No excuses, make an effort: Conquering Sin

I wrote this blog out quite some time ago. It touches on and reveals something deeply personal to me but I am comfortable and feel like the time is right to share it with you all. I pray that you will be blessed by this blog as I have been blessed by the Spirit in studying, researching, and writing it. For HIS Glory, Katie

Temptation and sin is something I am pretty familiar with. I don’t know if you are like me, I tend to think this is how it is for everyone: When I am NOT being obedient and faithful to the Lord and I am not pursuing him daily, praying, repenting, reading his Word, and truly evaluating my heart and Christian walk, I have less of a problem giving into temptation and sinning. When I am not right with God, I can very easily justify my actions, words, and motives, that generally are selfishΒ  and not spirit controlled. This in turn results in bad decisions, ugly speech, completely wrong motives, and all too often a person oblivious to their selfish lifestyle. Until the Lord graciously brings me to my knees and I realize I stink with out him.

I am learning that when I am seeking the Lord with a sincere heart and desire to please him, that he keeps me aware of the things I struggle with. This allows me to remain focused on how I can conquer those sins and be prepared when temptations arise.

The first thing I have learned you must do to conquer sin is you have to be honest with yourself and acknowledge the sin in your life for what it is. Sin. You have to confess. 1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. I haven’t really ever come out and shared this in my blog because it is something that is personal, but it is one of the best examples I have out of my own life of a sin I struggled to acknowledge. Off and on since I was 17 I battled with trying to control my food. For years that was how I looked at this problem. That it was just me, controlling my food, being aware of calories in and calories out. Being “healthy”. It got pretty bad a few years ago, shortly after I had Ryann. The problem I had, on top of the obvious, was admitting it WAS in fact an eating disorder. I was struggling with anorexia. I, like so many people out there, refused to put that label on it. In my mind to be anorexic you had to be not eating a single ounce of food. That is simply not true. As defined by the Mayo Clinic “Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people to obsess about their weight and the food they eat.” If you are interested you can read further here. It also talks about obsessive exercise as well, which was also something I was engaging in. All happening in my head, I counted calories, contemplated my weight, what I looked like in clothes, how much I had run that day, and so forth. I was absolutely obsessed. And yet could not admit there was anything WRONG with this. I can now pin point EVERYTHING that was wrong with that picture. First of all the only thing you should EVER be obsessed with is CHRIST, other wise you are idolizing something else. The bible very clearly tells us to “flee from the worship of idols.” (1 Corinthians 10:14) Need a refresher on what an idol is? Merriem Webster defines idol: a representation or symbol of an object of worship. An object of extreme devotion. Devotion: the state of being ardently dedicated and loyal. Secondly, as the bible instructs us, I was not treating my body as a temple. (The Message) 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. That part about “squandering what God paid such a high price for” ouch, I basically was slapping him in the face with how I was treating my perfectly healthy body. That was tough to swallow. The entire time I struggled with this sin, I lied to myself thinking there wasn’t anything wrong with “eating healthy” and exercising often. Meanwhile I was taking for granted the health God had blessed me with. I share all this with you to make the point that when I finally was able to admit that I had a problem with this sin I began the process of overcoming it.

After you acknowledge your sin it is key to share it with someone in order to be held accountable for that sin. James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to be engaged with people in the body of Christ. You absolutely can not conquer sin by yourself. Jason was already well aware of my ordeal and extremely worried and frustrated with my actions and refusal to change. When the Lord finally broke through to me I not only admitted to Jason that he had been right but I decided it was important to share with my parents and siblings this painful secret I’d been keeping. It was embarrassing and emotional to be honest about this sin. But I now had the support and accountability I needed to beat it. One thing I had learned from this experience is not to take it lightly. It was obviously consuming me and I was ready to utilize anything available to overcome my struggle. This included me meeting with a Christian counselor. And let me just say that I miss meeting with her. Though I am healthy enough now that I don’t need too. πŸ™‚

I’d say the biggest part of conquering my sin, was being forthcoming with God and the people that loved me.

With my relationship with Christ He daily revealed how ugly, destructive and dangerous my actions were. I began to feel remorseful over my behavior. Which led me to repentance. Psalm 51:17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

This is extremely important when we are dealing with ANY sin. Big or small. We must truly repent of it to move forward and strengthen our fight against it. If you do not honestly have a repentant heart, you will not find rest from that sin. I see this re occurring theme with Christians today, my self included. If I am trying to hold onto sin in my life I will make every excuse possible to make the sin, not a sin. I will tell myself reasons for why it’s okay, how “the bible doesn’t say….”, or whatever I can think of to not let it go. Or sometimes I will doubt myself and my actions, and wonder “Is this okay with God?” May I suggest that if you have those same doubts, it may just be the Holy Spirit gently and softly trying to get your attention. Seek the Lord on these matters, not what everyone else is doing.

Through this experience my relationship with Christ was deepened. I started to get my spiritual health back on track and this enabled to get my physical health in order as well. I am now in a place where I know the signs that lead me down that path. Which leads me to my last point.

Satan knows this is one of my greatest weaknesses. He does not want me to have victory over this sin. But I am determined not to let him win. Satan is a liar, and he continues to try and plant lies to suck me into the cycle to this day.Β  Now though, I am equipped with awareness and strength from the Holy Spirit. I have support and accountability from my friends and family. Knowing the patterns of any sin can help you be prepared for when the temptations arise and give you a greater chance of conquering it.

So what are you waiting for? Take the hand of your sweet Savior and partner with Him who gives you the strength and ability to be “more than conquerors” in all these things. Romans 8:37

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Baby Caleb’s Room

Well the first thing you may notice is the fact that our baby finally has a name! So exciting πŸ™‚ We chose Caleb for a couple of reasons. Mainly because once again it was the ONLY name Jason liked that I suggested. I have always loved the name though because it’s in the bible, Hebrew origin, means loyal, I mean Caleb was a pretty cool guy back in the Old Testament. And him and JOSHUA (my nephew who will be arriving any day) will hopefully be just as cool and close as the originals. πŸ˜‰

We still haven’t nailed down a middle name but hey we have 41 days to do that!

So it’s not COMPLETELY finished, there are a few more things I want to add to Caleb’s nursery but all the important pieces are there so I thought I would go ahead and share them with you all.

So when I did his name I bought rectangle wood pieces from Michaels $1.99 each, used the same paint as we did on the dresser, antique white. I bought his letters, $2.99 each and I stained them Mahogany Red, which we already had and it ended up matching his bed perfectly. πŸ™‚ I love how it turned out. All for about $25.

We decided to use a dresser and night stand that we already had. So I wanted to use dark and off white pieces. We also left the molding up behind his crib because I felt like it helped tie in the furniture. His bedding is by Cocola and it’s called Snickerdoodle. I fell in love with it at Babies R Us but it was 200 dollars and did not include the bumper. When I went to purchase his crib at a local private retailer she had all her bedding on sale and she happen to have this set WITH a bumper, sheet, window valance, crib skirt, and it’s super plush quilt, all for $118. SOLD! It’s very neutral but all the different textures and patterns make it not boring and it’s very well made. I absolutely love this set.

Some friends for Caleb from the girls πŸ™‚ I don’t think I ever blogged about this cat. I tried desperately to get Micaila to love him….. maybe Caleb will.

I plan to use one of these end tables and will doing something different on the other side of his crib. Just not sure what yet. Little books, blankets, and basket all from his shower. πŸ™‚

Dresser works great for the changer! I received the pad cover off my registry at target. Thank you Jamie I LOVE it! It matches his bedding perfectly and it’s super soft. My sweet over priced diaper caddy, haha. Thanks Aunt Marybeth! Still need something on the wall…. soon to come. πŸ˜‰

Collage that I may continue adding to. My mommy bought the cross πŸ™‚ Definitely can’t wait to put pictures of him in some frames.

Hobby Lobby, half off, bought it for $15!

half off this too! $8 Love the elephants of course, Roll Tide.

Another Hobby Lobby purchase. Can’t remember the price, but it wasn’t more then $10 I’m sure. πŸ˜‰

I made these with burlap fabric and glued the buttons and scrapbook letters on. Pinterest idea, love it!

And some simple off white curtains. We are also replacing the shades with normal ones that actually BLOCK light haha.

That’s all for now. His very neutral, plush, sweet nursery. I love it, can’t wait for him to be here in it! And a HUGE thank you to my parents and in-laws who donated money so I could purchase his crib and bedding. Seriously, thank you! I love you and feel so loved by you. πŸ™‚

Maternity Pictures Vote for one!

My sister in law and mommy took some “maternity” pictures of me while we were at the beach. I posted a few already but I’m grouping them all in this blog. (I still don’t actually have them all but my dad has emailed me his favorites. πŸ˜‰ So I’m sure I have all the good ones! The first few are from my moms camera and the 2nd from Karen. I must say, Karen did an excellent job. Especially getting the girls AND Jason to cooperate, lol. Mommy yours are superb too! In fact, I can’t decide which one to frame for the baby’s room. That’s where all YOU come in. I’m going to number each photo and anyone who wants to have input can pick 1 or 2 that they think would be good for the nursery. Then the majority wins! Oh and feel free to suggest Color or Black White πŸ˜‰ I love doing stuff like this, I don’t know why! So get your vote on!

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So incredibly thankful

Boy howdy have I been a slacker with my blog. :-/ Truth is we have been pretty busy the last 2 weeks and I’m definitely not complaining. We recently were able to visit Florida and attend a wedding for one of Jason’s close friends. It was beautiful and a lot of fun. I really enjoyed getting to spend the time with my beautiful and ridiculously fun friend who also was at the wedding. It takes a lot for a gal 8 months pregnant to have a good time and Erica definitely made the evening a blast for me. πŸ™‚

Congrats to Mike and his new beautiful wife Alisha. We will be praying for y’all as you embark on this wonderful and sometimes difficult, yet completely fulfilling journey of marriage. πŸ™‚

That same weekend both my mothers and very sweet and also pregnant friend Kaitlyn threw me a baby shower. Considering that this IS my 3rd baby I really was not expecting to have another baby shower. But my mom insisted saying “But your having a boy this time!” She made a good point. πŸ™‚ Thank you to EVERYONE that came and showered me and our little boy with your love and presents. I mostly enjoyed the fellowship with you all. What a good time we had laughing, sharing memories and creating new ones. I am so blessed, as are my children to have such wonderful and supportive friends and family.

My mom has all the pictures from my shower, need to get those πŸ™‚ These were from my phone.

After that busy weekend we came home so we could re-pack and head to Gulf Shores. Ahhhhh….. the beach…. what I have REALLY been looking forward to. With the Graham family growing (who’s fault is THAT?) Jason’s dad has generously rented a house the last 2 years to accommodate us all. It’s important to him that we all be together and we are extremely grateful to him for providing us a place (that keeps getting bigger by the year) for us all to stay in. And not only did it accommodate all the Grahams but Randy invited my parents up as well and THIS girl could not have been happier. Almost all my family on one vacation, what a blessing.

The house was beautiful, no… extravagant! It was dreamy!!!! It was on a river, that led out to the gulf, it had a pool, and dock, it had 6 bathrooms! I mean what more could you ask for? We all had our own room, always a quiet place to retreat to with the balconies and various living rooms. I actually was able to have a QUIET time which is hard to snag in a beach house with 1200 square ft. and 8 people staying at. This time it was no problem and it was truly wonderful. Most of those times I spent just thanking God for all that he has blessed us with. There is something about my temperament that makes me an easy target for guilt. Satan is always trying to convince me that it’s not right to enjoy what God gives us because ultimately we don’t deserve it. Satan is good about slipping in bits of truth into his lies to make them so believable. I DON’T deserve any of what I have. But the real truth is that God loves me and that he delights in blessing His children. I’ve been reading the story of David and it’s been so good for me to read about his life and see how incredibly blessed by the Lord David was. What I’m realizing is that we ought to rejoice and thank God for all things and in all circumstances. He definitely does not desire us to sink into a pattern of feeling guilty over the good things he gives us. He wants us to enjoy them and give him glory. I was sitting on the balcony one morning, drinking my cafe con leche πŸ˜‰ and looking out on the water. I had my journal and my phone open to my youversion app with Pandora playing. Tenth Avenue North’s song Times came on. It is probably one of my absolute favorite songs. The lyrics are so beautiful and so true to who God is and how much he loves us regardless of our brokenness. I could spend my life trying to figure out why my life is the way it is compared to someone else. But I think God just wants me to enjoy it, SHARE it, by sharing it I’ll be sharing HIM, be available and obedient to anything HE prompts me to do, and in all that give him glory every opportunity I get.

Not only was the house a treat but the weather could not have been more perfect. By the time Saturday rolled around (and boy did it come fast) I was not ready to part from my family, the beach, the house,….. it all was too good to be true. Fortunately Jason and I were able to stay a few more days at our beach house, so I was able to slowly ween myself off of this incredible vacation. πŸ˜‰

There was a music festival going on at the “Hang Out” which is a place a block away from the house. Couple of big name bands were there Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dave Matthews…. It was a pretty big deal with an insanely large crowd. Those two days we spent people watching…. and I’m sure you can imagine the type of crowd this concert would draw. The vast majority of people are in mine and Jason’s age bracket. And the vast majority of people were extremely intoxicated. Though amusing to watch…. I couldn’t help but be thankful for the fact that, for whatever reason God spared my husband and I from pursuing that kind of lifestyle. (at least not for any length of time, we’ve certainly had our moments!) Some might look at us and think “I’m glad I’m not them!” Two kids and one on the way…. I suppose to some that isn’t very appealing. Jason and I were discussing though that we have absolutely no regrets and wouldn’t trade what we have for anything. The thing is there just isn’t anything more fulfilling than 1.) Relationship with Christ 2.) Relationship with your husband/wife 3.) Children and family. These things are lasting… not temporary. I feel like once you figure that out, you realize what a waste it can be to party your life away. Of course that’s just my opinion….. bottom line is I’m extremely thankful for where God has me.

I feel a great need to stress that our life is not perfect…. we have moments and experiences that may seem perfect to some. It’s easy to look at someones life at a glance and think “Their just perfect!” But WE are not. No one is. If you could see us beyond brief encounters and this blog you would be fully aware of how imperfect and broken we are. WE are blessed, no doubt about that. We are loved by an awesome, mighty, and sovereign God. Apart from him our life would have no purpose, no meaning, and no lasting fulfillment. Because we have relationship with him he is continually teaching us with easy and difficult lessons, bringing joy to our lives in various ways, and just showing us an abundance of love that we will never truly be able to understand till we meet him in Heaven.

I am just so incredibly thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ. Because what I know for sure is that even with an abundance of material possessions, you can’t enjoy them if you don’t have Jesus.

“You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus” Jeremy Camp