Long Distance

Hello friends!
Things are hoppin’ here at school – and I expect posts to be quite sporadic for the next couple of months.  But when inspiration strikes…there’s no ignoring it!  It’s funny where that inspiration comes from sometimes, though.

I adore metaphors.  I really believe that I actually comprehend a concept much better when I can translate it into a metaphor – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Just like inspiration, sometimes it’s pretty interesting what causes a metaphor to construct itself in my mind.

So today.  Boyfriend and are I texting, and I ask him if he’s been to the store yet to get some meds for his icky cold.  I’ve given him a couple of ideas of things he could pick up to hopefully ease the symptoms and get him back to feeling better soon.  But the thing is, he’s been working overtime for the last couple of weeks, and when he gets off work, he just wants to go home.  I don’t blame him one bit!

But part of me gets frustrated.  I’ve told him what I think will help him feel better, and all he has to do is go to the store.  He knows these things would probably help him, but he’s just exhausted…the couch is is friend right now.  I would go get medicine for him, except for that whole distance thing…Seattle and Northwest Montana aren’t exactly close.

I mulled this around in my mind for a bit, feeling almost helpless, wondering if I should ask my mom to intervene (*Super mom*!) or what.

And please note: This is not a “boyfriend rant”.  It’s part of the metaphor – just keep reading!

And then the metaphor (thus inspiration) struck.

At the times when I’ve struggled the most with this Eating Disorder (ED), boyfriend (and family, friends, and so forth) has been far away, watching and listening to my battles, giving me ideas, tips, advice, guidance etc.  When someone deals with ED, it’s like working overtime, and they just get tired…and don’t always want to do things to help them become healthier, even though they know it’s for the best.  They just get tired.  Trust me, I know this.

With all of this in mind, I think I finally understand what my loved ones back home have felt for the past couple years that I’ve been dealing with ED.  Just like my supports back home, I felt somewhat helpless and frustrated that I could only offer words and prayers, no “tangible” actions.

And to take this one step further…

God gave us the perfect medicine for all of the struggles we face in life.  No, accepting Him doesn’t remove our struggles, but it does allow us to spend eternity with him – and having a relationship with him is probably the greatest comfort through anything we face.

But here’s the thing.  He watches us, knowing exactly what we need, giving us all the tools to get it, but we have to actually do something about it – accept what He has to give.  We work hard, we get stressed, we get tired, and sometimes, we know that we just need to go and get – or accept – the remedy He freely offers.  We just have to do it.  That’s it.

And after we accept Him, He continues to be our remedy if we only let Him.  How awesome is that?!

You know that stress I talked about in my last post?  I need to accept God’s continuous remedy daily.  The stress probably won’t vanish, and I’ll still have to work, but that work won’t be under my own strength (Philippians 4:13)  It’s like honey to the sore throat 🙂
God is the remedy – the healer – if we’d just let him.

If you have any questions about what I’ve written here, just drop me a note 🙂
Have a blessed week!

Beth

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He Kicks you When You’re Down

Student teaching will not be a walk in the park.  I’ll just get that out there right now.  Between the two big papers required by the School of Ed here at Northwest, the classes I have to take for the next 5 weeks and prepping for teaching, there is a LOT of work to do.  And it’s not just busy work…it requires actual thought, intentionality, focus.  Oh, and time.  Lots of time is required of me.

After just 4 days of class at Northwest and 3 days of classroom set up and meetings at my “cooperating school” (with no students), I was ready to throw the towel in.  We had been inundated with emails telling us that this was due here and that was due then.  I was overwhelmed.  Over.Whelmed.

I felt about like this girl:

Walking home from class that afternoon, all I could hear was “I can’t do this.  I can’t do this.  There is NO way I could do this.  What on earth ever made me think I could do this?”

My next thought: “But God is with me and will give me the strength that I certainly don’t have.  And everyone else thinks I can do it – and they’re praying for me.”

Then negativity rushed in, saying “Obviously, you’re faking it.  They only THINK you can do it.  You’ve got them all fooled.  Sheesh.”

I felt like I’d fallen on my face and then got kicked.

And then it dawned on me.  This voice of doubt, defeat and despair came straight from the Enemy.  So I prayed.  And thought.

I wanted to quit.  The temptation was so sweet – going home?  Being done with this crazy workload?  What could be better?  But when I thought about going home – really thought about leaving all the work I’d done here behind, I couldn’t stomach it.  Four years…wasted.  A large sum of money…wasted.  There was no peace like a river in my soul.

Then, I thought about what I had to loose (besides time and money) by not completing my degree.  Sure, pride is involved, but you know what got me at the heart?  The job I hope to get eventually.  If I don’t get this degree, I don’t have a chance at getting a job tutoring eating disorder patients while they’re in treatment.  I’m not saying that God is limited in the beauty He can create from my dust, but still…without the degree, I wouldn’t be able to get the job.

So I rolled up my sleeves.  Talked to God.  Called my mom.  Called my boyfriend.  And took a deep breath.  And until December 7th when I walk to the front of the chapel as my name is called to recognize my accomplishments at Northwest, I’ll continue rolling up my sleeves, talking to God, calling my mom, calling my boyfriend and taking deep breaths.

That will be my armor to keep Satan from kicking me when I’m down.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:11-12

Blessings,

Beth

But What if I Don’t Wanna?

Well friends, it’s that time of year again.  Yesterday, I arrived back at campus, and I’m now mostly unpacked and mostly organized – just a bit left to finish up today.  Tomorrow I begin my “victory lap” and I’m about as ready as I can be.  But truthfully, I don’t want to be here that badly.  Sure, it’s fun living on campus, being around so many friends and living “independently”.  Yes, it’s only three months until graduation and I’ll come out with a diploma.  But I’m just…done.  Tired.  Tired of school.

So how do I stay here and finish school strongly when I’d rather be at home?  Well…it’s not gonna be easy.

1. Break Down the Semester into palatable chunks
For me, having short-term goals in mind helps keep me focused on the present rather than on some future date that seems years and years away.  For example, In 6 weeks, I will have completed my half-day student teaching, and I get to see boyfriend.  5 weeks after that, I get to see boyfriend again.  And 4 weeks after that is graduation.  That sounds a little less intimidating than “a semester” or “three months” or even “15 weeks”.

Also, a couple of my classes meet only one time weekly for 6 weeks, and the time between those weekly classes tends to go by quickly…especially when there is homework to be done…. 🙂

2. Talk to Family and Friends From Home Often

I’ve been here for just over 24 hours, but I’ve already talked to my parents and boyfriend.  They encourage me to stay strong in the work I’m doing here, but also help me feel connected to home.  Facebook is also great for this!

3. Give Myself Breaks and Have Some Fun

Take a walk.  Check email, facebook, pinterest, etc.  Read a magazine.  Watch Chopped.  See a movie or go out with friends.  Yes, homework is very important, but so is my sanity – which will not be maintained without a few breaks and spurts of fun here and there.  And with the lovely and wonderful friends I have here, I think I’d be quite silly to not spend some time with them while I’m here!!

4. Go to God With all my Struggles

Pray for strength and endurance (…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31)

Pray for a sense of purpose aside from obtaining a diploma (And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28)

Pray for a sense of peace amidst the stress (For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…” 1 Cor 14:33)

Pray that God would help me to be content (And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19)

 

I need to constantly remember that God has placed me here for a purpose.  He knows it may not be the easiest thing for me, but the Lord doesn’t do things needlessly.

How do you cope with doing something you’d rather not do?
Blessings,

Beth

Tea Cup

Every morning, I drink a cup of tea.  Right now, decaf green is my first choice, but I’ve gone through phases of rooibos, decaf earl gray and even licorice spice.

I fill a mug with water and pop it in the microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds.  Every day.  I take it out, plop the tea bag in and settle on the couch with my computer to catch up on Facebook and sip my tea.  And when I’m done, I take the cup back to the kitchen and set it by the sink.  Sometimes, I take the tea bag out of the cup and give it a rinse, but if I’m in a hurry, I skip this step.

If I don’t take a moment to rinse out that cup, the residual tea leaves a brown stain, one that can’t be removed with just a quick rinse, or even dish soap.  However, if I take a few moments to rinse the cup, there is just the slightest evidence of tea.

You all probably know by now that I like my metaphors.  And this cup of tea, no doubt, is a metaphor.

We are that cup of tea.  God is the rinse.  Of course, Jesus removes our “stain” when we accept his gift of salvation.  But over time, the struggles and stresses of life build up a different kind of stain – one that occurs from not daily going to the Lord for renewal.

When my tea cup gets stained, I take some extra time to sprinkle baking soda in it and gently, yet firmly scrub it out.  Prayer is the baking soda, God is the scrub brush.
Potentially an uncomfortable situation, but the world is better and brighter after we undergo this.

But there is an alternative.  We can take time daily to “rinse”.  Go to God.

Recognize his sovereignty and give him praise.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:9-10) 

Ask for help for that day.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt 6:11)

Ask forgiveness.

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” (Matt 6:12)

Ask for strength for the day, and protection from the Enemy.

“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matt 6:13)

And then take a moment to let the Lord respond, to fill you with peace and joy, byproducts of His presence in your life.

“Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10a)

We have the choice – we can keep our tea cups clean, or let the stain build up.  How is your tea cup looking?

Blessings,

Beth

No Thief Like Fear

Hello friends!

Sorry I have been MIA for awhile…summer play, summer job and boyfriend have been keeping me quite busy.  But now I’m done with work for the summer, and getting ready to head back to school.  Thankfully, I was able to take a few days off before leaving to get some rest and, ummm, oh yeah.  PACK.

Prepping to go back to school has brought up a lot of emotions and feelings.  Slight dread, exhaustion, anxiety, apprehension and fear, to name a few.  It seems like all of them can be explained: slight dread – my schedule will be jam-packed and it’s my 9th semester.  I’m just about checked out!  Exhaustion – see “slight dread”.  Anxiety – see “exhaustion”.  Apprehension – “See “anxiety”.  Fear – well…there is fear about the previously mentioned items, but there really shouldn’t be all out fear about these things.  And what if the fear is what causes those other feelings?  Could it be that fear is robbing me of any fun that I might find in my last semester of college (oh my gosh, my last semester….)

It would make sense.  Fear has robbed the joy from other things too.

Fear of having to increase a size has taken joy out of clothes shopping.

Fear of my old clothes not fitting has taken joy out of putting together a fun outfit every day.

Fear of gaining weight used to remove all joy from eating tasty, different foods.

Fear of gaining weight used to suck the joy out of walks – I walked to burn calories, not to just feel better in general.

See, fear is nasty.  And it likes to attack from all sides.  Those fears listed above are just a few.  I’m nervous about the commute for student teaching, for student teaching itself, for finances.  I’m afraid of judgement from people I haven’t seen all summer – ED wants me to believe that when they see me, their first thought will be “Wow, she’s put on some weight….”

There is no thief like fear.

Jason Gray wrote a song with that title:

Fear will take the best of us
Then come back for the rest of us
Its raging hunger never satisfied
It’s closer than a brother
And more jealous than a lover
Who holds you while it swallows you alive
Let down your guard
And it will steal your heart

There’s no thief like fear, no
There’s no thief like fear.

I think he hit the nail on the head.

Where is fear stealing the joy in your life?

Blessings,

Beth

Not Missing Out

ED is like what I would imagine an abusive boyfriend to be like.  He sweet talks me into believing that he’s good and trustworthy, then tells lie after lie about how I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough ad nauseum.  And when I’m not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough etc, I’m probably not worth going to that party, or going to that restaurant.  There’s no way I’d consider roasting hot dogs and marshmallows with the family, attending a church pot-luck or going on vacation.  Too complicated.  Not worth it.  Not happenin’.

Except, that’s what ED wants me to believe.  ED, and ED alone.

In a recent meeting with my dear mentor, we talked about this very thing; how ED wants us to just stay home instead of living life.  It’s a load of garbage.  Lies.  Deceit.  You know what my mentor’s motto is?

“I’m not missing out”

For my mentor, this could mean taking a chicken sausage along to roast while her family has brats.  It could mean packing dinner to the farmer’s market to make sure she gets good nutrition in a place that can feel overwhelming.  Telling ED to “shut up and leave me alone, I want to do _________ with my family!”

Not missing out.

Not missing out on a vacation.  Not missing out on a Scentsy party with my mom,  sister and dear ladies from my church.  Not missing out on a double date.  Not missing out on that church pot luck.  Not.Missing.Out.

I’m tired and frustrated.  Tired of dealing with ED and all his deceptions and belittlement.  Tired of skipping a get-together because I have a tummy ache.  Frustrated with this Eating Disorder taking up so much thought and planning time.

Tired of missing out.

John 10:10

Our lives were not meant to be lived sitting on the couch in fear or despair.  God intends for us to live a full and abundant life.

Are you done missing out?

Blessings,

Beth

Sticks and Stones May Break my Bones…

Sticks and stones may break my bones…but words may break my spirit.

We all know that the words we speak can have a significant impact.  They can build up – confidence, strength, happiness.  They can act as a commitment – to a task, to an event, to a person.  But words can also tear down.  Wreak havoc.  Break hearts.  Break spirits.

And words cannot be taken back once they are spoken.  Putting words back in your mouth is about as easy as putting toothpaste back in the tube after you squeeze it out.  Yeah, it doesn’t work out so well!

The power of words is not a new concept.  But ED directs words to the most sensitive place possible.  Have a little wound of insecurity?  ED will gladly direct the salty words of an ill-delivered compliment straight to the open skin.  Then, ED will proceed to rub and chafe and scour the wound with the salt laden words until he almost wins.  He used to win.  Now, he’s not usually so lucky.

But the salt still stings.  That ill-delivered compliment plays in my mind over and over…and over.  I feel resentment towards the complimentor, although I shouldn’t.  She’s not exactly young, and she has some significant medical issues that probably affect how she interacts socially.  She doesn’t really “get” eating disorders.  But still, her words…her words.

Her words were meant well.  She certainly intended good.  But when I walked up to her to greet her this morning, the first words out of her mouth were “Ohhhh look at you, you’ve gained weight!  You look so good, you were too thin before, but you’ve gained weight, haven’t you?”  and on and on.

Yes, what she said was true.  And yes, what she said could be encouraging and complimentary.  However, it was the delivery.  She spoke loudly in a crowd.  She made my weight and appearance the heart and focus of our brief conversation.  And that’s what got me.

Here is my request (whether your my friend or have friends who deal with an eating disorder):

Feel free to compliment.  Please don’t feel like you have to walk around on egg shells (at least around me).  But when you do give compliments, think a little about your words before they leave your mouth.  Think a little about being tactful with your words.  Use words that will build up, not tear down.  Use words that will strengthen a spirit, not break it. 

Blessings,

Beth