Monthly Archives: September 2014

lacing up

come and share

When Jesus says come and follow me, He is asking us to come and share the same road. (We are going to spend a whole day looking at this call of Christ coming up at our next Collide event if you want to check it out!) When Christ asks us to share the same road as Him, we can find ourselves saying ‘yes’ with great intention, but if we look at the path we actually find our very shoes trodding upon, our actual answer is ‘no’. It is like my kid who says ‘yes’ to go clean her room, yet I can hear her upstairs and she is not in her room, but instead doing cartwheels like she is on crack in the hallway. She is just outside where she said she would be, avoiding what she said ‘yes’ to.

Following Christ is not just saying ‘yes’ to Him, but actually going where He goes and finding yourself in places He does. This is fascinating if you think about it. Because where does Christ go? As I plant myself in the life of Christ and study who He is, I keep finding Him with people I don’t want to be with. He keeps colliding with broken people, annoying people, hurting and desperate people. Not just in word, but in deed.

The road Christ walked always finds Him with people in shoes you and I would not want to walk in. Jesus collides with slutty women caught in the very act of adultery. He hangs out with drunkards and slimy, self advantageous tax collectors. He collides with people whose body parts are shriveled and they look scary. He touches people no one else would touch and yet we are afraid to eat a sandwich these days without having first put on antibacterial soap. Jesus goes out of His way to make friends with people that other people despise. He not only shares their road, He ends up, ultimately, wearing their shoes.

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How can we say we follow Him, if we aren’t willing to collide with broken, messy, annoying, scary people? How can we call ourselves followers if we don’t walk the same roads He walks? How can we say we share the same road, yet the road He travels is the one we avoid? I am no different than my daughter saying, I will go and indeed do, and yet I distract myself with a hundred cartwheels instead. I say I want to follow Him, but do I really want to go where He goes? This question demands my answer. And my answer keeps finding me like Peter, lacing up and following Jesus with great intensity and then like Peter, peeking out behind a rooster’s pen not even having enough guts to own up to my love for this crazy Jesus in the presence of a child.

What will He do with me? Will He keep calling me? Will He keep beckoning me to come?

He will. That is Jesus. He will even go out of His way to meet me on my path in my brokenness, in my puny problems, in my waywardness. He will collide with me. He will wear my shoes. He will whisper come. He will extend His hand and invite me to share His road and the love He has for all of us. And maybe one day, I will find myself lacing up, not for cartwheels, but for people. That is my prayer.

lace up for people

Listen to this fabulous story of some cool people I admire who I believe are on the same road Christ is on running into kids who need shoes for their road.

 

Keeping Score by Scott Erickson

Every once in a blue moon, you collide with someone in life that sparks you. They spark your creativity, your insight, your way of thinking, your passion. Scott is one of those people for me. We worked together years ago doing college ministry and we would have these long talks about Jesus and then go pick up students in my car booming techno music yelling out the windows at strangers “Techno makes everyyyyyything more fuuuuuuuun!” People looked at us like we were crazy and we were. He dared me to sing Whitney Houston’s rendition of I will Always Love You” in the middle of campus at noon in front of hundreds of people in a corndog on a stick uniform and a long blond wig. I did it and I think he still owes me. Scott has a beautiful family and an amazing ministry using his brilliant gifts to continue sparking people’s insight and passion toward that of Christ. Enjoy his thoughts here…- Willow


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I have someone in my life who’s a real jerk. In fact, they’re something else but I’ll use “jerk” to keep this post PG.

They’ve hurt me and my family really bad. So bad I’ve seen my parents cry on multiple occasions… which is one of the worst things I can experience as their adult son.

There is nothing more that I want to do than dismiss them and their stupidity and move on. But I sense this voice in my spirit that keeps calling me to forgive them.

Forgive them?

How do you forgive someone who’s hurt you so bad?
Especially one who doesn’t deserve the mercy of you relenting your hatred of them.
On top of that…. what if you find it so hard to let go?…. and what if you don’t know how to forgive?

What freaks me out is that Jesus says, “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” (Mark 11:26)

So is there a loophole in grace? If we don’t forgive then we won’t be forgiven. What’s going on here….

I asked a friend of mine about this and he said that it had a lot to do with community.

See… the issue is not a moralistic “keeping score” code of forgiving and being forgiven. It is about the nature of living in a healthy community. In Revelation 21, we see a new Jerusalem taking root in the world and all who are under the lordship of Jesus living there. In order for community to thrive and flourish in a community… you must have forgiveness. It’s the essential thing in order to be together.

So the call to forgive is not to do your moralistic duties… but to invite you into the future reality of togetherness.

There is so much more to say about this… but why don’t you continue this conversations with your community. The only other thing I’ll give you is the image I made in order to help me navigate this work: “Forgive Thy Other”

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Scott is coming to speak at the next Collide so if you are in the Western Washington area, you won’t want to miss sitting under his teaching as he uses mixed media, art and story all to deepen our understanding of God! In the meantime, check out his amazing work: http://scottericksonart.com

If you don’t play with integrity, people won’t respect your win.

cards

We often want to win so badly that we will do anything to get victory.

My kids were playing a game recently. I don’t remember what it was. It could have been monopoly or gin rummy. Those seem to be the current faves. One of my kids was pulling some sketchy moves to get a win. And they won!

But really, if you think about it. They didn’t get the win. They lost respect. They lost trust. They lost honor. They lost reputation.

It’s the funniest thing to see someone celebrate a win they got unfairly, at another’s expense. They know they did it. And yet they throw their fist up in the air and proclaim their great victory parading their newfound status as number one. Everyone who played them knows the truth and yet this person still claims victor! They might have the most real estate. Their stack of cash might be bigger than anyone else’s on the board. They might have been the one to say “gin” first, yet everyone knows what they did to get there.

I tried explaining why winning and going about it in all the wrong ways actually ends up making you a loser. As we came to this conclusion, I finished my mom speech with this:

If you play without integrity, people won’t respect your win.

Think about that statement. Because in everything we do, if we play without integrity, no one will respect our “win.” If we carry out shady business practices, no one will respect our high profit margin. If we step on people to climb the ladder, no one will respect the high rung we acquired. If we win the account, but lie to get it, what kind of victory is that? If we get our way in a decision, but power trip to make it happen, is our power the kind that people actually respect?

You can “win” all day long. You can win accounts, You can win lawsuits, You can win games. You can win clients. You can win converts. You can win friends. You can win grades. You can win sex. You can win money. You can win toys. You can win status. But do you really win if you get these things by means that lack integrity?

joker

In the same way that a kid who cheats in Monopoly knows they didn’t actually win, you know too. And that feeling eats away at you. It would be better to have tried and lost, than to have faked a win.

Proverbs 10:9 says Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

My kids and I just recently memorized this. Why? Because it’s a big deal. Security comes from knowing you played with integrity. And this kind of security is like anti anxiety medication for the soul. It cushions any blow. You can sleep well at night knowing whatever game you have played, you played it with integrity. You will be less anxious because you aren’t waiting to be found out. You can be in relationship with man knowing you have played well with others. You can walk with your head held high that win or loss, you did what was right.

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And as God so warns us, if we take crooked paths we will be found out. I can’t think of anything that could create more anxiety and war within my own spirit and my relationship with others. The fear of being found out is no way to live. In fact, God warns us that our lack of integrity is a house of cards that will come crashing down as soon as the wind gets word. If this is striking a chord in you right now, perhaps the best thing you can do is come clean with your “games” and own up to your crooked play. It will be then that God will give you the security you long for. And then and only then that you will experience true victory.

As my kids and I play games, we find ourselves a part of a bigger game. And in that game, there will always be opportunities to play unfairly for the win OR play our best with integrity and accept any outcome. You know though, that you have won, when you are “walking securely”.

play life

Play life with integrity. That is the win.

 

Back To School

BacktoSchool_OnlineInviteLadies, this is going to be such a fantastic day!

We have speakers teaching on things like:

  • How to Navigate Faith with Spiritual Learning Disabilities (Willow Weston will challenge us to look at the things that get in the way of our pursuit to come and follow Jesus whether it is with our whole lives or parts of our lives. We all have them. What are they?)
  • This Isn’t What I Signed up for When I said I Would Follow you. (Lisa Kaiser will boldly tackle this idea that things don’t always work out the way we wanted them to. How do we reconcile that with God and still follow Him?)
  • A New Way to Trust (Scott Erickson who pretty much rules and travels the world doing art using mixed media to create experiences will invite us into a new way of relating to God and trusting Him. This guy thinks outside the box so be prepared into a new way of trusting.)
  • Finding God in the Everyday ( Misha Thompson will invite us through her amazing story telling into what it looks like to find God in any season, place or circumstance of our lives.
  • From one Teacher about Another ( Shari Lingbloom, an amazing local teacher will be speaking about “The” teacher and what it looks to be good students spiritually as she translates what she has seen in the classroom to our spiritual lives. )

We will have breakout session options to choose from taught by people from all over the county like:

  • Discerning where we should go when we follow God.
  • Tools for Spiritual Learners 
  • A Real Disciple Being Real 
  • Learning Compassion through Art
  • A Firsthand Encounter with Jesus

 The day will be full of story, worship, art, a delicious lunch, back to school pictures, and maybe even a lunch lady appearance and a school bus. Who would want to miss out on this? Register now to hop on board! This is gonna be a life changing day!

 

 

 

 

 

A Postcard from My Journey

I first heard Emily’s story when she emailed me very bravely sharing from her gut. I opened my inbox to a message that was raw, transparent, and honest from a woman I had never met before. He earnest pursuit of God in the midst of all that has been thrown at her is inspiring. She deeply desires to find God’s purposes in the midst of her pain. I think what I like most about her courage in sharing her story is that she is sharing it without a fake ending of “and we lived happily ever after.” She shares from chapter ten rather than from the end of her story. I find that refreshing, in a world of people pretending to have all the right answers when facing all the wrong circumstances. I hope you enjoy her honesty and her Eminem quotes:) – Willow 

emily's story

As a 39 year old I felt betrayed by my life.

God wasn‘t showing up like I expected and for that matter a bunch of other people weren‘t either.  I was drowning in everything – every relationship and worthwhile endeavor, everything I was compelled to do in Christ’s name, or for my family, or own devices, everything that filled up my days. I was not flooded with busyness ..  I was drowning.

All the while I was earnestly praying, “Thank you for today, thank you for my family, thank you for enough to eat, a home to live in, a reliable car, thank you for my freedom”.

Let me stop right here and say that “pep” stories given by my fellow Christians, especially those packaged with enlightened Christ-filled moments and glossy endings, clawed at me and made me want to curl up into a ball. I was sure something was wrong with my “Christian-ness”. God seemed to be working in others’ lives; they had a close relationship with the Father and enough faith to carry them through the good and the bad. I felt like my yoke was busted or half on or something; my burden felt anything but easy and light.

Here’s the postcard version of my life at 39: strong marriage, funny husband, three charming kids, the right friends, a part-time job at a non-profit agency, a minivan that drove to sports events many times a week, two Bible studies, volunteer work. Blah, blah, blah. You know what this postcard looks like.

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What I was hiding was the truth, the fact that I was drowning.….

My kids were hard, they were really hard. I love them with everything in me but I was unprepared to be their mother and aid with their needs. The challenges and struggles that God put in my precious children’s lives were front and center in my life. No matter how many times I would lay an issue at His feet I would find myself awake at night, weighed-down under the crush of worry and ‘what-ifs’.

And when the weight was already feeling like too much, three people in my life were diagnosed with deadly cancer. “Why death from cancer, God?,” I thought, “not these people, this is NOT right!”.

At work, I was worried I might get laid off. Instead I got a promotion and quickly felt unprepared for the position, like I was in over my head. My doctor continued to tell me that I was depressed and that I had fibromyalgia because I was exhausted. I had headaches, high stress and odd symptoms that were increasing. I felt unwell just about every day. Medical debt continued to climb. The marriage we once had was buckling under the strain.

I felt I was doing the will of the Father…. frantically paddling, faithfully praying “Holy Spirit help me to be a good servant, better mother and to know the will of the Father”. To quote a song, God’s love “overwhelms and satisfies my soul”.  Except it wasn’t doing either for me.  And if God is always good and unchanging than the problem was me. What was wrong with me? I was praying, I was studying, I was seeking. “Jesus, I’m overwhelmed and I don’t want to deal with all of this anymore.”

No fairy dust sprinkled down on me when I turned 40 but I couldn’t wait to turn the page and get rid of 39!

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40… Life was still hard, work was still hard, marriage was still hard, and mothering was still tear-filled. I was drowning but the water was only at my lip, I wasn’t going under just yet. I think very few noticed I‘d lost the dingy (just the boat kind, not the personality). No life line was thrown my way. “DAMMIT, aren’t you paying attention . . . GOD HELP!!!”.

Fast forward half a year to a bring-me-to-my-knees experience. I went into shock when I heard the ARNP say I had a BRAIN TUMOR. “Lord please let me live”. Six weeks later the benign lime sized tumor was removed.

This past year following the craniotomy has had struggles and hurdles. I am on two horrible medications. I have new medical problems arising with my heart, kidneys and vision. I have issues recalling vocabulary and general mental struggles (like calling every appliance a refrigerator or crying when I couldn’t get the last dozen puzzle pieces to fit. I can laugh about it’s because it pretty funny, even though it’s happening to me.) I have seizures. I’m not able to drive. I resigned from my job (which I had gotten good at). I now have an awareness that I don’t have control of the next day, week or my whole life.

Encouragement has come from expected and unexpected sources.

Expected – the Old Testament: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Unexpected: Eminem…”Do not miss your chance, don’t blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime”.

An opportunity?!? An opportunity to trust in God. Our life has been refocused and things that at one time increased stress, have melted away or been moved to the back burner. I am physically healthier, emotionally stronger, have grown spiritually and in general I am a happier person.

And I am thankful for a lot for a lot of things. I felt the power of being a vessel of other people’s prayer (that was pretty cool). I am thankful for all of my prayers, past and continuing. I am thankful for delicious meals, kind and soothing words, and taxi services. I’m thankful for a tremendous group effort in which I got a beautiful, new, periwinkle bedroom to recover in. It still makes me happy. And in 20 years there hasn’t been a year that could match my growth in love and gratitude and dependence for my wonderful husband.

39 was agonizing, it was the hardest year of my life, I was failing and I was toiling so hard. 40 is still hard. My body is not fixed. Life is messy. I am messy. I can see many ways God has brought me to and through this time. I trust He will continue to do this.

So why the heck have I written this when I said stories, where it all gets packaged up, make me curl into a fetal position of faith inadequacy? Here’s why: I did not, do not and will not achieve a life nor spirituality that fits on a small glossy postcard with a serene picture (and requires a less expensive stamp to send!).

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Today my post card looks the same as it did when I was 39.  However there are volumes that don’t fit on a postcard. “God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit travel with me even though I don’t sense it every day. They see the whole picture and guide me.  And there is more to be written.”

If reading stories like Emily’s inspires you to share yours, email us at yourstories@wecollide.net . We would love to hear from you.

Would you let someone really sick pray for your first world problems? I did.

think on these thingsAs I last shared, we had an epic summer full of rats, bats, lice, dislocated elbows and other adventures. I honestly realized that what often beats people down is the continuous trials. It is the seasons in life where when it rains it pours and when it pours it feels like slow torture. It’s not so much that the things happening to us are even thaaaaat bad, it is more the slow drip of disappointment that causes deep discouragement.

This is where I was at this summer. Just bummed. I had regrets I couldn’t even blame myself or anyone for. I was let down by where we were at in relation to where I had hoped we would be. I was living on the edge of empty wanting to be filled and yet too empty to chase the fill. I felt alone surrounded by people. I started spinning negative beats in my head. But I kept thinking, it could be worse, I could have cancer. I think a lot of people downplay what they face and put some horrid disease on a pedestal and as long as they don’t have that, they tell themselves they are fine.

Our whole family was in a rough spot. And it struck me that something had to give. And three things happened that I feel inclined to share.

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One: We had a come to Jesus meeting one night at dinner. Our heads laid low in whatever it was we were eating. Even the kids were quiet and the air was thick. And that was when Rob just bust open with a sermon and for a guy who doesn’t preach, we all listened. He said something like “We have got to stop feeling sorry for ourselves! There are people who live with lice. It never goes away. Here we are and we have access to medicine and the ability to be freed from it and we are moping. Some people never get rid of lice. And you with your elbow dislocation. There are people in other countries who get injuries like that and they don’t have access to anesthesia or doctors or physical therapy and their arms just stay that way. We are so blessed and we should be thankful.” It was a moment to think about the people who live what we are passing through.

Now sometimes when people give you these kind of speeches about first world problems, you still want to say “But this still sucks.” But Rob brought the truth. And sometimes you have got to look at TRUTH square in the eyes and get over yourself.

If nothing else, we came out more grateful for left hands and clean hair and showers and medicine. And even more, compassion. I cannot even sit by a door now and see someone elderly open it themselves. When pregnant people are picking things up I cringe. And people in wheelchairs who aren’t passing through a handicap, that just kills me now. I saw a guy with an amputated arm and almost drove off the road because I don’t see people the same anymore. And maybe God wanted to get us to a place of gratitude and compassion. And sometimes that place can only come in pain, but even more it comes when TRUTH is spoken in PAIN.

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Second: The very passionate woman who led me to Jesus called me up when the final straw apparently came and she said she wanted to abduct me the next day and have a bunch of pentecostal, spirit led women pray over me because she said it seemed like I was being hit with the plagues. Everything in me wanted to say no, but I had finally gotten to a place in my spirit where I knew I needed help. I said yes. I showed up to this luncheon with white table clothes, homemade mini key lime pies and about ten women of all ages.

As soon as I sat down I saw a woman who was present the day I handed my life to Jesus nearly 20 years ago. She had lost her hair. Oh no, I thought. Oh no, something is wrong with her. She must have cancer. I hadn’t seen her in years and I asked her how she was doing. She began to explain that she has cancer and it has hit her hard and fast. She said “I am standing tall on the inside though.” I will never forget that. This “Standing tall” that she speaks of is not how I was feeling. I was bent over on the inside and yet she faced something way fiercer than me.

How telling.

And how was I going to let them pray for me? We needed to pray for her, the woman with cancer, not the lady with lice and bats and rats and a measly sling. It was honestly so embarrassing because my issues felt like nothing to even utter a complaint about in the presence of my old friend who faces a severe battle.

The women asked me to share about Collide and what God is doing. Then they asked me the worst of all questions, to share what was going on in my life and how they could pray for me. I looked at the woman who was standing tall and I said “Honestly, I feel silly having you all pray for me. What I am going through is nothing in comparison to cancer. We should pray for…” pointing to the woman with cancer. And I truly wanted to pray for her. She is a kind, caring, compassionate woman who I hurt for and who I long to be healed. And I didn’t want people to pray for my dumb, pansy, first world problems.

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And they insisted. In fact, the woman with cancer insisted all the more. She pressed in with great desire to pray for me. The women stood over me and these woman, most of whom I didn’t know prayed in power begging the God of the Universe to strengthen me. They prayed protection over my family and my kids and my house. They prayed for Christ’s power to be unleashed in my ministry. And I had this weird mind game happening while they were praying. I wondered if I should pray. I was uncomfortable. I felt stupid. I wanted to leave as soon as I could get out of there. And in the midst of a bunch of praying women’s voices, I heard God’s. He said very loudly one word: RECEIVE. Just receive.

Sometimes, we have a really hard time receiving what God has for us and what He wants to do for us. Sometimes its because of pride. Who wants to be the weenie chick who needs prayer for lice and cold sores? Not me. Sometimes receiving puts you in a place of need. You have to be needy and that makes you vulnerable. To stay in a place and allow people to literally surround you with their bodies, their time, their words, and their prayers all means you need something. There is possibly nothing that comes as close to being naked as receiving. Receiving is often hard because we find our identity in giving. Because if we give, people will like us and they will see our worth. What will people actually see in us if all we do is sit and receive? Some of you know have no idea how to receive like I have no idea how to receive . And that is why you find yourselves feeing alone surrounded by people. That is why you feel empty but want to be filled. You are in need of receiving just like I found myself.

I opened my hands and held them palms up toward the heavens. I will receive Lord. I need you. I am tired, I am worn thin. I am disappointed. I am worried. I am broken. I am here to receive.

Would you let a woman with cancer pray over you?

I did. It wasn’t about comparing pain like we so often do and letting someone who takes the cake win out. It wasn’t about being told my pain was insignificant because there was way worse to be had. It was a pure moment of God inviting me to humble myself and receive what He had for me, personally. I cant begin to tell you how beautiful it was except to say that I walked away changed.

Will you allow yourself to receive what God has for you today? And will you allow it to come through others? It might take vulnerability. It might take humility. It might take being bent over on the inside first before you can stand tall.

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Thirdly: I sat my kids down one morning. I could feel God beckoning us to face this slow drip His way. I asked Aidan to read Philippians 4:8 which says:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I basically said “Kids, we have been thinking about everything that sucks, everything we are upset about and disappointed by and God calls us to think about these things.” I wrote each word on a sticky note and put it up on the mantel. We each got our own stack of post its and we took time to write things that were TRUE or NOBLE or RIGHT or PURE or LOVELY or ADMIRABLE or EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY. And then we shared them.

The kids wrote things like “Dad having the kid over who lost his mom.” and put it under admirable. They wrote “friends bringing us meals” and put it under praiseworthy. They called the good out in each other. They wrote out answered prayers and blessings and things they were grateful for. I thought this exercise could have died a quick death but instead it kept going and going and going. I literally had to stop this sweet time after an hour.

think on these things

We came up with an acronym to remember this charge from God to think upon these kinds of things. It is:

The

naughty

red

pretty

labradoodle

ate

everything

poopy.

Now you can see how the Weston’s think. The naughty red pretty labradoodle ate everything poopy. Now when we spin negative beats in our heads we remind each other of what is true. And what is true is that we are loved. What is true is that we are alive. Now when we feel sorry for ourselves we remind each other of what is lovely. And what is lovely is that God paints sunsets in the sky that strike us to our core. Now when we feel overwhelmed we remind ourselves of what is admirable. What is admirable is when people around is live not for themselves but for others. And so on and so forth…

We will think upon these things and when we forget to do so, we will keep pointing each other toward the One who has such beautiful desires for us in the midst of our pain. He is a God who wants within us a deep compassion for others. He is a God who wants us to humbly receive what He awaits to hand out. And He is a God who calls us to think about all that is good in the midst of all that isn’t.

I hope today you will receive what He has for you. Palms up friends.

Caving to Your Cravings by Sherri Lewis

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I am so excited to introduce you all to Sherrie! She is on the Day of Collide Team this year and will bring such a refreshing perspective and heart to the team. She is on a journey toward healing and is open to growing and being real in her story. She is so eager to learn and do ministry, that I can barely wait to do it alongside her! As you read what she has to share here, you will find all of this to be true! Enjoy!- Willow

It started in the beginning, the very beginning, in the Bible when Eve was tempted by the fruit of the tree that she was told would fulfill her in a way that she deserved, in a way that would bring her life and new sight.

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Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. The serpent said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden.’?” The woman replied, “we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘you must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman, “for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. After Eve took of the fruit, the Lord came looking for her, He pursued her, and Adam and Eve hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “where are you?”. He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid…” Genesis 3:1-10 (paraphrased)

Reading Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa Terkeurst * opened my eyes to the revelation that my struggle with food was not just in my head; that it was a real struggle that women before me have faced. In reading her book (which I highly recommend you do), I realized that even the first woman in this world fell to her cravings (even if it was fruit and you know, not a brownie). The story that God placed right in the beginning of His Book explained a very real battle that has been waging since the beginning of time – women and their food vs. Jesus and His truth. This was the beginning for me. I began truly seeking and experiencing an incredibly powerful healing and freedom through discovering God’s truths.

All my life, I have heard the enemy’s (the serpent’s) lies about what food could do for me. Food has been my enemy and my friend. I have had a love/hate relationship with food – both loving those gooey brownies, but hating the shame that followed when I caved to my cravings and had not only that brownie, but 12 more to follow. I have used food to comfort me when my alcoholic dad waged war in my home. I used food to control my body – to meet the world’s standards of beauty – to get to that perfect size – to ultimately be accepted. In my world, food had the “power” to make me feel beautiful and skinny, or fat and ugly. I used food to feed my feelings and to get rid of them, I threw up in the midst of tears as I sat over a toilet, overcome with guilt and shame.

I realized that the original sin involved Eve succumbing to her cravings because she thought it would give her something she wanted, something more to control. Just the same, I realized for myself that it wasn’t the food that I struggled with, it was the belief in myself I needed to realize that I am enough when I am living in God’s love and absolute grace. I needed to accept myself and the season God had me in without constantly pursuing the next thing. I needed to love myself right now and stop pursuing what wasn’t mine to pursue. “Her job” or “her pant size” or “her will power” or “her self control and discipline” or “her body” or “her {fill in your own}” were not mine. I am enough, and so is she. When we stop comparing ourselves and accept our beautifully made selves, we discover peace and joy. We discover freedom. Eve wanted something that wasn’t hers to have and it left her in fear and shame.

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The beauty of it all, as I have realized, is that our cravings are very real, but they were not meant to be filled with food (however enticing that food is). These cravings are places in our hearts that were meant to be filled with Jesus’ love and grace. We all have a Jesus who will run into us and give us a joy and satisfaction like nothing else we’ve experienced. Those places that are filled with hurt that we want to stuff with food are the exact places God is wanting to fill with love and warmth.

Going back to the story of Eve and her caving to the serpent’s lies, it is important to really understand what happened afterward. God came looking for her. He pursued her and looked for her, but she was afraid and full of shame. I think that this describes so many women. Whether or not you believe it, you were created and formed by God and He is constantly pursuing you. No matter what size pants you have, how many of those cookies you ate, or what you have done, God absolutely loves you and seeks to find you in the midst of wherever you are. He is far more satisfying than 12 donuts, a cookie or a bag of chips, let me tell you.  I may or may not have experienced both Jesus and the bag of chips ;). Jesus is supreme.

 I share because sharing has brought me freedom as so many women have come along side me to help. I believe other women need to know they are not alone, and it is only by opening up that we can truly understand that we are in this together. Because of all of this, I believe God called me to create Wonder Women Freedom. It emphasizes not just one woman, but many women, joining together to find freedom. Together, we can discover God’s wonder and awe in who each of us are. We can rediscover the joy in eating as God intended, while building real friendships with other women. I believe that the lies will be torn down when women are speaking boldly about their struggles to each other and bring them to light. I believe through sharing, women will find God’s truth, love, grace and acceptance for who we are, just as we are – messed up, but loved and in need of a Savior and a power that can transform our hearts, our minds, and our bodies.

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Let’s not let any distraction – brownie or that entire bag of chips – take away from who we are in Jesus and the pure joy and freedom He longs for each of us to experience. Let’s acknowledge that our struggles and our cravings are real, but that they have been misdirected. These cravings may only be filled with true unconditional love of Jesus. We talked about the beginning of the story, but you have an opportunity to choose the outcome of your life. You are on the receiving end of a pursuit – one that is bound to end in victory if you let it. A victory that Jesus has waiting for you as you collide into Him like a daughter into the arms of her loving daddy.

To keep in touch with Sherrie and hear more about her Wonder Women of Freedom ministry go here:

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