Tuesday, December 29, 2015

In the Valley Together

A few years ago I taught a study on friendships throughout the Bible (Nathan got his name from that study!)  With each new adventure (ie, place we have moved), I have prayed that God would bring deep friendships in my life.  Friendships that brought me closer to the Lord.  Friends that really meant, "How are you?"  And weren't freaked out when I said, "Not good."  Or friends that see me venturing down a path that wasn't of the Lord and weren't afraid to say, "Uh, April... you need to think about this."  Friends that I could laugh with till my sides hurt and my cheeks ached.  Friends that shed tears together.  Friends that walked hard roads and deep valleys together.  You know, life can get messy.  Life can get hard and valleys can be deep.  Then deep friendships took on a different meaning.  When the valleys are deep and despair you feel is real.  That is when these friendships really grow, when they deepen and the cement cures.  It’s when they see your ugly and they keep right on walking alongside you.  And you wonder why, because my mess is really ugly.  It is when friends walk alongside you in the hard, and they cover you and they carry you.  It’s when they stand in the gap because you can’t.   

I was so heartbroken when God moved us to Gouverneur 7 1/2 years ago.  I had a group of friends that meant this to me.  And when God asked us to move, I dug my heals in deep because I thought for sure I'd never find that again.  And today I was thinking back to that study that I had taught after that move and this picture popped up in my mind.  These friends are the ones that I didn't think I'd find again.  And here I am.  God heard the desires of my heart and answered my prayers.  I recently walked through a really deep dark valley.  It was hard and painful, but these friends carried me and covered me.  I remember one hard day I sent a message to my friend and just said, "Stand in my gap and pray."  I never dreamed that I’d be living with such examples of friendship.  These girls shine Jesus in their lives.  When life is hard, it is Him who they go to… and sometimes on my behalf.  I am so blessed, and so undeserving of their love and friendship.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

21 Day Fix

Yes, I started this 4 days ago.  Sam is convinced I bought into an infomercial.  I've seen the results in my friends.  But I have been against "diets" or anything that makes me eat differently than my family.

My joints ached.  I was constantly feeling tired.  I went to the doctor and had blood work for everything under the sun.  When it all came back clear, I knew I had to make a change.  First I started making and drinking Kombucha which helped tremendously with my joints.  Honestly, I had really hoped I could just take some medication and continue on with my life.  That wasn't the case.  But I still felt exhausted every morning when I woke up.  Then I pulled out my summer clothes, and I was really sad at how snug they were.  They fit, but they were snug.  I had a million excuses why I couldn't work out.  I had no desire to run, which is very unlike me.

I loved the idea of being challenged to do this.  I loved how it prepped you to make long term changes and it wasn't unreasonable.  I have seen my friend apply this concept to the long term.  I was hesitant to spend the money.  I really was.  I spent a week mulling it over.

Then I did it.  I bought it.  And I told Sam he was doing it too.  He had every criticism under the sun.  He claims he was just picking on me.  But he didn't flat our refuse to go along with me for 21 days.  He jokingly called it his "21 Day Fast".  Which isn't true at all since he doesn't even eat everything that he can have.  It is true, I mourned that first day going to the grocery store.  I passed the chips and part of me wanted to cry.  As I walked down the aisles really thinking about the food we were going to eat, I longed for the stuff I rarely bought anyway!  What was wrong with me?!?  I knew this was good, I knew choosing to put wholesome foods in my good was right.  But how I wanted the foods that I couldn't have.  Then I was faced with a heart issue.  That is a post for another time.  God was opening my eyes to a few things.  I came home and texted my friend about my mourning as I walked through the aisles.  She encouraged me, having already been through this before knowing how awesome I'd feel. 

For me, this isn't about losing weight.  People look at me like I'm a little crazy when I say I am doing this.  "Why do you have to do this?"  This is about me finding my fitness groove again.  This is about me making choices that are healthy.  I knew I needed a challenge.  I needed to do this with someone else, to push me when I just wanted to fall on the sofa and be lazy.  I love a good challenge, especially when I am competing against me. 

Today is day 4.  I have drank more water than I can even imagine.  Yesterday I joked that it was the 21 Day Cleanse.  Every day is about making better choices.  And hopefully by the end of 21 days my family will be more on board than feeling like I am dragging them with me. ;)  Because I refuse to make a different meal! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

My Transformation Pictures

This won't be your normal transformation post.  You know, the one where I have lost x number of pounds.  Instead, I have gained 15 pounds and so much more than just a number.  My heart aches when I hear someone say, "If I could only lose x more pounds."

I posted this back in August when I was heading to the doctors.  I shared my fear in the scale.  At that appointment they found a cyst in my breast, so now I go in every 6 months for what I call a "boob check."  A thing a like a lump in your boob doesn't come lightly when your Momma had breast cancer before she was 40.  So, here I am.  Sitting here getting ready to go to my appointment.  Knowing I have to get on the scale.  And the fear creeps up.  The fear of my worth being put back in that number.  I haven't weighed myself in 6 months.  I have worked out, lifted heavy weights, played with my kids, celebrated holidays with family, moved into our first house, had coffee and cookies with really good friends... basically I have lived life.  A happy one.  One rooted in Christ, living as His daughter.

This picture was taken almost 5 years ago, when I was a tad neurotic about my weight.  Ok, maybe more than a tad.  I kept a food journal.  Logged calories.  Ran.  Weighed myself 3 times a day. 
There was more wrong than my being consumed with what I weighed.  But that is a story for another time.  I am thankful for my family and friends, that loved me even when I was quite unlovable. 

So this is the NOW picture.  I have very few pictures of me since I'm always behind the camera.  15 pounds heavier.  (give or take, since I rarely weigh myself now) 

See that cake?  I ate a piece.  And guess what?  I didn't work out to negate the calories I ate.

This is my before and after.  While I pray every time I face this fear that God would just take it from me, He hasn't chosen to do that yet.  So this is my journey.