Giving Myself Up to God's Plan

But that’s not what Jesus says in Mark 8.

Because I don’t want to follow you, or you, or you. I want to follow Jesus. And He makes it pretty clear that if He is to be my Lord, then I need to get over my own ideas about what my life should (or could) look like, and relent to His plan—His way—not because He is a Lord who withholds, but one who gives in abundance. In an age where we follow people all the time, I believe there needs to be a major revival in our understanding of what it is to have a Lord. We need to look at what Jesus is not saying in this verse in Mark 8—He isn’t saying that we get all the benefits of salvation while getting to keep our lives as we think they should be. Give ourselves up to God’s plan. Take up our crosses. Follow HIM. We need to do as the disciples did and throw it all away to go where He is going and do what He is doing.

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Life Without It

It's been nine years since I walked (or wheeled) into the greatest life-changing experience of my life. It changed things emotionally, mentally and physically. Nine years ago my life began because I lost a part of me.

Nine years ago I lost my colon.

Recently I got a fresh dose of the shame and embarassment I used to experience on the regular for my illness and my story. I think the hardest part of the reminder was knowing that I used to feel that way most of my days--that rarely was there a day that I wasn't acutely aware of my vulnerability and lack of control.

It was a loss in the sense that I lost my colon, but in any and all other ways it was a complete and total gain because nine years ago today I was given the chance to actually live my life. Crazy how something seemingly awful can turn out to be one of the greatest acts of God in your life.

God has been so kind to me by bringing people my way who get it. Recently, at Holy Yoga Instructor Training Retreat, I absolutely lit up when my friend told me she had someone for me to meet--someone who also didn't have a colon.

Someone like me.

There's a lot that's different but there is immeasurably more that's the same. I still get to, by the grace of God, grow my family. I still get to, by the grace of God, run and jump and play. I still get to, by the grace of God, stand up on a stage and preach His Word.

So actually, I guess it's not the same as it was at all. It's completely and totally better.

I've lived without a colon half as long as I lived with one. I honestly can't wait till it's been 18 years and I can surpass my years lived with that bad boy.

Here's to being completely undone by God's mercy and entirely blown away by His goodness.

Even in the stuff you never asked for or wanted.

 

 

Sugar God- Call A Spade A Spade.

Before I sat down to write this, I polished off a little bowl of trail mix. Not so bad, you say? Well noshing on M&Ms before 11am is not exactly a winning way to start my day. Just because there's peanuts and raisins mixed with them doesn't make them any less sinful. Let me just clarify something here- Eating M&Ms is not a sin. I find this topic to be very similar, if not spot on, with Jesus giving perspective to adultery and murder.

We say, "It's not like I killed anybody." He says, "I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder."

We say, "I've never cheated on my spouse." He says, "Don't think you've preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices-- they also corrupt." (verses from Matthew 5 of the Message)

I say, "I only worship the one, true God. I have no other idols before Him." He says, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Mk 8:34)

And to this I ask myself, "How willing am I to die to this desire of my flesh?" Because for me, this is not just a matter of occasional indulgence. This is something that, more often than not, nearly consumes my thoughts, and definitely drives my actions and attitude. So it no longer becomes "sugar" that I need to die to but the idol of self-indulgence. The "right" to call the shots and "satisfy" myself whenever I want.

And that right there, friends, is the unveiling. The moment when something "common" and "not that big of a deal" is seen for what it really is--something that takes the place of worship in my heart and mind.

So, am I willing to die to those yearnings. While the sugar itself may or may not be horrible for me, it's a question of obedience. Will I place Him first before self-satisfaction? Will I believe Him to be of greater worth and satisfaction than that which my mouth can taste?

We are asked to give things up not because we have a power hungry God. We are asked in order that He may see where He can go with us. How far down this God-glorifying life can we travel? Because unless we die to ourselves and our desire to be glorified, He will not be given glory.

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So where do we go from here? This week, check out these verses with me and see what the Spirit has to say about them to you. Because we all know this is bigger than the over-processed white crap in our pantries. As are most things, it's a matter of the heart, and our hearts are deceitful above all things, so they need a good talking-to on the regular.

1. Matthew 7:13-14: Our culture relies heavily on the latest fad diet to get us ripped quick and wafer thin by Sunday. What if, in this, we took the narrow road? What does that idea look like for you? Is cutting out sugar the "narrow" or "wide" road? Does the idea of digging deeper bring about feelings of anxiety or a welcome challenge?

2. 1 John 5:19-21: Take a moment, close your eyes, breath, and whisper to yourself, "I am a child of God." Do this over and over and over... and over. Do this until your mind begins to open up to this holy truth. Then read this passage again. What understanding has He given you regarding this little idol? Ask Him to show you what your body is really yearning for that sweets are simply numbing temporarily. Ask Him what you can do now, today, to keep yourself from the idol and nearer to your King.

3. Mark 8:22-24: Believe your God. Believe that He is for you. Believe that He is more satiating than the most decadent of desserts. Believe that, even if it's every 45 seconds, He will hold your hand as you say "no" over and over and over again. Meditate on this little treasure and as you face the "lions" in your kitchen this week expectantly ask Him to show up and, with dukes raised, help you knock the temptation out. Because He actually does care about these things. These types of things are not below His level of concern. When it comes to His son or daughter, any and every level is of His concern.

I would really love to hear how this goes for you this week, and I will share how it goes for me. And know that, even if tomorrow is another day that includes M&Ms before noon, there is no condemnation there. This is much more than that and He's not interested in shaming for a handful of sweets. He's interested in lifting our eyes so they are fixed on Him and not what's hiding in the cupboard.

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Six Years Without You

Because of all of the excitement last week, I blew right past a pretty important day of celebration in my little life. It was six years ago that I "went under the knife" and said, "good riddance" to my always-troubling colon. I never had much of a chance to reminisce and soak in all the mercy and faithfulness of my God, but I have been these past couple of days.

 

Guys, God has been incredibly good to me-with and without my colon.

 

I wrote a post last year for my five-year anniversary, and if you wish to learn more about my story I encourage you to read it below. While this may not be a much talked-about subject, it happens to more people than you would think. In this past year God has carried me through a journey of wholeness-to a place where I have learned to not only appreciate this physical being of mine, but to praise Him for it. To love it. To care for it. My God is a God who heals-Mind, body and soul. Hallelujah! All glory to God!

 

Life can flourish, and your body can heal... even if that means your poo will be a little bit different.

 

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Originally posted May 18th, 2013:

This weekend I am reminiscing. Dreaming. Rejoicing. Soaking in His grace. Would you like to know why?

Tomorrow marks the 5 year anniversary of the day my life irreversibly changed forever. On May 19th, 2008 my five year relationship with Ulcerative Colitis officially ended and that lovely little colon of mine was headed for greener pastures… or something like that. For most, it is difficult to empathize with me on this because, well, you just don’t quite get all that this magnificent organ does. For others, like a few of my friends, you know all too well. To say that this is a relatively vital organ is pretty spot on. Is it needed to keep breathing and living? Absolutely not. Is the health and well-being of said organ important for your quality of life? Abso-freaking-lutely. I’m going to be extremely blunt and say that bleeding out of your butt and pooping 20-some times a day is no life. For anyone. I don’t care who you are. And don’t get me started on the pain. Aaaaanyways, I’m saving all that good stuff for the book I’m writing with my girl Katie one day.

This weekend I’m reminiscing on this event specifically.

Fear of the unknown is a b*#@%. But you know what I had? I had my Jesus. Who on earth is able to prepare for an 8 hour surgery that will leave them without an organ that cannot be put back in and NOT have fear? I’m pretty sure no one. THAT is why I can say with absolute confidence that HE is the only reason I made it through. His comfort came to me in this; “I saw the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will You let Your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.” (Acts 2:25-28). Sitting here, eyes closed, trying to remember the thoughts, the feelings, the words, I find my brow furrowed. The memory of those moments is painful. Then I remember… After more hours than promised in the pre-op room they finally came for me. As I was rolled away from my parents, and heading for those white doors, every ounce of me began to cry. I don’t mean I sobbed, I mean the tears that fell down my cheeks came from the deepest part of me. The little girl afraid to face this big life on her own. And as quickly as that loneliness came my Savior showed Himself along side me. I began to whisper His words from Acts and as each word came off my lips the tears dried up and I became strong- He made me strong.

I was in surgery for 8 hours. I PRAISE God for nurses. You women and men are angels. Each hand you hold and word you say is what carries us from our fear filled consciousness into a dreamless sleep and I think I can speak for others when I say that you are appreciated to the fullness of the word. I woke up to a very annoying man in the recovery room and an inability to move really, but all I knew was that the damn tube in my nose and down my throat was probably one of the worst things ever. 

I really really woke up a couple of hours later, in my room, to my family. They were the strength I needed to face this day, and the joy and laughter I needed to face my new life. It wasn’t easy learning how to pass food with the new fandangled thing on my side but alas it would be removed a few short months after and life would continue.

The photos above are a testimony to God’s Sovereignty. The life laid before us will never go the way we planned. He is far too creative to let us live life the way we think we should. Why He chose for me to be unique in this way I won’t know until I see Him face to face but I pray, I plead, that He may be glorified in this. His faithfulness is… well, it’s the most beautiful thing we will ever see in this world. To see myself on that day, and to know that He went before me- to my wedding day, to the day I would find out I was pregnant, and to the days I have with the two best men I will ever know- fills me with more joy then I deserve to feel. Really truly…

how great is our God?

I am thankful. I am blessed. It is only because of Christ that I live.

Well, that’s a little of my story. I’m sure you’ll hear more or have already heard some. Just promise me something? Don’t ever take for granted your health. It is not promised to you. It is a gift and should be treated as such.