Monday, December 27, 2010
Worship - to give praise, honor, and respect to God; reverence given to God (Holy Bible , NIV)
My heart is over-flowing with love and appreciation for all that God has done for me. John 3:16 tells us that "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." That in itself is more than enough. Jesus came so that I could be free, so that YOU could be free. For that I will never be able to praise Him enough. Awe, but here is the thing. God goes beyond that and gives us grace, mercy, and blessings every day that we don't deserve but because He loves us so much He goes above and beyond to show us in our every day lives.
In Jeremiah 29:11-12, God tell us "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." A future and a hope. Two things that once upon a time, I never thought I would have. Awe but in 1 Corinthians 2:9... the Word tells us"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." Even after I gave my life to Christ I still could not conceive how He could take the mess I had made out of my life and do anything with it.
I was damaged goods. My heart wasn't just torn but it was shredded from years of abuse by others and by myself. I didn't even like me so how could God possibly do anything with me. I struggled with what I saw and what God saw in me. I saw ugliness and God saw beauty.
See, I really shouldn't be alive today. Many times others could have and wanted to take my life. I wanted to take my own life at one time. But, God in His ever-merciful and ever-graceful love kept me. He forgave me of my sins and gave me strength to forgive the sins of those who hurt me to the core. God saw beyond the torn and shattered days of my youth. He saw beyond my hurt and pain and he saw beautiful.
Just a few years back I would have never been able to say that I was beautiful. Even years after being a Christian I still saw myself as that abused and neglected little girl that no one could love. But God stuck by me even when I doubted His love for me and today I can sing fervently and full of passion about His love and His forgiveness.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
God, in all his righteousness goes above and beyond every time. Great and mighty is our God!You see I was pretty low when God called me out of darkness. My life was in shambles. Depression, thoughts of suicide, self-destructive behavior, etc. etc... god, saw through all of that mess and saw my heart. He pulled e out of the grasp of darkness and brought me into the light. He has healed my body, my heart, and my mind. Daily, He works on me. Daily and with patience he continues to heal me and stretch me.
That is why even now. Even in the darkest times how can I quit? How can I give up? I have seen the power of God. I have personally witnessed His healing powers. I have seen the change in me. I have experienced the power of His presence. No, I will not quit. I will not through in the towel. I will suck it up and walk through the fire with my head held high. KNOWING that God truly is in control and that He will never abandon me! I will sing a song of praise and lean on my creator!
1 I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
3 When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.
4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD,
when they hear what you have decreed.
5 May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
for the glory of the LORD is great.
6 Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
though lofty, he sees them from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
with your right hand you save me.
8 The LORD will vindicate me;
your love, LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Most of you who know me know that I have always been a hottie even at my biggest weight. ;) It's true and no, self-esteem has never been my issue. LOL However, genetics set me up for some major illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart conditions, strokes, and probably more that I don't know of. Obesity increases the risk of these diseases as well as adding muscle loss, joint pain, etc.
So, everyday that I can do things a little easier like walk/jog a little faster or jump on the floor and play with my gorgeous little boy, I am grateful to God for this surgery and for giving me the strength to work this band!
In the last few weeks I have learned a lot about myself and what I can handle. It's funny to me that I look at my past life and see that I have survived so much and yet I still tend to have a breakdown when things happen that through my life for a curve. How easy we forget what God has already done for us when trials hit us. How very human of us! LOL,
I am so glad that God knows me and He doesn't give up on me. So thankful that God doesn't take my feelings and concerns lightly. So glad that He doesn't laugh at my feelings or put me down because I have them. He loves me despite me. He loves me enough to let me get my feelings out then gently correct me and show me the reality behind those feelings.
My feelings have been hurt lately and I let myself become consumed by the issue. However, God in all His greatness stepped in, hugged me tightly, kissed my boo-boo, and then showed me what I can do to during this time. So, now I am in recovery mode. God is still healing me but my focus is no longer on the hurt or the people who inflected it. My focus is on God, my shelter, my rock.
"1 Praise be to the LORD my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
2 He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me."
I have learned to always be prayed up and ready for the attack. We should always be ready for the war people. The devil isn't playing around God tells us in His word
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil
Resist him, standing firm in the faith,
the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen"
I am now on the offense instead of the defense. Where I should have already been. D'uh! LOL
Friday, November 12, 2010
Proverbs 13:4, "The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied." (NIV)
Proverbs 31:27, "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 10:18, "Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks." (NIV)
"There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going."
I read this today and I was stunned that it would come to my attention on the day that I so fought being lazy. I skipped out on my exercise yesterday due to the pain in my ankle and it was worth it. I was feeling a ton better by last night. So this morning I forced myself out of bed and in to my clothes and out the door to the gym. UGH! I did not want to go. I think I went over every excuse in the book right up to the point where my butt hit the seat on the stationary bike.
I would love to say that once I started going I felt better and worked out with force. BUT, that would be a lie. I fought with my own thoughts the entire 30min I was there. I did a terrible workout and my thigh muscle is killing me (Think I pulled something). It was not fun. I do not feel better. However, I wasn't lazy and I did do something.
So, what was the point if I am still feeling tired and hurting? I did it. I have a goal that I want to accomplish and I cannot accomplish that goal by sitting on my butt all day. I have to push myself and I am not always going to like it. Matter of fact, some days I absolutely HATE it! However, one day when I put on that size 16/18 jeans, or I take a run with my wonderful husband, or I sit all nice in comfy in an airplane seat. It will all be worth it.
So these scriptures about laziness really opened my eyes.
1) There really is something in the Bible for every situation is you just look.
2) I may not always like what I have to do but if I just follow through the end goal will be achieved
Hope this inspires you to get up and do something today!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
You can't measure your achievements by someone else’s yardstick!
So I read this today and it hit me that I have been known to do just that. Measure myself against others. I realize that there is probably no one else out there who does this. ;o) However, this blog is called "The Real Me" so I thought I would be transparent about this topic today.
God has truly blessed my life beyond measure. He has opened doors that I never thought I could walk through. I have seen and experienced miracles that have changed my life. I know where he has brought me from (hmmmm, that's a whole new post) I have seen the hard knocked life and I have seen how God can take what satan meant for evil and make it into something beautiful. Yet, instead of looking to Him (God) to measure my achievements I still look around at others. Sometimes I look at my self and have to say "Really Sondra? Are you serious? why are you comparing yourself to others. People who don't even KNOW you? Don't know where you have been or what you have come through!"
1You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
WoW! I know right! God's words are powerful and TRUE! So, why would I compare myself to anyone else? When God know me so well? My Daddy God knows me inside and out he knows my faults and failures. He knows where I am physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. He knows my inner most thoughts. My darkest secrets, my hidden pain, my joyous occasions, my toughest trials. HE (GOD) KNOWS THE REAL ME! So, why do I try and measure myself against others? Good question... I guess it's because I am human. Thank goodness God knows that about me too! :o)
I think to myself, I wish I was as good of a mom as so and so. Or, I wish I read my Bible like so and so. Wish, I could loose weight like so and so. Wish, I wish, I wish, I wish......
So, now I have to learn to stop wishing I was like someone else and start being what God says that I am. How do I do that? I am not totally sure but one step I am taking is that when i start to have these thoughts I will stop and begin to think on the things that God says I am...
I am a child of God.
But to all who have received him--those who believe in his name--he has given the right to become God's children … (John 1:12).
I am a friend of Jesus.
I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father (John 15:15).
As a child of God, I am a fellow heir with Christ.
And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)--if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him (Romans 8:17).
I have been accepted by Christ.
Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God's glory (Romans 15:7).
I am a new creature in Christ.
So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away--look, what is new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)!
I am FREE!
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).
I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7).
I have been predestined by God to obtain an inheritance.
In Christ we too have been claimed as God's own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11).
I am God’s workmanship created to produce good works.
For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them (Ephesians 2:10).
I have boldness and confident access to God through faith in Christ.
… In whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ's faithfulness (Ephesians 3:12).
My new self is righteous and holy.
… Put on the new man who has been created in God's image--in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth (Ephesians 4:24).
The peace of God guards my heart and mind.
And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME! Philippians 4:13
So from today I will strive to measure myself against what God's word says and who God says I can be! Will strive to do the same?
Colossians 3:23 "23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
A lot has changed lately, for example, I had a life changing surgery on October 11, 2010. I went in and had the Lap Band weight loss surgery (WLS). Many people have asked why I chose the LapBand instead of gastric bypass. Well, first let me say that WLS is a personal choice and that I do not recommend it for everyone because it is a very serious decision and until you are ready to make life long changes then it isn't something that should be done.
Now, back to my decision. Several years ago (2005) I began a weight loss journey and over the course of a year I lost 123lbs. I felt wonderful but was no where near done. In 2007 I began to get really frustrated with the fact that i was no longer loosing weight but was holding steady. I decided to go to a WLS seminar. After hearing about all the surgical options I began to really pray about it and felt that God was giving me the all clear to go ahead with the surgery but the time was not right.
Soon after the seminar I found out I was pregnant. This came as a shock to me since I did not think I could have babies. It also put a hold on my WLS plans. Time passed and I had a wonderful precious baby boy and gained 38lbs. Lost all 38lbs in 6wks after my baby boy was born since it was all fluid from preeclampsia. However, once again I was stuck. Started praying and when I started work I just knew things would work out... Nope, my insurance wouldn't cover it. Needless to say i was disappointed and frustrated.
My little family and I moved to the DC area and a year later my husbands insurance pulled through. Because he gained employment at a Hospital with the best insurance ever we found out that not only was the surgery covered but it was covered 100%. I went to another seminar and learned more about the surgeries then spoke to my husband and we both prayed again. Decision was made for me to have the LapBand.
Now, the LapBand is NOT a fast weight loss scenerio. It is a progressive weight loss procedure. There is a band around the upper part of the stomach that restricts food intake to 4-8oz of food at a time. Or 1/2-1cup of food. This surgery does not have malabsorption and it is a less invasive procedure.
I chose this because of several reason.
1) I felt peace about this procedure after praying.
2) I have already lost over 120lbs on my own and so i felt that I did not need an evasive surgery at this time.
3) the LapBand is reversible and adjustable.
4) The adjustment was important to me because we plan on having another baby one day and the band could be loosened if needed to ensure that the baby was getting proper nutrients.
5) Weight loss with the band is slower (around 1-3lbs a week) and if you work the band then you could get a lot more off a week (up to 10lbs I have heard). Anyway, I am hoping that the slower progression will lead to less sagging skin when I am all done and less surgery to repair.
So, those are the reason that I chose the LapBand. It is not a bash against any other WLS or anyone who has had other surgeries it's just my personal choice and one that I am so far happy with it. I will keep everyone posted as I go but so far I have lost 20lbs in 3weeks. :)