​My chains are gone......


....I've been set free. Seriously, I 'm a different person than I was before 2014. You thought I was talkative and outgoing before----oh goodnight, now I'm more than some people know what to do with. I'm the one flailing my hands around during worship, accidentally hitting my kids in the head, belting out the wrong words because I 'm too engrossed in the moment to open my eyes and look at the screen. If "So You Think You Can Dance" came to our church, they would see an audition already in progress. Our girls get embarrassed at the amount of strangers I can talk to in any given day, and how I will find any reason to strike up a conversation. But what they don't completely understand is why I am able to live life uninhibited.

Two years ago today, God changed my life forever. After living for 20+ years with various stages of an eating disorder, He showed me that my behavior modifications were like putting a band-aid on ruptured appendix. There's so much to the story I could tell, but the basics are this

I desired approval & attention from others in a deep way.
My identity was very much wrapped up in my image & how others perceived me.
I felt shame in ways that I didn't realize.
​I allowed others to define my value.
I believed that being beautiful = being accepted = being loved.
I was ex.haus.ted.

"I cried out to the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces will never be covered in shame."
Psalm 34:4-5

On February 23, 2014, God removed my heavy chains of fears and shame, and He showed me that HE is enough to heal all my pain. He revealed that HE is the source of my identity, and my value MUST come from Him. His promise to be faithful in my brokenness is what allows me to live freely--giving to others, pouring into others, speaking a word of encouragement to a complete stranger--without fear of them looking at me funny or talking behind my back. I have had a personal relationship with Jesus since I was 14, but when you no longer base your every move on what others might think of you, you discover a freedom like no other!

You may not relate to concerns about your body image, but maybe achieving a promotion at work consumes you. Or you're 45 years old and still trying to gain your parents approval. Are you the mom who needs recognition, or the dad who is living their glory years through their son? Are you tired of striving for something to give you worth? Are you exhausted from trying to live up to an ideal that society says is valuable? Fill in the blank...what's your thing?

If I am ___________________, then I will have value and be worthy of love. 

I no longer am defined by my jean size or my LIKES or my ability to refuse a dessert. I don't live for other's approval, or a title, or a following, because I have approval from the One true God. John 10:10 says the enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came to give life abundantly. As I celebrate my Freedom Birthday today, I can say that I now live life with renewed hope and abundance, and it's my prayer that you find that freedom too!

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