Where is Your Medicine?

Proverbs 28:26,“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool but he who walks wisely will be delivered.”

Can you remember the last time your heart got you in trouble? I can! In fact, just last night my husband and I got into an argument. The argument ended with him telling me to leave him alone and me letting him fall asleep on the couch and literally leaving him alone there.

I was alone in bed half the night.

That may not seem like a big deal to you, but we NEVER do that. We always go to bed together. The next morning, we both felt terrible.  It seems that when I follow the desires of my heart in the moment, I am hurting myself and those around me.

It’s incredible, really, what we can fool ourselves into thinking when we follow the foolish desires of our hearts. Especially when we are fearful of the discomfort that comes from looking in the mirror.

I wanted so badly to blame someone else for my sins. I felt unloved, unwanted, ashamed and guilty. But, surely, none of that could be my fault, because let’s be honest here, no one truly wants to take blame.

We are all victims, right?

That is what I thought until a couple of years ago. I blamed my self-disgust completely on my husband’s struggle with pornography. Hear me, his sin DID do a number on us. On our marriage, him, me and numerous other areas. But, THAT sin did not CAUSE my sin.

Ouch.

His sin was from HIS heart and my sin, well, that was from MY heart. My sins were in place before I even met my husband. We were both following our foolish hearts.

My feelings of insecurity stem from not connecting with God fully in my heart. My feelings of guilt stem from not allowing myself to be forgiven fully in my heart. My feelings of shame stem from not letting God shine his light in some areas of my heart. My feelings of being unloved stem from not fully realizing the price God ALREADY paid.

MY SIN. Not my husband’s. Not anybody else’s. Mine.

I know that all of you are struggling in life somewhere right now. I am here to encourage you, that you are not alone in those struggles. EVERYONE struggles. Look around. Our entire culture brings about struggle.

The standards of the world put insane expectations on us. I mean, women especially. (Not that men don’t have expectations!) We are expected to look like Barbie, cook and clean like Susie homemaker, perform like porn stars, be successful in our careers and be Pinterest-worthy mothers! That is ludicrous. No one can measure up to all of that AND not sin somewhere along the way.

The standards that the world puts on us begin to define who we are if we let them. Trust me, don’t let this world define you.

Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set you minds on things above, not earthly things.”

When you set your mind on earthly things, your thought life never ceases to tell you how you have horribly failed in this life!

Guess what? A sinful thought life leads to a sinful way of life.

Your thought life is the first step. The initial sin.

When you continually allow yourself to think sinful thoughts, eventually you are going to act on them. Or medicate them.

I know so many people who go through life medicating all the sadness, guilt, shame, inadequacy that they allow to brew in their thought life.

What thoughts are you allowing to hang around?

Are you medicating? with Alcohol? Sex? Shopping? Gossip? Anger? Resentment? Jealousy? Food?

BUT LISTEN: There is GREAT news! Your sin is not the end of your story. Jesus can be your medicine.

The truth is, God didn’t create you to be so stuck in your mud that you can’t move. You are not destined to sin! Romans 6:14 says “…sin shall not have dominion over you.”

God’s standards, unlike the world’s standards will set you free! God created you to live life to absolute fullest that is possible.

But here’s the thing, you simply cannot live in darkness and stand up in your full potential from God.

I was reading an article the other day called 7 Truths to Help You Triumph Over Sin by Michael L. Jacobson and he brought about this simple but life altering question about sin. Do you believe that sin is inevitable or do you believe that sin conquerable?

God says that, with him, we are more than conquerors. MORE than CONQUERORS. We have the choice.

Do you want to continue down the path of self-destruction or do you want to begin to walk wisely and be delivered?

Are you ready to look in the mirror and face YOUR sins? That is the first step. You no longer need to play a victim. Listen, God already gave us what we need to conquer sin. We have his AUTHORITY. He keeps us upright. We just need to step in the ring.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For the spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Pray. Step up.

I encourage you to this week to sit down and dig deep into your thought life. Where are you sinning? WRITE down those sins. All of them. Pray and ask God to forgive every single one of them. Let me be clear here: in asking for forgiveness of these sins, you are not creating your salvation. Jesus already did that. He died on the cross for our sins. Asking for forgiveness of these sins allows you to find closure there. It allows you to find freedom there.

Lastly, start to recognize the triggers that cause you to stumble in your thought life. Recognizing these triggers allows you to take back your thoughts. Once you can recognize and capture the sinful thoughts (guilt, shame, jealousy, etc.) replace them with Biblical truths.

Stop the lies and build the truths.

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

It takes time. There is no overnight fix. Work at it. Work at it because you are worth it. Work at it because you do not have to play a victim. Work at it because you are worthy. Not only in my eyes, but in our Creator’s.

He loves you. He cares about how you are living. He wants you to listen to his word, not YOUR heart.

Let him help you break free from these chains.

Let him be your medicine.

Do You Feel Worthy this Season?

This year, there has been this reoccurring theme of worth. Worth seems to be linked to everything we do. Or don’t do.

According to the dictionary worth means: “sufficiently good, important, or interesting to justify a specified action; deserving to be treated or regarded in the way specified.”

Do you ever feel unworthy? Have you thought that you weren’t deserving?

It isn’t just you. It’s me. It’s all of us. We constantly feel unworthy. In fact, as I write this, I am second guessing every word. Ugh.

Unworthiness is a crazy stronghold. It is time that we, as people, break free from those chains. It is time to remember to whom we belong.

“Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant or insecure, remember to whom you belong.” Ephesians 2:19-22

I figured, what better season to talk about our worth than right now. Christmas is a wonderful time to remember who we are in Christ because we are celebrating him!

Jesus loves us. He wants us to feel worthy.

Feeling worthy is vital. Feeling worthy allows us to live life better. When we feel that we are deserving, we open up to love and happiness. Guess what happens when we feel loved? We love other people better!

Feeling worthy is a necessity, especially if you love Jesus. Listen, friends, he did not put us here to feel bad about ourselves. Jesus doesn’t look at us that way. He loves us exactly where we are. In the thick of our craziness, his love is there.

So, why do we feel like we aren’t deserving?

The enemy. Plain and simple. All those self doubts, negative thoughts, feelings of unworthiness, those aren’t from Jesus.

DO NOT listen to those negative words.

Would Jesus love us so much that he died for us so we could spend eternity with him to only then tell us how horrible we are? NO!!!!

Stop listening to those negative words.

The only reason those thoughts creep in is so that enemy can handicap us.

I heard this great quote at a convention I recently attended: “You can only love other people once you love yourself.” Wow. Guys, that says it all.

What is our command from Jesus, friends? To LOVE God and to LOVE one another. How can we do that if we don’t feel worthy enough to be loved?

Trust me here guys, we are worthy. Jesus says so.

Do me a favor, listen to God instead. He loves us. He wants us. We are important to him.

This Christmas season, show other people how much he loves us. Remember to whom you belong and put on your crowns.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

What Now?

Hey Guys,

This election has been pretty crazy. Any way you look at it someone loses.

Let me first say, which ever way the outcome was going to be, I felt the need to write something addressing it. Because, well, let’s face it, both of our primary choices left me wanting to puke.

Here we are. The outcome is Trump. Some are wildly upset, some enthusiastically overjoyed, and some just don’t know what to think.

The most common question I have been hearing is “What now?”.

Well, if you’re a Christ follower, I think it is pretty clear:

Stay the course.

People are watching like they have never watched before because for some reason Trump has been correlated to Christianity. Which means that what he does affects how people view Christianity.

Now, if you truly walk with Jesus, you know as much as I do that Trump is not the face of Christianity. Not my Christianity anyway. Jesus is.

So, listen, continue to trust God, continue to love, continue to be respectful, continue to accept people with open arms because that is our duty. Jesus loves. We need to love.

It is NOT our place to demean or judge other people, especially if they are not Christ followers. It is our place to continue to allow Jesus to mold OUR hearts. They shall know us by our love, right?

So what now?

Trust God. Go out and love. Show people who Jesus really is.

Don’t become Pharisees.

And you know what? God has the rest.

Praying for our President and our country.

Melissa

 

3 Ways Not to Become a Mommy Monster

I have recently discovered something about myself. I reach a certain point in the day and totally lose all my cool when anything goes wrong. I HATE that about myself and want to change it. So, I am working towards that goal. Here are three ways that seem to help me not be a mommy monster:

  1. Set a Schedule

There needs to be a schedule. I am learning this the hard way. Our family is the type of family that mostly flys by the seam of our pants. We like to be spontaneous and that is ok for some things, but not all things every day.

I have learned that when I have a schedule laid out for the day, everything goes that much more smoothly. I am at the point now where I have made a daily schedule. When we stick to the schedule, everyone knows what is expected and can anticipate the days activities, leaving less room for melt downs and crazy mommy episodes.

ruff-family-circus-schedule

2. Follow Through

Saying what you mean and meaning what you say has taken on a whole new interpretation now that we have kids. They remember EVERYTHING! When we tell them that we are going to do something, we better mean it. When they do not listen and we say we are going to discipline them, we better mean it.

There have been numerous times when I say that I am going to discipline them in this way or that if they do not listen and then don’t follow through. My behavior has led to them not believing that I will follow through with the discipline. When they don’t believe that there is going to be a consequence to their action, guess what, the action doesn’t stop.

On the other end, there have been a handful of times when I have said that we are going to do this or buy that and then have not been able to follow through. My behavior in that area also causes problems because the children start to not believe what I say. Who is going to listen to someone they don’t believe?

In both cases, I need to always follow through with what I say, whether it be discipline or something fun. I am learning to only say what I mean and always mean what I say. When I am conscious of that, the inner monster doesn’t pop its ugly head as often.

3. Take Mommy Time

I cannot even begin to tell you the importance of taking time for yourself. Taking time to do something that you enjoy, eat food that fuels you, exercise, read, dance, whatever it is that you love, will only benefit every aspect of your life.

When I learned that me time wasn’t selfish and stopped having guilt about it, I was able to fill my cup up. What can you do with a full cup? You can pour it out! Taking time for myself allows me to better pour into my husband and children.

You know those times when you feel like there is not one more thing that you can handle and want to explode? Well, when you have taken time for yourself, there is a way better chance that there won’t be an explosion because you’re not drained. So, fill your cup up!

I am hoping that consistently doing these three things will help me be a better mommy, wife and friend.

How do you avoid Mommy Monster Moments?

 

The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I received the BEST compliment the other day. A friend of mine is a baker, like for a living. Anyway, she came over and tried one of my gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and to my surprise told me that they were great! Now, I know that some of you are thinking that she only said that to shield my feelings because you know that my cooking skills are, well, not the best. BUT I assure you that she actually meant it! Yay! I have my mother-in-law to thank (and maybe Nestle Tollhouse a bit, lol!) for showing me how to bake some pretty tasty cookies. The other secret is amazing gluten-free flour! I use Namaste. I buy mine at Costco, but you can also purchase it here: Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend.

20160630_105441

This recipe is basically the Nestle recipe with some alterations to make sure that it’s gluten-free!

Ingredients:

2 Cups Gluten Free Flour (Namaste)

1 tsp Baking soda

1 tsp Vanilla

3/4 Cup Coconut sugar (Again from Costco)

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

2 Sticks of Butter (non-salted)

1 tsp salt

2 Cups of Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Heat the oven to 375 F. Put the unwrapped butter in an oven safe dish and place in the oven while it is preheating. Allow the butter to melt partially.

Combine the Gluten free Flour, Salt, and Baking Soda in a bowl and mix together. Place aside.

Combine Coconut sugar, Brown sugar, Eggs, Vanilla and partially melted Butter in a bowl and mix. The consistency should be wet yet fluffy.

Start mixing the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. I do this in about three equal portions allowing the dry ingredients to completely mix into the wet before adding more.

20160630_110434

After the wet and dry ingredients are completely mixed together, add the chocolate chips and fold them in. You can use your hands, I use my kitchen aid.

20160630_110636 20160630_113609

Once the dough is done, (after taking a bite, I’m sure) place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. It will be tempting to skip this part, but DON’T!!! The gluten-free flour needs to be chilled a little and stiffened to bake properly.

After the 30 minutes is up, simply scoop Tablespoon size balls onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

20160630_113731

Let cool and enjoy!

20160630_121512

What is your favorite cookie recipe?

 

*This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link for the flour used. If you click on the link within 24 hours and buy some stuff, I will receive a percentage at no extra cost to you!*

3 Ways Porn Wrecked My Marriage

*DISCLAIMER: This post is raw, real and vulnerable. My husband was the very first person to read this writing. It was his decision to have me post it to try to help other people struggling.

Pornography. That word makes every ounce of my being shudder. I don’t really hate a lot of things, but this, this I hate. If pornography was a person, I would punch it until it dropped to the ground and then I would curb stomp its face. Now, I didn’t always used to have such a strong reaction to pornography. In fact, I used to watch it; both by myself (before getting married) and then with my husband. I was under the impression, like so many others, that pornography helps to enhance our sex lives. But, man, can I tell you thinking that way is a straight up lie. Pornography is a straight up lie. It almost ruined our marriage. Pornography wreaked havoc on my self-esteem, devastated our sex life and destroyed trust between my husband and me.

  1. My self-image changed in every respect for the worse.

Every single part of who I thought I was changed. I no longer felt vibrant and lovable; I never felt good enough. He wanted to watch some other women do sexual acts instead of being with me. I often thought I needed to look like a porn star and act like a porn star just so he would notice me. I felt like an object. I was only there to be pretty and fulfill every sexual need. I distinctly remember asking him one time if I was better than porn. Of course, he said yes. But, of course, I couldn’t believe it. Over the years, I tried to “win” his affection back by competing against what he liked to watch. I would see that he liked stripper type stuff, so I would dress up and give a show. Wow, what that did to me was horrendous. It is something that I struggle with to this day, to this minute, this very second. Who I was before this affected us, is definitely not who I am now.

  1. I stopped wanting to have sex with my husband.

You know, a lot of people think that introducing porn into their sex life is something that will “spice it up”. Yet, there we were, not having a whole lot of sex anymore. There were these expectations that I felt I had to live up to. Having sex with him was a show. I felt like I had to perform exactly like the women he watched. The true intimacy that a husband and wife should have, was nowhere to be found which made it difficult to really engage. I couldn’t be vulnerable with him. I couldn’t really “feel” during that act. I no longer enjoyed sex, I no longer wanted him to touch me and I did not want to touch him. Over time, I related having sex with my husband as something negative. That was bad. Not only did it affect our marriage at that point in time, but it continues to affect our marriage even now. I have had to work through a lot of negative to become available, emotionally and physically, to my husband again.

  1. Trust issues ran amuck in our relationship.

One of the most important things in a relationship is trust. When he was addicted to porn, there was no trust. He constantly would tell me lies to cover it up. I remember the first time that we talked about it. He simply responded that it was no big deal and that every man does it. So, I simply set it aside and let it go. I even allowed it in our bedroom together. But over time, it felt worse and worse. The distance between became greater. So, that ended. Then, I found out again that he was watching porn on his own; which is silly because I knew the whole time. I felt not good enough and second-rate. I was hurt. I asked him to stop and he agreed. But at this point I didn’t believe him. I would go through his phone, the computer, our television just to see what he watched or looked up. The smallest thing would set me off.  Low and behold the third time came around. This was the boiling point. I felt betrayed. I was done. The little trust that was left was shattered into pieces. Gone.

This boiling point sent us over the edge. There was an ultimatum now: stop looking at porn or leave. Praise God that my wonderful husband chose help. The first step we took, we took together. We set up an appointment with our pastor to go over everything. At the appointment, there was breakthrough. We learned about an organization called XXXchurch. They have a super cool spyware software that will not allow people to look at porn on their computers, tablets, phones; pretty much any device. So, we set that up. Which was awesome because I could let go of trying to do detective work and focus on healing. There was also a book that we both read. Every Man’s Battle by Fred Stoeker and Stephen Arterburn. This book is a great “manual”, if you will, to learn how to stop looking at porn, checking women out and basically being faithful to your spouse mentally and physically. My husband and I learned a whole lot from that book. Both of these were extremely helpful and tangible first steps. But, let me tell you, if it wasn’t for God, we would be divorced. If it wasn’t for God we would be alone. We both persistently leaned into God.

God showed us both how to get through this. For my husband, he needed to learn to get past the addiction. For me, I needed to learn trust again. So, there we were, both trying to do right by each other. I can say that everything was roses right away, but that’s a lie. This road to recovery for us was a long and difficult one. This road to recovery is something that we both struggle with daily. He has to daily commit to make me his only eye candy.  I have to commit daily to trust him. There are times that we fail, well because we’re human of course. But, mostly, we are growing and going forward with God in life and marriage. In the book Every Man’s Battle, they talk about the wife being annoyed after the husband stops looking at porn because he now yearns for her WAY more. It’s true, lol! But I am far from annoyed because every time he shows me that yearning, my self-esteem grows and my desire for him gets stronger. Now, three years later and we’re on the other end, our marriage has never been stronger. My husband is the man of my dreams, the best father to our children that I could have hoped for and more over a man who loves the Lord. Jehovah Rapha is who we have to thank.

Do you or someone you know need help? Start with prayer. Another great first step is to contact XXXchurch (www.xxxchurch.com) and your pastor. Please don’t wait. Please seek help. Your life can be so much better.

If you are interested in reading the book (which I highly recommend) Every Man’s Battle, you can purchase it here:  Every Man’s Battle by Fred Stoeker and Stephen Arterburn.

 

**This blog has Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase through Amazon, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you!**

Guaranteed Weight Loss: Sugar Detox

Hey guys! I am super excited about this topic!

Last year, I was really unhappy with life; my weight, my appearance, depression, irrationally moody and just blah. I decided that there needs to be a change because life isn’t suppose to be that way. Life is supposed to be enjoyed, not tolerated. That year, I tried all sorts of “lose weight fast schemes”.  (Let me tell you a secret, weight loss takes work!!) I found out that none of those things worked, duh. However, I came to realize that my body doesn’t tolerate certain foods. By this, I mean that there are some foods that make me bloat, cramp, go potty and make me cranky, lol! What I found is that when I eat anything with flour, all those things occur. So, I cut that out of my diet. It seemed to help for a bit, but I was still overweight and not feeling well overall. Were there other foods that made me feel this way? I wanted to find out.

This past January I started to phase sugar out of my diet. Let me be clear, I started to phase unnatural, processed sugar out of my diet. This, my friends, has not been an easy task. The entire first week I went through major withdrawal. My symptoms included headaches, body aches, nausea, dizziness, and crazy sleep patterns. I thought there was a chance that I was going to die! (That is probably over dramatic, but to the point). I never knew that sugar had such a hold on me. It is seriously like a legal drug. I was addicted and needed to rid the toxin.

Well, after that initial horrific week, I started to feel a little better. And, you know what, it only got even better after that! I had more and more energy, less and less moodiness. I felt better more each week inside and out. This sudden jolt of energy and self-confidence enabled me to start getting more active and less sedentary. Getting rid of the toxic sugar helped me to get up and do something proactive daily. Before I knew it, I was reading labels of everything just to be sure that there was no added sugar and picking out fruit, veggies, meat and nuts over candy, soda and crap food. Of course, my NutriBullet was a huge help! Wouldn’t you know that the weight just started falling off. I went from 181 lbs to 152 lbs from January to May. My waist line went from 36″ to 33″. That is amazing to me! The proof is in the pudding. (Or without the pudding, lol!):

Downloads

This is the result from just getting rid of garbage sugar!

Downloads1

There is a big difference in appearance and how I feel. It is just incredible that what we eat impacts our body so much. The old phrase is totally true; you are what you eat! If you are looking to lose weight and just feel healthier, consider cutting out processed sugar. It really is a difficult task and one that takes a considerable amount of effort, but, let me tell you, it is worth it. I keep on finding that anything worth while in this life is usually difficult and inconvenient. BUT, you are worth it!

Here is the link to the sugar detox by Dr. Avena that I followed to get started:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12786/how-to-completely-eliminate-sugar-from-your-life-in-2-months.html

What are your thoughts on sugar?

 

*Want to keep up with all of our shenanigans? Sign up for our email list via the mailchimp form!*

**This post has Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on them and purchase through these links, I will receive a percentage at no extra cost to you!! Thank you!!**