I did receive the Birthday Cake Butter from You Fresh Naturals, and Bob’s Red Mill was from through my Fit Approach Friends! All the rave reviews are my own.
Who wants some delicious, light and fluffy lemon frosted cake bars for a snack? I DO!!! But, I always love snacking.
Today’s post is all about clothes, the beauty of grace, wonder, and my former exercise addiction.
Before we begin this version of ‘Thinking Out Loud’, let’s talk about Megan’s Pumpkin Streusel Bars. Guys and gals, this is GOOD, and it’s easily made gluten free too! I had about 10 cups of pumpkin to use up last week, and I went to my blogger gals.
They showered me with recipes, which are going to make a fun fall round-up in a couple months. Megan’s was one of them. I tried hers and a couple others, and they were all gone pretty quickly. I shared it with neighbors and friends, and I can’t wait to make it again.
This is going to be a really random thought dump, but it does have a bit of cohesiveness because of all the things I’ve been thinking about recently.
It all has to do with:
Let’s start with…
Exercise is a double edged sword. I figured this out the hard way during my eating disorder.
When I was 14, exercise started out pretty innocently. I did the stationary bike for 20 minutes a day, but I tend to be a person who starts to idolize and obsess over things quickly. Exercise soon became more than just a fun way to be active. It became more of a drug. My bike sessions would get longer and longer.
Then I started learning about calories and what they were. So I added that to the tower that was beginning to crush me. I looked up calorie counts for everything, and I was horrified when I learned just how many calories were in restaurant food.
It really kept building up and building up. Next, I would come home after eating out and hop on the bike for 2 hours to make sure I burned off dinner. It became a game of beating the numbers. I remember a thrill going through me when my mom measured my waist for a pair of capris she was making and hearing how small it was.
That’s so backwards, and I am so thankful that the way I look at my body is now so different. At that time I didn’t think about how much of a god exercise had become in my life.
It finally kind of hit me in the face, though, after I had gained weight, added cellulite, and started to look more like a woman than a girl. I thought I was doing everything right, but my period was still weird and spotty.
I hadn’t fully comprehended just how much stress my body had undergone, until it came to actually trying to put the stress behind and fully regain the functions that God has given my body. It was as hard as having to say, “No, I need to not run for a couple of months,” and I didn’t.
Really, it was a freeing feeling, and it reminded me that running wasn’t a way to get more calories burned or become skinnier. I re-discovered a love for running that was simply appreciating God’s creation, exploring His world, and talking to Him, communicating my fears and casting all my cares upon Him.
When exercise is an idol, it’s like a chain. It pulls you down. It prevents you from enjoying being with your friends when you just HAVE to get a workout in, because if you don’t the world will cave in and you will become 10 pounds heavier. (Really, you won’t).
Yet, when exercise becomes fun, it is a gift, a time to explore, to learn, to grow, and to be challenged.
My perspective is still being changed, because when I first started, I didn’t have the right appreciation for it.
It’s a journey, and for those of my sisters who might be struggling, know that you’re not the only one, and that next time you run you should just go out, sing, dance, run, and skip, appreciating the gift of movement we have to challenge our bodies for the Lord.
Let’s pick up the thoughts and skip off to the subject of …
Clothing was one of my biggest challenges in recovery. I was still so focused on what I looked like on the outside. I hadn’t really understood what it was to be the hidden woman of the heart, the woman who speaks out of an abundance of joy, the woman who lives in freedom in Christ Jesus, freedom to be what God created her to be.
This verse from 1 Peter 3:4 is kind of becoming my motto when it comes to clothing, ‘But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.’
That doesn’t mean that I don’t like beautiful clothes! I do, but I’m just not a fashionista, and I’m learning to embrace that and take care of my body and my appearance for my Father, not societal standards.
Which means that:
It’s okay to wear baggy t-shirts.
It’s okay to wear hoodies.
It’s okay to wear skirts.
It’s okay to wear exercise clothes.
It’s not wrong to wear PJ’s on a Saturday till noon or the whole day for that matter.
It’s okay to wear a size medium or a large or an X-large, if that’s what takes my eyes off of my body and what it looks like and keeps my focus outward and upward.
What is all this? I’m just not defined by my size in my mind anymore. There are still some days that I get in front of the mirror, and I think, ‘Ugh… Now what could look different?’
But you know what? God calls children by His love not to be discontent and worried and anxious about their size. He called me to worship, to worship Him, to take care of my body and present is as beautifully, inside and out, as I can, by His power and grace and love.
Those are all super freeing thoughts… I’ll just let those soak in for a little bit, and then we can talk about?
Now you are probably wondering why I put a picture of a ‘Perfect Bar’ there, but I thought it was a perfect illustration. I’ve been learning the power of grace.
God’s grace isn’t weak. It’s powerful because God is powerful.
You know the wonder of the Christian life? It’s a wonder that God would have mercy on anybody, because I didn’t deserve any of God’s mercy. Every day, I still wonder at just how and why He would have mercy on people and I have to answer, ‘I don’t know,’ but His mercy is pretty amazing!
Grace is what keeps me going and reminds me that it’s not the failures (many of them) that define me but the perfect righteousness of Christ that covers me every day. It’s God’s grace that enables me to see my sin. It’s God’s grace that will carry me home and through every single trial and up and down of this crazy and wonderful life.
This is one of my favorite songs on grace:
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
yonder on Calvary’s mount out-poured,
there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that is greater than all our sin.
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,
what can avail to wash it away!
Look! there is flowing a crimson tide;
whiter than snow you may be today. [Refrain]
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
freely bestowed on all who believe;
you that are longing to see his face,
will you this moment his grace receive?
That brings me to a few more thoughts that have been nagging at the back of my head.
Does it ever seem to you like we’ve become kind of cynical, like we’ve lost wonder?
Wonder? What is wonder? Have you ever seen that wonder of a child when they touch sand for the first time or pick a flower? Have you ever held a child’s hand as they take their first steps and thought, ‘Wow, to have the simple wonder of a child again!’
It made me think about the solar system. They were talking about it on NPR the other day, and one man said, ‘We think we’ve found out everything, and then there’s more!’
Isn’t that incredible? You could spend a lifetime exploring God’s awesome world and yet not plumb the depths.
Proverbs 25:2 puts it in such an awesome light, ‘It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.’
How are you going to wonder this week?
a.) Will you pick a flower and look at the delicate petals?
b.) Will you look at your fingers and think, ‘Wow! They are so perfectly formed.’
c.) Will you look at every part of your body and think, ‘How was this made so perfectly? This body carries me through every day. And I’m not just a body, but a mind, a spirit, and an eternal soul?’
d.) Will you pick up a kitten and fondle it, marveling at the fact that we could never make such a perfect creature at a factory?
Psalm 139:14-15, ‘I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.’
Last but not least, I have a recipe, a recipe that has
I had to use up my ‘You Fresh Naturals Birthday Cake Butter’ that I received in order to develop some fun and easy recipes for my recovery/foodie friends, so I thought ‘What better way to do it?’ I also had to include a bit of Bob’s Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder, because it’s some of the best ever!
- 1/4 cup You Fresh Naturals Birthday Cake Muscle Butter
- 1 tbsp. coconut butter (I used Essentially Coconut)
- 1/4 c. coconut sugar
- 1/4 c. vanilla protein powder (I used Bob's Red Mill)
- 1/4 c. rice flour
- 1/4 c. tapioca starch
- 1 tsp. guar gum
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. bkg soda
- 1/3 c. coconut water (You could try regular water or dairy free milk)
- 2 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit! Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. Creamy muscle butter, coconut butter, coconut sugar, and eggs together till light and fluffy(ish). Mix the protein powder, rice flour, tapioca starch, guar gum, and baking soda in separate bowl. Add them into the creamed butter mixture. Stir those together briskly until well combined. Add the coconut water or dairy free milk. Stir well. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool.
- Buy a can of Lemon Duncan Hines Frosting (if you don't have food intolerances)
- Or Make... your favorite homemade frosting.
Thank you ‘You Fresh’ for the butter. It’s the best recovery food for this carb loving girl that has a hard time getting her protein in every day. 🙂
And just to give you something fun to read I found this article called, What Food People Were Obsessed With The Year You Were Born.‘ Mine was… Sun Dried Tomatoes?
Now for hearing your thoughts! This is one of my favorite parts!
Do you ever feel like you have to wear a certain size clothing?
Do you think we’ve lost any sense of wonder?
What do you stop and wonder at every day?
Do you like protein infused butters?
Do you think we could show more grace to each other? How do you show grace to others?
And no, I’m not going to ask you about ‘Pokemon Go.’ O_O