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Thursday, May 26, 2016

When Something Good Is Not The Best.

As Christian parents, Tim and I are continually having our minds graciously and lovingly renewed by God to His way of thinking. I'm not saying we have the number one, most biblical way of parenting thinking {insert *snort* here}...

...Rather, as we submit ourselves to our loving Father as our own children's parents, we find Him offering new ways of thinking about our family, our children's upbringing, and His way for us of "training our children in the way they should go" {Proverbs 22:6}.

The more we keep going on this parenting path, the more I know each family's submission to God's guidance will be different. And that is good! God loves variety! It is my responsibility to work in our family quietly, minding our own business and keeping our hearts from comparison.

"Jesus said, 'If I want him to remain until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.'" John 21:22 {emphasis my own}

With that preamble set, let me share with you a big decision we have made recently for our family which has been challenging; offering an opportunity to follow God's direction in faith as it follows a different path that most families make in this day and age.


Last year, we enrolled Josiah into kindy. In NZ, kindergarten is a free-play environment that usually takes children from 3 until they go to school at 5 {though requirement of schooling age is 6}. The kindy we chose is truly amazing with incredibly supportive, skilled teachers and a wonderfully large outdoor area. This was a big for me as Josiah is an outdoor boy.

Aside from a few bumps, Josiah has thrived at kindy. He has grown out of his shell around people who aren't his immediate family and he has learned to play alongside others really well. Yet, we noticed after the start of this year that, though he was doing really well while he was at kindy, that his behaviour at home had really changed.

We went through all the normal reasons that can cause struggling behaviour and felt that none of those really seemed to apply to him. We talked to his teachers and we talked to each other and we prayed a lot. Last week we decided that we were going to pull Josiah out of kindy.

It was such a hard decision and even now, with only a few lessons left for him, I still feel emotionally torn about it {though, when I calm my feelings and think deeply about the guidance we believe God has been giving us, my gut tells me it is the right choice}.

It's been a lesson of learning that sometimes even really good things aren't necessary the best things for us {at the time, in a season, or, forever}.

Kindy, in and of itself, is a great place for little children. It is nurturing, with smaller numbers and a million opportunities for growth and play, play, play. Playing is the key for a child learning is their philosophy {and I totally agree}. It has done Josiah a world of good. It has been good.

But, we have come to the conclusion that - right now - it is not the best for him. The best, that we can see, is for him to be with his family more. With times that he has had off of kindy this year {holidays etc.}, his behaviour/demeanour/attitude has been undeniably better, more stable and more loving. For some reason - and we really have no idea why - something that is good {kindy} just isn't bringing out the best in him {at home}.

To some, this may be no big deal. But for us, home behaviour is everything. The saying that goes, "You really are who you are at home" is so deeply true. We can put on our "best" behaviour in public and then be just awful to those who love us most at home. Are we strict? Perhaps. We just believe that loving, disciplined yet authentic behaviour at home is the standard we are striving for.

There are seasons in life where, no matter the situation, we will have to make decisions based on how our priorities in life are lining up with where we are involved in. If our priorities align with our involvement in some commitment, church activity or other organisation, then that is really great. But if an involvement is causing issues that might allow us to compromise a priority or standard, some hard decisions may need to be made.

Even when, in many ways, you don't want to make that decision. Or that, sometimes, there may be no clear right or wrong. Sometimes all you can do is pray, seek God's guidance, analyse all the information you have before you, and make a choice. And then, step out in faith.

A child not going to some form of preschool or kindergarten is rare these days. We, again, are going to look different. {Sigh. Really, God? Again?} But we have to obey.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there is no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

And it's not just us, as parents, who want to be happy in Jesus. We want our children to have the ultimate joy of knowing and being happy in Jesus. And, because they are in our care, we have to trust and obey God, even when it bucks against the norm and requires hard, emotional choices for what is best, even if the second choice is still good.

In the comments: Have you ever made a decision that was hard because you had the choice of good and best?


Monday, May 16, 2016

Callings and Self-Doubt: Choosing Faith that You Are on the Right Path.

We all struggle with comparing ourselves to others {remember?}. And, as I am growing to see in myself, we all struggle with doubting ourselves next to others. Self-doubt is a massive continuing blip in the radar of my Christian growth.

Before we had children, I wasn't like any of the wives I knew. I didn't have a full-time job. I wasn't helping us save money for when children came. There was great logic in those choices, but they weren't our choice. I worked part-time {generally ten hours a week} and, for the most part, I considered being a homemaker {ie. Tim's wife} my full-time job.

Oh, it was such a different path to take. Granted, I never, ever got negative comments or remarks - but I did get lots of people questioning me. 

Why don't you work more?
Don't you want more money?
What does Tim think?
Aren't you bored?
What do you do all day?

The questions always got me. I knew, deep down that this was God's calling on my life, and I knew people would disagree with me. But all the questions - and often what the questions didn't say but silently did - were like little arrows of doubt. In those times, I really did have two people on my shoulder; one speaking positively to my calling, the other asking more and more questions, leading to deepening doubt. Even though I knew my own story and Tim's, even though I knew why dedicating my life to my family was my dream job, I still doubted. I doubted simply because I feared man.



Each day we have a million battles we face. We battle the choice to have faith or reject the Gospel. We battle to believe the truth of God's Word {and not listen to the hissing whisper, "Did God really say...?"}. We battle to choose obedience to God and not sin. We battle our culture. And sometimes, sadly, we battle our own family, friends and church.

Living a life of faith and conviction is ridiculously hard. Mere questions can be the marsh mellows of it all! Ridicule, persecution, misunderstanding, judgement and rejection are almost expected. And I am not just talking about God's moral laws here {as opposed to the world's standards}: I am talking about an individual's call, their choice of occupation, a family's way of life, their vision for the upbringing of their children...

I am talking about the personal, quiet, submissive belief one has before God that this way - this choice, this path, this conviction - is uniquely given by the Lord, to them, for their life. Everyone has callings that submit under the law of the Gospel.

We have authors, painters, teachers, leaders, servers, mothers, fathers, missionaries, single individuals, bridge builders, carpenters, evangelists, singers, bloggers. Under the grace of the Gospel, we have individual callings. And they will be different. You, and I, will be different. And amongst the many battles that we face each day will be the battle to believe, to hold on to, to grasp the hem of God that this calling is ours. No matter what questions are asked. No matter who asks those questions.

Self-doubt is one of the ways in which the enemy gets God's people off track. Indulging, believing and participating in self-doubt causes us to be like the person James speaks of, the one who, when asking for wisdom,

"must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind" {1:6}

When we are being tossed about in the waves of self-doubt {which is not faith}, we are ineffective disciples of Christ. We are crippled by our own selves and will not thrive in the calling God has given us. 



Paul, throughout the Epistles, repeatedly began his letters stating his calling, or appointment to service {1 Timothy 1:12}, or apostle by command {1 Timothy 1:1}. He claimed his calling and, despite believing he was the worst of sinners {vs.15}, he knew his calling to be true and that it was a mercy of Christ.

Though we are not Paul, we too are disciples of Christ and have our own callings. I am called to be a wife, mother, homemaker and church member. I have talent-callings I must use for God's service. And, as a married couple and as parents, Tim and I have decisions we must make in regards to the atmosphere of our family, the upbringing of our children and the way in which we use the blessings God has given us. We will look different. But being different to others doesn't mean being wrong.

So, dear friends, choose to have faith in your calling. You will be different, but don't let questions cause you doubt. Hold fast to your appointment, use questions to show God's mercy in your own life, and be thankful for God's unique care and concern over the way your life is lived, in practice and purpose. 

Please share your calling and any struggles you have had of self-doubt in it.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Thinking About Homeschooling? Books to Inspire.

Over the last two years, I have read about home education in any form I could find it. Blogs, articles, research papers {yes, even some of a PHD thesis} - anything. Once God lays something on my heart, all I want to do is learn and grow and read as much as I can get my hands on. Because of our awesome libraries in my town {over fifteen of them!}, I have been able to read quite a number of homeschooling books. This has been so helpful and inspiring. From reasons to experiences to philosophies, my passion for educating children at home has just grown.

I'm part way through another book at the moment and, as I have been reading it, I thought: I need to share all the amazing books I have been reading. I am sure there are some mother's out there who, like me, want to learn but don't know where to start. This list {though not comprehensive} is for you. 


 This post contains affiliate links.




Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson

This was the first book on homeschooling I read and it definitely opened my eyes to a whole new world. The Clarkson's are quite famous for homeschooling and have their own ministry. All their children are older now and successful in their own right. But that isn't what homeschooling is about for the Clarkson's - it's about creating a home that brings life and learning naturally, part of the whole child, and not just their minds. It is a Christian-based book and really encouraging {and weighty}.



What is a Family? by Edith Schaffer

I have written about this book so many times because, just, oh. I love it. It isn't a book on homeschooling specifically, but Edith's whole message about the importance of family and home and relationships deepened my growing conviction that God really cares about families, how much He wants mother's to invest in their family's lives, how much a home atmosphere affects a child's life. My desire to homeschool deepened after reading this book because my passion for the kind of life I wanted for my children doubled. 



The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

Again, this isn't a homeschooling book per se, but Sally's message is clear: children need mother's and it is vitally important that mother's invest their all into their children for the season of life when they are directly under our influence and in our homes. Conviction, inspiration, encouragement, soul-warming - this book is for all Christian mothers, even if homeschooling isn't on your radar. But if it is, this book will inspire you with a new vision for how you want to teach your children {educationally, spiritually, relationally etc}.




This book. It was hilarious and I loved it. It isn't Christian at all, but that was really nice for a change. There are so many resources out there from a Christian perspective that it was a breath of fresh air to see why a non-Christian would homeschool. It was a one-year experiment for Quinn and her daughter, and each chapter follows Quinn as she researches, meets other homeschoolers, figures out what works for her daughter, goes to a conference. Her sense of humour made me giggle and I just really enjoyed following her along this journey.



The Homeschooling Option by Lisa Rivero

Don't be fooled by the cover - this isn't a research paper, but a helpful resource for people just beginning to look into homeschooling. Like all of my other recommendations, it is an American source. Which is great, America is the leader of the homeschooling movement; but for people outside of the US, some of the references, concerns etc. are not applicable. But, this book was a great beginning source for someone like me who had NO idea all the in's and out's and why's of this great schooling option.


The Well-Adjusted Child by Rachel Gathercole

I am currently re-reading this book and am enjoying it. It approaches that question all homeschoolers are asked, "What about socialisation?" This was a question for me at the start {because of my own naievity}, but I don't have any qualms about it anymore. The question is no longer "Are homeschoolers socialised?" but rather, "What actually is socialisation?" The answer is not simple as people assume. A great book.




I was excited to read this book on many levels and I am surprised by my response to it. Being a Sproul, I knew it would be biblically-based and it is - but I wasn't actually convinced by his arguments that homeschooling is a biblical mandate. I still love this book, but not for the reasons I think he intended. It made some great points, like, why are we surprised when our children turn out like Romans when we sent them to Caesar? This is a top recommendation from me, but with the sidenote that I don't fully agree with it theologically.



The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

My father is a Professor in Children's Literature, so by nurture, I am a reader. He gave me this book since he knows I am looking into homeschooling and, though it isn't about homeschooling, I think it ought to be a vital resource for all parents - especially homeschoolers. Reading is so, so, so important for a child's learning and for their well-being. Reading today in schools isn't reading - it's about quizes and comprehension. We need to go back to the belief that reading creates a love of learning, for life. One of my favourite schooling memories is when, at ten, our teacher read us aloud Watership Down. 




In my growing knowledge of how children learn, self-directed {or delight-directed} learning has really interested me. Allowing children to direct their learning by parents following their lead and providing outlines and lessons that fit into the child's interests of the moment. Some call this unschooling, but I feel there is more parental guidance needed. This book studied the lives of famous homeschoolers and how they were educated impacted their pursuit of excellence {like Einstein, Teddy Roosevelt etc.}. Really interesting.

So there you have it. Have you read any of these? Would love your own recommendations!

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Foundation Years: Letting My Kids Just Be.

I wrote awhile back how we are considering homeschooling our two children. This is still very much on the cards, and my husband is about 70% convinced it's a good schooling option {compared to the 5% when I first brought it up!}. 

Just with every major life decision, I have spent much time in reading and praying over the reasons/positives/negatives about it all. And I can honestly say that, as I have done so, the Lord has really surprised me. 

My original reason why I wanted to educate our children at home {ie. there are no good schools in our area and I think God might want us to} is now a periphery reason. Even my conviction that it provides a really solid education is not where God has surprised me. My happy surprise has been this:

Home is where my children should be for as long as possible. 


In all my reading, the conclusion I have come to is this: research shows that the influence of parents and family during a child's foundational years is fundamental to their health and well-being. Not only that, but, educationally, children learn best when they can take their time and grow/learn at their own pace. Self-directed and guided learning in childhood sparks a life long joy and delight in learning. 

I have never been a person who takes the status quo without thinking it through. That has always made me a bit different. My parents taught me from an early age to try and see past the surface to the why's and how's of situations and ideologies. My history degree taught me an array of new ideas and concepts, but most enduringly, the simple fact that our culture today is the odd one out.

And it frustrates me when others do not see this. They take the status quo and accept that either,


  • this is the way it has always been, or,
  • our society is more advanced now so this way must be better/more evolved/more fulfilling {and so it goes}. 

Sometimes I feel my insides spiking a fever of "Use your brains! Think outside of now! The way things are doesn't mean it's better!"

And for Christians who, genuinely without realising I believe, I want to say,

"Just because our culture sends kids off to school at five-years-old doesn't mean that it is right."

Chocolate.


Childhood in western society today is a pendulum of experiences unlike any other in the past. They have health, they have freedom from work/pain/suffering/fear, they have education, they have gadgets, they have individuality. Children today have gained so much and yet, have lost so much as well. And the most significant loss I believe they suffer through is the loss of their family as the primary source of worth, friendship, learning and wisdom.

Time goes so quickly. My son is just over three - wasn't he born not long ago? And my daughter, she is two in July. We no longer have babies in the house - but I have only been a mother three years. Time is just sucked up into the vacuum of fading memories. In less time that he has been alive, according to the status quo, I ought to be sending him to a place where he spends the majority of his days for the next thirteen years. 

Five years. That is all I'm "supposed" to get. 

Historically, educationally, relationally, theologically that just doesn't make sense. It really doesn't.

Now, I'm not ganging up on school. I wasn't homeschooled - I've been to big schools, country schools, public schools and christian schools. I see great benefit in being in such an environment. But, I firmly believe now, only when children are ready

Schools in my area of New Zealand are changing dramatically. Modern Learning Environments are the new "thing" for education {even though they tried it in the sixties and it didn't work, but hey, we have technology now and we are more advanced so that time/failure doesn't count} and at the school my children are zoned for, they would be new entrants in a single building {with no walls} holding three hundred children. Three hundred. At five years old.

Why that makes sense when research {over and over again} shows children learn better the smaller the class room. Who knows what politicians are thinking?

Sensory bin.

Anyway, that is just not an option. And not just because it's nuts. Primarily that is not an option because our children are our children. Our community and society can have them one day, but not yet. They are just not ready. They need time to mature, know their place in the world, grow in beliefs that are rejected in most institutions. 

So until they areready {ten? eleven?}, I'm letting them be with us. Yes, we'll do "proper" learning, but even then, it will look different. We're going to read ridiculous amounts of books. We're going on lots of walks. We're going to kill lots of dragons with homemade bow and arrows. We're going to listen to a lot of Batman by Danny Elfman {at least three times a day, currently}. 

These foundation years, we never get them back. So I am grabbing hold of them and living them to the fullest. Childhood that is family {and not schooling and peers and fads} is back in. There is no status quo around here.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Life Lately

I unexpectedly took a very long break from blogging. There was a major faultline in our phone so we were without phone or internet for almost a month. Then, after being used to not having the internet and not blogging, I just kept ignoring the blog. It was nice. A breather. I realised how easy it is for the internet to rule my life - not just blogging or social media, but just having access to it for, say, a recipe or a map or a reference for something. It was certainly frustrating at times, but overall, I really enjoyed it and, in many ways, was thankful for the space.

I feel almost ready to come back to my blogging space though. My creative/writing side is itching to be let lose. So hopefully I will be back up and running soon. My husband has also been helping me with a few things that I may be able to share with you - once they're all ready to go {think: household printables}.

Until I'm up and running more regularly, here is a round up of what's been going on lately.


Thinking


There are major issues going on in the New Zealand Anglican Church {see below under 'Praying'} and, being in one of the key churches that is {we believe} fighting for God's truth, His Gospel and His Word has been on my mind so much. I have been having many online discussions with other people within the Anglican Church, mostly with those who do not agree with evangelicals, so I have been contemplating and mulling over the many basics of what it means to follow Christ. Particularly so, the great chasm that occurs between people when some hold fast to the authority of the Bible and others don't. It is impossible to keep that hold from widening.

Doing


We have been particularly busy having play dates. It has just been a term holiday for school kids, as well as Josiah's kindy, so we have had play dates with about eight families in the last few weeks. It has been just great - but busy. So I am just very thankful to move back into the gentle rhythms I have established over the last few years of our normal, everyday life.

Hagley Park in the centre of Christchurch. A kid's favourite for walking and exploring.

Moving


Last time I was blogging, I was determined to get a grip on my health. I haven't fallen off the wagon, but it is hard and I am always trying to stick to my goals. I stopped jogging for over a month and instead was just doing my normal walking. But I've realised I need to do jogging in order for changes to be made on my body. I just turned thirty and I have to work harder to get my blood pumping and my body processing what I eat. Also, my mental health is just so much better when I push myself to go jogging: I feel fitter, more confident about my body and just all-round good about myself. Who can say no to that?

Eating


My eating has been better than it has been in the last six months. I'm using more self-control and eating less between meals {ie. I rarely have a snack other than perhaps a cup of tea}. My breakfast is healthier and I make sure I have a well-balanced lunch. Dinners are normal and I try not to over-eat. I have had yummy baking etc, but I am working hard on discipline. I have also been making my own bread, which has really helped {it's much more filling than normal bread}.

Some of the yummy yummy bread I have been baking.

Reading


I read ALOT while we had no internet. I couldn't do anything else! I've read about three books in over a month. I have also had consistent quiet times in the Word {about two-three a week} and finished the Book of Colossains. Amazing, people. And we have been doing a tonne of read alouds - my kids are falling more and more in love with books. I love it!

One of the books from the library the kids have loved and wanted read over and over.

Praying


In a week, representatives of different churches/parishes over NZ will be meeting for General Synod where governmental things get decided on. It happens every two years. Since the last one, a special council released a motion to bless same-sex marriages and ordain practicing homosexuals. This is a historically significant event and next week at Synod, there will be a vote whether to pass it or not. I am part of a group of evangelicals within the Anglican Church who are praying fervently that it won't be. We believe this is a first-order issue, that it will cause people to be excluded from heaven, so we are fighting so hard for what we believe in. We don't want to, but if it passes, we are likely to split away. It is not a sudden decision, it has been many years in the making, and it breaks our heart. But we must fight for God's truth, His desire for godly relationships and His absolute holiness that cannot accept sin. It is a very heavy time, my extended family are deeply involved, so I have been praying a lot. But God is good and so much of what I read in my quiet times silences the fears within my anxious mind: He is good, He will prevail in the end. 

So this is me lately. I have missed my blogging friends and hope to be back up and running very soon. I hope you haven't forgotten me! 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

My Health Overhaul : Week One {and the Link-Up}

Hi friends, we currently have NO phone or internet so i am borrowing the computer at my in-laws to upload the latest link-up - two weeks late, but that's how long it's been! Hopefully, it will be all fixed soon.

Successes:

  • I have only chosen to eat something sweet deliberately twice. The first, on Tuesday, was half a lollie-cake {a NZ slice} at a cafe with a friend. It was actually Rosie's, but I cut myself a small slither and then ate half of it. Now, I felt stink about that lack of self-control BUT considering this was the only bad sweet thing I ate all week, I don't feel so stink anymore. The second, on Friday night, was three pieces of dark chocolate {70%}. I didn't actually really like it, so didn't eat the fourth I had broken off.
  • I have changed my breakfast. Instead of four pieces of toast {white, with margerine and honey}, I have started having yoghurt, mixed in with a handful of rolled oats, flax seeds and frozen berries. It has been a really yummy way to start the morning. We have breakfast around seven, and I'm not feel super hungry to about eleven. 
  • Mid-afternoon I am trying to either have a banana smoothie with the kids {milk and banana} or a handful of nuts to tide me over the hungry slump til dinner at 5pm.
  • Meal portions have reduced. I am having one serving of dinner.
  • Evening snacking {which, for me, is so hard} has stopped this week. Barring my chocolate last night, I have been focused on having one cup of tea while we watch TV. If I am feeling cravey, I just have another cup of tea.

Fails:

  • That slice of lollie-cake I just shouldn't have eaten!
  • I only got in two good walks this week.
  • Forgetting sometimes that the reason isn't {solely} to lose weight, but to treat my body healthier and in a more godly manner. I look in the mirror and want to be thin, but I have to take those thoughts captive and remind myself of my goals and God's truth about myself {so hard, friends}.

Last week I went into the reasons why I am getting on top of my eating habits, so I thought this week I would share with you my goals for eating and the practicalities involved.

Source

Goals:

  • Though I am not going fully sugar-free, I am deliberately cutting back on as much sugar as possible and focusing on whole-foods. I believe in moderation and enjoying life, but before I was using that as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. Now, I'm allowing myself one night a week to have a treat. If I meet a friend at a cafe, I can have something small and sweet but no more than once a week.
  • Though I am focusing on eating better, I am not changing our dinner meals. They are not particularly unhealthy {ie. sushi} but, like I said, this is a matter of mind and attitude, not an obsession.
  • I'm trying to keep portions smaller and spaced out about three-four hourly.
  • No evening snacking, barring my nightly cup of tea.
  • Three good walks a week {3-4kms} at a brisk pace.
  • To lose weight if possible, but accepting there are some factors that may inhibit that {medicinal} so to keep the goal of health and respecting this body God has given me as primary.
  • To master self-control over those impulses that lead me astray.
  • If possible, to comfortably fit in size 12{NZ} pants, I am currently at the lower end of size 14.
Here is this weeks food for thought as we head into another week of getting our bodies right before the Lord:

"Our bodies are tools, not treasures. You should not spend your days trying to preserve your body in its eighteen-year-old form. Let it be used. By the time you die, you want to have a very dinged and dinted body. Motherhood uses your body in the way God designed it to be used. Those are the right kind of damages... We are not to treat our bodies like museum pieces. They were not given to us to preserve, they were given to us to use. So use it cheerfully, and maintain it cheerfully. You want to fix your body up in order to be able to use it some more. We should not be trying to fix it up to put it back on the shelf out of harm's way or to try to make ourselves look like nothing ever happened. Your body is a tool. Use it."

~ Rachel Jankovic, Loving the Little Years



Father, This is my goal. Though my flesh wants Hollywood, my soul wants usefulness for Your Kingdom. I want health to glorify You, to enjoy You forever and to use it for Your sake. Help me, Father, keep this perspective in my mind and heart as I begin a new week treating my body in the way that fits being owned by You. Amen.

***


I have been so grateful for the feedback from my last post. It's kind that you all think I am brave, perhaps I am, I just feel a little desperate with myself and know that going public will help my accountability!

I am thinking of setting up a Facebook page to help with that, would anyone be interested in joining if you are working on health, too?



Thank you too, to the lovely ladies who shared their posts. All posts were really applicable and challenging, you must go and check them out.

Convicting words on complaining by Ifeoma at Purposeful & Meaningful

An Invitation with Jenn at A Daily Rhythm. 

The beautiful name of God by Blogger Loves the King






Sunday, March 27, 2016

Being Honest About Being Fat & A New Weekly Health Link-Up

This post is hard for me to write. It is going to be honest - not just with you, reader friends, but with myself. I have to be honest with myself. Even though the truth hurts, facing our own weaknesses is always the beginning of change. And I need to change.

Before I go any further, though, I want to be clear: My goal in my weight loss is about health. 

It is not about pursuing skinniness.

It is not about following some food fad.

It is not about fitting into the smallest size possible.

It is about becoming a master of myself in the area of food choices. 

I want to choose better, eat better and be able to confidently say "no" to the urges in me that want to indulge and control.

For as long as I can remember, I have always eaten what I wanted to without care what happened to my body. When I was younger, it didn't matter. Even when I hit twenty-one and my doctor told me I had "become a woman" because I was no longer rake thin, I still pretty much could do what I like. I thought I was "fat" because what woman doesn't listen to that lie? And it is a lie. The lie that we are fat and ugly whispers to the very heart of a girl and a woman who just wants to be loved. And we take it, hook, line and sinker.

And then I had two miscarriages. And then our son. And post-natal anxiety. And anti-depressant pills {which help you gain weight}. And then I had another kid, without having lost my previous pregnancy weight. And then, I didn't care so much about how I was eating during pregnancy because I was "fat" anyway. And since then, it's been survival, and sleep deprivation, and different seasons. 

And a lot of bad eating and a lot of excuses.

This is me now. 



Honestly, it is so scary showing you these pictures. I would so much rather hide away in the anonymity of being a blogger and only showing you "good" pictures. But I am real and I need to be real with me.

I can't beat around the bush anymore. Fitness is not just going to do it. I have to eat better, too. 

You see, I wanted to work out so that I could eat whatever I wanted. But I'm realising I can't have feet in both worlds. I'm either eating like a pig and living like one, or I am eating good food choices and living like my body is a temple.


"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body." ~ 1 Corinthians 6:20

Oh, there are so many parts to these verses that are eating at me right now.

First, the Spirit of God lives in me. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead - -

which, by the way, we celebrated today. What a day to want to make changes!

- - lives in me, holy and pure, powerful and righteous. And I treat the temple which contains it light rubbish. 

And please don't think I am being dramatic. I actually know what I am doing when I am eating a second piece of chocolate cake. It doesn't accidently get into my mouth. I see it, I hear the battle, I ignore it because it's too hard, and I eat the cake. 

I do not consider my body. And I don't consider the Spirit that is in me.

Second, my body is borrowed. I don't own this creation - it is God's. He not only made me, He owns me because He answered my pleas to be saved by Jesus. He took my place and my debt. I owe Him everything. I owe Him this body. 


Third, I haven't been glorifying God. I have been glorifying myself - the flesh that hungers, not just for cake, but for control and things I want to do. Overeating and being ill-disciplined in the body is all about me. It isn't something God has forgotten or winks with me when I look for some hidden chocolate. God is holy and wants me to be holy. 


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So, in being honest, I want you to be honest, too. And I want you to join me. Every Sunday I am going to put up a link-up for anyone who wants to share their journey to better health with me. It's about being disciplined in any part of our body - weight, choices, mental health, emotional stability - anything where you know God is asking you to sacrifice yourself for His glory.

Would you join me? I know we can do this, together, and through His grace.

PS: If I ever thought I would be hosting a link-up on health, I think I would never have started blogging. Me and health and fitness? Ba ha ha!