Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sugar Detox - Round 2

Three years ago (approximately) I detoxed myself from sugar. What a wonderful and stupid thing it was to do. Wonderful, because it is always a good idea to detox from any addictive substance, and stupid, because I didn't really think about what the consequences might be. Therefore I detoxed without a plan for what to do with all the "junk" that a lack of sugar stirred up in me. (white refined sugar to be specific)

Seriously, I was raging on the inside. Most people wouldn't look at me and say, "she is a woman who deals with anger", but I'm telling you flat out, I had murderous thoughts about people for the seven days it took my body to detox from sugar. It was scary, even to me.

I'm telling you, it was wild! Thankfully, most of the war with my flesh occurred in my mind. Still, it was like taking a bandaid off of a big nasty infected wound. Instead of dealing with anger or frustration as it cropped up, I had just kept putting a fresh bandaid on it every time it would begin to ooze through the old. Sugar was my bandaid.

I would hazard to say that lots of us stay at home moms use sugar as a bandaid, because heck, what else can we do in the moment. The kids are out of hand, the house is a wreck, and I (we) have a whole, well stocked cabinet with baking supplies at my (our) disposal. Let's whip up some cookies and eat away our troubles.

Some of you may laugh, because it sounds funny, but also because you know it is so true. Scary true.

Now back to the detox. The detox forced me to look at the vicious cycle I had been supporting. I would have a bad day, but instead of taking my burdens and troubles to the Lord and allowing Him to help me invest into those areas where I was struggling, I just baked cookies and pacified my flesh.

Therefore, the fresh bandaid was applied, and I didn't have to look at or deal with my issues.

No everyone uses sugar this way, but I would guess that we all have something that we turn to as a comfort when we feel 'stressed' or 'on the edge'.  So we pacify our flesh, you, me, and lots of people, right? Yet I took the plunge three years ago to be brave and rip that bandaid clean off, and then be more brave to look at what was underneath (in my heart).

I am sharing all of this to encourage you to try it too. Be brave. Try to quit some habit that you turn to when you are having a bad day. See if we are really walking in that fruit of the Spirit called Self Control.

It may not be pretty, and it probably won't be fun, but it will be healthy and a very good learning experience. It humbles me to look at the true condition of my heart. I did my first detox, like I said, almost three years ago.  Since then, I try to do them periodically (sugar detox), as a litmus test to see where my heart is. It is a pretty accurate test.

If I can be friendly and walk in compassion and love without my beloved sugar, then I'm doing pretty good with allowing the Lord to transform me from the inside out, and not just covering up my boo boo's.

If I can't be civil or say a kind word to my husband, children and housemates, and I want to swerve my car to hit innocent creatures while driving, and I want to ram my cart into someones car who parked to close to my passenger side so that I can no longer easily load my children in after an excursion into a grocery store (just being real here, I never actually did these things, I just wanted to), then i would say I have been using sugar as a boo boo cover again, and need to take these heart issues to the Lord afresh. I need to let the Lord cultivate in me some Fruits of the Spirit, because lets face it, if we really have the fruit, then it will still be there when the sugar is gone, right?

So in the last three years I would say I have done pretty decent, my detoxes have not be terribly dramatic, like my first, but this one, the one I started a few days ago, has been interesting. Hard. Ugly.

It started with a massive headache, which at least reduced me to passive parenting (red flag 1). Then, when the headache passed, I was using sharp words with everyone in my house. I knew I didn't feel as strongly as I was speaking, but I just couldn't seem to control my tongue (red flag 2). Now, I find myself feeling somewhat depressed when I walk in the kitchen, like nothing will satisfy me (red flag 3).

Then later, I blew up on my housemate about the most ridiculous thing, and spent the next 20 minutes pacing around our townhouse complex crying. Not because I was sorry, but as a release for all the rage that was burning under my surface. Then, after praying in tongues for a bit, I was finally able to come in and apologize to our housemate and look at the situation rationally (big ol' fat red flat 4).

So now my questions is, "how did I let sugar creep in and take so much control again?" The answer is pretty simple, and a long story (so I will not go into it), but the bottom line is, I was again using sugar as a crutch to deal with the somewhat hard things in my little world.

Wow. Food is such a powerful thing in our lives. To be used for good, and evil.

And for me, white refined sugar, is evil.

Which brings me to another point that I feel ready to mention.  I will need to be learning these lessons, of how to run to the Lord with my problems, instead of sugar, in the coming months.

As some of you may already know, we are moving again, across country again, this time to land in Texas. I am both elated and apprehensive. I am so excited for the adventure the Lord is leading me into, but I am not as eager to start all over in a new place.

I have built some of the most amazing friendships of my life here in Charlotte, NC, and it will be a very hard day for me to say goodbye to these people who mean so much.

It may be 7 months away (July-ish), but I know myself. I will need the Lord to be my comfort as the time draws near. I don't want sugar to be my comfort. I want the Lord! He is my comfort and my shield.

If you think of it, pray for us, that the Lord would make this a smooth transition and that the Lord would also be preparing me some new friends in Texas.  I already know that I'm going to need them like air. There is nothing like another woman friend to cry with, laugh with, and share life with.

Natalie, Tabitha, Katy, Carolyn, Bree, Katie, Ashely, Lauren, Lindsay, and Ashleigh, you ladies have made my life so good here in South Carolina. There are others, of course, but these are my fail-safe groupies, that help make being a mom so much fun for me!

Bless you all!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Awareness Day

Lot of thoughts float through my head on any given day, but lately there has been a recurring theme. I come upon this theme fairly regularly, because it is one of those things that has always pierced my heart. It is one of my greatest passions for intercession, but I warn you, it is heavy, and sometimes hard to read about. It is....

Human Trafficking - the Sex Slave Industry.

Because that's what it is, you know, an industry that exploits women & children sexually.

It makes me sick to my stomach when I think about it. The injustice, the evil, the victims, and yes, even the perpetrators.

Sexual crimes in general have a huge affect on me, especially since I got married and experienced sexual intimacy for the first time.  I realized then what a beautiful and wonderful, and yet very vulnerable experience it can be and should be. After than, even when I would read about a rape in the newspaper I would be reduced to tears and feel a heavy knot in my stomach. The wrongness of this sin stirs me inside like few others do.

Sometimes I still cry about it, when the reality of it grips me afresh. Mostly though, I take that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach now, and turn it into intercession. Lately I have had a wave of thoughts concerning this very topic again. The Lord just keeps highlighting the industry to me, and my heart is gripped with the desire to speak out about it. Then I realize it is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Go figure.

My excuse is no longer "how can I share about this", but when and to who.  So here is one of the places I have chosen (my blog).

It was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day yesterday, January 11th! Yet this whole month has been declared by President Obama to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month (January).  Even Obama can get some things right, and I bless him for that, but I hope it leads to him pushing also for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) to be renewed through Congress. Click the link above to read more about it.

So now I just want to highlight a ministry that deals with this very issue. Not some foreign mission, far across the ocean, although there are plenty of those. Great and powerful ones that work to rescue and then support women and children being brought out of the sex industry.

Still, I am choosing to highlight a ministry that is much closer to home and one that I think plenty of us have a skewed view of. I know I use to misunderstand these women.

Prostitution, right here in the United States of America.

We sometimes write these women off as "they should have known better" or "they chose that lifestyle for themselves", but they are as much victims as any, and their Father in Heaven is broken hearted over them as much as anyone else.

So here is the ministry - Hookers for Jesus! 

I first heard about this ministry watching the movie Nefarious.

Never heard of that movie? It is a movie that exposes the extent of human trafficking that is happening around the world. It brings awareness to the plight of women and children all across the globe.

"Why would anyone want to watch a movie about that?" you ask.

I would, and thousands of others too, because we desire to be gripped and ruined with the issues that grip and pain the father heart of God. Sure it is painful to see and watch. I was crying uncontrollably during several parts, especially where children were involved, but it is pain with a purpose!

It moves me to do all I can (in my small world of influence) to pray about it, talk about it, learn about, and walk with a heart of compassion.

So there you go. Please try to read about Annie's story on the Hookers for Jesus site if you can. It will not be easy. Her story paints a very painful picture of brokenness, but it has a good ending. One that leads to a powerful outworking of the redemptive work the Lord has done in her life.

If you are also interested in learning more about the Nefarious video, and other Human Trafficking awareness materials, then please visit Exodus Cry!

Have a blessed day.