Monday, September 22, 2014

Baby Carrots

My mom hated baby carrots.

I would stay after school, running the hallways until my head felt numb and the walls looked fuzzy.  I would hold conversations with people, focusing on lips or eyes as they spoke, wishing they would keep their voices down because everything was just. so. loud.  I would do sit-ups and more and more, imagining the folds on my stomach disappearing, not realizing they already had.

I would ride the late bus home in the winter dark.  After dodging kitties and dogs in the driveway, I would walk into the house and get swallowed by the smells of dinner cooking in our country home.  I would walk blankly through so I could ignore my body's desire for the richness of feeling full.  When I felt an overwhelming weakness in mind and body, the sensation of fainting quickly upon me, I would grab a handful of baby carrots from the fridge and call it dinner.

"Cherie, you have to eat more than that."

My mom's helpless pleading.

"This is enough, Mom.  I'm good."

And I hated all the smells that reminded me of food in my belly, the nostalgia of growing up.  I hated the voices of love surrounding me, begging for my life.

But I was a pawn.  It would take all of my remaining young years to get out of the game.

Eating disorders may not have you, but maybe something else does.  Maybe you, like me, have known the gut feeling that what you are doing and saying is wrong.  You are trying to convince yourself, and you are pretty good at it.  Your gentle lies blossom into a flower - cunningly poisonous, dangerously deceiving.

We hold on to these things because we have pride.  We hold on to these things because Satan is the accuser, the king of lies...and yet he is a handsome prince.  We are attracted to sin, especially when we are not carefully shielding ourselves against it and wielding the power of the sword, which is the Word of God.

All the world told me that thin is beautiful, and success is measured only by how quickly and effectively we reach our goals.  A perfectionist from birth, I lusted after success.  I was seduced by worldly standards.  Were it not for my Savior and Lord, I would have become pregnant with death, birthing it into the world to further steal lives.

But the Lord is steadfast, and He is good.  He fed and nurtured me.  He nourished me back to health.  I am back to life!  He is risen so that I am victorious over all darkness.  He is risen that I may be His daughter forever.
Sister in Christ, give over the fleshly sins of pride and lust.  Give yourself over to God that He may make you new.  He makes beautiful things out of the dust.  He makes all things new.  He will rejoice over you with singing...because you are His.  He wants to give you life.  He offers it to us every day.  Take His hand, just like I have to do every time the "beautiful" liar tells me I should go back to eating only baby carrots.

"The thief comes only to kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Please watch this four minute video.  It is wonderful.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Messy, Beautiful Love - Marriage Thoughts and Book Review

I don't blame the current generation for not wanting to get married.  Our culture has made it a most frightening venture -- with an over 50% fail rate, who would want to try?  Who would believe in the validity and sanctity of something that fails more times than succeeds, especially when there is so much at stake?  Especially when Christians are pushing for it so much, and then failing just as often as the secular population ... We are fallen, and we speak to others in only the way that ancient ruins do: marriage is something that was once great, but it was defeated by an enemy, or time, or both.

I don't blame this generation, but I do lament for them.  While seeking other grand adventures, they are rejecting the deepest, most exhilarating, most-worthy-to-write-about adventure that ever was and ever will be: marriage. 

This morning my husband e-mailed me this:
I woke up this morning with such great love for you.  I am so overjoyed that you are my wife.  I really do cherish you and want to be the husband that God desires for you.  You are HIS daughter and I am getting a sense right now of HOW MUCH HE LOVES YOU!!!

There is no mountain-top view, no surfing lesson, no sound of the Great Lakes that can compare with the ecstatic bliss I experience from an e-mail like that.  And don't get me wrong: I LOVE traveling the world, seeing sights, and listening to God's almighty power displayed in creation.  But the adventures of my heart are unquenched without this precious kind of love. 

Tomorrow, a book comes out that I had the pleasure to read beforehand in order to promote.  It is called Messy, Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht.  This wonderful, vulnerable gift of a woman writes about her many adventures of marriage -- the good, the unexpected, the challenges, and the soul-searching. 

With this book, Darlene gives wives a weapon against the enemy who tries to destroy marriages.  She shares her life, and challenges wives to be wise and virtuous, to be an honorable spouse, and to pray every day.  She speaks truth and love into our woman hearts, and gives us practical tips for loving our husbands even on the most difficult of days.

I have seen too many people who are miserable in their marriages, and are unwilling to change their hearts or minds toward their spouse.  This is not what Jesus commanded of us.  He served us; He, the King of all days, served us -- even though we sinned, He died for us that we might respond to His mercy and love.  Marriage is a picture of that kind of love, displayed for all the world to see.  In her book, Darlene gives us blessed reminders about our high calling as wives.

An image that I love from that book is that a wife is a crown to her husband.  This is based off of Proverbs 12:4 - "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband."  I want others to see my husband and call him blessed because he has a wife who seeks the Lord, honors her husband, and loves with her whole, uncompromised heart.  In the way that I serve God and my family, I am the crown.  I want to glisten in the light of the Son, letting everyone know that my husband has a virtuous wife...and not for my glory or for my husband's, but for God's glory.

Many married people are in the stage where they are irritated with their spouse, and just ready to give up.  They just want to make it through each day, willing only to put up with each other.  Affection is dwindling or lost, and instead of focusing on each other, they focus on work, their kids, their pets, and/or anything else but their spouse.  These marriages are buds that never open.  Sometimes we give up too soon.
Love is a Beautiful Thing

Darlene provides a challenge at the end of each chapter.  I believe that if each and every reader actually does these challenges with an open mind and vulnerable heart, they will see radical changes in their marriages.  The power of God mixed with a willing heart will change any circumstance.

Finally, I will say that it is a blessing from God to gain such wisdom from Darlene's book.  I am in the beginning of my marriage (almost two years!), and I am now equipped more than I ever thought possible.  I will be revisiting this book, especially as challenges arise.

Each day I am excited for this adventure of marriage -- with all of the messy, beautiful love.

Thank you, Darlene.

If you are a Christian wife, you should absolutely read this book.  It is real, it is engaging, it is practical, and it is heart-felt.  Don't wait.  Let God into your marriage right now.  You will be blessed.

Order here:

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To enter, comment below with one word or phrase that describes your ideal marriage (whether you're already married or not).  Thank you, dear Readers!

A Best Friend is a God Thing
I love this image!!  So true!