Do You Believe in Magic? Why I Fall for Weight Loss Gimmicks

Everyday I get this terribly annoying message from someone named Chris. And everyday I open it because I mistake it for legitimate communication. I click to see pictures of tarot cards captioned by a few sentences that spew some garbage about "forecasting my future." The red link begs me to "act fast" or my chances to see my future will disappear. Ridiculous! God's word says witchcraft and sorcery are straight evil. I know to stay far away from these deceptive methods and mediums.  The enemy is real and his team is working overtime to tempt and destroy believers, in part, through these "seemingly innocent" schemes. I know all this. But, when I examine my heart, I find that ...

Advice for Young Women Struggling with Body Image

When I was 17, I struggled with body image. Thirty years later, I still struggle occasionally. Here’s some unsolicited advice for young women struggling with body image. 1. Don’t think, “I will outgrow this.” I hate to tell you, but there are women who wrestle with body image into their 40s, 50s, and beyond. The good news is you don’t have to wait for some magic age to be over this. Fight the lies now. Here’s a start: Assume every photo of a woman in a magazine or on the Internet is altered. It probably is. 2. Don’t think, “I’ll find my true love, and his approval will help.” My brain found ways around that, like, “He’s settling for my ...

What a Trip to the Olympics Taught Me About Comparison

There's a well-dressed woman who always slips into the sixth row at church. Obviously, she has it all together. Though she rushes in, she's somehow, always, right on time. How does she gets her make-up and hair to look that good without a professional stylist at home? As the worship songs begin, you keep thinking about her. Maybe she is a professional stylist, you muse. (Still staring.) You're not a creeper. You look away. While singing a few lines of the next song, your thoughts drift back to her. How can anyone look that good in a shirt dress? You admire how the garment drapes her small frame. Patting your stomach, you feel the war of flesh versus pants ...

Can the Olympics Help Struggles with Body Image?

I'm sure I'm the only one who noticed this, so I'm ashamed to admit it. But, here goes. Olympic swimmers don't have thigh gap. In fact, you know what else I noticed? When they shook their arms to ready their muscles for racing--their skin shook. Yes, that's right. It moved around. Some of these women even had a little extra flesh bulging out the sides of their swimsuit tops. Olympic swimmers have bra bulge? What? I found all this very affirming. And, I'm very ashamed to say that. These are some of the healthiest, fittest women in the world. Elite athletes. Real women. And, yet. They don't match that "picture" of beauty and health that we are so often sold in the media. These ...

Are You an Emotional Eater, Too?

As long as I can remember, I have always been an emotional eater. Feeling sad? Eat some ice cream. Bored? Eat some chips. Stressed? Eat some Twinkies. PMS? We are going to need some M&M's, STAT! But food is about more than emotions to me. Food is also an event. A celebration. Something to do. Somewhere to go. Something I deserve. Running to the Pantry I know that no matter how bad my day was at work, how whiny the kids are being or what's going on my marriage, I can always come home, make a lasagna and for a moment let my problems fall away while I savor the meaty, cheesy goodness. I mean, what's wrong with that? The problem is in the fact that ...

Being Reasonable in Marriage

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:4-6 (ESV) A few days ago while reading this passage I was struck by that word. Reasonable. As Christians, we are called to be reasonable. Yet, in marriage, we are often unreasonable. Let's just be honest. We expect and demand a lot more from our spouse than we do from our friends, children, or even our parents. We often have ample amounts of grace and excuses for others' shortcomings, but ...

Are You House Insecure? Three Questions to Ask

Last week you read here how I struggled to practice hospitality because I compared my home to the homes of others. Comparison is the thief of joy! It’s true! Today I’m going to get to the tough stuff, revealing our root struggles with hospitality. If we know God desires us to welcome guests, love others with our houses and our time, and give grace by entertaining strangers and friends how do we get there when we are too scared to step out? Are YOU house insecure? Are You Willing to Be Real? Let’s unpack some fears. Again, Heather wrote a brilliant post on the fears behind why we clean like a mad woman before guests come over. Her ...

How to Upgrade Your Wardrobe

“Have you worn it in the last year?” That’s the question we’re “supposed” to ask when weeding out our old clothes, right? Unfortunately, it’s a pretty easy question to get around: No, but I didn’t have a reason to wear something that dressy. No, but I’m still losing a little pregnancy weight. No, but I still like it. . . And so we find ways to keep our wardrobes cluttered with things we’re not actually wearing. Worse, we’re setting ourselves up for spiritual clutter all day long when we’re “ready” for the day but feeling frumpy or plain. When you get dressed in the morning, you’re clothing a beloved daughter of God, one who deserves to look and feel great! So ...

How to Practice Hospitality Without Stressing Over Your Home

This is part one in a mini-series by Esther on how practice hospitality without stressing over your home. Look for part two, next week, called, "Are You Home Insecure: Three Questions to Ask Yourself!" Do you let the state of your home dictate whether or not you are going to be hospitable? Does your level of anxiety over the cleanliness or decor prevent you from welcoming guests, like it does for me? The Bible has a lot to say about the act of hospitality. We are to do it without grumbling (1 Peter 4: 9), we are to desire to show hospitality (Romans 12:13), hospitality is one of the criteria for a widow to receive help from the ...