Better Weight Than Never

To find out where it all started you have to go way back to the Garden of Eden. From the moment Eve took a bite of that forbidden fruit and suddenly realized she was naked, Satan threw down the gauntlet; the battle lines clearly drawn.  From that moment on women have been fighting self-esteem issues and struggling with their bodies, unable to make peace with their size or the number on the scale – all because Eve had to have that apple.

Because of Eve’s reckless decision, we stand in front of dressing room mirrors and curse our weight, despise our thighs and malign our muffin tops. We call ourselves fat and other despicable names and cover ourselves in layers of fabric because we don’t measure up to those Kardashian women, nor any other women who seems to have “the perfect body.” 

Satan has been oppressing women for centuries regarding weight issues. Based on most of the women I know, I’d say so far he’s a smashing success. Eating disorders and food addictions are at an all-time high and very few of us can say with confidence that we love the skin we are in.

God did not create us to obsess over our weight. God did not die on the cross so we could stand in front of a mirror and hate our reflections. Every time we call ourselves fat or despise the body that we are in, it grieves our Lord.  God wants us to love who we are because, He has made us wonderfully complex and His workmanship is marvelous!  (Psalm 139:14)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

If we are so distracted by what we look like and what we weigh, it is difficult for us to do the “good things He has planned for us,” and Satan continues to win this battle.

It’s time to stop the comparisons and love who we are at whatever weight or size we are and believe that we are a beautiful masterpiece fashioned from the Master’s hands.

Kathy Kurlin, Author of
Diet Nuggets and Wisdom Appetizers, 365 Days of Encouragement for Dieters

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Cloudy With A Chance Of Pain

The City of Phoenix averages around 296 sunny days per year. If you live in Ketchikan or Seattle, 296 days may sound like Heaven.  Sun worshippers believe it is good for the soul to soak up the benefits of Vitamin D the rays provide, but we Phoenicians are a bit quirky because we actually enjoy the occasional rain and have a genuine appreciation for cloudy days. One of the greatest benefits of clouds is their presence provides an incredibly beautiful backdrop for creating the most spectacular sunsets you’re likely to see anywhere.

As in life, most people would prefer a perfect “cloudless” life without strife or conflict. But as with clouds and sunsets, life’s trials and troubles provide the perfect backdrop for developing our relationship with Christ. Were it not for the occasional crisis driving us to our knees in desperation, many Christians might not ever truly learn the “bigness” of our God.

Through our trials and struggles we come to appreciate the beauty of watching our Lord choreograph solutions to problems that are beyond our control. Without the trials we might never learn that what might be impossible for us is completely possible for our Lord. (Luke 18:27)

To live a life completely devoid of problems is a life where there is no need of God; a life where there is no personal growth and a life lived ignorant of other’s struggles … a life lived solely for us.

Just like we need cloudy days for the shade they provide and the beautiful sunsets they produce --believe it or not, we need the trials and struggles of life to push us towards our Savior. 

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (NLT)

Kathy Kurlin
loveSTRONG ministries

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Birds Do It, Bees Do It, Even Educated WE Do It

If you’ve ever stumbled across a nature show, it doesn’t take long to realize that God created some amazing creatures with some very specific skill sets and instinctive natures.

How do birds know to build such intricately designed nests without blueprints or schematics? How do salmon know to swim upstream and return to the very spot where they were hatched years earlier? How do bees make honey and build a perfect honeycomb for the proliferation of the colony?

God created animals with those in-born, natural instincts to know to do the things necessary for their survival and in order to propagate the species.  In the same way God created animals with instinctive natures, He has created us with certain inherent instincts as well. We all can be trained to do specific jobs or excel in certain vocations, but how do we know to love our neighbors or pray for the lost or hurting?

God placed in each of us certain gifts or talents and it’s up to us to discover and develop those gifts in order to further the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 12:4 tells us, “There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given to believers by the same Spirit.”  Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

If we call Him “Lord,” we have these gifts on the inside of us. Whatever our gift(s), we need to “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23 NLT)

If God cared enough to create birds to build perfectly designed nests, surely He created you with as much care and with an instinctive gift that will not only further the Kingdom of Christ, but glorify the Creator as well. After all -- aren't you far more valuable to him than [birds] are?  Matthew 6:26

kathy

Kathy Kurlin
Contributing Author

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The Twilight Zone

For many years I’ve suffered with insomnia. It should give me comfort when I’m tossing and turning in the wee hours that more than 60 million Americans suffer each year along with me – but it doesn’t. All I want is to sleep but that childhood prayer “now I lay me down to sleep” mocks me, begging the question, WHY am I still awake?

Numerous things can deprive of us of sleep: new baby, children, medications, job and/or family stress – the list is endless. For a lot of us women, those dang hormones wreak havoc on us, cheating us out of quality sleep – which seems to be my particular issue. I take a natural supplement to try to counteract the hormones but a lot of the time it doesn’t work.

Over the years I’ve learned to survive on very little sleep and actually come up with a solution on how to spend my twilight hours rather than simply clock watching.

The best thing about insomnia is that God is always awake so I use my sleeplessness as extra prayer time. Some nights it feels as though I pray for everyone I’ve ever met in my entire lifetime, every story in the news and every worry regarding my children. Other nights I sing praise songs or try to see how many Scriptures I can recall.

On those nights when even prayer seems difficult, I defer to Psalm 34:1 that says, I will praise the Lord at all times and rather than prayer I fill those restless hours by thanking God for all of life’s many blessings. Occasionally when I’m just too exhausted for prayers or listing my blessings, I roll the name of Jesus over and over in my mind until I eventually drift off.

With my sleep schedule I’ve learned that sometimes quality sleep is better than quantity, so even if I’m only getting a couple of hours a night, I’m communicating with God the rest of the time and for me it doesn’t feel like wasted time.

If you have to navigate your way through the insomniatic twilight zone, why not let Jesus be your co-pilot and prayer be your road map? 

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

Blessings in Christ,
Kathy Kurlin
Author
www.kathleenkurlin.com

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I Brake for Fruit

Many years ago when my husband and I bought our grandson a new bicycle the poor kid struggled to learn to ride it – especially when it came to using the brakes. Our little guy mastered staying upright on the bike but struggled with the concept of the foot brake, opting instead to simply take his feet off the pedals and drag them until the bike came to a stop.

In theory that was great when he was barely moving on flat ground but a method that could cause serious injury if he ever got going too fast down an incline. As he matured, he eventually grasped the notion of proper braking and in time became an expert rider.

Having brakes and not using them is not too smart and a waste of good brakes.

The same argument could be made for the fruit of the Spirit which Galatians 5:22 lists as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

If we call Jesus our Lord and have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us – each of us already have these fruits inside of us just waiting for us to use them. Knowing we have the fruits of the Spirit inside of us and not using them is kind of like having brakes on your bicycle and not using them when coasting downhill.

The gift I struggle with the most is self-control. I know that I have self-control because the Bible tells me so. As a recovering Bulimic I find when I’m faced with a stack of cupcakes at a potluck I’m as helpless as someone racing down a steep hill with no brakes. I’m powerless when it comes to cupcakes.

To help with my underused fruit of self-control, I’ve adopted a habit of regularly thanking God for the gifts of the Spirit. Thanking God each day for these fruits reinforces to me that the gift of self-control is already inside of me. The more I remind myself that I have self-control, the stronger I become when I’m faced with a difficult temptation.

Maturing in Christ doesn’t have to be complicated. Read the Word, believe what it says and when trials occur you can enjoy your fully developed fruit that is ripe for the picking.

Blessings in Christ,
Kathy Kurlin
Author
www.kathleenkurlin.com

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No Free “WHY-FI”

A friend of mine lost her battle to cancer after a seven year fight. As a strong Christian she had thousands of people praying for her. Yet, despite the multitude of prayers, my friend still died.

Through no fault of her own, a single-mother friend of mine was released from her job leaving her with insurmountable financial hardships.  Another friend, after extensive marriage counseling still found herself embroiled in a bitter divorce.

The stories are endless regarding the trials that many of us face in life. The common reaction to any type of trial or crisis in life is usually to ask, Why did this happen?”

It’s not as if knowing why will somehow magically fix whatever the situation is. More often than not this insatiable desire to ask why only serves to drive us that much crazier.

The fact of the matter is simple:  We’re not always meant to know why things happen as they do. God is sovereign and He is the one in control.

The Bible tells us in Isaiah 55:8: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

The Bible also tells us in John 16:33:  "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." Admittedly it’s not a great selling point for Christianity knowing this, but then, life is full of trials regardless of whether we are a Christian or not.

The good news is that as believers when we have trials, rather than succumbing to the need to know “Why,” we’d do better asking — “What.”  What can I learn from this trial, Lord?

The Bible is our handbook for handling difficulties. When trials arise it’s good to remember there are no guarantees we’ll get free “why-fi;” only promises that we can trust the Word. “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

Blessings in Christ,
Kathy Kurlin
Author
www.kathleenkurlin.com

 

 

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What’s Eating You?

This past Easter during Lent (the six week period leading up to Easter) I felt God was leading me to give something up that I couldn’t seem to live without: sugar – in all its many forms. I’ve wrestled with weight issues and an eating disorder for most of my life and have had a particularly nasty addiction to sugar since childhood.

When I felt that holy nudge to lay down this addiction for six weeks I did so expecting to completely fail. After all – what would a life devoid of sugar actually look like? Sugar has been my “go to” drug of choice for as far back as I can remember. Whenever anything was eating me – I ate back with sugar.

As a stress eater, the idea of not eating my way through a crisis seemed highly unlikely, but I quit sugar cold-turkey, nonetheless. My body (and my brain) reacted to some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that were very painful – both physiologically as well as emotional. I suffered from headaches, body aches, anxiety and off the chart cravings that drove me to the brink of craziness.

It was right smack in the middle of all of this “suffering” that I truly came to understand what Christ must have endured during his 40 day fast in the wilderness and of course, his painful suffering on Calvary. Putting my “suffering” in the same category as Jesus’s suffering shamed me. Saying “no” to after dinner ice cream was nothing compared to Jesus’s anguish.

The greatest gift that God gave me during my Lent sacrifice was to open my eyes to the level of importance I had placed on my love of sugar. First John 5:21 shone a spotlight on the root of my core problem: Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.

My problem wasn’t just a little sugar addiction. My real problem, my sin, was that I’d suffered my whole life from a heart condition. I put the need to “go to” sugar during an emotional crisis above my need for Jesus.

I can’t say that sacrificing sugar for six weeks magically healed me, but it did help me to see through eyes that weren’t always glazed over from eating icing or sprinkles. I’m not fixed yet, but I am making an effort to make Jesus my “go to” solution rather emotional eating whenever something is eating me.

How about you? What’s eating you? Is there anything taking God’s place in your heart? Why not let Jesus be your new “go to” solution.

Blessings in Christ,
Kathy Kurlin
Author
www.kathleenkurlin.com

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More than a Number

Whenever I call my doctor’s office or my dentist’s office one of the first things they ask for is my Insurance card number, which is followed by my pertinent information: name, birthdate, etc. To these medical professionals I am merely a few keystrokes on a keyboard and a series of statistics.

Because I’m a woman and tend to navigate my way through life according to my feelings, I sometimes wonder if that’s how God sees us; as nothing more than statistics. Does He only see our height and weight; our eye color or all of the bad habits we’re unwilling to let go of? Does God only see me as a woman with brown hair who happens to be a socially handicapped introvert who talks too much when she gets nervous? Are we more than the statistics that encompass our physical and emotional makeup?

On my particularly vulnerable days, I wonder the exact opposite – does God see me at all? Am I invisible to the Creator of the Universe? Does He know or care that I’m plagued by insecurities and fear?

The good news is that whenever we’re struggling with our identity in Christ and wondering where we fit in on this planet comprised of more than seven billion people – God not only sees us – He knows our name and exactly how many hairs number our head. Matthew 10:30

Psalm 139 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture and should be mandatory, required reading for anyone suffering from low self-esteem or depression. When I read that God saw me as I was being formed in my mother’s womb and that every day of my life was laid out before a single day had passed, it reminds me that even though I may have not felt love from those closest to me while growing up – God always saw me. When I was rejected by my first husband, I am assured that the precious thoughts that God continually has about me outnumber the grains of sand.

Rest assured, Sisters in Christ – we are more than statistics or a number on a census to our Heavenly Father. When the enemy creeps in and tries to make us doubt our Father’s love for us we would do well to remember to thank God for making us so wonderfully complex! Psalm 139:14. We are not invisible to the Savior!

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. Psalm 139:1, 3 (NLT)

Blessings in Christ,
Kathy Kurlin
Author
kathy

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