Tuesday, June 30, 2009

hope never dies

I write you tonight with a little more sobriety than before. These last few days have been tough. Not just giving up sugar. Life had been crashing down hard. Lauren has her set of struggles and battles, and me my own, but we can honestly say we are feeling the pressure hard core. We know God is allowing this. It is a testing of our faith and an opportunity for us to glorify the Lord in our weakness, but that doesn't mean it isn't hard. It's ok when the battle is tough to say "hey, it's tough". But we don't give up. We hold, cling, cleave dependently to the God who moves and creates mountains. The King who reigns over the power of death. The Lord who knows the desires and pains of our hearts. He has not only plans to sustain us through hardship, but "plans to prosper us, to give us a future and a hope." Jer 29:11

Last night, my friend Luke shared out of this exact reference. The context of that verse is not exactly hunky-dory. This verse is amidst the prophet Jeremiah telling Israel the nation that she is condemned to judgment and exile for blatant sins, including idolatry. Think about it. This nation that was completely living sinfully. Still loved and cherished by God, despite the impending judgment, He still had plans to PROSPER her! He the same for us as his people under the new covenant! "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31

As we continue to seek God in this fast, to vigilantly pray for LOVE146, and to seek His will in our lives that he may be glorified, we can look forward to the knowledge that He has plans to prosper us! So, we must fight even as the battle continues to rage, and "press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me" Phil 3:12

Never Give up. We have a hope. Let us fight this battle with all we have left, that we may bring that hope to those who are dying without it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

and the hits keep coming...

Chains be broken
Lives be healed
Eyes be opened
Christ is revealed

It is day five...
And, to be totally and brutally honest, I feel awful.
Here is my reality:
I am dealing with an eating disorder. You might be thinking at this point "and youre doing sugar fast?"...yes, yes i am. friends, God can work miracles and He totally does. im not doing the sugar fast to lose weight, i promise you that. but anyway.
today, as i turned away from the sugary latte i wanted to buy, i found myself surrounded by people that were desperately crying out, broken, upset and down right destroyed. i kept thinking, where am i? how am i? whats going on for me, as my therapist would put it? the tears kept rolling down my face in church today because i am so desperately broken. still! i have been in recovery for two years now...two whole years since june 14th (praise God), but i am still incredibly broken and torn apart from it all.
when the pastor invited people to stand and receive prayer, there was no doubt in my mind that i needed it. i needed to stand and be vulnerable even though, right now, i cannot stand vulnerability. it terrifies me. but its exactly what God is working in me.
you see...last month, i relapsed...hard. it was awful. i was right back into my fears and stuck in my thoughts that would lead me to death. i wanted to be perfect, to be in control, to feel that i had done something. death by perfection?
i guess that when i relapsed, i shut off and i wasnt strong. i didnt want to tell anyone what i had overcome, i didnt want to tell anyone that i was struggling. that power that i had when i graduated from the hospital program had suddenly left me. i hate that it did. i worked so incredibly hard to get it in the first place. where did it go and how do i get it back?!
ive come to the conclusion that i have to stand up for it again. i need to tell everyone. i need to share with people the terrible nightmare that i have survived. im a survivor. i have survived ED. friends, ED is trying to get back in. he is trying so hard to jump back into my life and its taking everything within me to keep him out. it is HARD. believe me when i say that i am practically shaking right now typing this. it is so incredibly HARD to fight ED. but i have to.

i have to fight for me.
i have to be healthy for God to use me.
i have to stand strong.
heres what gets me.
i have to fight for those that dont.

if they see me get through it, they will believe that they can too.
this is what ive learned today.

vulnerability is terrifying, but i want that power and that strength that i once possessed. i hate that ive lost it. the only way to find it is to lay down all fears and just GO.

here i go.

Father God, I pray for every person battling ED right now. I pray that his voice leaves and that only You are there. ED is destruction, he's disaster, he's a complete lie. God, I want everyone dealing with ED to feel you right now in such a tangible way. God I cry out for them. I know their pain so well and its a hard battle to fight. Its a tiring battle to fight. You fight for us. You fight. Please fight for me now. Please give me that power to share what I have been through so that they may see a light and something other than ED. You can and you will heal all broken lives. I believe it! I dont have to see it to believe it. You are here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

music and fasting

Having done this fast before (not nearly as long), I've come to realize that when forced to not spend my time baking delicious treats and then devouring them with all of my might, I am more likely to pick up my guitar or sit down at my piano to write music. In the past couple of days, I have written two songs. One of which I will share with you here...the other...well...sorry, but no. :]

God has been teaching me an incredible amount about time lately. This week has been the biggest and scariest emotional roller coaster I have ever been on. I can't clarify exactly what has happened for confidentiality, but I can say this, I have been praying more than I ever have for life and the most deep rooted love anyone could ever feel. The sugar fast has only helped me in that. Not only am I praying and fasting for the girls and boys of Love146's safehouses and targeted brothels, but some of my dear friends. The power of Christ is strong and when we ask Him to save a life, to heal a life, to conquer a life, He does, and I firmly believe that. It almost frustrates me that it takes a fast to make me realize it, but when I give Him my time, He listens to me. He draws close to me and I feel Him. We are a team and He wants nothing more than that.

That being said...here is a song.

And then I fell asleep, your thoughts composed.
Why did you have to leave me in the cold?
I could have loved you if you let me,
but the world still falls down.
If only you would hear me say:

I don't need much to talk to you.
I don't need blue skies or a big, bright moon.
I don't even need happiness to sit with you.
Just give me your time.

And it's a big, frightening world I'm waiting to change.
There you sit across from me,
Your heart broken and stained.
You hold my head in your hands and cry
listen to me
I only want you to hear me say:

I don't need much to talk with you.
I don't need blue skies or a big, bright moon.
I don't even need happiness to sit with you.
Just give me your time.

Just give me your time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

banana blessing

The second day has finally come to a close, and what a day it has been...
This morning, i woke with not only thirst but an unconquerable craving for something sweet. Obviously the reaction of my first day of sugary deprivation, my body was giving me the cue to gorge on the usual corn syrup - infused dry cereals, maple drenched waffles, or brown sugar topped oatmeal I usually alloted myself without a moments hesitation on any regular day. In restraint, I began to peruse through the other dry cereals hoping to find one I might satiate myself with. Alas, I found I was at a terrible loss, for even the "normal" cereals, like cherrios, corn flakes, crispix, and others I naively assumed would be fasting - friendly are made with corn syrup and cane sugar. Disappointed and somewhat bewildered I searched for other options to satiate my now ravenous hunger. Perhaps raw chocolate shake? Yes! I gathered the agave nectar, the unsweetened cocoa, and almonds, only to find yet another kink in my plan - I had no bananas! Now determined, I grabbed the car keys, threw on some mismatched clothing, and drove to the grocer where I purchased the largest bunch of bananas, three 1/2lb cartons of strawberries, and a new bear full of honey. My shake recipe was complete (you can see it below), loaded with delicious, natural, and completely allowed ingredients!

RAW Chocolate Shake
1 banana, separated into three sections
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
10-15 almonds
agave, to taste
6 oz water

Blend in blender, pour into glass, and serve immediately.

While making the shake, I marveled as I considered how blessed I am to live a life of freedom and luxury, both of which victims of trafficking do not get to enjoy for the duration of their captivity. Sugar... it has always been a simple pleasure I get to experience daily. I seldom appreciate it. Even in giving it up, the ability to search for other options at the store down the road speaks of the freedom I have to choose it and the luxury of getting to make that choice. Imagine a world where all the simple little blessings you have in life are taken from you, or have never existed. That world is the reality for 1.2 million children who are subjected to sex slavery each year, and 2 more every 60 seconds. No freedom, no luxuries. No simple pleasures. Only pain, deprivation, and bondage. What a great task we have in praying for these children, these victims of hateful action, and for the those who are called by God to fight on the front lines of this dangerous and dark battleground. If these next few months stir me to nothing else but prayer alone for these victims of trafficking and for those seeking to abolish it, it is worth letting go of all the simple luxuries I experience, blessing I too often take for granted.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

the fast

Hello everyone, and welcome to our new blog! I (Hannah) and Lauren are giving up sugar for 146 days to support the endeavors of LOVE 146 and their fight to abolish sex slavery. This blog will serve as a record of daily reflections and just about anything else that strikes our fancy during this certain to be amazing time. almost 5 full months of sugar deprivation is definitely going to have its difficulties, but with lots of agave and honey, we will prevail!