To my Darling, Baby Girl – who is now six years old

2 Jul 0dcb4601d89e1416b1b43496c61b1b40

To my darling, Baby Girl

I wish that writing to you like I do could capture the essence of just how special and funny and kind you are.  I love all that you are learning about life and your world, and your quirky take on life.

Your dad and I are so proud of you and so proud of the person you are becoming.

Last year, when you turned five, all you were interested in was Frozen.  We bought you a frozen princess dress, and the Frozen DVD.  I think you’ve watched the DVD all of three or four times, but you loved Frozen and Elsa.  You could sing the words to “Let It Go” verbatim.  Not in tune – but you certainly did know the words.

Now that you are six, it’s all about Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  In fact, it was your party last week and the theme?  Yes, it is a pirate princess party.  You had a puppet show at your party and you loved it.  All the kids had a really great time.  And I loved that it was about you!  It was your special day.

You were so excited this year for Valentine’s Day – and so cross with your Dad and I that you didn’t get anything.  And the more we tried to explain to you that you need a secret admirer, the angrier you got that you didn’t get anything.  And you know what?  You are right.  When I was a child growing up, my Dad bought me a Valentine’s card every year.  It really boosted my self-confidence, especially since I knew I wasn’t going to get one anywhere else.

Shrove Tuesday this year was so funny.  I ordered three pancakes from your school: one for you, one for your Dad and one for me.  I get to school to fetch you and you’ve eaten all three.  And you don’t like pancakes (well, you didn’t).  I think you do now!!

And for some reason, you have this fixation on going to Russia.  Every now and then you mention this desire to go to Russia.  I had this desire as a child to see Egypt and I did.  And it was amazing – I even went inside one of the pyramids.  I think your desire to go to Russia is to see snow, but you are always talking about Russia.  I do hope you get to go one day, my darling, especially when you pray a prayer like this:

Dear Lord, please can we go to Russia?  But, not the parts where there are earthquakes.  I’m scared my mommy and daddy fall in the holes and get squished…”

And that, my love, is a true story!

You also got a hamster this year – called Iggie Crackle (formerly known as Lilly Kate Rachel Bennett-Hamster)…  I have no idea why you changed the name, but I love Iggie Crackle.

The other day I fetched you from school, and you start telling me about how you took a walk around your school and you saw the cross.  And you tell me,

“Mom, we took a walk around the school today.  And I saw Jesus’ cross.  It must be the real cross, because it was really old.  Jeez, mom, why did they move the cross all the way from Jerusalem to Port Elizabeth???”

I had such a good laugh at that!  I love how you see the world.

You love to ask me religious questions as your little mind tries to understand – like the one with Jonah and the whale:

Dear God, please let me know if the story of Jonah is true – like real live.  Did you really do that to Jonah?  For real?

And you have a slight allergy to mosquitoes.  You swell up a little more than normal and it can be very itchy for you.  There is a part of you that is quite pleased to have an allergy, as so many of your class have allergies (one day you’ll understand what a blessing it is to not have any allergies).  However, your prayer earlier this year made me fall off the bed laughing:

“Dear Lord Jesus, I don’t know why you made mosquitoes, but when I get to Heaven, I will ask you…”

And apparently God has a surname:

Mommy, did you know God has a surname?  Yes, He does – His surname is Merry Old Soul…

And I really wished there was such a thing as a kiddie answer book, because some of the questions we’re getting lately is taking up a lot of our creativity to answer:

Do angels breathe in Heaven?

How old is Jesus?

How do good witches turn bad?

Do angels wear clothes?

Does the sun wear sunglasses?

Does the sun use sunblock? (Love this one)

What happens when we die?

Where does the wicked step mother come from?

Why do angels look after us?

If Jesus is in my heart, is Heaven in my heart too?

What language do American kids speak?

And then there are those prayers that just warmed your Dad and my hearts:

Dear Lord, Thank you that you are in my heart. And thank you that the stork chose me from Heaven to put into mommy’s tummy…

And you loved the name Emily, as I posted on Facebook:

Do you think our daughter likes this name? After her first cousin Emily was born, she called her big giraffe toy Emily, and then called her little giraffe toy Emily, then her second cousin Emily was born and on Sunday at Mikes Kitchen, someone gave her a Lucky Bear toy, that she has promptly called Lucky Bear Emily… And I think there is a doll somewhere in there that is also called Emily. Hmm, definitely see a pattern here!!!

And you always knew how to make us feel better:

“Mommy, our husky has one star in her heart; I’ve got two stars in my heart. You’ve got three stars and Daddy has FIVE stars in his heart”…

And apparently you really love us:

“Mommy, when I’m being naughty and cheeky, I’m only doing it because I love you…”

And you were always so worried about getting into trouble – and the more we tried to explain to you that nothing could ever stop us from loving you, the more you tried to make sure of that:

“Mommy, will you love me if I’m naughty?”

Me, “Of course, my sweetheart, I’ll love you no matter what – if you’re good, or naughty, or sick, or well, I’ll always love you.”

“Don’t worry, mommy, I’ll also love you when you’re naughty…”

Eskom has load shedding – I hope by the time you’re grown up that we’ll be living in a country that actually functions as a country, or that load shedding will be a thing of the past.

During the power failure on Saturday night, we took you outside to see the stars, and you say,

“Look Daddy, there’s a constellation…”

Thank you, Dora The Explorer

And bathing or getting you in the bath was always interesting (once you were in, we couldn’t get you out):

Me, last night, speaking rather sternly, “Baby Girl, go get in the bath now!!!”

You, cock your head, click your fingers, and say, “You said it sister…”

Me, collapsing with laughter…

And you hated getting older – I love this age that you are now.  You are so wonderful and I am enjoying you so much.  There is so much to look forward to.

Conversation with you, the other night:

“Mommy, I don’t want to turn five. I want to stay four forever. So, please tell Daddy to tell the Birthday Ambulance to not bring me anymore birthdays. I just want to be four forever… I only want Christmas, no birthdays…”

And our definition of saliva had us in stitches:

Definition of SALIZA: that special gob you’ve got in your mouth that helps you to swallow.

And this evening, that happened the night before the Grandparents concert at school, you got a stainless steel disc stuck on your thumb that we could not get off at home. (The disk came from one of those universal plugs that has the rubber bit on the bottom, and a stainless steel part at the top. The disk came off the plug in the bath.)  Both your Dad & I tried everything: thumb in ice, baby oil, soap, it just wouldn’t budge. Went to St George’s emergency, and they couldn’t get it off either. They also didn’t have the equipment to cut it off, so eventually they had to phone the fire department to come cut it off. Excellent team who managed to cut it off and they were very gentle with you.  Then we get home to load shedding, so had to pack bags and do lunch, etc in the dark.  Heavens, what a night!  Both your Dad and I pretty stressed – although we can certainly laugh about it now.

Do you see what a light and love and laughter you bring to our lives?

Bless you my darling – I hope we can be the parents to you that you need us to be.

The Baby Mama (YOUR Baby Mama)

My progress.

19 Jun thisone

I started this blog to record Baby Girl’s life.  I wanted to remember each and every day, each detail of her life – I have so few memories of my childhood that I wanted a platform for Baby Girl to recall memories of her own childhood. Especially since she is an only child, there won’t be any siblings to bounce memories off of.

But, this blog quickly became about me exercising my demons (so to speak).  And in a way that’s okay – Baby Girl will truly know who I am.  And very often, if fears or insecurities or anything is passed onto the next generation, understanding where these fears or insecurities come from is half the battle in walking beyond them.

And often I ask myself, “Why?”

Why have I gone through all?  And this is how I tend to think of it:  some people are born with strong personalities.  From the get-go, they know what they want in life and what they’re going to do to get it.  Others are born with softer personalities that need to be nurtured and taken care of – these are usually your more sensitive individuals and are more easily influenced by outside forces.  And then you get those that are born blank slates – their personalities develop over time from their families, life experiences, etc.  I was in this latter category.  I was a blank slate – I was this insecure, sensitive little girl who, I think, from the word go had to develop my personality in life.  I have no problem with that – I think we worship a God who is creative.

However, I was born into dysfunctional family with a dominant mother figure and an absent father figure.  And this dominant mother figure controlled and bullied every aspect of my life.  And this only loaned itself even more to me developing anxiety issues.

It has taken me a long, long time to realise that God did not create us to be anxious.

He created us to be peaceful and loving.

Anytime as a child that I felt anxious (which was often given the amount of fighting in our house) I stopped eating, and so my focus became this fact that I hardly ever ate.  If I had someone who nurtured me, and protected me, perhaps they would have then pointed out that not eating isn’t the issue.  In fact, anxiety actually isn’t even the issue, as that was purely a response to my circumstances.  The issue was growing up in a dysfunction home, filled with fights, and yelling and swearing, and being bullied and controlled by my mother, and forgotten by my father that the only voice I could develop against all this was to feel anxious.  And growing into adulthood, those well-worn neuropathway’s are all that my brain and my emotions really knew.

But, I have made such huge progress.

And I think the most important lesson I have learned is that I have to change how I think.  I have to be disciplined and consistent about thinking the thoughts of God.  And slowly, over time (Rome wasn’t built in a day) those well-worn neuropathways will start to change.

Philippians 4:8 NIV

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Romans 12:2 NIV

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Just last year this time, I was still taking Paxil.  And I can’t believe it’s been a year – a whole 365 days – since I stopped taking Paxil.  And I remember the moment so clearly – we were travelling to Cape Town and I had taken two Paxil in the morning because I was so nervous about the trip.  We had stopped at a restaurant for dinner, and hubby, Baby Girl and I were having a wonderful time.  I looked at hubby and thought, I don’t need Paxil.  I am done.  And I was.

Four years ago I started the job I now have and I was so nervous and so scared; I never thought I would cope.  My go-to to sooth and calm myself was to make sure that I am eating.  In fact, I would wake up at 04:00 to eat some toast, then again at 06:00 to have breakfast, then again at 08:00 once I had arrived at work, then again at 10:00 (I would eat my lunch at 10:00) and then again at 14:00, then still have supper at night.

Oh.  My.  Word.  I have come a long way.

Now, I eat at 08:00 for the first time and it is a healthy sized meal.  Then at 10:00 I just have a cup of coffee, and only have lunch at 12:00 (which is again a healthy portion size and a healthy meal).  I have a smallish snack at about 14:30 to see me through and then supper with my family.  So much better, so different to four years ago.

You see, four years ago I believed I would die – now I see that for the lie that it is.  I was scared that if I didn’t eat this meal, and the next, and the next and try eat as much as what I could, I would eventually get to a point of just not eating.  And die.

It sounds ludicrous when I type it here or even think about it, but that is what I lived with.  I was plagued by fear night and day.  And I turned to food to soothe myself.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

And I love my job.  Okay, the pay isn’t great, but I work with amazing people and I love what I do.  I’m just a secretary, but I’m really good at it and I even won an Employee of the Month award.

And I never exercised – I was too scared of losing weight and falling prey to anxiety.  Four years ago, I didn’t want to walk up and down the stairs at the office too frequently in case it meant I’d lose a kilo or two during the day.

I am also sleeping better now – and if I do have a bad night’s sleep, I find myself quoting 2 Timothy 1:7 over and over again to myself.  Four years ago, I would have looked at the lies, analysed them, believed them, internalized them and felt like I wanted to run away because I couldn’t cope with the anxiety or what these fears may mean.  And I truly believe that is the Holy Spirit bringing that verse to mind to remind me that fear and anxiety isn’t from God.

And I’m running.  Oh, boy – that, I think, is the biggest miracle out of all of this.  You see, even before I had Baby Girl and was naturally skinny; I was a certified couch potato or bookworm.  I played at going to gym, but I never really accomplished anything.  And hubby has tried to get me to exercise since Baby Girl was born.  But, I couldn’t see past the lies to know that this is what I needed.  God has really performed a miracle in my heart where this is concerned.  Just yesterday (during my lunch break at work), I ran 5.10 km.  ME!!!!  Seriously, and I do the park run on Saturdays when I can.  I’ve just completed my fourth park run and you know what?  I love it.

This shows God’s grace and His power at work.

Philippians 1:6 NIV

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Do I still feel anxious?

Not as often as before – but I do still have my moments.  I have learnt though that no matter how I feel, or what I am thinking, I can still choose to trust God and love my husband and my family.  No matter how scared I may be feeling.

Is it easy?  No.  It is getting easier.  But, it isn’t easy.  Being soft and gentle and being born as a “blank slate” I think makes me a very easy target for the evil one.  And that’s also okay.  Because God has already defeated him in Christ Jesus and God is for me.

Romans 8:31 NIV

What, then, shall we say in response to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?

What do I need to do?  Trust God.  There are many days that I feel particularly anxious and I’m scared I’m to choke on my food and embarrass myself.

Isaiah 54:4 NIV

“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

And I will need to deal with those days and moments as they happen.  But, I cannot allow myself to go back to fear – it is not what God has called us to do.

Romans 8:15 KJV

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

So, I am trusting God.  I am trusting Him that even if I have to live with anxiety for the rest of my life it will never impact my life again the way that it has over the last couple of years.

And I thank God from the bottom of my heart that He heard my cries, and came and delivered me and is continuing to do so and will continue to do so until I see Him in Heaven.

Thank you, Lord, thank you.

Day 21: A lifetime of fullness

2 Jun images (9)

Day 21: A lifetime of fullness

Thought for the Day: Eating wisely can become more than just a diet.  It can become our lifestyle!  But better yet, we position our hearts to enjoy closeness and fulfillment with God for eternity!

I want to thank you for joining me the last twenty-one days.  Our journey to healthy eating started by realizing how Eve, the first woman, gave in to temptation with food.  We also read in the Bible how the Israelites, God’s people, struggled with food, which led to them wandering in the desert for forty years.  Additionally, we read rich truths in the Psalms and New Testament which gave us a healthier perspective of food and of fullness in Christ.

So, we shouldn’t be surprised when the Bible ends with another pivotal verse about food.  For me, this verse might be the one that elicits the greatest excitement in my heart. Revelation 2:7 says:

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Aren’t you encouraged to see that overcoming is possible?  We can be more than just women who hide our struggles or deal with them just enough to survive.  This verse in Revelation says “the one who overcomes.”  In other words, it confirms that we can find absolute victory in an area where we once knew nothing but defeat.

There’s a reward awaiting those of us who press through our struggles all the way to absolute victory.  This reward is crucial, because virtually anyone who overcomes a difficult challenge will tell you that their victory was the sum total of daily sacrificial decisions to reach a goal and the reward.  I am thrilled to know that the reward for overcomers in Jesus Christ is that we are given the right to eat … in paradise!  Eating from the tree of life with God will be unlike any satisfaction we’ve ever known.

Remember, you were made to crave God, not food.  The best reward to healthy eating is experiencing closeness with God.  I pray that you continue on this beneficial journey for a lifetime.  Eating wisely can become more than just a diet.  It can become our lifestyle.

And better yet, we position our hearts to enjoy closeness and fulfillment with God for eternity!

Reference here.

I am currently reading The Thin Woman’s Brain by Dilia Suriel and while I agree with almost everything she says (what she lists as thin woman thinking is definitely how I used to think before gaining all this weight, and definitely how I am not thinking now) she is missing one key ingredient.  She is missing the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because while I really believe we have more control over ourselves than we realise, only true change comes from God.  It is through His grace and love that we are motivated to change and grow and become more like Christ – He provides not only the role model, but means to accomplish this and then He provides the strength and the desire to really change – from the inside out.  Praise be to God for the changes I already see happening in me.  I mean – I am running.  Big old couch potato me – I am running.  Only 3 miles, but that cannot happen if it were not for the grace of God.

Day 20: The curse of the skinny jeans

1 Jun Nice Words Quote

Day 20: The curse of the skinny jeans

Thought for the Day: Tying our happiness to food, skinny jeans, relationships, or anything else sets us up for failure.  But tying our security, joy, and identity to God’s love is an anchor that we can cling to no matter what the circumstances.

Once I reached my goal weight, I thought I’d never have a bad day again.  I mean really, what could possibly trouble me if I could fit into my skinny jeans?  Boy was I wrong.

A hurtful email showed up … a disrespectful attitude from one of my kids … a missed appointment … a messy house … a stressful situation at work … an unexpected bill.  Here I was just hours after feeling thrilled at finally being able to wear my skinny jeans, falling prey to the same topsy-turvy stuff I used to think wouldn’t bother me if only I were smaller.  This is the curse of the skinny jeans.  The truth I’ve had to realize is that my body size is not tied to my happy.  If I was unhappy when I was larger, I’ll still be unhappy when I get smaller.

For years, I tied happiness to my circumstances and hopes for the future.  I thought, “I’ll be happy when my father comes back, when I get married, when I have kids, when the economy improves, when I lose those extra pounds…”  But even when some of those things came true, I was still dissatisfied.  Surely there was more to me than defining myself by my circumstances.

One day I read a list of Bible verses that describe who God says I am, no matter the circumstances in my life, both good and bad.  I took that list of Scriptures and started to redefine my identity.  It was a stark contrast to the way I defined myself by circumstances or others’ opinions of me.  I finally realized that these issues don’t define me.  Instead, I could tie my happiness to the reality of who my heavenly Father says I am:

  • Lysa, the forgiven child of God. (Romans 3:24)
  • Lysa, the set-free child of God. (Romans 8:1–2)
  • Lysa, the accepted child of God. (1 Corinthians 1:2)
  • Lysa, the holy child of God. (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • Lysa, the made-new child of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • Lysa, the loved child of God. (Ephesians 1:4)
  • Lysa, the close child of God. (Ephesians 2:13)
  • Lysa, the confident child of God. (Ephesians 3:12)
  • Lysa, the victorious child of God. (Romans 8:37)

We were made to be set free, holy, new, loved, and confident.  Because of this truth, we can’t allow our minds to partake in anything that negates our real identity.  Tying our happiness to food, skinny jeans, relationships, or anything else will only set us up for failure.  But tying our security, joy, and identity to God’s love is an anchor that we can cling to no matter what the circumstances.

Reference here.

This is a lesson I am very slowly but surely learning.  My happiness does not depend on my weight or if I am eating or not eating, it depends on me and my perception of events.  I can be happy in the most dire of circumstances and ill health, because God loves me.  That is what makes me happy.

DAY 19: THE POWER OF “I CAN”

29 May download

PHILIPPIANS 4:13 NKJV

13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.

DAY 19: THE POWER OF “I CAN”

Thought for the Day: “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23, see also 6:12)

Reaching my weight loss goal is a precarious place for me.  That’s because I find it is a blessing entangled with a curse.  The “curse” is the assumption that freedom now means I can return to all those things I’ve given up for the past months.  The sacrifices … the missed treats … the deprived taste buds high on salad and low on French fries.  I’m tempted to celebrate, live it up, and invite all those foods I’ve missed to a little welcome-home party.

Yet, I can’t fling open the door to all of those missed foods without welcoming back the excess calories, fat grams, cholesterol, sugars, and addictive additives.  Most of these guests fall under the category of junk foods.  The interesting thing about these guests is that they send out little signals to our brain begging us to party with them again and again.  A welcome-home party becomes an invitation to be roommates again, which spells disaster for what we hoped might be a lifestyle change.

A chips-and-chocolate girl like me can find it hard to un-invite certain foods to the party that have been regulars for years.  It’s even more difficult to reconcile that they aren’t my friends.  Some can be casual acquaintances on a very limited level, but others need to be banished for good.  Only you can determine which foods are allowed back, and which are not.

One of my favorite Scriptures in this process is 1 Corinthians 6:12: “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”  I quote it over and over reminding myself that I could have that brownie, or that cheese dip, but they wouldn’t benefit me in any way.  That powerful thought has helped to make a healthy choice, rather than wallowing in being deprived of an unhealthy choice.

So, lest we start mourning what will be lost, we must celebrate all that’s being gained through this process.  “I can” instead of “I can’t” is a powerful little twist for a girl feeling deprived.  For example:

  • “I can” helps me walk into a dinner party and find the conversation more appealing than the buffet.
  • “I can” helps me stay on the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresher, healthier selections abound and smile that I know this tidbit.
  • “I can” helps me reach for my water bottle and find satisfaction in its refreshment.
  • “I can” helps me look at the McDonald’s menu and order a fruit tray without even giving a thought to the Happy Meals that used to be snacks.
  • “I can” reminds me to look up a restaurant’s nutritional information on the Internet before going out, ensuring wiser choices.

“I can” reminds me that no food will ever taste as sweet as lasting victory!

Reference here.

You can reach your goal weight – I can reach my goal weight.  Through Christ Jesus and His grace and His strength, I can do this!  But, only through Him.  Lest we not forget that Christ is our strength and the Holy Spirit our guide – in whatever we want or need to do in this life God has blessed us with.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 85 other followers

%d bloggers like this: