“Pinning Jello to the Wall!”

IMGP1260_250x188Sometimes kind people compliment me on my teenage/young adult sons, and for a brief moment I can’t help but wonder if I might have done something right… and then reality sets in…

Today was one of those “reality-days”.  I had absolutely no patience to home school my 10 year old, and trying to potty train my 3 year old was, like someone else put it, “trying to pin jello to the wall”

I just couldn’t do it, I gave up…for today at least…

Back in the “old country” I would have been branded an incompetent mother by now, I’m sure. All kids get potty trained at age 2, and no 3 year old still has a pacifier (called a dummy in South Africa). Yet, here I am, the mother who supposedly got everything right in her twenties, and I have to hang my head in shame! My little girl (who should have been so much easier than her three brothers) is still very far from potty trained, and lo and behold, she still desperately wants her pacifier at night.

It’s not that I don’t have a plan. I’m planning to succeed every day, but seriously, on the eve of 40, I simply lack the enthusiasm and the strength many days!

However, I honestly think it’s a good thing that I’m stripped from all my pride in the area of motherhood. It made me look again, from a different point of view, at mothers around me. I came to realize that every Mom I see around me is in fact a GREAT MOM! We love our kids and we try our best, and even those of us who don’t do such a good job, never intended for it to go so wrong. We have issues, jobs, relationship difficulties, financial crisis and health problems. Earth shattering things such as death and divorce happen to some of us, and still…we do our best for those little ones (and bigger ones) in our lives. All the MOMS I speak to desire deeply to be a good mother and to give their kids everything they need and want, in spite of their inability to always do so.

So here is to you, my friend and fellow mom, who are trying to “pin jello to the wall” this very day: You are an amazing extension of God’s love on this earth.

Forget about being the perfect mom, she does not exist. There’s only one thing you and I need to get right: Plug in with God daily so that His healing power, His wisdom, His love, and His patience can shine through us.

Love you girls!

Heleen

Can you say NO to YOURSELF?

SAY NOSaying NO to other people remains a pretty challenging endeavor in my life. However, there is something that I find far more difficult: Saying NO to myself!

Our pastor recently encouraged us to focus again on saying NO to our own flesh as we keep reaching for the things God asks of us.

This is a powerful call to action and something any warm blooded Christian would agree to in a heart beat (that is when you’re sitting in the pew and everybody around you also agrees enthusiastically)

Unfortunately the church pew is not where we live out the truth of our conviction.

Soon after the above mentioned “call to action” I found myself head-on with my infamous “flesh” or  “sinful nature”. In those moments, I knew exactly what I had to do but I didn’t want to!

It’s started in my quiet time: I was bringing an old wound before God that had just been ripped open; bitterness and anger came oozing out. I wanted revenge, but He suggested forgiveness. I didn’t want to!

Later that same morning I started thinking about a certain snack. Soon after I found myself holding the particular snack in my hand. I knew I had no business eating it. I clearly heard the Holy Spirit nudging me to simply throw it away…  I didn’t want to!

It was then that the previous day’s sermon came back to me. Here I was, my flesh rising up in all its glory, and the battle was on!

What about you? Can you say NO to YOURSELF?

We are getting pretty good at saying NO to others these days (thanks to the Boundaries books:) and our awareness of the enemy’s schemes are growing as we educate ourselves on resisting and rebuking the enemy.

But what about that little voice inside of us crying out “I don’t want to!”

We live in a society where we all have rights, we all want to rule our own lives, and nobody wants to be bossed by anybody. However, this is not the way God created us; we are either ruled by GOD or by SIN. We have to choose. You can read all about this in Romans 8: 5-15

Let’s face it though, saying NO to yourself without the Holy Spirit’s help is excruciating, and frankly futile. Even if we muster up the courage to resist our flesh in certain areas of our lives, there are always those weak places where our flesh keeps getting the upper hand (hence the low success rate of diets)

So how do you say NO to yourself?
The same way you say NO to the enemy: SURRENDER TO GOD!

Start by being honest with yourself. Stop for one second next time you find yourself at  that crucial place of decision making, and ask yourself this: Why can’t I say NO?

  • That place where you’re either buy a bag of chocolates… or the bag of peaches.
  • That specific moment in time when you either start thinking negative thoughts about a person who hurt you… or reject those thoughts and choose to forgive.
  • That crucial point where you decide to either watch TV till 1:00 am in the morning, knowing very well that it steals your time and it will affect your work and family life the next day… or spend time with God and turn in early.

The answer might very well be … “I don’t want to”

Now you might not be ready to put down the remote or the expensive purchase yet, but at least stop and cry out to God IN THAT MOMENT.
Try this prayer
“God I’m honest with you: I don’t want to let go of this thing. I know it’s harmful to me. I know it breaks every promise I’ve made to myself,  but still…I don’t want to. Please change my heart. Take away the desires that is not of you. Help me grow in you and make time for you so that my desires will start to change, so that I will start to want YOU above all else!”

It’s not an easy prayer and it will take a brave woman like yourself to pray it, but I believe you can do it!

Please know that you’re not a horrible person if you can’t say NO just yet. It takes time. It’s like a muscle that you have to keep flexing, a little more every day, until it becomes strong. I have to DAILY starve that “I don’t want to” voice in me and flex my NO-muscle so that my spirit can grow and  I can desire God above all else.

It comes as no surprise that it all starts in the mind! If you can say NO to the thought before it turns into action, you have won the fight! Start by saying NO to only one sinful thought today, then two tomorrow… and before you know it you are setting your mind on God ALL THE TIME!
Romans 8: 5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

I love how Beth Moore puts it when she refers to David’s sin with Bathsheba in her study A heart like His:
” The gap between wanting and getting is where we must flex the muscle of self-control to protect ourselves. David had risen to a position where his every wish was someone else’s command. He had ceased to hear a very important word – one without which integrity cannot be maintained . The word is NO.”
(emphasis mine)

My dear friend, may we learn to say NO to others when it’s appropriate, and may we say NO to the enemy when he  tempts us, but most of all MAY WE LEARN TO SAY NO TO OUR OWN FLESH ALL THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES, so we can become strong in spirit and follow in the footsteps of the mighty women of old.

I love you ladies,
Heleen

Grab a Hold of your Life Line!

Helping HandsThe Pit Saga continues…Last week we talked about CRYING OUT TO GOD if you find yourself in a deep pit.

So maybe you’ve been calling out to God this past week and are wondering…now what?

We would all like to  get rid of our strongholds instantaneously. However, according to the Bible God’s ways are higher than ours and sometimes His answers are different than what we anticipated.

You might not be zapped out of your pit instantaneously, but rather find yourself staring at a life line dangling just above your head.

When we’re  finally ready to give up our “I can fix this” attitude and lay down our pride by crying out to God, He will show us a way out of the pit. It might very well come in the form of what I like to call a “life line”.  God’s life line to hoist us out of the pit!

The problem comes when we refuse to take the line..

Let me give you an example from my life these past months:
I have been exercising consistently for the most part of 2009. Exercise is very difficult for me. I don’t like it. However, I’ve come to realize that it is CRUCIAL in staying out of the pit of food addiction. If I exercise I stay in touch with my body (not detach like I used to in the past). I make better food choices and I enjoy life so much more. So although I know that I need to do it, I always find myself bargaining and compromising in this area.

So since October last year, I’ve been bargaining. I didn’t want to go to the gym in the mornings anymore. Too cold and too early. I started making my own “plans”. I would do it later in the day, at home, on my treadmill. Better yet; late at night when the kids are in bed. Things started to unravel fast. My old secondhand treadmill broke. I searched high and low on the internet for a cheap, used treadmill. This one broke too after a few weeks. This time I turned to Plan B: Going to the gym at night. I was determine, but somehow there was always something going on  in the evenings, and before I knew it…no exercise at all!

By the beginning of December I was only exercising sporadically and without any enthusiasm. I felt stuck! After another wasted month I finally CRIED OUT TO GOD! While doing my Bible Study one morning I saw the life line dangling right in front of my eyes: I had to go back to the gym at 6 in the morning! I didn’t want to.  I refused. This could not possibly be the answer. I walked circles around the “life line” for a few days. Finally I stopped my stubbornness, laid down my rebellion, and grabbed a hold of the line.

What happened? You know it, God hoisted me up, out of that pit! It didn’t even take long. The first morning that I dragged myself out of bed and pushed through the self pity and the enemy’s attacks, I felt peace and joy flood back into my life. Just like that!

Now I don’t mean to oversimplify the process. Your life line might be dangling a bit higher than mine and it might take all of your strength to grab a hold of it, but please do! God is not going to force you. He gives us a way of escape according to the Bible, but it’s our job to take it!

What is God telling you to do today that will get you out of your pit?
Maybe the answer to getting out of your pit is also right in front of you. Is there someone you should call, someone you should forgive, something you should start, or something you should end? Should you go out and buy that Bible study or join that women’s group? Maybe you should enroll for that class or sign up for that missions trip. Maybe you should just stop running, sit down, and talk to the Lover of your soul…

Only God knows exactly what will get you out of your pit. He might use a  friend, pastor, counselor, or spouse to speak to you. He might speak to you directly through His Word and the Holy Spirit. All you have to do is CALL OUT to Him, then wait and listen. Look for answers in Scripture, in counsel, and in your heart.

Most importantly: When the life line is dangling in front of you. GRAB IT! Obedience is not an easy thing (just ask your kids:) However, it’s always worth it!

Obedience strengthens our love for God and it brings joy back into our lives

It’s in the Bible:
John 15: 10 – 11:

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

The greatest command according to the Bible is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Second to it; love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:28-31) So the things God asks you to do to get out of that pit will always line up with His Word and these important commands. Test it against Scripture and then  DO IT!!

Grab that life line, you can do it girl!

Love, Heleen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources for you

 

Click on the image below to learn more about the 12 Week Online Program: Women Struggling with Food

 

 

Read my story. Click on the image below to download my ebook: God will I ever be free?

 

 

 

 

Appetite for Freedom WORKBOOK and DVD. Great resource for small groups or for individual use.
Click on the image below to find out more

 

 



Are you in a Deep Pit?

30Are you in a deep pit of despair after this Holiday Season?

Maybe you’ve read my posts through the Holidays and thought is was all great in theory, but it didn’t do you much good. Maybe you have been in a place in the past where you could make up your mind to spend time with God, exercise, and work towards your dream (as recommended in my previous post).  But maybe you just can’t do it right now.

I truly understand. If you’re in the pit of food struggles, and especially if you’ve been in the pit for a while, it’s not as easy to hoist yourself out of it. The sides are slippery and every time you make an effort to get out, you find yourself falling flat on your face.

  • You might have decided everyday for the past month to stop eating sugar, just to find yourself reaching for those cookies right after breakfast!
  • You might have been crying lots of tears in the shower at night promising yourself that you will not eat one thing the next day, just to repeat the same cycle the next day!
  • Or maybe you’ve had pretty good days, but every night you start digging in the cupboards and find yourself eating ice cream straight from the freezer!

Listen, you’re not alone in this, it’s typical behavior for someone with an food struggle. This might not be your first time in this pit. Tasting victory and then falling back to where you were can be downright heart breaking. The worst part; it eats away at your faith. This falling-and-getting-up is in fact very common among people with food struggles such as compulsive overeating, binge eating, food addiction, or bulimia. It is simply due to the fact that the journey to healing can be slow and long and sometimes we just give up.

There is only ONE THING to do if you find yourself back in the pit: CRY OUT TO GOD! Not just daily in your quiet time.  MOMENT BY MOMENT!

I know, I know… you didn’t want to hear this, you’re looking for a plan. But trust me on this one please, I’ve been in the pit many times before in my life, and the only way I got out was to start crying out to God FIRST OF ALL.

  • When you’re in front of that freezer, cry out “God help me NOW!
  • When you know you’re feeling emotionally frazzled and you’re not suppose to watch TV (which may very likely lead to binging) cry out “God help me do the right thing  PLEASE!”
  • When you’re in that grocery store and you’re loading your cart with junk food, cry out for help!!

When you’re in the pit the enemy would love nothing more than to keep you there. He’s not going to sit back and just let you climb out of it! You will have to put up a fight, and YOU NEED GOD TO FIGHT WITH YOU! You can NOT do it on your own.

When you decide to get out of that pit: Expect to be tempted severely! Don’t just read the Bible a little in the morning, but instead STRAP ON YOUR SWORD  which is the Word of God. In other words, carry note cards with Scripture wherever you go. Another idea is to put it on your mirror, your fridge, or inside your cupboards.

You may have to repeat this Scripture verse 20 times a day at first:
1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it (NIV)

GOOD NEWS: The temptations will not last, if you keep resisting!
It’s in the Bible:  James 4:7  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (NIV)

It’s not easy to get out of a pit. You will need added support and prayer. My 12 week online program and forum is a great way to get this kind of support, or get in contact with your pastor or a Christian counselor. You may also want to join an Appetite for Freedom group or start one at your own church. A great book that I can recommend is Beth Moore’s Get out of that Pit.

Whatever you decide to do: DO IT WITH GOD. Don’t shut Him out of your pit. Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life. He will show you the way out of that pit if you keep calling out to Him.

Love, Heleen

 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FOLLOW-UP TO THIS POST: Grab a hold of your life line

 

 

 

 

Resources for you

Click on the image below to learn more about the 12 Week Online Program: Women Struggling with Food

Read my story. Click on the image below to download my ebook: God will I ever be free?

 

Appetite for Freedom WORKBOOK and DVD. Great resource for small groups or for individual use.
Click on the image below to find out more


 

 
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