Thursday, March 29, 2012

Confessions of a Fat Girl...

Confession one: I'm eating a Pop Tart as I write this. Why? Because I like them and they're here. Confession two: I don't want to write this. But I'm going to anyway. I want to tell my story on this blog, my whole story. Not just the parts I want you to know about, but even more so, the parts I don't. I want you to know all of me so when I tell you things, you'll believe them because you know I don't lie.

OK, so here it is, confession three: I'm fat.

 I currently weigh 270 pounds. I just weighed myself to be sure. Damn you Pop Tart, it was probably 269.5 before I ate you.

I have struggled with weight most of my life. I come by it honestly, I come from a long line of food junkies. Thankfully, my new found inability to digest meat has pretty much cured me of my fast food addiction. Thank the Lord for small favors?

I'm not sure when the battle began. I would suggest birth but my mother assures me, all babies have chunky thighs. I would say it began in kindergarten. I was a precocious little church girl, who loved Jesus and dollhouses. I hadn't been exposed to many other children yet and the concept that someone wouldn't like me had never even entered my mind. I was terrified to go to school and leave my mom. Maybe rightly so, considering the first day, as I was scaling the heights of the jungle gym, I encountered my first bully. A stout, ginger headed girl with malice in her eyes, looked me dead in the eye and informed me, "You're fat."

I stood there, dumbfounded for a minute. What did that mean? What was it to be "fat"? Well, by the time I reached junior high school, I knew exactly what it meant. The agony of not being able to shop at the trendy stores all the other little girls shopped at, being mercilessly teased by kids at school including most of my so called "friends", not being able to keep up in gym class...I could go on but you get the idea.  By the time I reached fifth grade, I was taller than everyone in my grade and already starting to get acne. Junior high was a mess. Those are three years of my life I would pay money to never have had to live.

By this time I was able to wear my mother's clothes (oh the coolness point are so adding up.) and occasionally my father's jeans. I developed all the signs of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I began to grow facial/body hair ( Thank you for noticing, pubescent boys. That was fun.) and gained a lot of weight very quickly. I hated myself. I went through so many phases trying to be accepted and loved by my peers. There was even that unfortunate goth phase. OK, so it lasted a day. Trust me, that was enough.

I have so many stories I could tell you, humiliating, awful stories. But I'll spare you. Instead I'll share the story of my second most memorable bullying. It involved all my friends. By all, I mean the five I had at the time. I was in eighth grade I believe. It involved a note I found with a lovely drawing of me so fat, I was spilling out of the bus windows. My "friends" had been passing it around and writing little jokes about how fat I am and how I was too fat to do this or that. My heart broke in a million pieces. I was so upset, the guidance counselor sent me home. Then she promptly sat all the culprits down in her office and showed them a video of a girl who committed suicide because of bullying. I got a lot of tearful phone calls that night.

A year or two later came the third installment of the worst bullying of my life. It came at the hands of again, my "friends". It didn't necessarily have everything to do with my weight. By this time, my insecurities alone were a blaring advertisement for mistreatment. It began as a fight. I have no idea what about. Cut to a month and a half later and daily prank phone calls. By this time, the phone calls were to the point of extreme obscenity. This particular day I arrived home to find the police at my house. These so called "friends" of mine had be leaving messages on my answering machine all day long. I will spare you the details of their content. But just so you know, I vomited after I heard them. The evening lent itself to a tearful round up of these "friends" on my porch with their mothers and fathers and police officers, the girls each offering their apologies for what had happened. I am sad to inform you, I stayed friends with all of them. Sadder still, nothing changed.

The next four years of high school were a blur of bullies, experimentation with drugs, with the idea of sex, parties and bad decisions. By the time I was a senior, even though I loved Jesus again at this point, I was a complete and total mess. All these years of pressures, lost identity and extreme emotional stress had finally taken their toll. I developed an anxiety disorder and panic attacks. I missed the first month of school because the panic attacks were so bad. I couldn't sleep or leave the house. I was terrified all the time. Finally, I saw a doctor and he put me on medication. By the end of my senior year, I was over 300 pounds. The medication zonked me out and all I did was sleep and eat. I barely graduated because I was so busy consuming food and sleep, I didn't bother with homework.

Since then, my weight has gone up and down. There have been seasons where I dropped 50 and seasons where I gained 50. I would like to say the bullying ended in high school but I can't. I still to this day get comments made. Some of them are thinly veiled attempts to make me aware I would be so much prettier if I dropped a few. Some of them are blatant assaults from neighbor kids as I take walks around the neighborhood. The mooing is my favorite. But the most horrific ones usually come from my own lips. Words spoken in anger and frustration at this person in the mirror that doesn't reflect the person inside me. I forget often I'm fat. I get really pissed when I remember.

I don't want to be fat. I do try to work on it. My recent health decline has made the need for losing weight quite apparent. But its challenging. Money. Time. Temptation. Habits. Health issues. None of these things make it easier. This doesn't mean I'm giving up. It just means I have to fight that much harder.

So why I am telling you all this?

This is the inner sanctum. The part of myself I love to hide. The most shameful and humiliating battle of my life. I want to be fully transparent. Why? So when I tell you this next part you believe me. I still have hope. I still love Jesus. These things didn't break me. They don't define me either. They're just part of the weakness in which His strength is made perfect in me. They are reminders that I am thankful that the darkness and pain of these events don't have to hang over my head like a black cloud. I don't have to run from them. They happened. I lived them. I am human.

I have so many flaws. There are so many things that I am confident the world deems undesirable about the way I look. Who the hell cares? I care about fixing what's broken. I want to be the best version of myself I can be so I can run this race confidently and with great strength. But I don't want to use these things as crutch and allow myself to wallow in self-hatred and despair. And I admit, somedays are so much easier than others. The temptation to feel sorry for myself likes to linger around me like a vulture around a carcass. We all have things we want to hide from. We all have skeletons in the closet. My confession is I'm fat. I'm sure yours is quite different. Maybe its the exact same thing. Regardless, the greatest confession is this, the one we make to our Saviour.

Its the one where we tell Him we need his strength to get beyond these shortcomings. Its the one where we confess to Him how selfish and self-centered we have been in only being able to see our flaws and making excuses. Its the one where we confess our desperation for the hope He carries and the love in His heart. Its the one where we confess that we would be totally consumed by the pain of the hatred in this world were it not for His glory consuming the darkness.

Are you ready to confess?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ten Little Things: Guilty Pleasures...

1. Snack: Cheez-Its and cream cheese. I know, it sounds like a recipe for a quick death but trust have never lived till you have tried it. Dang...I need to go to the store.


2: Song: I know all the lyrics to Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio. What can I say? I'm the kinda G the little homies wanna be like.

Add caption

3. Movie: B.A.P.S. Pretty sure this wasn't high on the list of Halle Berry's crowning achievements but man its good for a laugh.


4. Word: Dude. I'm quite fond of this word and I use it often, sometimes inappropriately. Word to the wise: don't use it on your mom. She doesn't like it.


5: Internet: I love to find stupid, funny pictures on Pinterest and post them on people's facebook walls. I think I like it more than actually using Pinterest. It may be the only reason I still have a Pinterest. Hmm...

6: Celebrity: Christopher Walken. You know what this sentence needs? More cowbell.


7. Television: OK...I confess. I still like to watch reruns of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Sully, its all about Sully.


8. Office Supplies: An empty journal. I geek out over them. Its the first place I migrate to in a bookstore. 

9: Computer: The Sims. Its like my grownup version of a dollhouse. When I get stressed, I go build a house and make the people obey my every whim...I stuff.


10: Drink:  Guinness. Need I say more?

Thursday, March 22, 2012


So I really want to post something today that is inspiring,witty and thought provoking...and who knows...maybe that will still happen. However, my goal today is not so much to accomplish those things but to just be painfully honest. As hard is that is to do sometimes, here it is: I'm scared.

Lately, I have really struggled with myself, my God and the decisions I have made. Doubt and fear has crept in slowly in all of these things. I made the decision to obey what I felt was the leading of the Lord and move to Nashville, knowing full well that I was about to willingly walk into the wilderness. I was walking away from a community, a home and a church I loved to start completely over. But eagerness consumed me and the thrill of change compelled me so I did it. I packed up my junk and hopped in the car. I arrived with great expectation in my heart that everything was going to work out and just fall into place because I was quick to obey. Cut to a month later, as the dust cleared and the excitement wore off, I looked around and realized what I had given up and that I was out here alone, trying desperately to figure out the next step. Excitement gave way to panic, eagerness to loneliness.

Still unemployed, an almost thirty year old living back in her parents house, no car, no community besides her family...all these factors became a louder influence than the voice of the Lord. Thoughts that I was sure were no longer a concern became a roaring, raging thunderstorm in my head. I felt so consumed. It was hard to not be bitter every time I saw a pregnancy, engagement, or relationship announcement on Facebook. Loneliness can do that to you. Its not necessarily that you want those things to happen to just want something or someone to acknowledge your existence. I have dreams and visions of things I long to see come to fruition but it seemed it was not the timing for those things and the waiting was agony. Bitterness began to take root and try to breed in other areas of my life.

I began to doubt whether or not I heard the Lord correctly. I began to doubt whether or not I could actually succeed at the things He was burning in my heart to do. I began to doubt whether or not I even had the strength to fight at all. I was just a scared, mess of a person who didn't want to get out of bed. I think the big tip-off was when I looked at the clock and realized I had been watching t.v for five hours straight and was completely unaware. I guess we could say, I checked out.

This is the point where I stopped and said..."Oh crap, I'm a mess." I quickly picked up my phone and sent a mass text to the women in my life I know love the Lord and asked for prayer. I felt it.

I'm not going to lie and say, " worries...I'm fine now." But I will say this... its true what the Bible says when it say in Proverbs 13, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." I awoke with renewed hope and it brought life to my bones. It was enough to keep me pressing on through this junk. Because I know, somewhere, someday, I AM going to see beyond this hitch in the road and to the other side. I'm going to see the fruit of my prayers being brought forth. I will see my desires fulfilled because I long for His to be fulfilled in me. And for now, I can feel the life of one desire pumping through me veins...I'm still alive. I have not been consumed by the lies of the enemy and I will see another day. For now...that's enough. It doesn't make all my problems go away but it does give me the strength to keep going.

So my point, in all this, dear reader is to simply say you are not alone. Everyone has junk. Everyone gets weak. Beautifully designed, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Whatever you are going through, whatever your struggles, know this: I'm right there with you and better than that, so is the Lord. Reach out to Him. Ask Him for wisdom and comfort. Reach out to the people who love you and tell them, "I need help". In doing this, you're not admitting defeat. Defeat implies, you have been unwillingly overtaken by your adversary. Surrender. Go willingly into the arms of the Lord and tell Him, "I give up. I surrender myself to your will. I need you. I need your strength."

I surrender too. Lord, I need you. Be my strength.

"Blessed be the Lord!
    For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
    and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people;
    he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
     Be their shepherd and carry them forever."

Psalm 28:6-9

Monday, March 19, 2012

10 Little Things...

So let's face it....Mondays are kinda terrible. So let's have some fun! I've decided to add a new feature on the blog called "10 Little Things". Each week, I'll feature a list of 10 things that inspire me, gross me out, make me smile, etc. I would love it if you would share your 10 with me.
So this week's "10 Little Things" are 10 random facts about yours truly. Here we go:

10 Little Things About Amanda:

  1. My  favorite color is yellow.
  2. Sometimes, when I go upstairs, I pretend I am in an action movie and the stairs are crumbling behind me. I even make explosion noises and everything.
  3. I love a good Kung Fu movie.
  4. I once gave a girl my Super Grover doll so she would be my friend. True story.
  5. I hate wearing jeans.
  6. I love Jesus a lot.
  7. I think I'm developing an addiction to the Big Bang Theory ( the t.v show....not the science thing.)
  8. I never ate brussel sprouts or owned a pair of Chuck Taylor tennis shoes till last year.
  9. I will forever have a crush on Paul Newman. But sometimes its a tie with Christopher Walken.
  10. When I was young, I used to pretend I was getting interviewed by Teen Bop magazine on the trials and tribulations of being married to a member of New Kids on the Block. Trouble was, I could never decide on which member. Joey? Jordan? Donnie? Should picked Donnie...he's on t.v. now

So there's my 10. What's yours?

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Believe In You...

Friends are such a lovely thing to have. Especially when those friends send you presents in the mail. Yesterday, I received a card from a friend that contained a check and a brief but touching message. It said, "I believe in you." It was a touching affirmation that warmed my heart. Its a powerful thing to hear those words spoken over you, particularly in a life- changing season where you are really learning how to step out in faith.

As I was thanking the Lord for my friend and this lovely gift, He reminded me of a very beautiful truth:
                                                      He believes in me too.

I was also reminded that throughout the Bible, the Lord to continually demonstrates his belief in His creation. And yes, I know, sometimes it was after some convincing and the occasional obliteration of most of humanity...but, in the end, He chose to keeps us around.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, He could have said, "What the crap was I thinking?" and destroyed His creation  determined to disobey. But He didn't. 

Then there was Noah. God was so fed up with sin and corruption dominating man's life, He was ready to wipe us out. But He didn't. He spared the lives of Noah and his family because Noah found favor with Him by walking in righteousness. It only took one man to restore the Lord's faith that all humanity needed was a do-over to be made right.

He sent Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery. He used signs, wonders and plagues to spare their lives. Even when they wandered the desert complaining and questioning Moses' leadership, the Lord sent manna, water from rocks, clouds to shield them and fire to guide them.

But I think the greatest way God demonstrated His love and compassion for humanity was Jesus. He sent His son,miraculously born from a virgin, who's entire life was to teach God's people about the love of His father and ended in a horrific death by the hands of the men He came to set free. He was obedient unto death for the salvation of our souls. God loved us that much that He sent His own flesh to take the punishment of sin for us. 

Time after time, God has proven His belief in man that we are capable of more. He has proven that He loves us enough to give us every opportunity to turn from sin and live in freedom. He wants us to thrive. He wants us to succeed. He wants us to spend eternity at His side. I guess, the question now isn't whether or not He believes in us. It's whether or not we believe in Him.

I do, Lord. I do.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him." 

John 3:16-18, The Message

Monday, March 12, 2012

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself...

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook and I had to share it too. Its so lovely.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I Just Want to Run....

  So I was out for my daily walk and I got this genious idea that I should run.......

   So many of my friends do it and you know, seems to work well for them. So I started to jog....for about five minutes. I was suddenly overcome with the thought of how awkward I must look. I wasn't jogging any faster than I can walk, bobbing up and down the street in my red chucks like a rubber duck in the bathtub. So I stopped and thought to myself, "What's the point? If I'm gonna run...I wanna really run." 

   The only problem with that is, to really be able to run the way I pictured it in my head, like some buff goddess from a Nike ad, covered in spandex and ripped beyond belief.....well, that requires time and training. It take discipline and patience to take the time every day to mold my body into the shape it needs to be in to endure. Its also takes equally as much patience and discipline to accept the fact that I'm not there yet and to be content to work with what I already have. Right now, I can I will. Later, I will run.

 You may be in a season where you know what you are called to do but nothing seems to be moving. You are praying and waiting, hoping each day will lend itself to be the day you finally get break through. I urge you strongly to continue in these acts. Wrestle,implore, and contend with the Lord for it. But in the mean time, in the waiting, stop to thank the Lord for where you're at and look for ways he is using this waiting to train you for the things to come.

 Use what He has giving you, right now, in this season, to bring glory to His name. Use this time to devour His word. Use this time to seek His face in prayer. Use this time to bless those around you with the use of your own two hands. But most importantly, wait on the Lord. Let your character be developed in patience. Soon enough, you will run....and there will be no stopping you.

"Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become." 

2 Corinthians 12:9-11

Monday, March 5, 2012

I have Something to Say...

So the other day I went to Starbuck's to contemplate my life. You know, cause Starbuck's is the birthplace of deep introspection. There was a lovely young man there named Joshua who was working behind the counter. He inquired about what I was doing that day and I shared with him my plans to sit outside with my latte and ponder my options....or in reality, sit outside and freak out at the possibility that I have made yet another epic failure in moving back to Nashville. 

He began to ask me a series of questions, rather intense and in your face questions about what I was looking for. I was really struggling to answer because I wasn't sure how to explain to this man that there is a difference between a job and a calling and I'm not sure how to do both so what I'm looking for is to somehow find a job that let's me do what I'm called to do and pays me money so I don't starve to death.

After a few minutes of letting me squirm, Joshua looked me dead in the eye and very firmly asked, "What are you called to do?"

Well there you have it. He did get it after all.

"I know I'm called to minister to women."

He smiled and said "Then do it!"

I quickly launched into my parade of reasons why I can't really do it because of blah blah blah blah.

He just looked at me and said "If God is calling you to do something than you just need to do it." it really just that simple?

"So if you could say anything to these women, what would you say?" He asked.

His question caught me so off guard I stumbled a bit over my answer.

"Well...I...uh...would say...what makes you beautiful has nothing to do with how you look, dress or act. That you are called to the beauty of holiness. I would say you are more than what society tells you you are. You are not an object....that Jesus loves you and has plans for you. I want to love battered and broken women. I want to show them that they are more than what's been done to them.....yeah."

And there it is. My mandate spoken out loud in the middle of Starbuck's.

He just looked at me and said, "Then say that. Do it now."

Okay then.

Woman of the world. Jesus loves you.... even broken down, beaten up, pushed around, weary and lonely. He wants you to know you are beautiful because you are made in His image. There is nothing  or no one in the world that can create that beauty for you. Its a gift freely and supernaturally given by a great big God who is greater than this world's perception. He has plans for you. His intentions are honorable. He wants to pursue and woo you. He adores you. There is nothing more wonderful in this world than Him. 

You need to know that sexuality does not define you. Neither does how much makeup you have on or how good your hair looks. Its not how successful you are or how good a mother you are. Its not how creative or talented you are. Its not even how amazing of a wife and a friend you are. Its so simple.

You are loved and wanted  because He chose you. He designed you for such a time as this. Your value and worth is simply defined but the fact that Jesus loves you and you did absolutely nothing to earn it. Its just a gift freely given so you can be free in it.

You are free to be exactly who you were created to be. You need 
no ones acceptance or approval. You are whole in His love. You are complete in His love. You are free in His love. His love is joyful and wise. Its perfect and lacking nothing. Its forgiving and accepting. Its everything you need. When your life is viewed through the lens of His love, everything is so much clearer and precious. Its what success looks like. You can do all things through Him. 

Believe me. Its true. I need it to.

So....that's what I want to say.