Unmasked…Past and Present

“Do not gloat over me my enemy, though I have fallen I will get up” (Micah 7:8)

For those of you who know me, you know that I’m not the most graceful person around. I find myself stumbling over non-existent items , breaking un-breakable objects, slipping on non-slippery surfaces, and falling flat on my face without tripping over anything. In fact the first couple lines of the song Falling, by Florence and the Machine describe me well…

“I’ve fallen out of favor and I’ve fallen from grace,

Fallen out of trees and fallen on my face

Fallen out of taxis out of windows too…”

These kind of falls aren’t that bad. Of course, there’s always potential for injury, and they may be a bit humiliating . But, they can’t leave my heart cut in two, putting me in intensive care and waiting for emergency surgery to sew the wound back together. And although, there is healing there is a scar. A scar that reminds me of how far I fell and how far I can fall again if I’m not careful.

When I took my first fall I’m not even sure I realized I was flying towards the ground with an un-stoppable speed. You see, I was born into a Christian family and I became a Christian at a very early age. And from the start, I desired to be the best Christian ever! I went to Church, I went to youth group, I read my Bible, I prayed, I invited friends to Church, I didn’t get mad, I was a peace-maker, while others were takers I was a giver, and of course when I grew up I was going to be a Missionary.

And then I entered High School. Wow! Ok, I’m still doing all the things a good little Christian girl should do. With the exception of the fact that I now know that I’m going to be a spectacular athlete. Maybe in basketball, maybe in track, maybe in both. I’m going to break the records, run the fastest. I am going to be the star. But wait,  there’s other girls who are just as good as I am, maybe even better. And not only in athletics, but in academics, popularity, and in looks. I’m not sure I measure up so well against my competition. I need something to make me stand out in the crowd. I don’t want to be average. I’m afraid I’m might be JUST average.

So, here I  was standing on the first ledge. I didn’t even  know that I had climbed so high. I didn’t even know I was looking over the mountain top into the valley. I was so unaware of where I was heading that the next step took me a little by surprise.  Because with that next step I stepped off of the ledge and into a tail-spin. I was falling and falling fast. But thankfully, there was something to stop the fall. I reached out for the branch that was sticking out of the mountain wall. I knew it could hold me, stop my fall, and drive out the fear of being just average.

The minute I grabbed my safety line, the branch, I knew I wasn’t going to be average anymore. I was going to be the best at something. I was going to be so good and so disciplined people would start to take notice. I wouldn’t just blend in anymore. When I started to become obsessed with not eating, the weight I was losing and the weight I wanted to lose, I didn’t have a name for it. I just felt in control. I wasn’t falling anymore. I felt better than ever, on top of the world. I had such self-discipline it was amazing. I was good at this, anorexia, my salvation, the disease that was suddenly filling the void within my soul.

What I was doing, of course, was in secret, but people noticed I was thinner. Man, the comments were the best. “You look like you’ve lost weight?” “Have you been sick? You look thinner.” Awesome! It was working. I was doing the perfect job at starving myself. (Needless to say, any athletic dream I had was out the window. I didn’t have the energy or the desire anymore to participate in sports. A dream given up, but it’s not until later we realize that what we give up costs way more than what we think is bringing us pleasure).

But then, for some reason the branch began to shake, my safety net didn’t feel so safe anymore. I heard it crack and I knew it wouldn’t be long before it would break and I would be falling again. Sure enough, the void was back, the anorexia wasn’t satisfying me anymore. It was hard work. I was tired of being so self-disciplined and with that I felt my body quickly falling to meet the ground.

I needed another branch. There has to be another branch. There is another branch. I just have to reach for it and it will stop me from falling. Bulimia, the disgusting, ugly, spinning out of control branch of bulimia. How embarrassing ! How could I grab onto this branch. I hate it. But, I need it. It’s filling the gap I so desperately want closed! Does it make me feel good about myself? No way? Do I feel like I’m in control? No way? But, I keep doing it because if I stop I’ll start falling again and I don’t want to hit bottom and die. But, I do want to die, because death would bring freedom from the falling. Death would bring release from the thoughts and the obsession. Death would bring healing. Maybe I do want to jump off this branch and hit bottom? I’m going to die from the eating disorder anyway, why not do it now? Get it over with!?

And so I jump, and I’m falling again. Why can’t I just find peace? Why can’t I just find the satisfaction I’m looking for? If God is such a loving God why am I struggling so much. I hate myself, in fact, I hate all people, and I hate God the most. Life isn’t fair and God doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. Why won’t he just step in and change things. Wait! Maybe I don’t want to hit bottom. No! Not yet, I don’t want to give up. Tomorrow I’ll change. Tomorrow it’s going to be different. I need another branch and I’ll change. I promise I’ll change!

The other branch must be from the same tree as the other branches. The bulimia didn’t go away. I just started mixing it with anorexia. I wouldn’t eat ANYTHING for 4 days and on the 5th day I’d binge and get rid of it, then I wouldn’t eat anything for 2 days, and on the 3rd day I’d binge and get rid of it. It got to the point that I wouldn’t eat anything, fruit, a popsicle, a chip, nothing! And, if I did I would immediately  throw it up. Gross! Gross! Disgusting! It’s humiliating just writing about it. I’m one big screw-up, failure, waste of life. Why haven’t I died from this yet!? God, if you’re real please let me die! I can’t handle this life anymore.

Get of the branch! Get off the branch! There’s no more satisfaction in anorexia or bulimia. I need something else, not something else to fill the void, but something else to escape from the eating disorder. I need to find relief from it, from the thoughts, from the obsession, from the depression. There has to be another branch. There’s always another branch and another branch and another branch. There’s always something to fill that void. And there will always be something else needed to fill the void if it’s not filled with the only One who can bring complete satisfaction and sew up the gap, leaving it longing no more.

Alcohol abuse. Escape. A few hours. No thoughts. No thoughts. Peace. Fake Peace. But peace, if only for a few hours. I don’t have to think about food, I don’t have to think about weight, I don’t have to think. Period. I don’t have to think. Except the high wears off and when the high wears off it takes me lower than where I once was. So, I need more, but it wears off again and takes me deeper into the valley. I can’t even see the mountain top anymore. The Summit is gone from my view. Is there even a Summit? I’m not sure. I’m in deep. I’m in a cycle that has no end. I’m spinning . I don’t want to spin. But, I don’t want to stop spinning. But, I do want to stop spinning. How do I stop spinning? Death. Death will make it stop. I want death. I’m stepping off the branch.

I step off the branch. I hit rock-bottom. But, I’m not dead. I want to be dead. I don’t want to be dead. I need help. “God are you there? I need help.  I mean I really need help. Jesus, I need you. I need Your help.  Can you help me? Will you help me?” I think I hear something.  I do hear his voice. His Sheep know his voice and they listen to Him! (John 10:27)

“Child, child you are mine. I love you. You are priceless. (1 Cor. 6:20) You are worth something! You are special! You’ve always been special. Stop seeking to fill the void! Stop putting your identity in fleeting things. Put your identity in me. You are mine. I am yours. You are complete in me. You don’t need anything to make you stand out, to make you above average. I created you. I created you with my very hand, you are my masterpiece. You are perfection. (Psalm 139) Stop trying to change that.

Child fill the void with me. You have freedom from every addiction, from every sin, from every trap that wants to ensnarl you. My death gave you freedom. Claim it. Claim it daily. Pick up your cross. You have the choice. Never believe that you are without choice. Put off your old self and choose to put on my armor. It will help you stand strong against Satan’s Schemes. (Eph. 6:13) My death set you free so you could be free. It can’t get any easier than that. I gave you freedom so you could be free. (Titus 2:14) Now, child, stop looking down! Look up. Look up! I am the lifter of your head. (Psalm 3:3) I am your salvation. You need nothing more. Look up! I am the True Vine, the Strong Vine you are the branch. (John 15:5) Look up! Stand in my freedom! Walk in my freedom!

I can hold you safely. I won’t let you fall. Although, you can choose to fall, but if you stay in Me, you will not fall. Look up. Though you have fallen you will get up! Don’t be ashamed of where you have been. Though you were filthy you are now clean. White as snow. Washed by my blood. (Isaiah 1:18) The past. Gone. Forgiven. Forgotten. But, don’t forget it. Don’t forget that is wasn’t glamorous, it wasn’t fulfilling. Don’t forget! Because I don’t want you to go back there.

You allowed your heart to become a heart of stone. And with each fall, and each branch that couldn’t hold you it broke. Broke into pieces. I’m grafting it back together. It will leave you with a scar. The scar will serve as your reminder of how far you fell, of how far you’re capable of falling, and how far you do not want to fall again. You are fragile now, but with each step in freedom you will become stronger, and the stronger you get the more careful you must be. When you are on the top, when you’ve reached the summit, that is when you must especially be on guard because from the summit comes the farthest fall. But I have faith in you and I love you more than you can imagine. That is why ” I lifted you out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; and I set your feet on a rock and gave you a firm place to stand.” (Psalm 40:2) I rescued you because I delighted in you.” (Psalm 18:19) You delight in me? Yes, I delight in you!

This is the past. My Past. The past that tried to embezzle my future. The past that has the potential to steal my present if I don’t “stand firm” (Galations 5:1) and take my “thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) How do I keep from falling again?

I started to slip not because I started to do the wrong things, but because I stopped doing the right things. I didn’t have time for God. My focus was on me and I started placing my identity in places that could never complete me.

Thankfully, only through Christ, was I able to find freedom from a lifestyle of addictions and disorders. When I first was set free from this destructive lifestyle, my mom and I would speak to youth groups, Jr. high and high school students, etc. and warn them of the dangers of eating disorders  and the effect it can have on the rest of the family. When I started getting caught up in sin, I was so selfish. It didn’t cross my mind that what I was doing had the potential to take its toll on those around me. Sin doesn’t just affect one person.

The other thing about sin is that satan makes it look so glamorous and so tempting. We begin to think we can’t live without it and at the same time he diminishes the consequences. He doesn’t want us to think that a couple days of counting calories and getting on the scale could turn into a deadly eating disorder. He doesn’t want us to think that one drink could lead to alcoholism.  One drag to a controlling and overwhelming addiction. But then, the minute we give into that sin, the minute we take hold of it and fulfill the temptation, he rips us to shreds. “Are you kidding me? You just did that? You call yourself a Christian? You love the Lord? I beg to differ! If you love Him so much you’d never do what you just did! You know, He won’t love you anymore! He can’t love you anymore!  You’ve gone too far this time. You’ve crossed that sacred line and there’s no getting back!” The lies he feeds us. The deception he breeds. And sadly, we believe him.

But, we don’t have to. We don’t have to believe that we don’t have a choice. That we’re in too deep. That there’s no getting out. No stopping the cycle. I’ve learned it’s my choice to follow Christ’s voice. It’s my choice to walk in freedom. This is a daily decision. An hourly decision. A minute by minute decision.

There eventually came I time when I stopped talking about my past. I stopped speaking at youth groups and schools.  I’m not sure why?  Maybe because those struggles feel like a lifetime ago. Or maybe because those struggles still try to rear their ugly heads. Maybe because I want people to know who I am today and not think of me in regards to my past. Maybe because over the last few years I’ve slipped. I’ve let go of the Vine and grabbed onto branches, once again, that can’t hold me. Some of them have been the same branches that were in my past. Branches I swore I’d never go back to. And then there’s different branches. Branches I knew, for a fact, I would never hang onto, only to find myself dangling on the limb, waiting for the snap.

And maybe, I stopped talking about my past because I was afraid that I might be talking one way but walking in the opposite direction. No one likes a hypocrite. And I never want to proclaim freedom if I’m choosing to dwell in the pit. But the fact is, I do KNOW there IS FREEDOM from EVERY addiction, from every sin. The minute Christ died on the cross He broke the chains. He set the captive free. If I struggle today, it’s a choice. It’s a conscious decision to walk back into the cell, shut the door, and live in captivity. I apologize to those who know me and who have heard me proclaim my love for Christ but have seen me walk in my own way.

I am thankful for God’s ever- flowing forgiveness, mercy , grace, and faithfulness even in my unfaithfulness. I’m thankful that His love endures for me even when I let go of the Vine. I’m thankful that He is the God of never-ending chances. I am thankful that He provided a way for Freedom in this life and life-eternal.

See the place called Golgotha

Remembering His crown of Thorns

The undaunted slow motion of His crucifixion

the Temple curtain

Torn Apart

See where I am now

Remembering what it cost

Just one thing I’ve learned

One thing learned while I was lost

Just one thing Brother, Sister

Pick up your Cross


Flowers and Jockstraps


What are Little Boys Made of?

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That’s what little boys are made of !”
What are little girls made of?
“Sugar and spice and all things nice
That’s what little girls are made of!”

 After having two wonderful little boys, I became pregnant with my third child. Everywhere I went people would ask me, “Are you hoping for a girl?” My response, “Nope! Not really!” I like my boys! I’m a good mom for boys. I wasn’t so sure how I’d be with a little girl and I definitely didn’t want to find out. In fact, I once had one mom tell me that she would rather have 10 boys than 1 girl! Really!? Really? Are girls that different?

Well, after my third baby ended up being a girl, I immediately fell in love with her, and I was beyond thrilled that my fourth child was also a little girl.  And yes, obviously little boys and little girls are very different. And, this week I was reminded of just how different.

My girls have friends over and they play school or have tea parties. They sit and color quietly at the table and know how to have polite conversations.  They play dress up and do each other’s hair. They put on dances, shows, and elegant balls. It’s so fun to watch them spin and twirl as they smile with their laughing eyes.

Image  Image

ImageMy favorite thing about my  little girls are the masterpieces of art that I find all over the house. Usually among these miniature Picasso drawings or sculptures there can be found an inscription that says something like, “For Mom, Love Rachael. You’re the bestest Mom in the whole world. I love you so much.”

In fact, just a couple days ago the doorbell rang and when I went to answer there wasn’t anyone there.

However, on the doorstep there lay a mystery note that looked like this…

I love my little girls creativity, sensitivity and their overwhelming love for me!

ImageMy boys, on the other hand, have friends over and become the next Thomas Edison, trying to invent the best way to parachute from the upstairs balcony to the ground floor. They decide a ride down the laundry chute would be better (and cheaper) than any amusement park ride. When they jump on the trampoline their goal is to knock the other one down or off.  The word shower is not in their vocabulary. Their hair is usually messy and their fingernails dirty and they really don’t care if they’ve worn the same shirt for 4 days in a row.

ImageMy favorite thing about little boys is their thrill for adventure. They seek it, they find it, they overcome it. They are living life alive and they want more of it. They are on a quest to rescue the princess and triumph as the victor. Adventure after adventure and they can’t get enough. I love how they can include me on these spectacular journeys. I’ve found frogs hopping in the living room, a turtle with a cracked shell, saved from a car accident in the recycling bin. I’ve been called into their bedroom and asked in a very serious voice, “Mom, can I climb out the window onto the roof and jump onto the trampoline?”


And lastly, this week they decided it would be a great idea to rearrange the house, starting with the bathroom towel rack…


Yep! That’s a jockstrap in place of the towel! I love how my boys like to take me by surprise! I realize as a mother of boys my main job is keeping them alive so they can make it to manhood.


“Never let age define how far or how fast you can go.” (me)


“The gift pales in comparison to the Giver.”


”The best advice the world seems to offer…(1) Don’t sweat the small stuff. (2) It’s all small stuff.”  Well, I’d like to stuff a sweaty sock in the mouth of the person who first said that.” (Beth Moore) Cancer, accidents, divorce, unemployment, homelessness, addictions, death, the list goes on and on and it’s not ALL small stuff! The World’s doctrine is determined to reduce difficulty, or ignore it, because it has no genuine answers.


“Every Artist is a cannibal,

Every poet is a thief

All kill their inspiration

And sing about their grief.” (U2)


“Is a dream alive if it don’t come true or is it something worse?” (Bruce Springsteen)


“No matter how bad the circumstances or how sad the situation there is always, ALWAYS at least one thing in which to be thankful for…focus your thoughts there.” (me)


When we see Jesus for who He really is, we can either turn away or shamelessly adore Him. He is obligated to keep us dissatisfied until we put down our plans and pick up His agenda.” (me)

From the Mouths of Babes

You said what!?

  1. Rachael age 4: As I’m drying Rachael’s hair I notice she is studying herself in the mirror when she suddenly asks, “Mom, who do you think I look like?” “Well,” I respond, “with your blue eyes and blond hair you certainly don’t look like me, so who do YOU think you look like.” “I don’t know, Mom. I was thinking I look a lot like George Washington. We have the same hair.” What!? I was thinking maybe, dad, grandma, my brother, but definitely George Washington wasn’t one that came to mind!?
  2. Tommy, age 9: Last year when I was homeschooling Tommy we were studying Abraham Lincoln. I said to him, “Tommy, can you believe that Abraham Lincoln had 3 sons that died.” “Actually, Mom,” he responded, “Abraham Lincoln had 4 sons that died.” Well, duh!? It’s 2012 of course Abraham Lincoln doesn’t have any living sons!
  3. Leah, age 6: After spending quite a bit of time on my hair and make-up and feeling as if I looked very presentable for the day, I smiled at Leah. She looked at me a bit too closely and said, “Mom, why do you have a brown tooth.” What!? A brown tooth, you’re in kindergarten, you should know your colors by now, it’s more like yellow! And it’s from drinking too much coffee! Immediatley, I wanted to call the dentist and schedule a whitening appointment.
  4. My boys were at Leah’s gymnastic’s meet and would not stop telling me how boring it was. I finally turned to them and said, “I do NOT want to hear the word boring or bored come out of your mouth one more time!” A couple minutes later Steven turned to Tommy and said, “Tommy, isn’t this the most un-sophisticated event you’ve ever been to?” From then on, they thought it was amusing to use any other word to describe her meet except boring.
  5. Tommy age 2: Out of the blue from the back seat of the car, “Mom, I can SNAP and say PORTUGUESE!?” Wow, that’s some talent, Son!!
  6. Steven age 3: After listening to the song “Leaning on the everlasting Arms,” Steven says to me “Mom, I like this song because it says, “safe and secure from all alarms.” That means we can ride our bikes without helmets in heaven and the police won’t get us!”
  7. Leah, age 5: Leah was looking at a picture of my cousin, Hannah. I told her that everyone used to say Hannah and I looked a lot alike, in which she responded, “Well, maybe, but you definitely have a lot more lines on your face.” Thanks a lot!!
  8. Steve, age 8: “Hey, Mom, did you know your like 4,232 years old in dog years!?” Seriously!? No, I’m not! It’s my age x 7! Not my age x 130 something!
  9. Rachael, age 4: Rachael came home from preschool very upset because she had the shortest hair in her class. Her eyes were flowing with tears and in between sobs she said to me, “I’m going to my room and I’m going to pray that Jesus will make my hair grow long.” A couple minutes later I hear her open her door and yell to me, “Mom!! Jesus doesn’t like me because my hair isn’t growing!!!” Rachael, some things do take time!
  10. My sons were 4 and 6 and I thought it was time to teach them the appropriate word for their “male part.” Without naming which son I turned to one of them and asked, “do you know the real word for your…?” With a little giggle he replied, “No.” So, I said, “Well it’s called a penis.” “What!? A Peanut!? I love peanuts!? That was it! No more sex talks from mom, dad can have that responsibility.
  11. Driving in the car with my kids I asked them, “What was the most interesting or important thing you learned in school today?” Each of my home-schooled kids answered with a good response. Steven, who was the only one at a public school answered by saying, “I learned that it’s not a good idea to throw cheese balls at lunch.”
  12. My mom worked as a 2nd grade teacher. One day during school a little boy said, “Miss Rexilius, you smell so good.” “Why thank you, Philip!” No, Miss Rexilius I mean you smell really, really good.” “Thanks, Philip!” “Yes, Miss Rexilius, you smell just like corn!!!
  13. Leah found some heart-shaped measuring spoons in the kitchen drawer. She thought they were “so cool.” So cool, in fact that she told me, “Mom, make sure the other kids know that I get these when you die!” What!? You guys are making dibs on that all ready!! If it means that much to you, Leah, you can have them now!