made to crave: a book review

made to crave: a book review

I have recently been co-leading a life group at my church based on¬†Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Made to Crave. ¬†Before even the first study, I had devoured the book, so you can probably guess that my review is going to be a favorable one. ¬†I will try to make this brief yet thorough.

Made to Crave was a delightfully easy read that felt more like sitting down and chatting with a friend than reading at all!  TerKeurst has a lighthearted, humorous way of bringing truth to a sensitive topic: obesity brought on by gluttony and lack of self-control.  Her candor is paired with her empathy due to a past ridden with food-related struggles and low self-esteem.  In a word, she is relatable.

Despite a coffee date feel, she dropped some serious, Bible-supported truth that is hard for those of us struggling with food addiction to swallow (no pun intended). ¬†Using God’s Word, she explained that obesity is an outward manifestation of spiritual deprivation. ¬†She discussed how it is wrong for us to use¬†anything else, food included, as a substitute for God. ¬†This resonated with me deeply as I have often found myself using food as a salve and reward for my emotions. ¬†When I was¬†depressed or stressed? ¬†Food was¬†my comfort. ¬†When I was¬†happy or excited? ¬†Food was¬†my joy. ¬†That should not be.

The reason I used past tense in those last few sentences is because, God used this book to change me.  It has changed the way I look at food.  It has alerted me on more than one occasion of my reliance and obsession with food, especially when I am going through a difficult time.

All of that being said, this book is not a “How To” or dieting book by any means. ¬†In Lysa’s words, this book is not for finding your “how to” but rather for finding your “want to” (p. 11). ¬†As you can imagine, your “want to” is all about the Lord.

It is a very quick and easy read- the chapters are short and include “Personal Reflection” questions at the end of each. ¬†She emphasizes¬†important quotes¬†on the pages which helps the reader remember and focus on the main points. ¬†She includes verses throughout to support her views- this is very important to me as a Christian woman. ¬†I want to make sure everything¬†that I read for guidance lines up with God’s Word.

There is one thing I want to mention that was the one issue I had with the book. ¬†Beginning on page 113, TerKeurst begins a small portion entitled, “Prayers Where I Don’t Speak at All” in which she discusses her prayer time in which she sits silently waiting for God to “speak” to her. ¬†This is “contemplative prayer” or “centering prayer” and is more of a pagan mystical¬†meditative method of praying. ¬†When we as Christians pray, we need to “meditate” on the Word of God. ¬†God has given us every word we need to “hear”… in the Bible. ¬†His¬†perfect Word. ¬†We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit as we meditate on God’s Word rather than empty our mind so God can “speak “directly to us words that we cannot discern as His verses ours.

Let me clarify. ¬†If I sit silently waiting for God to speak to me personally in sentences hand-crafted for me, I cannot discern whether it is actually, truly¬†His¬†voice or if it is¬†my¬†voice brought on by¬†my¬†own thoughts. ¬†God isn’t going to say something to me that doesn’t come in the form of His Word. ¬†If He reveals something only to me through my contemplative prayer time, then I should go to the people who print the Bible and let them know that God breathed those words into me.

What would be the difference between Him speaking to me and Him revealing His Words years ago to the people He chose to write the Bible through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. ¬†Anything that He breathes out to me should be just as weighty, right? ¬†Wrong. ¬†His Word is perfect. ¬†We must rely on His perfect Word to speak to our hearts, not some special conversation and revelation during our prayer time. ¬†For example,¬†I am not going to “hear” Him say “Brittany, you can do this! ¬†You can lose this weight!”, but I may meditate on His Word and pray and feel¬†God speak Philippians 4:13 into my heart, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,¬†that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” ¬†2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)

“I will meditate on Your precepts¬†and fix my eyes on Your ways.” Psalm 119:15 (ESV)

Contemplative prayer is a little complicated to explain, but all you need to know is that it is not Biblical. ¬†Yes, you should pray. ¬†Yes, you should meditate on God’s Word (remember: “on Your precepts”). ¬†Yes, God will speak to you¬†through His perfect Word. ¬†However, you should¬†not sit in silence waiting for God to speak to you directly. ¬†This could easily lead to confusion: is¬†He¬†speaking to you or are¬†you¬†speaking what you¬†want to hear to yourself under the guise of it being God speaking into your heart. ¬†Ya feel me?

Other than that one¬†very small section, I thought the book was awesome, and I have been recommending it like crazy! ¬†If you have ever struggled with the rollercoaster weight issues associated with many women stuck in the dieting cycle, I encourage¬†you pick up a copy! ¬†Honestly, even if you don’t struggle with your weight, it is still an awesome read with a lot of great, Biblically sound points that can help you take a closer look at your walk with the Lord and your relationship with food (In my case, it opened my eyes to other things I was using as coping methods as well).

We are absolutely made to craveРnot food, but Christ alone.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;¬†my soul thirsts for you;¬†my flesh faints for you,¬†as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1 (ESV)

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five years of sweetness

five years of sweetness

It’s a lazy morning here. ¬†And by lazy I obviously mean my children are playing with cars, watching Veggie Tales, and using “outside voices” inside. ¬†This is my version of peace for this moment in my life. ¬†I am going to¬†relish in its sweet chaos.

That being said, I am taking a moment to finally write a birthday post about my firstborn, T.J. (yes, yes, his birthday was in January!).¬† ¬†I wanted to write a Facebook post, and because of the pressures of social media, I felt almost guilty for not writing a post. ¬†Because, you know, if it isn’t on social media, you don’t actually¬†feel love for your child. ¬†What was that sound? ¬†Oh yeah, that was the sound of my eyes rolling all the way back¬†into my head for a moment.

Part of the problem was, I didn’t want to just write a simple post and be done because there is just so much to say. ¬†So here it goes… the proverbial “I love my child and don’t care if this posts embarrasses the tar out of him when he is thirteen” post. ¬†Heads up, this is going to be a super braggy mom post. ¬†If you don’t want to read a zillion wonderful, mushy things about¬†my awesome five year old, feel free to hit that X button on the website window. ¬†I won’t be offended. ¬†Here goes! ¬†(Don’t say I didn’t warn you!):

Happy birthday, T.J.! ¬†Five years have come and gone in the blink of an eye. ¬†I knew I would not be prepared for how quickly time would fly by, and I was right. ¬†I don’t suppose anything can prepare a mother for the fact that after nine months of begging the clock to go faster, she will suddenly want it to stay perfectly still.

I could never breathe in the smell of you as a newborn enough. ¬†I could never cradle your teeny body in a soft sleeper as I let the time pass enough. ¬†I remember when you were a newborn, how I would lay with you and read for hours. ¬†Just spending time with my one and only. ¬†I would cry thinking about¬†how my days with you as a newborn were numbered. ¬†Just as it became unbearable, you smiled. ¬†Suddenly I didn’t mourn your “newness” as much… I celebrated your new discovery! ¬†Life continued on that way, each phase bringing new skills that would make me awe at your growth, clapping and squealing for you- much to your delight!

You took my breath away when you were born. ¬†This tiny, beautiful child that God created within me! ¬†I felt you move inside of me, and there you were… in my arms. ¬†Now my heart melts when you want me to hold you… and although you are a gangly, boney, and sometimes smelly five year old, those cuddles are just as sweet as when you were small and squishy.

Your infectious giggles and laughs could bring sunshine to the rainiest of days.  Our family is constantly entertained by your ridiculous sense of humor and off-the-cuff comments.  Your sweet spirit and loving nature to your brother make my heart swell.  And although we have gone through some difficult stages, I see the growth that each passing year has brought.  Through the difficult times and the easier times, God has used you to teach me as I train you.

This past year was an exciting one as on July 14th, you gave your life to Jesus. ¬†I¬†tried to truly make sure you understood the commitment you were making, and you did. ¬†With faith like a child but understanding of a believer, you told me that you knew Jesus was God. ¬†You knew what he did on the Cross for your sins. ¬†You knew what sins were. ¬†And you were ready to make God the “boss of your life”, trying to please Him because of what He did for you. ¬†I had offered for you to make that choice before, and this time, you were ready. ¬†I was and still am so proud for your decision. ¬†I know you are young, but we made sure you had a full understanding, and God tells us we should have faith like a child. ¬†I am glad you will grow up knowing the Lord- there is nothing else we could possibly do that would be better than to raise you up in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ.

I have covered your sweet nature, your faith, and now I will speak of your intellect.

I am so in awe of your abilities. ¬†You shock me nearly every day with how much you know, remember, and learn. ¬†This past Christmas Eve, you took our extended family’s breath away when you read from the Bible part of the story of Christ’s birth. ¬†Every once in awhile, I under estimate you because you are still so little, but then I give something a shot, and you blow me away. ¬†This past Christmas season, I thought, “I should just give him the Polar Express book and see how much of it he can read.” ¬†We took turns and you read. the. Polar. Express. ¬†You read it!!! ¬†Save for a few words here and there that you needed a little help with, you read the story.

Your intelligence is astounding, but what I love the most is that you have an intense¬†desire to learn. ¬†That, my dear boy, cannot be taught. ¬†You love to read, ask questions, learn math, watch educational videos, etc., etc. ¬†You have a thirst for knowledge that rivals your father’s- and trust me, your dad is a learner. ¬†There are times when you¬†ask to do school. ¬†I said you were intelligent, but I did¬†not say you were¬†sane! ¬†Sometimes, the thousands of questions a minute are enough to drive us crazy, but it is just the way you are. ¬†You are always looking for answers, more information, deeper understanding.

Okay, now let’s go on to something wayyyy superficial. ¬†You are one of the cutest things I have ever seen. ¬†When I didn’t have your brother, you were¬†the cutest, but now I have to keep things equal (and you are both stinkin’ cute!). ¬†When you give a genuine smile, it physically¬†feels like my heart is reacting and swelling inside of me. ¬†You have these semi-dimples on your cheeks that show up with a true smile. ¬†You have different types of smiles: 1) picture smiles, 2) laughing smiles, 3) “I thought that was amusing” smiles, 4) cheeky, mischievous smiles, 5) sweet, gentle smiles, 6) “I am trying to get something from you using my powers of cuteness” smiles, and more. ¬†Every one is contagious.

From your beautiful blonde hair, ridden with cowlicks inherited by both your mom and dad, to your gorgeous, big, blue eyes, you are a beautiful child that I am seriously going to have to watch out for during high school! ¬†This isn’t even mentioning your freckles across your porcelain¬†nose and cheeks.

I love you for all of these reasons and more.  You are a gift to us, a treasure.  Once Daddy and I knew you were on your way, our lives were never the same, in the very best way.  Your energy, precocious personality, humor, love, and faith bring joy to us daily.

We love you T.J.  Happy 5th birthday.

new beginnings

new beginnings

Hi everyone!  I know it has been awhile since I have posted.  That has unfortunately been my trend recently.  This past year has been extremely busy for our family.  It started with a move to a new home where unfortunately we were hit with a leak in our kitchen around a week after we moved.  We lived from March until November missing 25% of our cabinets, 50% of our countertops, no garbage disposal or dishwasher, and a utility sink rather than a normal kitchen sink.

That is¬†the bad news. ¬†The good news is¬†that everyone in our family of four remained healthy, I learned how to grill, and we still hosted dinners and get-togethers with friends despite our construction zone within our home! ¬†It wasn’t the best thing ever, but it certainly could have been a lot worse! ¬†We have felt extremely blessed. ¬†After getting our kitchen done, our Christmas season has been full of travel, visitors staying with us, decorating, shopping, and typical Christmas activities and shenanigans.

All of that being said.  There are a couple of things I want to throw at ya.

  1. Update: I am no longer associated with Not of the Norm. ¬†After a decently long hiatus (in which I was in contact with the leader of the blog and explained my crazy moving/kitchen¬†situation), I went to post and found that I was no longer on the team. ¬†I think the main leader decided to take things in a different direction, and since I was already kind of out of the loop due to busy¬†life situations, I didn’t fully understand that I was being dropped. ¬†Feel free to continue following them; however, I do want to make sure I add a disclaimer: I in¬†no way agree with everything on the blog and was actually debating whether or not I would¬†continue to¬†contribute¬†after it was made clear that some of the belief systems shared on the blog were vastly, doctrinally, and morally different than my belief system. ¬†As said, feel free to continue following if you feel like it’s your thing, but I do not condone, support, or agree with many of the beliefs of one or more of the contributors to NotN. ¬†No offense to them whatsoever. ¬†I just need¬†to make sure those following Confessions of a Christian Momma do not see posts from NotN that would be in conflict with the views expressed here and think I am still associated since I disagree with many¬†of its¬†beliefs. ¬†All good things must come to an end, and I enjoyed being a part of the team for a time. ¬†A fun group of people for sure!
  2. I am starting the new year off with something different. ¬†Please give your input. ¬†My husband and I have always talked about started a charity at some point. ¬†For a long time I just thought it would be in the distant future if we were ever very wealthy. ¬†Well, I think our dreams of starting a “charity-like” organization might be a little closer than originally planned, if people are interested (this is where¬†you¬†come in- as said, I would like input!).

So here’s my idea… I have enjoyed hand lettering for awhile now, and many people have told me I should open an Etsy shop! ¬†Although, that is an extremely flattering thing to say, the truth is, there are already¬†so many of those shops on Etsy and I really don’t want to spend too much time trying to letter, make prints, etc., etc., because it takes away from my family. ¬†I have started homeschooling my son, and that takes quite some time! ¬†The point is, I need to focus on God and my family. ¬†Hobbies come afterward.

However, I do still¬†love lettering, and I love practicing. ¬†I have found, though, that I am left with one of two options when I letter something and like the way it looks… trash it or file it. ¬†I don;t want to throw something I like out but I also don’t need more stuff in storage, ya feel me?

This is my thought.  I am going to be posting my lettering art.  They will be up for grabs in this way:

  1. I will announce a “Charity of the Month” at the beginning of the month. ¬†I am going to kick January off with CareNet as the Charity of the Month.
  2. You get the original.  When it is gone, it is gone.  I can try to rewrite it if there is a special request, but having to scan it in and remove the background to make a print takes an astronomical amount of time and takes the fun out of it for me.
  3. $5 for a print, $5 shipping. ¬†If you buy one piece of art, it will cost $10. ¬†If you buy two, $15. ¬†Three = $20. ¬†Basically, as long is it is a few sheets, it shouldn’t change the shipping, so if you want a couple, just buy them for 5 dollars each and I will add a $5 shipping charge to the total.
  4. You are welcome to add as much money to the payment as you’d like. ¬†All proceeds will go to the charity of the month except for the shipping cost. ¬†If it costs a little less to ship, the remaining shipping cost will be given to the charity as well. ¬†For example, if you wanted to just purchase one piece and donate $50, $45 will go to CareNet and $5 will go towards shipping.
  5. The way you will pay is through PayPal.  Once near the end of the month, I will ship everything, deduct that cost, and send a lump sum donation to CareNet, post the receipt photo to social media thanking each customer (unless you request anonymity).

My goal this month is to donate $50 to CareNet.  Basically that equals 10 pieces of art sold.

I will be posting my work on Instagram, so feel free to follow me there to see each piece! ¬†Just look up “ConfessionsofaChristianMomma”- that’s me!

Let me know if you have any suggestions.  I will post some of my art below- feel free to e-mail me at Confessionsofachristianmomma@gmail.com and let me know if you want some wall art!

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he tells me first

he tells me first

Today as I was going about my business cleaning the house and such, I became a bit perturbed. You see, four-year-olds have a special way of telling you the same exact thing multiple times (I estimated around 1, 764,589,947 roughly this last time) with the same level of enthusiasm as the first time they told you (you know… when it was actually a novel thought and statement)!

Well, my son, T.J., got a new Lightening Mcqueen car loop thing-a-majig yesterday evening and has been playing with it non-stop ever since. I am excited for him- truly I am! This toy is awesome! However, this morning as I was cleaning and trying to get stuff done, I admit I was less than enthralled by the almost identical stories of Lightening going here and there, taking short cuts, going far, beating my son or losing to my son at a race, being described to me over and over and over again on repeat. But as I sat there thinking about how annoying this was, it hit me: he wants to tell me first.

 

How many times in your life has someone shared great news with you only for you to find out that not only were you not the first to know, but that you found out a significant time later? You weren‚Äôt the first on that person‚Äôs mind when he or she thought, ‚ÄúThis is awesome news! Who can I share this with?‚ÄĚ It was more of an afterthought to tell you. As selfish as it can be to think that during another person‚Äôs special time, the truth is, sometimes it can hurt our feelings that he or she didn‚Äôt want to tell us right away and share his or her life with us first!

 

However, I have someone who always wants to tell me every. single. detail. of his exciting little world first, before anyone else. My son beams and thrills at the thought of sharing something cool with me. And although some of his stories might seem repetitive and unexciting to me, to him they are the coolest, most amazing things he has ever experienced. And he wants to share them with me.

 

Now I am sure that this feeling will fade away during the throes of life and chaotic schedules, but I really want to hold on to that moment of realization. Because guess what… when I have something super exciting to share, my parents aren’t always the first ones I tell anymore. Sometimes they are! But most of the time, my husband is… honestly, sometimes even friends or my sister comes first (no offense mom and dad!). The truth is… when you grow up and especially when you are in a relationship, your first line of communication isn’t always your parents anymore.

 

There will be a day when T.J.’s girlfriend knows something before I do… there will be a time when I find out something totally awesome about T.J. through my daughter-in-law.  Once my kids are grown and gone, I will never have first listening rights to their lives again. Truthfully, I will probably lose that role when they are teenagers.

 

So for now, I am going to listen to that stinkin’ story about Lightening McQueen and how fast he is, etc., etc., etc. on repeat because that sweet little boy wants to tell me first and foremost. He wants to share the most interesting important details of his life with me. And I am honored to listen.

 

‚ÄúBehold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.‚ÄĚ Psalm 127:3 (ESV)

motherhood: ain’t it grand?

motherhood: ain’t it grand?

I have a little story for you that pretty much defines motherhood.

So yesterday, my hubby took my firstborn with him on an errand. I needed to give my one year old a bath, so I decided I would just hop right in with him. After all, Daniel loves baths and loves me, so I figured putting the two together would be the thrill of his day.

I stripped him down right at the highchair where the rest of the mess from his dinner was and carried him into the bathroom. The water was a little hot, so I got in first and swirled some cold water around to get it ready. It was finally cooled off some, so I began to reach for Daniel who was standing by the side of the tub waiting… and that’s when I saw it. The face. Daniel, stark naked, gripping the side of the tub like a vice and bearing down. His diaper was gone… I was soaked (not to mention nude myself!) and basically didn’t have many choices- there was no time! I would have to make some move quickly or my floor was going to need a good cleaning.

Ladies and gentlemen… I reached over that tub and caught his poop with my bare hands. With. My. Bare. HANDS!!! Once he was finished relieving himself, I waddled over to the toilet, dripping bath water the whole way, and plopped the delightfully warm gift into the toilet. Slow and steady definitely wins the race when you are wet and have hands full of poop (I’m sure this happens to you frequently). Slipping and falling would certainly not be a pleasant situation. There is injury, and then there is poop-covered injury. You get the point. Thankfully, I took my time and watched my step.

After nakedly waddling across the house holding my poopy-butted babe to get cleaned up, we had a perfectly delightful bath, in case you were wondering.

So I can’t decide which is the moral of the story here… I suppose you can decide.

Motherhood is loving your child enough to catch their excrement mid-plop in your bare hands…

Or…

Motherhood is being so tired that you would rather catch your child’s excrement in your bare hands than have to mop your floors yet again…

Thoughts?

shut your mouth

shut your mouth

During my Bible study today, I read this verse, and it really stood out to me:

‚ÄúA fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.‚Ä̬† Proverbs 18:2 (NKJV)

Now, if you have ever read Proverbs, you know that the author speaks a lot about fools flapping their yappers. The author explains the value and wisdom in one who doesn’t feel the need to speak often.

The above verse could be interpreted this way: ‚ÄúA fool doesn‚Äôt want to take time to learn, he or she just wants to talk and speak his/her opinion.‚ÄĚ

I feel that the Holy Spirit spoke this verse deeper for me since He knows I need to improve in this area. The way I interpreted it was as follows:

‚ÄúA fool does not want to hear correction about herself and come into a greater understanding of how she could improve or how someone else feels, but she would rather stand up for herself, plead her case, and defend herself- letting her own views be known.‚ÄĚ

I am not saying that we are to never speak our opinions, but I am saying that many times I struggle with swallowing my pride and simply hearing someone out-especially if their opinion of me isn’t particularly positive.

Do I think that we should allow ourselves to get completely beaten up? No. Do I think Jesus did say to turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:39)? Yes.

This is particularly difficult to do when we disagree with someone’s perspective or know for a fact that they are wrong or just saying something negative about us because they are angry.

In the heat of a moment, someone can say something about you or try to point out a personality flaw that you know you do not have. I‚Äôm not talking about denial because yes, that happens, too. I encourage you (and myself) to take an honest look at yourself when someone does say something about you that you disagree with to check if it could potentially be true before you discount it completely. However, I am talking about people who just want to tear you down because they are angry and have set negative opinions about you in their mind regardless of the circumstance. Those are the moments when I have the worst time not ‚Äúexpressing my own heart‚ÄĚ.

However, many times that can just make the situation worse- especially if you know you won‚Äôt change someone‚Äôs views. I don‚Äôt want to be a fool. I need to swallow my pride and ‚Äúdelight in understanding‚ÄĚ, even if that means simply understanding someone else‚Äôs views and opinions.

I mean this in the most loving way possible: take a tip from Proverbs 18 and shut your mouth.

verse blurb: romans 10:21

verse blurb: romans 10:21

¬† “But to Israel he says:¬†‘All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people.'”

I came across this verse a while ago as I was studying Romans, and it really spoke to me.  It is actually a reference to Isaiah 65:2.

I am going to be real with you for a second and say that raising my firstborn child has not been a walk in the park. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I love him to bits and pieces and threaten to eat him up more times than I am sure he is comfortable with;¬†that being said, mommin’ is hard!¬† Especially when your kid is just. like. you. ¬†Some call it ‚Äústrong-willed‚ÄĚ, others call it ‚Äústubborn‚ÄĚ. ¬†But my momma calls it “Brittany”. ¬†(She encourages me by¬†telling¬†me that I turned out wonderfully despite being difficult as a child- there is hope for my son!)

The reason this verse stuck out to me is because God pursued Israel with a strength and determination beyond anything we could accomplish in our depraved humanity. ¬†And yet as much as Israel was pursued by the perfect God of the universe, they rebelled and rejected Him numerous times. ¬†Let’s review:

  1. God is perfect.
  2. Israel was far from perfect.
  3. God passionately and persistently reached out to Israel even though they should have been the ones pursuing God.
  4. Israel went through a series of obeying and disobeying (many times worshipping false Gods and downright rejecting the one, true God).
  5. The almighty God continued pursuing and forgiving despite rejection and blatant disobedience.

So how does this apply to me? ¬†Well, as a mom, I many times can be so overwhelmed and upset by my child‚Äôs behavior, that I feel like he is undeserving of another chance, undeserving of my grace. However, after reading this verse, I thought, ‚ÄúIf the perfect God of the universe could continuously forgive and stretch out His hands to His extremely disobedient adult children, I, an extraordinarily imperfect person can certainly stretch out my hands and extend grace to my sweet, yet sometimes disobedient son.”

Who am I to feel sorry for myself? If God (the Father and Creator of all) stretched His hands out to an undeserving people and continues stretching His hands out to me, an undeserving person, how much more should I stretch my sinner’s hands out to my child in forgiveness and love?

Sometimes when I hit a rough moment with my son, the Lord places this verse in my mind and on my heart, and it calms my spirit and keeps me in check. I hope God uses it to speak to you as He has used it to speak to this momma.

Is there someone you need to stretch your hands out to today?