Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Week 7 and still no more cheats!  :) My veggie intake is growing! My activity has slowed down, I just don't have enough time in this season of life. 
However I am super excited about my new vitamins and going back to protein shakes for breakfast, I even got Sean on board! There is far too much info I'd like to share though so I'll save all that for another post :)
Oh, and I've lost another 2.5 lbs! Yay!

Friday, February 21, 2014

For such a time as this

I have been keenly aware the last several years at sensing when God is causing shifting in my life, I have blogged about it now and then. The first one I felt was in 2010, leading me to serve in my Church in a new way, which eventually led me to 3 new best friends and a recovery journey.

I strongly sensed 9 months ago that God was doing some Spring cleaning in my life for a purpose, and even 10 months before that I was getting the 'spidey' sense tingle. I rarely know the purpose, I've called it a 'winds of change' because it's nothing more tangible than wind, and yet it's more than just wind, it's His breathe. Breathing life into me where I didn't know I was lacking.

Once the change has happened, I see in hindsight where God was leading me, leading me long before I got that tingling. This time is no different. Now that I see the changes unfolding, I can see God's hand orchestrating this over my entire lifetime!  Yes it ties into the shifts I've seen in the last 19 months, but also the shift 4 years ago, and the journey of self-image deliverance, and the journey of infertility & miscarriages, and the journey of stewardship over my finances, and my heart for marriage.  Many of those journeys started in childhood.

For such a time as this.

But before I get to the now, I'll backtrack a little, as I haven't shared a lot about my heart for marriage here. I can't actually recall when this passion flared up in me, a heart to see wholeness in marriage.  I just remember about 15-18 years ago, I was full of dreams and schemes for entrepreneurship (just like my dad), and I dreamed of this marriage retreat that would offer not just a retreat for couples, but resources, and support, and counselling, all in one. Then, just a few months after marriage, Sean and I were invited by our Pastor to join a marriage seminar he was running for a few weeks in the community, to be other Christian contacts for the participants to get to know other than just the Pastor and his wife. That seminar was awesome, I still use things I learned back then, what a great foundation for marriage, but I thought to myself, why did no one offer some of this before we were married? And I began to see a need for better pre-marital relationship help as well.

But then, all was quiet on that front. For years.

Then God started stirring something old in me. He placed my bestie in my life who came to me for advice a lot and I loved that God used my past to shed light on her present and future, as a woman dating with marriage in mind. Combined with hearing about what Sean was learning in his Counselling courses, a seed was planted. I wanted to become a marriage counselor! I wanted to do what I was doing for my friend every day! And I wanted to help couples who were struggling with finances like I did in a previous relationship - and with all I'd learned especially in the Financial Peace course I took, and how much it helped us. And I wanted to help couples dealing with infertility, and counselling through the grief of miscarriage! I was overwhelmed with this desire. But God said wait. He asked me not to start school until at least September 2014. I was ready to sign up for September 2013! I was obedient but started to sadly believe that it would be 5-10 years (depending on Sean's education track, I also promised him his would stay priority) before I would ever get to be in the purpose I felt God was leading me towards! I was a little disheartened to say the least.

So, back to now.

My first glimpse into understanding this change was January 22nd, and believe me, even with just an inkling I knew THIS is what God had been leading me towards for a long, long time. But, as hard as it was to contain, I couldn't say anything until now because it involves the Recovery ministry at our Church and we wanted to be fair to all our participants and leaders about the evolution of this ministry. It has taken us a few weeks to communicate and plan and get feedback and we finally have something in place so I can finally share!!!!! :)

During an evaluation started in fall, partly with our Director leaving and partly because the Church finally felt they needed to be more supportive and involved in a ministry of healing, we realized that the Celebrate Recovery banner just didn't fit our Church, to place all healing under this model wasn't working effectively and it was limiting. So while we are going to keep some strong foundational pieces, we are going to let go of the name, we are going to become more inclusive  by broadening the number of struggles we offer support for specifically. New groups will be offered that won't require a commitment of every week for a whole year, which started to weigh on me over the last year, because I didn't feel I could do that when our children come :)

The most exciting part for me came when our Ministry Pastor laid out just a few of the support groups he would like to offer. Miscarriages. Struggling Marriages. Financial recovery. Inside my head, my jaw dropped. The joy inside me bubbled up I could hardly contain myself. And other ideas I had for groups over the years that just wouldn't have fit in the CR model started flowing through my brain. An Infertility group. A Self-Image circle. A creative healing (through arts) group. It doesn't mean all of them will happen, but I just am over the moon because the sky is the limits!

I just know that somehow our children tie into this purpose yet too. Nothing concrete, simply more winds whispering. Oh, how I love the winds of change! But more than I love sailing on those winds, I love my Anchor.  I love knowing THIS was the good God was working out of every pain and passion in my life. This was what the Potter is doing with the clay. I followed His promises, followed every rainbow, and I found my dream.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


As many of you know, I have struggled with a myriad of body image, food, activity, and self-worth issues.  Most of you also know about my infertility issues. And in May of this year, you may have received an email from me disclosing how I felt they were intertwined and I was looking for deliverance on the issue.

I mentioned in that email a long history of this intertwining between my body image and child bearing. In applying the 12 step recovery model to my food overuse/abuse, I began to see just how far back. Like at the age of eleven when my dad said I looked like my aunt.  Now, with 25 years of hindsight, I realize he would not have meant this as an insult, this was his sister he loved he was comparing me too. However. I was bordering on puberty, body issues already beginning to arise, and my aunt was self-proclaimed 'fat and ugly' and also single and without children. So that's the beginning of when the fear took hold, that was the total package I was destined for.

Yet, once I was able to 'catch' myself a husband ;) I had no doubt we would have children. It was just the way it was supposed to be. I'd always wanted to be a mother.  When that wasn't happening we went to the Winnipeg Heartland Fertility Clinic in 2008, and the doctor tells me all my tests are fine, found no probable cause, 'it's probably your weight'. This was a huge blow to my denial that I wasn't that overweight. I felt a little better when he told my much slimmer sister the same thing (turns out we both have VERY different issues), but here was a confirmation of that condescending voice in my head, 'you've done it to yourself, your fat, now you can't have kids.'

That started an 8 year long quest to find out what God wanted from me in order to be able to have children, if my weight played a part, or if I would have children at all. At a Women's retreat in Spring 2012 we were being spoken to about Jesus' Shepard heart, and about spending time with him in the space of his heart and ours. If I recall there was some self-worth talk as well. On the last day, during a quiet time I took the opportunity for some listening prayer time, a heart to heart with Jesus. Of course I inevitably asked about motherhood, and an image of me being able to go to the beach in a bikini entered my mind, and immediately my mind covered up that image because I began to see my body like I thought instead of what I wished. Then God ripped off the towel I was hiding behind, and the bikini! He told my body was not meant to be a bikini body, it was meant to be a healthy body, and how He loves me even naked.  All that from a question about motherhood :/ hmmmm.

But the quest for what wellness and a healthy body really meant was not over, not by a long shot. It was September 2012 I started applying the 12 step model to the process and dug up a lot of bad habits I just couldn't seem to release.  I wrote in my journal just days before my miscarriage in January 2013 that I was getting weighed down by the inability to see myself as beautiful or attractive, still! I even reached out to my small group for prayer and I was given a Word, to write in my journal to myself from God - and when I did He said my body is just the way it should be right now, but more importantly my heart was His trophy. If my body was an art gallery my heart would be the highlighted central show piece.  A message I needed to hear, but didn't have time to sink in before I was distracted by grief.

I hit my lowest self-worth pit when I saw pictures from our 10th anniversary. Pictures of my body specifically, threw me into a tail spin of self hatred. It was also exactly a year since we'd started trying again, and I was so disheartened. I had sensed for a year already that care and value for my body were tied to child-bearing and so I punished myself for not have taken that more seriously. I almost loathed myself, but 3 amazing friends came along side me and spoke truth over my self-image and gave me many gifts of words through songs and poems. I knew they were a gift from God, truths from God. They helped but the detesting of my body did not stop.

Then one night at CR in May, our new Ministry Pastor (who was 'just' Pastor at the time) came and did a guest speaking spot. He talked about what grace/salvation really means. Salvation in Greek is Sozo, which has a few meanings, but not separate meanings, they are to be a package deal - salvation, healing, deliverance. Deliverance is the one God threw on the light-bulb for. I searched for answers about my body image, God's truth about my health, and then our Pastor ended by playing a song. A song that was played by a friend the day after our miscarriage, about being 'in His hands'. Yikes!
I talked to our pastor after and asked him, if I felt I was needing the deliverance component, what does that look like? He talked to me about strongholds we have been unable to see ourselves, and needing others around us to pray truth into our struggles, to pray deliverance from certain strongholds that are too rooted in us. Strongholds represent an area where the enemy has had time to get fortified and well dug in. He gave me this verse. "If you are having trouble overcoming a temptation or addiction, it's not that your prayers are not effective; the problem is that the enemy has managed to get dug in. In these kinds of cases, it not only takes prayer, but it also takes fasting along with prayer to dig the enemy out."Matthew 17:14-21
I then searched for more information on Biblical deliverance and continually came across prayer and fasting. Some bondage's you can only be free of with prayer and fasting. "Fasting and prayer breaks the stronghold grip of satan and digs him out, allowing you to get the strength and victory to overcome him."  Isaiah 58:6
In sharing my desire for deliverance with a friend, she also happened to offer Matthew 17's insight, and she encouraged me to commit to a regular time of prayer and fasting, and offered to join me! That inspired me and that's when I reached out for help in prayer and fasting, many of you joined me, for which I'm grateful.

I didn't seem to get any direct answers to those prayers, but I received a 'round about' answer. I began pursuing more of God's truth about how he sees me, inspired by something some friends had shared, and during a heart to heart with Jesus, I was given the image of him painting me out of his heart, and it began to free me from a lot of my self-image hatred, I began to see my body was beautiful about that same time. From just after my January miscarriage to mid-Spring I had inclinations my latest tattoo design was intertwined with having a baby, but I didn't connect the dots, only after my tattoo did I realize it represented that vision I had from God about how he painted/created me and my heart to be a masterpiece work of art, so my tattoo was intertwined with my self-image AND my future children. 

It was at that moment, seeing the tattoo in that light, that I felt the death blow to my low self-worth. There has been a lifetime of deliverance that happened in 2013.  And I waited for the pregnancy. And here I am, almost 6 months later with no pregnancy. However, I am beginning to have inklings as to why God felt it so important to change my perception of beauty BEFORE I have children. They have something to do with the beauty of my child. He's telling me my definition of beauty will change even more once I have this child. I have long had the gift of seeing others through His eyes, so I know this is something significant, this child will be special. I don't know yet in what way. But I know my deliverance was important to her/his life.

And so with one delivery, I patiently await the next.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Well, to be honest, this week's meals were healthy versions of my fav restaurant dishes. I'm still on track calorie wise and no cheats though.
I have also been lacking in activity motivation.
I'm hoping both have been because I've been sick and tired and busy. I feel better already and next week is quite a bit quieter. I hope to get in a swim to change up the routine too!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Week 6 and loving all kinds of good, healthy food. All except one cheat.
A few weeks in a row I planned to splurge a little on pizza yet kept getting denied so I finished my stale bag of ketchup chips from December instead. At least they are gone now and I won't be facing them the next time I'm craving tomatoey carbs!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Another successful week under my belt. January was easier than I thought, first month back on track and I hit 80% of my workout goals, only had one water cheat and one chip cheat, no dessert cheats! I'm back to my September weight and have SO much energy. Feelin' great!

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