“You just have it all together.”
I laughed when a new friend said this to me recently. We’d spent our Bible study session talking about living authentically. I’d shared about my bible study on authenticity coming out August.
She only sees Mary, the Bible study leader and writer. If she knew how I spent my early 20s, she certainly wouldn’t think that.
I have one of those testimonies. I’m a girl with a story—a long, drama-filled one. I don’t walk around telling people about it—it’s not a great icebreaker. Hi, I’m new here. I’ve been divorced and I’ve spent more than a night or two on a barstool. But Jesus has redeemed my past.
I think it’s just a bit much for that initial meeting. Truthfully, when is a good time to bring up my misspent young adult years?
I found my way to Jesus as a young girl but my late teen and younger adult years were filled with bad decisions and sin-filled choices. I came back to Jesus as a young married woman and the church became a part of my life. I remember those women who seemed to have it all together. They always had the right thing to say, and they knew just what to do in any situation. They knew all the words to the hymns and could turn to the book of Habakkuk without ever looking in the table of contents.
I was awestruck by them—and intimidated. I figured they could never understand a girl with a past like mine.
But I discovered these women were more like me than I’d ever imagined. The Lord used a women’s retreat to change my view of the world. Three of our leaders shared their stories with honesty and authenticity—stories of bad decisions and wrong choices. One shared a story that was much like my own. She didn’t sugarcoat or glorify her past mistakes. She shared them as a showcase of God’s redeeming grace.
Over the years, I’ve learned most of the words to the popular hymns; I’m a little better at handling situations; and I can even find Habakkuk. But I don’t want anyone to think I have it all together—I don’t. (Just ask my family or take a look at my messy desk.)
I want people to know that I have a redeemed past and I walk in the freedom of faith in Christ. Anything that seems together about me is because of Jesus. He alone saved me from a path of self-destruction and He alone gets the glory.
Living authentically is a popular phrase, and I’m certain it means different things to different people. For me it means:
Embrace the past, both the good and the bad.
Walk in the freedom of God’s saving grace.
Use your story wisely.
I listen for opportunities to share my story. I wait for the Lord to open doors. I want women to know Christ redeems the past and replaces it with a future filled with freedom.
It’s the day after Easter and that usually means I’m suffering through a sugar hangover, but not this year. This year I didn’t have ONE chocolate egg. I didn’t have anything in the candy food group… (and yes, candy is its very own food group and if not, it should be).
I’ve broken up with the Candy Food Group. We just weren’t getting along. He (I just assume candy is a he) was adding pounds to my already too high weight and after we were together, I never felt good about myself. I would eat a candy bar and it tasted good while I was eating it (not going to lie about that) but after about 20 minutes the sugar high would fade and then I felt awful. So we’ve called it quits. But the calling it quits is a whole lot easier when you don’t have to face a basket filled with all manner of great candy.
I’ll admit I missed those Reese’s eggs, but I don’t feel cheated. I got to watch my amazing Grand boy, Ben, hunt eggs, eat candy and blow bubbles. AND I got to wear the smallest pair of jeans I own and they are a little too big.
TAKE that Candy!!
And just BECAUSE — here is Ben and the bunny. Ben loved Bunny and Bunny loved to eat. It was a good match.
Okay, I know I promised to post more about the whole weight loss thing… but really I feel strange talking about me so much. I had surgery, most of my stomach is gone, I don’t eat much and I’ve lost 32 lbs. That’s the condensed version, but for all of those who’ve asked both on Facebook and privately, here are few more details.
I had vertical sleeve gastrectomy — The surgeon removed about two-thirds of my stomach. GONE! Buh Bye! Obviously with only one-third of your stomach, you are limited in quantity and that makes you want to focus on quality of food. I eat high protein, low carb, no sugar items. Also, the part of my stomach that was removed is the part that contained the hunger hormone …. or something like that. I don’t really get hungry. I’m almost 6 weeks out and I average around 700-800 calories a day. I’m also on vitamins, etc. I’m doing good. No need to tell me I’m starving myself, I’m not… I am getting in all my protein, carbs, fats and vitamins I need. I eat great food — eggs, chicken, all kinds of veggies, fish, shrimp, yogurt, and so much more. I can tolerate most any food — just have to steer clear of the fatty stuff (doesn’t sit well on my tummy) and the same goes for high sugar. Now, there will likely come a time when I can manage those… but I hope that is much LATER rather than sooner. I don’t need them or the temptation.
Now for those who asked if I’ll ever be able to eat all that ‘good stuff’ again — the short answer is yes, in moderation. I think this is the biggest fear for those of us who LOVE TO EAT! It’s the idea of NEVER BEING ABLE TO ENJOY FOOD again! Oh we do love to eat…. and I still love to eat. I just eat very small portions. And I eat much more healthy. I skip the chips and candy, but I do have great food. Never fear — you can eat. So if you’re a FOOD LOVER, like me and you are wondering about this surgery, I encourage to do some research — and of course, you can call one me. I’ll be happy to share my nickel’s worth of information.
But I also want to share a little piece of wisdom I picked up on my way:
This surgery is a tool and only a tool. You have to commit to changing your relationship with food. You have to commit to getting healthy. You have to commit to making the change to make this happen. It’s all up to you.
I think it comes down to be ready for a change — and I was and I am. But it’s like anything in life — you have to be committed to it to make it work.
As for me, it’s working. Of course, I’m only 6 weeks out but I feel GREAT! I’m losing weight and I have lots of energy. That’s a win in my book!!
My friend Melinda wrote an amazing blog yesterday about our road trip adventure. It’s been almost two years ago since Melinda and I hit the road for a two week adventure across old Route 66. It was one of the most amazing trips ever. We talked, laughed, teared up over a few things, prayed, and laughed some more. And we ate Mexican food — lots of Mexican food. We both love chips and salsa and are just fine with having that for dinner every night — and we almost pulled it off. I think we had a night or two where our meal didn’t start with chips and salsa.
We met amazing people, saw breathtaking countryside, walked among the ruins of old roadside attractions and stood on the original 1930s Route 66. It is one of the moments in time when you wonder how it all came together. How did we pull this off? It happened — and I can assure you that God’s hand was all over this. We called it the Great Girlfriend Getaway and it was! We had so much fun and we had time together. Time is such a luxury commodity these days. It’s just rare that I have time to just sit and talk with a friend for hours on end — but that is exactly what we did. We talked…about everything and about nothing.
Road trips are quick becoming a thing of days long past — but I still love them. Now, I’ll admit that I’m often guilty of wanting to GET to the location and forgoing the adventure of the journey, but I still love to load up a car and take a trip. I want to do more of these road trips, but sadly a little thing called WORK gets in the way. And I shouldn’t say SADLY, because I love my job and I love what I do and I’m very blessed to get to do it. Melinda and I have set our sights on another road trip and this time we’re bringing our friend Karen along. Now, if you don’t know Karen, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. This girl is all out sold out for Jesus and she’s in the midst of starting her own ministry. She has a heart to reach women for the Lord. She is the real deal, but she’s not exactly your roadside motel kind of girl. She’s more a hotel type. But we are bringing her along — she’s not completely sure of the whole thing, but Melinda and I are sure enough for all of us.
The idea of being on the road with these two women for days on end just makes my heart soar. We are all great friends, but we live in three different states and it’s so rare for us to be together in the same place… and to have that for days, well that’s amazing.
So maybe it’s not the road trips I love as much as I love what happens on those trips — it’s the shared experiences of people met, meals consumed, laughter shared and life lived. It’s the ‘doing life together’ part that I love so much. It’s hard when your two dearest friends live states away, but we have a plan to come together and spend days on the road. Where will we go? Who knows? Who cares? It’s the time together that counts.
Three weeks and two days ago I announced my decision to have weight loss surgery — it was also the day i had surgery. It’s been a wild ride over these last three weeks. I’ve learned how to live on a liquid diet — which is a lot easier when you only have a quarter of your stomach left.
Thank goodness I am through with the drinking all my meals stage. There comes a point where a girl just needs to chew.
I’m learning how to eat slower, eat smaller portions and eat healthy. It’s a process.
but then isn’t everything a process. You don’t just wake up with the full knowledge of how to do something….well other than breathing, I think that one is built in.
Sometimes the easiest things are a process for me….like being nice. Some days I have to breathe in and out several times and then chomp down on my tongue before I can be nice. I’m learning that process through this process. People feel entitled or maybe empowered to ask some personal questions about my reasons gorgeous surgery. I am a bit stunned at the audacity, but I try to be nice and put them in their place all at the same time. It’s a tricky two step.
But then I remember people are curious beings and they can ask, but I don’t have to answer. I’m navigating this new normal and trusting God’s hand and direction in my life. We are all different. We all have a different path to follow. My way will not be your way. God has a unique plan for each of us.
Embrace the plan God has for you!!