The God of All Things

I love a good bargain, especially children’s items because children grow fast and outgrow things just as quickly. I am not opposed to purchasing gently-used items for my granddaughter, Joshlyn. I am a member of several online groups where other members offer used items for sale in a variety of conditions. I don’t buy just anything. If one item is purchased by someone else, another item that is similar will come along in a day or two. I have learned to watch and wait for a bargain. Patience is truly a virtue when it comes to bargain-hunting.

The night before we left on vacation, I saw a nearly-new bicycle on my Fayetteville Online Yard Sale group that would be perfect for Joshlyn, but it was midnight and I was leaving at 5:30 a.m. the next day, so there was no time to make the purchase before we left. Sales online go swiftly and I would never ask a seller to hold something for me for two reasons: one, most do not know me personally and don’t realize that when I say I’ll come get the item, I mean it; and two, if something were to happen that would prevent me from picking up the item, I would cause the seller to miss a chance to make a sale, and that’s just not fair.

I commented that I liked the bicycle and if it were still available when I got back from vacation, I’d contact her and make arrangements to pick it up. She said she understood completely. On our second day of vacation, the seller posted that the bicycle was no longer available. I was disappointed but, as I said before, bargains come and bargains go.

Let me share with you one of the scriptures that accompanied my daily devotion on that Tuesday morning:

Take delight in the Lordand He will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4 (NLT)

Now, let me insert a little information about my dear friend and neighbor, Jerry Ann. She has two precious fur babies that I walk three times a day while her husband, Richard, works and she visits her daughters and grandbabies in Georgia. Since I keep my granddaughter while my son and daughter-in-love work, Joshlyn always goes with me to walk the dogs and has become quite the helper in this endeavor. We have just decided that Sasha and Pixie are part of our extended family because they’re the sweetest little dogs in the world.

Wednesday morning, I got a message from Jerry Ann, “When will you be home from vacation?”

“We’ll be back on Friday,” I texted.

“Well, I purchased that bicycle for your granddaughter,” she replied.

WHAT?

“The bicycle I was following on Facebook?” I asked incredulously. “Thank you! I will pay you for it when we get back.”

“I saw your note, called Richard, and had him pick it up.” she offered. “You owe me nothing. You and Joshlyn love our girls and we just wanted to do something nice for the two of you.”

Just like that, God took care of the desire of my heart. I didn’t know that He was going to do it and I certainly didn’t expect Him to do it in this way. In fact, I was willing to accept that this bicycle was just not in God’s plan for us.

Some of you reading this will say, “But it was a BICYCLE…do you really think God cares whether your granddaughter has a bicycle when there’s so much going on in the world.”

To that, I answer, “Yes! I do think He cares.”

I have a little poem that explains how God cares for us:

God is the God of big things and small things;

God is the God of all things.

God has answered so many prayers in my life that I cannot count them all. Some have been huge answers – such as the adoption of our three children or bringing my husband, Kelly, through leukemia into remission (and keeping him there for five plus years). Some have been very small answers – like finding a parking space upfront when I’m having a terrible back pain day or when someone buys a bicycle for my granddaughter completely out of the blue, just to be nice.

God spoke this to Jeremiah:

Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. Jeremiah 33:3 (NLT)

If you are in the midst of waiting on unanswered prayer, God may bring that answer to you through something or someone unexpected. And never, ever assume that because it’s something little or seemingly insignificant, that it’s not God’s concern. If it’s happening to one of His children, it’s His concern. To believe anything else, is to put God in a box and take away His great power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where Are You Looking?

Overwhelmed.

That’s how I felt last week. To be honest, I’ve felt that way numerous days since the new year began. For someone who doesn’t have an identic mind (like Sheldon Cooper on TBBT), I’ve been doing a significantly accurate job of remembering every problem and concern in my mind. Frankly, it has consumed me.

It all boils down to a conglomeration of worry about friends and family, relationships, finances, and fear of the unknown. I’ve been researching on Google and speaking with other people in similar circumstances. Wrapping my head around it has been nearly impossible.

I’m back in the ninth grade, standing at the chalkboard during Algebra 1, stuck in an equation. My stomach hurts. I’m having performance anxiety. The fear of failure is pervasive. Every time I try to solve, it is clear that I am just not equipped to do so. Then Mrs. Randleman gently takes the chalk from my hand, looks me in the eye and smiles. AT THAT MOMENT, I know that she KNOWS the answer and is going to help me find the answer. And she does.

God is waiting for me to “turn over the chalk.”

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

I HAVE TAKEN MY EYES OFF GOD!

I’ve trusted in myself and forgotten to trust in the One who is always trustworthy. I’ve convinced myself that I’m smart enough to figure these things out and ignored the One who is Omnipotent. I’ve chosen to stomp through the high grass, hacking away at the underbrush, and crawling through uncharted territory, even though God can make a way when there seems to be no way (Philippians 2:13-14).

If you’re there with me in that “I can do it myself” mentality, let me ask you to just lay the burden down. You don’t even realize how heavy it is. If it helps, you can cry all the frustration out. I did, and when that was over, I cried out to God and confessed my sin to Him.

Don’t be surprised if you get tempted to pick it all up and try it your way again. That’s the urging of the devil. He will come to you in your weakest moments and say that you can handle this all on your own. Remember that the devil is a liar and the father of all lies. (John 8:44).

I am praying the promises of Psalm 121 and claiming them. For everyone who has lost sight of the Source of our strength, I’m praying for you and I ask that you pray for me.

Psalm 121:
1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

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Fighting Fear with Faith and Hope

Bone.  Marrow.  Biopsy.

Three words I hoped I’d never hear again.  But that’s where we were on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at the UNC Cancer Hospital when Kelly’s blood work numbers came back askew.   Not all the numbers were bad.  In fact, all the numbers were in the normal range — except for the one number that really counts, his absolute neutrophils.  Neutrophils are white blood cells that fight off infection.  Kelly’s neutrophil number was 1, meaning he had about 1,000 of those cells to fight off infection in his body.  That’s a problem because normal absolute neutrophils will range from 1.8 to 7.7.  In July, his absolute neutrophil number was 4.2 — the best it’s been since he went into remission.  When he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, his neutrophil number was 0.

Neutrophils.jpgNeutrophils (The most abundant white blood cells in most mammals.)

Image Source:  www.wikipedia.com

When we were discussing options, Dr. Foster looked at Kelly and said, “Another bone marrow biopsy is an option.  I know a biopsy is uncomfortable.”

Uncomfortable,” Kelly replied wryly.  “Is when your underwear rides up.  Bone marrow biopsies are excruciating.  But it’s the only way we’ll know for sure what’s going on, so let’s do it.”

So, this past Monday, two years, ten months, and 27 days from the first time he had a bone marrow biopsy, he lay on a gurney at the UNC Cancer Hospital having his sixth one.  He was face down, waiting patiently while Dr. Van (his other cancer doctor) was preparing the site where the needle would be inserted.  I was holding his hand and it just didn’t seem like it was enough, so I got on my knees by the gurney and laid my head next to his so that we could be face to face.

Image Source:  www.riversideonline.com

We prayed.  We cried.  He gasped in pain as they numbed his hip.  Silent tears rolled down his cheeks as Dr. Van used three separate vials to aspirate marrow samples.

Image Source:  www.bing.com

It’s hard to watch the man who is your earthy rock go through so much pain.  It makes you feel so small.  And I remembered several scriptures and began to pray them:

 All you who put your hope in the Lord be strong and brave.  (Psalm 31:24, NCV)

Always respect the Lord.  Then you will have hope for the future, and your wishes will come true. (Proverbs 23:17b-18, NCV)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)

Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.  (Roman 12:12, NCV)

When I had no more words, I sang.

I sang “How Great is Our God*” by Chris Tomlin.

I sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness*.”

I sang “He is with Us*,” by Love and the Outcome.

I sang “Amazing Grace*,” which led into “Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone*,” by Chris Tomlin.

We were holding each other’s hands so tightly that our fingers were white.  So I poured out my tears, a language that only God truly understands.  And in near silence, Dr. Van continued to work.

Image Source:  www.bing.com

And Kelly broke the silence, not with a gasp of pain, but with these prayerful words, sung so softly that I might have missed it if I hadn’t been so close to him:

In seasons of despair and grief, my soul has often found relief… I’ll cast on Him my every care, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer.*”

Almost immediately, Dr. Van said, “There is power in the Blood.  And I know that you both know that God has this — either way.”

I usually write something about weight loss on Wednesday — physical weight loss.  Today’s post is about losing the weight of a spiritual burden.  I took a great deal of fear with me into that procedure room, but I came out feeling light and full of hope.

What will the biopsy show?  We don’t know.  But we know God’s got this — either way.

*To listen to each song, just click on the title.  “Sweet Hour of Prayer” is sung by George Beverly Shea, who for years was the voice of the music at all the Billy Graham Crusades.  Kelly loves Billy Graham and loved to hear GBS sing.

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Faith It Forward: Tricia Edwards Smith

O death, where is your victory?  Where is your power to hurt? (1 Corinthians 15:55 ERV)

Thursday, October 17, 2013, the angels came to collect my friend, Tricia, and escort her home to Jesus.  Her long and arduous fight with cancer was done.  After years of praying for it, she was finally healed.

Todd & Tricia

Image Source:  www.facebook.com/tricia.smith

But her fight has not been in vain.  In her fight to live, I saw an extreme display of faith that has forever changed me. I watched as her family, her church, and her community rallied around her to offer her strength through prayer and an outpouring of love through deeds of kindness.  The irony of it all is that while we were offering Tricia our strength, she was giving us hers.

Her husband Todd, and sons Carter, Aaron, and Nathan brought her such joy and she was the light of their world.  Her parents, Nancy and Landon Edwards, raised Tricia in a Christian home, full of love and laughter.  Todd and Tricia established the same kind of home for their family.  She had a close, loving relationship with her brother and sisters, Mike Edwards, Pamela Edwards Pritchard, and Teresa Edwards Pritchard.  Her nieces and nephews adored her.

Her friends were another source of joy to Tricia.  A Facebook page, “Friends of Tricia,” was established so we could share with her our thoughts and prayers.  Hundreds of messages were added each day.  She was never far from my thoughts and when I had even the smallest bit of time, I would read each and every message (many of them prayers) and lift them up to God as well.

Never one to think of her own needs first, she was constantly looking out for the needs of others and it led her into healthcare.  As a critical care nurse, she loved caring for others and she was good at her job.  She worked well into her battle with cancer, refusing to let it keep her from the profession she was so obviously made for.  It was not only her medical knowledge that she imparted to her patients — she shared the love of God and joy of serving the Great Physician. Even if you didn’t personally know Tricia, you could take one look at her and know that she was warm, giving, and selfless. She had a million-watt smile that could light up a room and she always had a kind word and a hug to share with everyone she met.

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Image Source: http://www.klove.com/encouraging

Tricia’s greatest source of strength and joy was her relationship with Jesus Christ.  That’s why, even in the last days when Hospice was called in, she wasn’t afraid.  As others tried to comfort her, she sought to comfort them — to let them know that no matter the physical outcome, she was spiritually ready.  She took satisfaction in the knowledge that this world was a temporary residence for her.  She trusted completely that she was just biding time on earth, simply in transit to her true home — Heaven.

I love what her niece, Erica, shared:  “I’m praising God for the life of my Aunt Tricia. So jealous of the angels today. Thank you for your many prayers. Our family appreciates each one. Please pray for continued strength as we go through this arm in arm and only through the grace of The Lord Jesus.

I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.”  (Revelation 21:3-4 ERV)

We will grieve mightily because we will miss her happy, humble presence — a woman with a gentle spirit and a heart as big as all outdoors!  Her family will especially miss her.  On special days to come — holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, and the days her grandchildren are born — there will be a yearning for her physical presence. There will be an ache that cannot be soothed because those will be days when there would have been memories to be made with her — that she would have loved to make.  But she leaves such a rich legacy behind that it will almost seem that she is here — and she will here, living in the hearts and accomplishments of those who loved her.

Today, Tricia is rejoicing because she is in Heaven, completely healed, and in the presence of our Lord.  Tricia can finally say, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have served the Lord faithfully.” (2 Timothy 4:7 ERV)

I have seen glimpses of faith in my life, but life-altering portraits of faith have been few and far between.  Faith has a new face for me now.  Faith looks like Tricia Edwards Smith.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Tricia Smith Charitable Fund, send your donation to:

Fayetteville Community Church

2010 Middle Road Loop

Fayetteville, North Carolina  28312

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Celebrate Me Home” (The Perrys)

To follow me on my Facebook page, “Loved by the King,” click here.

Weight Loss Wisdom 3

I recently read an article entitled “10 Weight Loss Tips from the Duke Diet and Fitness Center.”  It was informative and since Duke University is right in my own back yard (give or take 70 miles), I decided to share this information with you.  You can visit the Duke Diet and Fitness Center (DDFC) website here to see what it offers.

1.  Eat more!

Choose a full plate of healthy foods.  Often, DDFC clients will say that they are scared they’ll be hungry when they first start the program.  But they change their minds when they see the meals they’re served.  Most clients say it’s more food than they normally eat at a meal.  Your body has to have fuel.  The DDFC uses the USDA‘s MyPlate instead the food pyramid.  If you look at a round plate, half that plate should be filled with healthy fruits and vegetables.  One-quarter of the plate should be filled with healthy proteins, to include fish once or twice a week.  The last quarter of the plate should be filled with carefully chosen, fiber-rich starches like beans, legumes, brown rice, or quinoa.

Image Source:  www.choosemyplate.gov

2.  Plan your meals.

Not only should you plan WHAT you’re going to eat, but WHEN you’re going to eat.  Eating small meals every three to four hours will keep you from becoming ravenous.  Being ravenous leads you to eat any-and-everything you can get your hands on.  Starting with breakfast within an hour of rising, don’t skip meals.  Don’t let your hunger reach the point of no return.

3.  Keep a food journal.

Write down what you eat on paper or use an internet helper such as MyFitnessPal.com or CalorieCounter.com.  The dieticians at Duke have found that you get off your eating plan if you don’t keep track of what you eat.

4.  Curb the emotional eating.

Before devouring a dozen chocolate chip cookies or half a box of Krispy Creme doughnuts, you should stop and ask yourself some questions:

  • Am I really hungry?
  • What am I feeling right now?
  • What do I really need?
  • What can I do instead?
  • If I eat this, how many calories am I going to have to burn?
  • How long with I have to exercise to burn these calories?

One DDFC client has put a note on her refrigerator that reads: WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IS NOT IN HERE!  

5.  Have a daily indulgence.

Allow yourself one treat that is no more than 10% of your daily calorie count.  (For example, most days I eat 1200 calories. My indulgence would be something with 120 calories or less.)  In doing this, don’t choose your trigger food.  Choose something that tastes good but will not cause you to lose control.

Image Source: http://www.mamasgotittogether.com

6.  Don’t beat yourself up.

Okay, so you ate the dozen chocolate cookies or the entire box of doughnuts — you can’t ruin your diet in one day, says Christine B. Tenekjian, a dietician at DDFC.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  If you need to rid yourself of the guilt, journal about what you were feeling before you over-indulged and try to figure out why you did it.

7.  Walk it off!

People that come to the DDFC often have not been active in quite a while.  Fitness experts there start their clients on a walking regimen — short distances at first, then working up to 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day.  A pedometer is an inexpensive investment that will give you great feedback.  (Personally, I use the free Runtastic app on my iPhone.  It has a pedometer, a distance monitor, and a timer.  There are also other apps that do the very same thing.  Just do an app search for “pedometers.”)

8.  Make your work out simple.

Working out in a gym is nice but not always affordable or feasible.  It’s just as easy to set up a workout routine in your own home:  doing squats, wall push ups, tricep dips from a chair, ab crunches,  leg lifts, and using resistance bands are all effective exercises as long as you do them two or three times a week, one or two sets of 8-12 repetions each.

9.  Rise and shine!

DDFC has found that people who do their daily workouts first thing in the morning have a better chance of sticking with it. With the busy lives we lead, there’s just too much of a chance that something will come up and take priority over our workout time if it’s later in the day.  Decide to become a morning person (it’s hard — but I personally learned to do it after more than half my life of being a “night person”) and set a routine that’s hard to get interrupted.

Image Source:  www.cardio-greentea-stretching-tumblr.com

10.  Be creative in your motivation.

There’s more to motivation than just setting a weight loss goal.  What happens when you run into a plateau and become discouraged?  DDFC advocates finding a partner for accountability and motivation or changing up your routine to get out of a rut.  Any routine that become “routine” is boring.  When you get bored, you run the chance of abandoning your goals.  I found a great article on one of my favorite websites, Everyday Health, that offers some great tips.  You can read the article here.

Image Source:  http://raymcdonald.wordpress.com

I am praying for you all.  Whatever challenge you’re facing, God is listening.  It’s one of the ways I curb the emotional eating — I pray.  If I get caught up in talking to my Heavenly Father, I find that my emotional needs are met in a much bigger way than any half-gallon of ice cream ever could.

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Even If

I keep a prayer journal.  When friends ask me to pray for them or for someone else, I write a name and the need, if I know it.  Sometimes I only know that someone needs me to intercede on their behalf.  God knows the need and it’s not necessary for me to know it in order to offer my support through prayer.

I did something last week that the Lord has been urging me to do for quite a while:  choose and day, go to church, and kneel at the altar to pray for people, our nation, and our world.  I asked my friends, family, and followers on Facebook to send me their prayer requests. (I have a companion page for this blog there:  “Loved by the King”  I started this page because I try to post here on WordPress two to three times a week.  I wanted a place that I could share a short daily devotional, so I started a community page on Facebook just for that.  Please visit me there and give me a “Like.”)  I chose Friday, October 4, 2013, to be my very first “Friday at the Altar.”

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I began writing these names and requests on paper.  I prayed for each one as the requests came in.  Then on Friday, I went to my church and laid all the pages of requests on our altar at 11:00 a.m.  Before I began to pray, I read aloud a portion of scripture that the Lord gave to me from the book of Daniel, chapter three.  (You can read the entire chapter here.)

These were my focal verses:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to explain these things to you. If you throw us into the hot furnace, the God we serve can save us. And if he wants to, he can save us from your power. But even if God does not save us, we want you to know, King, that we refuse to serve your gods. We will not worship the gold idol you have set up.”  (Daniel 3:16-18, Easy-to-Read Version — emphasis mine)

I chose to read the verses from a Bible I keep in my office at the Culbreth Memorial UMC.  It’s a Today’s English Version Bible donated by the family of a woman who was a faithful member of our congregation for many years before her death.  As I read from her Bible, I could feel a distinct energy in the sanctuary — an air of expectancy.  When I knelt at the altar and read the names on my pieces of paper aloud, the energy increased.  (The hairs on my neck and arms actually stood up!  I call them “God-bumps.”)

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After I prayed aloud, I did something that I don’t do enough — I sat in silence and listened.  God spoke to me in that still, small voice of His that I sometimes miss in the hustle and bustle of my life and all the things I think are important, but really aren’t.  In those moments, God dealt with me about some situations in my own life.  I was determined to stay on my knees until God released me from the moment.  When I felt that release, I stood and sang a short little song that I hadn’t thought of in years.  I’ll bet some of you know it.

Hear our prayer, o Lord.  Hear our prayer, o Lord.

Incline thine ear to us and grant us Thy peace.  Amen.

I gathered my papers and went back to work in the office.  If you don’t believe in signs from God, then the rest of this post will probably not mean much to you.  I believe that God gives us signs that affirm His approval or disapproval of the things we do.  I believe that He gives us little nudges to encourage us.  A friend of mine says there is no such thing as “coincidences” — they’re all “God-incidences.”  I agree.

I don’t even remember why I looked, but in the front of the TEV Bible I had used was a hand-written message:

“Take care of the things that are important to God and God will take care of the things that are important to you.”

More “God-bumps.”

I have a stash of sources I use for my daily devotionals.  On Thursdays and Fridays when I’m working at the church, I use “The Upper Room,” a publication of the United Methodist Church.  I turned to the devotional for Friday, October 4. The pages were stuck together with static electricity and before I could get to Friday’s devotion, I noticed that the scripture for Wednesday’s devotional (October 2) was the same scripture that I just read in the sanctuary.

“God-bumps” on top of “God-bumps.”

I cannot tell you what a privilege it was to pray for my family and friends.  What was even more intense for me was the fact that friends-I-haven’t-met-yet (people that follow me here, receive my blog by email, or follow me on Facebook) entrusted their requests to me.

Image Source:  www.msd.org.au/prayer

My prayer request for all of them was this:  whether or not their prayer requests were met with their desired answers, I asked that God give them His presence and assurance that He knows best.  To be like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – to say “even if,” I will still worship and trust You.

Image Source:  www.robparkersblog.com

If you would like me to add your name to my “Friday at the Altar” list, leave me a comment.  You can tell me your specific request or you can say that you have an unspoken request.  If you just need prayer in general, simply leave your name.

I don’t do this for acclaim.  I don’t do this so that people will look at me and say, “That Sandy Rosser, she’s doing the Lord’s work.”  I don’t do this for any other reason that to be a servant.  I love God and He said for me to love others; to serve them daily because that’s how I show His love.

Image Source:  www.usf,edu/clipart

My request to you:  wherever you are on Fridays at 11:00 a.m., take a moment and offer up a prayer.  You might not be with me in person, but you can be with me in the Holy Spirit.

And if you happen to live in Fayetteville, North Carolina or the surrounding area, I would consider it an honor if you’d join me in person on Fridays.  I believe in the power of prayer.  My God is in control and He can do anything.

I chose “Let Them See You” as my Monday Music song.  It says exactly what I want my life to express — on Fridays, and all the days in between.

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Other than those noted, all image sources are mine.

Let Them See You” (Colton Dixon)

Out of the Slump: More Carbs, More Faith

Image Source: http://www.someecards.com

It’s amazing what a little knowledge can do for you.  I am taking an online course in nutrition at Universal Class (Nutrition 101).  This is not so I can become a registered dietician or a certified personal trainer.  It’s just to educate me.  (Knowledge is POWER!)  I’ve found out some interesting things so far.  For example, the carb cycling eating plan I’ve been following to lose weight isn’t new at all — in fact, it’s how naturally thin people eat.  (Therefore, it’s new to ME because I am not naturally thin!)

And I’ve almost been getting it right — almost.  The carb cycling days are correct.  Adding in the high carb week every fourth week is right on target.  But the amount of carbohydrates I’ve been consuming is slightly off.  According to my textbook and online instructor, a person needs to consume 130 grams of carbohydrates on an average day to maintain their current weight.  (I nearly fainted — 130 grams of carbs?)  It seems to me that 130 grams is an awful lot of carbohydrates to consume in a day.  But compare that amount with this information:  on an average day, adult males consume 220-330 grams of carbohydrates and adult females consume 180-230 grams of carbohydrates.

The daily recommended requirement is that 45% of your daily caloric intake be carbohydrates.  I consume 1200 calories on my low carb days.  The maximum amount of carbohydrates I should consume just to maintain my weight is about 130 grams.  On my high carb days, I eat 1500 calories.  The maximum amount of carbohydrates that I need to maintain my weight on 1500 calorie days is 170 grams.

Let’s review the amount of carbohydrates I’ve been eating during my carb cycling journey:

25-30 grams on low carb days

50-75 grams on high carb days

During my last 30-pound loss, this amount worked very well for me.  First, I wasn’t exercising consistently.  Secondly, I had a fair amount of weight to lose.  I am now 25 pounds from goal weight.  To be honest, I’ve been at this threshold a couple of times in the past ten years.  This threshold is where I’ve given up and given in.   I’ve raised my hands to God and said, “Why, oh why, Lord?  Why can’t it be easy?  Why can’t I just shovel any old thing in my mouth and be a Skinny Minnie?”  But nothing that’s worth having is ever easy — and that’s not just a platitude.  What we work for, what we struggle to obtain is more cherished to us.  We hold those things in higher esteem.  We tend to take care with what’s been difficult to come by.

To be very, very honest, I’ve been struggling with constant plateaus since June.  Lose a couple of pounds, gain them back. It’s never very much and I never keep it on for every long, but every plateau is a mind game that Satan has used to attack me and halt my progress.

A man answered, “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has an evil spirit in him that stops him from talking.  When the spirit attacks him, it throws him on the ground. Then my son foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes very stiff.  I asked your followers to force the evil spirit out, but they couldn’t.”   (Mark 9:17-18, NCV)

Ever feel like this?  This is how I feel when I’m on a plateau. Thoughts of what I could put in my mouth make me salivate.  If I don’t occupy myself with an activity or just a simple prayer for God to fill my mind with a task He’d have me complete instead of eating for no reason, the thought of that craving sends me into a tizzy.  I have a physical reaction to my emotional desire to eat when I’m not truly hungry.

Jesus had a response to this father and it’s the same response He is giving me when I want to give up:  you don’t have enough faith!  The father, whom I’m sure was frantic for help with his son, said it would be nice if Jesus could help them, since these attacks had been going on a long time.  If.  What a small, but telling word.

Jesus said to the father, “You said, ‘If you can!’ All things are possible for the one who believes.”

Immediately the father cried out, “I do believe! Help me to believe more!”  

When Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, he ordered the evil spirit, saying, “You spirit that makes people unable to hear or speak, I command you to come out of this boy and never enter him again!”  

The evil spirit screamed and caused the boy to fall on the ground again. Then the spirit came out. The boy looked as if he were dead, and many people said, “He is dead!” But Jesus took hold of the boy’s hand and helped him to stand up.  (Mark 9:23-26, NCV)

I asked God in prayer two weeks ago what I was doing wrong and why I was having this emotional reaction to the plateaus I’ve been on. I asked Him to increase my faith and give me strength not to give up.  I believe He sent me the answer in my nutrition class:  now that I’m close to goal, I have to increase the energy (carbohydrates) I put into my body to burn the remaining fat I need to lose.  I am more active now.  I need the energy to boost my metabolism.  I need more carbohydrates like I need more faith! 

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So here are my new daily carbohydrate intake numbers:

50-75 grams of carbs on my low carb days

75-110 grams of carbs on my high carb days

I wouldn’t just throw these numbers out there without having first put them into action.  This is my second week of my carb intake adjustment and last Saturday when I weighed, I was down 3 pounds!  Even after my high carb days, I didn’t see a significant amount of weight gain (which I normally do).  I was so afraid to try this new carb intake, but I stepped out in faith because I know God is taking me into a higher glory.  The slump wasn’t going to do me in!   I wasn’t about to quit, but I was beginning to feel the effects of the slump.

I’ll let you know if I’ve hit a “homer” as time goes on!

What slump are you in?  What have been your victories this week?

God bless you all.  You remain in my prayers, dear readers!

shr