Friday, October 30, 2009

A Question For Women

Do you or have you ever battled with low self-esteem? And not just the "it's that time of the month, I feel boated and fat" kind of low self-esteem, I mean the down and dirty, don't want to look at yourself in the mirror low self-esteem. I have gone through seasons where my self-esteem has been low but right now it is at an all time bottom. For a while I was OK with myself. I felt fairly comfortable in my own skin but for the last 3 months or maybe even more I have been in an all out war with my mind about how I look and feel.

I know since turning 30 I started to realize my body has changed and unlike in my 20's it just doesn't do or feel like it used to. Lately though I have not gotten through a day without the onslaught of negative thoughts about myself. There are areas of my thought life that I have become victorious in but my appearance/self-esteem is not one of those areas. A couple months ago I fasted for a week because the Lord laid it on my heart to do so. It was a hard week but the Lord came through powerfully. Because of fasting I lost 8 lbs. It was not a goal I had set for myself but when you are not eating, only drinking logically you will lose some weight. I knew eventually I would gain it back. During that week I got a comment that I looked really good and trim. The person who made the comment knew I was fasting, so it wasn't just a mistaken comment about weight loss. Wow, could 8 lbs really make a difference? Do I need to be that little to be attractive? It has bothered me ever since. My mind began to go back to the days I used to purposely not eat to lose weight. I can't believe after all these years of being free from that I see it trying to creep back into my life.

Another reason my self-esteem has been low, I believe, is the lack of time with my husband. He has been traveling a lot lately and working around the clock. By the time he gets home at night he's tired and his mind is preoccupied with deadlines. It is not his fault by any means but I can feel the effects. I don't hear the "You look nice honey" or "Wow you look beautiful today" any more. I know my self worth and value should not be so determined by someones words but I can tell the lack of encouraging words from my Love plays a crucial part in my battle.

So what to do. I have banned myself from keeping up with celebrities or glancing at them online, in the news or where ever. Their tiny, well exercised, toned bodies just become wrecking balls to my own self-esteem. I begin to entertain thoughts of maybe that's why Scott doesn't say much any more, maybe I have let myself go. Or that's why that person said that comment because I really do need to lose 10-20 lbs. I want to be happy with who I am and what I look like. I want to be comfortable with my weight and my looks. I struggle with other physical things like acne and such that slowly erode my self-esteem too. I don't want these things to keep me down any more but I will just be very frank and honest it is so darn hard. We live in a society that places so much worth and value on your appearance.

The Lord has spoken to me about this battle. Interestingly enough He did not condemn or judge me for struggling but just asked me to continue moving forward and battling this. He didn't show me a magical pill to take that would make all these thoughts disappear but He just said don't stop keep going. Sometimes we fail in life. Sometimes we give in instead of pressing forward but the point is we get back up and take another step. My focus right now is what do you want me to know today Lord? What is the Truth that will get me through today? Eventually I will be on the other side of this, victorious and rejoicing in my new found freedom but today I am in the war. I am on the front-lines picking my way through the battle field, hoping not to step on another land mine. Hopefully, in the end my battle scars will help bring others freedom to this area in their own lives. Now I need to go and battle whether I am going to have a cup of coffee this morning or not. That is more sugar that I don't need yet I would really like to have it. Ohhhhhh, the things going on in my head right now. Blaahhhhhh!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shaggy Is 11 Today!!!!

Today is Shaggy's 11th birthday. I am amazed! Say it ain't so...I just gave birth to this bouncing, beautiful little baby only weeks ago. He can't truly be 11. He has turned into such a handsome amazing young man that makes this mama proud. He also makes his papa proud too. I love hanging out with him and laughing with him. He is a wonderful young man.

Happy Birthday Shaggy!! We all love you so much. Do you realize at 11 you are almost as tall as your dad? I am starting to get you and your dad's jeans mixed up. I wonder how tall you will be at 14?! Yikes!! :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Working Through My Disillusionment About The Church

Disillusionment...what it is and why am I sifting through it? Well, this book has had a profound impact on me about my disillusionment with the church. Yes, I said it and even printed it out. I have been battling my disillusionment with the church at large. Not one particular body of believers or building but church in general.

So what does disillusionment mean? Try this out for size...

disillusionment (countable and uncountable; plural disillusionments)

  1. A feeling that arises from the discovery that something is not what it was anticipated to be, commonly held to be stronger than disappointment especially when a belief central to one’s identity is shown to be false. (taken from the online Websters Dictionary)

For years I have struggled with this not knowing exactly why the church bothered me. Maybe because I grew up in and out of multiple churches until I was 12 and then my family stopped attending any church? Maybe it was because of the unusual past I grew up with? Maybe because some of the most heinous offenses of my past came from supposedly good Christians from church? I don't know but for a long time the word church made me cringe. I even remember distinctly in high school one of my friends asked me if I was "one of those people" referring to someone from church, even asking me if I was a Christian and I abruptly responded "No"! It wasn't that I didn't believe in God or that I did not want to be a Christian but those words represented dead, religious organizations and those in them who were just here to judge the world before Jesus return.

Unfortunately I have stumbled again across more of my own disillusionment about church in recent years. When my husband and I became believers and found a church to become a part of I very quickly began to see the dark side of church once more. What I thought would be a place of love and acceptance quickly became a place of masks and judgments. My heart just yearned for something real and authentic. Don't tell me about love, show me. Don't tell me you have it all together let me know you struggled and can still run the race. Don't give me programs or activities, give me relationships.

My director overseeing my internship at TTWM suggested that I needed to read this book "Dear Church: Letters from a Disillusioned Generation". It has been a powerful, thought provoking book in my life. It is really helping me to reexamine church, my heart and help me to wade through many of my own frustrations to find Christ's true mission and what church was created to be. It has also made me realize I am not alone in my feelings and that our generation is going to help usher in the emerging church of this time.

I realize now that I am not too get frustrated about all that is happening in and around the church and then just abandon it but that I am called to pray, fast and stand for the Body to become the church Jesus desired her to be. It isn't always pretty folks. I know deep in my heart there is something more that the Body of Christ is called to be and God will get us there. If I truly believe He can do "all things" than I should stop doubting that He can make His Bride spotless and beautiful. Maybe I am called to be a part of that transformation.

If any of you struggle with this area I would highly, HIGHLY recommend reading this book. After reading spend time with the Lord and ask Him to help you sift through your own experiences with the church at large. I will guarantee you many of those times the church hurt you or let you down that Jesus was not there personally doing that. Many times if not every time He was there grieving as much as you were.

I have a bit more soul searching to do on this topic. I am not quite there yet. I constantly get frustrated and stirred by the church but I want to be in a position to help Jesus Bride not stumble her any more. I publicly repent now for the times I have spoken against the church and Body at large because of my frustrations. I was wrong and know that I was not only speaking against the Body of Christ but Christ Himself when I put the church down.

It still may take some time before we see transformation happen but I so desire to see it through. I am determined to work through my disillusionment and find God's true perspective on this issue, no matter how many times I have to go before Him about this.

Seriously, pick up a copy of this book. It is really good!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Flu Season Hybernation

It has hit our home, the wonderful flu bug. Just a note to let you all know that we will be falling off the radar for some time until this nasty little bug finishes its life cycle in our home. That means no church for some time, no visits with friends, no extra activities for a while. I am curious about how much time the boys will be off school because of this. Not that I don't believe the Lord can restore their bodies to health quickly but already the school wants Rocker checked for H1N1 and then they have a quarantine period where he cannot return to school until a certain amount of time.

I am hoping too with DK getting the vaccine he won't be too affected by this. It did ruin plans for my Knight and I. We have not gone on a date in 3 months and my Knight took tomorrow off so we could have a date day. That's not going to be happening now or for a very long time.

So email, call or leave comments to keep me informed about what's going on in the world outside our little home because we will be hunkered down for some time. We won't be visibly out much. I definitely don't want to pass this thing on.

We will see you all on the flip side of this flu!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Meltdown

Today was a sad day in the Livin' household I had an all out meltdown in public no less. It happened at our local grocery store at the pharmacy. I know the tension and stress in our lives has been piling up but I thought I could make it through. I kept telling myself that God doesn't give us what we can't handle. He knows our breaking point. Well...I guess I caved sooner than expected.

We are going through a lot here. My husbands job has really put stress on our family and our marriage and it has taken its toll. My husband is not the issue it's just he has been slammed with so many projects and deadlines that we basically pass each other in the night. It has been a hard season. Then there are other things that are causing enormous stress here that would probably take up entire posts in themselves. I just kept trying to keep my focus on Christ and keep plowing through them all...until today.

Today was the straw that broke this mama's back. I had to take DK into the doctors for asthma issues and what seemed like an Upper Respiratory Infection. After seeing the Doc my assumptions were confirmed with the added sinus infection to boot. The doctor filled out 5 prescriptions for me to take and then gave DK the H1N1 vaccine. His UR issues concerned the doctor and he wanted to make sure DK had protection against this virus. Their office alone is seeing 10 cases at least a day of the swine flu. The other doctor in the practice told me that everyone coming in with the flu has the swine flu version. So I prayed over DK before the shot and watched my brave little guy take the vaccine.

Then it was off to the pharmacy. I handed in my prescriptions and went to get DK lunch before taking him back to school. When I came back the pharmacist dropped the hammer. They could only fill 3 out of the 5 prescriptions. One had to be authorized by the doctor and there was some discussion about how I had to take care of that. Very confusing especially since this med never needed to be pre-authorized before. After that she informed me that I can only get one inhaler per month. I tried explaining to her that one inhaler was for home and the other is for the school. I showed her the prescription as evidence but there was no arguing the cause. At this point I could feel myself getting overwhelmed and upset. I just tried to continue and keep myself from falling apart.

Finally they rang the 3 prescriptions and they totaled up to $100. What!!! I asked if there were any generics for these meds but the problem was the inhaler. The stupid government banned the old generic inhalers because they were using chemicals that were depleting the Ozone. Now, don't get me wrong, I am all about saving our environment but give me a break! You are telling me that changing all inhalers to this more expensive, better for the environment kind is going to help our depleting ozone and global warming. Please...someone go after the car industry and industrial plants with their pollution and leave us asthmatic patients alone. One inhaler is over $50 each with no generic form. That's when I broke down in tears. We don't make a lot of money because we choose to allow me to be home for the boys. $100 in prescriptions is a lot of money out of an already tight budget plus we don't get paid until Friday. I didn't know if we had enough money to cover the meds.

I know it's not the pharmacists fault but I lost it. I was upset, crying and angry. I tried hard to explain to the ladies I was not mad at them but just upset with the situation. I retired to the van and called my husband. It was awful. I hate breaking down on him when he's at work. It's not like he needs any more stress but I had had it. I lost all my resolve, my strength and my emotional fortitude. I guess it didn't help that I had three dreams last night where I woke up screaming. So really I had little sleep too.

Now I am home and recomposed. I feel like a failure. I didn't show Christ to anyone today. I feel tired of this battle and ready for it to be over. I will continue on though...taking one step at a time. I needed to share that with you all, I am not sure why but maybe for my own sanity. I don't always have it together. I am not always strong. I am just so darn glad I can fall and then have a loving heavenly Father who picks me up. He doesn't even look at me as a failure. He just cries with me and holds me when I have no strength left in me to continue on.

I know in my heart of hearts we will get through this season. I know that this is the fire that will turn our simple offering into pure gold but it isn't easy. Anyone who tells you that life is easy when following the Lord is a liar. The Lord tells us we will have trouble in this world but to take heart because He has overcome this world. It isn't getting through life happy and blissfully its moving from glory to glory. Today wasn't very glorious for me but it is just another way the Lord can refine me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Family Fun Fall Weekend

Our family tradition of fall Apple picking. We do it every year now!

We usually go out twice in the fall for apples and then
make applesauce and freeze it for winter. The boys love
going each year.

We also added pumpkin pie baking this year. A dear friend
of our gave us three large crock-necked or long-necked
pumpkins from his garden. My Knight did not want them to
go to waste so Sat when we got back from apple picking he
started chopping up my gorgeous pumpkins. They are great
pumpkin pie pumpkins.

Everyone dove in. Shaggy and my Knight took care of the
pumpkins and DK, Rocker and I took care of the apples.

When I went to make pumpkin pie I tired whipping everything
up by hand. My mixer went out about 3 months ago and I have
been dragging me feet about getting a new one.
After my Knight saw me struggling to whip the egg whites
into fluffy peeks he proceeded to get his drill and show me how
a real man whips egg whites.

The boys loved it. I on the other hand am determined to get a new mixer now.:)
Poor Elise J...she would be mortified if she saw this.

We had such a great weekend. No agenda, no obligations just family fun. The weekend ended with 4 pumpkin pies, oodles of apple sauce, apple fritters and just an overall sense of peace. The boys told us it was the best weekend ever. That makes it all worth it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Beautiful Let Down

This week we were blessed to host our church's School of Ministry as we celebrated Sukkot. We had such a wonderful time. Friday started Sukkot and we have been hosting evening gatherings since then. Last night was our last night with the School of Ministry. Technically Sukkot does not end until the end of this week.

Here is our Sukkah we built. It was such a beautiful evening.

We would have a fire each night and spend the evening eating
and fellowshipping in the Sukkah.

Last night was a bad wind storm in our area. Unfortunately our little Sukkah did not make it through. Today we will have to untangle it and hopefully salvage what we can. Our glass table survived the downfall and the chairs underneath of the Sukkah are all in tack. DK was a bit sad. We knew last night this wind storm was approaching so he prayed that Jesus would protect it. I feel He did protect it but not the way DK wanted it protected.

Anyway, after a long 5 days we had our beautiful let down as we inspected the ruins. I was so blessed to participate in this this year but sad it has come to such an abrupt end. It's OK though. We learned much through this amazing experience.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"I Clean Therefore I Am" - Livin'

If Rene Descartes philosophized "I think therefore I am" then I would like to declare "I clean therefore I am" or so I feel right now.

I have cleaned this house everyday this week. Is this all I was created to do? If Decartes says "I am thinking therefore I exist", then right now I say "I am cleaning therefore I exist".

I hate cleaning. I hate picking up the same piles of junk six times a week and putting the same bazillion dishes away each day. My kids work around the house too but even with their help it still is unending. I honestly feel like my total exsistance this week was to clean. No thinking, no pondering just doing laundry, washing floors, scrapping food off plates and cleaning toilets.

This hasn't been the greatest week for me. Sorry to vent but I need to start thinking more and cleaning less. Or is it that I am only thinking about cleaning therefore I exist? Oh, boy! I need a day off. Someone email my husband and tell him to take out his crazy wife before she goes and gets books on philosophy from the Library and begins to write her own philosophical ideals on motherhood. Help me please!:)