Weigh Me Down

An Anxious Heart-kevinmartineau.ca

Nothing feels better than weight lifted or pounds lost. It’s much easier to accumulate worries and weight than it is to get rid of them, so it is amazing when God lifts a tremendous weight. I’ve always allowed people and circumstances to weigh me down, but I’ve finally learned on Saturday that peace cannot be purchased at any price. It is, however, freely given if I will only let God have His way with my heart.

There have been many changes in my life over the past two years, and I’ve gained twelve pounds in the transition. Food fills and soothes my soul, but it leaves my body miserable. God helped me see that added weight is a side effect of allowing my heart to be weighed down. What’s going on in my heart will express itself in my body. A pound of fat contains seven miles of blood vessels, so each pound puts a terrible burden on my heart. Added fat literally steals my energy. When I have less energy, I eat more; and the endless cycle of weight gain begins.

One minute of frustration has the same effect on my emotional health as an extra pound of fat has on my physical body. Last week, I let others to rob me of my joy and deplete my energy. That got in the way of enjoying my beautiful family and my amazing new home. God made it clear on Saturday night that extra weight of any kind is my choice. He will not lift weight while I hanging on to it. There is a certain safety in weight, but there is no satisfaction.

God never adds weight; He lifts it. Jesus makes that clear in Mathew 11:28-30:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NASB)

It’s bad enough when I let the world get me down, but it’s inexcusable when I think God is the One putting the added weight on my heart. God sent His only Son to lift the burden of sin from my heart; how could I possibly think He would take that burden and replace it with another.

During our church service yesterday, we were asked to write down the dream we had for our children. That was very easy for me to do. I only want one thing for my son; I want him to know he is loved. God smiled when I wrote down my answer and reminded me that was the only thing He desired for me. I looked over at my son writing down his dream for his two precious girls and smiled too. I don’t know what he wrote, but I’m sure it had to do with love and not stuff.

Love lifts as nothing else can, and that’s why God sent His precious Son’s love. He knew it was what His weighed down children needed. This Mother’s Day was the best ever because my heart was as light as it’s ever been. Tyler’s unconditional love lifts my heart beautifully. Now, I just have to work on my hips!! He used to be a physical trainer, so maybe he will help me with that too 🙂

Tyler and Me 5-10-15

Not Exactly Physics…Or Rocket Science :)

What goes up, must come down when it comes to both gravity and my heart. I was reminded this week that the heart and the  hypothalamus gland have much in common. The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, circadian rhythms and more. There is a delicate balance in the gland that must be maintained. Envision a straight line being the perfect balance for the gland’s function. If I take a stimulant such as caffeine, the line will go up – think of a seismograph. In order to get back to that place of balance, the line must go down in equal proportion to the stimulation. What goes up…must come down before getting back into balance. It forms the basis for addiction and is one of the most important glands in our body.

Love is a lot like that hypothalamus gland. It affects body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, rhythm, and much more. A high is followed by a low that is equal in proportion to that high. What goes up, must come down. The trick with both the heart and the hypothalamus gland is to find and stay in a place of balance. The Holy Spirit’s peace passes understanding and is that line for me. When I am in God’s presence, His peace fills me as nothing else can. Balance comes to my heart there, and I want to stay forever.

The trouble is life happens, and that causes the ups and downs that are inevitable as I love my way through this incredible journey we call life. When I’m in heaven, I’ll be in that state of sweet peace forever. Until then, I’m learning to ride out the waves on that seismograph and stay as close to the center as I possibly can. I wander off the path when it comes to my heart and my hypothalamus gland, and that gets me out of God’s rhythm. It’s so tempting to grab for a sweet treat and feel the high it provides for a moment, but the corresponding crash brings me down to earth and reminds me to be careful.

The great news is that God created both my heart and my hypothalamus gland to auto-correct unless damaged or broken. A healthy heart and a healthy hypothalamus gland come from taking the time to make good decisions that will keep both on the path that leads to peace. I’m human and like those sugary treats, but as I get older, I’m learning that peace is the ultimate high. It’s not exactly physics, and it sure isn’t rocket science because I know better than to mess with the sweet balance God provides for both my heart and my body when I take His advice 🙂

What Goes Up

Lessons in Sharing

Sharing is rarely easy, but it’s far easier to share material possessions than to share my burdens with others. Inviting others into my story means opening my heart to possible hurt and rejection, and that’s more painful than having to do with a little less. Healthy sharing lets others hear my heart. Unhealthy sharing is about dumping my problems on others or holding tightly to them.  Like most folks, I’ve had my share of unhealthy sharing with things and my heart. Unhealthy sharing either weighs me down with guilt or leaves me clueless. Both knock my heart off balance.

Sharing as God desires leaves my heart balanced and stronger than ever. When it comes to weight, distribution is the key to balance. The same is true when it comes to sharing burdens. Carrying burdens alone wears me down quickly, but handing it off to someone who will ‘take care of it for me’ is even worse. My son is dealing with his father’s illness, and I’ve watched him share his father’s burdens in a powerful way. Being a loving presence and helping him find his balance has given Tyler a new sense of balance. That’s what healthy sharing does, and I thank God for the lessons we are all learning during this special time of transition.

I hear hope in Tyler’s voice, and I’ve never been more proud of him. Love changes everything, and that is especially true when it comes to love and life. Burdens are lightened and loads are are lifted when love enters the picture. Children lift and lighten as no medicine can, and they need be part of the sharing process. Tyler and Gina are allowing the girls to be present in a positive way. That’s healthy sharing, and it creates balance. It is what weight distribution is all about. The joy the girls bring grows as it is shared, and that’s the best sharing of all.

Like a Trembleur

Like a toddler learning to walk or a drunk trying not to hit the floor, I found myself seeking balance again this morning. I had a relapse after pushing myself to do too much and eat too much far too quickly. That’s a lot of too’s, but you get the idea. In the wee hours of the morning, I was afraid something was amiss, and when I tried to get up, it turned out my fears were well founded.

I have a friend who turns wood, and he is working on a trembleur. I had no idea what that was until he showed me a piece he had made that was similar but not the right dimensions to cause the trembling or wobbling which gives the piece its name. I was fascinated by the wiggly object and felt an immediate kinship as I am a wiggler myself:)

Making a trembleur isn’t easy and requires very patient hands, steady rests, and solid nerves. I fear that leaves me out of the process. It was actually used as a test in France to see if a turner was ready to leave his apprenticeship and become a journeyman. It seems an apt test, but one I’m sure many did not pass the first time around.

Trembleurs are attached to a base that allows the carving to wobbly freely without falling down. I thought of how like a trembleur I am when it comes to balance and falling down. If I attach myself firmly to Christ, the wobbling becomes dancing, and the trembling becomes prayer. The lessons this week have been about stillness and prayer. I needed the virus, the vertigo, and the trembleur to get the point God has been trying to get across to me. I love it when He puts just the object in my path that I need to see and feel to get the message He has in mind. I’m a visual learner and a kid at heart, and I love the notion of a piece of art that moves.

God expects me to move, as well, but He also needs for me to be still. The base of the trembleur brings stillness and stability that lets the wood dance. Eugene Peterson calls the sweet indwelling of the Trinity the Trinitarian Dance. I have felt that beautiful filling and much prefer it to the spinning rooms that came with this virus. I still tremble when I come into God’s presence, and I hope I always do. Knowing to whom I pray brings that trembling. Knowing how much He loves me turns the trembling into a worshipful dance:) God also knows how very much I love to dance!

I’m not up to editing today, so this is what it is. Forgive my mistakes and use this rough draft as an opportunity to extend grace to one who isn’t feeling well:)

Here’s a site that shows how to make those amazing trembleurs if you’re interested. trembleur_eng.htm

Love and Balance

Love and balance go together. Finding the center, where God’s love abides, keeps my heart in balance. Pastor John shared his work on intersections with me, and it became the framework God used to teach a lesson in balance.  I’ve missed the mark and lost my balance when it comes to love.  I’ve never been treated like a bride, but I realize that’s because I’ve never seen myself as one.  The first step to being seen differently is to see yourself differently.  As God changes me, I’m beginning to see myself as He does.  God used an evening gown to show me that I am not only a bride, but also His beautiful daughter.  I’ve never felt as balanced or beautiful in my life as I did when I put on that dress! I love it when God uses visual aids and props to get His message across, and He used both with this lesson!

Balanced love and healthy relationships occur when I am centered. The center, or intersection as Pastor John would call it, is the destination. Getting close to God is essential, but if I get so close that I lose my connection to others and my sense of identity, then I am lost. If I get so far into myself that I don’t need God, I lose my connection to Him and to others. The center is where God and I meet and is a place of peaceful balance. It allows me to love God, myself, and others in a way that brings wholeness. I know I will move up, down, right, and left as my heart navigates this journey, but understanding each level will help me stay balanced.

Listening to me is not the same as hearing my heart. God and those dearest to me hear my heart. I go to dear friends when my heart is hurting, and I go to God when I come to the end of my rope. He waits patiently, hears my cry, and wonders why I keep forgetting He is God and already knows the deepest desires of my heart. He helps me to search the depths of my heart where He waits for me. When I join Him there, He helps me reacquaint myself with all I have forgotten or perhaps never knew about myself and Him. That makes a difference in the way I see myself and allow myself to be treated.

God used a beautiful gown to help me see myself in a new light. A large part of the learning has been about loving who I am. What a revelation and transformation God made with my heart when I went for my fitting. I was alone when I tried on the dress. Rita ran to Michael’s and planned to be back before my fitting. As God would have it, Laura was finished early and ready for me forty-five minutes before my appointment.

Silly me had just learned from Rita that the alterations would run from $70 to $100 depending upon what had to be done, and Laura told me that it would take four weeks for the work to be completed. Once again, I felt stupid but gave it up to God and decided not to let it ruin my day. I was excited to try on the dress and felt just like Cinderella. I was a little sad that Rita wasn’t there; but God was, and Laura looked and behaved just like a fairy godmother. I’m sure that was intentional on God’s part:) I put on the dress and immediately felt beautiful. I didn’t have on any make-up, and my hair was wild-as usual! I went out to hear what had to be done to the dress and braced myself to hear how much it was going to cost me. I wish I had a photo of Laura’s sweet face when she looked at me in the dress. Her eyes lit up, she smiled sweetly and said, “I don’t need to do a thing to that dress! It’s perfect just as it is.” I could see and hear God and knew He was saying that He loved me just as I am.

I have never felt more beautiful in my life. It’s the way I should have felt on my own wedding day. I felt like a bride as I walked around with Laura looking for the perfect shawl. Folks from another wedding party were watching as she had me try on shawls and wraps and jackets. I could have kissed her when she said, “None of these will do!” Surprising, since she does work there and was speaking loudly enough for others to hear:) She looked me right in the eye and told me firmly, but lovingly, that I had to find a large scarf with black and tan and beige to match my shoes. I grinned and looked her in the eye and said, “Like the jacket you have on!” She looked down, laughed out loud and said, “Exactly!!”

It didn’t surprise me, but did catch Rita off guard when we walked into Dillard’s and saw the perfect scarf marked down from $28 to $8:) She said wow in a very quiet and very humble way. I looked up and said, “Thank you God:)” Before I went to bed, I just had to put the dress back on with the shawl. I had my computer out and decided to take a photo just to see how it looked. It was late, and I was ready for bed with my hair a mess and no make-up. What I saw surprised me even more than when I was in the shop with Laura. It was just God and me, and it was so sweet and intimate as He told me to look and see what He saw.  

In my living room all alone, I found the abandon to do just that.  All I could think was God truly has brought beauty from the ashes. Cinderella was appropriate in that her very name implies the ridicule she got from others for the ashes on her face. Ridicule for me has mostly come from me as I have allowed others to define me. God made Himself perfectly clear yesterday as He lovingly showed me Who He is and who I am. I saw myself in a new and beautiful light. I’m a bride, His bride, and He loves me. I best not forget that in the future. It was just what a daddy should make sure his beloved daughter understands before he gives her up to her groom.

I felt that for the first time in my life that evening, and it was transforming. God changed the way I saw myself, and He did it in the sweetest way ever. I love that my hair was disheveled, my face was scrubbed clean, and my feet were bare when I took the photo. Those who know and love me best know that is just the way I love to be. Suddenly, I felt changed from the inside out.  I know in the very depths of my being that it is not only okay to be the way I am; it is, as Laura and God reminded me, a perfect fit for me! I am His beloved and beautiful daughter. 

Here’s the photo I took with my computer:

Here are charts God helped me to fill in.  They helped me, and I pray they help you too.

 

Love & Balance

God

7 Know

6 See

5 Speak

Loves Too Freely              4 Experience Love              Refuses to Love

3 Do

2 Feel

1 Be

Self

*At level one, nothing but self matters. Love is about self, and I do not need God. There is satisfaction in that I don’t need anyone else. It is very satisfying, but very lonely.

*At level two, the connection is still about self, and sex is the way love is expressed. Lust is confused with love. Self is not as satisfied as I connect to others but expect them to make me feel good.

*At level three, the connection is fused and confused by doing. Enabling takes place. It is all about what I do for others. Love and action are confused. The satisfaction is about being needed, and that depends on others acknowledging my sacrifice. Self is not satisfied unless praised. Not really about others, and getting away from self.

*At level four, there is balance and self-differentiation. God, others, and self come together in a balanced mix. He is who He is, I am who I am, others are who they are, and love flows through all in a way that causes a close connection without fusing. Self and God are satisfied. It is a place of joy and peace.

*At level five, I put my feelings into words and express my love for God and others beautifully, but it is imbalanced because there is a distance between me and others. I’m closer to God but further from others. I talk about love, but I do not experience it as God desires. Self is becoming less important and is not satisfied.

*At level six, I see love in others, but I am more distant from them. I am closer to God and more in tune with Him. I feel very near. I have images and visions of His love, but love is not manifested in my life or self. I need others less and less and spend more time with God alone. Self is even less important and less satisfied.

*At level seven, I know God deeply and am in His presence in a powerful way. I feel one with Him but further and further away from others and self. I don’t want or need others, and I am lost in the process. It is a beautiful feeling, but a lonely one. Self isn’t important any more and is in the way. Not satisfied and frustrated with limitations of self.

Balanced love and healthy relationships occur when I am centered. The center, or intersection is the destination, not the top. Getting closer to God is essential, but if I get so close that I lose my connections to others and my sense of identity, then I am lost. If I get so far into myself that I don’t need God, I lose my connection to God and to others. The center is where He and I meet in perfect harmony and become one. That allows me to love Him, myself, and others with all my heart. I will move up, down, right, and left as my heart navigates this journey, but understanding each level will help me stay where God wants me to be.

Here’s another little chart that helps me stay balanced.

God

devotion

generosity love honesty

affection

Self

Love is a beautiful combination of generosity, affection, honesty, and devotion. God gives beautiful balance to our hearts by bringing us to the center where He resides♥

Finding Balance

Mylah taught a lesson in balance as she tried desperately to keep up with her big sister Lillyann. I was keeping them both while Gina was in class, and we were playing animal hospital. I explained to Lillyann that we all had to play together so she decided that Mylah would be the cook, and she would be the doctor. Lillyann had her beanie baby animals spread out on the floor.  They had little blankets on them, and she was tending to their wounds.  She removed ticks, fixed cuts, bandaged broken wings, and much more to the little bat, blue jay, tiger, and puppies.  She worked intently,  as I helped Mylah in their little kitchen.  Mylah handed off cups, plates, and little plastic food as Lillyann rushed in to get them for her patients.  Lillyann’s pace was rapid! Mylah barely got one item in Lillyann’s hand before she was back for another. It took both of us to keep up with the demand for food!

As I watched Mylah in the little kitchen, I thought of mama in her kitchen focused upon the task at hand and unaware of what was going on around her. When Mary Sue was in her kitchen, she was on a mission and lost in a world of her own. It warmed my heart and made me smile to see the girls playing together. Mylah wasn’t to the point of letting go and trusting her balance completely when it came to walking on her own. Her walking was sporadic, but in the little kitchen with Lilly running in and out, she had to let go because she needed both hands to keep up with her big sister. I loved watching her find and keep her balance in all the commotion. I realized balance is also easier for me when I focus upon doing for others instead of worrying about whether or not I might fall♥

Mylah scurried around little play kitchen and handed off plates, cups and bowls to Lillyann with the intensity of a missionary.  What a blessing it is to work together.  As we share the work, Jesus lightens the load. Mylah was delighted and almost fell as she bounced up and down with joy while working away. She had no idea what she was doing, but she knew she was part of something very important. She loved playing with her big sister and keeping up! That’s the attitude God needs for me to have. I don’t have to understand what He asks me to do, I  just need to enjoy doing what He calls me to do and keep up with the enthusiasm I saw in sweet little Mylah. When I focus upon God and think about others, I connect beautifully and find God in myself and others. Mylah and Lillyann were doing just that, and it warmed my heart just as it warms God’s when He sees me doing the same.