Friday, September 25, 2015

I tried - Fasting {for 3 days}

{This is a long post for it covers a journey of three days.  The pictures are some of the scriptures that I was lead to read over while on this journey.}

Even as a mom who tries, I still have many (as many as you can imagine) fails.    There are days that I raise my voice or use incorrect words or have a snappy tone at my husband, or my children, or my students, or my mom.... you get the picture.  There are days that I want to be self-serving and want the world to revolve around me. There are days I don't read the bible.  There are days I don't pray as "good" as I probably could.  There are days that I just fail.

When I hear a person use the word "try" it means that at some point they were not successful.   That was not the case.   I tried fasting, and I did it.

I went 72 hours without eating.  Well, consuming "physical" food.

Lets travel back in time.    After having Soren, I was on the mission to get to the smallest/healthiest  I've been since probably high school.  What a mission at hand.  I have the mind set in place; it will take time, for it is a journey.    I ate horrible one Saturday when we had friends over and the following Sunday I decided that I was going to try a fast for my physical self.  Although it was difficult, it really wasn't that bad.  That Sunday night Jeremiah and I were talking about fasting and it made me want to do more research into the subject.

Being a busy mom, I knew I had to plan this fast to not take away 'life' from my family.  I read somewhere that you can go from lunch to lunch so that your body can have more rest time.   I decided that the weekend (Friday night until Saturday) Jeremiah would be gone for a Men's Retreat would be a perfect time to attempt my first fast.

***Friday September 18th *** 11:05 I ate a very sensible lunch (salad, no dressing with shredded bbq chicken) and had no idea what this fasting would bring!

I text Jeremiah that it was my last meal and that if I seem cranky, upset, or short tempered that he asks me to pray for my attitude.   Jeremiah then did the best thing he could have done for me - he said to make sure that I have a purpose for the fast - something that I want God to speak to me or show me.  That fasting without a goal will reveal nothing.

WHAT DID I WANT HIM TO REVEAL:  My main focus was that I wanted to feel the holy spirit; that I wanted to feel connected again.  I connect best with God through nature and if I am denied that opportunity I start to feel disconnected (as I have been because our lives are lived so much on the go).  I was also wanting to feel more disciplined in my actions and words.  I wanted to understand what God is trying to tell me.

<Matthew 16:24>

Friday night it was just me and my two little boys.  Habit was the hardest thing to break.  Gideon was eating popcorn and watching a movie.  He would offer me some.  In the past I would just take a nibble, or why I'm cleaning stop and grab a hand full.  But I really had to stop and think; what am I doing.  I do not need this food.  I am not hungry.  I need to be spiritually fed.    Temptation is easily there when you are serving a 3 year old who wants to share or leaves a trail of food for mommy to clean/eat up.
As I was feeding Soren his bed time bottle I couldn't help but watch Gideon play with an over flowing basket of toys.  Our lives our full.  But sometimes they are full for the wrong reasons.  I just looked around and I so wanted to get rid of, well pretty much everything.  We are so blessed with our home, and the things in it.  However, in the end, it doesn't really matter.

*** Saturday September 19th ***
Saturday morning breakfast was hard for me.  Not because I was hungry, but because it was one of the most treasured times I look forward to during the week.  It was the time that I could "sleep in" until the boys got up at 7:00.  It was time for me to rest, drink coffee, and just not be in a hurry.  It was time for me and Gideon to eat homemade pancakes together and share coffee.  I understand I could have still done all of those without consuming food; but it was just different.  Odd.

In our very full lives we didn't have too long of a morning to rest.  For having to get two boys around on your own can sometimes be a challenge.  I was to be ready at 9:45 to go take the boys to our friend Ayla's so she could watch them while my sister and I ran the route for an upcoming 5k.  Thank you again Ayla for being so willing to help us.

As I struggled to finish the last 1/3 of the 5k.  I had to remember what God was doing through me.  I am not running just for the sake to run but that I need to get healthier for my family.  Now, as I type this - the actual race is merely hours away and I look forward to God helping me complete the race as he helps me in everything.

<1 Peter 5:7>

At one point during the day I had to apologize to my friend Jessica for my attitude.  Although we both realized that perception via online text can sometimes be difficult to read, I had to stop and say sorry for my words were not helpful or loving.  Although they weren't anything awful, they were the old self and I am constantly checking my attitude, asking for forgiveness, and learning how to speak more clearly, humbly, with correct tone and encouragement.

That evening one of my closest friends came to hang out with me.  We had such a wonderful conversations about serving people (baby showers, birthday parties, foods after a life event, etc).  It was so nice to be able to share life with her.  We were also blessed that we got to go see our beautiful friend Emily and her new baby girl, Laney.    On the way to the hospital I stopped to pick up coffee and cake pops for the new momma and the feeling that overcame as I got to serve her was just lovely.  Seriously, it was lovely.  I hope that she got the same feeling when Emily blessed our family with so much when Soren was born.  Isaiah 58 - live it.

<Isaiah 58>

*** Sunday September 20th ***
I became unhinged.  My temper was short.  My attitude was poor.  I wasn't feeling the physical effects of not eating for almost two days.  But I was feeling the emotional effects.  Gideon just could not get it together as we got ready for church.  Jeremiah, having his internship at the church, is always there hours before we attend.  I am left in charge of getting the boys there, on time, in clean clothes!
Finally, as I was in a rush to help Gideon get his shoes on, because he refused to do it himself, I realized that my tone was harsh, my attitude was sour.  I asked Gideon to pray for my attitude to change.  We made it to church on time, and my attitude changed and I was filled from the sermon.
The sermon, based of Ezra 9 and 10 was about rebuilding through repentance.  We have to own our sin, follow through realizing we can't fix everything, and lean into the love of God.

~Owning Our Own Sin~

Owning our own sin.  That was what struck a nerve.  I struggle with my words and attitude, not just to build walls and protect myself.  But it's also because I am prideful and was never really taught how to own my own sin.  Although, I can see that I am getting better at (is that prideful or a self-reflection), asking for forgiveness with friends, it would be nice to just not have that sin in the first place.  MAN.  CHURCH. WAS. GOOD.
It was time for communion and without hesitation I took part of breaking bread.  Immediately after that little piece of bread and small amount of juice passed over my tongue I thought "Oh, no!  Did I just break my fast."   I laughed to myself as I heard that this is not food, for it is of Jesus' body.  I just wept.  I was feeling connected to God again, the first time in a long time.

<Hewbrews 4:16 - 18>

After church I had two personal realizations.  Denying food was not nearly as difficult as denying company with people around a table.  I felt like it would by lying if I told people that I wasn't hungry.  I started to say (even to Gideon when he so commonly wanted to share) that I will eat later.   A few people after church wanted to go out to eat.  But, I wanted to bless Emily and Laney with more treats;  that is when I realized that temptation was no longer tempting when I was the one to ask for it.  I was successful in walking into a cupcake store, buying a cup cake, and not eating it.

<Matthew 6:16 - 18>

At the hospital Emily mentioned how healthy looking I was.    My journey to loose 60 pounds after having our second son has been a slow and steady life style change, but I appreciated the compliment.   But it made me think about fasting.  How this was between me and God and that I was to not grumble over it but I was to wash my face like normal.  Although, Saturday as Amanda and I were driving late that night to see Emily, I did confess to her that I was fasting.  I didn't share this with her in a grumbling manner, but more because I am just not a good lier, and the fact that she was with me for 5+ hours, it was pretty obvious I wasn't eating!

Sunday after nap I started to feel more physical effects.  I would get really dizzy if I got up to quickly. We had small group families over.  Instead of eating with them it gave me an opportunity to connect with Cheyenne a sweet teenager who watches our children.  It was nice to have that time with her.

As I was cleaning up that night I had my first thought of "just one bite."  I was cleaning up Jessica's soup that smelled so delicious.  Gideon did not eat all of his, and normally I would sneak a bite before throwing it away (what a waste).  But I refrained and remembered how far I have come with God's help.  He was teaching me discipline in that very moment.  Jeremiah informed me that the soup was in fact as delicious as it smelled.  I moved on and started to prepare a very healthy green smoothie for my lunch on Monday.  As I worked I continued to pray for Monday morning with my students.  I wanted to make sure my attitude was in check.

*** Monday September 21st ***
I woke up and I didn't have hunger pains likes I did yesterday and honestly thought I could do a week fast.  What was difficult was how I felt so sluggish and slow and dizzy and had a small headache.    I had to stop and pray while trying to get ready in the morning for God to help me.  I just repeated that I did not need bread.

<Deuteronomy 8:3)

I felt like I was not in control as I drove Gideon and I to school that morning.  But I continued to keep my focus on God and praise him for carrying me through this journey and revealing so much.  After getting to school time seemed to quicken, and thank goodness Wendy was able to teach class to 2nd hour.  Before I realized it, it was time for lunch.  11:05.    It has been three days since I had physical food.  I drank only water and coffee for three days.    Part of me thought I could go longer and was thinking of trying to do a week fast when I was not running or teaching (where I could rest more and truly focus on things outside of our lives).    I went to the teachers lounge and enjoyed my green smoothie and banana oatmeal pancakes, feeling extremely full physically but most importantly spiritually.

---> I am pretty sure I am married to a brilliant man, Jeremiah <--- but at one point he shared that we learn more through our greatest struggles.  So what did I learn and achieve through this personal journey of fasting?

* I learned that when I lean into God he will guide me.
* I learned that I can hear God when I stop and listen.
* I learned that I have self-control in not eating and soon self-control in my words and attitude.
* I learned that I do not have to have food to live.
* I learned that our lives our full with schedules and things - BUT our lives should be filled by Him.

I am a mom who tried fasting for three days.

PS: for those of your wondering about my health.  In those 3 days I went from 195 to 188.5.   However, by the end of the week (today) I was back to 194.  I did not do this fast to loose weight.  I did this fast to gain faith.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I tried - making others happy {life adventures}

As always - ignore all typos. 

I apologize for the delay in posts.  As usual, school hits, my posts tend to dwindle.  But I always am thinking of what to write.   

I want to write for working moms.  I want to write about meal planning. I want to write about friendship. I want to write about happiness and then grief. I want to write about our society, the sadness and the joy. I want to write about how blessed I am, even though we live "below poverty" (thanks Ruby Payne).  I want to share my story of depression and how God changed my heart.  I want to write about pain, confusion, insecurities, and injustice. I want to write about topics that are heated debates. 

I want to write. 

I tried making others happy.  And I learned I can't. 

What is happiness?  Seriously? What is glee or joy? 

To me happiness is one of those cheesy quotes you find on google images. Like this one:

You find all sorts of motivational ideas of happiness. Honestly - these are great to post when you are unhappy and you passively aggressively want others to know you are unhappy, without you telling them.  

Happiness is a journey. It's an adventure. 


I tried to make others happy. I was a doormat.  I built walls around myself to those I didn't trust; and because I didn't let them in, they weren't happy and I lost that relationship - thinking "stinks for them, I am so terrific"

I was so naive.  

I had happiness so backwards. Inside out.  I had everything.  I mean EVERYTHING WRONG.  

It has taken 28 years to learn:
1) happiness is on a continuum. It fluctuates and carries differently from person to person. And as humans we do our best to sympathize and empathize.  But typically we fall short. One of humans beautiful diversities.  

2)If you are not happy, if your heart is not filled or even transforming it is difficult to make others happy.  So you will end up getting hurt (difficult cycle).   

3) if you are trying to make other people happy, you are looking at it wrong.  We can't make other people's continuum change - their outlook, is from their perspective.  However, we can serve them.  We can LOVE THEM.  That pleases God.   We should not be making them happy. We should be serving them.  

4) Some people, and I was one of them once, believed that if they are hurting - so should those around them.    At times, it was a cry for help. It was pleads for someone to make me happy. But - people can not move someone else's continuum.  You are in control of your happiness.  ***** will state that our bodies have chemicals and that sometimes our bodies are so out of balance it requires medication or holistic approaches to help people learn how to make the choice. 

5) despite all efforts - some people will always think of you at one stage.   No matter what personal growth you have - they, for some reason, will not acknowledge the slightest bit of change and development.  

6) it's hard, time consuming, and impossible to make everyone happy. 
Seriously - people will agree with you. Others will disagree. Some like to project their own pain on to others. It is not your job. 

7) or 8) I've lost count ;) 
Your happiness should come first. We are to serve and love people. However, it is difficult to help others when we are hurting.   YES WE ARE ALL BROKEN. YES, we can cry. YES, all have great days and not so great.  But not taking care of yourself can end up hurting others in the long run. **see below 

Today is suicide awareness.   Having had lost family and even a student to such horrific acts. It breaks my heart to think that people struggle so much that they believe the only solution is taking their lives.  It is okay to admit you need help. It is okay to share your struggles. It is not okay to leave people behind asking questions that you can no longer answer. 

I have made people upset over the years, for I was trying to learn how to cope with my own inadequate and unhappiness without sharing it.  This is a journey. 

I tried making others happy. And it doesn't work.   And I am okay with that.  I want to please God by loving people.  But I know, we are all humans and interpret and perceive differently.  I can't make anyone happy. I can't make everyone happy. I tried. I failed. And I happy to admit that.