Category Archives: Series

A Woman’s #1 Most Powerful Weapon

tankAs I was thinking of the title of this post, I asked my husband what he thought a woman’s #1 most powerful weapon was…

“Sex?”

I looked at him with a shameful expression. “Come, on… really.”

I made him keep guessing and his ideas ranged from tears to gossip. I told him “You’re thinking about this all wrong. You’re thinking of a weapon as a negative thing.” (Which of course makes sense because he’s a Marine!)

And perhaps you did too when you read the title. But when I talk about a woman’s #1 most powerful weapon, I’m talking about a positive weapon, a weapon we use not only for others, but ourselves as well.

A Woman’s #1 Most Powerful Weapon is: ENCOURAGEMENT

I believe it is one of the purposes for which we were created. There is so much power in the action word, encourage. To miss the truth that it is our #1 most powerful weapon is a tragedy too many women find themselves facing. So this week we are going to be discussing the effects of this positive weapon of encouragement in these four areas:

  • Ourselves
  • Our Loved Ones
  • Our Enemies and
  • Everyone

I hope you might join into the discussion by leaving a comment or Tweeting about this post so all can share. You can also grab the RSS feed down on the right hand column and have daily posts sent right to your e-mail.

Questions for discussion:

Do you agree that ENCOURAGEMENT is a woman’s #1 most powerful weapon? Why or why not?

How have you seen encouragement work positive outcomes in your life?

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The Key to Being a Spartan Woman

I’d like to finish out our series by talking about what I believe is the key to becoming a Spartan Woman. Everything we’ve talked about this week points to one central thought, one recurring theme as to why the Spartan Woman is the way she is.

Being a Spartan Woman means: Knowing life is hard, but resolving to fight through it anyway. Spartan Woman

Life isn’t a piece of cake. It is full of it’s own difficulties, challenges and hardships. There are things that happen that we wish wouldn’t have. Things we’d like to change, but can’t. Things that interrupt our lives that we wish we could ignore. But stepping into your role as the Spartan Woman means you have a resolve to take life as it comes. It means you become all that you should be as the daughter of a Warrior KING, taking on many of His qualities as life requires them.

This may mean you’ll have to get dirty now and again. Fight life’s battles and not be afraid of getting hurt in the process. Stand up for yourself and those you love and not back down in the face of adversity. It may mean you have to do some things that you might not like to do. Say some things that may be hard to say, and all the while knowing this is just the life of a Spartan Woman.

How do we fight? We fight with our head. We fight with our hearts. We fight on our knees with dedication and passion. We resolve to never back down, or let circumstances overwhelm us, because we know that no weapon created against us will succeed.

We fight with a Sword so sharp it separates soul and spirit, bone and muscle, joints and marrowWe fight against fear, bondage and the attack of our spiritual enemies. We fight for ourselves, our husbands, children, friends and family. We do not fight alone or in our own power, but we fight knowing a power greater than ourselves backs us up. We fight together. We fight for each other, with each other, but never against each other. We fight for honor. Valor. Love. Truth. We fight for what is dear to us, knowing if we don’t do it who else will?

That’s the Spartan Woman I want to be. Who else is with me?

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The Spartan Mother

The picture of the Spartan Mother is full of sacrificial love and support. Though I claim to know nothing about being a mother, I know there is much to be learned from the Spartan Woman when it comes to her children. Spartan Mother

The biggest thing I take away from the Spartan Woman’s interaction with her child is her encouragement. When the King and her little one are sparing with one another, hitting each other in the face, she doesn’t swoop down to rescue her little boy. She stands by loyally watching, knowing this is a necessary part of his growth.

From observations I have seen this is a hard thing to do for some mothers. Our natural instinct is to rescue and nurture. However, sometimes rescuing our children is not the best thing for them. Sometimes going through a hard and trying time where our children are getting beat down (maybe not literally, but figuratively) is a necessary part of their growth. But I’ve known some mothers who can’t stand to see their children suffer. So they swoop down and rescue them, stealing the life lesson that can’t be taught any other way.

But contrary to how we feel, always rescuing our children is not the role of a mother. I once looked up the word mother, not in the dictionary, but in my Word Origin book. This particular word is full of meaning when we go back and look at where it came from. The definition that stood out to me the most is that a mother is to “give rise to another.” Just like a sponge rises when it is doused in water, we as mothers are to give rise to our children. To douse them with the knowledge we have and watch them grow, to encourage them as they create their own ways of thinking and living. But never to steal from them by swooping in and rescuing them, keeping them from learning some of life’s toughest lessons.

This is an unfortunate circumstance. Why do mothers struggle with releasing their children to learn hard lessons? Maybe because their identity is wrapped up in their children. Maybe because their faith is weak. Maybe because they want to feel like they are in control, even though the truth is that nothing is in our control.

I don’t know, because I’m not a mother. But maybe you are. Share your thoughts with us.

Have you ever been guilty of “rescuing”?

Have you seen other mothers struggle with this mindset?

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The Spartan Wife

Perhaps the most fascinating role the Spartan Woman plays, is the role of a wife.Off to War

Queen Gorgo, is the wife of King Leonidas in the movie 300, which beautifully displays the truth that behind every good man, is a good woman.

There are several traits that stand out to me when seeing the Spartan Woman as a wife. But perhaps the most astounding is The Spartan Wife displays amazing control of emotion. When her King is about to leave for war, she simply tells him, “Spartan, come back with your shield, or on it.”

She knows the dangers that lie ahead of him. She has surrendered to the fact that he may die, and she may never see him again. Yet she has complete control of her emotions because she knows the duty that lays on her husbands shoulders. She won’t add to that pressure by acting on the fear and anxiety that separation brings. Why? Because she is a Spartan Wife.

Here’s where that speaks to me. My husband has to go out of town often. Nearly a week out of every month I’m without him. How do I act? I can tell you, it’s not like the Spartan Wife with her poise and control. Instead it’s more like a bratty three year old, complete with tears, bouts of pouting, and plenty of long sighs that we women know speak louder than words.

I realize this does nothing to help my husband. In fact it hinders him. He’s going into the battle. He can’t help the fact that his work pulls him away more periodically than I would like. He doesn’t need to step into the battle of providing for our family with a non supportive and whiny wife at home. He doesn’t need to feel the guilt that I want him to feel when I act on my emotions. That’s acting in selfishness. He needs me to stand up straight, keep my tears at bay, and tell him to go conquer the world because I know he can. That’s the way of the Spartan Wife.

But what if you’re not married yet? You can still begin to display the characteristics of the Spartan Woman. Do you often find yourself complaining that Mr. Right hasn’t shown up yet? Are you waiting around, believing the lie that you’re nobody until somebody loves you? Stand up straight, Spartan Woman! Wipe those tears away and know that your Spartan Warrior awaits his arrival. Pray for his safe return from battle so he can sweep you off your feet someday.

We, as women, are wired with emotions. They are a good and natural part of life. But the danger is when we use those emotions to manipulate the behavior of those around us, especially the behavior of our husbands. We know the power our emotions possess. But it’s time we use that power not for guilt trips and bitterness but to encourage, enable, and inspire our warrior husbands.

After all, behind every good man, is a good woman.

What kind of support system are you being for your husband?

Do you often find yourself using your emotion to manipulate, even if you don’t do it intentionally?

If you’re single, what emotional changes do you need to make to become like the Spartan Woman and be ready for your warrior someday?

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The Spartan Woman

What is a Spartan woman?Spartan Woman

If you’ve ever seen the movie 300, you’d know that only “Spartan women, give birth to real Spartan men.” The Spartans were known fighters. Training their young men at a very young age to be warriors. To be a Spartan man you had to prove yourself in battle.  But to be a Spartan woman was something else entirely.

I can’t tell you why exactly this fascination with the Spartan woman exists for me. I imagine because the Spartan woman represents all that we as women know we can be:

Beautiful

Strong

Courageous

Self-reliant yet, a Passionate a Lover.

She is fearless in the face of battle and seems to have complete control of her emotions. Yet she is still completely woman to the core. How does she accomplish to be so fierce yet graceful at the same time? Poised, but with a wild furry behind her eyes? Love deeply but selflessly sacrifice it all for the sake of truth? What does it take to be a Spartan woman?

This week, we’ll start a conversation. It may be one ended as I dive into this treasure chest of gems, but I don’t care. There’s something to be learned here, something of value, that I believe every woman should know. To me, this is not just some character in a movie. She represents a deeper truth, one that I believe God would have our hearts discover.

So we’ll start with a question: What do you think it means to be a Spartan Woman?

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Confessions of a Food-aolholic -Finding Freedom

Food addiction can be a hard thing to overcome.

For many of us it is our numbing agent, that thing we go to when life has us down and we just want to escape. For others of us, it’s a reward system, bringing joy for a moment until we realize we’ve overdone it. Inevitably, we beat ourselves up and end up feeling worse, which takes us back to needing a numbing agent: food. It’s cyclical nature is hard to break for anyone struggling with this sin. But asking the question of why we overeat (In Monday’s post) can bring much light to this otherwise shameful addiction.

After I realized I had a food addiction I started to do some research. Always loving words, I decided to look up the little word: EAT. Here’s what I found out.

Eating simply means: to consume completely.  It is the assimilation of energy.  When you eat something it becomes a part of you.  It is fuel for your body. Simply and only.

After realizing I had put food above God He taught me the same definition for food should be applied to Him.  He should be the one who numbs my pain.  He should be my escape.  He is my reward.

I can “eat” of God by spending time with Him, reading His word, and allowing Him to renew my mind. It is the assimilation of His energymaking Him a part of me that fuels my body, mind and soul.

Here are some other practical tips when breaking the addiction to food:

  • Try a one, or three day water only fast. (When you fast, pray that God will break the stronghold that food has on your life.)
  • Listen to your body. Instead of eating everything on your plate, eat slowly and listen to your body. When it tells you you’re full, you’re full! Put down the fork, sista and push it away.
  • Ask a friend to keep you accountable to only eat foods that God made for an entire week. You’re eyes will be opened to just how much junk we consume without even thinking.
  • Ask yourself what needs aren’t being met in your life, or what thing are you running from that you are using the addiction to food to cover up.
  • Remember, that even though food tastes good, it’s purpose is to bring fuel and nutrition to your body. That’s it’s only purpose.

Most people will tell you it’s hard to just quit an addiction. Instead they say to find something positive to replace the negative, destructive behavior. Our replacement for overeating, has to be God. There is no rule that says becoming addicted to Him is wrong. It is in Him and Him alone that true freedom is found.

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Confessions of a Food-aoholic Overcoming the Addiction

Before we get to the post, check this out: Top 55 Pastor Bloggers I’m #48 under Women Pastors. Pretty cool!  There are also lots of other awesome pastors who have great blogs. Check them out!

When overcoming any addiction the first step is always the same:

  • Admit you have a problem

Simply admitting that food addiction is a stronghold in your life is one important step in overcoming it. Feel a little reluctant to admit? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

I received so much feedback on yesterday’s post, that I wanted to share a few stories of women just like you and just like me, who are also struggling with this addiction, and share with you some of the hope they have experienced.

I’ve spent my whole life battling food addiction. I was determined 2010 would be the year I break free from the bondage of food. I started Jan. 1 doing a Daniel fast and along with it, reading Fasting by Jentezen Franklin. Through reading his book I realized how serious my addiction for food really was. I let food consume my life and it affects every aspect of my life. My spritual life, my relationship with my husband, kids, family, and friends. He refers to it as “King Stomach”. Here is what he said that really spoke to me.

“We have an entire book of promises but some of them will never be realized as long as King Stomach rules your appetite and controls your life.”

One goal I had was to complete a one day no food fast, which I completed yesterday. It really showed me that food’s not that important because we have Jesus to sustain us. I’ve learned so much through this experience and I plan to make fasting something I practice throughout the whole year.

Another woman shares this story:

I have lost 10 lbs!  You were right.  The day finally came, and I decided that I am DONE with living in bondage.  I haven’t had any sweets and nothing with flour in almost 3 weeks.  Without even working out I lost the weight.  I am growing closer to God because I can’t do this without Him even one day!  This is my one thing…to be God addicted instead of food addicted!

These are just a couple of the stories I heard yesterday, which encourages me to know I’m not alone in this battle for freedom. Continue to share your stories and together we will discover how to break the addiction of food in our lives.

(Tomorrow’s post will include practical tips and guidelines on how to break the cycle of food addiction. Stay tuned, we’re not done yet!)

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Confessions of a Food-aoholic

Hi, my name is Anna, and I’m a food-aoholic.

I hope I’m not the only one sitting around this circle, as I divulge my addiction to you all. The problem with a food addiction is that it is more socially accepted than drug, alcohol and even nicotine addictions. But it is an addiction, nevertheless, and should be treated as one.

Many of the women I meet with on the subject of food and weight-loss have a hard time admitting that food is an addition. Some of these women have even come from backgrounds of drug and alcohol abuse and can’t see that they have simply transfered their addictive behavior onto a more socially accepted vice.

I’ve heard that an addiction always serves a need. For women, it is often an emotional need of self-worth that is not being met. Addictions also often serve as diversions. Distractions that always defer action or delay the progress we want to see in our lives. Ask yourself:

  • What need do I have that is not being met?
  • What things am I running from and using my addiction to avoid?

For me, I had a self-worth problem and ate my way into a dungeon of insecurity. Time in God’s Word, and slowly finding my self-worth in Him is the only reason I’m free today. (More on this later.)

Being addicted to food is the reason that at age 18, I looked like this:

Fat AnnaYes, that’s me, under the weight, under the many layers of insecurity that kept me at that weight. That’s also my first car as well. I’m the one in teal. 🙂

I’ll have you all know, showing this picture is still a little embarrassing. Even though I’ve lost over 75 pounds, there are some days when I still feel like that fat girl. Why? Because I’m still addicted to food.

I think about food. I prepare food. I eat food, and think about preparing food while I’m eating it. Except now I’m thinking of healthy food, and how many calories I’ve consumed, and what I’ll need to do at the gym to work off the fat grams, carbohydrates and sugars.

I’m sorry to say, I don’t have the answers to overcoming this addiction, but my prayer is that we can start a dialogue, and share our journeys together. Over the next couple days I’ll continue this conversation in hopes that we can find some encouragement from each other. In the mean time, please feel free to send me an e-mail, or leave a comment below and share your experiences with all who might read.

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You're FAT (2)

I walked through life believing this lie for far too long. As I think back on it now, I’m shocked at how my thoughts had such a strong effect on my actions. I believed I was fat, therefore, I would overeat, not exercise, or at least cut corners if I did. 

My perception of myself became my reality, (read that again.) and I plunged down a destructive spiral that I felt powerless to stop. 

Until… 

Until I realized. I was not fat. I was merely stuck in a fat person’s body. Anna, the real Anna was not this overweight, depressed girl who didn’t see a way out. She was joyful, full of life, full of love, an encourager, energetic! But stuck. How was I going to push through? How was I going to become on the outside, what I knew I was on the inside? 

The answer: TRUTH. 

For too long, I lived in this lie: “You’re fat, therefore you’re not whole. No one likes you. No one wants to be around you.” I thought it was true, so it became true. But once I started changing my thinking, other things started to change as well. I realized I was living a lie, so to overcome that lie, I had to find truth. And where better to find truth, than the Truth itself? 

I dove into the scriptures, finding truths that directly countered the lies I believed about myself. 

I’m fat, I’m ugly—> “The King is enthralled with my beauty, honor Him for He is your Lord!”–Psalm 45:11

No one likes me, no one wants to be around me—> “I have chosen you to be my special treasure.”–Deuteronomy 7:6

Any time the lie would hit, I would have a truth ready to do battle. It was hard at first. Sometimes it felt like I would take one step forward, and two steps back. But I trudged forward, knowing I had to change my thinking. Pretty soon, believing truth became like second nature to me. I walked in the confidence of His truth, and soon the lies slowly fell away, and with them, the weight. I slowly became on the outside what I knew I was on the inside. His truth changed me from the inside out! Now, I continue to walk in truth, doing battle against the lies that come my way. 

What about you? Do you believe the truth about yourself, or are you spiraling down a deadly cycle you feel powerless to stop? Maybe you don’t even struggle with weight, like I did, but you do face an equally difficult lie, an insecurity that holds you back. Do you want to be free? The truth will set you free. 

Activities to consider:

1. Write down the top five characteristics that describe you. Ex: Joyful, encourager, energetic, etc. This is who you are! (If you have a difficult time with this, ask your husband, a trusted friend or relative.) 

2. Write down the top three lies your believe about yourself. 

3. Find three scriptures that directly counter the lies you believe. Memorize them.

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You’re FAT (2)

I walked through life believing this lie for far too long. As I think back on it now, I’m shocked at how my thoughts had such a strong effect on my actions. I believed I was fat, therefore, I would overeat, not exercise, or at least cut corners if I did. 

My perception of myself became my reality, (read that again.) and I plunged down a destructive spiral that I felt powerless to stop. 

Until… 

Until I realized. I was not fat. I was merely stuck in a fat person’s body. Anna, the real Anna was not this overweight, depressed girl who didn’t see a way out. She was joyful, full of life, full of love, an encourager, energetic! But stuck. How was I going to push through? How was I going to become on the outside, what I knew I was on the inside? 

The answer: TRUTH. 

For too long, I lived in this lie: “You’re fat, therefore you’re not whole. No one likes you. No one wants to be around you.” I thought it was true, so it became true. But once I started changing my thinking, other things started to change as well. I realized I was living a lie, so to overcome that lie, I had to find truth. And where better to find truth, than the Truth itself? 

I dove into the scriptures, finding truths that directly countered the lies I believed about myself. 

I’m fat, I’m ugly—> “The King is enthralled with my beauty, honor Him for He is your Lord!”–Psalm 45:11

No one likes me, no one wants to be around me—> “I have chosen you to be my special treasure.”–Deuteronomy 7:6

Any time the lie would hit, I would have a truth ready to do battle. It was hard at first. Sometimes it felt like I would take one step forward, and two steps back. But I trudged forward, knowing I had to change my thinking. Pretty soon, believing truth became like second nature to me. I walked in the confidence of His truth, and soon the lies slowly fell away, and with them, the weight. I slowly became on the outside what I knew I was on the inside. His truth changed me from the inside out! Now, I continue to walk in truth, doing battle against the lies that come my way. 

What about you? Do you believe the truth about yourself, or are you spiraling down a deadly cycle you feel powerless to stop? Maybe you don’t even struggle with weight, like I did, but you do face an equally difficult lie, an insecurity that holds you back. Do you want to be free? The truth will set you free. 

Activities to consider:

1. Write down the top five characteristics that describe you. Ex: Joyful, encourager, energetic, etc. This is who you are! (If you have a difficult time with this, ask your husband, a trusted friend or relative.) 

2. Write down the top three lies your believe about yourself. 

3. Find three scriptures that directly counter the lies you believe. Memorize them.

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