Don’t Wimp Out – Eyes on Jesus!

I have a love/hate thing going on with this quote from Beth Moore: “Have the courage to live under the strain and pain to be part of a better story. A larger story. Don’t wimp out. Only pain can bring change”

I love it because it’s so true, but I also don’t like it, for the same reason. Why does only pain bring change? Why do we only “get it” down in the pit of despair,  never on the mountaintop? I guess it’s one of those”wait till heaven to find out” kind of questions, but I want to talk some more with you about the “wimping out” part…

What is going on in your life today that makes you just want to WIMP OUT?

Are you in terrible financial trouble? Is your marriage a source of great pain an turmoil? What about those teenage children, are they breaking your heart? How are you doing with your food struggles these days? Are you maybe hiding out, avoiding people, and crying yourself to sleep again every night because of the terrible grip this thing has on your life? How are your relationships with your family, friends, or colleagues at work?

Let me stop for a minute here, take a deep breath with you, and say… I’m so sorry about the strain and pain of your story…

We can many times see the benefit of a trial in retrospect. That wonderful clear headed time when we can look back and reflect that “yes indeed God did use this to change me” or  “I can now see how God works everything for good for those who love Him”. The problem is when we are right there smack in the middle of the arena with the devil, the people who hurt us, the addictions we’re fighting, or sometimes the whole caboodle. In that place where there is only sweat, tears, and blood we just want to WIMP OUT, and honestly, who can blame us?

Remember the disciples out on the boat? They had the Lord of lords right there in the boat with them, but their eyes were on the storm, and they were freaking out! Peter had the same experience while walking on the water, only one thing could help him and save Him in that place of fear and terror, HE HAD TO FIX HIS EYES ON JESUS!

Let me encourage you today to fix your eyes on Jesus again. I know everything in you just wants to quit, run, hide, or give up… but there is another way. It’s in your room, with the door locked, on your face at the feet of the ONLY ONE WHO CAN SAVE YOU!

Pushing through this terrible pain, anger, or loneliness WITH YOUR EYES FIXED ON JESUS, will indeed bring you into a bigger story: HIS STORY for your life. In fact, many times our trials result in the very thing we’ve been asking God for years: A surrendered heart so that we can run free from the chains that bind us. A heart that truly loves Jesus above all else and that WANTS TO seek first the Kingdom of God.

I’m inviting you to fix your eyes again on Jesus as the Bible commands in Hebrews 12:2. Let Him into your moments, especially those weak moments, so that the PRINCE OF PEACE can reign over your life once again. 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15; 5-10

Your sister in Jesus
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

What will Motivate you to Stop Overeating or Binging?


Please read this quote from Phillip Yancey’s book What’s so Amazing about Grace? carefully.
It contains valuable information as far as answering the question: What will motivate you to stop overeating and binging?

The best reason to be good is to want to be good. Internal change requires relationship. It requires love. “Who can be good, if not made so by loving?” asked Augustine. When Augustine made the famous statement, “If you but love God you may do as you incline” he was perfectly serious.  A person who truly loves God will be inclined to please God, which is why Jesus and Paul both summed up the entire law in the simple command, “Love God.”

If you are still going around the same mountain even though you’ve gone through counseling and found a solid food program, if you still find yourself bound in the chains of food addiction and eating disorders even though you’ve gone through my 12 Week Online Program and you’ve made great strides in dealing with past hurts, then it might be time to look at the MOTIVATION behind it all.

 

ONLY TRUE LOVE MOTIVATES OBEDIENCE

Please read this excerpt from a previous post I wrote to find out how you can FALL IN LOVE AND BE CHANGED FOREVER!

 

In her well-known Bible study “Breaking Free” Beth Moore asks us to answer the following few questions to determine if we’re really in love with God:

IDENTIFYING TRUE LOVE:

  • Does God regularly circulate into my thoughts? (Ps 63:6)
  • Am I often drawn to spend time with Him?  (Ps 27:4)
  • Does my life demonstrate a love for God? (Rom 5:8)
  • Do I often enjoy God? (Ps 16:11)
  • Do I ultimately find relief or satisfaction in obedience? (John 14:12)

How did you score on the TRUE LOVE TEST? Sometimes we really fool ourselves by thinking that we love God, when we simply don’t.


I have loved Jesus since I was a little girl. I see my sweet little girl praying to Jesus and hear her talk about Him and I can imagine myself at that age, growing up in a Christian home, praying to God in that same manner. So if you asked me in the past if I loved Jesus I would have quickly responded “YES, I’ve loved Him all my life”

However, through the years some questions formulated in my mind (much of these triggered by pastors an Bible teachers) about my LOVE for Christ: Do I love Him enough? Why do I still lack self-control? Why am I still rude and proud at times? Why do I not have patience in times of testing? Where is my joy and peace in trying circumstances? Why is it still so hard for me to obey…?

WE NEED MORE OF JESUS. When the night is dark and the valley deep WE NEED MORE! When our circumstances change and we can hardly breathe WE NEED MORE! When the waters are calm and we find ourselves almost bored with riches and prosperity WE NEED MORE OF JESUS!

Unfortunately our lives have become so busy and full of things that we hardly have time for anything, and sadly Jesus gets pushed down on our list of priorities.
However, if we want to break free and stay free from any kind of bondage WE NEED TO OBEY. Lasting obedience will always be linked to True Love. We might be able to obey once or twice out of obligation and legalism, but it never lasts and we always seem to slip back into our bondage.

NOW FOR THE BIG QUESTION:

IF I DON’T REALLY LOVE GOD WITH ALL MY HEART – HOW CAN I FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM?

  • Ask God to give you a love for Him. God is the source of  love, and the only one who can give you true agape love for Him and other people (1John 4: 7-8,19)
    Ask Him DAILY to increase your love for Him!!  Set an alarm on your cellphone to go off and remind you to pray. Even short prayers at first where you ask Him to give you a true love and desire for Him and His Word
  • Be accountable about your time with Him – Join women’s Bible studies on a regular basis to keep your accountable. Meet with other people to pray. Find a friend that will hold you accountable, and surround yourself with people who obviously love JESUS. THE MORE WE LEARN ABOUT GOD AND OPEN OUR HEARTS TO HIM – THE MORE WE LOVE HIM – AND THE MORE WE LOVE HIM THE MORE WE WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH HIM. Get yourself into that blessed upward cycle!

I need more of Jesus – the love that I had for Him last year can not sustain  me now. Fortunately there is so much more to my God than the little I have come to know up until this point in my life.

God is enough. His love for us is perfect and everlasting, however we have to keep asking and reaching to love Him more.

In His Amazing Love,

Heleen

 

 

 

Resources to help you surrender to God and fall deeply in love with Him
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10 Years Free from Bulimia!

Here comes one of my candid heart-to-heart posts. Forgive me for being too open at times, but I do think that you ladies deserve nothing less, seeing that I’m always encouraging you to be real. It’s difficult to spill the beans about my own life, but I do realize that God can only bless me, especially in this kind of ministry, if I’m honest with you all.

Last month (July 2011) has been exactly 10 years since God set me free from diet pills and the binging and purging cycle of Bulimia!

I am so grateful to God! It took a journey and a lot of healing, but there was a definite time when I knew something happened and that I would never be the same again. There’s a song that Darlene Zschech of Hillsong sings  “I will never be the same again…” I heard this song years ago when God brought freedom to this area of my life, and I have been singing it every since. I especially held on to the verse “There are higher hights, there are deeper seas, whatever you need to do, Lord do in me, The Glory of God fills my life and I will never be the same again

I am not very patient and the hardest thing that I had to do was to wait for God’s timing for my healing. I wanted it yesterday and I wanted it all done at once. It didn’t work that way. I had to learn to trust God with His particular “plan of healing” for me.

I know He was trying to teach me patience, but He was really also testing my heart and testing my motives. I told you ladies before that my relationship with God consisted for a long time of me asking Him to make me skinny. It wasn’t a sincere relationship, but rather me bargaining with God. The biggest mistake I made was to think that He didn’t know. As if He’s not God Almighty who can see in the heart of every human. I am ashamed when I think of that, but I have asked God to forgive me and help me love Him in a way that is worthy of Him. A pure and genuine way that has all to do with Him and nothing to do with what I can get out of Him for my own gain.

But in spite of all of this I still get impatient, because I don’t feel that I can say “I will never fall again” and I so want to say that. In these instances I argue with God that surely I have suffered enough and have enough patience by now. Can He not just speak a word now and let it be done. But then there are times when I just come before Him, so in awe of His beauty, so in love with Him that I just blurt it out: “Oh Lord I don’t care if I will never be totally free from this, I don’t care if you never give me anything again, just let me love you like this for the rest of my life”

And indeed it is this “making peace” with the fact that I probably will have to deal with fall and getting up (obviously in a lesser fashion) for the rest of my life, that I’ve experienced the most peace. By not reaching for the perfect track record anymore, I have actually given things over to God’s time table. I am doing what I can to not fall of course, but if I slip, I don’t beat myself up anymore. I don’t go into a three year relapse anymore and I don’t think: I will never be free from this. Because, really I am free. Every day that I give this struggle over to the Holy Spirit I am free. Come to think of it: If God is using this to keep me close to him, isn’t it then a blessing in disguise?

Hard times with food during the last 10 years…

I know you probably hoped that I don’t fall anymore, and that I could tell you that for the past 10 years I have never binged or looked at a fad diet. What I can tell you is: Seldom. These times of falling seems to happen when there is some area in my life that God wants to work on and I refuse to let Him. During times like these I inevitably turn back to my old lover: food. So if I can just get a clue, that will be helpful right?

Let me tell you about two specific incidents these past 10 years when I picked up my crutch of overeating again. I’m so grateful that I never opened the back door of binging and purging again, but I have turned to overeating and “grazing” to help me cope with stress and life.

After my baby girl was born – 2006:
By God’s grace my eating disorders didn’t flare up during my pregnancy with my sweet little gift from God 5 years ago. However, after Christie was born panic struck me because of the weight I had to lose. I wrote all about this in my 40 day journal  in the members area of my 12 Week Online Program. The bottom line: I was looking for a quick fix because I hated the extra weight and I was scared that I would always look that way. After some kicking and screaming (again!), I finally got a clue and  followed the same steps I’ve written down for you throughout this program. Basic Biblical principals of repenting from all unbelief, pride, and denial and letting the Holy Spirit search my heart and heal the things that still needed healing. After trying a few fad diets I finally turned to a decent program – Weight Watchers, and slowly shook off the weight and regained my peace with God’s help and the support of friends and WW groups.

The past year (2010 – 2011):
My close circle of friends and also those of you who have been faithfully following my blog will know that this past year has been a tough one on our family. My husband lost his job, couldn’t find another, and as a result we started up a bunch of internet businesses. We have been doing webdesign just for fun before and had a few e-commerce businesses that didn’t bring in a lot of money in the past, but now this became our main source of income. You can just imagine having your business smack in the middle of your home while trying to home school your kids, and still support others… It was a nightmare at best. Our financial situation kept looking bleaker and the stress accumulated as the year went by. We are still pretty much in the thick of things, but I have at least found other schooling options for my children for the coming year and finally started surrendering this situation to God.

With all this busyness I started spending less time with God, and less time in the Word. I’ve warned you ladies many times that if we don’t get washed by the water of the Word and lay our cares at Jesus’ feet in prayer that we start to “stink” because of the filth and worries of this world. This is exactly what happened to me this last year, and I turned to an old familiar outlet – food. I’m so grateful to God that I never turned back to serious binging and purging, however I started eating all day long to get rid of the stress – only it didn’t help of course.

My husband and I each picked up about 40 pounds, and the shame and guilt I felt became my daily companion. FINALLY I turned again to my own program (after reading an amazing testimony of a member and bawling my eyes out!) I repented once more of the pride (that I could fix our situation by working super hard), the denial (that I’m still in control of my eating when I have not been for a year) and the unbelief (that God couldn’t not possibly save me AGAIN)

I also started crying out to God for a program to help both me and my husband lose the weight we have gained. Weight Watchers wasn’t working this time around – I tried doing it online but couldn’t attend a group meeting and because of no accountability I just dropped the ball every Friday afternoon. Our new schedule also left me with absolutely no time for regular shopping and menu planning, so after 12 hours behind the computer and going hours without food I kept just “giving up” and kept grabbing the closest junk food. My husband was actually the one who found us something that could help in the midst of our crazy busy lives. He told me that friends of ours at a neighboring church was doing a program and were losing tons of weight. I didn’t want to hear of it – meal replacements! It sounded like a fad diet to me if ever I’ve heard of one. I kept arguing with him about the price of the food and how I can just make similar healthy meals for us (as if I’ve not tried doing that many times before). Long story short, I reluctantly submit to my husband – the guy who in my mind “knew absolutely nothing about food stuff”. God ended up using this program to save us both. It was actually the same plan that a friend of mine have used to lose ALL of her weight and maintained for two years. I’ve watched her but was too proud to ask before. I then started hearing of other people I know who have had the same amazing experience with lasting results because of the coaching that goes along with it.  You can go read all about my “skeptical journey” on the members forum if you are a member of my program: Heleen’s Journal on Take Shape for Life

The results were MORE THAN I EVER EXPECTED. I was wowed by the variety of food, the “hands-and-mind-off-food” place that I’ve entered by not having to slave over the stove preparing meals, the difference it made to have a coach work with you every step of the way, the fast weight loss, and the surge of energy which came as a result of eating 6 meals packed with vitamins, calcium, and protein every day.  I’m so grateful to God for yet another tool that I can pass on to you ladies.

It has been months now that I’m walking free from the compulsive overeating that has been plaguing me the last year, and as far as the future is concerned… I know that as long as I do certain things consistently, stay far away from perfection and stay as close as humanly possible to God, I am doing great.
And days that I don’t do so great? Well I might finally be getting a clue that God is working in me,  and I pray that I will be working with Him more, because more than anything I desire to know Him more and love Him more…

 

Micah 7: 7-8

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light

Isaiah 61; 1-4

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor. 
They will rebuild the ancient ruins

and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.

 

Thank you Jesus that you came to bring freedom and healing to my life and the life of every person who might be reading this post today!

Amazed by Grace
Heleen

 

 

RESOURCES FOR YOU – Please click on the links to learn more:
  • 12 Week Online Program and Private Forum for Women Struggling with Food – Get the FIRST WEEK FREE to try it out
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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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Surrender to God and Resist the Enemy

As many of you might know, I’m currently going through the 12 Week Online Program on the forum with a group of women. As a result I don’t have much time to write here on the blog, but I thought it might be a good idea to re-post some popular posts that apply to the specific week we’re dealing with on the forum.

I’m re-posting this article (in step with Week 2 of the 12 Week Program) on resisting the lie of the enemy that we have to be “perfect” before we can come to God. This single lie can keep you in bondage for many years.

Maybe it’s time to get angry. I felt my blood pressure rise and a “holy anger” came over me while reading a few emails of ladies these past weeks. These were emails of pain, bondage, and hopelessness and while my heart was bleeding for each one of these precious women, I was also getting so mad at the enemy.

I’m angry because of a vicious lie Satan has been using for ages to keep us in bondage. It’s the lie of “you can’t possibly come to God in this disgusting state that you are in”

Do you realize how many women are kept in bondage daily because they believe:
“I can only go back to church once I’ve lost some weight”
“I will join that women’s Bible study once I’ve stopped gambling”
“I will talk to a pastor after I’ve ended this relationship”
“I can not pray while I still have these evil thoughts”
“I can not read my Bible while I still yell at my kids”

Ladies, IT’S TIME TO GET MAD AT THE ENEMY!

We don’t have the power to save or change ourselves.  So if the enemy can just get us to believe the lie that we have to fix ourselves before coming to God we are trapped!

I am adding this part about the prodigal son that I’ve posted before because it is so important to hear again.

God is calling you, just as you are. You might be dealing with incredible pain, shame, or anxiety at this very moment. You might have just eaten so much food that you are in physical pain. Maybe you just purged and you feel shame hanging like a cloak around your shoulders. Maybe you are past all these feelings and you just feel a great numbness inside of you…

Seriously, God is waiting for you! He saw everything you did and He is still waiting and calling…

The voices of condemnation, guilt and shame that you hear are not of God but of the enemy who wants to destroy you (John 10:10)

I would like to remind you today of our Father’s heart. The parable in Luke 15 about the prodigal son gives us a peek into the heart of our heavenly father. He is looking for you, waiting for you to return to Him. He doesn’t insist that you first clean up your act or that you get rid of your filth before you come to Him. On the contrary, when He sees you taking the first few steps, He will run to you with open arms, welcoming you and showering you with love.

Please don’t try to first get “better” before you come to God. It’s the enemy’s age old trick to keep us in bondage.

It is only in God’s presence that we are cleaned and changed. You can not change yourself, but He has all the power to heal your broken heart and help you change the habits and addictions you’ve picked up to numb the pain. Better yet… He wants to heal the pain you are trying to numb…

Listen to what the Amplified Bible says about the father of the prodigal son:
“So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]” (Luke 15:20)(emphasis mine)

Do you see that the father was moved with pity and tenderness! Our heavenly Father has that same pity and tenderness towards us every time we come to Him, even in our filthy state. This might not be the first time you come to Him, but PLEASE don’t stop coming.

I found freedom from bulimia when I started crying out to God EVERY TIME I was binging or purging. I would cry and tell Him how bad I felt about myself, how ashamed I was, and how I needed Him to help me. He heard, He took pity on me, and drew me close to his heart with tenderness. You are his child too, He has no favorites, He wants to do the same for you!

Just run to Him my dear friend, repent, and accept His forgiveness. Jesus came so you can be free (Isaiah 61)

Your sister in Christ
Heleen

 

PS: We are almost 30 ladies who are walking out this journey on the forum. It’s not too late to join us or just read along. Here is a link to the Members Forum.
If you are not a member you might be interested to click here for my FREE EBOOK: “God will I ever be free?”
Click here if you want more information on my 12 Week Online Program for women who struggle with eating disorders and food addiction

Link Between the Church and Weight Problems

Did you hear about the new statistic that links attending church with obesity?
I was both sad and angry when I heard the anchor person say on the news last night that “church might be good for the soul, but it might not be so good for the waist line” She went on to describe how research has shown a greater weight gain in people who attend church at least once a week than those who don’t.

I can’t say that I was surprised about this announcement, but I sure was angry at the devil for humiliating the church like that, and I was sad for the thousands of Christians who struggle with their weight.

I have written a lot on this subject so I’m adding one of my earlier articles below. It’s a bit long, but something I think every Christian should be aware of.


Please Read:

I recently stumbled upon an article “Lard have Mercy: The Christian obesity epidemic”.

It was very interesting and although the author sadly showed an obvious prejudice towards Christians, I couldn’t help but agree with some of the points being made. The author based the article on Ferraro’s most recent study, published in the June 2006 issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, a follow-up to a study he published in 1998, where he found there were more obese people in states with larger populations of folks claiming a religious affiliation than elsewhere, particularly in states with the most Baptists.

I grew up in a Christian home, and I love the church, but even I can not shut my eyes to the fact the we have grown, to put it mildly, “bigger” over the years. Now of course this problem is widespread. Everybody knows by now that obesity has become an epidemic in America with more than half of the populations suffering from this. So the church has not been isolated in it’s denial of the eminent dangers associated with obesity.

The truth is that we as Christians did, for a long time, tolerate the sin of gluttony in our midst. I grew up seeing a lot of overweight people in church, including the pastors, and I never even gave it a second thought. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way condemning overweight people, that would make me a hypocrite seeing that I have struggled with food for many years, and still have to fight off the enemy in this area.

I’m afraid the church’s denial of this problem didn’t help though. We don’t allow alcohol at our meetings, and preach against the dangers of drunkenness. Some congregations have even switched to grape juice for communion to not give alcoholics the opportunity to stumble. All kinds of addiction programs sprung up over the years, and we have reached out a hand to help people overcome these. Pastors do their part by preaching against the lusts of the flesh that the Bible warns of. However, for a very long time, we ignored the fact that food can also become an idol; something to numb pain and help you deal with life; a drug of choice.

Until a few years back I found it so hard to keep my food addiction at bay while being actively involved in church. It is true that we can not pin it all on the church, then we will be no different than the people blaming MacDonalds for their obesity. But we also have to wake up to the truth that to beat obesity in our generation will take a team effort. Yes, individuals need to change, and families need to take a hard look at their lifestyles, but big institutions and government agencies have a role to play in winning this war against obesity. So the church can’t just passively sit by, refusing to change with the times.

It is true that the church, like the rest of the world, gather around food for all occasions. Granted at a secular party there would be alcohol too, but there will always be room for rich food and decadent desserts on the menu. Likewise, every meeting and gathering at the church have been a place for the ladies to bring their best dishes to the table, and best would hardly ever equal healthy in years past. In fact, if I brought a plate of vegetables to a church function a few years back, nobody would probably eat it, and I would have opened myself up for some serious criticism.

Have things changed? I think so. We’re getting there, slowly but surely, just like everybody else. There are more fruit, vegetables and healthy dishes at the meetings these days. It’s still fun to gather around food, and lots of times our meetings are right at lunch or dinner time anyway. However, our church gets it meals delivered from Subway these days.

There is also an awakening in many churches to the fact that God made us to move. Many churches have added gyms to their complexes, and some small groups are dedicated to help people get fit and loose some weight.
In recent years many books have been written to help Christians get their weight under control and programs such as First Place have been gaining popularity with their excellent material and support groups.

So I do think the church are realizing that our casual take on overeating is not good for us and it’s hurting our children. However, we still have a long way to go. Not everybody is convinced, and one can’t help but wonder why not, if all the evidence are on the table. Can it be that the love for food has become too big to let go of the rich decadent dishes? Also, habits don’t change over night and certain food became part of our traditions, making it all the more difficult to let it go. But I, for one, will encourage people to grieve these “food traditions” and start new traditions in order to save their lives and the lives of their children.

I am joining many Christians in the war against obesity in the church. If you are a Christian struggling with food, my heart goes out to you. It is not an easy struggle, in fact it can be very lonely in a church where people don’t talk about it and still pile the tables high with rich, fatty foods.

You can find help on my website that I created especially for women and moms dealing with eating disorders and food addiction. Make no mistake, it’s not just people with anorexia and bulimia who have an eating disorder. Anybody who doesn’t eat in a normal, healthy way needs help in this area. Come see for yourself, it’s online so you can do this program in the safety of your own home and at your own pace.

I must admit that after I heard that “proclamation” on TV last night, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me again to bring my own “crutches” that I’ve picked up recently and lay them down. The world is watching us, and the fact is, we do have the answer; His name is JESUS and he came to set the captives free!

In His Love,
Heleen

 

 

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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 it 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  are 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.

 

 

 

More 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