Saturday, October 18, 2014

All Things Bridal!

Well....there is one week left until my sister-in-law becomes a Mrs.!  It's also 6 days until my 22nd wedding anniversary(!) I think I will dub the next seven days as All Things very own theme week!:)
Image result for bridal cartoon pictures

Later on this morning, I am taking Sarah and Ellie for the final fitting and to pick up our bridesmaids dresses.  Being a part of the wedding party has given me incentive to get in better shape and to lose some of the baby weight that has taken up residence over the course of birthing 9 babies in the last 21 years!  I've always been a person with curves...even at my thinnest and healthiest as a high school swimmer I was only a size 10.  But, over the course of belly expansion and nursing and way too many cravings for chocolate(!), my body doesn't have quite the same shape as it used to!  Most days I'm ok with that....I look at my stretch marks as marks of pride and sacrifice for the little lives that I was blessed to carry and nurture until they were ready for the outside world!

Sometimes, though, I wish my "shape" was closer to resembling that of my former teenage self.  And while I lost weight at times in the past, it always seemed to be followed with another pregnancy!  It's hard to lose weight when you have that thought in the back of your mind, "Why bother since you will just get pregnant again and gain it all back!"

I think losing weight after Kate has been harder because I'm..ahem..a little older and because of the constant sleep deprivation I experience.  A big obstacle for me is nursing as well.  I know some women lose tons of weight when they are nursing.  Not me!  I must have more "primitive" genes that are still programmed to keep on as much fat as possible in case there is a time of famine.  Since I didn't wean Luke before I had Kate and am still doing night time extended nursing with her as well, weight loss is an uphill battle.  (and for those of you trying to figure out the math, I have nursed a baby and/or toddler every day since August 7, 2009!  Some call it crazy...some call it heroic...I just call it something that works for us.  Although I can honestly say I am just about done..I think.)

Anyway...I had a goal to lose 10 pounds before Julie's wedding.  I started about 7 weeks ago.  I used the Livestrong app to track calories and scheduled in 4-5 days of exercise each week.  That was key for me-scheduling the exercise in.  Wanting to exercise and finding the time to do it are two different things entirely!  It's always tripped me up in the past.  Even though I like it best when I can exercise in the morning, that frequently doesn't work for my schedule.  Giving up "perfection in my head" and just exercising whenever the heck I can fit it in the day was an important perspective change for me.

Like the Nike commercial says, "Just Do It!"

10 pounds was the goal and I've fallen short of it.  Last week, I hit a plateau at 6 lbs.  That was really frustrating for me.  I could feel that disappointment and feelings of failure welling up inside as soon as I stepped off the scale last Friday morning.

That "" thought was rearing its ugly head!
I was praying to not let it ruin my day and find an attitude of fortitude and not to just give up and start eating all the chocolate in the house!

I picked up the Bible for some inspiration, and I ended up reading about the woman hemorrhaging.  That woman must have felt so desperate and so discouraged after suffering so long with her condition.  She could have just said this will never work and never had the courage to get close to Jesus.  I wonder how often she wanted to turn back and hide in her bed, (or eat whatever comfort food she could), in the time she heard Jesus was somewhere close by and while she tried to get through the crowd to get close to Him?

She tried to do it quietly...without ever being noticed.  Maybe she felt like she was unworthy and didn't deserve to be healed.  Obviously, she desperately wanted to be healed and she knew all the stories about Jesus healing people and believed He could heal her.

In Matthew's Gospel(9: 18-22), Jesus was actually on the way to heal a ruler's daughter....
"While he was thus speaking to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, 
"My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live."
And Jesus rose and followed him, whit his disciples.
And behold, a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment; 
for she said to herself, "If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well."

..."If I could just touch  His garment"

How hard it must have been to get through the crowd! How often must she was tempted to give up!  I imagine in my head her fingers stretching out, reaching around the people flocking close to Jesus... finally reaching, touching the very edge of his clothes with just the edge of her fingertips...completely unnoticed!

And yet, He knew! ("And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my garments?"Mark 5:30)

Who touched me?  The disciples saying, Well..everyone is!  "You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, 'Who touched me?'"(Mark 5:31)

The woman was close enough to hear the exchange!  Mark tells us that she "came forward in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth."

Can you imagine after feeling such fear to look up and see the gentle gaze of Jesus' eyes and the gentle tone of His voice as he says, "Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well."(Matthew 8:22)

Can you imagine her joy and peace!

That woman's story encouraged me.  It made me feel better. It helped me to have fortitude and not just give up and eat anything and everything I wanted!  It helped me not to give into despair that I would never reach my goal to lose the weight.  It turned my attitude around that day...instead of spiraling downward and being cranky and miserable to my family all day, I felt at peace.

I didn't reach my initial goal...and there's another 15 lbs. after that I want to lose.  But, I am getting healthier, my muscles are starting to reappear after a long hiatus, and I went down a whole dress size.  I might not be where I want to be, but thank God I'm not where I was.(Joyce Meyer)

Like most things, it's all about perspective and what I choose to focus on!

If you are struggling with something today, I hope that this story gives you courage and fortitude, too!