There once was a boy who loved to dig. One day he found a humungous pile of sand that would be perfect for building tunnels. Halfway into his tunnel excavation the mound collapsed, trapping him inside. Only a portion of his legs could be seen. Thankfully his loyal dog was with him and ran home to alert his parents, who were already looking for their son. Unfortunately they did not understand the dogs behavior and spent several hours searching in all the wrong places. Finally the mother realized that the dog was trying to tell them something was wrong and told everyone to follow their pet. Once they found their son they quickly pulled him from out of the sand and rushed him to the hospital. Upon arriving they were forced to wait as doctors desperately tried to get the young boy's heart beating again. A doctor finally came to the waiting room and sadly informed them that their son was gone. The mother sank into a nearby chair and immediately pleaded with God. "You raised Lazarus from the dead", she cried, "please do it again for my son, please God bring him back to me!" As she sat there begging God to spare her son's life the doctor was summoned by a nurse. Moments later he rushed back into the waiting room to tell the family of the miracle that had just taken place. Their son was alive! That young boy would be released from the hospital a few days later with no damage done despite having been without oxygen for such a length of time and being declared medically dead. That young son owed his life to the power of a prayer that was uttered from a mother's heart one full of love and faith.
There is another story of a mother who's faith saved the life of her son, a woman whose name we are never privileged to know yet her faith is legendary. She is first mentioned in 2 Kings 4 and is simply called, "The Shunammite Woman". She was a woman who had opened her heart and home to a traveling man, a man she perceived to be a man of God. Wanting to be a blessing she convinces her husband to build a little room just for this man and furnishes it with things that would give him a little comfort after a long journey. Elisha was so grateful for this kind deed that he promises her she will have a son, something he realizes she doesn't have.
Can you imagine the delight and joy that man child brought into her life? A child she had longed for and here he was cradled in her arms. I am sure she loved watching him grow and relished every hug and kiss. One day he goes out to see his father in the field and complains of a headache. His father quickly sends him home to be tended by mom. She pulls him onto her lap and holds him gently, maybe even rocking back and forth. Yet for all her love and care he dies within a few hours. I can't even begin to imagine the sorrow and agony she must have felt as she held his little body and felt the life draining out of her beloved child's body unable to do anything to stop it. Yet the faith she displayed is absolutely incredible. Rather than collapse into hysterical weeping or running outside shouting that her child was dead she calmly picks him up and carries him to the prophets room. There she lays him on the bed and shuts the door. Calling her husband, she asks for a servant and donkey so she can visit the prophet. Her husband, not even bothering to ask how their son is faring, asks why she wants to go see the prophet since it wasn't a new moon or sabbath? Here is where she displays her great faith by answering that it shall be well. I can't even begin to relay the amount of faith and strength of character it took for her to say such a thing after having just laid the lifeless body of her child upstairs. She journeys to see the prophet, falls at his feet and for the first time shows her grief. This is where you realize just how much Elisha cares for this woman and her family. He had spent much time with her and her family, had been the recipient of her wonderful hospitality and in return asked God to bless her with a son. When he sees that it is her riding toward him he sends Gehazi out to meet her instructing him to ask specifically about each member of her family and if they were well. When she falls at his feet he also shields her from his servants attempt to thrust her aside. He tells him to leave her alone because her soul was in deep distress and the Lord had hid the reason from him. I wonder if God hid the news so that Elisha's response would simply be a reaction instead of one that was prepared. It was as if God wanted to see how Elisha would respond to this woman's plea.
This is also the part where you see just how deep of a wound this was to her. She tells Elisha that she did not ask him for a child and she had asked him not to deceive her regarding the promise of a son. Of course she wanted a child, it was hard for a woman to be barren in those times, a time when her greatest worth came from bearing children. But she was without child and her husband was old. She then opened her home to a total stranger, made him feel welcome and built him a room of his own. Yet when asked what he could do for her she responses that she has no needs. She had resigned herself to the fact that she never would have children and was at peace. But when she was given the promise of a son she begged that it not be a joke, and this is what she recounts at the feet of the prophet. You can almost sense a little tint of anger as she reminds him of her request not to be deceived.
Elisha was quick to aid her and sent Gehazi ahead with his staff and with instructions on what to do with the child. As he sets off the woman tells Elisha that she will not leave unless he comes with her spurning the prophet to follow close behind.
When he arrives at the house he is met by his servant and told that the child is still not awake. Elisha makes the decision to be alone with the child in the room and begins one of the most unique miracles ever performed. I believe the style of this miracle shows just how much he cared for this woman and the child. It is the only time you will ever see a miracle performed like this. Never will you read of any other prophet being so emotionally and physically invested in a miracle. He closes the door and earnestly prayed to the Lord. I believe he poured his heart out to God, begging Him to restore the life of this woman's son, a son he had promised her. She who had been nothing but gracious and hospitable to this servant of the Lord. Then Elisha does something very interesting, he lays his own body upon the boy, eye to eye, mouth to mouth and hand to hand. Then he gets up and walks around, returning a short while later to do the same exact same thing. This second touch causes the child to sneeze seven times. It could be said that Elisha poured his very soul into this miracle for the sake of a mother's love and great faith.
This woman had extraordinary faith and a strong will, which was rewarded in the end with the life of her beloved child being restored. That young lad was given a second chance at life because of his mother's love and faith. There is something special about a mother's love and different than any other kind of love. It is constant, unwavering and unshakable. It is the mom who represents mercy, love and compassion, a beautiful illustration and representation of the nature of God.
I count myself blessed to have a mother that is strong, loving and giving. She has always been there for me, cheering me on through the hard times and rejoicing with me in the good times. She is my shoulder to cry on and my companion in fun excursions! I love her with all of my heart and feel honored to be her daughter. God knew she was the best person for the job and I thank Him for putting us together.
May we honor our mothers, mothers who have prayed for us, loved on us, protected us and never stopped believing in us. Mothers who have faithfully prayed for their children that have gone astray and spent many hours begging God to bring them back. I know this post is a week late for Mother's Day but please be sure and thank your mother for all she has done for you and what she continues to do. Truly they should be honored every day of the year! I feel confident that many of us can relate to this young boy's faithful mother and the impact mother's have had on each of us.
For longer than I care to remember I have battled the numbers on the scale. I have always been very self-conscious of my weight and struggled to shed the needed pounds. Knowing it was not good for my body I tried to lose weight but it seemed that no matter what I did I couldn't get ride of it. So instead, I tried hiding my bulges with baggy clothing or using whatever was nearby to hide behind including pillows when I was sitting on a couch(even at home!) or standing behind chairs at the office. In desperate times, when no hiding places could be found, I would simply cross my arms thinking that if I covered it all no one would notice( how silly)!
It is difficult to be around so many girls who have wonderful figures while eating whatever they want. I'm the girl that gains a pound just walking past the bakery(can anyone else relate?). This excess weight has managed to destroy my self-esteem and leave me feeling both discouraged and defeated. There are no words that can adequately describe the frustration when looking at your reflection in the mirror and it not being even semi decent no matter which way you turn.
For the month of April I read the book Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst which discusses the concept of satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food. This has been one incredible book and an amazing month of God breaking through the lies of Satan and replacing them with the truth of His word. I wanted to share a few of them with you, maybe you can relate to some of them.
1. Eve craved what she focused on. We consume what we think about. And what we think about can consume us if we're not careful. This was an interesting thought. When I get a notification on my phone for a buy-one-get-one-free deal at my favorite restaurant I tend to be consumed for the rest of the day thinking about when I can go and redeem said coupon. There are times that I even get a little cranky if I am unable to go(very bad sign). I should be consumed with God and His word not with a coupon that will more than likely lead me to gain another pound or two! If I fill my heart and mind with the things of God it will profit me in so many ways.
2. Desperation leads to degradation. This was an eye opening truth for me and applicable to more than just the area of food. In the Bible, Esau sacrificed what was good[His Birthright] in the long term for what felt good[a bowl of porridge] in the short term. He gave up who he was in a moment of desperation. I can relate to this in so many ways. There have been times where I said to myself that I will not eat sweets then someone brings donuts to work(Dunkin' Donuts I might add) and I cave in. I chose to sacrifice my principle for a moment of pleasure, one that will leave me feeling guilty for the rest of the day and cause me to avoid stepping on the scale....again. Esau allowed his emotions to dictate his choices but I want to be someone who is ruled by the Spirit.
3. Becoming a woman of self-discipline honors God and helps me love the godly characteristic of self-control. If I were honest, this is the whole reason my clothes don't fit me anymore. I have never learned to be self-disipined or exercised self-control. Food controls me instead of me controlling my food choices. Instead of eating just one helping I devour the entire dish. Rather than reaching for a handful of carrots I eat a whole bag of potato chips. Knowing I should not eat late at night I make the decision not to eat after 6 pm only to give in to a craving at precisely 6:02pm! Because of my lack of control and discipline I live defeated in this area. In fact, control and discipline are a necessary skill for all areas of life. If I say I need to go to bed by 10 because I have to get up early than I should go to bed instead of browsing on Facebook till 11. Lysa said, "I'm on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness." I liked that, I am not alone in this journey, Jesus is with me every step of the way! Because He is with me I can be an overcomer!
4. Saying, "It's not fair" has caused many a girl to toss aside what she knows is right for the temporary thrill of whatever it is that does seem fair. This was another one I struggled with, rationalizing my indulgences. Because my friends and I are at a restaurant together and they decide to order a dessert means I should be able to too. After all, it is not fair that they can and I can't! But that is just the point, at this time I can't and I need to be willing to exercise control and disciple(there they are again) and simply say no. While it may be fun for me to eat a yummy dessert with them at that particular moment I will wake up the next day regretting my decision and struggle with guilt. Better to sacrifice the temporary thrill for a satisfying victory. The results are wonderful and encouraging.
5. Victory isn't a place we arrive at and then relax. Victory is when we pick something healthy over something not beneficial for us. And we maintain our victories with each next choice...We were made to walk on paths headed toward victory. I liked this and a great reminder. Victory is not a one time thing, it is a continuous battle. It requires us to make the right choices each day, while leaning on the power of God to help us overcome every temptation. God created us to be victorious. He has given us everything we need to defeat Satan and his lies. There is nothing we cannot overcome and nothing that can overcome us when we walk in the strength of our LORD.
6. Being ruled by something other than God diminishes our commitment and will make us feel increasingly distant from Him. I do not want my spiritual life to grow cold, I do not want the voice of God to be something that is faint, and I refuse to allow Satan to use something like food as a means to rule over me. When I allow food to dictate my life I have let Satan win. As I indulge my craving for something sweet, he whispers that I will never have the victory, I will always live defeated in this area so why bother and I proceed to pop another cookie or chocolate into my mouth. But God wants me to surrender my life to Him, to let Him have complete control over every area and promises me that if I do, it will be better than I ever could imagine. Better than anything the food industry could ever concoct!
I hope these truths have been a blessing and encouragement to you. It is my desire to lose weight for a couple of reasons. One, I want God to be my satisfaction over anything else this world has to offer. Two, I want to learn to exercise self-control or self-discipline, it is a fruit of the Spirit and one that should be applied to every area of life. I know this road will be hard, losing weight is never easy neither is learning to surrender. Yet I know that having that first taste of victory will make every struggle and obstacle worth the overcoming.
If anyone else would like to join me on this downward journey I would be delighted to have your company. We could connect and share encouraging emails and tips plus keep each other accountable. A journey like this is difficult but when you have the encouragement of others the road becomes a bit smoother. Feel free to comment below if you would like to join me, have an encouraging word to share or helpful tip!
I would also ask that you keep me in your prayers, this was not an easy post to write because the struggle is so deep. I would also love the opportunity to pray for you! Remember, we were made to crave God not food and as we draw closer to Him we will realize just how much He loves us!
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I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.