Trial by Tired

My friend recently asked me, “When was the last time you slept through the night?”

I laughed.  (Because, really, it’s been forever.)  Then I had to stop and think.  Probably about 3 months into the pregnancy with my first daughter.  So that puts us at the 6 year mark.  Like I said, forever.

I bet you get it.  Maybe you don’t have little tiny ones waking you in the night, but I bet you that you don’t jump for joy when your alarm clock goes off in the morning.  Stressful work, overwhelming commitments, and yep, those precious little kiddos have a way of messing with sleep that leaves tired as a banner over the day.

We’ve all read the articles about exhaustion, and basically what they boil down to is, GET MORE SLEEP.

To me, this is supremely unhelpful.  I would if I could.  I bet you would, too.

There is plenty of information out there about how much sleep you need, and how turning off electronics is important, and how to apply whatever magic remedy with 600-thread-count sheets and a soothing noisemaker and bingo! A beautiful, 8-hour chunk of interruption-free snores.

Maybe that works for some people, but at our house, I only wish it was that simple.

Now, I know that sleep deprivation can be quite dangerous, and I’m in no way advocating not trying to get more sleep.  Hey, I’m all for more sleep.  But here’s the deal: I try to get more sleep.  I really, really do.  And I’m just in a stage right now where it just. isn’t. happening.

So how does a weary, worn-out, exhausted girl function and live happy through seasons of sleep deprivation?

I’ll be diving into all of that in my upcoming e-book: Tired: Living Fully Engaged Through The Weary Season.  But I wanted to chat with you guys about it, too.

Because, I don’t want to wait until I’m getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to really live.  I don’t want to put my life and my ministry and my joy on hold for the decade that my kids are little.  And when I read that God uses trials in my life to grow and refine me, I can see glimpses of an eternal purpose behind all the tired.

I have been allowed these trials (yes, the constant weariness and the headaches) by a loving God who desires my best – and as Beth Moore so aptly states, He places more priority on my character than my comfort.

I need less to be comfortable and more to lean on Jesus.

I don’t need a headache free life.  I don’t need uninterrupted sleep, because if I did, that’s what I’d be getting.  For some reason, the God who loves me has called me to this season, this “trial by tired” for reasons only He fully understands.  He loves me, and this is His best for me right now.

And for all the rest I’m not getting on my pillow, I can absolutely rest in that confidence all day (and all night) long.  My deepest need has always been, and will always be the One who made me.

I need more and more and MORE of Jesus.

Are you in a “tired” season?  What most encourages you in the midst of all the weariness?

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Why I Believe Christians Should Love Lent



I almost fell out of my pew that Sunday.  It was mid-February, and I was in the thick of college exams, papers, and clinicals.  Easter was definitely not on my mind, and I grew up thinking that observing Lent was “what Catholics do.”  In my mind there was some nebulous idea that “they” ate fish on Fridays, and it made “them” feel more holy, and that was that.  (My naivete is a topic for another day, ‘kay?)

But the year my Evangelical Pastor explained the significance of Lent as a season of preparation for Easter…it changed my perspective.  It’s a gift for believers everywhere, regardless of denomination.

When he announced that he was giving up coffee for Lent?

That was my almost-falling-out-of-the-pew moment.  (I’m a Starbucks dark roast kind of a gal.)

Why would a God-fearing man give up the elixir of life for 6 weeks?

To focus, he explained.  To remember.  To really think about Jesus.

Every time he craved a cup of coffee, it was a reminder, a little push, a wooing of sorts that drew his heart fractionally closer to the Messiah.

I was in.  I’ve observed Lent for a decade, giving up various things over the years.  A couple of years, it was coffee.  (In my pre-kid days. For my husband and children’s safety, I don’t do that anymore!)  I’ve also done zero personal spending, given up fiction, and banned myself from candy.

This year it’s candy.

Did you know that Hot Tamales and Jelly Beans can beg to be eaten?  I don’t even particularly LIKE Jelly Beans.  (Hot Tamales…that’s a different story.)  But those silly Jelly Beans kept staring at me suggestively in the grocery store, and I had a sudden impulse to buy a bag of the jewel-like candies, find a book, and start devouring them by the handful.

And that is why Lent, to me, is a gift.

I can get too caught up in dividing my life into little time slots, little packages that don’t jostle each other.  Oh yes, I read my Bible and have my memory verse of the week on the kitchen windowsill, and I try so hard to remember the Who in the midst of establishing no-throw zones and teaching arithmetic.  But Lent is like a scarlet cord, winding around the hours of my day, reminding, always reminding me:

  • That Easter is coming.  That it’s so important to slow down and dig in and drink deep of all that Easter means.  To really enter into the anticipation of it.  To make it a big deal with the kids.  To pull out the messy Easter grass, and the Resurrection eggs, and the special books, and the pastel bunnies, and get on the floor and read the stories, and dip the eggs in vinegar-scented colors, and experience it all.
  • That Jesus is coming.  We celebrate His first coming and anticipate His second coming.  This beautiful, messy, daily life has a way of grabbing my attention and stealing my focus.  In Lent, I find myself brought up short and deeply thankful for the cross multiple times a day.  I want Him to come back.  I want to be living wisely when He does!

It’s like a paper cut, needling my mind all. day. long:  Don’t forget!  Don’t ever forget what He gave up for you!  He gave His SON to give you heaven.

So, yes, every Lent, I give up something.

But the perspective I gain is not just a blessing…

it’s a gift.

I would love to hear from you – IF you celebrate Lent (or if you don’t – and your thoughts on it!), what you do during Lent, and anything meaningful that you’ve received as a result of Lent.

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Adding Up and Falling Short

The ink on her arm was faded, like time had eased the harsh edges of Nazi cruelty.  The number, marking her as a prisoner of the Third Reich, had identified her for a thousand horrifying days and nights.  Unaware of the scrutiny, she measured, marked, and pinned with efficiency.  How must it feel to spend your life as a seamstress, dealing always in numbers?  When the very skin stretching over your bones has been marked and violated by evil people who took everything from you, and left a number instead of your name…

“All done,” she stated briskly.

But it wasn’t.

Time, stretching lazy, ticked years away.  The girl who heard the story of the Holocaust seamstress grew into a woman.  Me.  Whose daughter circled back innocently to a Pandora’s box, dusty and scuffed.

Her blue eyes narrowed, squinting dark lashes over chubby pink cheeks as she turned the page on her Ice Princess activity book.  “Mama, what is 6 plus 3?” she asked, the squeak of her marker stroking the plastic pages interrupting her serious voice.  I doled out the appropriate number of Tasteeos and we figured it out together.  She’s a smart one, my Alaina.  Already her affinity for numbers has me cringing, because math is definitely not my strong suit.  And yet, numbers are such an integral part of every day life.

She will need to know how to add and subtract and multiply and divide, and maybe even use pi in her life.  There’s the mortgage, the car payment, and the grocery budget to tally.  And fractions will be needed to convert amounts in a recipe, dole out medicine to her children, and avoid World War 3 equally divide treats among eager mouths.

But here’s where I hope she doesn’t use math.

I hope she never, ever uses numbers to tell herself or anyone else who she is.

Because I’ve done it.  You’ve done it too, haven’t you?

Standing by helplessly while Satan is inking the blades that cut deep into our souls and brand us by our numbers.

IQ, salary, dress size, square footage, number of children, what we can produce, or do, or have…

Oh, the list can be long, but I guarantee it has always added up to one thing for me: ways I fall short.  It makes me hopping mad…fighting mad that I’ve swallowed those lies.  That Satan has the audacity to suggest  that my worth comes from a stinking number.

What the Nazis could never take away, what no devil can steal is the truth.  All the numbers in the world are nothing more than smoke screen for the gospel truth that your worth and mine is in a name.

The name of Jesus.

You, just you, and all of you are intrinsically valuable.  He calls you His own, His beloved, His treasured one.  He sings over you.  Does that thought quicken your heart?  His love for you has never been about anything you can tally or measure or count, but just because you’re His favorite.  He likes you.  He likes me.  On the good days, and the bad.

I’ve been a gullible mess, wound up in numbers for years too long.  But I’m wising up, and growing up, and I’m ready to get up and get over it.  And I pray I’ll teach my girl all she needs to know about how and when to use math…

…and when numbers mean nothing at all.

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Starving For Control – Part II

To fake it is to stand guard over emptiness. 

Arthur Herzog may have penned those words, but I have lived them.  I guarded the howling emptiness with my best foot forward, determined to convince myself and others of my favorite three words: I. Am. Fine. 

Maybe I looked like I was.  To others, I was a shy, quiet, studious young woman who was focused on college and a career in nursing.

But the truth is, I wasn’t fine.  (If you missed part 1, read about my struggle here.)  I was a church going, Bible reading, insecure, rebellious mess.

The eating disorder was only a symptom of the “Jesus-and” syndrome.  You know what I mean?  Jesus-and-success.  Jesus-and-affirmation.  Jesus-and-skinny.  Jesus-and-you-fill-in-the-blank.  Because I didn’t just want Jesus.  I wanted Jesus and my control, my ego, my life on my terms and my way, thank you very much.

Jesus, He could have the most of me.  But the corners and crannies and dark closets…those empty places I guarded over so vigilantly?  They were standing room only for a whole howling load of demonic activity.  For a while, it felt good to hold onto the control.  Until suddenly, one day…I realized that I was nothing more than a puppet ruler.  I’d been ousted.

God had to grab me from that mud, and it wasn’t neat and tidy and wrapped up in a sanitary package.  (The way I prefer things.)  No, it was a crisis of belief – etching the truth of my identity in Christ  – over, and over, and over my heart.  In retrospect, I very much wish that I had seen a Christian counselor, but that thought never occurred to me.  Counselors were for people with issues, right?  And I didn’t have issues, just an eating disorder that was no big deal…Yeah, right.

I’ve said it before, but I just can’t help myself – God is so rich in mercy.  He loved me so much that He rescued me from my self-destructive patterns and corrupt way of thinking.  I know it’s different for every person, and I thank God that He used Scripture memory, an accountability group, and the prayers of other believers as a means of freedom in my life.  But I cannot urge you enough to seek professional help as well if you struggle with an addiction or eating disorder.  We all need the right kind of help.

It’s kind of weird to say that 3 x 5 cards scrawled out with Bible verses were the stepping stones out of my homemade quicksand, but it’s the truth.  I posted them all over my room, read them and re-read them and kept re-reading, and eventually they became more than words.  They became my truth.  I started to believe that I was beloved, just as I was, and that God’s heart towards me was not stern and angry, and disapproving.  I started to realize that He…liked me.  Appreciated me.  Wanted good things for me.  (I’m planning to put together a list of Scripture references to post later, but if you want it sooner, would you email me?  searchingformyeden (at) gmail (dot) com. )

It’s been over a decade of freedom for me.

I love good food.

But I still notice, every once in a while, when I’m especially stressed or insecure that old revulsion sweep over me.  The clenching of my stomach, the tightness of my throat.  But the difference is…I know where to run when I push back my chair.  And when I get off my knees, I have more than an appetite for eating…

I have an appetite for living.

Have you ever struggled with an eating disorder?  Or do you know of anyone who has?

This site contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you.  Thanks in advance for your support! 🙂

This book was a fantastic read about identity and eating disorders.  I read it this last year and loved it!

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Starving For Control – The Skinny On My Fight With Anorexia

The food hesitating on my fork clenched my empty stomach.  I willed myself to lift it up to my mouth, but bile scorched my throat.  I set my fork back down on the full plate, tears clogging my eyes as the chair scraped the floor and signaled my escape.  I was defeated.  Again.

I was 18 years old, 5′ 9″, and 125 pounds.

It’s hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t gone through it.  I mean, it’s not that hard to just sit down and eat, right?  Just make yourself, I was told.  And I couldn’t explain it any better now than I could then, that I could not eat.

It wasn’t so much about starving myself, but rather starving for something to control.  In a crazy way, some validation that my will would not be broken.  Instead, my will was breaking me.  What I had started out controlling had overtaken me and now held complete mastery over me.

Some days it wasn’t so bad.  I could eat a little here and there.  But on the hard days, the stressful days, the days of conflict and tears, the only thing I could swallow was my own pain.

But God, who is so rich in mercy, because He loved me so much, did not let me stay that way.

God is a rescuing God.  Emmanuel literally means, “God with us”, and oh, how He is.  Entering this world of sin and suffering and diving headlong into all the messiness to save His beloved, to walk with us through the pain.

My story continues in the next post, but for now, can I leave you with a question?

What captivates you?

Is there any deep need in your life that you once held power over, but now rules the way you live?

Maybe it’s not an eating disorder, or an addiction, or maybe it is.  Maybe it’s affirmation, or needing to be right all the time, or keeping up appearances.  Maybe it’s none of those things, but maybe it’s something else.  Whatever it is, God wants you free.

You weren’t made to live like the pet of a cruel master, chained and choking on a collar of shame and misery.  There is freedom to be had.

Let’s grab hold of it in the only One who can give it:


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