Thursday, March 29, 2012

I don't know.

The text message came to me. The words, sad and angry and fearful all at once.

"Why? Why can't God stop this?"

And my heart hurt. My words froze. All of the things that I could say got lost under my own remembered pain, my own remembered helplessness.

And I answered: I don't know.

Because I just don't. I don't know why things happen to people. I don't know why good people become different, struck down by disease and addiction.

I don't know.

I've walked this my entire life. I have loved God my whole life. And I still have no answers.

The situation has peeled away all of my layers of healing I have applied. It has unearthed all of my own sadness. And I thank God for that. I thank Him for the remembered feeling, for the pain, and for the feelings of being at odds with this world we live in.

Because it reminds me that I don't have any answers.

The world is a broken place. Filled with broken people. A world that is becoming more and more lost and broken by the day. And the only thing we have to cling to when the world shatters is God.

But to do that we have to lay down all of our own understanding. We have to look past the people in our lives to see the creatures God has made. Creatures who have their own path to walk. Nobody's walk is our own. We can't walk for them. We can't drag them along.

And we can't make anyone better. Even those we love more than life. And even those who should be our shield and our fortress. Those who should protect us and those that should hold us up.

They fall too. And their falling resonates forever in our own world.

We get angry. We shake our fists and we cry. We beg and we plead. But some things cannot be reasoned with. And some things cannot be fixed.

Some things can't be fixed.

Not by human hands, or human words, or human deeds.

My parents had their own walk, long before I was born. The had their own path to God. Do I agree with their choices? No. But I have come to know, through tears and agony and self blame, that there was nothing in this world I could have done to change they steps they took.

It was their path. Not mine.

The moment of letting go of that was the most heart rending of my entire life. The pain of it was intense and searing. I felt like I was going to die. I felt sick. I felt angry and ashamed and disgusted.

Until I handed it to God. Until I said. "I cannot."

Cannot carry this.
Cannot hurt this way.
Cannot feel responsible.
Cannot worry this much.
Cannot hurt this much.
Cannot take into myself their pain and make it my own.

That is the only answer I have, after 35 years in this skin, loving my Savior.

I Don't know why these things happen. I don't know how to fix them. I don't know how to make the pain go away.

But I do know who can, and does and will. And until I reach Heaven, that will have to be enough.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Milestone

Today it is 6 weeks since my surgery.

I got on the scale today not anticipating a change, but there it was: a full 30 pounds lost.

30. It seems like so much. It is halfway to my goal of 60.

But it is just a number. It cannot compare to the lightness of my breath, the difference in my energy level and stamina, the way I can feel my heart settling into a steady beat as I push myself with weights.

It is in the way my body responds to all I am demanding of it- carrying babies, cooking, laundry, workouts. My body gives with flexibility and strength. It pushes beyond endurance into excellence when I ask it to- when I lift an extra 20 pounds, when I bump up my cardio.

It's as if all this time, my body and myself were separated, and now it is fusing.

In short, my outside reflects my inside now.

So today instead if going to the gym, I wanted to celebrate my small victory.

Days are gone when I would have eaten something decadent, or taken a nap.

Today I strapped my Sammy into his Beco carrier, grabbed the dog, and went for a long walk.

Sam is 31 lbs. Just a little over what I have lost. And as I carried him I felt every pound. It was there in the small ache of my feet, the burning in my thighs, and the cracking of my knees. It was a heavy, sweet reminder of what I have left behind.

And when I finished three miles and lifted him from my back, I felt like I could fly.

I have a feeling that there are many more moments like this to come, but today, walking in the cold breeze and warm sunshine with my boy chattering in my ear, life was very very sweet. And it's only going to get sweeter.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Yesterday I walked by a floor to ceiling mirror at the mall. As I passed, a woman in a long purple maxi dress and a big white cardigan caught my eye. She was shapely, curvy, and elegant. Her face was free from all makeup except gloss and mascara. Her hair was twisted up tightly, showing off her slim face and neck.

I did a double take.

The woman was me.


And in that split second between knowing I was looking at myself, and thanking I was looking at a stranger, I thought I was beautiful.

I can tell you that it was the first time since I was called "fat" at age 10, that I liked what I saw in the glass. The first time I didn't pick myself apart, my hand going immediately to my stomach, my lip curling at the sight of my thighs.

This has been, by far, the deepest prayer of my heart, the one I prayed out loud in the surgery room as I went under anesthesia: "Lord, change me inside as you change me outside."

And He has. As in all things, He has been faithful. He has been gentle. He has been comforting when my doubts got in my way.

In all ways He has reminded me that this was a choice He and I made together. That it was for my good. That it was to unshackle me.

I feel the hold food has over me peeling away, revealing what food truly is: fuel. Nourishment for life. To move, to care for my children, to be strong and healthy. It is only that- fuel. It is not to hide behind, to take refuge in, to drown in. It is not to bury my feelings in or to create a body that keeps others away.

It is to live that I eat. To subsist. I have been freed.

I feel every word that has every been hurled at me disappearing slowly. Washed away by the tide of my own confidence. Realizing that these words are not ME. They are not my body, not my spirit.

I am opening to the world. And it has nothing to do with the number on the scale, or the number on my jeans.

It has to do with me and my Savior. It has to do with giving up all that binds me. That makes me sit in fear of speaking up, being seen, or living life.

Freedom is sweeter than anything I could ever taste. And I am rejoicing in the breaking of bonds.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The skinny

Tomorrow is my one month surgi-versary!

One month out, and I have zero regrets. None. My recovery has been awesome. I have felt good from the beginning, only hanving a handful of days when I was tired or dragging.

My belly has healed. I will always have scars, but in a weird way, I don't care. The scars are from a positive life choice- I put them up there with stretch marks from pregnancy.

Two things that have been downers- I have rapidly lost muscle tone in my legs and butt. They have always been big, but also muscular. Those muscles have dwindled quite a bit, leaving me feeling very loosey goosey. However, I know I put on muscle very quickly, so I am psyched to get back to lifting weights daily to restore it. The second- the hair loss has started. Luckily I have a ton of hair, but I am praying that it doesn't thin too much.

So far, I've been super lucky.

Daily I am still on protein shakes and a few bites of other things. I can't eat much still- around 1/4th of a cup at most. But I am back to being able to drink ice water, which made me gag post surgery.

And, I am down 24 lbs. I can see the change in my face and my body- everything seems easier. Moving, walking, biking. My ankles and my knees don't ache. I have energy. And this is after just losing 24lbs of my 100 lb goal! I can't imagine what life will look like in a few months. Just being able to wear a swimsuit without being embarassed- it truly brings tears to my eyes.

Thanks for taking this journey with me. Please comment with any questions, or e-mail me. I am an open book!

Surgery weight- 229

Weight today- 205

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I am going to pull no punches in this post. Because I am angry. And I am disgusted.

Today I read this post on Barefoot Foodie, and my head wanted to implode.

How is this possible? How is it possible that somebody feels that they can spew their venom onto somebody they have never seen before? How?

And more importantly, why?

What about us is so broken we feel that we are entitled to break others, or entiled to burden others with our words?

Because we can break others. With the most destructive weapon of all- our words.

Words have power. They have weight. They are something we all must carry- the words that have been thrust upon us.

And maybe I am more sensitive than most, because I have been abused. I have been bullied.

And you are going to say- let it go.

And I would love to. I would love to release those words. But I can't. And I make no excuses for it. I am simply not somebody who can shake off what others say about me.

I am not the only one either.

Are you one of these people? One who hurts for the sake of hurting? One who delights in the tears of others? If so, you sicken me.

Think about it. Think about the words you have said in anger. Or in malice. Or to see somebody cry. Think about your venomous tendencies. Think about how you have taken something broken and bloodied in your own mind and pushed it onto somebody else to make you feel better.

How dare you?

Do you not realize that the things you say are weighted? That the person you say them to carries them always? Words do not disappear. They transfer. They break hearts. They cause pain. And they injure. Forever.

Am I naive to think that people can be kind? Should be kind? Yes. Maybe I am. Or maybe my viewpoint is one that reaches farther and deeper, one that know I will have to answer for everything I have said or done.

I will answer for gossip.

I will answer for words that injure others.

I will answer for the pain I cause.

I will answer for it all.

Everything I have given to anyone else, good or bad, I will have to face.

If you are somebody who carries destruction in your words, somebody who hurls lies and hurt onto others with your mouth, you need to know something.

The power you think this gives you is false. The fleeting moment of seeing your hurt register in somebody else's eyes is a lie. Your words are bullets, taking down anyone in their path.

You are only a coward, hiding behind words.

I urge you to claim the power of your mouth. To keep it for the things of God- love, kindness, mercy and praise. To utilize this amazing instrument God has given us to uplift and pray for those you would normally insult.

And if not, I pray you will be mute and not injure.

Job 27:4
my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies.

Psalm 19:14
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Isaiah 51:16
I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand— I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dear Lily

Dear Lily,

Yesterday you were so sleepy. Your eyes were heavy, and your words ran short. I asked you to go to your room, sure you would lie down and fall asleep. I watched from my place on the couch as you struggled to keep your eyes open while watching a movie.

I was annoyed with you. Why can't you just sleep? Why must you fight what you know is good for you?

Then you looked at me. You sat up, and stretched your arms out to me, asking to come.

How could I resist?

So you slid like a puppy into my curved space, nestled tight against me. Your head was at my breast, your hand curled into a cup. And as I watched you, it was as if 5 years disappeared and you were a baby again, so small and sacred in my arms.

Your ears are the same- small and pink. Your lips heavy and full, your lashes long and elegant against your pale cheek. Your hair is longer now, but still so much the same- fine, wispy against your face. Your hands are bigger now, of course, but so perfect, the lines of them heartbreakingly fragile as they curled into the space under your chin.

I watched your eyes close, smiling as you drifted off, your body against mine going heavy and lighter all at the same time. I wrapped my arms around you as you sleepily whispered "Mama." Then you were asleep. It took a matter of seconds.

And I thought about this moment. All you needed to sleep was my touch. My arms, my scent and my breathing is a lullaby to you, a sailing space that is safe and known. You can drift with me, fall away into darkness and calm.

And as I held you, I thought of how I am held. How the safety I give to you is an extension of the safety God gives to me. How I drift on the words of my prayers and the hope that they give me, sailing to a place this world cannot touch.

Oh my sweet Lily, you have taught me so much. But the most remarkable and wonderful gift you have given me is the knowledge that I am more than your mother. I am a child of God, and He gave you to me. To raise, to carry, to hold and to nurture. Your presence in my life has helped me to know what is important and what is right.

And most of all, you have taught me to love with everything in me, to give of everything I have, and to allow myself to be held.