He Knows

Hello, my name is Martha and I’m a food-a-holic. I have been addicted to food since I was a little girl. It has been my solace, my comfort, my best friend at times. It has also been my downfall, bringing obesity and super-sized health issues along with super-sized clothes. It has been my master and my lover. Unfortunately, my being a food-a-holic has never been a secret, because it shows up in my gut and in my “full figure.” Every time I self-medicated the pain and hurt with donuts or cheeseburgers (note the plural) eventually showed up in a required shopping trip to up-size my pants.

By the grace of God, I am now a recovering food-a-holic having dropped the bulk of my weight several years ago (only because diabetes reared its ugly head.) I have learned to make better choices and decisions. And mostly, I have learned to depend on the Giver of Life instead of a pepperoni pizza for my comfort and joy. But it will always be there… That desire for what everyone else is eating. And have you watched television lately? It’s a terrible place for people like me. They can’t do commercials for cigarettes or alcohol anymore, but food?? Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t watch.

I have known and loved people who struggled with alcoholism, and somehow it was always a surprise. It was hidden. From the outside, everything seemed fine. No telltale signs to the untrained eye. The struggle is within, and deadly. Food, on the other hand, is both an inward struggle and a real physical struggle. It stretches the elastic on our pants and our pride. It bursts the seams on our skirts and our self-esteem. It pops the buttons of our shirts and our shame, bringing us to a new low.

BUT… “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) He knows every struggle I have fought with food my entire life. Every time I ate “one more” cookie, or the entire large popcorn at the movies, Jesus saw and loved me anyway. HE KNOWS. Nothing is hidden from God!! And I’m so thankful and grateful for it.

The song in my head this morning is He Knows from Jeremy Camp.

All the bitter weary ways
endless striving day by day
you barely have the strength to pray
in the valley low
how hard your fight has been
how deep the pain within
wounds that no one else has seen
hurts too much to show

all the doubt you’re standing in between
And all the weight that brings you to your knees

HE KNOWS, HE KNOWS
EVERY HURT AND EVERY STING
HE HAS WALKED THE SUFFERING
HE KNOWS, HE KNOWS
LET YOUR BURDENS COME UNDONE
LIFT YOUR EYES UP TO THE ONE
WHO KNOWS
HE KNOWS

we may faint and we may sink
feel the pain and near the brink
but the dark begins to shrink
when you find the one who knows

the chains of doubt that held you in between
one by one are starting to break free

every time that you feel forsaken
every time that you feel alone
He is near to the broken hearted
every tear
He knows…

I will struggle the rest of my life with overeating, but I won’t be alone in my struggle. The closer I am to The Lord of my appetite, the easier it is to push my plate away and get up from the table. To see food as the life-sustaining thing it was intended to be by the God who provides it. The closer I am to Jesus, the easier it is for me to hear His Holy Spirit whisper in my ear, “that’s enough for now.”

Click here to listen to He Knows from Jeremy Camp.

Being addicted to food has made me a great cook, and a lover of anything for my kitchen. The featured image is a shot of my Fiesta ware plates. I’m not sure I have enough!

No More.

Y’all, my struggle with low self-esteem has been the thorn in my side my whole life, along with food (though I think they go hand in hand.) Just when I think I’ve got a grip on it and things are going well, something or someone comes along and shakes things up, stirring up old feelings and fears. No more.

The song in my head this morning is from Greater by MercyMe. Maybe God is trying to build my self-esteem while I sleep!

Bring your doubts
Bring your fears
Bring your hurt
Bring your tears
There’ll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed.

Every time I fall
There’ll be those who will call me
A mistake
Well, that’s ok

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

One thing I know without a doubt… I matter to God. My husband may get busy and preoccupied, my kids may be busy living their lives in other places, my friends may be working or dealing with their own issues, and it doesn’t mean they don’t love me. They do… so very much! But GOD…

🕑Always has time for me
👂Wants to hear what I have to say
☺️Waits patiently for me to come to him
❤️Understands my pain even when I don’t understand it myself
👓Knows where I hurt
🌷Cares about me, the real me
👼Places people in my life just when I need them most
💔Protects my heart

I want to be a person who can be used by God to do those things in some small way for other people. After all, I am holy, righteous and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I put my “self” in His hands, because he “esteems” me as his child, and loves me with an everlasting love. Even when I don’t love myself very much at all!

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1

Click here to listen to Greater by MercyMe

I wrote about this song a few weeks ago from a completely different perspective. Click here to read Greater.

Featured image: Sunny Side, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20. I painted it originally as a 4 x 6 inch piece on the lid of a box. Definitely one of my favorites.

Who am I?

Self-esteem. My estimation of myself, how I perceive myself, what I think of me. My struggle with low self-esteem has been the thorn in my side my whole life, along with food (though I think they go hand in hand.) Just when I think I’ve got a grip on it and things are going well, something or someone comes along and shakes things up, stirring up old feelings and fears.

I’ve had this song in my head for two mornings in a row. The same lyric from Greater by MercyMe. Maybe God is trying to build my self-esteem while I sleep!

Bring your doubts
Bring your fears
Bring your hurt
Bring your tears
There’ll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed.

Every time I fall
There’ll be those who will call me
A mistake
Well, that’s ok

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

One thing I know without a doubt… I matter to God. My husband may get busy and preoccupied, my kids may be busy living their lives in other places, my friends may be working or dealing with their own issues, and it doesn’t mean they don’t love me. They do so very much! But GOD

Always has time for me
Wants to hear what I have to say
Waits patiently for me to come to him
Understands my pain even when I don’t understand it myself
Knows where I hurt
Cares about me, the real me
Places people in my life just when I need them most
Protects my heart

I want to be a person who can be used by God to do those things in some small way for other people. After all, I am holy, righteous and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I put my “self” in His hands, because he “esteems” me as his child, and loves me with an everlasting love. Even when I don’t love myself very much at all!

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1

Click here to listen to Greater by MercyMe

I wrote about this song a few weeks ago from a completely different perspective. Click here to read Greater.

Kings and Queens

Self-esteem
Self-respect
Pride
Dignity
Self-regard
Self-worth
Personal value

We teach these concepts and try to instill them in our children and grandchildren, but what about the kids out there who don’t have someone telling them how special they are? How important they are? How beautiful, smart, funny, loving, talented… Just because they exist.

The song in my head this morning has me thinking on these things. Audio Adrenaline’s song, Kings and Queens.

Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout Your name in victory
When we love, when we love the least of these
When we love the least of these

As a Christian, I am called to love the least of these. To be the hands and feet of Jesus. Like the song says, “if not us, who will be like Jesus to the least of these?”

I did not grow up feeling like a queen. I was raised in a time when complimenting your child, bragging on them, telling them how good they did or pretty they look may “give them the big head.” That’s southern for making them puffed up and proud. But as a result, I think, I’ve spent much of my life looking for the affirmation that I didn’t receive as a child. Most everything I put my mind to whether it’s relationships, cooking, music, my work, and even Bible study, I do to the best of my ability (most of the time). And mostly so others will notice. Validation. Affirmation. Positive strokes.

BUT, I was so blessed to learn about Jesus from my mom and dad, to grow up serving Jesus in my local church. I don’t have a moment I my life when I didn’t know who He is. He is everything to me. I grew up in a time where my needs were met… Plenty of food, shelter, clean water, clothes, shoes… I didn’t go without. When and how did we get to the place where every school in this country has more than it’s share of children who show up hungry on Monday morning because there was nothing to eat at home on the weekend?

I work on a residential campus where we see kids all winter without a coat or gloves or protective shoes. Every day, kids are pulled out of abusive situations and placed in foster homes, desperate for the baser things we take for granted.

Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend
Won’t you look around
These are the lives that the world has forgotten
Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open

If not me, then who will be like Jesus to these kids?