Friday, February 25, 2011

Truth # 1: I am broken but my Creator is not.

The universe was empty.



Heaven and earth had no name.

The universe was empty.


Except for water. Water existed. It existed in the form of two gods: Apsu and Tiamut.

By now you know I am not describing the biblical creation story. The story of Apsu and Tiamut comes to us from the Babylonians. It is a mythical story that goes on to tell us of the creation of the universe. In short, this is how it goes:

Many gods are birthed and live within Tiamut’s being. They cause a ruckus and are plotted against by Apsu (Tiamut's husband). But before Apsu can destroy them, he is killed in his sleep by one of the gods. This god joins with another god and they have a son, Marduk. Marduk becomes the most powerful god in existence. He and Tiamut then battle because she is upset about her husband, Apsu, being killed. Marduk wins the battle, splitting Tiamut into two halves, and thus, of course, creating the world and everything in it - the sky and earth, day and night, plants and animals, and lastly creates man from the blood of Kingu, Tiamut’s second husband.

Many myths like this one existed in the Ancient Near East, but this one is especially important. It’s called the Enuma Elish. This myth was believed and recognized to be the story of the origin of the universe in Mesopotamia long before the biblical creation story was known. Centuries. It was celebrated and re-enacted annually. It was passed down generation to generation. It was the genesis of their gods, their humanity, their life and culture. Many creation stories existed before the biblical story. These myths, like the 7-tablet, thousand lined Babylonian epic described above, defined their religious life and worship and defined the gods they worshiped.

Some have said that the story in Genesis is only a retelling of this Babylonian myth. Even though the content is very different, there is no doubt that the two have very similar language, phrasing, and even ordering. However, others say it is because of these similarities that make the biblical creation story all the more powerful and meaningful.

The creation story we find in the Bible was spoken before it was written. Mothers and fathers told this story to their children and grandparents to their grandchildren. This story reflected the current beliefs and ideas about the universe at the time in the Ancient Near East...beliefs and ideas that were influenced by the Enuma Elish. However, it uses these ideas to tell a new story about creation. A story about a different God. About One God. About a God who needs no other to create. A God who doesn’t rely on human needs like food, sex, and sleep. A God who speaks things into existence instead of battles them into existence. A God who gives humanity companionship, not chains. A God who doesn’t demand worship, but just is worshiped. Worshiped by rocks and plants. A God who has no beginning or end but just IS. A God who is Creator but also Deliverer and Provider. You see, this story that was shared over campfires and meals was drastically different than anything the people at this time had heard before. Can you imagine hearing this story of creation after hearing the stories of Mesopotamia your whole life. The biblical story isn’t a scientific account of creation. These people had no interest or knowledge of scientific concepts. Its purpose was to show us who God is, the Creator of the world, but also the God of the Jewish people. Because it uses elements of older myths and beliefs of the culture but tells a different story it points us to the character of God. It’s setting up the scene for us. It’s inviting us to know the God of a much greater story. The story of redemption.

In Genesis 2 we read that this perfect God creates humanity. He creates humanity in his image. You know the story. In the end we fail. We rebel. We break the covenant. And because of this humanity is broken.




We are in need of something to hide our imperfection.

To hide our shame.

Our skepticism.

We need redemption. Grace. We need to be covered. And our perfect Creator covers us. He covers us with garments of animal skins. Garments that this perfect, all-knowing, blameless, unblemished, loving God fashions himself.

And He continues to cover us.

With grace.

And blood.

This is the Creator of my body. This is the God that I need.

To cover me.

Cover my imperfection.

My shame.

My skepticism.

I am broken and imperfect but my Creator is not.

*This is the 1st in a series called Truth for Movers. It is a weekly series dedicated to discussing biblical truths that will hopefully provide encouragement for our journey and insight into our human struggle with body image. To find more posts in this series (in the future) click here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

7lbs lighter

This isn't a major milestone but I'm feeling good this morning. I'm proud of the 7lbs I've lost this far! I'm happier, healthier and more energized. Yay!!!
Not sure if it's even noticeable but wanted to include a picture just in case it is...and because I'm just feeling more comfortable in my body! :)

Isn't the best photo. My digital camera isn't working
so I had to use my laptop photobooth.

Monday, February 21, 2011

monday morning inspiration

Since last Wednesday I have been in Nashville visiting my sister and her family. Just got back last night. While I was there I didn't have any intentional workouts. I think I definitely burned some calories painting both my niece and nephew's bedrooms. It was hard work - vaulted ceilings are not easy to paint! I was also just moving a whole lot more than my typical week at home. It's hard to be still or lazy with an 18 month old and a 3 yr old! They kept me on my toes! So I do feel good about the fact that I was on the move. However, I have been discouraged about getting out of my routine. It actually started before I went to Nashville. I have shared that I've been dealing with a muscle spasm which has kept me from working out regularly. My diet has been okay. For the most part I've stuck with my calorie limit I've set for myself - I've been trying to stick to 1400-1500 calories a day. However, the food I've been eating hasn't been the greatest. I haven't been eating balanced meals. Yesterday I actually had a hamburger and french fries (kid's meal) from Wendy's while I was on the road back to B'ham. Yuck! The sad part was that it was 3pm and it was the first thing I'd had to eat all day. For dinner I had yogurt and granola. The total calories I had for the day was only about 800 calories but good nutrition was lacking.

So I have a lot to be discouraged about. But I'm feeling inspired this morning. There is a blog I go to often for inspiration and motivation. It is actually what inspired me to do this blog in the first place so I wanted to share it with you! It is pretty amazing what she's accomplished. A couple months ago she shared some honest struggles that I totally resonated with...

Monday, February 14, 2011

not this time

The past few days have been a bit difficult. I haven't been able to exercise as frequently because I have a horrible muscle spasm in my neck that is causing extreme pain in my shoulder down arm to my hand. The doctor gave me muscle relaxers but I hate the way they make me feel - dizzy and so weak. If any of you have any suggestions let me know! I'm wondering if I should see some kind of specialist but don't know who!

I'm trying not to let this get me down. In the past when I've had something interrupt my routine or plan I get frustrated. I feel like I've failed and just want to give up all together. But not this time! Still eating healthy and still motivated to move. I know keeping my arm still all the time isn't good my plan this week is to maybe exercise every other day...or do shorter workouts.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I really want a brownie

Just needed to say it out loud. I'm having a hard time feeling motivated today. I think one reason may be is that we haven't been to the grocery store lately so we're out of tasty healthy options. The bottle of coke Michael's sipping on right now is looking pretty good and chocolate is calling my name.

Welp, I don't really have more to say. Just wanted to express my frustration. This road is a bit bumpy sometimes.

Zoe's Kitchen = YUM

Zoe's Kitchen

Lean Turkey Pita w/ a cup of fresh fruit (w/ water)

Calories: 374 Fat: 11g Carbs: 50g Protein: 25g

Found on

Today Michael (my hubby) and I spent most of the day out so we ate out for lunch. It's hard to find...more so pick healthy choices when I'm out. But today was a success! We ate at Zoes Kitchen and I had the Lean Turkey Pita with a cup of fresh fruit. It was super yummy and it was so much I only ate about half of it (yay - only half the calories!). I'm learning to find these options and have a plan before we go out so I don't even have to look at the menu. I'll be adding my healthy finds to the blog as I discover them!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Top 5 Favorite Healthy Foods

In no specific order...

1. Tuna
Tuna is an inexpensive source of protein with more protein per gram and lower fat than many other sources of protein. Tuna is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that helps reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and is one of the most available sources. Tuna provides selenium for proper immune and thyroid function. It also delivers vitamins and minerals, including niacin, which assists in converting food to energy, and vitamin B6 that helps maintain a healthy nervous system. Read more:

2. Hummus
Hummus's abundance of vitamin C can assist the immune system in warding off infection and disease. Thiamin is key in converting carbohydrates to energy. Vitamin B6 supports the nervous system and helps break down sugars and starches, and folate supports red blood cell production and nerve function. Read more:

3. Okra
It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber may lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease, while insoluble fiber keeps your intestinal tract healthy, which may decrease your risk of colorectal and other cancers. Okra contains essential vitamin B-6, folic acid, vitamin A, calcium and potassium.
Read more:

4. Natural Peanut Butter
Natural peanut butter is high in unsaturated fat, the kind of fat that is considered beneficial. Benefits include a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, cancer, gallstones and high blood sugar. The phytochemicals found in peanut butter also contribute to good overall coronary health. Read more:

5. Avocados
They are a nutritious source of potassium. Avocados are also sodium- and cholesterol-free. An avocado has a higher fat content (5g per serving) than other fruit. However, the fat is monounsaturated fat, which is considered healthy when eaten in small amounts. Diets rich in monounsaturated fatty acids can reduce cholesterol and increase the ratio of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) to low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Diets rich in avocado may reduce plasma lipid levels, according to many studies. Avocado is also a rich source of beta-sisterol, which is believed to have cholesterol-lowering effects as well as anti-cancer effects.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Grey's Effect on my Anatomy

I've blogged about how much I struggle with worry and stress. Well, besides the physical benefits of exercise I'm definitely experiencing great emotional benefits as well. Lately, I've been a major hypochondriac...which is something I've never really struggled with until the past few months. I notice every little pain and discomfort in my body and I freak out. I get on webmd and within minutes I have a diagnosis that of course is something tragic and horrible. I'm then consumed with worry and stress...which affects me physically...even to the point of panic attacks sometimes. I really think all this began when I started watching Grey's Anatomy. Sounds silly I know. We started watching them online, so we'd just watch one after the other, several in a week. Film is so powerful. It can create these intense emotional responses...that for me in this instance actually turned into compulsive behavior. Don't get me wrong the emotional aspect of film and tv is what draws me to it...I love it. But when it causes me to get in the pits of despair, it's time to shut it down.

So back to exercise. My body and mind just feel so refreshed afterwards. And really while I'm excising as well. It's carved out time in my day when I actually let go of worries and stress. It's when I'm sitting in the recliner watching TV or surfing the web when I get anxious and basically when I'm lazy. This has been an especially great discovery for me because I'm currently jobless. I'm alone all day and have the opportunity to just sit on my rearend and wallow in despair.

Today at the library I picked up a book called Praying with the Body: Bringing the Psalms to Life. In it are exercises to do while praying morning, midday, and evening prayers. I'm kind of excited about this. I think the best way to approach this new lifestyle is body, mind, and soul must work together.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

5lbs - check!

Feeling great today! I've officially lost 5lbs! And as I got ready today I noticed clothes were fitting looser and I just felt more comfortable in them. Feels really great to see some results. My plan is to continue doing what I'm doing - exercise at least 6 days a week (even if it's just for 30 min) and eat healthy, and each week add a little more intensity to my workouts and a little more intentionality in my diet. I want to make a habit out of these things, not just get through them to the other side. The key is to take it slow. Put in the work. One day at a time.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I'm such a Thomas

Surrender. Surrender. Surrender. Take a deep breath and in the quiet and still say that to yourself a few times. "Surrender." I'm not so sure you can even say that word without taking a deep breath. Am I right? Well, I'm learning more and more that this is really the only solution to all my anxiety, worries, concerns, skepticism, frustration, fears, insecurity, and pride. I can worry or I can surrender. I can be frustrated and confused or I can surrender. I can be paralyzed by fear or I can surrender. I can be insecure in my body and inabilities or I can surrender. Surrender means freedom. Surrender means joy. But there is something in my embedded theology that tells me surrendering means being unprepared, being caught off guard, being a fool or unintelligent. If I stop worrying or fearing, I won't be prepared for the possibilities. If I stop being insecure, I'll be taken off guard when someone hurts me. If I stop being a skeptic, I'll be taken for a fool when what I believe turns out to be rubbish. The unfortunate thing in this theology is that I am robbed of joy, of freedom, of experiencing meaningful moments in life! I have missed friends' weddings because I was too insecure about my appearance. I have missed so many things in my life because I was too prideful and scared to surrender whatever I was gripping. How self-centered is that?! Obviously, I can never fully surrender because I am an imperfect, broken human. I need help. I need help from THE Surrenderer. Seriously, sometimes just praying over and over, "I surrender, Jesus. I surrender." is the most releasing, freeing, therapeutic experience for me.

A passage that has always resonated with me in terms of surrendering can be found in John 20. It's the story about Jesus appearing to the disciples after his death. He appears to all of them, except Thomas. Thomas wasn't there. So his friends come and tell him what they've seen. Thomas says he won't believe them until he's seen him, until he's seen his nail marks, put his fingers where the nails were and put his hand in his side. Thomas isn't surrendering his pride. He isn't surrendering his unbelief and skepticism. He doesn't want to be taken for a fool, right? He's too prideful. He refuses to surrender. Because Jesus is gracious, he gives Thomas what he needs in order to believe. He lets him see the nail marks and touch his wounds. And Jesus says, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We don't know what happens next. Have you ever wondered? What did Thomas say in response to that?! Imagine yourself in that situation. Man, what a FOOL I'd feel like. Wait...what? A fool?! No, not a fool because that's the very thing he was trying to avoid...right? Yes - a fool. It's important to note something else. The other disciples told Thomas about seeing Jesus (ya know -when he refused to believe them) a week before Jesus appeared to Thomas. So that means Thomas missed out on all the joy his friends were experiencing for a whole week. Furthermore, I wouldn't be surprised if his unbelief and lack of trust in his friends caused some tension in those relationships. I'm so glad the writer of this gospel chose to include this story. I am such a Thomas and I need to hear that Jesus is gracious to Thomases. I need to hear that Jesus wants more for me. He wants me to experience joy and freedom. He wants me to be blessed.

a visit to dr. baldwin

Went to the doctor this morning. I have been experiencing pain and tingling in my neck, shoulder, and arm....which of course made me super stressed and worried (need to work on this...another blog for another time). Turns out I have a muscle spasm (from exercise & probably stress!) in my neck so the doctor gave me some muscle relaxers.
Also - found out some great news! My blood pressure was down to 110/77. Last time I checked a couple months ago it was 134/90-something. So cutting out caffeine, exercise, and healthier eating is really working to get me in better health! This was a great boost of motivation. Feeling encouraged!