How Can We Teach Our Children to Find Peace?

children sunset

I saw Kung Fu Panda 2 with my family over the weekend.  It was crazy and cute … I loved the emphasis on finding inner peace and its tie-in to self realization.

Jeff and I have pretty much decided that if our children (now in their tweens and early teens) left our home with no other tool than that of accessing their center of peace, we’d have rightly done our job as parents.  Peace is everything they’ll ever search for, want, desire, need…above education, relationships, callings, talents, and any material success.

Even if they don’t know it yet.

And how do we show them this way of life?  We show them by carrying it within ourselves first.  We show them how to receive the Light that heals as it radiates from our own beings.  They are healed by our presence, moved by the strength they see us call forth in times of struggle and unrest.

Peace is only accessed, never self-generated.  As we teach our children how to surrender to a Power greater than their own – a power greater than their parents’ strength – they will begin to understand that it is something they must be in a state of “giving up” to receive.  We must show them that by relinquishing what they want, they can trust that what they need will soon be forthcoming.

Quite the challenge to teach when Mom is trying to master how to access this herself.

One of the things I frequently drill into my oldest son Noah is that his soul will literally die if he takes study of Truth and connection to the heavens out of his daily routine.  Because of the difficult ordeal he passed through last year, he has a degree of knowing that this is the case.  Peace was taken from him, as you can read in this post, and it was actually the greatest gift of his young life.

Although that period of time last year was a living hell, I’m grateful for what it’s taught me, and what it’s taught him.  We HAD to be proactive, had to search, had to reach for the only Light we knew would heal.  It was not casual, but desperate, pleading….what I can only refer to as the “agony of worship.”  What could my son do but surrender as I put him on my bed and took him through visualizations, streamed sacred music, took him to that holy place in his heart to find God by His side?

In his torment and desperation, what could my son do but listen as I tried to explain there was One who descended below all things so that he didn’t have to?

It was only in Noah’s acceptance of this that his deliverance came.  I could not give this to him or do it for him.  It was his choice – his private surrender.    As a post-script to that entry about his treatment plan, his hair has all grown in – thicker and curlier and more handsome than it EVER was, pre-pulling.  I couldn’t be more grateful for his healing, and for the things it has taught our entire family.

So as not to be totally flowery in my explanation, here is what I teach my kids about the way of peace and happiness.  We call it the Top 5 ways to feel lost, miserable and confused (ie the antithesis of peace):

  1. Stop talking to God in your mind during the day and alone in your room at night
  2. Don’t get “still” and visualize what you really want
  3. Quit reading the Word of God
  4. Hang out with negative people
  5. Listen to thoughts, media and music that don’t hold the Light

I know that even if I teach my children this, show them how it’s done, even – by some miracle – master it within myself, they’ll leave home and fall flat on their faces.  Even then, I must trust that their lesson will be perfect, and will ultimately lead them to a more wise and enlightened path.

Until then, I’ve gotta practice what I preach!  And come to that place of trust myself…

What You Long For…

leaving

Following is my favorite poem, “The Invitation” by Oriah.  Hadn’t read it in awhile, then picked it back up this afternoon as certain phrases from kept ruminating in my busy head…

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dreams for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day.And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,”Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

– ORIAH

I’m alone with myself today – have been the past couple days, will be for a couple more.  I stole away to write.  It’s heavenly, and I can honestly say that even though I love people and connection, being alone with me is a constant heart’s longing.  I crave solitude almost more than anything else.  Solitude used to feel like loneliness, until I found what I love to do, and now I simply pine for opportunities to be in the company of my Self.

I love The Invitation because it speaks of the ultimate human desire: to feel free.  Soul-level, each of us wants to live intensely, with much love and much passion…We’re just waiting for someone to give us permission.

The permission must come from within, and above.  Not from this linear plane.  People around us – even those who love us – can’t answer the call of our hearts.  Only we can.

And only by the grace of God above can we even hear it.

No more labels and limits and judgments on the desires of our hearts, on what we really long for.  They just are what they are, and someday – somehow – each and every one of them will find expression.  It’s the way of the Creator we worship to give them a voice.

What we love and long for is directly tied into what we were born to do – how we’re going to help heal the planet – what our gifts are.     “Neglect not the gift that is in thee” (1 Timothy 4:14) might as well be translated, “Don’t put a lid on what you love and don’t stop nurturing your dreams because in those dreams lie the potential to express your highest gifts.”

See, THAT is why we needed a few women to write scriptures back then… 🙂  Lucky for us, we now get to expound on them

We all just want to feel free.  Our creativity and femininity are huge factors in this.  Today, as I sit in this hotel room in total solitude (minus the hundreds of people above and below me), I am reminded of the importance of honoring what lies in the deepest recesses of my heart.  The baby dreams that haven’t yet found their wings.

I’ll just try to be patient…allowing them be what they are…loving them onto a shelf until it’s the right season to take them down and let them fly.  To freedom.

The Importance of Being STILL Every Day

jesus calling

I am in love with the little book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  It’s so inspiring the way it’s crafted, being written as if Jesus is speaking directly to you, in a daily devotional format.  Apparently the intimate exchange in Sarah’s moments of stillness with her journal – after reflecting upon certain biblical passages – was how the book was born.  Her March 27th entry is…sigh…thought-provokingly wonderful:

“Be still in My persence, even though countless tasks clamor for your attention.  Nothing is as important as spending time with Me.  While you wait in My Presence, I do My best work within you: transforming you by the renewing of your mind.  If you skimp on this time with Me, you may plunge headlong into the wrong activities, missing the richness of what I have planned for you.”

“Do not seek Me primarily for what I can give you.  Remember that I, the Giver, am infinitely greater than any gift I might impart to you.  Though I delight in blessing My children, I am deeply grieved when My blessings become idols in their hearts.  Anything can be an idol if it distracts you from Me as your First Love.  When I am the ultimate Desire of your heart, you are safe from the danger of idolatry.  As you wait in My Presence, enjoy the greatest gift of all: Christ in you, the hope of glory!”

I have the tendency to “plunge headlong into the wrong activities” as “countless tasks clamor for [my] attention.”  What a beautiful reminder that seeking the Lord – waiting on His Presence to arrive in my heart – is my first priority.  As I do so, my mind is transformed…I have more clarity, more focus and more peace.

Also!  God is not there simply to grant my every wish, or to even listen to my every problem, story, crisis, or issue.  He’s there for me to praise, to love, to allow in, to express gratitude towards, to be in AWE of.  His gentle peace and Presence is bigger than the blessings I seek at His hand!   To have no other gods before Him is to place my heart on His altar and wait on His peace and Presence, and His alone.  Sometimes it means to just wait and listen and communicate to Him, “I love you.  I trust you.”  With NO agenda.  Just being with Him.  Just letting Him do His awesome work in me.

One of the first things I do with the women I coach is to have them secure a place in their home where they can receive peace and clarity…messages from On High.  We call it the Sacred Space.  We then place into their daily lifestyle a structured time to connect to the heavens, a sort of Divine Appointment, or Sacred Routine.  They start with 20 minutes, then work up to whatever feels right, in the flow of spiritual connection.  Women have had miraculous breakthroughs and insights when putting this Routine into practice.

Without this structured time as a daily staple, it becomes too easy for idols to infiltrate – for distractions to reign.  I am learning that NOTHING is more important than daily stillness.  Babies, house, spouse, church responsibilties, your life calling/purpose…it’s all secondary to this.   Nothing should take precedence over personal connection with the Divine.

A More Passionate and Beautiful ME

Ok, so you know how I talked in my “mother earth is shifting” post about being in the most amazing conference (Ignite Your Spark) a few weeks ago and how I “love-love-LOVED” the way it streamed passion and exuberance into my being?  How it lit me up?

What I didn’t mention is that I was at a very low point  – a big ol’ woe-is-me lull – for several days just prior to that event.  My business, my health, my weight, my personal worth, my role as a mom, a wife…everything female.  I’m not always super transparent about my struggles, but let’s just say that February to early March were feeling scary.

Not a “life is meaningless and I have no purpose” scary, but the kind of scary where you have so much yearning in your heart to do good and just feel like you lack the wherewithal to put it in motion.  Like you wonder if you have the strength to be as much as you want to be and live from the point of authenticity and freedom that your soul is really craving.

Like you needed someone – anyone! – to give you permission to stop playing small and start fulfilling the full and stately measure of your creation.

Honestly, I feel that a big part of feminine authenticity and purpose is being surrounded by beauty.  Not materialistic vanities, just the beautiful things of the Earth.  Surroundings you can create with intention and love.  For me, that includes a nice-sized beautiful home to inspire myself and my family, and those who need nurturance and joy within those walls.  Prior to that conference, I was feeling bugged – triggered- by my uninspiring home.  A little red brick box –  built over 50 years ago- that can barely fit our family of five and dog.  It’s got creaks and cracks and orange shag basement carpet and 70’s cupboards…argh!  We knew when we moved in it would only be temporary, but STILL…feeling bugged nonetheless.

Creating beauty with intention and love – as it relates to feminine authenticity – must involve our physical bodies.  As women, our image and carriage and visual attractivness is so very much a part of our life missions.  Our physical form and confidence are the walking advertisements for our beliefs about our own sacredness and value.  The way I’ve been feeling about my house is almost exactly how I was feeling about my physical body.  I felt more like a neglected rental rather than a temple.  Needing some invigoration, some motivation, some nurturance.  Some Divine assistance.

red brick house

This isn’t our house, BTW…:)

I’m done whining about what I’m lacking, and that really wasn’t the point of this post, anyway.  This post is about what I’m going to claim.  Because I wanted beauty within and around me, I took that desire to God and claimed it as a righteous one – shortly after I left that conference.  The blessings and opportunities that have come into my Sacred Station since then have been a challenge to keep up with!

cottage5

I’d settle for this as my second home…:)

As of 3 days ago, I’ve taken on two new coaches – one for my business/purpose and the other for my body/health.  Both, I feel, will help me create more beauty and value for those I love and serve, as well as more abundance.  I am blessed that my Creator placed them on my path and look forward to taking the next 3 months to be coached rather than just to coach.

I am soooooooooo excited!  I’ll be updating on how this “semi-extreme home makeover”  plays out.

The Power of Words

as a man thinketh so is he

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

God said, and then there was.  Our Creator spoke life into existence.  We have the same power to speak life into our own little worlds.

We also have the capacity to destroy them.

I love words…always have.  Taught myself to read when I was 4 years old because words intrigued me so much.  I sensed their influence and significance and impact.  Words that come forth from our mouths -AND words that are formed in our minds- have the potential to injure or inspire ourselves and others.  Words have matter, force…power.

I did a short internship with Child Protective Services my 2nd year of college.  I say short, because it didn’t take me long to realize that working with the families of abused and neglected children was a little more than my 20 year-old heart could bear.  Hanging in the office of the social worker I did cases with was a poster of a little boy curled up in a corner.  It read, “Words hit harder than a fist.”

I have an inner child that needs healing.  All of us do.  We’ve been hurt by others’ words, and most of us are still listening to the scripts – the “tapes” – in our heads that downplay our magnificence.  We are continuously bombarded by the Adversary with mental/spiritual attacks in the form of injurious words regarding our worth and performance.

I really want to move past downplaying my worth and potential, and that of others.  I’ve often thought how amazing it would be to master beautiful, life-affirming speech in this life…speaking with the tongue of angels.  As in, nothing that comes out of my mouth does anything but build and heal.  Including the conversations I have with myself.

I’m reading Kevin Hall’s book, Aspire, and am loving it.  It’s all about the power of words.  He introduces the word, “Genshai“, which means that you should never treat another person in a manner that would make them feel small.  “If I were to talk by a beggar in the street and casually toss him a coin, I would not be practicing Genshai.  But if I knelt down on my knees and looked him in the eye when I placed that coin in his hand, that coin became love.  Then and only then, after I had exhibited pure, unconditional brotherly love, would I become a true practitioner of Genshai.”

I think we should practice Genshai on ourselves.  We should use the power of words to create personal beauty and meaning and love and greatness.

In my coaching business, I have women list their fears and inadequacies (negative thoughts about themselves).  Then, I have them list the antithesis to those fears and turn them into positive, life-affirming statements.  I have them carry the statements on notecards and hang them up in various spots in their home or car as reminders:  “I am stepping into supreme confidence and beauty”  “I have a deep understanding of who I am”  “I was born to shine” “I speak with power, truth and intelligence ”  “My eye is single to God and therefore my whole body is full of light”  “My mind is clear and focused”  “The Glory of GOD is manifest in ME”  “Angels attend my children and sentinels stand in my home”  “I am an ambassador for Christ”  “My body is fit and strong”  “I am powerful”  “I am on the Lord’s errand and am doing away with the fear of man”  “My gifts are being magnified”  “I am a woman of Faith and I only answer to my Father and my Savior” and my personal favorite,  “Just as Queen Esther, I WAS BORN FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.”

I used to read these over and over again, every day – for months – and it was amazing how my internal dialogue shifted.  It was wonderful how people began to respond to me differently; see me in a different light.  I’ve gotten away from this practice, and it’s time to come back.  Words literally have the power to rewire your mind – your DNA – to regard youself as intelligent and beautiful and queenly and precious.

Let there be Light.

Give Your Self the Perfect Gift This Christmas

I am convinced that the #1 Truth women resist accepting and comprehending is that of their personal worth.

God our Father – because He’s our Father – wants us to walk this Earth with a knowledge of our Divinity.  He wants us to “get” ourselves…with humility…with an open heart…and with an expansive mind.  Each of us, without exception, have a Divine Nature.  We are created from the holiest, most ancient substance in the Cosmos; everlasting to everlasting.

Why do we resist really internalizing this?

Probably because of our inherent mortal weaknesses, our pathetic physical forms, and our constantly changing and unpredictable environment.  Oh, and the fact that imperfect people all around us are constantly countering every Truth we seek to uncover.  About our glorious DNA.

But does an earthly person need to acknowledge our worth to make it real?

If we dig deep enough, we come to realize that a major part of our Savior’s mission was to teach us of the “God within.”  The Divine substance we were created from, and the magnificent potential we carry because of it, were an integral part of what He shared during His ministry.  If He could only get us to see ourselves through His – and Father’s –  eyes, we would never doubt our worth.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Cor. 3:16)

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?  (John 10:34)

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21)

If you haven’t already downloaded my free ebook, Love Thyself, please take it as my gift to you this Christmas.

More importantly, accept it as a gift to your Self….’cause She’s been wanting it all year 🙂

christmas

I Couldn’t Save Her

angel_of_grief-280x280

Today she would be 40.  I was going to visit her grave – about 15 minutes from my house – and got too busy.  Or maybe I’m just avoiding.  I don’t know…

I do know that five and a half years after my sister’s suicide, I’m still feeling the stinging pain of her loss.  I’ve already been through the anger phase in the grief cycle.  It’s run its course to the extent that about all I can feel angry about anymore is the fact that she’ll never get wrinkles.  So unfair…

I remember spending some time with a mutual friend of ours – a friend Shawna and I spent a lot of time with in our college years – about a year after Shawna’s passing.  We reminisced about times with Shawna… laughed til we cried and cried til we laughed.  My sister knew how to have fun, and she lit up every room she walked into.  Authentic Shawna was about as sweet and hilarious and amazing as they come.  I admitted to my friend that I deeply regretted putting so much energy into trying to “fix” Shawna and not enough energy into just embracing her.  Right after I dropped off our friend, a certain song came on the radio.

I don’t know how it works on the other side with loved ones reading your feelings, but I swear, Shawna knew my heart perfectly that night – beyond what I’d shared with our friend.  And I don’t know how it works on the other side with tweaking radio stations and prompting dj’s to play certain things at JUST the right time, but…this was most definitely divine timing:

Seems like it was yesterday when I saw your face You told me how proud you were but I walked away If only I knew what I know today I would hold you in my arms I would take the pain away Thank you for all you’ve done Forgive all your mistakes There’s nothing I wouldn’t do To hear your voice again Sometimes I want to call you but I know you won’t be there I’m sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn’t do And I’ve hurt myself by hurting you Some days I feel broke inside but I won’t admit Sometimes I just want to hide ’cause it’s you I miss You know it’s so hard to say goodbye when it comes to this Would you tell me I was wrong? Would you help me understand? Are you looking down upon me? Are you proud of who I am? There’s nothing I wouldn’t do To have just one more chance To look into your eyes and see you looking back I’m sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn’t do And I’ve hurt myself If I had just one more day, I would tell you how much that I’ve missed you since you’ve been away Oh, it’s dangerous It’s so out of line to try to turn back timeI’m sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn’t do And I’ve hurt myself By hurting you

-Hurt, Christina Aguilera

That song launched a sea-storm of emotions in my heart that I’d bottled up since hearing she’d taken her life in that lonely hotel room one year previous.  This has never happened before or since, but I began to hyperventilate.  I let the emotions out and labeled them as they unleashed…. “I ccccouldn’t ssssaaaaaaave you!”  “I am ssssoooooo ssssssorrrry!!!”   “Whyyyyy didn’t I see?”  …and on and on.  I felt her there, sharing in the sadness and remorse.  And love.

Thank heavens there is One who could – and did – and HAS…saved her.  I know this with everything that I am.  She is okay.  More than okay.  She’s Authentic Shawna again.

This knowledge doesn’t take away the human moments that I crave her presence.    Yet – I feel incredibly blessed that her death taught me the most important lesson of my life.  And that is…that being a source of Love and Acceptance is our only job.  It’s why we’re here, and it’s the only way to see anyone through anything.

So Happy Birthday, my beloved sis.  And thank you.

Every Woman’s Pain

Ok, so it’s been over a MONTH since I’ve posted.  So sorry…have detached from writing to heed other calls.  Pleasantly surprised to note that there were almost 500 reads on my last post, “Those Who Hunger.” 🙂  Please keep reading, friends!

Yesterday – Saturday – was one of the most powerful and rewarding days of my “life mission” work ever…   I have been in Arizona all weekend, teaching at my friend Sarah’s home in Gilbert.  I conducted an essential oils and “self nurturing/empowerment for women” workshop on Fri night and offered coaching sessions to anyone who was interested that next day, since I knew I had it open before the workshop would resume that evening.  Little did I know what Saturday (yesterday) would yield.

From 7:30 am to 6:30 pm, I planted myself on a couch, stuck a Kleenex box on the coffee table, and had a series of one hour coaching sessions with about 10 different women.  Here is a sampling of the struggles that these brave and amazing females shared with me (BTW, we fully utilized the Kleenex):

  • “Emma’s” twin baby boys died shortly after birth.  She had a 2 year-old boy at the time, and has since had another baby boy.  She’s trying to be an emotionally brave and engaging mother to the two boys still living, afraid to let the grief surface for the two she has lost.
  • “Kelly” – about 35 years old – struggles with panic and anxiety, wanting to give everything and all that is in her to her children.  Fear of not being enough, of messing them up.  Her 4 year-old daughter is so stricken with anxiety that she will use the bathroom up to 100 times per day.  Another young daughter also suffering with crippling anxiety.
  • “Jane’s” son, who is in his 30’s and lives in her home, writhes in mental/emotional torment, has drug dependency issues and cannot hold a job.  Her heart breaks for his choices, his emotional “hell”…feels responsible for his issues, feels her “inadequate” mothering in his younger years must have created his current reality.
  • “Suzy” – a 30 year-old mother of 3 young children, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, persistent self-defeating thoughts.
  • “Carly”, in recovery for prescription drug dependence…3 children, about the ages of mine.  At one of her low points, consumed a gallon of vodka a day, while simultaneously serving in a high Church position.  Beautiful, vibrant lady…recently relapsed, still plugging along with 4+ recovery meetings a week.  Is resolved to endure to the end and see this addiction through.
  • “Gina” feels resentment, even contempt, for her husband of 20 years as he ignores, rejects, insults with his silence.  Weight is slowly layering itself on her body as she insulates herself against the pain.
  • “Laura” is searching for expression of her feminine gifts (beauty, passion, mission) in the midst of homeschooling 10 children.  Looking for expansion of her role as Woman outside her role as Mother.
  • “Amanda” is a put together 30-something with 2 children and joints that are falling apart.  Arthritis forming.  Trying to detach from her mother that she recently discovered has a toxic influence on her.  Is on a journey of physical/emotional healing and self-exploration.

I saw myself -at various stages of my life – in every one of them.  After those 11 hours, I taught a 3 hour workshop, then stayed up talking to my friend Jen (whom I’d brought with me from Utah to sing and share) until 2 am.  Jen, I might mention, has alcoholic parents, a sister who is homosexual, a sister who is a drug addict and a brother on death row.

How INSPIRED I am by all of the women who live with pain, disease, trauma, rejection…and wholeheartedly desire to create a higher state of being and becoming in the midst of it.  Every woman of Truth holds immense pain in parts of her body.  But IN that Truth, she opens her soul to incredible Sources of strength and resiliency.  She stares adversity down and keeps hope alive in her heart.  Our points of pain are our points of power.  Breakdowns can be deep and meaningful spiritual awakenings.

It was back-to-back, non-stop looking into the eyes of beautiful, struggling souls for 19 hours straight.  I have never had a day like yesterday.  I was immersed – suspended – in a total state of love and awe and inspiration and Truth.  There was no room for fatigue, though I expected it to hit any moment.  I was fueled and fed on so many levels.

And then on the plane this morning, feeling exhausted, worn out in a good way, and still marveling at my yesterday…  I get wedged between 2 huge college football players.   I’m feeling protective and intimidated and who knows what, but then a little voice inside me says, “Your weekend ministry’s not finished.”  There are no accidents in where we are placed – and with whom – when we resolve to be one of His disciples.

I listened to one of these guys talk about his grandmother who’d died 3 days previous, saw the pain in his eyes, and discerned God was far from his heart.  His friend to my right, likewise.  I think if I hadn’t had such a beatuiful yesterday – a rare Earth day that was consumed in Light and Truth – I wouldn’t have been as energized to release the fear and go to the “love” with such intimidating-looking creatures.  All I could see were wounded little boys in big ol’ bumbling bodies.

I am today – nothing short of exhausted.  Glad to be back home, back to a sweet husband who kept the house clean and children whom I believe were watched over by an extra team of angels so I could be about my Father’s business.  I think what I hold in my heart tonight is relief that I am not alone in my pain and my grief and my inadequacy and my regrets. Every person walking this lonely planet holds all of the above.

And the relief is not just about my not being the only one who feels those burdens…my relief is that I do not have to carry them.  I hope that I was able to communicate to each of those women, and in some small way to those two young men, that there is One who waits to take their burdens on Himself.  Showing up to communicate this to them has gracefully reaffirmed it to my own soul…

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.   For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

-Matt 11:28-30

Those Who Hunger

woman-starving-herself1

A couple of weeks ago, I went to pick something up from my friend Jen’s house, thinking I’d be in and out of there and on my merry way – and ended up in an engrossing conversation on her couch for almost 2 hours.  About eating.  Jen’s one of those friends who can speak Truth with courage and frankness, magically helping a mass of emotion to form in my throat by pinpointing exactly what I need to hear.

But somehow resist wanting to.

We hadn’t had a real talk for awhile, and I wanted to hear all about how she’d released 75 pounds from her body in recent months.  This led to her helping me process why I’d added 25 pounds to mine.

“This isn’t you,” she said, motioning to my physical frame.  Oddly, I wasn’t offended, just relieved that someone had voiced the obvious.  (Even my husband won’t go there)…

“I know, Jen!” I wailed.  “Why is food such a looming issue for me…and for every woman I know?  What IS it about food?!?”

Food, we reckoned together, is not the issue.  Neither is eating.  The more relevant question to ask is, “What am I really hungry for?”

She helped me understand that sometimes we need to sit with the hunger before we reach for a counterfeit means to fill our souls.  Most of us are hungry for connection, attachment, security.  Being hungry scares us; incites panic.  Food creates the illusion of emotional attachment when in reality it is designed to meet our physical needs.  We often reach for food in an act of desperation, to fill that “hole” in our lives, wanting immediate relief and satiation.  Eating to avoid feeling – or thinking -puts a veil over our surfacing painful emotions and buries them further inside our bodies.

As to why I eat unconsciously…well, you know you’re getting close to the why when it makes you cry.  Hence, the nearer my dear friend got to my “why”, the larger that mass of emotion swelled in my throat.

Ah, the lies we tell ourselves without really knowing it.  Here are some subconscious emotional programs that my friend helped me realize I’ve been running:

  • “It’s not safe to be a beautiful woman.”  If I go back to the size I was when I held my Mrs. beauty pageant title 7 years ago, I will attract inappropriate attention to myself (most particularly, from men).  That pageant body wasn’t safe – I need to create a barrier (extra weight) between my beauty and the wandering eyes of the male species.
  • “Women won’t be able to relate to me if I’m thinner.”  I’ll just go ahead and place a physical block (extra weight) between myself and freedom from the voices of others.  I need to please other people.  The women I teach need to relate to me, no matter the cost.  No matter how inauthentic I may feel in an expanding body and compromised energy level.
  • “I need protection from my grief.”  I’ll eat to dull the searing disappointment of losing 4 babies.  To nourish a phantom pregnancy.  To feed the empty space.

These a-ha’s (aka lies) were nearly overwhelming to discover.  I knew that God had sent me to Jen’s door that day, and we’ve since had deep conversations about food and eating.  She has collaborated on an album called Recovery and is coming to sing and speak at my Breakthrough Conference for women on the 16th, which I’m thrilled about.  The women I’ve gathered to speak at this event – Jen Marco Handy included- have incredible stories and insights to share.

Though I’m organizing it and am one of the speakers, I’m looking for some more little Breakthroughs of my own that day.  I’m sure I have more “whys” that are awaiting discovery.  All I know is that in this mortal sphere, the body and spirit are married.  When one suffers – when one is not fed – the other will starve.

What keeps knawing at me is that word, HUNGER.  Do we focus on curbing it, feeding it…or just allowing it to be what it is?  The tendency, physically and spiritually, is to FEED it.  What I’m discovering is that little ol’ me lacks the ability to truly feed myself appropriately.  I can’t satiate my own hunger; heal my own grief; unveil my own authenticity.

If we’re all just hungry for peace and connection and attachment and safety, there is really only one Source that has it all under one roof.  Food is the illusion.  Jesus Christ is the reality.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. – John 6:35

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. – Matt 5:6

God’s Girl

I took a fall today after my sister’s wedding.  Tripped over – more like slammed into – a large metal bike rack and fell flat on my stomach.  Scrapes and bruises and sidewalk burns all over my shins, knees and hands.  Yep, it was funny (!), but it was also hu…MIL..iating!  Was feeling a little sorry for myself, being weak and foolish in front of all those people, having to limp around all afternoon and evening.

And then I was reminded of a video a friend had shared on her Facebook page this morning – a video of this glorious daughter of God named Gianna, who limps through her life with Divine purpose…

God’s timing with my stupidity and weakness is amazing.  Of course He knew I’d be skidding onto a sidewalk at 3:30, so He’d need to embed the lesson 5 hours previous.  Via this video.

I was moved beyond belief as I watched Gianna Jessen this morning.  I had to share it here, because Gianna’s spiritual courage is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

giannajessen72dpi

I was riveted the entire 16 minutes.  Click on her name below to watch:

Gianna Jessen

As a survivor of a late-term saline abortion, Gianna’s calling and life path is to spread a message about “declaring life.”  This is not about politics to her, it’s about taking a stand for Truth, despite the voices of others.  She answers only to Christ, and makes that very clear.  I admire that in a person more than anything…

Gianna’s views on “beautiful suffering” is amazing.  Her struggles with Cerebral Palsy, undergoing extensive physical therapy, often unable to walk without assistance, being “hated from conception”…are, as she says, “a small price to pay to be able to blaze through the world as I do to offer hope.”  What grand eternal perspective!

Though she was considered a “throw away” by her bio mom, she sees herself as “God’s Girl” and tells others they better be nice to her because her Father owns the world.  (love it)

I think the most powerful thing she shared with the lawmakers was, “There are things that you will only be able to learn through the weakest among us.”  Reminds me of this scripture:

“…God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty(1 Cor. 1:27)

Sometimes God’s Messengers come cloaked in forms we wouldn’t expect.

At the end of her presentation Gianna said that Jesus Christ’s name can make people so terribly uncomfortable.  “But,” she says, “I didn’t survive to make people comfortable.”

Wow.  Chills when she made that declaration.

I guess what I appreciated most about what she said was that as God’s Limping Girl, she falls often…sometimes gracefully, sometimes not.

I can relate.