“I also began to eat when I was stressed or feeling emotionally low. Food had a conflicting role in my life – it helped me and it hurt me. My body had taken center stage, with no acknowledgement of God in my life and certainly no power to succeed.”
october_november 2014 issue one | free www.christianwomanmag.com
Author, Sheralyn Bucknell
FROM THE BOOK
SAVORING JESUS RATHER THAN SIPPING THE WORLD
DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL THE BEST FIRST DATE EVER
Sheralyn Bucknell ING BODY BATTLE
DISCUSSES HER ALL CONSUM
AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY PARABLE, MARDEL & COVENANT BOOKSTORES ACROSS AMERICA
CW contents: october_november | 2014 06 Daddy’s Little Girl A gorgeous girl. A gorgeous dress. He’s nervous. She’s excited. But this is no ordinary date... Annette Spurr 08 Surprise In The Darkness A weary traveler realised the beauty of her sleeplessness when she gazed out of the train window... Natalie Box 10 Lessons I Learned From The Book Of Ruth A friendship with an older woman opened the doors to healing, grace and forgiveness... Barbara Clingwald 14 Savoring Jesus Rather Than Sipping The World Coping with her son’s addictions led this mother to her own... Ellen Mary Dykas 16 Reaching Your Potential Our potential is the difference between what we are and what we can become… Amanda Antcliff
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4 Christian Woman october_november 2014
19 3 Reasons Why Loving Your Man Can Be So Difficult Berni Dymet gives some important and humorous insights into how your man may operate and how to continue loving him. 22 My Secret Lust It’s a sin many of us struggle with so how do we deal with this silent issue... Shelbie Mae 24 The Mind, Body, Spirit Battle Sheralyn Bucknell knows what she’s talking about when discussing food, exercise and fitness. She has written a book detailing her earlier struggle with food, exercise and self-image. 28 Old wives tales or faith in Jesus? What values and beliefs is your life based upon? Cherie Freedman discusses...
Unless otherwise specified, all Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, copyright-1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part, without prior written permission. Opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the staff. All attempts are made to verify advertising material, and no responsibilty is taken for misleading or erroneous material. Due to spam issues, all email addresses have been removed from our publishers section. Copyright 2014. www.inititatemedia.net
Daddy’s Little Girl by ANNETTE SPURR
gorgeous girl. A gorgeous dress. He’s nervous. She’s excited. But this is no ordinary date. Aaron Dickson knocks on the front door of a home in Bellingham, Washington… and three year old Analynne greets him, bursting with love and eager anticipation. It’s the YouTube video that’s gone viral, with over 8.6 million people around the world watching on as Aaron enjoys an intimate meal with his daughter on their back porch, followed by a ‘play date,’ complete with swing and slippery slide time. And although it’s called ‘The Best First Date Ever,’ Aaron admits that it’s actually one of many dates he’s had with his little girl. To him, it’s as natural as breathing and he loves every intentional moment he spends with his two daughters. Growing up, Aaron watched his own dad take his sisters out on dates; ‘That’s just the natural word for it,’ he’d say. And so today, Aaron carries on the tradition. When asked why, he said: ‘I want to pursue my little girl as her father in a loving relationship. I love her to death and I want to treat her like a princess.’ I must admit that when the video first showed up in my Facebook news feed, I deliberately ignored it because I knew it would be a tear-jerker but when it popped up for a fifth time, I knew I had to find out what all the fuss was about. And I was right… from the moment Analynne opened the door, tears streamed down my face and before I knew it, I was sobbing. Why did it affect me so deeply? There’s something about daddies and daughters that is so precious. Their effect on us is so deep and intrinsic; it can’t be expressed in words. Decades of research proves that, for better or for worse, no one quite shapes the life of a little girl, quite like her dad. One 15 year study showed that a father has a greater impact on his daughter’s ability to trust, enjoy and relate well to the males in her life. And well-fathered daughters are usually more self-confident, more self-reliant, and more successful in school and in their careers than poorly-fathered daughters. Daughters with good relationships with their father are also less likely to develop eating disorders. Understanding the lasting impact dads have on their daughters, perhaps it should come as no surprise that Aaron’s video was met with such a strong reaction by others… and it wasn’t all good. 6 Christian Woman october_november 2014
Realise the ‘big time’ is where you are at. Stop dreaming for tomorrow when you will have the perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect job. That’s what my father told me and I took it to heart.
Thousands of people labelled his video as ‘creepy’ and ‘disturbing,’ mainly because he refers to his special time with his daughter as a ‘date.’ The idea of the video was to capture the heart of Aaron’s insurance company ‘BeCause of Camillito’ – it started with the belief that the world needs love and they give 100% profit to charity. Despite the controversy, the video remains the most viewed and shared video of all time on Faithit and Liftbump, reminding millions of dads to invest time into their daughters. And I get the feeling Analynne will forever be daddy’s little girl.
told me and I took it to heart. You see the importance of living in the now, with the expression on my little girl’s face. She is so happy. She opens the door and all you can see in her eyes is love. If you look at her reaction, it is so rewarding. So put down your smartphone, turn off the TV and work out what’s important to your little girl, what makes her tick. That is the best thing in the world, you will ever accomplish.
Here are Aaron’s 3 Tips for Dating Your Daughter
2. PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL Take the time to know what they like, that’s what makes time special. My 3 year old and 2 year old are complete opposites. They both love to sing and dance but at the very core, they are both very different people.
1. SLOW DOWN Realise the ‘big time’ is where you are at. Stop dreaming for tomorrow when you will have the perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect job. That’s what my father
3. BE CREATIVE Little girls and little boys have an amazing imagination. As we get older I think we lose that as we get so fixed in a little box. We wake up to an alarm, we go to work
and we come home. Little boys and girls live outside of that box where anything is possible. The living room floor is not just a carpet… it’s a ball room for Cinderella. You have to be creative to be in their world and they will love you for it. As a dad I make an effort. That makes a huge difference on a daughter’s life. I’ve watched my grandfather, my father and now me, treat children with respect and seen them blossom and grow from the support. It’s very beneficial. It’s coming up to father’s day and thank you for Dads for Kids for helping to encourage and inspire other Aussie dads on this father’s day to get involved in their kids’ lives. CW Annette Spurr Editor MomDaily.net * Linda Nielsen, “College Daughters’ Relationships with Their Fathers: A 15 Year Study,” College Student Journal, March 2007, Vol. 41, No. 1 pp. 112-121.
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A weary traveler realised the beauty of her sleeplessness when she gazed out of the train window... With Natalie Box
recently travelled across Canada from Vancouver to Toronto on a three-day train journey. After going to bed one night at 11pm, despite my tiredness, at 3am I found myself wide-awake. The two cups of earl grey tea I had earlier that night may have had something to do with it, but regardless, there I lay in my sleeper cabin, unable to sleep. I peered through a crack in my window shade and caught a glimpse of something shining. At first I thought it was a reflection on the glass, but I then realized these shiny little specks were actually stars. Intrigued, I sat up and lay forward to lift the window shade. My eyes widened with excitement and I almost lost my breath. Twinkling with all their might in the inky night sky were the most stunning stars I had ever seen. My camera couldn’t capture it, my iPhone couldn’t snap it; it was simply a gift for me in that moment. Instantly the frustration of not sleeping turned to gleeful elation at such a magical sight. A surprise in the darkness will do that to you. Have you experienced darkness lately? Perhaps it’s just been a moment, or maybe a little longer. When things are dark, it often feels like it will stay that way forever. But something we don’t always think about when it’s dark is that beautiful things are always happening in the background. Take the night sky, for example. When you look out your window at night, even though the sky is black, behind the scenes the sun is always moving closer, getting ready to rise and light up the day for us. “Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:12 NIV). No matter how dark things might be, hope is always ready and waiting to surprise us. “The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters” (Genesis 1:2 NLT). Now I imagine (having obviously not being there myself
at the exact moment of creation) that in the beginning, the darkness would have been intense, scary and confusing. It would have felt like nothing was happening and nothing ever would. Maybe you can relate to this? But guess what, the moment God spoke, everything changed. When those four words, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3 NIV) came out of God’s mouth, something supernatural took place. All fear, confusion, and darkness fled as light was released and hope shone forth like a beacon. And this wasn’t just a “one off” act; our great God does this all the time. Dark seasons are usually pretty confusing. When we are in them we can’t see, our perception is altered and at times we can’t find rest. Have you ever felt confused or frustrated in a dark season? It’s pretty isolating isn’t it? But what we often don’t see in these hard times is that things are actually brewing behind the scenes. Perhaps you’re in between seasons right now. Or maybe you’re going through something that doesn’t quite make sense? Whatever season you are in, be encouraged because things are shifting in your life, and surprises are waiting. So as I lay there on the train in darkness that night, all I was concerned about was the frustration that I couldn’t sleep. Little did I know The Lord had prepared that surprise for me. He knows the desires of our hearts. So whether you need this now, or maybe you know someone who does, here are a few little things to do if you find a little darkness creeping in:
cannot properly be seen in daylight. So keep your eyes open for little surprises. Expectation releases the miraculous.
Natalie Box is a writer, blogger and voiceover artist. She’s passionate about encouraging people to dream bigger, believe for the impossible and to walk in all God has created them to be. Visit her blog at www.thewritersink. com.au. Natalie is currently based in New York City until later this year to finish her book, “Anything Can Happen”.
. Keep your eyes open. Did you know that there are certain things that actually require darkness in order to be seen. For example; the Northern Lights, a sky full of stars, and a street decorated with Christmas lights – these all have a beauty that can only be seen in the dark. Because of the brightness of their lights they simply
. Stay focused. In darkness there are no distractions. When I was on that cross-Canada train, all I could see were the stars twinkling in the night sky and I became inspired. I couldn’t see the ground, didn’t have phone reception, everyone else was asleep, and my camera didn’t work. There were no distractions, so I was actually focused. As you focus and declare God’s word over your life, favour follows you. “Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning”. (Job 11:17 NLT)
. Fill yourself with the light of the word. No matter how dark it looks, the moment light shines, everything changes. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1:5 NLT) Even though sometimes it feels like darkness wins, it never does. As we fill ourselves with the light of the word of God, with thanksgiving and wisdom, darkness always runs scared.
. Ask him to speak to you. This seems like the simplest of tasks. “Ask and you shall receive…” (Matthew 7:7) Even through the darkness, God’s promise rings true. “Though you walk through the darkest valley, my rod and your staff they comfort you” (Psalm 23:4). CW
A motherâ€™s journey from heartbreak to hope.
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Lessons I learned from
The Book of Ruth A friendship with an older woman opened the doors to healing, grace and forgiveness... BARBARA CLINGWALD While driving down California’s 101 Freeway, approaching Ventura I was enjoying the beauty of the day, the ocean view and some unusually light traffic. Then perversely, ruining the bliss of my ride, I found something to worry about. The previous evening, my husband and I had a particularly special time with friends and I wanted to reciprocate with some sort of thank you gift. But what would everyone actually enjoy? I puzzled over this as I zipped past a few exits when the solution came to me. I remembered what Ruth had taught me. First, I would invite the children to come with me to a toy store. On the way I would explain that each child could pick out the one thing that looked like the most fun and that would be their gift from me. When Ruth had told me about giving gifts to children this way, I wondered if it might not cause a problem like the child crying and begging for more than one gift. Ruth had told me confidently that it always works and the child is very happy. I have already used this advice twice and have been surprised and relieved each time to see that indeed she was right. “(…) Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown (…) to me.” (Ruth 1:8) Lesson One Finding the Survivor in You Ruth’s youngest daughter had just won the latest battle in the war over who was now in charge. Like it or not, another caregiver was about to show up. Ruth was patient enough to meet with me, after all one battle does not mean the war has been won. In the bathroom getting ready, Ruth took a good look in the mirror. Wryly she remembered, “ everyone always said that 10 Christian Woman october_november 2014
I was the pretty one in the family, if only they could see me now!” She laughed a little to herself and put the hairbrush down. In fact her famous beauty was still evident in the eighty-eight year old body she now inhabited. Bright green eyes and a mop of curly gray hair were appropriate physical clues to let people know that there was still plenty of life, fun and intelligence in this woman. She was not one to be dismissed lightly. My introduction to Ruth began almost three years ago as I walked up her driveway. I was wondering if this was something I wanted to do. My last caretaker job had been with a successful song writer. It had been both challenging and rewarding. It also let me work in a luxurious setting. Now, trudging up to the modest apartment house with the somewhat dingy exterior, I told myself that I could just meet her, then decide if I wanted to do this. To my great relief, stepping into the apartment I felt like Alice in Wonderland, falling through the looking glass. Outside it was uninteresting and rather gloomy. But inside it was open and light with town and mountain views. Ruth’s artwork enlivened her home. We immediately became friends. Of course twists and turns in our relationship were coming, but they would be managed “I like to walk to the beach every day,” .Ruth said. “It is a half a mile up and back so I get a good mile walk in each day.” Accompanying her on walks to the beach was the first duty Ruth gave me and it proved to be one I enjoyed as much as she did. I had to maneuver other tasks like changing her linens. “No one but me can do that, I like it a certain way.” In short time I was able to tell her hat if she wanted clean sheets, she better
teach me how she likes it done as these needed changing. We worked it out as we did with other issues. She wasn’t one to let others help her. It was a quality I had to admire and to try to gracefully circumvent. There are myriad ways to teaching and learning. Being told what to do and how to do it is one way. But observing and using your own brain and heart to figure out how to solve a problem is trickier yet possibly the way to a more indelible understanding. In more subtle ways, Ruth taught me some unforgettable lessons. Like the Ruth of the Bible, she too was a survivor. About two years into working with Ruth, her health began to fail. Our walks became rarer and shorter as the stairs to her apartment became an insurmountable obstacle. As she became more confined to her apartment she would sit in her favorite chair and send me on the errands she required. When those were done I would sit with her, my sketch book ready to draw her there and make note of her more outrageous statements. One such noteworthy example was the time she told me matter-of-factly that after her third marriage she declared herself done with that particular institution. She had sighed and told me simply, “I got tired of changing rings and last names.” It struck me that most divorced people carry life-long scars and specific complaints about their former spouse. But not Ruth, for her it was just done and over. I can’t help but suspect that she was the giver of broken hearts, not the receiver. Her lack of complaints about a former husband weren’t my only hint as to how her history played out. Her daughters each enjoyed telling me about the idiosyncratic author that
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In the 1950’s this ill-prepared woman loaded her three young girls into her car and left the East Coast and headed out for the West Coast and never looked back. Husband number three would be where Ruth drew the line. No more men who were not safe and caring for us. And so it was to be for Ruth and her daughters.
used to follow her around like a lovesick puppy. Hearing them, Ruth would snap “that never happened!” That got a roll of the eyes from the tale barer and a nod indicating, “it did too!.” Eventually Ruth was left in charge of his estate which she distributed as entrusted to her. Amazingly he wasn’t the only person to trust her enough to do this. In the 1950’s this ill-prepared woman loaded her three young girls into her car and left the East Coast and headed out for the West Coast and never looked back. Husband number three would be where Ruth drew the line. No more men who were not safe and caring for us. And so it was to be for Ruth and her daughters. Her youngest daughter remembers being uncomfortable about crossing state lines when they left. Seeing road signs warning that “You are now leaving Pennsylvania” seemed foreboding to her. Something about barriers and the great unknown on the other side worried her. To alleviate the discomfort, Ruth would laugh mischievously, gun the motor and rush over the state lines. Examples like these showed Ruth’s daughters not to be afraid. Bad things happen to all of us but they don’t stop us. Life can be enjoyed. Lesson 2 Finding Friendship Around You The Ruth of the Bible was an imperfect person. She told those greeting her that her name should be Mara for life for her was bitter after losing her family. My Ruth was short of perfection as well, yet both of these women loved and were loved in return. Ruth from California had intentionally opted to live in a community with children. They were missing in the affluent neighborhoods she had lived in previously. “Children bring life and fun with them and I know I need them around to be happy.” The next door neighbors were a source of special friendship for Ruth. Specifically a kindergarten age girl named Nueva and her younger brother 12 Christian Woman october_november 2014
Jonah. Nueva was a princess in demeanor and her little brother was her loyal footman. When they came over it never took long for Nueva to ask politely if she could use the bathroom. She clearly loved experiencing the clean and tidy room. One where no male had neglected to put the seat down or in any way had left evidence of their presence. It also seemed to offer welcome a welcome quiet space, with no one knocking on the door wanting their turn in the busy room. For her Ruth was the perfect companion for the lady time she so enjoyed. Her visits were mostly spent discussing school, the day’s adventures and her friends while pretending to have tea. Meanwhile, Nueva’s brother Jonah was a work in progress. He was terrified at the idea of someone with scissors near his face, so his thick dark hair was allowed grow until he resembled a 3 year old version of Fabio as a brunette. The day his parents decided he was ready for the big hair cut, was a major turning point in his young life. He had been a shy deferential boy. But he came home that day truly pleased with what a handsome guy her actually was. The typical routine of everyone was that as the family passed Ruth’s door, which was typically open behind the screen to allow the cool ocean breeze in, they would call out a greeting as they headed for their own apartment. But since the haircut Jonah would stand there trying to look casual waiting for someone to tell him how handsome he looked. His smile told her, “I know, I just wondered if you noticed.” During my time there a new baby came into the family and the teenaged son moved on. The big brother took with him the secrets he and Ruth had shared. Ruth kept them too. The neighbors could only suspect the true friend she had been to all of them. Their Mom tells me that the baby kept waving at the screen door as they family passed by and calling out “Hi” to Ruth. The rest of the family, knowing that Ruth
wasn’t there anymore had ceased the habit, but the baby kept looking for her. Leading up to this time leaving the apartment became a problem for Ruth. She wasn’t always able to navigate the steps leading to her place. This was when she decided to plan the special trip to our local toy store with Nueva and Jonah. It turned out to be a day when her legs refused to function so she asked me to take the kids for her. Just like Ruth’s older sister (the smart one) had taught her, I was told to tell the kids they could pick out the one toy they most wanted to play with. That day Nueva picked out a beautiful tea service that came in a nice picnic basket lined with pink gingham cotton. Jonah’s selection was a large book with an audio CD. He was on the verge of reading now. Being able to read without any help pleased him greatly. Ruth was making sure the kids got a special gift from her. She sensed the opportunity would not present itself much longer. Primarily her own three daughters, her granddaughters, but also a former son in law, and a few of the local divas from the local art scene were the ones to live in the give and take of Ruth’s heart. Sharing the ups and downs of life realistically was something that was a universal experience for everyone in this circle. It was real life and real love. One day as I was getting the mail I ran into the neighbors and the family asked about Ruth. Jonah was staring at me waiting to hear my answer. I told them it wasn’t a good day for her, then looking at Jonah I said “maybe a hug from you would make it better.” Later I saw the little guy standing outside the screen door waiting to be acknowledged. When he was invited in, he marched over quietly without saying a word, climbed up onto her lap and cuddled with her while the dark cloud over Ruth lifted. After a few minutes, he climbed down and nodded to her. It seemed to indicate, “I have done my job now, glad to see you are going to be okay.” But he never actually said a word. Seeing the two of
them silently giving and receiving love is a picture that will remain with me. Lesson 3 The Reward of Getting Over Yourself Ruth’s daughters were coming for a visit. We had to get everything ready. She had me dig through her cedar chest and get out photos that they may have wanted to take home. These photo albums and other mementos were placed around the room for the visit. One of the books had professional photos of Ruth modeling coats in New York in the 1950’s. “Wow” I exclaimed,” you never told me about this.” “Yeah. I did that for a while” Ruth remarked. “High heels were always a problem for me so my opportunities were limited.” That was the beginning and the end of that subject. For most people being a model in New York would be an often recalled story. But not with Ruth, she remained an original. In the days to come he daughters arrived with their daughters and her son in law. The former son in law joined in and everyone got the precious opportunity to enjoy each other, probably for the last time. We agreed that some safety measures needed to be taken. Ruth’s medications needed to be carefully dispensed in order to avoid confusion. They needed to be hidden and only offered when she was supposed to take them. The problem was how and where could I hide them so the relief caregivers could find them and they would be out of view. A phone call came from Pam, a former care-giver and friend who had substituted for me while I went on vacation. She wanted to come say hello to Ruth. The problem could now be solved. While they visited, I could find a place to stash the meds. Misery was in the air as Pam entered the room. Ruth’s mood was at a low point. She was sitting in her chair on the verge of tears. As they began to talk, I took the pills into the bathroom. Under the sink at the back of the cabinet would
be the perfect hiding place. She couldn’t get down there or see them and I could access them without her knowing. I could hear Pam telling Ruth that she didn’t have to be so unhappy because God loved her. That the Bible in the gospel of John 1:12 tells us ”Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”. As I went into the hall closet to retrieve the rest of the medications from the old hiding place, I heard Pam telling Ruth that we don’t experience this fullness of life is because as it tells us in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But, she continued, the answer to that is found in john 14:6 where Jesus tells us, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” She was facing Ruth holding her hands and asked her if she would like to open her heart to Jesus and pray with her. A shocked Ruth loudly responded, “I can’t believe in Jesus, I’m Jewish!” A conversation that had been going so well jarred Pam who said, “Ruth, Jesus loves everybody”. Ruth argued, “but I’m Jewish I can’t believe in Jesus.” Walking into the room I laughed and commented that “Jesus Christ was actually Jewish himself.” Pam happily continued, “That’s right our Messiah Jesus Christ was born into a Jewish family, he was a Jew.” That was enough for Ruth she did want to pray with Pam and meet the Messiah. A few days later when I got to work, Ruth was still in bed. She was too weak to get up but was eager to tell me something. She wanted me to know about a dream she had the night before. “You’re going to think I am crazy,” she started, then she went into detail telling me about her dream. “I went up to heaven and was in the presence of God. “I saw that He ls love, and that there is a perfect, wonderful joyous celebration going on up there.” She continued, “I was sorry to come back, but now I do not
want to be the same bitter person, I have to forgive and the first person I have to make things right with is my son in law” she told me with determination. “Well Ruth, I have some family I have to forgive too, so I will pray with you and together we can ask for His help.” She agreed that I did need to forgive as well, “yes you do” she replied pointedly looking me in the eyes. So I knelt by her bed and we prayed together. Laying there and looking up at the ceiling, she opened by praying out loud, “Lord I love you” then I joined her and together we asked for His grace and help. In a few weeks her daughter and sonin-law were there again and Ruth and Doug got to have a private visit where things were set right. When Doug left I noticed that his eyes were moist. Later he asked me if I thought the new meds were the cause of the change in Ruth. The miracle wasn’t the medication. The blessed physician had healed Ruth’s soul. Now here I am in the middle of another clear, warm, beautiful day at the beach in Southern California. It is a little disorienting as it could be any time of the year. I find myself remembering the remarkable events and people that came into my life over the past few years. As I reflect on all that happened during this time, I don’t want the story of Ruth to end. The lessons I learned from Ruth about bravely facing life’s losses and refusing to live as a victim is something I was privileged to see first-hand and that will stay with me. Enjoying the people around me for who they are and not just how they please me or how they can benefit me is another lesson to hang onto. Finally, living unencumbered with ego and preconceived notions, but rather with an open heart and mind is the best way to face life and I am glad to have seen that up close as well. CW
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SAVORING JESUS rather than
SIPPING THE WORLD BY ELLEN MARY DYKAS
14 Christian Woman october_november 2014
everal years ago a hurting mom shared with me details of her son’s messy life. She was in a lot of pain not only because his choices felt like a fist in the face of God and their Christian family, but also because she was at a loss as to how to help her 17 year old son. I asked how she was coping with the unfolding drama of his sexual promiscuity and the havoc brought about by his behavior. “Well, I’ve started drinking a glass of wine each evening,” she said in a quiet tone, “It takes the edge off, you know?!” The look on her face suggested a hope that I’d approve of her coping mechanism. Seeking to convey gentleness, I leaned toward her and said: “Do you realize you’re much more like your son than different? He’s numbing his pain with sexual insanity and you’re numbing yours with wine.” This interaction with a hurting and confused mother provided a metaphorical mirror for me of myself, and of many women I’ve had the privilege of discipling. My ministry with Harvest USA allows me to enter in to the lives of hurting women regularly, and in our context for ministry, their coping mechanisms are sexual sin: with people, online, through pornographic books or websites, with self or in the realm of mental fantasy. This mother’s strategy for ‘taking the edge’ off painful circumstances mapped onto the common denominator of 99% of the women I’ve ministered to: somehow, someway we all crave and search out a way to not feel emotional pain. We’ve all created ways of managing the pain of life through sipping from personal ‘glasses of wine’, if you will. Actually we may sip or guzzle but these experiences of temporary comfort and escape don’t truly take away the pain of life and hurtful relationships. The truth is that many of us just never learned how to respond in a healthy way to emotional pain, which is inevitable. So, we stuff it, medicate it and ignore it, but we never succeed in outrunning it or truly getting rid of it. Broken hearts are inside all of us at one time or another. But we continue to sip from supposed sources of comfort.
Food, entertainment, people, accolades, money, the latest technology, and sex can be wonderful gifts. However, gifts were never meant to do and provide for us what only God the Giver has for us: soul satisfaction and comfort which goes down deep. I’ve lived often as an emotionalconnection junkie. I love feeling good and one of my ‘glasses of wine’ has been to seek intense emotional connections with my friends. But is feeling good bad? Of course not. But if feeling good - through emotional attachments or sex - becomes what we crave and strive for, then it becomes a selfish and most likely destructive pursuit. The sips and gulps we take of people may give us an emotional buzz, but they will not truly satisfy and heal a broken heart. People, sexuality and relationships are good gifts, but they do not provide a true heart-healing or comfort that lasts! What’s Your Glass of Wine? The sinful human heart was clearly diagnosed and described by God when he said, “My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13 (NASB) These broken cisterns could be called Jesus-replacements, or minimessiahs: things like wine, sex, food, praise of people which, even though they are good gifts, cannot save us from our deepest struggles. Good gifts are intended by God the Giver to be just that: good gifts. When gifts block our view of God and are exalted above him in our hearts, they cease to be good and in fact become potentially destructive. God the Father has given many experiences for our joy and delight, but he also designed that them to provide whole, healthy joy and comfort from within the loving boundaries of his design and intent. We all lean in our natural self to taking God’s gifts and using them for selfish purposes. We take things into our own hands in a variety of ways. We SOOTHE our hearts, rather than receive His comfort (2 Cor. 1:3,4). We might NUMB our hearts, rather than receive His
healing (Luke 4:18,19). And when life is crushing in around us, we DISTRACT our hearts rather than worship and obey Him (Psalm 86:11). Jesus Christ said a radical thing when He explained His job description, or why He came to this earth. Luke 4:18-20 shares several things that are powerfully liberating and truths we need to hear: He came to forgive sins and provide for us to have an eternal relationship with God. An extension of this is that He alone can truly heal our hearts and set us free from imprisoning habits, including relational patterns and sexual behaviors that control us in destructive ways. The mom I met that day began growing in turning towards God, rather than a wine-induced numbing. She became more rooted in His comfort and promises and realized what we all need help with understanding: He’s better than our personally poured glasses of wine. He’s living water that washes, cleanses, forgives, heals and restores. When we demand to sip at the temporary pleasures of this world, we are simultaneously turning away from Christ, refusing to savor Him. This savoring of the Lord is not adhering to religious rules, attendance at a Sunday service or membership in a church. I’m talking about a real relationship with Jesus. Being a human being who delights in other human beings is being truly human. But to use people for the purpose of inebriating ourselves in an attempt to escape from the pain of life is deeply selfish. Jesus frees us from ourselves, as we respond to His love and throw away our glasses of wine . . . and have our hearts healed and filled with Him. From this place, we can move out to delight in people and sexuality rather than drinking of them for dear life. Ellen Mary Dykas is the co-author of Sexual Sanity for Women: Healing from Sexual and Relational, Sex and the Single Girl: Smart Ways to Care for Your Heart and numerous articles. She serves as Women’s Ministry Coordinator for Harvest USA, a national ministry focused on discipleship and church education regarding biblical sexuality and how the gospel of Jesus Christ helps those impacted by sexual sin.
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REACHING your POTENTIAL Christian mentor and Professor Howard Hendricks once said, “Nothing is more common than unfulfilled potential.” Unfortunately this is a sad reality. Many people live and die not having realized the fullness of their potential. Our potential is the difference between what we are and what we can become… Amanda Antcliff
intelligence - is the or th ng re st t no rt fo ef us Continuo l – Winston Churchill ia nt te po r ou g in ck lo un to key 16 Christian Woman october_november 2014
’m a word girl. I love words and their meanings. Whenever I write on a particular subject I always begin by looking up the word in the dictionary and studying its definition. It never ceases to amaze me the revelation I get from the simple yet inspiring meaning of words. So, this is what I did with the word – potential – and this is what I discovered. It means, ‘something possible but not yet actual’...‘Latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future usefulness or successes’. One of the many wonders of humanity is that we all have potential. Each one of us has possibilities waiting to happen and capabilities yearning to be expressed. Potential is where vision comes from and what drives personal growth. Pope John XXIII (1881 – 1963) said these wise words, Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do. Potential is a force inside each one of us that is laying dormant - unexpressed and underdeveloped - waiting to be released and realized. The word ‘potential’ is captured in these images... - a flower poised to bloom - a seed ready to germinate - the sun rising in the morning - a bottle of champagne ready to pop - a butterfly developing in a cocoon - sails waiting to catch the wind
will make a conscious effort to personally develop. This growth will then have a positive effect and influence on others. Roger Williams, a theologian in the 17th century said, The greatest crime in the world is not developing your potential. When you do what you do best, you are helping not only yourself, but the world.
Personal and Professional Potential
Most people have potential abilities and possibilities in their personal and professional lives. It’s very important, every now and then, to reflect and pinpoint the areas of your life where you have potential. Here are twenty thoughts about the potential which may lie within you. PERSONAL POTENTIAL 1. Desires not yet fulfilled 2. Adventures not yet experienced 3. Creativity not yet displayed 4. Gifts not yet utilized 5. Relationships not yet forged 6. Knowledge not yet learnt 7. Talents not yet revealed
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Interestingly the word ‘potential’ does not occur in most conventional versions of the Bible. However, I believe the principle of potential does. The Kingdom truths which Jesus taught, about ‘seeds’, ‘growth’ and ‘fruitfulness’, can all be applied to the concept of potential. The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches. (Matthew 13:31-32) The potential we carry is like seeds which God has planted within us. These seeds may be gifts and talents, desires and dreams, calling and purpose. They might be tiny, like the mustard seed, but they have the potential to germinate and grow, and to become exceedingly fruitful and successful. Jesus also talks about light. He calls himself the light of the world then tells his followers that they also are lights, created and called to shine. In a couple of the Gospels, Jesus mentions that sometimes lights are placed under beds or covered by bowls, thus reducing their brightness and effectiveness. This image of dulled lights is a vivid reminder of potential that is yet to shine. A Christian who wants their life to shine brightly
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The greatest crime in the world is not developing your potential. When you do what you do best, you are helping not only yourself, but the world. Roger Williams
8. Passions not yet expressed 9. Goals not yet achieved 10. Dreams not yet fulfilled PROFESSIONAL POTENTIAL 11. Career opportunities not yet explored 12. Promotions not yet attained 13. Leadership not yet matured 14. Ideas not yet imagined 15. Inventions not yet created 16. Actions not yet initiated 17. People not yet developed 18. Markets not yet explored 19. Profits not yet exceeded 20. Businesses not yet established Did you notice the word ‘yet’! It’s small but significant. It reflects the power of potential, the power of possibility and the power of decision. ‘Yet’… is the door which brings possibility into reality. ‘Yet’... is the bridge between what is and what can be. ‘Yet’… is the challenge that demands us to grow and to reach our potential.
Three Keys to Reaching Your Potential
i. Identify and Focus Our potential can be sitting just beneath the surface or it can be deeply buried. The first key to personal growth is always self-awareness. It’s important to identify what possibility, capability or quality is waiting to be dug out and developed. Once the specific area of potential is identified, focus then comes from setting goals and taking action. For example, if you have creative potential in the arts then a practical step is to book yourself into a course such as painting or photography.
18 Christian Woman october_november 2014
ii. Courage to Start Often our potential has been hindered because of fear and negative selfbeliefs. When this is the case, courage will be required to see breakthrough and growth in these areas of our life. Courage is having a go...even when you are afraid. iii. Perseverance The words of Winston Churchill, prime minister of England during World War II, resound with wisdom; Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential. Anything worth achieving will always demand commitment and perseverance, and a willingness to push on despite challenges and obstacles.
because it is all about ‘self’. A healthy Christian perspective of realizing your own potential is to see it as stewardship. That God has entrusted each of us with gifts, dreams and purpose, and it is our responsibility to utilise and increase these things for His purpose and His glory. As we focus on growing the different areas of our personal or professional lives, our potential will be progressively realized and the level of our influence increased. Reaching our potential is all about becoming everything God has designed us to do and to be. CW
Self-Actualisation versus Stewardship
Psychologist, Abraham Maslow theorised in his ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ that the top order need or motivation in peoples’ lives is Self-Actualisation. The fulfilment of this need is heightened when the lower order needs - Self Esteem, Love and Belonging, Safety and Physical Needs - have been met. Self-Actualisation is focused on recognizing and realizing one’s potential. In Maslow’s own words, ‘what a man can be, he must be’. As Christians we need to recognize that the reaching of our potential does not become an all consuming, ambitious and self-absorbed pursuit. In first world countries it’s becoming increasingly common that people can get addicted to ‘self-advancement’ and ‘self-fulfilment’. This is when the quest for reaching one’s potential is skewed and out of balance
Amanda Antcliff Amanda is a personal coach, mentor, pastor, trainer and speaker. She is also the author of the book ‘Women Rising’. www.amandaantcliff.com
3 Reasons Why Loving Your Man Can Be So Difficult And what you can do about 2 of them â€Ś
BERNI DYMET gives some important and humorous insights into how your man may operate and how to continue loving him.
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hey tell me that women can find it tough sometimes to love their man. As a bloke, I can’t imagine why … but there you go, that’s what they say. So in this issue I’m going to share with you the three most common reasons as to why that is, and what you can do about two of them. In my experience (as a bloke) the three most common reasons that we men are so difficult to love are these: 1. we’re confused, 2. we’re misunderstood, and 3. we’re incompetent! So let’s look at the first two of those in detail (the last one we’ll deal with next time) … and not just by way of understanding the problem. We’re also looking at the solutions. Is that okay … worthwhile you think? Tough, we’re doing it anyway! (CUE CARD – Self Deprecating Joke – chuckle now.) Problem # 1 – We’re Confused The role of men and women has changed a lot in the last 2,000 years. In fact, it’s changed dramatically just in the lifetimes of both your man and (just as importantly) his father. When I was growing up, there was a TV show called Father Knows Best. And as hard as it is to believe, they were serious. You can’t imagine them launching a series with a name like that today, unless it was a spoof, right? Your man watched his dad’s behavior as a husband and father, and most of what he knows, comes from his dad. Parental imprinting is one of the most powerful ways in which we learn. And if his dad followed a 1950’s model of being a husband and parent, or if his dad was a tyrant, or a lazy slob … or whatever, a lot of that (through no fault of his own) has rubbed off on him. Don’t believe me? It’s a fact that most adults who abuse children, were themselves abused in their childhood. Crazy, (you’d think anyone 20 Christian Woman october_november 2014
who’s suffered the pain of abuse would run a million miles from it) but true. The point I’m making here is that parental behavioral imprinting is one of the most powerful forces known to humanity. So – there’s every likelihood that your man has at least in part, an outdated view of the male/female role, relationship, home duties and parenting job allocation thing – that’s been dropped into his skull. And can I tell you – dealing with that, and the totally new world in which we live (my mum didn’t work outside the home, my wife does) ain’t easy. It feels as though we’re torn between what we know to be right, what we believe to be right …what we thought was right, and the 21st century reality that we live in; a reality in which that old template, dad’s template, don’t fit no more! Can you see the struggle? Does that explain some of his behavior? (Note that I didn’t say ‘excuse it’, simply ‘explain it’ – I’m not defending bad behavior from men, just trying to help you deal with it). And then Scripture - written as it was in a patriarchal culture - seems to reinforce his thinking: Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22–24) So let’s say you’re a committed, Bible believing Christian Woman. What do you make of that? What do you actually do with it in the 21st Century? Do you toss it out as irrelevant, or is it somehow meant to apply to us here and now?
Hey the devil does that. He takes a Scriptural half–truth and turns it into a lie. The overarching context of the text we’ve just read is the verse that immediately precedes it (verse 21) and that says: Be subject to one another … wives to your husbands … God’s truth in marriage is a truth of mutual submission. And as well as talking about the wife’s submission to her husband, God’s Word follows straight on here to talk about what’s involved in the husband’s submission to his wife: Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her … in the same way; husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:25–28) One coin, two sides. One flesh … two different parts to play in being one. And the happy marriage is the one where husband and wife talk openly about what this Scripture means in their lives. They nut it out, grapple with it … figure out how to live it right here in the 21st Century. In our marriage, Jacqui and I make decisions jointly. Every now and then, we disagree. Sometimes, I’ll yield to her … either because she’s right, or her solution is a good one albeit different to mine, and it’s good that I should submit to her. But other times (we’re talking about less than .01% of the time) I’ll feel strongly about the matter at hand and at that point - this being the exception rather than the rule, she submits to me as her husband. That’s how it works for us. Have you and your husband discussed how it works for you?
Solution # 1 – Live the Whole Truth God is an amazing God, and there are two sides to this coin - remembering that men and women are both made in His image. The reason we get this so wrong – so very wrong us blokes – is that we want to quote this Scripture out of context.
Problem # 2 – We’re Misunderstood The first time I read Ephesians Chapter 5, I thought it was so… 1950’s. Surely no one could believe that stuff now. But then, early on in our marriage, I read that classic book Men are from Mars Women are from Venus by John Gray.
a different perspective.
If he knows in his heart of hearts that you respect him by what you say for example in front of the kids… everything changes in his heart. And whilst I don’t agree with all of his conclusions, what really surprised me was how closely contemporary psychology reflected this apparently anachronistic section in the Bible on marriage. Gray makes the point that in order for men to feel loved, in order for a man to experience the love of his wife (and children) he needs two things. (1) to feel respected, and (2) to feel needed. Now to a woman, it may seem a little weird for those two things to be at the top of his list. Sure you want respect and you want to know that you’re needed. But mostly, the thing that comes way ahead of those two on your list, is feeling cherished and valued. Feeling special. Can I tell you something … as a bloke? Gray is absolutely right. The problem is that the immature man (and there are plenty of those) turns those top two needs for love into a perceived right to lord it over his wife and family, and not to take any criticism when he gets things wrong. That’s immaturity. Godly maturity comes when we men live a little (a lot) in Ephesians 5:25. I go to that verse often in our marriage, because the deep truth is that God’s calling me to lay down my life for my wife, in the same way that He laid down His life for me. So I’ve come to the conclusion that … Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his wife! Solution # 2 – Understand Him As hard as it may be, the best thing you can do for yourself is to understand how God’s wired your man. In fact, can I encourage you to read Ephesians 5:31–33 again, through the prism of what I’ve just shared with you, and I guarantee that the contemporary reality of your man’s need to be respected and feel needed will leap out at you. Respect doesn’t mean kowtowing and genuflecting. It means… just simple respect. If he knows in his heart of hearts that you respect him by what you say
for example in front of the kids, by how you back him up and then talk about any disagreements later, by how you demonstrate your respect for your children’s father in front of them (this is but one example) everything … everything changes in his heart. Want the whole truth in one nutshell … in just one verse? Here it is: Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:33) Problem # 3 – We’re Incompetent Berni Dymet is the ceo + Bible teacher of Now by this I don’t mean that your man is a blithering idiot - although there’s a the global media ministry Christianityworks. His radio and TV broadcasts are heard and distinct possibility that he could be, in viewed by millions of people each week which case you can console yourself in around the globe. Visit christianityworks. the statistic that the Lord is quite likely com for instant access to his daily to give you some respite by calling him eDevotional and the FREE eBook “How to home before you. Get Close to God.” A bit irreverent you think? A bit of humor never hurt – CARING FOR SEXUALLY-HURTING PEOPLE IN JESUS’ NAME there’s nothing quite so healthy for me as to laugh at myself (and remember, I’m a bloke, so I There is Hope in Christ am distinctly in the minority here in Christian Woman!) What I mean by ‘incompetence’ is that naturally, we men aren’t often that good at loving women the way you need to be loved. Some men are not good at cherishing their wives … and Harvest USA brings the truth and mercy of Jesus Christ by: • Helping individuals and families affected by sexual that’s the sort of struggles love you need from • Providing resources that address biblical sexuality to your man. individuals and churches But … we’re out of time (or space, or To purchase copies, see instore or visit www.newgrowthpress.com both). So, I promise we’ll chat about that www.harvestusa.org one … next time. CW
You Are Not Alone.
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“I found myself comparing my body to that of other runners. I looked at their abs and posture. I thought, I wish I looked like her. I had to rein myself in and counter those thoughts. God made me for a reason, he made me beautiful, I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.
hat’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of lust? A few months ago I would have thought of longing glances leading to adultery, or maybe an unhealthy desire for money. Today I think of lust differently. Because I didn’t struggle with either adultery or greed I thought I was free of lust in my life. God showed me I was wrong. I was laying in bed one night with a pink desk lamp on a bookshelf beside me, casting shadows over the pages of my Bible. I stopped reading, jerked my head upward then thought. Do I know the Ten 22 Christian Woman october_november 2014
Commandments? I lifted one finger in front of my face for murder, then another for adultery. I did this until seven or eight of my fingers were raised. What was I missing? Flipping the pages of my bible I found Exodus twenty and read through them slowly, trying to memorize each rule. Near the end I almost skimmed over the last commandment, because I’d heard it so many times. “No lusting after your neighbor’s house-or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbors.” (Exodus 20:17)
The Message I felt God speak to my heart. Lusting after someone’s body is a sin. Before you jump to conclusions, let me put this into my perspective. In my teens, I struggled with anorexia. Every day was filled comparing my body with those around me. After a hospital visit, I was accepted into a program called Mercy Ministries, a residential program in Nashville Tennessee that helped me begin living a healthy life again by teaching me the truths of God’s Word. When I was sitting on my bed with me fingers in front of my face, trying
to remember the Ten Commandments, I’d been anorexia-free for six years. Sometimes I still struggle, but God is helping me heal year by year. Not only do I sometimes struggle with the mindset of an eating disorder, but I’m also a woman. How many women do you know who love their bodies? Do you love your body? Have you ever wished you had somebody else’s hair, skin, breasts? After six years of healing, I still watched movies, looked at magazines, and saw pictures of beautiful, flawless women and wished I had what they had. Who wouldn’t want to look like Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz, or a multitude of others? I lusted after the flawless skin, toned bodies, and beautiful curves of women whom God had made different than me. In Exodus God tells the people of Israel not to lust after spouses, servants, oxen, donkeys, or anything that doesn’t belong to them. I believe the same principle can be applied to my life. Don’t lust after somebody else’s body. Since struggling with anorexia, I’ve tried to apply truths to my life that contradict my negative self-image. We read in Psalm 139: 13-14 (NIV). “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” In this scripture David tells us that God created us and that what he creates is wonderful. That’s me! That’s you! How joyful this should make us, yet we continue to believe the lie that we are not enough, that our bodies are less than perfect—we lust after others. After and afternoon run the other day I found myself comparing my body to that of other runners. I looked at their abs and posture. I thought, I wish I looked like her. I had to rein myself in and counter those thoughts. God made me for a reason, he made me beautiful, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Understanding that lust is a sin and it lives in my body is a hard thing to deal with. It means I
have to make a conscious decision everyday to choose not to lust. I must choose to love the body the Lord gave me. I have to admit this is a grueling process. Society has pushed us to believe we are less-thanperfect. Standing in the line at the grocery store, we are bombarded with pictures of “perfect” women and ways to lose weight. Driving down the road, we see billboards with similar images. In the privacy of our homes, we see commercials with scantily clad women, and the thought that we are not enough is solidified in our minds. How do we get past lust when it feels almost embedded in our psyches? The first step in eradicating the sin of lust from our lives is to recognize it. We need to be honest with ourselves and admit we may have a sin or two hiding under the bed. Secondly, we need to take steps to live in freedom from sin. We can do that by having an honest conversation with God. Tell him how you’re feeling, and express a desire to live a holy life before him. Ask him to help you push away sinful desires. Thirdly, we need to walk-out our newfound freedom from sin. When we ask for forgiveness, we are immediately forgiven. Clean slate! Every time a lustful thought enters my mind I try to push it away with the truth of God’s word. Many times I think of Psalm 139. We must remember that each of us was made unique. Outward appearances mean nothing in the kingdom of God. God is continually teaching me to love myself. Some days I feel so worthless and ugly, but God keeps wooing me to himself. Just because I don’t get it right all the time doesn’t mean God doesn’t love me or that I’m not a good Christian. It means that I have work to do. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still struggle, but I believe God is a good God and shows us the things in our lives that we need to work on. I’m currently working on eradicating lust from my life. What is it that God has given you to work on? CW
Shelbie Mae is newly married and lives in Northern Michigan where she likes she swim, run, write, read, and hang out with her family. She is currently working on editing her first novel, Beautiful Bones. You can contact her on Facebook by finding her author page. She would love to hear from you.
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Sheralyn Bucknell knows what sheâ€™s talking about when discussing food, exercise and fitness. She has written a book detailing her earlier struggle with food, exercise and self-image.
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How did you discover the key to cultivating a healthy mind, body and spirit? We are a three part being – mind, body spirit - they are interconnected. Our spirit is created to have dominion over our body and mind. When our spirit is leading the way, we are able to successfully manage our body. The body battle is essentially a thinking problem, and a result of what we believe. I did not recognize it as a mind battle initially, thinking I needed to be stronger and more disciplined to achieve better results. The problem was that sometimes I was disciplined and made good choices, and other times I was weak and out of control. This conflict always puzzled me. I really embraced the healthy eating and fitness lifestyle. We are created to eat healthy and to exercise moderately, but I ended up being very driven and became a slave to myself. Food and exercise were always on my mind – was I eating the right food, should I be having less of this or more of that. There was always another run, or another exercise class to attend. If I had eaten what I thought was ‘bad’ food, then I was a bad girl, and would make sure I exercised extra hard to feel good about myself again. It took up a lot of mind space. I also began to eat when I was stressed or feeling emotionally low. Food had a conflicting role in my life – it helped me and it hurt me. My body had taken center stage, with no acknowledgement of God in my life and certainly no power to succeed. I stumbled across the key to living well and living free after becoming a Christian. I was so surprised to discover that God wanted to help me manage my body. What made you search for a better way in dealing with health and diet? I was so tired of trying so hard to succeed but then failing – a roller coaster ride. I guess I had come to the end of myself. I became a Christian after a wonderful encounter with God (that’s a whole other story). My sense of wellbeing was
much improved, but I remember feeling I still had to keep all the plates spinning regarding my body. A couple of years into my Christian journey I came across a Scripture from John 8:36, which says, “Whomever the son sets free will be free indeed.” It really caught my attention and I thought, Wow, God really wants me to be free in every area of my life.” I said to God, “I’ve read what your Word tells me and I really want that freedom. Please show me why I am not free indeed.” He responded by showing me I had fear. I had a fear of being fat, a fear of food, a fear of being rejected. Fear was my motive for eating healthy and exercising diligently. This was a real shock to me. God said, “If you will let go of your ways and let me help you, I will set you free and you will be free indeed.” I was amazed that God wanted to get involved. Wasn’t he too busy managing the world with more important problems to tend to than my body? For some reason, we don’t think to involve God in our body management. Maybe because it is ‘physical’ we do not think to get ‘spiritual’ about it. Instead we continue with our determined efforts which are always temporary. Having God involved in every area of our life is the key to successful and victorious living. Fear is not from God – it is not faith, and it is faith that pleases God. Immediately I felt I needed to say sorry to God, for allowing fear to motivate me (unknowingly), instead of him. When I did this, I felt something break off my mind – that fear that had held my thinking and behavior captive and from then on I didn’t have unbalanced thinking about food, my body and exercise. Consequently I have not weighted myself in 25 years, I eat in a balanced and consistent way, my weight has remained consistent and I am at peace with my body and who I am. So many women have the body battle going on in their minds 24//7, stealing their joy,
self-esteem and wellbeing and instead are clothed in fear and shame. Free indeed means having the desire AND the power to do what is best for your body and the good news is, it is available to anyone and everyone. When we capture our lies and negative thinking and replace them with God’s word, we will literally be transformed from the inside out. What brought that fear about? I was in a relationship with a guy for several years before I became a Christian and he had been consistently unfaithful and was into pornography. Ouch! My solution to that problem was to look good in order to feel good about myself because that situation certainly wasn’t helping my self-esteem. Rejection often opens the door to fear and they are usually at the core of the body battle. Sometimes people have had negative words said to them that have gone into their heart, taken root and grown a tree of selfhatred, or poor self-image. This becomes a place for the devil to gain a stronghold and establish incorrect ways of thinking. God wants to take those hooks out, heal us and set us free.
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I am now married to my wonderful husband of 26 years, have three beautiful children and am in my fabulous 50’s! I have shared with many women, both young and old, to help them find truth and freedom in this area of their lives. Diets, strict rules and regulations are temporary measures. Like any other area of our lives God waits for our invitation to become involved in our life. He will empower you to eat well, to exercise moderately and to love your unique self. Maybe you are like I was and have rules and ways of thinking that are hard to measure up to, or perhaps you find it difficult to get motivated to eat well and exercise. Wherever we are at, God is there to help us overcome our unique battles and meet us right where we are at. “Make food and exercise your friend not your foe. Discover your real conflict and win the war!” What do you mean by this statement? For many people, food is their enemy. I often hear statements like “Potatoes are fattening, or fruit is fattening.” Or, I feel so bad, I ate pizza last night.” They can’t eat this and they can’t eat that and shouldn’t eat this and shouldn’t eat that. Then they punish themselves when they do by exercising hard, purging, or eating more of that same food, or just feel like a failure. There are so many diets and eating plans around that say certain food groups are good or bad and they should or shouldn’t be eaten at certain times of the day. God has given us food to eat for nutrition and for pleasure. It’s not meant to have so many rules and regulations attached to it. There is no food that I can’t eat or that I think, ‘Oh my gosh, if I eat that I’ll get fat.’ I used to have that kind of thinking – if I eat that piece of chocolate cake I’ll get fat, put on weight and hate myself. Everything in moderation, including moderation I say. The wonderful thing about freedom is it gives you the desire to do what is best for your body and the power to carry that out. I am not attracted to processed or fast food – I love fruit and vegetables
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we think of him as male, and we think this is primarily a female thing (although many men struggle with their body image and care also), he wouldn’t be interested or maybe he is only interested in our spirituality and not our physical body. Not true!!
But whether someone is un-motivated, unfit and overweight, or whether they’re at the other end of the scale and driven or with a constant selfawareness – all need to come to that place of freedom and generally food that is nutritious for my body. However, I do love a piece of chocolate cake or other treat, and am free to eat without feeling guilt. No rules!! I think from a health and wellbeing perspective, rather than a weight and body image perspective. Uncover negative personal beliefs that prevent you from being healthy, fit and free – how are you doing this? It is all about being transformed by the renewing of your mind – identifying stinking thinking and replacing it with God’s truth. A lot of women believe they are unattractive, fat, ugly and that they will never measure up or be good enough. To apply a diet over the top of a negative self-belief system will only ever be a temporary solution. The Body Battle has questions at the end of each chapter to help the reader explore their relationship with food, exercise and their body. What matters to us, matters to God and he will show us how, why and where struggles may have found entry and will most certainly help us gain victory over them. God is saying to women, “I love you, you are valuable, you are beautiful, I believe in you and I want you to be all I have created you to be.” Maybe because
What are your thoughts about the fashion and beauty industry? I enjoy fashion and looking and feeling my best. I think it is everyone’s God given right to love the skin they are in. We are all so unique and different and this should be celebrated. Sadly though, the media serves up the lie and false standard of a particular body type and shape only as being beautiful and acceptable, placing enormous pressure on women of all ages. We must choose where we gain our value – from God, or from the world. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made and a product of God’s unique workmanship. God wants us to love and accept the body we have, celebrate our uniqueness, and resist conforming to the expectations of others. Our value is not determined by what we look like, but rather that we are a son or daughter of
God, who loves us unconditionally, and has a great plan and purpose for each and every one of us. How does the cross of Jesus help people to be healthier and help with diet? The cross makes available God’s resurrection power, enabling us to live the abundant life Jesus tells us about. He died so we could live free. Ephesians 6 says, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers and powers of this dark world.” The body battle is way more spiritual than people give it credit and you can’t fix a spiritual problem with a physical solution. Jesus offers us His power to do life well – in every area. No more diets, no more rules, no more believing lies about ourselves, but instead the power to believe what Jesus says and to live an abundant life. A fruit of the spirit is self-control – a very different thing to the self-discipline we try and step into in our own strength. It is an interesting fact that the first sin in the Garden of Eden was connected to food. God said to Adam and Eve “You can eat everything in the garden, expect for the food from one particular tree.” They disobeyed and ate what they shouldn’t have. We seem to have been struggling with food ever since. Because eating is something we have to do daily, life will be miserable if we do not have it in order. The cross has overcome sin and has taken away our shame, empowering us to live in freedom and victory - with a wonderful new resurrection body waiting for us as a bonus! What are some body battle basics and suggestions? Invite God to help you look after your body and to show you any negative thinking or mindsets. • Be prepared to listen to what he says, and do what he tells you - he has the power and key to your freedom. • Drink lots of water • Don’t skip meals and be sure to eat regularly. • Eat plenty of living food rather than processed food. • Be organized and prepared – shop regularly. • Cook as many meals as you can rather than already prepared food. • Get plenty of rest and do not neglect time for self. • Toss out your calorie counting chart and weighing scales. Think health and wellbeing, not weight loss. • Learn about healthier eating options if necessary – educate yourself. • Do not seek out ‘low-fat’ or ‘lite’ foods – eat food in its complete form. • Don’t deny yourself a treat – everything in moderation, including moderation! • Exercise approximately 3x weekly. Get your body moving. • Celebrate your uniqueness and be kind to yourself. CW
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Old wives tales or
Faith in Jesus? What values and beliefs is your life based upon? Cherie Freedman discusses...
hen I was a little girl, my mother told me lots of things that I’ve since learned were untrue. She had grown up in an era where old wives tales were the truth. Here is a sample of some of them: • Ice cream leads to nightmares. • Sitting too close to the television screen is bad for your eyes. • Don’t go outside with wet hair or you will catch a cold. • Don’t swallow chewing gum or it will stay in your stomach for seven years. • Don’t make silly faces or it will make the silly face permanent. • Chocolate leads to acne. • Eating carrots will improve your vision. • Eating crusts (off a sandwich) makes your hair go curly. And if you’re a boy you’ll grow hair on your chest. • When you lie white spots appear on your fingernails. And I guess over the years, more through disobedience than anything, I learned that: • You can eat ice cream and not have nightmares. • When I went outside with wet hair, I didn’t catch a cold; I just had cold ears. • Sitting too close to the television wasn’t nearly as bad as the stuff I watched on it. • When I swallowed chewing gum even if it did stay in my stomach for seven years, it didn’t affect my health – though perhaps it may have long-term? Who knows? • My face changed back from silly to normal – though some may choose to question this. • I still eat chocolate and don’t get acne anymore. • I eat carrots most days and now in my mid forties, my vision is deteriorating regardless. • I spent many years in my childhood trying to not eat crusts because I didn’t want curly hair. Yes I had curly hair anyway. Now I eat my crusts and use a hair straightener instead. • When I get white spots on my fingernails, it’s usually due to a zinc deficiency
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not lying – because we all know that when you lie you end up with pimples on your tongue don’t we? But my mother wasn’t the only source of old wives tales. I also learned many more from growing up in the world: • With hard work you will always succeed. • You are in charge of your own destiny. • Be careful of the church because it’s only after your money. • Make sure you put yourself first if you want to be important. • Life is all about me. • Everything in the newspapers is true And also I learned a few more lies from within the church as well. Ones like: • If you’re good, then bad things won’t happen to you. • Salvation is by grace plus works. • Baptism in necessary for salvation. • Infants need to be baptized to be saved. It’s amazing isn’t it, what we come to believe or believe in? When we’re a little child, our minds are so soft and pliable. They’re like sponges that will soak up usually whatever is said to it. Whether it’s from our parents, school teachers, sports coaches or other family members; what we read in newspapers and books or see on the television or in movies, we will choose to believe until it’s shown different to us. And that’s the thing isn’t it – until we’re shown different. The world and people and media, even our family and friends, tell us so many things. And unfortunately as we believe, we may end up building our lives upon details and values, whether they’re good or bad, or true or false. But it’s only when the storms of life come that what we’ve built our lives upon, what foundation our lives are established with, will be tested and
proven. And what we have built our lives upon will either see us anchored and left whole after the storm passes, or totally destroyed and broken. If our lives are destroyed and broken, we then have to begin to rebuild our lives, but this time what values and beliefs will we choose to build it upon? Hebrews 11:1-2 in the Message Bible says, ‘The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The fundamental fact of existence – The most basic & important fact of your existence is, what you believe in. You can believe in many things. You can believe in climate change; you can believe in reincarnation; you can trust in money and material wealth; you can have confidence in gossip and trends; you can follow demons and spirits, gods and religion; you can have confidence in fame and fortune; in statues like Buddha, fashion and even in health and fitness. Some people believe in myths and legends, rumours, sporting identities, celebrities and psychics etc. But your belief, the only thing that is worth you trusting in, has to be Jesus. Your faith in Jesus needs to be the firm foundation upon which you build your life. Jesus himself shared this in Luke 6:46-49 ‘Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house, but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and
its destruction was complete.’ There will be times in your life when disaster will flood it, if it hasn’t already done so. It’s the nature of us living in a sinful world. And whatever we’ve chosen to believe in will be the main factor as to how well we not only survive the disaster, but also will determine how and where our lives head to after that disaster. I’ve lived through many disasters. Some self-inflicted, but there were some that were of no doing of my own. The ones that were self-inflicted I could figure out eventually and hopefully learn from my mistakes. But those random calamities that seemed to at times, just come out of left field with no warning, they were tougher to navigate through. I’ve lived through droughts and floods, poverty, fires, sickness and even death. There was a stage in my life that continued for over a decade where I underwent a very traumatic period. It included a flood, the death of my son in a car accident, three operations within three months, a major fire on our farm, a windstorm, drought, chronic fatigue, another infection and operation and threatened poverty. It felt like my whole world was just one disaster after another. The only reprieve during this time was the pregnancy and birth of two of my sons. In that time I really came to understand exactly how Job in the bible felt. Job was a man who lost his children in a storm, lost his wealth and income, but even after he’d lost all this, this is what he had to say, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:20 Then Job was struck down with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. He would scrap his sores with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes of a fire. His wife by this time had completely
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lost faith and she said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” Job 2:9-10 Then Job’s three friends decided to go and empathize and offer comfort to him. The bible says that when they saw Job from a distance, his friends could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads and they sat on the ground with Job for seven days and seven nights without saying a word, because they saw how great Job’s suffering was. Well their silence may have lasted seven days and seven nights, but they certainly made up for their silence in the ensuing days. They accused Job of sinning and declaring that all that had happened to him was indeed the result of that sin. I can remember that not long after we had a shed fire and wind storm on our farm and three major operations within three months, that there were certain Christians, that believed that my husband and I must have been sinning so they didn’t want to talk or have anything to do with us. That was real comforting…. But getting back to Job and I encourage you to read the whole story yourself in his book in the bible. Job reaches an amazing faith filled conclusion after everything that had happened and after all the counseling from his friends, where he says these words to God, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5 You see despite the love Job had for God, it was finally there in the depths of his despair that he was able to say, “Now my eyes have seen you.” It was there at rock bottom where Job came to understand the ferocious and passionate love that God had for Job. It was there at that all-time low that Job’s faith in God was what made his life worth living. And it was there at my lowest point, when there was nothing left of me to give, 30 Christian Woman october_november 2014
when all my normal had been stripped away, when my son was wrenched from my arms and his remains laid to rest in a grave, that everything that I had built my life upon was tested. Most of my beliefs were questioned and found not true except the one thing that I had built my life upon as a young 12-year-old girl – Yes Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus died upon a Cross-for my sins so that I could have eternal life and in abundance. It was Jesus’ love for me and faith in me; and my faith in Him that kept me going, that helped me find a new normal for my life. It was my belief that this period in my life couldn’t last forever, that at some stage just like Job, the blessings of God would one day flow into me and my family’s life once more. It was here that I too like Job, came to realize, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” You see faith in Jesus is what makes everything in life worth living. Your faith in Jesus is what gives you a handle on what you can’t see. When all I could see was darkness and despair, Jesus and His word shone light and hope. When the world said to me it’s all over, your son is dead, it was Jesus who gave me a vision of where my son was. It was the day after my son had died in a car accident and we had to take two of our daughters to the hospital to have their injuries dressed. I got to spend a few very short minutes in the hospital morgue where I held my dead son in my arms and wept quietly and pleaded with God to show me where to from here. As my husband drove our broken grieving family home from the hospital, I had nothing left to give. All I could do to save myself from losing it completely was to sit in silence as all my four daughters cried in the back seat. We got home and all I could do was go and lie down on my bed. I eventually cried myself to sleep and then I had the most amazing dream:
I saw heaven. It was amazing. The sky was so blue and clear. The grass was so green and fresh. And there was the biggest tree I have ever seen. And around the tree were so many children - running and laughing. They were so happy. And there was my little boy laughing and smiling and he was so happy. And then my husband came and woke me up and that’s how I probably remember the dream so clearly. In the NIV Hebrews 11:1 it describes faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. My faith in Jesus allows me to be sure of what I hope for – I hope that my family is all reunited in heaven one day and that I’m going to see my little boy again. And by my faith in Jesus, I’m certain that even though at the moment I cannot see this, I know in my heart that this will one day be. My faith in Jesus is the foundation that makes my life worth living. It’s my handle on what I can’t see. My faith is what has kept me from going crazy. My faith is what has helped me to live life and live it abundantly. Is your faith in Jesus the firm foundation of your life? Or have you build your life on weaker foundations? Have you built your life on lies that the world has told you? Lies like: “You need a bigger house even though you can’t look after or afford the one you do have.” “You just need another drink. That will help you get through.” “You just need to find another job because then you’ll be happy.” “You know go shopping. That always helps you feel better…. at least for now.” “If only you could lose some weight, then your life would be better.” “If only you could look like Jennifer Hawkins or Angelina Jolie, then things would be far better.” “If you could just get a degree, then you’d get a better job and then you’d be happy.”
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
“If you just win the next bet, then you’ll have enough money to fix everything.” “If I could find a spouse, well it will be all okay.” “Or perhaps if I could just get rid of my spouse, it will all be okay.” You know all these things, material possessions, alcohol or drugs, career, fashion, gambling, looks and education – absolutely none of them, absolutely none of them helped me when I lost my son, when the drought hit our farm, when a shed fire destroyed our main farm machinery. Absolutely none of them gave me any relief from the pain and sorrow and grief of long-term sickness. Absolutely nothing helped me but my faith in Jesus Christ. The only thing that helped, that offered hope, that paved a way forward was my faith in Jesus Christ. When the chips are down, when life is at it’s blackest, when you have no strength to go on, no ability to move past the hand that life has dealt you; it’s at this point that you really do understand and see what you actually have founded your life on. What have you built your life upon? What is it that get’s you out of bed each morning when fear and depression want to keep you there? What or who directs your decisions when poverty tries to keep you from paying your debts? What are you thinking when you wake up for the umpteenth time covered in your own vomit from a night where you can’t remember a thing? What or who is influencing your identity when you look in the mirror? What or who is swaying your opinion? Jesus says in John 16:33 ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus knew you were going to have troubles. But He tells you to take heart – He’s already overcome the world. Jesus offers you a way to live a life with abundance. ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill
and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ John 10:10 I don’t want to live my life with no direction or hope; I want to live a defining and influencing life of good. I want to live a fantastic life that is to the full, overflowing with good things like peace, joy, love and patience and hope. But to do this my faith has to be in the living hope of Jesus Christ. That’s what has to be the foundation upon which I build my life. And that has to be the foundation upon which you build your life. Why? Because it’s the only thing that makes your life worth living. He paid a tremendous price for my life and yours. He paid the penalty for my sin and yours by dying the most gruesome and painful death when He had done nothing to deserve it. He then rose from death three days later showing he really was God’s son. You see Jesus thinks that you’re worth it and when you have a revelation of what Jesus has done for you, you realize that your life is indeed so precious and worth living. Jesus is the firm foundation upon which we build our lives, that makes our lives worth living. I Suppose if, from the day you were born, you were only influenced by God’s word. Wouldn’t that be cool? But that’s not anyone’s reality. We all have many things vying for our attention, wanting to influence our lives. So what’s our answer? What can we do to make sure our lives are built on the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ? It’s like Jesus said in Luke 6:46-49 ‘Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house, but could not shake it, because it was well built. Those who come to Jesus and not only hear His words but put them into
practice, they are building their lives on the best foundation they can. James 1:22-25 ‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all adjusted our thinking and direction to having faith in Jesus? How fantastic would it be if we all not only read the bible, but also put it into practice? Can you see how not only our lives but also that of our community would be transformed? We would be known as people of faith. Our lives would be such a witness to people. We’d be living such worthwhile lives, that we wouldn’t have time to be disillusioned and disappointed. Though trials would come, we would not be shaken. We would have this unshakable confidence that God is with us. He’s never leaving us nor forsaking us; that God has a future full of good plans and hope for us. We’d be unbeatable! Others would see us staying calm during the storms of life. They would see us empowered through faith, not swayed by fear or doubt. We would be the ones who make wise decisions and stay firm despite whatever life throws at us. We wouldn’t be bitter or sour with our lives. No we’d be filled with love and confidence, knowing that whatever happens it’s all going to be okay. So let our faith in Jesus, be the firm foundation upon which we build our lives, because it is the only thing that makes our lives worth living! CW
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