orgasms, sky diving and…chocolate

yes, they all have something in common. check this out. did you know your brain releases high levels of the same chemical during an orgasm as it does when you’re about to jump out of a plane? oxytocin. i’ve been researching this wonder chemical this week & found that it causes feelings of bliss or euphoria, & is secreted when you’re in love and also fully satisfied after a good meal. the medicinal form has been coined as ‘liquid trust’, as it’s been proven (with studies on breast milk production & nursing) to calm nerves & strengthen human relational bonding.

i say chocolate can officially be grouped with these two, by default. while chocolate itself doesn’t contain oxytocin, the fats it contains cause the stomach to signal the brain to release oxytocin…immediately. aaaaaaah. that’s what i’m talkin’ about. which answers why some refer to it as an aphrodesiac. be right back ~ off to the hershey kiss stash in my highest cupboard…(meanwhile, check out this interesting video i found, of how hershey makes their chocolate!)

….ok, i’m back. anyway, check out this article called ‘chocolate on the brain’ for more melt-in-your-mouth info or this one called “the two faces of oxytocin” for a well-rounded psychological perspective on the chemical. after reading them myself, i was so stunned how the human brain works in tandem with the body, that i told my husband all about my findings, to which he replied, “huh! how ’bout we see what it’s like to do all three at once? except chocolate’s just so high in sugar…and…we don’t have the money for skydiving, so…”

shattered glass

what happens when your world, as peaceful & good as you think it is, falls apart almost suddenly? what do you do when you hear the news – the kind of news that not just changes your year, but your entire life? you can try to move on, do your best to reconcile your feelings of disappointment & confusion. you may find it easier, in the moment, to skirt around the issue or even ignore it. have you ever had a child stand 2 inches from your face, staring at you? it seems impossible to not look back. ignoring never works. looking back is ok until we can say “i’m doing everything i can do to let God work.” looking back as a means of facing your own short-comings with humility & honesty so that you can learn from them, is different than “dwelling in the past”. looking back for short periods with a heart of thankfulness and self-examination is crucial. remembering triggers, thought patterns, habits & lures can be hugely instrumental in keeping us from making poor choices in the future.

and yet, even when we believe it’s been pretty well worked out, reminders have their way, don’t they.

my son helps with a few things around the house like dust-busting the kitchen floor, cleaning, and emptying the dishwasher. tuesday he was moving all the cups to the counter and trying a shortcut by stacking them. just as i saw him stack two glasses, i chimed in, “woah, there! you shouldn’t stack glasses!” quickly, he pulled the top one out of the other. “…they could br…” and it shattered. thin shards flickered all across the floor.

5 years. pornography and a messy affair threatened to obliterate our unity as a family. oh, that’s not how long it lasted. that’s how long ago it happened. both our lives were terribly affected by the lies. there is hope!! but trust is so slow moving. even after this long… after so many boundaries and kept promises, after our marriage has seriously grown, & we are restored, i can still step on a sharp piece of broken glass. it’s few & far between, but we still struggle. we haven’t done all our learnin’ just yet.

a strange text message or email, a late poker night with work friends…they can lead to lies in my head. those bastards (the lies) can stab my sole and make it bleed ’til of course, we talk it out like grown-ups. me & my husband…and me & my God. and i’m healed again.

trust breaks. it happens with abandonment, or the death of someone very close. it happens with verbal or physical or sexual abuse or when a parent lets you down. it happens when your son looks you in the eye & lies.

but i continually find comfort in this truth: His mercies really are new every morning.

have you ever committed to building trust again after it was shattered? how long did it take to restore? do those stupid tiny pieces of broken glass ever really go away…completely?

burn us up, shane and shane!

my favorite song right now? ‘burn us up‘, by shane and shane. lyrics from the latest album, “pages“, display honesty and transparency, continually bringing the listener back to the most important source, Jesus Christ.

‘burn us up’, when you learn & sing it yourself, provides a fresh way to express to God a higher level of brokenness, surrender & complete devotion. ironically, this song gives me chills, especially when the music dies out a bit 3/4 into it as they sing, “and even if you don’t… Continue reading

shoplift a heavy burden

it was a rush. my mind would go a hundred miles an hour (to keep up with my heart) as i walked the isles of the store. it could be any store…or house. it could be any thing. lipstick, underwear, a toy for my son, a ring, a birthday gift, a grape, a coke…you get the idea. my objective was to try & find a way to get out of that store without paying for it…without a soul noticing it was gone. it was kind of a ‘lets see how far i can push the limits’ game i played. the anxiety was actually exciting while i shopped. maybe since i never really went thru a drinkin’ & druggin’ phase, this was my version of a “high” i missed out on. the pinnacle was always at checkout. i thought if i got past checkout, i’d probably be safe…beyond suspicion. sometimes i’d use coy conversation & flattery to distract the cashier. i was dang good.

rolling cameras, electronic machines, magnetic strips, return policies ~ i thought i could beat them all. for example, if i got hungry, i’d head over to the protein bar section, open one up, eat it slowly while i ‘shopped’, as to not seem paranoid & then leave the wrapper on the bottom of the cart at check out. if they asked, i’d say, ‘oh, that’s just garbage’. a thief and a liar.

sometimes i’d be at home, bored w/an overdrawn bank account & have an intense desire to shop…or should i say, attain something new. once the urge got in my brain, it was like nothin’ could stop me. i’d take little items easy to hide in my purse. if i didn’t have the money (i read shoplifting rarely has to do with the lack of money), i’d think, ‘there’s got to be somethin’ around the house i can return. then w/that cash or credit, i can buy something else.’ i’d frantically search the house for items or search my purse for a good receipt & then look for an item listed on it. in essence, i used the socially acceptable & legal right to return things, so as to justify it. i’d take back all kinds of things i’d had for up to 9 months, clothes worn & washed countless times…i’d literally break things, un-stitch a hem to make it seem defective, even hot-glue a plastic price-tag loop back onto a garment so it looked never worn.

one time i even returned a dress jacket i gave to my husband for his birthday. it had a small rip in the armpit & i made it bigger, stating it was defective. originally i paid $29. @ fred meyer…& i got credit for it, but not before several cashiers looked at it with an ‘oh my god.’ examining me & then the botched receipt (another trick i was fond of ~ i’d make the purchase date illegible w/water stains or just just rip it). they had a small debate team meeting as i stood there with a long line of people behind me. yeah, it was embarrassing. am i really writing all this? my gosh, it still is. but at the time, all that was worth a $13. gift card to me so i could get something new. to this day i can’t believe it ‘worked’. in fact, to this day, i can’t believe i was never caught.

i watched a dr. phil called, ‘can’t stop stealing’. i completely related to this woman. only she’d been arrested 4 or 5 times & was still addicted. he basically used her kids’ innocence & the threat of prison to scare & shame her into accepting the gift of cognitive therapy he offered to pay for “in her own home town”.

it was far from a message of grace & forgiveness. now that’s a real gift.

i thought getting caught just one time would break me. the sheer humiliation of being hauled off in from of my toddler while he waits for his daddy to come for him…or the thought of being handcuffed in public…it still scares me. but that’s not what helped me stop. dr. phil’s guest made me feel less alone in my addiction, but that wasn’t it either.

i read that confessing something to God with your mouth – it cleanses & saves you. confessing it to someone close you can trust is what starts the healing process. i believed that. i finally told my husband last year, then later my mom, that i had struggled with this compulsion for several years. like food addicts who have to eat to live & are therefore continually faced w/temptation to overeat as they stand in front of their fridge, i had to shop for necessities & groceries weekly. the temptation was always there.

but after confessing to God & someone who could hold me immediately accountable, my urges to “lift” started…lifting. when i’m tempted to steal (yeah, i’m still tempted), i ask myself, ‘self, why!?! do u need that? what kind of example are u setting? would it be worth getting caught? do u think you’re more special or entitled than others who actually pay? get over your…self.’ or i’ll just say a simple prayer for the strength i need; recalling that there’s One who promises to supply all my needs, when i need them. sometimes i don’t do either, & end up taking something anyway. the last thing i can remember lifting was a birthday card that played ‘who let the dogs out’ when you opened it. angel had used it as entertainment while @ wal mart, even during self-check out. that was 3 or 4 months ago.

i’ve been thinkin’ about it lately. my reasons for doin’ it & for me, it comes down to three things ~ not trusting God nearly enough, refusing to die to my selfish desires, & clutching a perverted sense of self-entitlement.

today as i type this, i am nearly free of that issue. not because i tried hard, faithfully attended a 12-step klepto program, or was caught in the act. instead, thank God grace was poured out on me.

before it got worse, i was shown in my heart how confession & reliance {on strength greater than my own} can join forces to really change a person ~ from the inside out.

fathers, sons, love & forgiveness

wait! this one’s a long post, but it’s a good thinker, hang with me here!!

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. – Gal 4:4-7 (NLT)

i love how God sent his Son to earth, spoke to him as his Son, & treated him as a Son should be treated. now we have the awesome privilege of making that comparison with our own children. we can see so much more clearly how to parent our own, and even more importantly, how to view ourselves as the precious, priceless children of God we are. when we hurt ourselves, are hit w/sickness or feel pain by another (in any way), he is immediately there to pick us up, squirt some bactine, give us a bandage & a hug if we will dare to reach for him. ok, not literally, but at least thru the body of Christ if you’re plugged in somewhere & absolutely thru His Word. but so often when a natural father disappoints, we attribute those failures and faults to our heavenly Father. why?!?! i guess doubt creeps in…squelching our faith in any kind of father figure. with every shattered hope, from sexual abuse to never receiving a hug; from an unfulfilled promise of a phone call to a no-show during the birth of your daughter, comes an opportunity to do one of two things. either

a.) build walls of protection to no longer “feel” hurt (which like denial, never really works) or

b.) dare to reach with faith as a child in a desperate state, for our Father in heaven.

hmmm…case in point ~ it’s 2:18am & my daughter, who’s fighting a fever & goopy droopy eyes just woke up crying. it was only natural for me to get up at the sound of her cry and go to her, give her medicine, pray & rock her in my arms. i wonder…how much more does our own Creator & Saviour long for that closeness every time we cry.

i’m learning (from books by john bevere & also nancy missler), that a danger in building protective walls is while they seem to keep hurt out, they also keep love in. in order to love as God does, unconditionally, we h a v e to make ourselves vulnerable. if we hold anything against them, we for our own growth need to say to our earthly father figures (if only in our minds), ‘you may have wounded me. it’s not okay, but i will still love you, because now that i am a child of God, i aim to love as he loves. completely opposite of natural love…it is this new agape love. the kind that is not selfish. expects nothing in return. gives until there is nothing left to give…& wants to then give more. nothing you can do can weaken…or strengthen it.’

it’s really hard for me to understand this love. the more i think about it, the more i want to crouch in a corner & hide. it seems like just about everything i do has some kind of ulterior, self-seeking motive. i used to hate the phrase ‘oh, get over it’, but it’s starting to become my friend these days. i so don’t want to be that easily offended person people talk about & tip toe around.

because we let the sins of an earthly father figure offend us to the point of resentment, trust seeps out the cracks & our love grows increasingly hard. as the Bible puts it: “and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (matt. 24:12 KJV) what an image this scripture conveys! like candle wax when the flame is snuffed out, the surrounding air within minutes begins to harden it. we are surrounded by iniquity like air. but this says to me that only when i choose to overlook an offense, will my love remain soft, vulnerable, and of God.

He is that burning light that feeds my love for others, every day. i wish i could love, serve, speak, parent more like him…but i’m so glad that he sees my progress thus far, and accepts me as i am.

praise you, God.

“Instinctively we try to be like our God, and if He is conceived to be stern and exacting, so will we ourselves be. The truth is that God is the most winsome of all beings and His service one of unspeakable pleasure.

The fellowship of God is delightful beyond all telling. He communes with His redeemed ones in an easy, uninhibited fellowship that is restful and healing to the soul.

He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile, the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.”

– A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) from The Root of the Righteous.

a must watch

http://www.lifechurch.tv/message-archive/habakkuk/2

the word ‘dip’ has been on my brain this week. my daughter’s been really into dipping things, odd combinations like grahm crackers in ketchup or pretzels in yogurt. i’m callin’ her my ‘little dipper’.

this 35min. msg speaks of (& illustrates like an upside-down bell-curve) when we find ourselves in a ‘dip’ ~ a struggle, trial or source of pain that just seems unfair. craig groeschel tells us 3 things we need to do @ that low point, in faith. important. pls watch it & share it w/a friend in need

http://www.lifechurch.tv/message-archive/habakkuk/2