Feeling Empty? Don’t despair……..


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See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

Many of my days have felt flat lately. I am fighting a battle, it’s like a dragon really. It’s an old battle so I know how to fight it. The dragon I am slaying has to do with tanking hormone levels due to a condition who will remain nameless, due to my age. The battlefield is taking place within my own body, who seems to be betraying me about now. You see, I have always been able to get my weight under control. I have always been able to push my way through with some extra exercise and eating right. The extra pounds would come off and the muscle would form…..I could watch myself take shape without fail. This time a force beyond my control is resisting my every effort.

Then again, I have never been 56…..there I said it. Everyone who knows me, knows I celebrate every single birthday. I have gone into the whys with other posts. And I celebrated this one despite being in the fog, in the mist and malaise of that thing which will not be named. (For now I will refer to it as Voldemort.) For those who never read Harry Potter, Voldemort is the big evil, the one who gave Harry his scar.

This morning started as many mornings over the past year. I didn’t feel that surge of joy that a new day had begun. I had to pray to get up and face it. It’s not that I was depressed, I was just ambivalent about it starting. As I prayed and began to move about my day, God nudged me in that way He has and said……”You know, feeling empty is not necessarily a bad thing, I am an expert at filling empty.”

“Yes, Lord, you are. How well I know it.”

So I started moving, and living and choosing life instead of death. That is pretty much the secret. This is a season which will not last and there is blessing in being empty, for Jesus came to fill all places. There is no place in our heart, mind, soul and body that He can’t fill. So I said yes to blowing off the driveway. And I also said yes to gratitude, for I have blessings too numerous to count.

And I kept on saying yes when I got my fall flag out. And I said yes again when I filled my body with good things to eat instead of junk. And I am saying yes by typing life-giving words onto this screen, because if it’s one thing I know, it’s that God always rewards the step of faith however small. And the step taken with hope, even if it’s not felt right away will sooner or later take root and bloom into feeling just at the right time.

For hope is not something we feel, it’s something we have that’s tangible. It’s alive…..it came up out of the ground with Jesus. Hebrews 11:1 Parallel: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. Now faith is the assurance of [things] hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

So I will continue to beat my body into submission by exercise and eating right, and getting medical help if I need it, knowing that in due time if I don’t give up (and I won’t because I am stubborn like that) I will see results.

I remember like it was yesterday when I had to do this the first time. I had taken my wonderful gift of health and throwing it in God’s face by successfully starving myself and tanking my hormone levels to ground zero. After he healed my mind I had to do the hard work of healing my body. And I had to learn to forgive myself after God and my parents already forgave me for putting them through all that.

I remember getting up in the dark so no one would see me, running in any kind of weather. Those awful blue nylon shorts I wore…..I can still hear them swishing. Then my Dad joined me and we had some good times running together. It a good memory now, our running times. I went from death to life then, and now it’s another kind of passage from a different kind of death into a different kind of life. I guess you could call it the second act.

I can’t wait to see what God is going to do after He and I slay the dragon together.

Calling a Truce

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I tugged at my hair and frowned in the mirror. Then I remembered I couldn’t frown because that’s bad for the furrow between my eyes. I lift my eyebrows as if to iron it out. I can’t look too close at the things that are changing more with each passing year.

I apply makeup furiously and with a vendetta against the things I am trying to cover up. I do my usual squint in the mirror, my usual way of addressing mirrors ever since I was in fifth grade when my Mom let me start using pancake makeup to cover up my early acne.

In many ways, I am still the girl behind the curtain of hair on my first visit to the dermatologist office, all these years later. I look for the seat against the window, not facing it. Those visits lasted years and took me to some dark places.

I thought I could make myself disappear if I lost enough weight.

When I finally emerged at 25, by God’s grace and healing and my parent’s prayers, I entered into a foreign and wonderful place I had never been before. It was my own personal Woodstock. I waded in at first, then I plunged in with both feet. I exulted, I danced, I splashed, I reveled in my new-found joy and freedom.

I got my hair cut and looked out at a new and wonderful world.  I ran my fingers over my face and down my neck where there were no more lumps. Praise God. For the first time in my life I felt beautiful.

It was a pretty good run from then on. Until lately that is.

At 50 I was all confident and unafraid, ready to take on the next phase of life. At 53  I am entering into a peculiar stage. It’s not so much fun anymore. Gravity and years are tugging at me.  Simple tasks result in stupid injuries.

But from today on, I am calling a truce with myself and my body.  I will forgive it for aging.  I am going to fall in love all over again. With myself. Cause God said I could.

This….day….I….will….remember.

Each time I get angry at the  extra pounds pressing at my clothes, I will remember this post.  I will not think of it as my body betraying me, but reminding  me that I have to work a little bit harder. When I look at my upper arms I won’t pinch angrily at the extra flesh, remembering how firm and muscular my arms used to be.

And when I look at the wrinkles on my skin, which to me are looking more like trenches,  I will try not to dream of winning a trip to the plastic surgeon or running to get laser treatments. I will not hate my extra sun spots and think of them as defects but friendly freckles, and  I will let my arms go free from sleeves and I will wear shorts and enjoy it.

I will love my legs, knowing that underneath they are the same legs as when I could point a toe and see muscles pop like a ballet dancer. I can still use them to walk fast and even run when my back doesn’t give out.

I will not dread the swimsuit season. I will not allow it to give myself permission to hate my body or berate myself for how lazy I have gotten over the winter, I will use it as extra motivation to improve and make better food choices.

I will remember my re-birth, both of them. And live the truth that God has called me wonderfully made, and good, and yes, beautiful. And when I love myself, I am not only praising what He made, I am praising Him too.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

I will from this time forward, look to my beautiful older sisters who dress young and act young. I will see their radiant faces in my mind when I am tempted to pick up the barbed chains of self-flagellation.

And last but not least I will let my inner beauty shine so bright it’s the first thing people notice about me.

And starting today, I will hug myself in the mirror instead of frowning or squinting.

Because I love the me God created.

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