Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memory: Our journey to the fasted lifestyle, pt. 13

A couple of weeks ago at the teacher's meeting at church, our pastor talked about a sermon he saw on the internet about what it takes to have revival in your community.  In it the teacher talked about having the memory of a miracle versus an imagination about one happening.

What would it be like if we all had memories of miraculous healings, people being raised from the dead, lives changed forever under an open heaven?  The thought makes me shudder with excitement.

The next Sunday, Mother's Day, pastor talked about and showed the clip of the video he had talked to us about a few days prior.  It was so powerful!  The small spark of excitement now was bursting in my heart longing to see these things through the filter of memory instead of imagination.

I can honestly say I never thought of myself as "healthy".  I told a friend recently, I don't know what a healthy day looks like.  A day free of pain, stomach issues, headaches, nagging tiredness.  I have a mountain of medical debt that we are chipping away at from when I was in college.  I was in the hospital or doctors office every week sometimes 2-3 times per week, for over 6 months.

We had an altar call for the moms.  Pastor asked us to ask the Lord for the memory instead of the imagination of what we were seeking Him for. I wept long and hard.  I want to know what it's like to be healthy.  I don't want to wonder what a healthy day looks like.  I cried out to the Lord to heal me.  I have been healed by the Lord before so I know what it's like to have a memory of a miraculous healing.  It is indescribable!  But I want the fullness.  You can read some portions of the story HERE, HERE and HERE.

I know the Lord did not set me hear to be in pain, He set me here to have life and life abundant.  I have memories, but I want more.  I want to see lives radically altered.  I want to see demons flee.  I want to feel the presence of the Lord fall on a city and see it transform EVERYTHING!  I want these things ingrained in my mind and not a wistful imagining of someday.

What are longing to see become a memory?

Week 8: Our journey to the fasted lifestyle, pt. 14

This week was hard.  I mean really really hard.  It was a loose spending week.  We didn't adhere to our allowances very well.  We treated ourselves way too much.  Lots of little things add up over time. Thank the Lord it wasn't so bad that we had already spent our paycheck, like we used to.

We do have many great financial testimonies from this week though.  May was an odd month paycheck wise.  We ended up having a check that wasn't specifically designated for anything in particular.  That is a first!  First time ever that we could sit down and really allocate funds to digging out of debt and fixing stuff up around the house.

We have a long list of medical debt (mine from college), house repairs, and other things here and there that we have on our plate.  A lot of the house stuff is technically a need, but if it functions even a little, we will wait till we have more money.

Well, with this paycheck we knocked a couple of projects (supplies that is) off the list, paid the 2 remaining bills for the month, got a tire because we were riding on the donut, paid 3 co-pays before they went to collections, 1 debt item off my credit report from a few years ago, got a new DVD player because the last one was broken, got a pool membership for our neighborhood pool, and actually had a date night for the first time in months!

Can you believe it?  All that and we still have some left over.  We are trying to figure out what to do with the rest.  Save half for a bigger house project and use the other half to payoff another bill?  Use all of it to pay off a bill?  Use all of it to complete a house project?  Save all of it?  We are praying for guidance on this one for sure.  We don't want to be foolish and every option we have discussed seems like it would be a wise choice.  It's wise to save it, it's wise to pay off debt, it's wise to get our house in order.  Just which one is the best?  We have no idea.

Oh and another praise report, the tire that we had budgeted into our spending only cost us around $17!  It was under warranty!!!! Hallelujah!

This is my step-dad hanging out with Zoe.  They just love each other.  If he is around, Mommy and Daddy are chopped liver.  Which is totally fine with me.  I love how they love each other!

Lesson learned this week:  Freedom comes out of obedience and submission.  Freedom can come in many forms and we are seeing the freedom in our finances.  We are not eating our money the way we used to even though this was a hard week.  The Lord had such grace for us and this just gives us encouragement to dive back in, resubmit and press on toward the goal which is the Lord's presence.

Shift: Our journey to the fasted lifestyle, pt. 12

The tides are changing around here.

Throughout this fast the Lord is pouring out revelation about where our lives are headed.  A long time ago the Lord showed us what our fasted life would look like, but it has taken a long time to be obedient.  We were in some pretty heavy rebellion about it.

About three years ago, the Lord showed us what our fasted diet would be.  It is the Levitical diet laid out about what is good to eat and what isn't.  Of course back then we tried to jump in cold turkey and it failed miserably. We weren't ready.

About two years ago, He showed us where our lives were headed as in where we are going to live.  It's in the country living off the land in community with others.  This vision has had to unfold slowly, but the burning desire in our hearts to live this out is now at a fever pitch.  Every time we drive out to visit friends or family or watch a movie with people living in the country we want it so bad we can taste it.  We aren't ready.

About that same time, He showed us our what financial freedom looked like.  What it would mean to be debt free.  We couldn't even wrap our brains around what that it would be like to not have to worry about creditors calling.  It felt as if the weight of loans, medical debt, and credit cards would crush us.  We weren't ready.

I can now see what the Lord has been doing these past few years.  He has slowly shifted us into position to handle each aspect of the life He wants us to lead.  We are becoming more obedient and disciplined.  We are becoming harder workers.  We are becoming more frugal.  We are letting go of things that have hindered our progress in the past.  We are becoming ready.

I know now why things don't happen over night.  Why we can't live the vision the second we get it.  We have to be prepared.  We have to shift our way of thinking to line up with the Word.  We have to be equipped with the tools we will need.  The things we have tried to live out too quickly we have failed at.  The Lord had to bring us to a place of total dependence on Him.  In this place, He is giving us our armor for battle.  He is the one supplying absolutely everything.

In this place of dependence, we walk under His covering.  He is showing us that we have full authority as long as we are under His covering.  When we step out too soon or to the wrong place we get some pretty heavy consequences.  So some areas we are finally moving forward in (financial and food) and some we are having to back track to get back on the right path.

I have had to let go of something I wanted so desperately.  I said goodbye to the crafting business for the time being.  I was spinning my wheels getting nowhere.  What I'm commissioned to do is to raise my daughter and be a homemaker at the moment.

I know the vision of a craft business won't die because I believe that is another step in the journey, but I think I stepped out into it too soon.  I wanted it to be now and my impatience cost us a lot.  It costs me so much time with my daughter, health, and a sizeable chunk of change.

Do I regret it?  No, because there was so much I needed to learn and apparently this was the only way I could learn it.  Trial and error.

So now I'm shifting my focus.  I'm looking to the Lord to guide my steps.  I don't want to be like the child that's so excited to get to where they're going that they run out into traffic only to get hit by a bus, all the while my parent (the Lord) was telling me to stop.  Graphic I know, but that's what came to me.

I feel like I have let a weight off my chest just typing this out.  Whew!

Kindred Spirit: My best friend's bridal shower

Do you have a best friend in the entire world?  One that has been with you through thick and thin?  One that is both your longest and closest friend?  Well I have one and she just happens to be my cousin.  I was 6 almost 7 when she was born and we have been best friends ever since.  BFF's from the womb, lol.

The theme of the shower was "Sew in Love" and was based on the paraphrased anecdote about love being like a piece of fabric.  "A wise pastor once said at a wedding that a marriage is like a piece of fabric.  A plain piece of fabric is prone to unraveling at the edges, just like any marriage.  What holds a piece of fabric together is the “little stitches” that hem the edges.  The “little stitches” are the little ways you love each other that prevents your marriage from unraveling.  Always remember to love one another in the small, everyday moments that seem so insignificant at the time because when you look back in 50 years you will see that those little ways and moments hemmed your marriage and held your hearts together."  I heard this at a wedding a few years ago and just thought about how true a statement that is.  

It's very hard to put into words how much I love this girl!  Or how happy I am for her.  Literally, I'm usually really good at expressing myself via the written word, but words fail me.  I'm so privileged to be her matron of honor and I wish her nothing but joy in her life and marriage.  Love you Jennifer! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Week 7: Our journey to the fasted lifestyle, pt. 11

Instead of Week 7, this could be called Chaos in a Bottle.  I had a very full week preparing for my cousin's bridal shower (will post separately about that) that we had a lot of quick pre-made meals.  I'm not a fan of that, but we had to do what we had to do.  =/

On Tuesday I had to run errands out of town for the shower, so I had to take my husband to work as we share a car.  Yes we have only one car.  Yes it is challenging.  So many people ask me, how does that work?  You just make it work.

Well on our way to drop him off, he realized he forgot his lunch and we are running late.  Frustration!!! I was plotting in my brain ok, I will run here, here and here, and speed back by this time and bring you something.  The thought stressed me out, but I had purposed to be able to make it back.  He called a little later while I was out and said that he still had his allowance and would have a co-worker pick him up something.  This relieved the time constraint stress.  Plus I was able to visit with some friends in their area that I hadn't been able to come out and visit for a little bit longer.  =)

The rest of the week was so busy it just flew by.  We went to our friends house for a small group gathering on Friday.  We are on month 2 of trying to meet once a month for dinner and fellowship.  It is so great!  We left late and had to drive to my parents' house so I could stay the weekend.  The shower was being held in their area and I had stuff to accomplish down there the day before the shower.

Saturday while running errands I decided to take my mom out for a belated Mother's Day lunch since we didn't get to see each other the day of.  She wouldn't let me pay and got the ticket before me which frustrates me.  Love you Mom, but let me bless you for a change! Lol.  We went to one of our all time favorite places in my hometown.

Well after over 7 weeks and 6 days of eating out only once and the previous place was not very greasy, you can imagine what I was in for.  I felt awful most of the afternoon.  You see, I have acid reflux and gastroparesis.   See a few posts that I imported from my Adventures in Eating blog for the full story.  Basically I don't digest food well.  Especially greasy food.  I was in some serious pain.  So in the future our "special occassion" days will not be the food we once loved and would crave.  We have stayed away from truly bad-for-us food for so long now that we can't go back without some major consequences.  Which is a blessing in disguise.  So thanks Lord!

The bridal shower on Sunday was great! So glad I got to see my favorite lady have so much love displayed for her.  Seeing those closest to you be happy makes you happy as well.  So I left a busy week/weekend with a big smile on my face.  There are two other posts from this past week that I will share so stay tuned.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bloggy News

I've combined my two blogs Adventures in Eating and The Fasted Life (formerly Galatians 5:22-23) into one.  Trying to have a singular focus.  I will continue the Adventures in Eating, but as a series not it's own blog.  Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Week 6: Our journey to the fasted lifestyle, pt. 10

Week 6 has been tough! This post will probably read like I'm all over the place, but it is kinda update-y.

I have noticed a cycle with ourselves and our daughter.  First off, our daughter will be super happy baby for a week to two weeks, then for like 3 or 4 days she is the moodiest little one ever.  Fussy, throwing fits, does not want to be away from us even for a second.  So we started the week off that way.  When she is like this it makes it difficult to get anything accomplished.  It really put a damper on wanting to cook.  My desire to get fast food was through the roof!  She came out of her funk mid-week.

The cycle that I noticed with ourselves is that we were slowly replacing out to eat with "quick, small trips" to the  grocery store.  We would go get something that we needed accompanied by a few things that we didn't.  Which would tally up in our bank account.  So we had to put our foot down.  Two trips per paycheck which is essentially once a week.  If we don't have it, we don't have it.  It makes it more pressing to really go over your menu and see what you have before you go.

Yesterday (Friday) was the night we celebrated Mother's Day.  My husband works Sundays so we celebrated early.  He has been conspiring with a friend's husband for a few weeks.  He told me over a week prior that there was a surprise and to prepare myself, we are going out to eat for the first time in 6 weeks and 5 days.  EEEEP!!!!

I started crying.  Yes, I did.  Sad I know.  I told him, I'm not sure I'm ready for this.  Can't I just cook for everyone?

You see, I don't handle sudden change well.  When it's thrust on me, I tend to stress.  So he totally did the right thing telling me early to get my panic out of the way.  It also gives me time to accept and pray about it.  It doesn't seem like a big deal to most, but to us, with our commitment to the Lord it really is.  But it did meet our one requirement for eating out, it has to be a special occasion.  And Mother's Day is special right?

Trust me I'm painfully aware that I was not very nice to my husband about this.  I didn't yell or anything, but my turmoil upset him because he was doing a sweet thing for me.  I felt awful!  I also had to clarify, that if I say the next day that "let's just get donuts or Whataburger" that he will have to firmly tell me no.  What I feared most was the slippery slope which I think is easier to fall into if it's fast food rather than a restaurant.

We went out last night and it was awesome!  Dinner at a surf and turf place with our friends.  The guys had told us to dress in something we wouldn't mind getting dirty.  We had no idea what to expect.  We came up with various scenarios that it could be.  Survival obstacle course, gun range, diamond mining expedition, being dragged behind a boat, Hunger Games death match, etc.  Of course they were outlandish, lol.

We actually went to paint pottery with our little girls.  It was so much fun!  The husband and I did it when we went on vacation a few months ago and we loved it.  I painted an angel with Z's hand print.  It was so sweet.  We pick up our items in a week.  What a sweet Mother's Day gift and dinner with some great friends!  I just love my guy!

I do have a few items to share health wise.  Husband went to give blood for the first time in a while.  He used to do it all the time, but with the chaos of the past year it was hard to schedule anything.  When he went in his blood pressure was 120/80!  The last few times he went to the doctor it was elevated.  I think the previous one on record was 130/90.  Also his cholesterol was 206!!!!!  It has been high in the past and it has been on it's way down since we stopped eating out.  YAY!  We know that the fast isn't about health or weight loss, but there is a cause effect thing going on, plus the blessings of the Lord pouring out.  Basically you eat junk, you have high blood pressure and cholesterol.  You don't eat junk, you have lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

That's our lives for the last week.  Lots of ups and downs and ended on a high note.  Lord, thank You for my sweet family and friends who are kind, generous, and supportive!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Longing: Our journey to the fasted lifestyle, pt. 9

There is so much going on all at once.  Fasting tends to do that.  So much is released when we partner with God's agenda for our lives.  Blessings, revelation, and warfare all pour out in a flood.

I know this journey is so much more than a goal met or a scheduled end.  It's our life.  It's our running after the Lord with all we have.  And to do that we need to drop our baggage we so desperately cling to.  How can you run when things are weighing you down.

There are some changes that will be made soon that I know are good, but sad because it is giving up something in me that I thought I longed for.  But in reality I long for something so much more.  

I long to:
Be the best helpmeet I can be
Grow my family in the knowledge of the Lord
Love so much it hurts
Create in a new way 
Worship with everything I have
Run to my first Love
Give of myself 
Teach wonderful truths to little hearts
Make a difference even if it's just to one person
Be free of the things that hold me back
Use everything given to me to the fullest
Never fear
Have faith in God and God alone
Laugh more
Sow into the body of Christ
Touch the lives of the lost in a profound way that leaves them changed
Shine the Light of Christ in everything that I do or say
Follow the Word of the Lord everyday

My heart is literally aching for all of these things to be manifest in my life.  I have other longings of course, but this is the heart cry for my life.  And I don't want it to end here as a typed out list or die on the vine that it would not bear fruit.  I need to be passionately pursuing this with every fiber of my being.  

I found my journal from when I first began my walk over 4 years ago. I was reading it and I saw the wholeheartedness I once thrived on. I want that back.  I don't want it to be taken away by "life".  Life should not take away from pursuit of the Lord.  Pursuit of the Lord will give you life abundantly.  

I've been so wrapped up in getting by, that I stopped truly living.  I was just making it through each day.  Where is the joy?  Joy does not lie in "oh well I made it through another day, I guess I will do it again tomorrow".  It lies in "Today is the day the Lord has made.  I will REJOICE and be glad in it."  

Thank You Lord for shining the light on my heart and revealing the life You want for me. Let me have doves eyes as I pursue You.  Amen.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Week 5: Our journey to the fasted lifestyle, pt. 8

*First things first, I apologize.  I got my time frame all wrong.  I had posted in the first post we are two days away from week 5 and then had a post titled week 6.  Well I was originally correct, we are on the tail end of week 5.  Also I will totally admit that my husband was right.  He kept saying I don't think we are on week 6 and I kept thinking are we? are we not?, etc.  So yes, sweet husband you were right. Love you very much.  All posts have been corrected with the correct timeline.  Sorry for any confusion.

So yes, we are in the tail end of week 5.  The major thing stressed in these second 3 weeks is "use every part of the buffalo".  This applies to time too.  I had to make some harsh admissions to myself this week.  As I have stated in previous posts that I struggle with the time one the most.  Well yes, I, Alex, am lazy.  Capital L-Lazy.

My hubby and I are hard workers at our jobs or when we absolutely need to be (like at the last minute because we have procrastinated).  But if we were left to our own devices, we would either sleep or laze around.  We have a big problem trying to motivate ourselves because our excuse is "but I'm tired".  Which is absolutely true.  We are exhausted. All the time.

Why are we so exhausted?  Between being a stay at home mom, running a craft business on the side, and all the volunteering stuff I'm pretty much wiped by the end of it all.  Hubby works a lot of hours and has sleep issues on top of it so he is wiped as well.

Honestly the stuff mentioned above is literally not enough to warrant our laziness.  If we are supposed to be using every part of the buffalo of time (that sounds weirder typed out than in my head) we are letting a lot of the carcass go to waste.  Lots of time on pinterest and facebook on my part.

The past three weeks we have been poor stewards of our time.  We have not capitalized on moments to accomplish tasks laid out before us.  I could have easily done all my crafts/orders by the beginning of the week, but I decided to "chill" instead because "I'm tired."  Ugh, that just makes me ill to read.  Yeah, facing your sin is not easy.

A point of conviction that I felt yesterday was reading a relatives facebook status update.  She is in her 60's and has survived cancer.  She posted about painting the back of her house because of a hail storm that had come through and damaged the paint.  Let me make sure you get it (although I'm pretty sure you get it already):  A 60+ yr old cancer survivor is painting the back of her house, by herself, in Texas heat, AND was stopping for the day to pick up her grandchild from school to watch her until her daughter got off of work.  Talk about who am I to be whining about "I'm tired." - And Suzie if you happen to read this YOU GO GIRL!

I truly admire the Proverbs 31 woman.  Homegirl does not rest!  Which also convicts my heart because I want to use everything the Lord gives me to the fullest.  Be it time, food, money, gifts, blessings, wisdom, etc.  It's like the parable of the talents.  The one who buried his talent was called what?  Wicked and lazy.

If we don't invest our time into being about the Lord's business then we are not living rightly before Him.  In a home, the Lord's business takes many shapes.  Cleaning and caring for the material blessings the Lord has given you. Maintaining the land around the property the Lord has given you.  Purposefully parenting your children.  Ministering to and loving your spouse.  When we invest our time into these things, our return is so abundant.  I want an abundant return, but can't get one until it's properly invested into.

So my time with the Lord this week has revealed yet more pruning.  I have more to share about this week, but I will post more about that later.