me.  The Lord defines me.  I am HIS creation, and therefore, I am one of His GREAT WORKS!  So many times, I will have tears spring from my eyes when I realize who God is and what He has done for us.  He sent His only begotten Son to this crazy earth, to walk it in perfection, to take every sin (past, present, and future) on His shoulders, to die a gruesome death, and to conquer that death for ME.  For YOU!  Would Jesus do that for trash?  Oh NO!  He did that BECAUSE of the VALUE we have in the eyes of God.  God LOVES US THAT MUCH.  And God doesn’t love trash.  As soon as that truth hits me (every single time), I am overwhelmed.  How could I keep forgetting that I have such incredible value?  The lies of the enemy are strong, and GOD IS STRONGER.  So, let’s OWN OUR IDENTITIES.  We ARE daughters (and sons) of the King.

So much scripture speaks to this truth too.  Take a look (I have bolded, Italicized, and underlined specific text…)

Romans 8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Life in the Spirit

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh,could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Heirs with Christ

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Future Glory

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing will separate us from the Love of God.  How deep does His love flow?  It flows deeper than the blood of the Lamb flowed from His wounds on the cross.  It flows deeper than the bonds of death.  It flows through eternity, from before time began, to well after time will end.  That is the greatness of God’s love for each of us, as His people, and as individuals. That is the greatness of God’s love for YOU!  Yes, YOU!  What stops you from accepting that love and letting it flow around and through you to define you?  Give it to God.  Confess it.  Let Him alone reveal your identity.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

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…More than a good Bible study girl…Reflections

Today’s blog on the P31OBS really primed the pump of my thoughts and reflections today, so I thought I would share.

“When God made me, he left his mark deep inside. His fingerprints covered my soul — no wonder his truth resonated within me.”  (TerKeurst, More Than a Good Bible Study Girl, page 23)

–This makes me think of Psalm 139:1-18

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

For YOU, Lord, formed me.  You alone.  YOU created ME!  God, when You made all of this Universe, You looked at each and every thing when you finished and said, “It is good.”  (Genesis 1:31a “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”) Then You made me.  I am one of Your works.  And Psalm 139 continues to say WONDERFUL ARE YOUR WORKS.  I am one of Your works, and WONDERFUL are Your works.  So, then, I AM WONDERFUL?  YES!  This broken, sinful, imperfect, human soul is actually wonderfully created by the King of kings and covered by the blood of the Lamb, forgiven because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary.

When that first sank in with my soul, deeply into the dark despair of depression, doubt, and self-loathing, something re-ignited.  I say re-ignited because I had accepted Christ 15 years prior to this moment!  Oh how the enemy loves to attack and drag us down, get us stuck on his lies!  It took the Spirit of God FIFTEEN years (and my soul that long to let Him) to knock down the walls of the Jericho of my heart.  FIFTEEN YEARS for me to remember, to see, to KNOW that the mark of my Creator will never be erased from my soul.  Fifteen years to KNOW that I am LOVED.  I am TREASURED.  I am more than more than my past, more than my pain, more than my brokenness.  God made me, and He molds me into a new creation through Christ.  IT BLOWS MY MIND every time I think about it!

Finally, I was able to break free from the “If I do this right…If I earn their respect…If I can overcome this…If I can be PERFECT…” mentality.  I could breathe!  I could stop pushing to EARN my value.  It already is there.  It always was.  I just couldn’t see it.  But God saw it all along.  He never left my side, He never failed me.  Even in the darkest moments of my life, I can still look back and see His fingerprints, His safety net, His beautiful tapestry wrapped around me, keeping me from sinking too far.  He has saved my life so many times, I can’t even count any more.  He has saved me from myself, from the enemy, from the snares of this world.  Oh how I praise Him!  I am so thankful for the constant reminders that I am HIS.  I am His daughter, His treasure.  And so are each and every one of you!  YES!  TRUTH!  YOU ARE ROYALTY!  YOU HAVE VALUE, precious, immeasurable value!  Isn’t it mind-blowing???

And all of that value just exists.  It is never anything I can earn or become on my own.  It is a gift from God through Jesus Christ.  Becoming more than a good Bible study girl isn’t anything I do on my own.  That is an impossibility.  It is something that comes from submitting to His authority.  It comes from recognizing where my value truly comes from:  God alone.  Just as I am, He calls me to Himself.  He enfolds His arms around me. And He alone transforms me.  All I have, all I am, is because of Him and from Him.

I’ll never be a good-enough teacher, good-enough wife, good-enough Kara without Him.  And it is because of Him that I am who and what I am today.  Thank you, God!  “Love came down and rescued me.  Love came down and set me free…” (Love Came Down as sung by Kari Jobe)

Our Bible Challenge in the study today is to look at John 15:9 in a variety of translations.  So that is how I will close today.  Using www.Biblegateway.com, that is what I will do and share with you here.

English Standard Version:  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Amplified: I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you].

Good News Translation: I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love.

King James:  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

Living Bible: I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Live within my love.

Message: I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

And according to Psalm 139, there is nowhere I can go where the Father’s love is not.  So I will abide in the arms of my Heavenly Father, treasured by the One who created this broken vessel.  Praise be to God the Father, today and every day!  Amen and Amen.

What I am learning from John 15:9-12

This morning began my 6-week journey with Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study, using Lysa TerKeurst’s book Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl as a backdrop.  In the weeks leading up to today’s kick-off, we were encouraged to memorize Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  That’s what Bible study is:  an intentional seeking of God in His Word.

So when I opened to John 15:9-12 this morning, I knew I would learn something of God.  What He revealed to me is what I would like to share with you in this blog post.

Let’s start with the Word:  “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Abide in my live.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Verse by Verse:

9.   As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Reference verses:  John 17:23-24, Ephesians 3:18, and 1 John 2:28

What is God saying to me in this verse?

A little background:  God is PERFECT.  He cannot tolerate SIN.  I am a sinful being.  I fully acknowledge that I have sinned and fallen WAY SHORT of the glory of God.  That being said, if God cannot be near dirty, sinful things, and Jesus loves me as the Father loves Him, then I AM RESTORED!  I am made new!  Truly, I am a new creation (as in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”).  Praise God!  I am covered, I am redeemed, I am LOVED!!!

10.   If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

Reference verses: John 14:15, 1 John 5:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:1

What is God saying to me in this verse?

Sometimes, it can seem impossible to keep God’s commandments.  But, if I remember that all of them boil down to LOVE (as an action), it doesn’t seem as hard.  LOVE (extend grace, encourage, teach, provide, extend hospitality…) is so much more than just a word!

11.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Reference verses: 1 Peter 1:8, Romans 15:13, John 16:33, and Zephaniah 3:17

What is God saying to me in this verse?

True JOY is more than being happy.  It is confidence and knowledge that I rest in the presence of the King of kings!  This JOY never fades, in spite of the circumstances of life.  Sometimes, it gets covered up by the junk of life, by grief, by pain.  And still it remains.  It burns through and helps get rid of the dross left by sin and experiences.

12.   “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…” 

Reference verses: John 13:34, 1 John 4:21, Romans 12:10, 1 Peter 4:8, and 1 John 3:23

What is God saying to me in this verse?

God says, “This is my commandment.”  SINGULAR!  LOVE!  That’s IT!  LOVE!  It all boils down to LOVE.  Love God, love people, love ME.  Yes, even love myself.  See?  It’s not so complicated, people!

How does this all apply to my life???

First, I am forgiven.  Nothing can even begin until that holds true.  Jesus Christ has paid the price for MY sins.  For me, He died.  He conquered Death, and He ROSE AGAIN.  Second, LOVE!  Not frivolous, St. Valentine’s Day love, but DO LOVE.  Give, treat others with respect, shower with grace, pray for, encourage, feed, walk alongside–LOVE.

Holy Father, thank you for reminding me that everything boils down to LOVE.  May Your Spirit reveal to me throughout my day (today and everyday) where and how to show Your love to those I meet and interact with.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies

New year, more posts!

So I haven’t been keeping up with my blogging goal.  Having two toddlers will do that to a woman!  😉

Next week, I am starting an online Bible study with Proverbs 31 Ministries.  I did the online Bible study shortly after I began my blog, and blogged my way through the reading.  So guess what?  Yep!  I am praying I get to do the same this time as well.

I invite you to join me.  The study will not only work through scripture, but will also help us sort through legalism vs. true relationship with Jesus Christ.  Remember, it is not about what we do, but it is about the reason why we do what we do.  Our actions should be a manifestation of the love and grace given to us, that changes us!  It is not a mandate.  It is not forced.  And we do not earn our way into heaven, we come to the throne through acceptance of the greatest gift of mercy and grace the world has ever known.  So join me on this journey toward Truth.  Join thousands of other women as well!

If you have an e-reader, the book, More Than a Good Bible Study Girl, by Lysa TerKeurst, was only about $8.

2016_OBS_BSG_PreStudy_Square-03

 

Made to Crave Chapter 19: Live as an Overcomer

To live as an overcomer is to no longer get depressed when viewing super models on magazine covers, or when trying on bathing suits in the dressing rooms at Kohl’s.  Living as an overcomer happens when I see beauty in the mirror rather than my newly-greying hair, rosacea, and skin tags; when I see joy radiating from deep within my eyes instead of fatigue and depression; when I have peace enveloping me instead of anxiety.

Lysa writes on page 146, “Regardless, I stood there and for the first time realized my mind wasn’t racing with self-condemnations.  I simply smiled.  And I realized my victory isn’t tied as much to the way I’ve changed physically as it is tied to the way I’ve overcome mentally and spiritually…not being weighted down mentally and spiritually by the constant feeling of defeat is the real victory.”

She also writes, “Having a weight issue is not God’s curse on us.  It is an external manifestation of an internal struggle.  Just like debt for the overspender or an overstuffed house for a hoarder, issues with weight are signs that we need to get unstuck from unhealthy habits.”

My biggest unhealthy habit is AVOIDANCE.  Yep.  I eat to escape reality.  I avoid dealing with the issues at hand by escaping into the world of fiction in the pages of David Baldacci, Karen Kingsbury, Agatha Christie, Lisa Scottoline, Francine Rivers…into the world of TV characters like Jessica Fletcher, Bones, MacGyver, Sam Beckett, Abby and McGee..

So, to maintain success on this journey to health, I have to face the issues head on.  Deal with the medical debts, face my type 1 diabetes directly by monitoring my glucose levels, and eat in moderation.  I would like to increase my activity level, and may need a knee brace to do so.  I need to just do this.  Good thing the temperatures are due to rise!  I think I may take some walks.  This weekend at Walmart, I found a pair of Dr. Scholl’s sneakers on clearance for $5, so I have good walking shoes now.  I have a great stroller for Zander.

This passage from Philippians 4 is evidencing itself in my life more and more:  I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Yes, with HIS strength, He and I can walk this path toward health together.  I am not alone in my journey, and He is revealing His truth in my life more and more.  I am growing spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  Slowly, Victory will rise in this life of mine.  And I will praise the Lord every step of the way, whether steps forward or backward.  Let the dance of life begin!

2 Cor 12 (Diabetes Burnout Ch 11, Made to Crave Ch 10)

2 Corinthians 12

English Standard Version (ESV)

Paul’s Visions and His Thorn

12 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Concern for the Corinthian Church

11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!

14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

 

This passage keeps coming to me this month!  Over and over again, I am reminded that it is NOT my strength, but HIS that gets me through.  His grace is sufficient for me.  It sweeps over me as I choose to make healthy choices (like checking my glucose levels, playing with my son, eating freshly popped popcorn instead of chocolate) and face the battles present in my life.

Made to Crave Chapter 10 was about facing food temptations.  Oh, as a person with Diabetes, do I face food temptations!  Not only do I face the limitations of limited carbohydrate content, I also face the limitations of a slow metabolism and a life-long struggle with weight.  At Christmas, I faced sweet temptation after sweet temptation.  And I ate MOST of them!  It is so hard to say no to chocolate, home-made cookies and pies, Calico Bean Casserole, chocolate (again), cake…Oh so hard!  My son’s 1st birthday is next week, and we are having cake on Sunday.  Guess what I probably won’t be able to turn down?  Hopefully I can talk my will power into just a tiny piece.

Lysa writes that “Temptation doesn’t take kindly to being starved.”  So true!  It keeps rearing it’s ugly face!  It reminds me of how many times before I have failed!  It tells me, “you’re not strong enough and you know it.”  “You deserve that piece of chocolate, because you had so few sweets as a child!”  “Just one piece of cake won’t hurt you.  Heck, two pieces won’t hurt you either!”  Or how about these:  “You don’t need to check your glucose level.  It will just make you feel rotten.  If you know what your level is, you won’t want to eat that cake, so let’s just keep ourselves in the dark.”  Or “Just take extra insulin and you’ll be fine.”

I am made for more that that!  I am made for God’s power to shine through the circumstances in my life!  I am made to glorify Him!  Lord, help me to cling to you when I feel weakest!  When I want to stuff my face, may I fill my heart, mind, and soul with your Word, with your presence, with your PEACE!

It is so easy to write that prayer, and so hard to live it!  I desire to live it, and yet I struggle.

I have struggled for so long: not only with my weight, but with having diabetes.  Polonsky writes of this cyclic struggle in Diabetes Burnout in chapter 11.

Did you know that the average person has a 5% risk of experiencing major depression?  And did you know that the typical Type 1 OR Type 2 diabetic has a 15% chance of experiencing that same major depression?  Milder forms of depression thrown into the mix make it 25-30% of people with diabetes facing some form of depression.  Of that group, approximately 80% of them will have multiple recurrences of depression (Polonsky 117).  Well this explains a lot!

Elevated glucose levels over time create fatigue and lack of motivation, and it is just a downward spiral to depression from there.  “The ongoing emotional struggle of coping with [chronic illness] can also lead to depression.  When you feel that you are constantly failing with your diabetes, when you feel hopeless in the face of long-term complications, when you feel alone with diabetes, these are all feelings that can lead to diabetes burnout and, eventually, depression” (Polonsky 118-119).

Of those who are both suffering from depression and diabetes, less than one-third of them are actually diagnosed and treated for depression.  Seriously?  That’s just not right!  I am so thankful for Dr. Karas, and the time I was able to be her patient!  Truly, I am sad I moved away from where her practice is.  She saw the struggle with depression and diabetes, and her patients had support and encouragement from her and from support groups!

In hindsight, I have probably struggled with depression since I was 12 or 13.  I was afraid of how I was feeling though, and never spoke up.  I never knew how to reach out.  I knew I was struggling, and I even struggled with suicidal thoughts on and off over the years.

All of that pales though when I look at the emotional mess that formed on December 3, 1999.  That is the day my younger sister chose to end her life.  Erin died by suicide that day, and I was out of town.  I didn’t get home and find out until the next day.  Talk about spiraling into depression and out of self-care, and this is the situation it happens.

For years, I would struggle with grief, self-image, self-care in every sense of the word, emotions, depression, suicide, relationships….you name it, I struggled with it.  Except drugs.  Drugs never played a role in my tool box of coping skills.  Alcohol did though.  Definitely NOT good to be a heavy drinker and a diabetic.  Trust me on that one.

I have been in and out of counseling over the years.  I miss my sessions with Kate.  She is a fantastic counselor!  She also works with Dr. Karas to provide support for a number of women who are diabetic.  I have been on and off anti-depressants over the years.  My most recent struggle has been post-partum depression.  I love being a mom.  But, being a mom and being diabetic has its challenges.  So, I am taking the anti-depressants again.  I think I will just stay on them this time.  I hate the roller coaster ride of depression, so I would rather just keep my chemicals balanced from the get-go.

Since we have moved, I do need a new support network of doctors and eventually a counselor.  I am starting with the doctors.  You all know I meet my new endocrinologist the first week of February.  I’d like to ask her about a support group or who she recommends for counseling/therapy.  Maybe the clinic has something and someone in place already.

Well, this is a lot to take in.  These two chapters were pretty hefty for me, and probably hefty for you as the reader of my reflections on them!  Thank you for letting me share my struggles and my battles with you.  Somehow, I don’t feel as alone as I did before.

James 1:2-4

Testing of Your Faith

Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

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“I was made for more…”

Reflecting on Chapter 5:  Made to Crave

Psalm 139 reminds me that God created me.  Starting at verse 13:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

God knows my days, ALL of them.

Lysa TerKeurst writes that in the face of temptation, she is reminded of these words:  “You were made for more than this.”  She whispers them over and over to herself, and finds the strength to overcome temptation, as small or as mighty as that temptation might be.  Temptations of food seem petty as compared to sexual temptations, or drugs, but still temptation.  His Word promises us, “13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor 10:13)

Paul writes in Ephesians 1 “15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[f] toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

I quote this because Lysa uses it as a guideline for facing and overcoming temptation:

1.  Be Persistent:  “I do not cease to give thanks…”  Don’t be afraid to ask God to join us in this journey!  He never intended for us to walk alone.  He created us to be IN COMMUNITY!  We walk alongside each other, and He wants us to walk alongside Him as well.

2.  Embrace a True Identity:  Truth is, WE ARE HIS CHILDREN!  Claim that!  Own it!  HE created us!  He knit each and every one of us together in our mothers’ wombs.  He IS our Glorious Father!  Our past does not define us.  Illnesses we have do not define us.  Our identity is in CHRIST ALONE!  Give to Him all the baggage that you have from past and present, from broken relationships, from illness, fatigue, and burnout.  He can transform us, and create opportunities to heal, to bless others through our own pain.  Look up and reflect on these verses that Lysa shares:  Romans 3:24, Romans 8:1-2, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 1:4, Ephesians 2:13, Ephesians 3:12, Romans 8:37.

Lysa writes, “I was made to be set free, holy, new, loved, and confident.  Because of this, I can’t allow myself to partake in anything that negates my true identity…The truth of my identity as a child of God empowers me to believe that living in victory tastes sweeter than any unhealthy delicacy.” (pg 40)

3.  Find the Deeper Reason:  everything we do draws us closer to HIM.  “So that we may know him better” gives purpose to our training, to our discipline.

4.  Discover a Hope and Power Like No Other:  Pray that our hearts and eyes will be open.  Open to the truth that we do not walk this path alone, to the truth that in our weakness, His power is made perfect.  I reflect a lot on 2 Corinthians 12.  We really cannot do this alone.  I am not strong enough to stand up to the taunting of temptation.  But my Savior is!  He BEAT Temptation with a STICK!   A cross, a grave, and a CONQUERING of DEATH!  So I will cling to Him in this journey, and proclaim His Power!

I was made for more.  I was made to be in the throne room of the King of Kings!

Chapter 6 of Diabetes Burnout paled in comparison to all this.  It was about taking my insulin regularly.  Hooray for me, I don’t have an issue (usually) in this area!  I felt victorious for a brief moment in time, until I saw the title of Chapter 7…check your blood sugar…

He is my strength.  He is my strength.  He is my strength.

 

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