Surrender 2016 to Jesus!

Happy New Year!

HiRes
Here at the beginning of 2016 I would very much like to share a piece from my online program that focuses specifically on SURRENDER with you.

“Breaking away from my idols was very difficult for me simply because Satan wouldn’t just let me take back my heart without a fight. What helped me tremendously was to take 40 days out of my life and commit it to God. During these 40 days, my main focus was to surrender  to God, because without Him I knew that I honestly couldn’t even do one day (I’ve tried this in my own strength countless times before without success). During this time the enemy’s number one strategy was to keep me from God’s presence, because he knew, probably better than I did, that in the presence of the Almighty God I would finally find healing and permanent change.

I  wanted to really see if it would make a difference to have my main motivation be: Surrender to God. I wanted to set aside a block of time to untangle my heart from the idol of food (the love affair) and surrender all of my heart to Jesus(James 4:7) and  at the same time get rid of the shame and guilt in my mind (“…resist the enemy and he will flee from you” James 4:7 NIV).

I never realized how my past efforts have been thwarted by the enemy. Each time I committed in the past, the enemy attacks would increase to stop me, and I would become discouraged and fall back; defeated and stripped from all faith that I would ever be free. This time I was ready and armed and I realized, maybe for the first time, that I didn’t have to fight so hard but rather get in behind my strong and powerful God and let Him fight for me.

I finally stretched out my hand to God and said; ” Please take it, I don’t want to love food anymore. I am ready. I’m giving you full control of my time and my mind.”

Don’t stay in denial. Don’t let the enemy trick you like he tricked me to keep looking for some other explanation of why you have a food struggle. I remember looking for answers in all the wrong places, always saying “There must be something I’ve missed. There must be some reason why I am like this. There must be some cure that I just didn’t hear of yet”. This went on for years. The truth: I really knew all along that my heart was held captive by food and that nothing would change if I still loved it more than God. We can not serve two masters at the same time…

START your 40 days TODAY

  1. START TODAY
    Don’t put it off. NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT OR MORE LIFE CHANGING THAN THIS. So the enemy would want you to procrastinate yourself out of this LIFE CHANGING event by distracting you. Resists worries about a specific format, a specific book, or a special date to start. There is no perfect time or way to do this. Start surrendering to God today.It’s easy, don’t make it more complicated than it should be.
  2. IT’S ALL ABOUT SURRENDER
    This journey is all about you and God. When I first started this journey with other ladies, I had them draw up a checklist of certain things “to do” during their 40 days, however through the years I recognized that it just put more pressure on women to “perform”. I don’t want you to perform at all during these 40 days, but I want to ask you to STOP, WAIT, and LISTEN in God’s presence. The crucial element of OBEDIENCE will follow as you start to know and trust God more. Spending time with God to hear Him talk to you about what’s going on in your heart is the MOST IMPORTANT thing to do during these 40 days. If you only fall in love with Jesus during this time, then you are on the road to victory.
    Meet with God as early as you can every day. Use worship music to soften your heart before God, and have your journal and Bible ready. You can also use a Bible study or a book that is already geared towards a 40 day journey or that can give you daily guidance (see list below). Read week 2 of my program again if you’re unsure what I mean when I refer to surrender.
    Remember, the material is not the most important thing. Meeting with God TODAY for the next 40 days, regardless of the format, is the most important issue here. IN HIS PRESENCE WE ARE CHANGED! Don’t try to do it perfectly, don’t get discouraged if you skip a day, remember MEETING WITH GOD is the objective, not doing anything perfectly.
  3. GET BACK-UP PRAYER
    Phone a few friends whom you know will truly pray with you and for you, and ask them to pray for you as you embark on 40 days of surrendering your life to God. Tell them that TIME WITH GOD EVERY DAY is your main objective.
  4. JOURNAL
    It makes the world of a difference to keep a journal of your journey. Putting your thoughts on paper actually exposes the lies of the enemy, and just seeing your own progress is a huge encouragement. You will be amazed to see, even after one week, how far you have come. Just let it flow, open your heart wide to the Lover of your soul, the One who knows everything about you, your Abba Father. Give Him access to your life so He can bring healing.”

Click here for books and Bible studies that can help, but don’t let it be your main focus, rather read one verse from the Bible and spend 10 minutes in God’s presence than procrastinating over the right study.

I plan on taking up the challenge once again. I am going to use one of my old devotionals and make time to sit down with Jesus for a few minutes every morning before my family wakes up.

How about you?

Your sister in Christ
Heleen

About runaway trains and rescue boats

Does your life sometimes feel like a runaway train? The feeling that you desperately need to get off, but it’s impossible because the train is not stopping for anything? Modern high speed train

I was on a runaway train for quite some time, in fact only now, here at the end of 2015, do I feel that I can simply breathe again.

Almost two years ago I started the tedious process of getting licensed as a counselor in my state, and almost immediately as I set foot on campus the drama in my life started. Not so much because of college, even though the work is time consuming and stress producing, but other things that I had no control over were happening all around me.

I wrote here on my blog about my Dad’s sudden passing which shook me so much harder than I could ever imagine. Around the same time some issues surfaced in my family that made me seriously question the depth of my faith and my love for others. When I also experienced a health scare and found myself bursting into tears at the drop of a hat I knew it was time to get help.

I told my counselor about the runaway train that is impossible to stop and he said something that I want to share with you: “Somewhere on that train, there is a cart, a dining room with soft lighting, good food, and classical music. A space  where you could just sit, rest, and dine in peace. You don’t have to get off the train, or wait for it to stop, you just need to find that space…”

I needed some godly counsel and medication, but I especially needed the reminder that Jesus was and always will be my Prince of Peace, my place of quiet in the midst of the storm. I needed a reminder that GOD IS ALWAYS WITH ME, through the water and the fire. When I had nothing to give and all my spiritual disciplines flew out the window, when I had trouble getting through any given day let alone do the things I “should have been doing”… He was with me anyway.

Another amazing thing I found in the midst of the darkness was a lifeboat! I have once heard someone make the analogy of  “the lifeboat of thankfulness” and this thought came back to me in some of my darkest moments. When I felt the waves crashing all around me alone in the doctor’s waiting room, hearing about my Dad in the middle of the night, or laying in bed overwhelmed by thoughts of doubt and fear, I took the jump! I leaped into that lifeboat and started thanking God for the breath in my lungs, the people around me who loved me, the gas in my car, the good talks I had with my Dad, and all the things I took for granted… and almost without fail I would feel the peace of God spill over into my heart and mind.

Maybe you need a quiet dining cart today, or maybe you are in need of a lifeboat right this minute because you find yourself in the eye of the storm. I want to urge you that while this storm is raging  you don’t need to be brave and strong, but instead you can take the hands of others around you and most importantly cling to HIS hand.  God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is right there with you. He is your rock and your hiding place my dear friend.

I believe Mandisa said it best…

 

The passing of a hero

Last year my Dad passed away at the age of 69. It was a very sudden death and words can not express the shock or pain that this brought to our family.

I am still grieving, but I wanted to write my tribute here on my blog to salute the passing of a hero of faith. I grew up under my Dad’s teaching of the Word, and experienced many evangelistic outreaches and church plants that he undertook during my formative years. For most of those years my mom, brother, and I played in the church band, and were actively involved in all of my Dad’s endevours.

As  a child you don’t think much about any of these things, but today I recognize that all of those experiences shaped me and prepared me for the life I was to lead.

If I can pin point the single thing about my Dad that impacted me most, was that HE CLUNG TO JESUS. I saw my Dad struggle with his own personal issues all of his life, and go through seasons of deep pain, rejection, and sorrow, and through all of this he never once took His eyes off his Deliverer. I’ve also seen God bringing Him through the water and the fire, and never leaving Him stranded. He once told me that I should love God for who He is, and not for what He could do for me. He based this on that familiar passage in Habakkuk 3:16-19 ”

“Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
 I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.”

This turned out to be the single most important thing in my life. There are so many things that I never thought would happen to me, that I had no idea how to handle, that I have absolutely no control over, and that I am still not sure why God would allow it in my life… but that is not the point…

The point is that he is good

About Grandmas and Mashed Potatoes

March is my beloved grandma’s birthday month, so my thoughts tend to linger on her this time of year.  She now celebrates in heaven with Jesus, where I’m sure she is cooking and sewing up a storm:)

I was actually making mashed potatoes this week when my thoughts started wandering to the two women who shaped my life in so many ways; my Mom and Grandma. Not because they are necessarily known for their mashed potatoes, they are much rather renowned for South African favorites such as vetkoek, kookkos, and kerrie&rys (sorry you have to be South African to know what I’m talking about).

No, the mashed potatoes made me think of them for a reason that had nothing to do with cooking at all…

Beth Moore once said that we find ourselves in a good place when Jesus is our “mashed potatoes” and everything or everyone else is simply gravy. I’ve always loved that analogy because, if you think about it, we can in fact eat mashed potatoes all by itself and be totally satisfied. Yes, definitely true that the gravy makes it extra delicious, but we don’t “need” the gravy.

I so desire this kind of relationships with Jesus: One where I am grateful for the people and things He put in my life, but I don’t desperately cling to those things for dear life. The kind of relationship where I truly know that HE IS ENOUGH, perhaps because I acknowledge that in the end it will only be HIM and I…

I saw over the years how my sweet Grandma and also my Mom gravitated towards this kind of “mashed potato relationship” with Jesus. The three of us are all cut from the same cloth really. We have tender hearts for people, and very often find ourselves hurt and trampled upon for that very reason. However, those many times that our hearts were broken seemed to be the exact kind of fertile ground needed to surrender more to Jesus.

My Mom dealt with more sorrow and pain in her life than I can even fathom, in fact, hers is a life of very little “gravy” to speak of. Even so, I see her becoming more and more dependent on the “mashed potatoes”, or as the Word calls Him, the TRUE VINE.  I saw her strength being renewed when I was sure she could never get up again. I saw her forgive when I was sure I could not have done it at all. Best of all, I still see her joy and satisfaction come back again and again as she keeps turning to Jesus in the midst of trials.

And then there was my sweet grandma. Just thinking of the things she had to see and endure in her lifetime makes me shudder. Yet, she never stopped searching and yearning for the “mashed potatoes”, while all along thanking her Father for the gravy too. Like most of us it didn’t come without a lot of hurt and enough reason to become bitter, and yet she chose for Jesus to mold her into His image, instead of allowing the enemy to harden her heart.

This is what I want to keep searching for until I draw my final breath and join my Grandma in heaven: The “real mashed potatoes”, or as the Bible puts it; “life in abundance” which is only found in JESUS!

Nobody penned the ending of a godly woman (such as my Grandma) better than Beth did in the excerpt below. I pray that this humorous and most tender word picture she painted will give you a renewed hunger for God, and bless you as much as it did me.

It was her 90th birthday. She didn’t plan to live this long. She couldn’t help it. She just kept waking up.
Her youngest son’s spacious home bulged with extended family. She acted as surprised by her party as a 90 year old can act. She cackled to herself. They obviously thought her growing lack of conversation was evidence of a growing lack of sense.  Why would she be surprised? They had thrown her a surprise party for the past 5 years. She guessed they figured she’d forget. What the party really meant was they were surprised she was still alive. Oh, she did love them, though. Every one of them.
Pretty bags and bows crowded the coffee table. Now what in heaven’s name was she going to do with a bunch of gifts? And how many pair of socks does a woman need? But that cake was looking mighty tasty. The great-grand kids had insisted on putting all 90 candles on the cake. 

The youngest great-grandchild grabbed her by the hand. “Come on Mammie! It’s time to blow the candles out” She grinned and asked God to help her keep her teeth in. Time suddenly seemed to freeze. She looked around the room and studied the faces. Life had been good – painful at times, but God had always been faithful. She had been a widow for 23 years. Her last years had been pleasant. Her family made sure of that. But she grew less and less able to participate. She found herself mostly just watching life. 

The insistence of the impatient five year old finally grew clear. “Mammie, COME ON!”
Before she could draw a breath, all the little ones blew out the candles. Only blood relatives would have eaten that cake after the spraying it took.
Later she sat at her old vanity as her daughter-in-law tenderly took the pins from her wispy white hair. She stared at the yellowed mirror. When had she gotten so old? Where had the years gone? Her daughter-in-law brushed the strands gently, chattering incessantly about he evening. As she helped her with her gown and tucked her in , the old woman felt so weary. Her body hurt just to lie down. 

The soft mattress seemed to swallow her frame. She rested her slight weight and stared at the stars out the window. She heard the familiar sound of the 1o:00 train going over the bridge and nearly shivered as she remembered her baptism in those cold waters underneath. She smiled and voiced a good-night prayer to the Savior she had loved since childhood. She didn’t say much. “Thank You Jesus. Thank You” Almost before she could close her eyes, deep sleep overtook her.

Suddenly, her slumber was startled by the most beautiful voice she had ever heard, coming form a man standing over her. “Arise, My darling, My beautiful one, and come with Me. See! The winter is past, the rains are over and gone…the season of singing has come”

BETH MOORE, Breaking Free, p147 

 

Jesus wants to heal your broken heart, and create beauty from your ashes today dearest friend. Allow Him to soften your heart and use your pain to bring you closer to Him. He is everything you could ever need or desire, and He is waiting for you to come to Him…

Your sister in Christ
Heleen

 

 

Do You Fear Rejection?

I was desperately afraid of rejection for the biggest part of my life. I was rejected early on for not being pretty enough, not quiet enough, and definitely not skinny enough. I was rejected by peers, boyfriends, and family members in both big and small ways. However, the most important rejection was one I was not even consciously aware of: I REJECTED MYSELF COMPLETELY.

The fear of rejection became the driving force behind my vow to avoid rejection at all cost. I remade my appearance to the best of my ability,  and surrounded myself with “safe” people who would or could not easily reject me; mainly people with wounds, obsessions, and weaknesses of their own. I also made sure that I became irreplaceable in the lives of these friends, so they would never want to leave me. Through manipulation and lies I kept this all alive. I pleased, begged, fought, over committed myself, did things I hated, smiled when I wanted to cry, stayed awake when I wanted to sleep, had long talks when I had nothing more to say, bribed, gave advice, bent over backwards, and last but certainly not least,  rescued everyone around me.

God saw all of this of course, and placed ever so strategically four little beings in my life who would challenge my authenticity from the start. They grew up way too fast, and as young adults refused  to any longer be coerced into Mom’s perfection and people pleasing. They wanted to spread their  wings and fly, and they especially wanted to love me on their own terms. So I felt again the stabbing pain of rejection that I carefully tried to dodged for so long. I cried before God, tried to think and rethink the situation, made a new plan, did everything I knew to keep the relationship intact, and yet, there was nothing for me to do, except feel the searing pain of rejection…

Finally after allowing God to untangle my heart from the huge mess of being tangled up with other people, I asked the question that needed asking a long time ago: Why am I so terribly afraid of rejection?

His voice was clear and the message so simple: You have to stop rejecting yourself. You have to start loving the girl I made, and give her some room to grow and live. You have to let Her breathe and start pleasing her God instead of people. Other people are fickle. The ones who love you today might reject you tomorrow, but through the years, and all of your life, you have YOU an ME.

This was the verse that spoke to my heart and reminded me that God has never rejected me, not even once…

I took you from the ends of the earth,
 from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:9-10

What about you dear friend?
Are you terribly afraid of rejection?
Has it maybe been the driving force behind so many decisions and actions in your life? 
Is fear of rejection maybe at the root of your desire to be thin at all cost? 
Is your obsession to please others maybe driving you to the numbing effect of food?
Have you rejected yourself and as a result need to soothe the pain with food?

If we reject ourselves, then other people’s rejection is just too much for us to bear. If we criticize and hate ourselves, then other people’s criticism drive us over the edge, and many times make us reach for a substance to soothe the pain. It is when we are secure in our God and truly accept ourselves that we can handle what others throw at us; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I implore you to open your heart before the King of kings if you also fear rejection. Fear is from the enemy. Repent and allow God to flush out that fear and fill your heart with His incredible love and acceptance.

Your sister in Christ
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

The Miracle of a Soft Heart

So happy to finally get back to blogging. A long stretch of influenza and some unrelenting coughing caused me to take a two week break from the webinars. However, it seems that a person can actually cough and type without too much effort, so I thought I would write to you ladies instead. 

2013 has been a memorable year for my family and I. Not because of great milestones I’m afraid, but because of deep valleys and a great miracle along the way. So today seemed like a good day to tell you about it…

For a while now I’ve been observing a heart of stone in one of my loved ones. It breaks my heart over and over again, to see someone once so filled with love and zeal for the Lord now so bitter, angry, and stumbling around in the dark. I have talked, cried, prayed, fought, begged, and pleaded with God for months, and then finally I stopped. It might have looked like surrender on the outside, and I even uttered the intention of surrender to a few friends, but only God knew what really happened… my heart became hard as well. 

It’s amazing how gradually this can happen. Over a period of time we start relying on our own efforts again. We start making plans for our food struggle, our lost loved ones, or our circumstances. We start trusting in those plans, and when they inevitably fail, we become discourage, angry, bitter, and numb… 

You may know exactly what I’m talking about. We can not deny the fruit of a hard heart. According to Luke 6:45 “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” My mouth was clearly speaking what my heart was full of. I’m especially referring to that anger, strife, bitterness,  complaining, fault finding, nagging, controlling, manipulating, and gossiping that goes on behind closed doors. Sometimes the crust around our hearts become so hard that  this even spills over into public places, but for the most part our hard heart shows best when our guard is down, in our own homes.

The most DANGEROUS thing about a hard heart is that the cracked and barren landscape provides the ideal place for the enemy to hammer in some hooks of evil desires that fuels idolatry. If you’ve worked through my program before, you will know that I’m referring to desires such as the insatiable desire for food, a skinny body, fame, money, the approval of people, or any other thing  that we absolute MUST HAVE . (See James 1:13-15)

It took months (why does it always take me so long to get a clue!), but I finally got to the end of my running, and I cautiously stepped into His presence. Yes, at first I waited with hands wringing, heart pounding, and no patience at all. But I stuck it out. I put worship music on, started up a Bible study without much enthusiasm, listened to Andrew Murray’s Absolute Surrender on tape, kept quoting this verse in Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know“, and I waited…

After a few days of this the crust around my heart started cracking slowly, and finally, I found myself weeping like a little baby, because I SAW!! How could I not see this before? I saw how I’ve allowed the sin of others to harden my heart. I saw how I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit, and how I started relying again on my own plans.  I wept tears of sorrow, repentance, and forgiveness.  His Word not only washed me clean, but the Holy Spirit started soaking the soil of my heart, like a steady autumn rain. And then, ever so gently, He started removing every hook of idolatry and evil desire, and plowed the soil so the seed of His Word can grow. 

Oh my dearest friend, there is nothing like a heart that has been softened by the Holy Spirit. IT IS A TRUE MIRACLE! No human can do it, or even imagine it. When the Holy Spirit softens your heart it flows out of your mouth and your pores! You can not contain the love and the joy, and you stand amazed at the peace in the midst of terrible circumstances!

A soft heart desires more soaking, cleaning, and plowing in God’s presence. You don’t need to coax it!

A soft heart never hold hooks of idolatry or evil desires for long. The ground is simply too soft for anything but the Word of God to take root. 

The miracle of a soft heart is available for all God’s children. He wants to wash you clean in the water of His Word, and the Holy Spirit is ready to minister to you, helping you to turn your back on the things that grieve Him. 

Come into HIS PRESENCE today. I’m begging you to not wait any longer. Living with a hard heart is the worst kind of agony. I know you may feel NOTHING. You may come hesitantly, like I did. You may need to quote Jeremiah 33:3 for a while as you keep waiting in faith.  God alone knows how much soaking you need dear sister, so allow Him to take His time to do a perfect miracle in you. YOU JUST NEED TO COME TO HIM AND WAIT IN HIS PRESENCE, JUST AS YOU ARE…

I’m praying during this Holiday Season that each person who reads this and needs the miracle of a soft heart will come to Jesus and be changed in His presence! 

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 
 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

In His Amazing 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

Warning: You will have trouble!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

So there we have it! We were warned about TROUBLE right there in John 16:33! And yet, I continue to be shocked and surprised at the amount of trouble that can roll into my life on any given day. I love trouble free days, but seriously, with a job, kids, a husband, and other forms of frequent human interaction, those days are very rare. 

Now for the most part, I can just shake off trouble,  forgive the people involved, and keep focusing on the big picture. However, from time to time I get those days where my own weakness (in body or mind) collides head-to-head with some “trouble”, and I’m just fed-up with all the drama. Then, if I let these troubles fester for more than two seconds without taking it to God, I can find myself nose-diving into a full fledged pity-party. To these parties I usually invite only three guests: Self-pity, Discontentment, and Unforgiveness.

During these times I am so grateful for a handful of trusted girl friends! They will allow me to vent, without judging me or judging the other people involved. And afterwards they will gently point me in the right direction… the path of forgiveness that leads me back to intimacy with Christ. When I’m finally ready to lay down my long list of rights and whisper “Okay I will forgive…” PEACE comes rushing back into my life and I remember again… TROUBLE IS PART OF MY PROCESS…

Sarah Young explains this so well in her book Jesus Calling:

“MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE PROBLEMS IN YOUR LIFE. Though many things feel random and wrong, remember that I am sovereign over everything. I can fit everything into a pattern for good, but only to the extend that you trust Me. Every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I created you to be. The very same problem can become a stumbling block over which you fall , if you react with distrust and defiance. The choice is up to you, and you will have to choose many times each day whether to trust Me or defy Me.

The best way to befriend your problems is to thank Me for them. This simple act opens your mind to the possibility of benefits flowing from your difficulties. You can even give persistent problems nicknames, helping you to approach them with familiarity rather than with dread. The next step is to introduce them to Me, enabling Me to embrace them in my loving Presence.  I will not necessarily remove your problems, but My wisdom is sufficient to bring good out of every one of them.”

So Sarah gives us TWO clues here, straight from the Bible:

– TRUST GOD THAT HE CAN USE TROUBLE FOR GOOD IN YOUR LIFE

– START THANKING HIM FOR YOUR TROUBLE!

I honestly found THANKFULNESS to be one of the GREATEST WEAPONS against attacks of the enemy in my life. I recently found myself so drained by enemy attacks (Ephesians 6) and trials (James 1:2-3) when a friend suggested I make a THANK YOU list of all the things God has done the past year in this ministry and in my life. What a difference it made! It didn’t change any of my troubles or stopped the attacks per se, BUT IT CHANGED MY OUTLOOK AND ATTITUDE!

So, my fellow sister in this world where we are having much trouble, I want to gently encourage you to make your own THANK YOU LIST when things get tough. Also ask God to give you a few good friends you can trust during those times when you are weak and need some support and direction. God uses people to keep our arms up and show His love to us in a very real way!

Please don’t isolate yourself any longer. If you don’t have any friends, start reaching out. Join a women’s Bible study or get involved in a small group for women at your church. It will take some time to establish deep friendships, but start today by taking small steps forward, it will enrich your life in ways you never imagined!

Please allow me to give a shout-out here today to my friends who love me warts and all! You know who you are and I thank God for you, every day of my life!

In His amazing 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


2012 – Year of Great Provision and Pain

I wanted to give a big shout-out to all of my faithful readers: Thank you so much for reading my very infrequent posts during 2012!

It was indeed a year to remember, so please forgive me if I spend a moment reminiscing…

My second son, Terrance, graduated from high school and started Bible College. My little girl started first grade and I took up the challenge of homeschooling her and my 13 year old son again this year. My husband started up a new business outside the family home, and we also celebrated 20 years of marriage just recently on 12/12/12.

As many of you might have seen and heard, God also opened huge doors for my ministry this year. I had an opportunity to record small group material, Appetite for Freedom, which changed the whole face and even name of my ministry. What you may not know though is that ALL OF IT was ONE INCREDIBLE MIRACLE RIDE! I can still not even believe that it all happened in one year!

I have had it on my heart for a long time to create material that ladies could use in small group setting. I have even had several churches, universities, and healing ministries ask me about this in years past, but never seemed to have the finances or resources to pull off the publication of a book and a professionally recorded DVD. Then my husband and I started attending a small group at our church in 2011 for businesses. Through a series of events, including a challenge from our church for small groups to reach out to the community, this small group that we’ve just joined offered to help us raise the funds and gather the resources to take my ministry to the next level. It came as such an answer to prayer and from such an unsuspected source, that we just knew it had to be God. I am still so amazed at how God has forged friendships in our lives during this past year and poured out His provision in the most amazing way. Some of my friends (old and new) heard about the door that God has opened and they started adding their resources to the project in ways that I could never imagined or even thought about.  As the project unfolded I had ladies take me to buy outfits for the recordings at stores I’ve only dreamed of shopping at. Other of my friends volunteered to help edit my book, babysit my children, prepare meals for my family, lead tables, attend the recordings, bring flowers, lend me jewelry, pray for me, counsel me, the list goes on. It was simply a miracle ride which I will forever be SO GRATEFUL for!

We went out during the last stretch of 2012 with a bang when the book was published and the videos were released. What a year!

However, you surely know that so far I have only painted one side of the picture. I have not experienced so much stress in a 12 month period in all of my life. Just showing up that first night for the DVD recordings almost gave me a heart attack. I found myself hiding in the bathroom, unwilling to come out. I would probably never have recorded a word if God didn’t somehow got me out of there and planted me behind that podium. It was easily one of the most difficult things I had to do, and it stretched and grew me in every way possible. Every single thing that I have ever taught was being tested in my life. I didn’t just preach about things, I lived it! There is nothing like stress to bring all of your worst characteristics to the surface and shake out everything that is not real in your life. I can assure you that in 2012 I’ve experienced financial difficulty, marriage problems, problems with my kids like I’ve never had before, and an overwhelming desire to just take the easy way out and EAT!

I’m so grateful to God that He pulled me through! I have learned for sure that nothing in life that is truly worth having comes without a fight. I am so incredible grateful for every prayer that went up for me and my family, and for those who are still praying for us. We are being held up by the everlasting arms of God! I know that none of the pain or anguish was for nothing, because this fight is for FREEDOM IN JESUS. I’m so excited to see what God is going to do in the lives of ladies who need to experience the love and freedom that comes by living in close relationship with Jesus.

Thank you so much for each and everyone of you ladies who prayed for me, loved me, and supported me this past year. Thank you Jesus for never leaving me and for continuing to use this humble broken vessel. I am, and will be, forever grateful…

A most blessed 2013 to you beautiful women of God and your families!

In His Everlasting Love
Heleen

 

 

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

Temptation

Week 11 of my 12 Week Online Program for Women Struggling with Food deals with the issue of Temptation. We are discussing this on the Members Forum this week. Come learn how you can find victory in those moment when you are tempted. 

Here is a previous post I wrote that goes well with this week’s lesson:

 

How do you find victory in your WEAK MOMENTS?

I wanted to share this excerpt out of the new Breaking Free Bible Study by Beth Moore with you:

God has reserved momentous victories and great rewards for us. But we’ll never make it to our milestones if we cant’ make through our moments

Isn’t that so true?
We set these milestones and we even have faith for it – but then we get to that ‘MOMENT”, that excruciating moment of temptation or weakness, and we cave… and then we lose hope…

SO HOW DO WE GET THROUGH OUR WEAK MOMENTS?

Beth goes on to say that 2 reasons exist that we don’t take the “exit” God offers in our weak moments (1 Cor 10:13)

1. We don’t want to

2. We don’t feel like we deserve to

We have to ask God in that MOMENT:

“God I don’t want to stop eating, but please change my WANT TO”
or
“God I don’t think I deserve healthy food/taking care of my body, but please help me see that I am a princess of the only true King and I do deserve it”

If you have been following along on our MEMBERS FORUM, you will know that I am struggling at this time in my life with “keeping my mouth under control”. Our family life has become very challenging because (as I mentioned before) my husband and I have a few businesses that we now run from home, and I’m still homeschooling two of my kids. So I tend to lose my temper and reach for some unhealthy snacks in those very stressful or weak moments during the day.

Sometimes it’s totally a “I just don’t want to” thing like Beth mentioned, and I’ve been crying out to God to change my heart’s desires in those times.

However, sometimes I even “want to”, and plan to do the right thing, but when I get to that MOMENT… I just DON’T!

Paul speaks about this struggle in his own life, and he concludes that it is indeed ONLY GOD who can saves us and help us overcome in those times.

So what can we do if we even want to do the right thing, but we DON’T?

I will tell you about the only thing that has worked for me even in the hardest of times:
I have to recognize that my thoughts of “it doesn’t matter” or “what difference does it make” in those weak moments is LIES OF THE ENEMY. He knows my weakness and he will present those lies to me every time I feel stressed or weak – FOR AS LONG AS I BELIEVE IT TO BE JUST MY OWN LITTLE THOUGHTS.

So we have to first of all SPOT THE LIES – those are not your thoughts, and most certainly NOT YOUR WANTS – and then RUN INTO GOD’S PRESENCE. Listen girl, you will only find victory in those weak moments if you get out of that situation and find a place to pray. Rebuke the enemy and read those note cards with God’s truth out loud so your ears can hear the truth. The Bible says that in God’s presence the veil is stripped away, and as we look into the truth of His Word, we are changed (Go read this in 2 Corinthians 3: 16-18)

But what if you have 20 weak moments a day?
Don’t worry, even though daily time in God’s presence is the only way to remain free, you will not have to run and pray 20 times a day for the rest of your life. BUT FOR NOW – LET’S FACE IT – THAT MIGHT BE WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.

If you feel yourself going around in that cycle of making promises to yourself to do better, even wanting to do better, and then failing every day at that same weak moment… THEN IT’S TIME TO SURRENDER YOURSELF TO GOD, RESIST THE ENEMY, AND HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU (James 4:7)

Please go read again WEEK 2 and WEEK 11 of my 12 Week Online Program for women with eating disorders if you have forgotten (or didn’t realize) that you’re not just fighting your own FLESH but also a very real enemy. I talk about these issues in greater detail there, and also give you some tools to find victory in those weak moments.

The following passage of Scripture underlines it all:

1 Peter 5:6-10 (New International Version, ©2011)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

In His Love
Heleen

PS: I highly recommend Beth Moore’s Bible Study “Breaking Free” – it is life changing! Find a group near you or start a small group yourself, it is so much more effective if you do it with the accountability of other women.

Controlling People and Situations can Feed you Food Addiction

We’ve just completed Week 9  on the forum that deals with PEOPLE PLEASING and CONTROL. If you find yourself reaching for food because of stress and turmoil in your relationships then this week might clear up a lot of issues for you. Please have a look at my 12 Week Online Program to find out more.

Here is a previous post I wrote that goes well with this week’s lesson:

 

This past weekend I was reminded that self-control and controlling other people can not co-exist in my life. I was getting anxious about situations in our family and fell back into my old pattern of controlling people and circumstances.

Of course I’m pretty good at “whipping” everything and everybody into shape, but things started unraveling fast inside of me. I was restless. I wanted to eat all sorts of things and I was avoiding God.

Fortunately I’ve learned, through much tears and many heartaches, to recognize these patterns in myself.

So I was back at the drawing board with God:

The Bible clearly says that self-control is part of the Fruit of the Spirit and “should” thus be part of every spirit filled Christian’s life. According to John 15 we will bear much fruit (including self-control) if we are plugged into the vine (Jesus). So having self-control means staying close to God, OBEYING GOD, and daily asking the Holy Spirit to fill us and give us control of ourselves.

However, no where in the Bible will you find any kind of command or even an indication that we are suppose to control other people and circumstances.

Now if you are immediately thinking  “I’m not a control-freak” you might want to first read the following to make sure:

Controlling can be blatant or subtle. Trying to please people and keep everybody happy doesn’t seem like control, but by always pleasing others we actually try to control the way they see us, or even what they think of us.

Controlling others has a nasty side affect: It robs us of our self-control. If we learn to give the people and things that we can not really control over to God, we have enough peace to build and work on our relationship with God and as a result we see the fruit of the Spirit show up in our lives..

You girls know me by now: I want to know how it works in real life!
I’m seeing how every time I choose to give control over to God, I have more peace, more time (by not obsessing about others) and more self control.

Try it…next time you feel like controlling or pleasing someone else, ask God what you’re suppose to do. Something like this “Am I suppose to control/please this person Lord? Which part of this is my job and which is Your job?”

Okay, so I know it’s not that easy: What do you do with the anxiety, the pain and the stress surrounding the relationships you are currently trying to control?
Women have so much more stress that’s related to relationships than men. We want to fix everyone’s problems and keep everybody happy. But at what price? We loose control of our own lives!

capture16One of the things I found that works wonders for this kind of stress: Girl friend time!
Get into a group or ask God to help you find friends with whom you can be real. I found that it’s easier to join a woman’s Bible study or a support group. The kind of”realness” that we all desperately need usually starts in these kind of groups, and lots of times it flows over into lifetime friendships.

God gave us each other, and nobody understands the needs, stress and worries of a woman like another woman. Please find a place where you can talk about the stress in your relationships.

Most women I know constantly put their own needs and wants on the back burner. So I guess it’s almost “normal”, but it doesn’t mean that we can keep doing it without damage to our lives. Our anxiety sometimes reach such high levels that we start looking around for a crutch such as food, alcohol, pornography or drugs.

Do you feel that you have little or no self-control left?
Please have a look at your relationships and circumstances. You might have the best of intentions in controlling people and circumstances, but it still robs you from the ability to control your own self.

Find a quiet place today where you can think and talk to God about control. If you give the control back to God you will feel peace come back to your life. In the light of that peace, you will be able to talk to Him more openly, and He will tell you why He created you in the first place

Don’t think for one minute that this is selfish. The most wonderful gift you can give your family and friends is to start taking care of your own wants and needs (spiritual, emotional and physical). If you do that, you will regain your self-control and will be able to sow love into their lives without controlling them.

I don’t say this lightly. I have to remind myself daily that by controlling others I am robbing myself of self-control. I need all nine parts of the fruit of the Spirit desperately in my life, so I keep giving the control that belongs to God back to Him…

From a ex control-freak

Heleen

 

Here are some resources for you:

 

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