Category Archives: Unity/Community

All the Feels

As a pensive observer and possessor of an empathetic heart, I frequently feel all the feels.

An acquaintance’s daughter died of cancer. Felt the feels.
A friend’s nephew died in a drowning accident. Felt the feels.
I watched my niece’s joy-filled reaction as she devoured ice cream. Felt the feels.
I had one of a treasured many heart-to-heart conversations with a cherished friend who bared her faith and fear. Felt the feels.

I will tell you — and those closest to me will confirm — that I often walk around as if I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Why would that be? I walk closely with the Savior of my soul. I have a fire-tested, unceasing faith in God. I believe in miracles and have seen many transpire. I have a loving family. I have amazingly supportive and hilarious friends. I have a fabulous job that I love. I own my home. I drive a reliable vehicle. I have money. I have my health.

I have access to joy unspeakable and yet I’m morose.

Just yesterday, I spent a good bit of time trying to crack this conundrum. As a result, I’ve a revelation.

I’m an intercessor.

You may wonder what that is. Well, it’s a person who intervenes on behalf of others, especially by prayer.

Knowing I’m an intercessor is not a new reality. I’ve known it for years. At times, I intercede in prayer as much as I should. At times, I don’t. When I say I’ll pray for you, I really will. And sometimes I’ll even make you stop what you’re doing, ask you sit with me, ask you to let me hold your hand, and ask you to let me pray for you then and there.

Most of the time, I’m not all that bothered by the fact that I don’t exercise my prayer muscle as I should. I know I need to pray more than I do. And I just don’t. I feel bad for awhile and then go along with life. However, lately, the atrophy of that powerful tool has been eating at me.

I’m quite convinced that I will not be able to proceed through these dark days for the joy set before me if I do not remedy this atrophy. The weight of observing the world crashing around me will crush me. The sadness of watching those I know and those I love endure pain will consume me. I can mourn with those who mourn to the nth degree, but I must do more than that.

It’s time for me to fight. It’s time for me to take back the ground that has been casually captured over time. It’s time to take action against the apathetic and make strides against the struggle.

I have an identity in Christ and part of that identity is to intercede for others (and myself, of course). I must acknowledge and contend with all the feels and take those feelings and turn them into prayers of faith, thanksgiving, warfare and breakthrough.

I was given a heightened sense and observation for a reason. And that reason is to pray. The old adage remains true: Prayer changes things. And if I’m exceedingly frustrated with life as we know it (and I am) then I can be the change I wish to see in the world one word, one prayer, one intercession, one choice to believe, one more ask-seek-knock at a time.

Dare You to Move

I accept your dare, Switchfoot. I accept.

I’m moving back to Nebraska. The good life. At least that’s what the slogan promises. It’s not my best life now a-la Joel Osteen. It’s, ‘Welcome to Nebraska — The Good Life,’ as the state sign at the border proclaims.

After six and a half years in Tennessee, I’m returning to my roots. I find this interesting because my name — Lindsay — means talking tree. Trees have roots. I am a person who wants to loyally and lavishly land somewhere for a long time. I want to establish myself and become part of a network.

And, honestly, the entire time I’ve been in Tennessee I’ve sensed a hesitancy to truly root myself here. I was as committed and faithful as I could be, but I did not ever feel completely comfortable with practicing permanence here. However, I didn’t fully identify that feeling until I made the determination to move back. It was then that I realized what it was.

God knew He would move me back to the Cornhusker state. That’s why I felt those fleeting feelings. That’s why I often thought I was on an extended vacation as I traveled these Tennessee roads. That’s why I felt this compulsive urgency to take everything in and remember it…because I wouldn’t be seeing these sights for the rest of my life. It was a season to be remembered fondly. Not a place to take up permanent residence.

I don’t know exactly what Nebraska will hold. But I’m hopeful. I’m encouraged and positive that I’ll meet my elusive husband soon. I’m anticipating that I’ll really enjoy my new career as a corporate journalist.

And I know with everything within me that God is just as much in Nebraska as He is in Tennessee. He’s got a community of people waiting for me. There’s a Lindsay-shaped hole there that this talking tree needs to fill.

Crying and Dancing in Zumba Class

I cried at Zumba last night.

At least I think I cried.

It was hard to tell the tears from the sweat beading down my ruddy face.

So there I was, movin’ and shakin’ to the beat, watching the instructor in front of me and attempting to mimic her movements in the mirror.

*Step to the left and raise your right arm.*

*Step to the right and raise your left arm.*

It was like a scene in slow motion. Yet the Spanish beats were bumping and all of our hearts were cardio-pumping.

“This isn’t just a fun Zumba class,” I thought to myself. “We’re dancing for our lives. What we’re doing is miraculous. If we don’t dance, we die.”

I understand that my inner monologue sounds a lot like a teaser for a cheesy movie, but track with me here.

The path that I was on was headed for diabetes and heart disease. Sure, it was full of a lot of tasty Cheetos, but healthy looks better than Cheetos taste.

There were even points in my life where I distinctly recall a fruity taste in my mouth. I once read that an unexplained fruity taste means that a person may be diabetic. My grandma was diabetic. She also had heart issues.

Ursula

In a biggest loser competition I participated in, we chose a cartoon to depict our before and after photos. My before picture was Ursula from ‘The Little Mermaid.’ My after is Jessica Rabbit from ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’

I kid you not, Ursula looks a lot like my grandma. Same body type. Even the same hair color. But my grandma was not a six-limbed octopus. She was a nice German lady. I liked her. Though I admit that I had to work really hard not to think that my grandma really was Ursula from the movie. Cuz her name was Ursula, too. And she looked so similar!

Point being, I was right on target to be a diabetic cartoon octopus.

I was considering all of those things in my slow-scene, Zumba-mirror moment. And that’s why I cried.

This has been a surprisingly emotional journey. I am so grateful for all the support I’ve received from everyone. If you’ve left me a comment or liked a post, thank you so much. You spur me on to “keep swimming” down this path of fitness.

Wonderful Weight Loss: The Saggy Bottom Girl

In constant sorrow all through her days…

I admit it. I was ashamed of my weight. I didn’t like selecting cute outfits to wear because I didn’t feel cute in them. I didn’t want to hang out with people because I thought they didn’t want to hang out with me. I thought they were ashamed of me because I was ashamed of myself. I could say that I was at a sustained level of constant sorrow.

Sure. I had my ups. But I had mostly downs. Instead of usual joy and occasional sadness. I was mostly sad and infrequently glad.

At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure why. Was it difficult interactions with a few friends in my life? Was I missing my Yankee upbringing as a quasi-permanent resident of the South?  Did I feel like a college graduate career failure because I wasn’t a journalist at a daily newspaper?

The foggy bottoming out came into a clearer perspective after I found out about my coworkers’ seemingly harebrained idea.

“I think we should do a Biggest Loser,” he said.

“We should! We could get everyone involved! We can make it a competition and we’ll have a cash prize and weekly weigh ins. We should do it!” she excitedly responded.

I heard one-half of the exchange taking place over the phone in the other office as my coworker and friend talked to my other coworker and friend on the phone.

“Oh, no!” I thought. I’ll never be able to fully commit to that. I have no idea how to lose weight. I know I need to get healthy…

*Flashback to many-a conversation with my closest friend.*

“I love you, Linds, but I really think you need to consider doing something different with your eating. You need to exercise more. Some of the food you eat. It’s…it’s really not good for you, sweetie. Do you know that?”

*sigh* “Yes.” I responded, exasperated that we were talking about this “issue” again.

*Flash forward to reality and the realization that we really were going to do a competition*

And not in the distant future. In a week. In one week we were going to embark on a journey of strenuous, self-denying agony. And not just for a little while. For three months! I couldn’t eat for three months!

I was going to be so hungry! I was going to fail! I was going to be the one out of nine of us gaining weight. I was going to be the one to bring us all down.

Alas, I considered the idea of overhauling my life before the Lord. I prayed and asked Him to help me. I talked to my closest friends. I talked to my parents. I sought counsel from my leaders. And I polled my co-workers to see what they were doing to try and be the winner.

And then I discovered the My Fitness Pal app. Oh, what a wonder! The first day that I used it, I was in shock and awe at how many calories I consumed. I went to McDonald’s for a sausage egg McMuffin, hashbrown, and a trashcan-sized Coca-Cola. Eight hundred calories! All absorbed into my adipose before 8 o’clock in the morning!

I’d consumed almost 3,000 calories in one day. And I barely ever worked out. No wonder I’d not experienced any major weight loss!

Like a true Strengths Finder 2.0 learner would, I took to the internet and searched for workout plans and meal plans. I listened in when my boss was talking about how she loses weight and took note of how to apply that to my life. I called up the other, healthier folk in my life and asked them to teach me things. Like how to make fish.

And, like the miracle of God that it was, I felt differently inside the day before the first weigh in. I felt my desires changing. I didn’t want Cheetos. I wanted broccoli. Steamed broccoli. I felt the innate urge to work out. All. The. Time. That was August 1. Our competition was slated to run until Halloween. I began eating 1,200 calories a day and trying to burn at least 3,500 calories before the next weigh-in. My goal was to lose one-two pounds per week.

***********

Now it is eight weeks later. And wouldn’t you know it. I’m doing alright! I’ve lost weight every week! I’m up to 21 pounds so far! For the longest time, I was in fourth place overall. But after today’s weigh-in, I’m in third place! I have high hopes to work my way to the top!

My goal is to lose approximately 100 pounds. After losing a century of weight, I’d be down to the weight I was in high school. Back when I was a “pretty salty” golfer, as my dad would say. Back when colleges were courting me to join their snazzy golf teams. Back when I was in beast mode, physically speaking. Back when I had my one-and-only boyfriend.

With each pound lost, I’m feeling less like the woman of constant sorrow and more like the saggy bottom girl. Saggy because my old jeans don’t fit me. And it’s almost time for me to begin investing in a new wardrobe.

I’m not ashamed of myself anymore, either. The spark of joy has reignited. And I’m hopeful for my future, knowing that I can live in my new lifestyle well beyond the three months of this competition.

After this is over, I’ll thank my harebrained co-workers. I may even hug them. Because their collaborative idea changed my life!

Created by MyFitnessPal – Free Weight Loss Tools

Love and Basketball: Full Court(ship) Press

I believe in courtship. In love and in life. I wholeheartedly endorse it.

Inquisitive passer-by: “Courtship, huh? Isn’t that an antiquated term for dating, circa Jane Austen?” 

Lindsay the Letter Writer: “Who says old-timey things are bad? Have you not seen Downton Abbey? That stuff’s legit right now.”

Inquisitive passer-by: “Well played, Auntie Quated. Well played.”

If I believe in a living Savior from 2,000 years ago, it makes perfect sense that I’d follow a concept from the 1500s, as well. 😉

Courtship is more than a guided process of a man wooing a woman. It’s also the practice of testing out new things.

I think the 90-day new-hire probationary period is a form of courtship. The employer is checking to see if the employee really is qualified. And the employee is discovering whether or not they fit in at their new job.

We’ve got buyer’s remorse, so you can even court a car.

Or that 60-day money back guarantee. Courting a product.

Basketball

So why’s it so weird that a man would court a woman? What’s wrong with trusted leaders with experience in a marriage relationship guiding people they love through a journey of discovery?

If 50% of marriages allegedly fail, perhaps society should change their pre-marital approach.

Of all the marriages I’ve seen that first went through a courtship, 100% of them have succeeded.

I’m reporting my findings of watching this hypothetical love and basketball game between dating and courtship. The full court pressing in of courtship dominates the casual game plan of dating.

So, I choose courtship. Even if it means I’ve been single for 27 years. Even if both of my younger siblings are in a relationship and I’m not. Because if waiting for the one right man means a better marriage for me later, I’ll wait.

Writing a War

I wish I could write a war

And win it with a word

My pen alone cannot prevail

But prayer can

Move heaven

And shake the earth

Until all the silt is sifted away

You can depend on me

To pen and pray these prayers

And fiercely fight

With every word I write