On My Knees

On My Knees – July 29, 2012

There have been so many times in my life and very significantly on this journey that I have felt the confusion, pain, and desperation reflected so beautifully in this song “Find You On My Knees” featured on Kari Jobe’s newest CD “Where I Find You”. I HAD to share the lyrics and video with all of you! I’m so encouraged that in our most vulnerable and broken state God reaches down and meets us where we are at and fulfills our deepest needs. God has been lifting me out of a place of brokenness to a place of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing!

Please enjoy “Find You On My Knees” by Kari Jobe

Troubles chasing me again,

Breaking down my best defense,

I’m looking, God, I’m looking for you

Weary just won’t let me rest and fear is filling up my head.

I’m longing, God I’m longing for you

But I will find you in the place I’m in, find you when I’m at my end,

Find you when there’s nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness.

You lift me up; you’ll never leave me thirsty,

When I am weak, when I am lost and searching

I’ll find you on my knees.

So what if sorrow shakes my faith,

What if heartache still remains?

I’ll trust you, my god I’ll trust you.

‘Cause You are faithful and

I will find you in the place I’m in, find you when I’m at my end,

Find you when there’s nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness.

You lift me up; you’ll never leave me thirsty,

When I am weak, when I am lost and searching

I’ll find you on my knees, my knees.

When my hope is gone, when the fear is strong

When the pain is real, when it’s hard to heal

When my faith is shaken and my heart is broken and my joy is stolen, God I know that

You lift me up; you’ll never leave me thirsty,

Find you in the place I’m in, find you when I’m at my end,

Find you when there’s nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness.

You lift me up; you’ll never leave me thirsty,

When I am weak, when I am lost and searching

I’ll find you on my knees.

Click the link below to watch Kari’s video on YouTube

http://youtu.be/LGumE9nkP3o

Let’s Review!

Let’s Review! – July 26, 2012

Welcome & Hello Old & New Friends and Family! It has been WAY TOOOOO long since I’ve written and I have SOOOOOO much to tell you! For those who may be joining this blog for the first time and for those who need a refresher let me tell you a little bit about me and the journey my husband and I have been on.

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My husband and I had a wakeup call in June 2011 when my health took a drastic turn and I was put on bed rest for 10 week to recover from having a fungus in my lungs.

-We “woke up” to the reality that for far too long we had put our physical health on the back burner and our weight was out of control.

-We “woke up” to the fact that our weight was not only affecting our physical health but also reflected unhealthy emotional & spiritual health as well. It makes sense after all we are physical, emotional, and spiritual beings and everything is connected.

-We “woke up” to the painful reality that our life message and our physical lives were a contradiction.

-We “woke up” to the reality that this issue was bigger than us and we needed some serious help!

After much discussion, consideration, and prayer we chose Weight Watchers to provide the structure, accountability, and support we needed for real sustainable change. If you’re interested in more on that decision process check out “Finding the path….to health eating”. So on Monday, August 29, 2011 we signed up online and began the program determined to stay the course and finish the race. We weighed in that Saturday, September 3, 2011 at the Weight Watchers meeting located at Mockingbird in Dallas, TX and have been there ever since. After several months and great success I began to develop an interest to tell our story to the masses. Let me just tell you that was definitely divinely inspired because nobody, and certainly not me, wants to share all their most intimate hang ups and struggles with the world!!! In obedience and trepidation I began this blog completely unaware of how God would use it to touch the lives of people.

In this excerpt from “Beginning the Journey” I share my vision for this blog and explain the crazy and somewhat provocative title:

“My blog will be centering on my journey to getting healthy physically, emotionally, & spiritually. This journey began for me in June of 2011 and has caused me to come face to face with my own weaknesses, my own insecurities, and my own demons. I have had a problem with food for as long as I can remember. I have used food for comfort, stress relief, and even as a companion at times. I plan to be completely open about my fears, failures, and triumphs as I embark on learning for the first time in my life how to maintain a truly healthily lifestyle. This is a conversation that other Christ followers often over look. I have been following Christ for 10 years and have never allowed Him into this area of my life. My theme for 2012 is “Naked in the Potter’s Hand”. I will no longer hold this or any other area of my life from my Lord. Naked means many things including: uncovered, stripped away, or bare. I no longer want anything to get in the way of God’s plan for my life. I see God as a Master Potter molding me into the final product he desires (Isaiah 64:8). I realize now that my journey to getting healthy doesn’t just deal with my food choices, but it also encompasses how I spend my time, incorporating exercise, getting passionate about water, and protecting my sleep.” December 21, 2011

After almost a year of learning, growing, and changing literally from the inside out all I can humbly say is that ONLY GOD can cause this kind of authentic transformation in a person’s life. My Eyes Are Open!!! Against all odds and fighting the battle on a daily basis we have continued on this journey to physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. I’m so grateful for His daily strength and grace and look forward to continued growth and change. We definitely have NOT arrived but we thank God that to date we have lost a total of 170 lbs as a couple! Rejoice with us and Praise the Lord!

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Getting you caught up here is what’s coming soon:

-On my knees (sharing a song with video & lyrics that have impacted me so much!)
-The Pinas share their story at a Weight Watchers Grand Opening!
-Pictures from
70lbs lost & 85lbs lost!
-Tips to add more Veggies to Lunch & Dinner!

Tips to add more Veggies to your Breakfast!

Tips to add more Veggies to your Breakfast! – April 18, 2012

I have been learning a lot about what my body needs to become physically healthy. It sounds ironic that I would be 35 years old and just now figuring this out. It took a total of 19 weeks of bed rest, June 2011 through January 2012, to cement in my thick skull how important it is to take care of my body. The way I see it healthy bodies are fueled by 4 things: eating healthy, regular exercise, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of sleep. I’m sure there are many of other factors that may contribute but these are the main four that I am working on. So packing our meals with fresh vegetables has been a trick I’ve been mastering over the last 8 months now and I wanted to share some tips with you.

Tip 1:

Try to be intentional about adding at least one serving of vegetables to every meal of the day including your snacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) with my age, gender, and level of activity I should be consuming 2 cups of fruit & 3 cups of vegetables everyday to promote good health. Use this calculator from the CDC to determine your daily needed intake, I guarantee you will be shocked as I was! Plus my husband’s suggested veggie intake was significantly higher than mine! Check out this link to read an interesting article on Benefits of Fruits & Vegetables and this link will give you visual examples of several veggies and what the serving size looks like Examples of 1 cup serving.

Tip 2:

I have learned that if you’re going to be intentional about packing the menu with veggies it is going to take some planning & preparation. First we find that shopping weekly and buying only what we will eat in that week will help ensure freshness and the best taste possible. This goes for fruits as well but fresh produce doesn’t tend to stay as fresh past a week. Nutritional speaking fresh is best, frozen is ok, canned is better than nothing. However in the Pina household fresh veggies weekly is the only way we roll!

Tip 3:

Next I’ve learned to stay creative and try new things. My husband really wouldn’t go for it if I added a salad to every meal, believe me I tried and failed! I experiment ALOT and we like about 3 out of 4 recipes and we have tons of fun with it. Pinterest is my new best friend and allows me to explore tons of new recipes. Click here to follow me on Pinterest!

Tip 4:

Load up some of your family’s favorite dishes with extra veggies. This will add a huge nutritional impact and they don’t even realize it! For instance in our favorite ground turkey spaghetti sauce I double the onions, green peppers, and mushrooms for that extra veggie power! I also load up all of our sandwiches with extra vegetables such as cucumber slices, tomato, and spinach.

Tip 5:

When in doubt stuff the veggies! I’ve been known to put my ground turkey meatloaf in bell peppers (any color), tuna or chicken salad in tomatoes, pizza sauce & cheese in zucchini, and wild rice in acorn squash. Limitless possibilities my friends!

I have to admit that I personally find breakfast to be one of the hardest to pack veggies into, BUT not impossible. For the sake of space & time I’m going to share 3 of my favorite veggie packed breakfast ideas. These are all ones that we love & eat regularly!

First I’ll start with a Loaded Bagel Thin, here’s how I make them.

You’ll need the following:

Bagel thin (I like everything, whole wheat or plain for this)

Ripe avocado

Medium yellow onion

Tomatoes

Salt & pepper

Next thinly slice the tomato, thinly slice the yellow onion, and cut the avocado in half & remove the seed.

Next prepare a nonstick pan by spraying a few sprays of olive oil on medium high heat.

Add onions to the pan and begin to soften & slightly caramelize on both sides

After 3 to 5 minutes the onions will be done and should look like this:

Scoop out avocado. Here is hint, if you carefully pre-slice prior to removing from the skin it will lay nice & clean on your bagel. *If you are watching your weight I highly recommend weighing the avocado on a food scale in grams. Often avocados vary in size and it makes a significant difference in calories or Weight Watcher PointsPlus*

Avocados are a great source of healthy oil but if you don’t like them I also recommend 1 oz of reduced fat cream cheese which is also really yummy! Next we build the bagel: First toasted bagel & add avocado. I doesn’t have to be perfect, I just lay the avocado out as evenly as possible.

Now time to add the onions & tomatoes.

 To finish salt & pepper to taste! Enjoy!

Topping bagel thins or English muffins with vegetables are a really great way to incorporate veggies into your day. The sky is the limit; roasted red peppers, grilled zucchini, or even sautéed mushrooms would also taste great!

The second favorite veggie packed breakfast in our home is the Green Smoothie! Ok I’ll admit I was slow to grab hold of the Green Smoothie trend but I’m totally on board over the last 2 months. Basically a green smoothie is a regular fruit smoothie that is loaded with tons of veggies – commonly with some green veggies such as raw spinach, kale or arugula. Believe it or not you SERIOUSLY can’t taste them at all. I want to caution you on this, as I’ve been researching green smoothie recipes some of them get really high in calorie count (or WWP+) so be careful what you put in these if you are watching your weight. *I also don’t choose to use this as a meal replacement but rather incorporate it into my daily points and the daily number of fruits I consume.*after tons of experimentation here is my favorite combination:

1 cup of ice cubes

2 cups raw spinach

1 large banana

1 cup strawberries

1/2 cup 1% milk (1 WWP+)

1 scoop protein powder (mine is 3 WWP+ but check your brand’s label because they all vary)

Load it all in the blender like so:

I blend it really well until it is smooth and creamy. Here is the final product!

Great way to pack in some great veggies. Have fun & experiment with all kinds of combinations of fruits & veggies. I also really like blueberries, oranges, and canned pumpkin!

Finally the last veggie packed breakfast I am going to share is my husband’s favorite. Basically any combination of sautéed, grilled, or roasted veggies & eggs. Adrian LOVES eggs for breakfast and could probably eat them every day. He has recently discovered egg whites in the container and loves how convenient they are to use. Here are some great combination ideas that could be made into an omelet, egg scramble, or a frittata.

Baby portabella mushrooms

Zucchini slices

Diced onion

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 cup of egg whites

Or

Roasted red bell pepper

Roasted cauliflower

Diced red onion

1/2 cup of egg whites

This if the first of 4 blog posts with tips on packing veggies into our meals. I hope you were inspired to try some new things. I’d love to hear from you guys on what you find helps you eat more veggies. I’d love to hear some of your favorite breakfast recipes that are packed with veggies!

Free from Accusation!!!!!

Free from Accusation!!!!! – April 8, 2012

This summer when I was on bed rest for 10 weeks with a fungus in my lungs I would read my Bible frequently and for some reason I literally couldn’t get out of the book of Colossians. Has that ever happened to you? I’ve always been a “3 chapters a day, and 5 on Sunday” type of girl which was engrained in me while at Christ for the Nations Institute by the co-founder we affectionately called “Mom” Lindsey. For whatever reason I was glued to this book and read it over and over again this summer until I had practically memorized it which is for me uncharacteristic and shocking! At that point I didn’t realize that God was priming my heart to get ready for this journey.

I have said many times that this blog is about my journey to getting healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Many of my posts focus on one or a combination of those areas of transformation. Spiritually I have gone back to basics in many ways as I explore who God created me to be and how my personal relationship with Christ affects my relationship with myself. Colossians chapter 1 verses 15 through 20 reflect the solid foundation from which my faith is built upon. It begins with creation and ends with that sacrifice of God’s one and only son Jesus Christ on the cross. Check it out below…

Colossians 1: 15-20 (NIV)

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Awesome! I get excited every time I read that! This next part literally keeps rocking my world.

21-23 (NIV)

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Both science and the Bible are in agreement that the mind is a very powerful mechanism and it is where ALL action begins. Even though I know Christ’s shed blood on the cross paid the penalty for my past, present, and future sins I continued to live alienated from God in my mind under the curse of accusation, particularly in this one area. Here’s how Dictionary.com defines the word accusation.

ac·cu·sa·tion

noun

1. a charge of wrongdoing; imputation of guilt or blame.

2. the specific offense charged: The accusation is murder.

3. the act of accusing or state of being accused.

Let me give you some personal examples of the types of accusations that have gone on in my mind:

-“You ate too much of ……AGAIN”

-“You’ll never be able to lose this weight”

-“You are out of control”

-“You are a hypocrite”

-“You are a failure”

I am learning as I read Colossians that in order for my spiritual health to grow my mind needs to get in check with the truth of God’s word. His word states (Jen paraphrase of vs.22) that as a believer in Christ I have been brought back together (reconciled) to God and have been made spotless in God’s sight. It states that I no longer walk as one accused and destined to death but I am set FREE by Christ bloodshed for me on the cross. Christ is no longer accusing me as He has made me holy in His sight, but I continue to accuse myself in my mind. It is the bondage of these mental self accusations that have kept me in a cycle of obesity and from allowing Christ into this area of my life. Self accusations have kept me going around and around from weight loss plans to binge eating and never accomplishing a healthy lifestyle. I do NOT have to continue to live under the guilt, shame, and the deception of self accusation because I am set Free in Christ.

WOW! Do you know how freeing it is to have that revelation? WOW! This revelation has opened the door for me to begin forgiving myself for all the years that I have not taken care of my body. If the creator of the universe has forgiven me than how can I continue to beat myself up day after day for every little mistake? It gives me hope for the future and strength to break out of this cycle of obesity. This revelation also strengthens my positive self talk when negative thoughts and self accusations pop up which they do often. I repeat to myself the phrase “You are free from accusation!”

Oh thank you Jesus for your freedom!

What is the Function of the Mirror?

What is the Function of the Mirror? – April 4, 2012

Our Teaching Co-Pastor, Chris Carroll, has been teaching an awesome sermon series from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) over the past few months. Check out this link to view recent messages if you’re interested in watching any of them I highly recommend it: Firewheel Bible Fellowship. Anyway as he concluded the series this week he began the sermon with a funny analogy about people looking into mirrors at the gym. Well that got my mind rolling, and I’ll admit with full disclosure my mind may have wondered off just a bit. Have you ever noticed all those mirrors at the gym and all those people looking in them? These days I’m at the gym 6 days a week about 2 hours each day. I remember when we first started and I was just beginning this journey to getting healthy. I was so uncomfortable and ashamed of my weight that I despised that there were so many mirrors at the gym. I barely looked in mirrors at home let alone wanting to have every wall covered in mirrors. Plus I thought it was arrogant and prideful that many people stared at themselves, flexing muscles, posing, gloating in their triumphs, or so I thought!

Interestingly as I got further & further along with exercise I learned that the mirrors actually do serve a purpose while working out. I have learned from my awesome trainer to use the mirrors to watch my movements while doing specific exercises in order to ensure I’m doing it correctly. For instance I often raise my shoulders in error when I’m working out my chest or arms. Without the mirror I would be unable to realize I am doing this movement incorrectly. In the mirror I notice the error and can make adjustments accordingly. I have found the mirrors useful as well in my Pilates & Zumba classes. The function of the mirror in the gym is to enable you to see what your body is actually doing and not what you perceive your body to be doing. Oh how that concept applies to the rest of my life and I didn’t even realize it! The mirror forces you to face and deal with reality, keeps you grounded, and allows growth and change to truly happen where needed.

As I continued to ponder this idea of mirrors, both literal and figurative, and their functions I recognized that at my heaviest weight I would rarely look in the mirror. Was I avoiding facing the inevitable? I definitely know that I was blind to how bad things had gotten with my weight & overall health, until I had a “Damascus Moment” (Acts 9) this summer and was lying on my back for 10 weeks with a fungus in my lungs. The function of the mirror in the physical is to reveal what we may not realize or truly want to see. Without looking in the mirror in my mind I considered myself to not have a problem, to be the same old Jen as I’ve always been, and to stay contained in my bubble of self deception. In a way avoiding the mirror physically allowed me to keep wearing a mask and tell myself & everyone else that everything was alright when it wasn’t!

Then there’s the whole emotional component of looking in the mirror. Let’s be honest I’m sure that there is not a human alive who has looked in the mirror at least once in their lives and not liked something about their bodies. Not looking in the mirror kept me in denial emotionally about my body image issues which resulted in the shame and guilt I was carrying around. How had I allowed myself to get so heavy? How had I become so out of control with food? I avoided these questions like the plague and sunk deeper & deeper into emotional denial. Looking in the mirror and truly facing yourself is a powerful component to change. It may be a literal mirror or a virtual mirror, but we all have to come to grips with where we are in life, how we got there, and how to get on the better path. No human being is perfect and I firmly believe we are all a work in process. We halt our own personal progress when we stay for a prolonged period in denial about our circumstances.

Have you ever locked God out of an area of your life? I did for many years when it comes to my health, my food obsession, and honoring God with my body. In this case I see the Bible as a spiritual mirror. The Bible is God’s word and in it we learn about His character, His standard of righteousness, and His plan and purpose for our lives. This spiritual mirror must be allowed to penetrate the deepest parts of our heart in order to produce life and transformation. This spiritual mirror allows us to see ourselves through Christ’s eyes, it allows Him to produce healing in our hearts, and good or bad it prompts action on our part. As I spent time in God’s word I would gloss over places where He was clearly addressing this weakness in my life. I am learned to stay still, focus in, and allow the Bible to be the spiritual mirror it was designed to be. I am learning to embrace the change, growth, and molding of the Potter’s Hand!

So whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual change that needs to take place in my life or yours we need to allow the mirror to function for the purpose it was designed. Physically the function of the mirror is to bring us face to face with reality. Emotionally the function of the mirror is to reveal the depths of our heart in order for change, healing, and wholeness to take place. Spiritually God’s word functions to guide, direct, encourage, correct, and ultimately mold us according to His righteous standard. May our eyes be unveiled in these areas and may we have the courage to allow the mirrors in our lives to do their jobs!

Endurance

Endurance – March 27, 2012

My husband and I began this journey to getting healthy physically, emotionally, & spiritually on Monday, August 29th, 2011. It has been exactly 30 weeks of learning, growing, and changing! To date I have lost 57.3 lbs and my husband has lost 55 lbs. Our lifestyle is being transformed most especially our eating habits & regular exercise. The results have been amazing as we learn to honor God with our bodies, channeling our stress or anxieties no longer through food but to God. We are learning to give self care the priority that God requires and how essential self care is to all other areas of life & ministry.

Reflecting on our journey so far I can see so many ups and downs. Let’s be honest here, I am definitely not Super Woman. I wouldn’t have been almost 300 lbs if I didn’t have some major issues with food. At times it is a daily battle to make choices that will honor the Lord. It is a battle to not fall into those old habits that are so engrained after many years of practice. It would be so easy to sit around and watch TV instead of going to the gym. It would be so easy to order a pizza after a long busy day instead of cooking a healthy meal. That is not to say we haven’t done those things from time to time. Lord knows we are and will continue to be a work in progress. We are learning balance and balance is NOT easy.

As I reflect on the journey so far the word Endurance continues to come to mind. I touched a little bit on it in my recent blog “Never Give Up” so thanks for hanging in there with me as I continue with this theme. Endurance, persistence, stamina, patience, fortitude, and staying power all sound like great traits right? Whew they require a lot of hard work. I told you early on that our journey can’t be just about dieting, vanity, and looking good, or only losing weight. It HAS to be more than that in order to find meaning and purpose day in and day out. There is a passage in Romans 5 that comes to mind, check it out below:

Romans 5: 1-5 (NIV)

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

So you might argue that suffering is a strong word for me to use in comparison to my journey to getting healthy. Most days I’d agree with you but I’ll tell you there have been days that are literally painful and for those I’ll whole heartedly make the comparison with suffering. By God’s grace it is endurance that changes suffering into perseverance, then into character, and ultimately hope. Endurance requires a daily connection with my source of Power, aka. My Lord & Savior Jesus Christ via the Holy Spirit. It is literally by His favor which I cleared don’t deserve and could never earn on my own (Grace) that I daily recommit to this journey. Just like toaster that is not plugged into the electrical outlet, if I’m unplugged for my source of power I will not be able to continue on this path.

Endurance also requires me to set aside how I “feel” on any given day and just do what is part of my program. For instance yesterday Adrian and I got up with some possibly horrible news about unemployment which piled an enormous burden of stress. It was tempting in that moment to not stick with our program for that day and go to the gym to work out for 1 ½ hours, eat our healthy lunch & dinner, etc. We could have rationalized that we just didn’t feel like it, weren’t in the mood, or didn’t have the motivation. BUT we endured and went through the motions even without passionate feelings. I’d love to report that at the end we were miraculously free of all stress but that isn’t the case. I can report that endurance does mean going through the motions until your “feelings” are in check. In the end we were glad we went to the gym and followed the program. I realize that my “feelings” have been driving this ship for such a long time, but not any longer!

A permanent lifestyle change requires endurance. It is a hard lesson but a good one. Endurance requires that I stay connected to my source of power and that I learn to not let my feelings drive my choices. It is critical that I stay engaged on a daily basis with Christ to continue to maintain the direction He has for my life in every way, not just on this journey. I want to allow Christ to define the path, NOT my feelings. Feelings are unstable and can be manipulated at every turn. I found this quote recently that I think totally breaks down endurance. As we reach our goal to learn to honor God with our bodies, no matter the cost, It IS Worth it! Check it out!

Never Give Up

Never Give Up – March 23, 2012

I recently hit a major mile mark in this journey to getting healthy. Actually my husband and I both achieved over 50 pounds of weight loss each! Hooray! Updated photos coming soon I promise! As a reward we decided that we each could have $50 cash to spend however we wanted. That may not seem like a lot of money but I am unemployed and as a full time student he has a part time job so let’s just say money is super tight. That $50 might as well be a thousand and it certainly felt like a wonderful treat. I ran across this canvas and had to purchase it. The message and the picture connected with me past, present, and future. Plus it matches my kitchen 😉 Yes I put it right in front of the refrigerator and my supportive husband did not complain at all!

This idea of “Never Giving Up” or never quitting has been very significant to me since I began to really follow Christ at 24 years old. I remember being a student at Christ For the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas in the first week of October 2002. We had speaker that week that asked us to write in our Bibles “Jesus I Will Never Quit!” and put the date, it was 10/2/02. The message still stands out to me all these years later because it dealt with the raw and honest truths that this life is not easy at times. We all face moments of wanting to give up if we are really honest. I like to do everything 100% and nothing less. When I struggle with accomplishing something I have had a tendency in the past to just throw in the towel, give up, and move on to the next project, maybe it’s the perfectionist in me? What stood out to me in that message was that I will fall and fail in this journey of following Christ but I made a commitment that day before God that no matter what I would never, ever, give up on my relationship with Him. That is a commitment I continue to renew and to this day is written with dates in my Bible.

Never giving up translates very easily into this current season. In my post “Finding the path…to healthy eating” I describe my philosophy that dieting has a goal of losing weight whereas my purpose goes much deeper. I am following a path that I feel God has led me to get healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Allowing God into this area of my life and learning to honor God with my body is directly connected to my relationship with Him. I will never give up on my relationship with God and I trust that whatever path He places me on in life is so that I can fulfill my purpose on this earth. Therefore, I will NEVER GIVE UP NO MATTER WHAT!

Another part of the canvas that really spoke to was the target in the center. Do you remember my post “Targeting for Change”? In it I share a visual used by Weight Watchers called the “Target of Change” which shows how we gradually make changes beginning with the external (Environment, Attitudes, Behavior) and eventually to the internal (Beliefs & Identity). The target posted below has hung on my refrigerator since we began this journey. So you can see why I was super excited to find a reward that had both the message of Never Giving Up and the Target for Change all with colors matching my kitchen right!?!?!

This week was a hard week for me. I don’t know if it was the rainy, cloudy, and generally gloomy weather here in Dallas. Or possibly the fact that I’ve suffered a bit of insomnia. My food choices were on plan and honored God; I exercised daily, took my vitamins, and drank my crazy amounts of water (lol). My mood and heart were just struggling for some reason unknown to me. We all have those kinds of days, weeks and possibly months don’t we? I’m proud of the fact that even though my mood was “off” I pushed through and did not choose to use food as a remedy as I would in the past. By God’s grace I’m learning that even in the midst of an “off” week I don’t have to give into or turn to food. I don’t have to take on the “give up” attitude. He cares about those inevitable moments and wants me to learn to draw on Him instead of food. I found a really cool quote online by Fred Devito that says “If it doesn’t challenge you, It doesn’t change you.” I am learning to welcome the challenges both big and small so that my identity can be transformed into a vessel in the Potter’s Hand that honors God!