Jesus Delivers

The other day, I was driving to work and my mind was wondering beyond the highway and cars. My thoughts were drifting into an unhealthy song on repeat. I was getting dangerously close to drowning in the "What if?" you know what I mean? What if _________ (insert worse case scenario here). My drive to work each day can be a time of worship or a time of worry. This morning, I was especially getting out of control with my wondering thoughts.

I finally snapped out of it as I was approaching a busy highway intersection. I had come up for air just long enough to see this truck pull up next to me. A big white moving truck with two simple words in big red letters on the side...JESUS DELIVERS.

Wow. What an incredible message I received that morning. As I was swimming in my anxiety and worry...I was reminder that my Jesus ALWAYS delivers. When we are waiting for the desires of our hearts, it can feel like Jesus will never deliver what we truly want. The thing about deliveries is they never come when we want them to. They never look exactly like we imagined and the more we anticipate the arrival, the longer it seems to take.

Jesus will always deliver on his Grace.

Jesus will always deliver on his Love.

Jesus will always deliver on his Promises.

But He will deliver everything else on his timeline. God doesn't work on a deadline...he isn't rushed or pressured. The pressure to rush everything in this world is overwhelming.

Are you waiting for a delivery?

A new job? A person to love? A baby? A new dream?

These items are so incredibly hard to wait feels like God lost our address...but Jesus ALWAYS delivers. But we have a part in this delivery...

Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."

It doesn't say "Be impatient and anxious while you wait..."
It doesn't say "Doubt the ability of God while you wait..."
It doesn't say "Think of a plan B in case God doesn't come through..."

The Bible says to "Delight yourself in the Lord." defines "Delight" as a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment.

Rest in this truth that the Lord knows the desires of your heart and will give them to you. Spend this "waiting time" delighting in the Lord who always delivers. Always.

Don't let me forget

It was only 7 days ago that I was surrounded by 650 Godly women all pursuing their "God sized" dream. Smiling faces we're guarenteed as you walked down the hallway and elevator conversations with strangers were the norm. I have never felt the Holy Spirit somewhere as strong as I did at the She Speaks Conference last weekend. By the time I was getting ready to felt like home.

All these women were truly my sisters in Christ and any one of them would stop in the middle of the hallway to pray with me if I asked. When you are there, you know that God is real. You can see him beaming through every women on stage and all of them in the crowd. Most women had a list of great ideas and projects to start once they got home...but I started to forget after only a few days back in the real world.

I know that this happens to other women who attended She Speaks but I haven't seen any blog posts about it. Within only a few days...I was back in reality and pretty consumed with earthly concerns. A doctors appointment on Tuesday gave me plenty to worry and obsess about. I misunderstanding of our credit card statement consumed me for days as I worried about money and bills. My job is wonderful and exciting but it can mentally drain me by the end of the week. To top off the week, an intense request from family that we will need to decline. I found myself shocked at how quickly I forgot the feeling of She Speaks. How quickly I felt like I was alone in this world and that my "God sized" dream was more of a fantasy that would never come true...when would I have time? This world is trying to suck me dry of any energy and ambition so I have nothing left to put toward this calling God has given me.

I am making a stand not forget. I will keep my eyes fixed on You and I know that God will finish what he started. Distractions will be part of my everyday life but they don't need to derail me. 

Here are some highlights of She Speaks and thank you to so many of your who prayed and contributed to my scholarship fund. It was an amazing experience that I can't even begin to explain with words.

Most of your know the impact the Lysa Terkeurst's book Made to Crave had on my life. At this conference I had the chance to get to meet her and show her the progress I have made in the past 18 months. She was just as sweet and encouraging as I imagined. I can see Christ through her and she is an obedient women of God that I truly admire. She actually wanted a picture with me! It was so exciting!

This is a shot of the beautiful stage they had set up. Everything at this conference is done so beautifully by Proverbs 31 Ministries and the conference director LeAnn Rice.

There is a prayer room that gives you a quiet place to go set with Jesus. The P31 women pray over all of our names and then they place our name on one of the names of God. This was what my name was attached to.

There were a few women that I kept bumping into (out of 650 women total) and this was my friend Wendy Saxton. She speaks and writes about forgiveness and healing. She was always a smiling face and we kept encouraging each other all weekend. I wish I would have taken more pictures!

My beautiful roommate, Jen Buckner has a blog about being a mom, woman of God and how wonderful His grace is. I would love if you would check out her blog. She write beautifully and from the heart. She is one of the sweetest women I have ever met and I pray so many blessings on her!

Thank your again to everyone that showed support, encouragement, prayer and financial help to bring me to this conference. I am truly blessed to have such a supportive group of people around me!

This picture was taken just before I got to meet Lysa...can you tell that I am excited? :o) 

We are not hypocrites, we're human

I have spent the past few weeks preparing to speak at the She Speaks Conference in North Carolina this weekend. As I am writing and rewriting my story and trying to inspire others to see what God can do in there life...I feel an imbalance. I want to show how strong God is but at the same time...I also need to show how weak I am.

Usually, professional speakers are asked to speak about their expertise that show an incredible list of credentials. I feel that this type of speaking,  isn't the same style. I am actually planning to show my speaking group the worst picture of my entire life...maybe the least flattering picture ever taken in the history of women. You may think I am exaggerating but I'm not. It is 50x worse than the one I posted on here before. That is how I am starting my speech...literally I will say "look how bad it got" but that won't be the end of it...I also feel the need to admit that it is still hard!

Sometimes I feel like I am marketing a difficult product.

1. Trust in God for your food issues
2. Then deal with the stuff you have been eating to forget
3. It will be extremely hard and you will succeed and fail, many times
4. It is absolutely 100% worth it
5. You should listen to me because I lost 80 pounds...but Jesus shows me everyday that I still need him to help me from putting the pounds back on.

Worst commercial pitch ever, right? Maybe not. I am not a hypocrite...I am human. If I said it was easy, no one would believe me. God did a miracle in my life that changed me in every way. My relationship with Him has reached a whole new level...why would he let that relationship fade by healing me completely?

I once prayed a "scary prayer" and I call it that because it is scary to say it because it might come true. I prayed "Lord, I hope I never conquer my issues with food because those issues have brought me closer to you." I felt like I was praying to stay sick...that is scary but not as scary as falling away from Christ. 

In a few days I will share my story with many women about how completely weak I am and how strong God has been in my life. Humbling myself seems like and understatement but I am willing to look weak to give the glory to my God.

God specializes in the weak and broken so I will continue to boast about my weaknesses to show his amazing power.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" Therefor I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake. I delight in my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Michelle is a real woman on a mission to share her story of
 losing 80 pounds through the grace and power of Jesus Christ. 
She lives in a quiet suburb in Minnesota
with her husband, Ben and their dog, Drew. 

To learn more about Michelle, click on "My Story"at the top of the page.

Master Negotiator

A masters degree in communication can be a curse or a blessing. I have some mad skills in the area negotiation. The best debates happen inside my head. It is embarrassing to admit the lengthy conversations I have with myself regarding a Dairy Queen ice cream cone lately. But since this blog specializes in embarrassing thoughts that no one will admit to the goes.

Here is a brief example:
"I want an ice cream cone. I shouldn't have one. I didn't work out this week at all. But I plan to work out a lot next week. I am not even stressed out today, why do I want this so bad? Well, I was stressed out for a long time and I might still be dealing with that. Dairy Queen has the best chocolate dipped cones. I know that they are around 400 calories. That is a lot of calories. I did have a Lean Cuisine for lunch! Yeah, I think I should get one. I don't want to tell Ben (my husband) about getting one. I told him to help keep me accountable. I just won't tell him. I don't like hiding anything from him. But it is just a stupid ice cream cone. I'll have one today but after that...."

This conversation with myself can go on for a few minutes to even a few days. For you, maybe it isn't ice cream. It might be cheeseburgers? Cake? Coffee drinks? Candy? You get the point.

Isn't it absolutely ridiculous?

Isn't it the shocking truth?

Yes, I have read books that have changed my life. Yes, I have lost 80 pounds. Yes, I still struggle.

Satan is relentless but he isn't very creative. He knows that I can convince and reason myself into any action if I really want it bad enough. God gave me skills of negotiation and reasoning but my skills are being myself. This is hard to admit...really hard. I like to think that I am in a stage of "food issue recovery" but it doesn't take much to get me back on my knees which is where I always need and want to be.

Don't let Satan occupy your mind with these ridiculous arguments and debates. Do your best to make the right choice but don't let Satan take up valuable space in your thoughts.

Peace feels better than any ice cream cone will ever taste.

"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3

It's my party and I'll eat if I want to

We all know not to be an "emotional eater" when we are depressed or upset. I feel like I got that down pretty good over the past year but this past month has been rough. Not rough because I was feeling down but because I was feeling amazing for the first time in a long time. The best way to celebrate is to eat...right?

The past 3 years have been a rocky road. It all started when my husband lost his job the day before we closed on a house and 3 weeks before our wedding. The love for each other was always there but it was getting crowded out with worries about job loss, money, anxiety, cars breaking down, health problems, working multiple jobs and so on. It wasn't till a month ago that I felt the fog starting to lift and life starting to get better and better each day.

So many blessings from God but I am forgetting something very basic He taught me. Do not go to food for any sort of emotional reason. Let's be clear, this isn't a one time "celebration" dinner that I am referring to...this is weeks of eating whatever my heart desires without much mental thought.

The mental part was just as scary to me as the pounds increasing on the scale. Your food choices are easy to change but your mental changes are the hardest. Had I stopped caring? Did I think I was invincible to weight gain? I had maintained the same weight since last November which was great but I don't have that record any more. I knew that I wouldn't fall off the food wagon if things got tough because my Jesus wouldn't let me but I didn't predict falling off the wagon when things got too caught me off guard.

Now what? Well, I am taking a break this week from work before I start a new job (yay!) but that means I will be home alone a lot which always triggers bad food choices.This week will also include meeting up with friends several times at restaurants to "celebrate" my new job so that equals more challenges. So, to help make some new habits stick, I am letting you people know what I am doing to add accountability!

1. Going to the gym everyday (YMCA probably won't acknowledge my membership, it's been that long)
2. Try at least 3 new healthy cooking recipes
3. Only eating at meal and snack times
4. Blog more
5. Learn to celebrate by rejoicing in what Jesus has done for me

It may be my party and I can eat whatever I want but that doesn't mean that I will.

1 Corinthians 6:12 "Everything is permissible to me, but not everything is beneficial"

I really want to be done...

The below post was written before but not published until now.  I wrote this during one of the lowest points of my weight loss. I think you will be able to see the desperate state I was in and the lies I was believing and I am here to show that you can feel this way and not give up.

*The following post was written 8 months ago*

I really want to be done...

I wanna quit. There I said someone besides my husband. I am tired. Tired of counting calories. Tired of exercise. Tired of living this lifestyle.

I am having one of THOSE days. I have had these feelings before but they usually only last a day...two at the most. I have felt this way since Friday. I haven't worked out since Thursday and I haven't shoved my face totally but I have eaten more of everything. The calories aren't the thing I am most worried is what is going on in my head that scares me.

I may type this but never publish it. I still feel fat. I still feel like I have a long way to go. I feel that I have worked hard enough and I should just quit while I am ahead and stay this weight. I probably won't ever make it to a "true goal" of looking normal.

I know Satan is going after me. I am planning to do a Bible study at my church about Made to Crave. I am about to tell a lot (hopefully) of women about how this can change your life.

*I hit save and that was it...determined to never publish what I had just wrote*

I remember writing this like it was yesterday. I remember the absolute feeling of wanting to just drop it and give up. You may wonder why I would have saved this and wait to publish it until now...maybe this is where you are at today. I know how it feels....these words were directly from my soul and I meant them.

Everything clicked when I wrote, "I know Satan is going after me" It was a huge moment when I realized that for the first time in my life I was on a one way street to an amazing relationship with my Jesus and Satan was doing everything to get me off that track. As a Christian, if you aren't doing something that would upset need to step it up a notch. The closer we get to Jesus the more we are able to change the world for the Kingdom of God.

Can you see the lies I was believing? I bet you have heard them before too. Imagine for a second, that I would have given up. I would have gained the weight back (and more). I would be farther from God than ever before and I never would have had the strength from God to lead 20 women on a life changing journey through Made to Crave.

No wonder Satan was worried! I am one dangerous women fighting for the absolute Glory of God. If you feel this way...Satan is after you too and it is ONLY because God has incredible and amazing plans for you in the very near future.

Please don't give up. You are God's Beloved...believe it. Trust in the Lord and let Him give you His strength to get through this rough patch...let Him take control. What He started in you, He will absolutely finish.

Philippians 1:6 "...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus"

The Gain

Along this journey you will lose and gain many things..including pounds. I can't say it enough but I know it is hard to truly believe this...the number on the scale does NOT dictate your success. You can do everything right and still gain a pound or two on the scale. We need to change the thought process of when we look at those numbers. Here is a little glimpse into my mind when I get on the scale and see a gain...

Remove anything that could weigh even 1/10 of a pound....that includes the hair tie.
Step on scale....hold your breathe...that could help?
Well, that wasn't what I wanted. hhhhmmm...
Did I make healthy choices this week? Most of the time
Did I try to walk or be active this week? Most of the time
Did I get closer to God this week? Yes!
Well, the other things will fall into place eventually and this number doesn't determine who I is a new day today and I refuse to let this stop me!

I know that sometimes this dialogue can be a bit more negative but this would be a good example to follow. The "old me" would see a gain and see failure, defeat and hopelessness. Not anymore...I refuse to let those untrue feelings about myself let me get off track. Just because I feel them doesn't mean that they are true. I know my truth! 

There is another kind of gain when you get on the scale and see the pounds fall off. This is the gain of SO many things including strength, confidence, peace and the presence of Jesus in your life. I am not ashamed to say that I have done some dances in my bathroom after a great weigh in. I always lift my hands to the sky and thank Jesus for bringing me to this point. All the glory goes to HIM.

So hang in there ladies, rejoice in the gains and the losses. Say goodbye to the "old you" that would get discouraged and give up....that person isn't around anymore. She was replaced with a determined and confident Jesus girl!

This song is something I would listen to ALL THE TIME during my first months of weight loss...I hope it encourages you! If you don't know Mandisa's story, you should check it out. She read the Made to Crave book just like me and lost a lot of weight! She is still on her journey...

                                                              Mandisa "Say Goodbye"

The Messy Stuff

I had some tears with Jesus this morning. When I start to cry out of nowhere, I have to ask myself these questions:

1. That time of the month? nope
2. A lot going on in life? Yes...more than a lot
3. Have I been making good and empowering food choices? Yes
4. Am I spending time in God's word and in Prayer? oh yeah...more than ever before

Then why am I feeling this way? I was confused at first because I thought this "craving Him and not food" thing would make me feel stronger and not weaker. Confident and not insecure. Successful and not like a failure. But then I realized...the issues that I have pushed away with food for so long are now in the front row, holding big signs and staring right at me.

When we stop putting food in our mouth to deal with our issues...these issues will come to the surface. They don't come to the surface as a punishment but as an opportunity for Jesus to heal those parts of your heart. He can't heal what you are not willing to offer up to him and let go of.

So the past few weeks have been some of the toughest of my life...and I haven't turned to food like I would have before. I have turned to God more now than ever before. I feel extremely close to Him but here is my confession...

I feel unsettled and unconsolable.
I feel weak and vulnerable.
I feel out of control like at any moment my emotions could fall out and spill all over the floor making a HUGE mess that I won't ever be able to clean up.

When I asked God to come into my life and heal the broken parts of my heart...he didn't take that request lightly. I struggle with issues of control, like most women of this world. Even if the world was falling around outside of me, I could ALWAYS control my reactions and emotions. Lately, the control is almost non-exsitant.

I desperately pray and desire peace in my heart and mind. Not the kind of peace this world offers, but Holy peace. I realize that I can't have control issues and Holy peace in me at the same time, there isn't enough room. God is making room in me for more of His presence and less of me trying to control everything. God is doing a mighty work in me and even though it is uncomfortable and messy. I will continue to be weak, vulnerable, unsettled and let him take over because He loves me enough to not leave me where I am at.

As you walk on this journey...remind yourself that it is ok not to be perfect. It is ok to feel like a mess. Comfortable people rarely get to see God work in a mighty way. I would rather look like a total mess to this world than close myself off to my Savior and Creator.

So until He is finished His work in me...Lord, I want more of you and less of me...and I don't care what that process looks like on the outside.

Empty Me by Jeremy Camp

Apology to the skinny girl

As a massive group of women that are unhappy with our bodies and insecure beyond belief, we need to stop hating the skinny women of the world.

It is easy to look at others and reduce what we are becuase of what they are. Beth Moore calls this "bad math" in her book "So long insecurity, you have been a bad friend to us." To break it down, here is how we feel:

She is skinny + I am not = I am ugly
She dresses in really nice clothes + I can't shop at those stores = I am worthless
She makes a lot of money at her job + I make less than her = I am a loser
She has a beautiful baby + I am having trouble getting pregnant = I am a failure 

As crazy as it feels to read this, we actually DO THIS in our heads! It is absolutely ridiculous. So next time you see a women with a smaller figure,  better clothes or the picture perfect family, don't become a victim of bad math. Anytime you see a woman that makes you feel insecure...stop your thought process and change it. See that woman as a sister in Christ with just an many issues as any of us have. Love her, don't envy her. Pray for her, don't put her down. This is long overdue.

Dear Skinny Girl,

I am so sorry. I am sorry that I hated and judged you for so long. I am sorry that I scoured your body looking for flaws that I could cling to and sooth myself with. I am sorry for being a friend to your face while envying every bit of food you put into your mouth that I was convinced had 0 calories for you. I am sorry for truly believing that your life was "perfect" because you wore a smaller jean size, had more boyfriends and wore shirts from stores I wouldn't even walk into. I am sorry that I unloaded all of my own insecurities onto you. I am sorry that I didn't see you as a wonderful woman that is incredibly more than just your size. Just because you are made one way, doesn't mean I am nothing and I apologize for feeling that way for so long. I hope that someday when I am a skinny girl, no one treats me the way I treated you.  Again, I am truly sorry and I will promise to change the way I think about you from this point on.


I don't know about you but I have enough baggage to carry around and it is very heavy. I don't need to carry this ridiculous and unwarranted hate around as well...I am letting it go today. I hope you will too...

Prayer of a Ready Woman

I am in awe and almost speechless. Tonight, I saw the beautiful faces of women who took a huge step of courage towards changing their life. Real. Raw. Incredible women who reminded me of the first days of my journey. All I could write about tonight was the prayer that my heart desperately said to God in those first days. Maybe it sounds a little like your prayer...

Prayer of a Ready Woman

Lord, I can't do this on my own. I have tried and tried but I keep failing. I need your help but please, don't let me fall because I don't know if I can get up again. I am so tired of feeling this way and feeling like I can't beat this. I know this isn't the life You want for me.

My strength is gone, I need Your strength in me. My hope is almost gone, I need Your hope in me. My willpower  is weak and unreliable, I need Your mighty love.

I feel ashamed, I need your Grace.  I feel overweight, I need to see me how You see me. I feel lost, I need to find You. I don't know if I can get through this...but I am going to try with Your help.

Lord, I know that some days will be bad but remind me of the good days. Remind me that your mercies are new EVERY morning. Remind me that You love me too much to leave me where I am at today and that might mean that I have to deal with some difficult things.

This time will be different because my eyes are set on You. I am ready to take Your hand and walk through this with You. Don't let go of me, even when I act like I don't want You there.

I love You and trust You. This is going to be hard but I am ready.

                                                    Waiting for Tomorrow by Mandisa

The Start

I will start on Monday.
Once the semester is over, I will have so much more time to dedicate to getting healthy.
We just can't afford buying healthy food right now.
If eating a candy bar is the worse I do...well that is pretty good.
I deserve to eat whatever I want.

I could go on and on...I am sure that you have a list of your own. When I decided to change my life, one year ago, it was different. Not because I had found a new, cutting edge diet plan or some magic workout machine. It was different because I said so. I was in control this time and I knew that with God on my side, this could really...actually...for the real deal. You have to believe that this is the real deal for it to change your life like I know it can do.

I am not saying you won't have hard will. I am not saying that the scale will always match your won't. But you must remember the beginning and the choice you made to make this time...different. There is more good ahead of you than you can even imagine.

Starting anything can be scary. I think I have "started" 500 diets over my lifetime. The word "start" would lead you to believe that there would be an "end" and there is not. There is no end to changing your life like this, which is why I think people get so freaked out about starting a "diet." Yuck, I still hate that word. This isn't a diet, it is a journey. A journey that never ends but just gets better and better.

One of my all time favorite lines form the book is "I'm not on a diet. I'm on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness" Lysa Terkeurst 

Self-discipline and, sign me up for that!!! 

As you prepare for this journey or maybe you already got started, do not get discouraged and keep pushing forward. God is so pumped that you have taken this huge step of faith to depend on him to get healthy. He has SO much in store for you! :o)

I will be posting on my blog every week now! We have women from all over the country reading the Made to Crave book and changing their lives! This is a place to get encouragement, share our fears and joys and to support each other. I am praying for all of you!

Please say a little prayer for me too. This Sunday I am sharing my story and showing my before picture to my entire church. I know the Lord will use this for His good...but I am still a little nervous. Anything worth doing for God..should make me a little nervous.