Jesus, Friend of Sinners ~ lessons from a song

by contributing writer Kristen Webb 

jesus, friend of singer - lessons from a song

On New Years Eve my family went to the church skate at the coliseum. I was enjoying skating, not really thinking about anything in particular and then I noticed the song that was playing. I recognized it as “Jesus, Friend of Sinner’s” by Casting Crowns. I have heard it lots of times and have always liked it. I enjoy how the song talks about not judging people, but loving them instead. This is a value I have been passionate about since I was young; but on New Years Eve, the song hit me in a completely different way.

It overwhelmed me and healed me as I was gliding along among all those people.

I have struggled since I was a teenager with feeling like I am a failure, especially when it comes to my Christian walk. I think this stemmed from being a perfectionist and feeling I had to be perfect for God to be pleased with me. I felt like He was angry every time I made a mistake! This tainted my life and made everything a struggle. I thought life was just hard and that was the way it had to be. God said we would have trials and I thought the fear and sense of failure I was experiencing were the trails God was talking about. I just figured I needed to try harder to be perfect and endure all the emotional stress failing brought me.

But now I see that I needlessly endured the very things Jesus died to free me of.

What sort of things were affected by my perfectionism? Everything I did was affected!

Once, when I was helping out with our youth group, I created a permission slip for Snow Camp but forgot to change the date from the year before. Handing out a permission slip with the wrong date ruined my entire day.

Looking back I can see how silly this was because in the grand scheme of things it really did not matter to anyone else that the date was wrong. The youth knew that the permission form was obviously for this year not last year.

My whole day was made up of numerous events like the permission slip—of me judging myself and finding myself lacking. It was like I was continually playing this game to trying to be perfect and keeping score in my head. If I lost any points during the day I would feel like a failure, which led to depression and thinking I did not deserve anything good.

Looking back, I wonder if I was trying to fix the hole in my soul by being perfect.

I was sexually abused as a kid and it really messed me up inside. I did not deal with what happened or go to God to heal me, I just buried it all and tried to pretend nothing was wrong. I think I was trying to fix my broken heart by being perfect and I felt that if I could just not make any mistakes the deep hurt in me would go away.

The devil had me right where he wanted me.

This solo attempt to fix the problem added a huge amount of pain and stress to my life. There was no way I could be perfect so this just made my failures more painful, and spiraled me further into hopelessness. I was haunted by condemnation and felt unworthy and insecure.

But all the while, I was careful to not let others see my weakness. I taught others about forgiveness and grace but felt it did not apply to me.

So when I was gliding along and I heard the song about Jesus being a friend of sinners I had an epiphany: I realized all the things I felt God was mad at me for were sins! That made me a sinner and the song said that Jesus was a friend to sinners!

This song about God’s grace did not just apply to others but to ME.

God was not mad at me or even expecting me to be perfect—He was wanting me to grasp His forgiveness and fully embrace His love for me. He died to free me from sin, and did not expect me to try harder but to trust Him. I couldn’t do this on my own and I was not meant to even try…which is why my life was such an endless, epic fail.

I was hoping that being good would impress God and somehow fix my broken soul. 

But trying to be good without God actually fueled pride and separated me from God. God is not impressed when we try to be good on our own. The fact that I failed so often in my own strength was no surprise to God.

God was so aware of our weaknesses that He sent Jesus to die on the Cross to be our SAVIOR. I totally missed the crux of Christianity: the fact that I needed a Savior to save me from my sin—not just to forgive my sins so I could have a relationship with God and get into heaven but to free me from the power of sin in my everyday life.

All that pressure I had been putting on myself slipped away as I grasped that God’s grace and mercy applied to me too.

I did not have to be perfect to please God, and my righteousness came from Jesus.

Relief overwhelmed me as I realized God loved me just as I was—a sinner—someone who makes a lot of mistakes. I don’t need to marinate in condemnation when I blow it. I need to accept God’s forgiveness, rejoice, and move on. All the shame I had been holding for years washed away. I could finally admit that I was not strong, that I had huge issues and that I was not the wonderful Christian I was trying so hard to be.

By believing all of Satan’s lies I had tortured myself for years. But the the comfort that was flowing into my life as I skated around was so freeing.  Being free from pride and shame felt amazing. I had been trying so hard to have it all together and it felt great to have permission to be a mess.

It was going to be okay because my success did not rest in me but on God.   

I don’t need to try to be good on my own strength. That is not my job! I can trust God to transform me and, if I stay close and listen and obey, He will lead me and change me.

While I was writing this blog another Casting Crowns song came on that describes how I don’t have to figure it all out by myself. It is called, “Just be Held.”


It is not by trying harder that I become someone God is pleased with, but by trusting more completely and surrendering all to Him. 

Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith

Do Gifts Leave You Feeling Blessed…or Guilty?

by contributing writer Kristen Webb

This is the season for gift giving.

But I have issues with gifts – especially the ones God gives me.

When God gives us gifts they can become tightly held possessions that we love more than God, which is not good. This is something I have been painfully aware of for most of my life; in fact, I am so afraid that I will become too attached to God’s gifts that I go the opposite way and don’t allow myself to enjoy God’s gifts at all.  I thought this attitude was a super spiritual one, but lately I have been realizing that fear is never from God. It also occurred to me that this may be part of the reason I struggle with depression. But more importantly I realized lately that God wants me to enjoy the blessings He gives me.

James 1:17 says “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

I would be pretty offended if I gave my daughter something super awesome for her birthday and she did not want to receive it because she might enjoy it too much. There is a difference between idolizing the gifts God gives – which is wrong – and refusing to receive them at all.

So, how do I find balance, so fear doesn’t prevent me from enjoying all of God blessings?

One solution involves focusing on the giver not the gifts. I can do this by remembering to praise God for the gifts He gives instead of getting distracted by the gift alone. It is when I let pride and greed in and I forget about God that I am in danger of sinning; but, if I keep God first in my life, I can enjoy the gifts and not worry about making them too important. For instance, if I get a new sweater as a Christmas gift, it is good to praise God for it and enjoy getting to wear it. Being thankful to God for the gifts is a much better solution than not allowing myself to enjoy the gifts at all. Because the very act of trying to prevent myself from enjoying things causes a lot of despair and frustration. God wants me to be experiencing His joy and peace not despair!

Another way to make sure I don’t love the gifts more than God is to make sure I share the gifts. If I am looking for ways to bless others with my gifts then I don’t hold the gifts too tightly.

One of God’s blessings I have trouble truly enjoying is my horses. I feel guilty that I have them when others who want horses don’t have them. But I can share my horses with those people and God can use my horses to bless them. This prevents me from loving my horses more than God because I am willing to share them with whoever He asks me to. Sharing keeps the focus off the gift itself and puts it on God who we are serving with our gifts.

Sometimes I feel a vague feeling of guilt or anxiety when I go to enjoy some of my gifts. Is this because I am actually sinning or just Satan trying to rain on my parade, tempting me with false guilt?  I have learned that I can examine my heart and my actions to determine if I am sinning and not assume if I feel guilty that I have done something wrong.

On a deeper level I think I might be afraid to enjoy God’s blessings because in the past some things I have been given have then been taken away and that hurt. I don’t know how to deal with the pain of loss so I just prevent myself from getting attached at all. For instance, in the past I have lost some close friends who have rejected me. This caused me to shut down parts of my heart. I have erected walls and limits on how happy I allow myself to feel, as my solution to the pain of loss. Satan has lied to me and told me that to avoid pain I need to not feel pleasure. But I am starting to see that this is a lie. God has other solutions for dealing with the pain of loss – much better solutions!

Without going into too much detail (that will be another blog) what are God’s solutions for the pain of loss?

They involve grieving, trusting, and expecting God to comfort and restore.

So I don’t need to prevent myself from enjoying the gifts. I can enjoy what God gives me and trust God to heal me and restore me if loss happens.

Jesus said in John 10:10 “the thief (Satan) comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

Trusting God gives me the freedom to enjoy what He gives instead of letting Satan steal my joy.

 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith

The Angry Water Trough

by contributing writer, Kristen Webb

Last Sunday we had a bit of an incident before church. In the past something of this magnitude would have ruined my whole day. So what was different about this time? I handled it God’s way and that changed everything!

Some feel that the Bible is an old irrelevant book that has no real bearing on today.  But this “old” book is where I learned the revolutionary new way to respond to unexpected difficulties.

It says in Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  

In the past I struggled with anxiety on a good day so if anything went amiss my anxiety would go into hyper-drive.  This just seemed to make the situation I was struggling with worse. I would get stuck in this negative funk that coloured the situation and made me feel hopeless. I played out the worst-case scenario in my mind. Then the complaining and questioning God would begin. Since I was expecting the situation to go badly it did. When you approach challenges with this mindset it causes emotional torture but I think it also affects the outcome of the issue in a very negative way.  My experiences in the past have proven this true.  

On Sunday I approached my issue with a different attitude; the one God asks us to have in Philippians 4:6&7. Sunday morning I got dressed in my church clothes and was just sitting down to relax for a bit when there was a knock on our door. Ashley, who boards horses with us and does the chores on Sunday morning, apologetically informed me that the horse’s water bowl was angry and violently overflowing. Her horse, Pal, thought we had done it on purpose and was happily drinking from his personal horse-size water fountain. Regardless of Pal making the best of the situation, this was a bad situation that needed immediate fixing. This is not the first time this automatic heated water trough has malfunctioned. It has won many a battle in the past and even the times I have conquered it I have taken 4 plus hours to wrangle it back into control. Usually I give up and have to call in the big guns: my husband or father. Just the mention of water trough issues is enough to send me into a spiral of anxiety that ends in panic, complaining, and failure.  

But this time God gave me the strength to not go there, and deal with it His way instead. I began with prayer instead of beginning with complaining and frustration.  

In the past I thought I was praying but saying “God please help! I seriously can’t believe this happened to me!” and then slipping into self pity and doubting that God would do anything is not really prayer – at least it is not very effective or pleasing to God. But this time I was not praying with a negative attitude. I was able to give control of the situation to God and trust Him to fix it. Trust is so much more fun than anxiety.  Instead of being mad that my water bowl was acting up I thanked God out loud that I was blessed enough to have a heated water bowl for my horses. I think in the past when I was complaining I was giving the devil permission to wreck havoc in my life. By complaining and thinking the worst I was agreeing with Satan instead of agreeing with God. So this time when I agreed with God the “peace that transcends all understanding” that is talked about in Philippians materialized in my heart right there in the middle of my problem. I did not panic this time, I calmly but quickly proceeded to fix the water bowl.  

I knew the first thing I had to do was get the water turned off to the bowl but that was not as easy as it first appeared. I rushed to the basement where the shutoff valve is only to remember that wood was blocking it. This meant I would have to go around the wood furnace and the water heater to the dark spidery area behind to get to the valve. So I rushed up stairs where I searched 3 places before finding the flashlight I needed to crawl behind everything. Then when I was crouching past the water heater I flipped some switch and hot water poured all over me. Each of these complications in the past would have plunged me further into anxiety and panic. But this time I was depending on God not on me and He came through.  The peace that was guarding my heart continued to pour into my spirit and so I just screamed and closed the switch and continued on to the water shut off. I could not remember which way to turn the tap but remembered ‘righty tighty, lefty loosey‘ and got it done. I carefully returned passed the furnace and water heater and ran upstairs. I threw a coat over my wet church clothes and went outside passed the barn to the waiting water trough.
A couple days before I had been transferring all my notes from last years day-timer to my new one.  One of the notes was from the last time I had to fix the water trough and it highlighted the mistakes I wanted to not make again! With these fresh in my mind I was able to avoid the pitfalls that had resulted in hours of extra work. In the past I would have got bogged down second-guessing myself and wasted a lot of time deliberating about what to try first. But I thanked God for planting the needed wisdom freshly in my mind.

When I got to the bowl and saw that the float was no longer attached, I did not get stuck, I just confidently reattached the float. I also asked Ashley to help which made it so much easier.  In the past I would have wanted to try to do it myself and that never ended well.  I was not totally sure that I had the float on right but instead of freaking out about it I just left everything else off and first ran down and turned the water back on.

When I returned to the trough and could see that it was all operating well we put the cover back on.  

The last time I tried to fix the trough it had taken me about 4 hours but this time through trusting God instead of being anxious it took 15 minutes. Not only did it get fixed but while fixing it I did not lose my peace. I could victoriously go back inside and change into some dry clothes and be on time for and enjoy church. 

It is crazy that some people think that God and His word are not relevant in our day and age!  In Psalms David said, “with my God I can scale a wall”.  I say, “with my God I can calm an angry water trough!”   

 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith

Waiting ~ a sermon response

Is waiting agony for you? For most of my life it has been torture for me. Last Sunday, the sermon shed some light on why being left hanging has been so hard in the past: the way I was handling waiting was all wrong and I was sabotaging God’s solutions.

In the last few weeks God has been specifically teaching me about this area of waiting. The topic of the sermon was waiting and what Pastor Jason had to say lined up perfectly with what God had already been teaching me. I love it when God’s Spirit arranges for confirmation!

So what was it in this weeks sermon that was so helpful?

First of all, while waiting we need to embrace our vulnerability. In the past I have been ashamed to admit my areas of vulnerability; but I recently experienced the difference being humble and honest can make.

Last week we had a truck incident. The dash display died, the engine light came on and it would not shift into reverse or park. We took it in to find out what was wrong and what it would cost to fix it. I don’t know how you respond when your vehicle breaks down but this is not a situation where I normally shine. It’s frustrating to have an unexpected bill thrust upon me and I do not handle it well.

This particular bill was $1500 just for parts with labour on top of that. Yikes!

In the past I freaked out about car repairs because I was never prepared for them. I would whine to God about why He would allow our car to need repairs when He knew I would have to get the money out of the line of credit. I was managing my life unreasonably, hoping nothing would happen instead of planning for the chance that it might. I think my coping technique of denial was a rather poor choice. I was denying that it was my weakness of not planning ahead that had me in such a pickle.

God convicted me about half a year ago of this very fact. Since then we have been paying into a vehicle fix fund each month.  So this time, when my display went kaput, I was not as stressed as I usually am because I had saved some money to have it fixed.

I had faced my weakness and allowed God to correct it.

However, I am sad to say that this time, at the mention of $1500 I still freaked out. That is a huge amount of money – way more than was in the vehicle-fix fund. It was then that I applied Point #2 from the sermon: Search for God.

In the past, when something bad happened, my habit was to whine to God. (I probably don’t have to tell you that whining is really ineffective when it comes to finding solutions to problems.) This time, I stopped the fit of questioning fear and evil foreboding. I gave the problem to God and then waited for Him to come through.

It is pure agony if we wait in a state of anxiety, imagining all kind of horrendous things that might happen. I had to admit that my own weakness of responding in this manner was not making waiting a good time for me. The problem has never been that God was taking too long to answer – the problem was me.  I seem to be saying that a lot lately! So I admitted to God that I was having a problem with worry, fear and hopelessness when it comes to owing huge amounts of money to fix my truck. Admitting my vulnerability again.

Why did I respond automatically with fear and anxiety when faced with a problem?  I was obviously having trouble trusting God or I would have been experiencing His peace.

It says in James that when we ask God for wisdom we should not doubt or we will not receive from God. Could my doubt not only be causing misery while waiting but also preventing me from receiving God’s answer? In the past, when it seemed like God didn’t come through, those were all times when I was doubting that He could or would help me.

God was not silent just for the heck of it. My doubt was preventing me from hearing His answer.  

Again the problem was me!

This time I examined myself. Why do I feel like God will not answer me? Why do I fear the answer and feel like God has awful things in store for me? I am not expecting God to do good things just to do things that will “develop my character” and that I will barely make it through. (Wow, writing that down really shows how silly a thought that is.)

Search for God.  I realized I had not been finding or trusting the true God. The God I was serving was not like the God described in the Bible. Where did I get such a negative view of God? Satan had whispered a load of lies into my ear and I had bought them – hook, line and sinker. If you think God is out to get you than waiting certainly is not a happy place to be. So again, the problem is me and my wrong view of God.

But the solution is easy – search for the real God and get reacquainted. Getting to know the real God blew my fear and anxiety out of the water and then, with faith, I was able to ask for wisdom – and God answered!

I gave God my truck and control of the whole situation. I renounced fear that I might be disappointed and decided to try faith for a change. I did not spend hordes of energy trying to figure it all out first so I could let God know how to fix it. In the past my bossiness would often lead to disappointment when God did not fix it the way I wanted Him to. I put the Creator of the universe in a box I created with my limited brain – not my most shining moment!

From now on I don’t want to limit Him at all, which is why I give Him total control of the truck situation. My job is to joyfully trust God to sort my life out and to do what He tells me. I don’t need to feel shame that I can’t fix it because my need just sends me to God who is the strong one anyway.

That way God gets the glory. Which is how it should be.

I searched for God and when I found the right, true One I trusted that He was working on the situation and that He would work His plans for good. Being free from anxiety and fear made waiting so much more fun! In fact, waiting was not even an issue because the outcome was not something to fear but something to look forward to.

So what was God’s answer? How did God help us with our truck? It is a good thing I did not try to figure it out because vehicles are really out of my realm. God gave the answer to my husband, who was able to order a used part on-line and put it in himself. We were able to cover it with the money we had saved so far in the vehicle repair fund. God is good! Trusting instead of worrying while waiting really is better for our stress levels! God meets our needs! No wonder Satan has been lying to me for so long. He is the thief who comes to steal and destroy. Jesus came that I might have life and have it to the full!!

 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith

Incest & Murder: the unraveling of a family (yikes!) – 2 Samuel 13-14

by contributing writer Kristen Webb

The sermon on Sunday was about King David’s messed up family.  (You can watch a YouTube video of the sermon here.)  It reads like a soup opera or a talk show –  so much drama and so much sin.  I have found that sin always leads to drama one way or another!  It may strike a chord with the world, but is it relevant to us church going folks?  Incest or any form of sexual abuse is something we would hope God would protect us from, especially in our Christian circles.  But my heart can’t help hurting for Tamar who experienced such horrible things because of her brothers sin.    Despite my church going status, God has brought  many people into my life who have experienced the damage of being wronged in this way.  It appears that being a Christian does not grant you immunity from being harmed by others who choose to do the unthinkable.   I have to be honest: this has torn my heart apart and caused me to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness.

What is God doing about this heinous problem – where is He?

This year my doubt met it’s match when I took The Wounded Heart program.  The Wounded Heart is offered by our church for victims of childhood sexual abuse.  I had felt that God was prompting me to take it for a number of years now.  However, my abuse was pretty minor compared to what Tamar and many of my friends had endured and was not inflicted by a family member, so I did not think the abuse was effecting me.  But God still kept whispering whenever I would hear it promoted.  Finally, this year I signed up for The Wounded Heart and I went.  It has been the most life-changing thing ever!  My doubt and pain has been met head-on by the Creator of the Universe and the lover of my messed up soul.

Before I took The Wounded Heart, I was single-handedly trying to wrangle all the crazy emotions that are a natural result of being wronged in such a deep way.  I felt overwhelmed and condemned for having such strong and dark feelings and, because I was ashamed, I buried them.

Now if you asked me about how I was coping, I would proudly tell you how I was learning to live above my feelings. I would probably even offer to teach you how to do it too.  But really it was just a way of saying I was in denial.

Denial is not healthy and oh how I know that now!  The fall-out of 30 odd years of denial was far worse than the damage done by the initial abuse.  If only  I had immediately brought my pain and brokenness to God and trusted Him with it instead of trying to pretend it did not bother me and I was fine!  But I listened to Satan when he whispered in my ear that I was weak for feeling such emotions and God wanted me to buck up and just get over it.  I felt like I was an object of condemnation and I did not deserve to be blessed or happy anymore.  I was mad at myself for feeling and so I tried to teach myself how to ignore my feelings.  Emotions were seen as invalid or maybe even sinful.

God was longing to wrap me in His arms and comfort me as only He can but I couldn’t go to Him because I thought I needed to fix this myself.   So as the years went by my doubt and frustration with God grew – although I did not admit this to anyone.  I was desperately trying to fix this hurt deep in my soul and the method I picked was trying to be a good Christian girl.  I decided that if I could just be perfect maybe whatever was wrong with me would go away.   If I could just please everyone in my life maybe then the depression and despair I lived with on a daily basis would finally disappear. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see this was not a great solution.  But I was so messed up inside at this point that I was not seeing things clearly.   God wanted to comfort me and bring healing but the lies I was believing prevented me from  trusting Him and giving Him control.  I was shooting myself in the foot over and over but blaming God for my pain.

But then I finally listened to His gentle voice and took the Wounded Heart.  Through it I realized that it is not that God was not strong enough to heal me – I was preventing Him from doing so.   Through this group I was able to uncover some of the lies that had got me to such a horrible place.  I was able to see that God loves me and is not disappointed in me.   He was feeling compassion and fierce love for me when I was abused – not expecting me to forgive instantly and stop being so emotional about it all.  He wanted to hold me in His arms and soothe me and fill the hole that had been ripped in my soul.  I have value and I am a cherished child of the King.  He wants to bless me and I don’t have to endlessly make up for my deficiencies.  He accepts me now despite all the sin I ended up getting into by not trusting Him.  I do not have to be perfect before I can rest in Him and rejoice.   My healing process has started and I have hope that was completely missing from my life before.  

I am now halfway through the Wounded Heart program and am looking forward to all the awesome things God is still going to do.   I can trust God to continue my healing as my brain gets a complete overhaul.  My mind needs to be renewed in a big way but I have a big God.  I have a faithful, good God who loves me and that changes everything!

I don’t know how to express my Thanks to all the leaders of Wounded Heart so I will just ask God to personally bless them in one of the many creative ways at His disposal.

 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith

It’s All A Matter Of Faith

by contributing writer Kristen Webb

Reflections on ‘Made To Crave‘ by Lysa TerKeurst

My eating healthy journey is going well.  I am not perfect and I  still occasionally eating things I should not. Every time I make a good choice it becomes easier to make a good choice next time, so I am feeling energized.  

My weight is still not going down the way I want it to but I keep reminding myself that the goal is obeying God not losing weight.  This frees me to rejoice in the progress regardless of how much I weigh.

I found a scripture when I was doing the Bible study Made To Crave that has really helped me get to the core of my eating problem.

When the Lord heard them, he was furious;
    his fire broke out against Jacob,
    and his wrath rose against Israel, 
 for they did not believe in God
    or trust in his deliverance.
Psalm 78:21-22 verse is referring to when the Israelites were in the desert and they wanted food.  Even though God had miraculously provided water in the desert they did not believe He could give them food too.

I think I may have the same attitude as the Israelites.  I haven’t been trusting God with my food and that is the core of my problem.  I want what I want and I don’t want to give the eating choices I make to God.  I don’t trust Him that He has the power to save me from the cravings that cause me to eat things that make me sick and fat.  I want to keep eating the things that are bad for me, the things that God has called me to give up.   I am afraid of losing the tiny bit of happiness I get from eating those bad things.

But God is the source of my joy and I can trust Him to replace the happiness of sin with a more lasting joy that is not tainted.  God does have the power to save me from my cravings.  I have seen that when I trust Him and rely on God, He can enable me to eat the healthy things instead of junk.  It still hurts a bit to say no to 5 cupcakes but it is exhilarating to push through that pain and find the strength to make the healthy choice. 

God is faithful and able and He is giving me the strength to win more battles in this food war than I lose.

 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith

Is Your Scale An Idol?

by contributing writer Kristen Webb

Reflections on ‘Made To Crave‘ by Lysa TerKeurst


Is your scale an idol?

I am on a journey of learning how to get my happiness and peace from God instead of the contraband food that I crave.  It is going well – difficult at times – but I am learning to lean on God’s truth instead of my addiction to food.

You would think that since I have been following God’s guidelines and not overdoing it on fat and sugar, that I would be losing some weight; however, the scale has been very disappointing.  I am not losing weight at all!

As a result I am struggling with depression and self-pity.  Why am I going to all this trouble to eat healthy if I am not seeing any success in the weight loss department?

To be honest I am a bit ticked off at God.

The disappointment I feel makes me want to eat some cookies!

Why does the scale have such power over my emotions?  I am realizing that I feel it is wrong to rejoice and relax unless I have reached a specific marker of success.  I do not deserve to be happy when I am an obvious failure at meeting my weight goal!

Because I have not had success at losing weight, the feelings of anxiety and failure overwhelm me.   Until I have arrived at my goal, there seems to be no way to banish the anxiety and depression.  I must wait until my weight has gone down to be content and feel like I am succeeding.

Not only does this apply to weight loss but my need to succeed applies to nearly every goal I set in my life.  And more often than not, I am shooting for perfection!

I have set impossible goals!  I have sentenced myself to never being able to be happy, satisfied or feeling like I am worthy.  This is crazy!  My own mind is the enemy of my soul! 

My all-consuming desire has become perfection and I don’t think I can relax and rejoice in anything until I’ve reached it.

But this is what I’m realizing:  I can’t ever reach that goal.  And even if I could, I would likely find that it was empty and unsatisfying.  I cannot fill my soul by being perfect.  I can only fill it with God and by building a strong relationship with Him.

So what do I do now that I realize I have set weight loss as the marker for success?   


I am pretty sure that this is not the marker of success God wanted me to set as my goal.  I was trying to get happiness out of a scale instead of from God.  That is as empty as trying to get joy and peace from sugar and fat.

I had just replaced the idol of sugar with the idol of a scale.

I find jouralling has been a great way to hear what God wants to say to me.  About a month ago I wrote down some things God said to me…

 “Let me be God and put the cares and responsibilities on my shoulders.  Rejoice in all the answers and blessings and praise me even when your mood is in a funk.  Obey minute by minute and let that bring you joy and peace.  Get back into developing good habits (such as eating right and brushing your teeth)  Your goal is obedience to the spirit, and to obey you must stay close to me. Trust your emotions to my care and don’t fear or worry but trust and rejoice.  Grab hold of my peace and don’t let go.  Evaluate your success by your lack of fear and your obedience to me, not by worldly markers.  Go for the gold, go for the best, go for God!”  

Wow!  What He had me write down a month ago is overwhelmingly relevant for me right now!  God is so good and wise and supernatural and provided the clear answers I have been longing for.

My goal should not be losing weight as defined by the worldly marker of my scale.  My goal needs to be obedience to God.    I need to leave my weight to God to look after in His time.  I need to rejoice in each answer God gives and each little victory He enables me to succeed at.  The path to joy and peace is not in perfection or success as I define it, but in trusting and obeying God and looking for things to rejoice in all along this journey.  Peace is something I can decide to grab hold of by getting it God’s way not my way can be at peace even if the scale does not show any progress.  My peace comes from obeying God and following His spirit.  I can be peaceful and joyful because I am obeying Him and eating healthy. I don’t need to punish myself until I reach to what the world says is success.   I can let go of the anxiety and be satisfied and happy right now.  I have been believing a lie and now I can replace it with the truth.  Satan has been stealing my joy and peace and I do not need to let him have that power over me any longer.

I am not doing this perfectly but that is okay because I will not be perfect until heaven.  I am just aiming for improvement and obedience.

Thanks for taking this Made To Crave Journey with me!

 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith.

Saying No to Donuts and Yes to God

by contributing writer Kristen Webb

Reflections on ‘Made To Crave‘ by Lysa TerKeurst


Okay, so I’ve got my guidelines of healthy, common sense, eating set and I am trying to live by them.  On one hand it is very freeing – the struggle to determine what I should and should not eat was taking up a lot of emotional energy.  Also I can avoid the guilt and other fall-out feelings that happened when I would rationalize my way into eating things I was unsure of.   Now, when faced with a food decision, I can determine if it fits into my healthy eating parameters easily.  I can avoid doing damaging things like  eating when I am already full.  I also have been making sure I eat small meals often and that I have regular protein so that I do not mess up my blood sugar and hypoglycemia.   This has had the happy result of me feeling much better physically.  It is very nice to not feel sick or dizzy, or that yukky feeling when you overeat and are uncomfortable.  These have been very good things that I am praising God for.

However, there are still some foods that, though they are not within my healthy eating limits, I crave hard core.  It has been hard emotionally to say no to these things.   If I am not going to get to eat them I feel a desperation and fear.   I also have realized that I feel I deserve and need the treats.  Somehow in my brain I have tied treats to celebrations, rewards, or the way to cheer up if I am having a bad day.  If I attempt to do any of these things without treats it just feels very wrong.  My mind really believes that the excessive treats will make me happy and inversely, if I do not get the treats, I will become depressed.

I recently attended my daughters public speaking contest.  While the judges deliberated following the speeches, mounds of donuts – sweet soft donuts – were provided!  Donuts were not within my healthy eating parameters for that day as I had my one gluten choice for the week.  Because I had determined clear guidelines I knew that if I was to obey God and stay on the healthy eating wagon I need to not have a donut.  But everyone around me was eating them and that was not fair.  I deserved one as much as any of them. The apple I had wisely brought to eat as a healthy option was tasting like dust in my mouth.

I felt like I needed to celebrate with my daughter because she did a good job on her speech.  I also felt I deserved a reward for making it through and enduring a headache.  It was crazy how powerful and painful my emotional need for that donut was.   My apple was not working as well as I thought it would in the fight against sugar and fat but I had another weapon in my arsenal.

In the Bible study, Made to Crave, I had learned about how my thoughts can be based on lies.  The idea that I needed that donut or that I could not celebrate without a treat – that idea is a lie.  Also the idea that I could not reward myself without sugar or that if I denied myself sugar I would fall into a depression also were lies.  That donut was not my only option to find joy or peace.  Part of my brain still has trouble and believes these things are true, but the truth is that God is my source of joy and peace and He can enable me to celebrate and reward myself without food.  He is a big Awesome God and He is not limited to food as His only way to make me happy.   This is still very hard for me to absorb though.  I struggle with depression and have been using food as my go-to option for years. This is a habit, like a drug habit or a smoking habit, and I feel such crazy pull to the donut.   I feel life will not be worth living if I do not get that donut.

But in the Bible Study I learned not only to distinguish the lies, but to fight them with the truth found in Scripture.  I had already found a Scripture in Proverbs to fight the particular lies that I was being faced with in that moment.

“He who deals wisely and heeds God’s word and counsel shall find good, and whoever leans on, trusts in and is confident in the Lord – happy blessed and fortunate is He.”     Proverbs 16:20 

The path to true good and happiness is not found in disobeying God but in following the guidelines He had already given me about what food was wise for me to eat.  Also I realized that maybe all along, the donuts in my life had not filled me with the lasting joy and happiness I was looking for. The donut would give me a few seconds of bliss while it was in my mouth but then it would make me sick for a few hours because of my allergies.  This is why God has given me the guideline to avoid gluten and sugar.   Also one donut would not really be enough.   I would be frustrated and wanting more instead of satisfied and experiencing peace.  The idea that huge amounts of sugar and fat is my go-to for instant happiness is the lie.  The truth is that God is my go-to for all happiness and peace and that trying to make other things that just leads to addiction and despair.   I was made to crave God, and if I replace my craving with anything other than God – including food – it results in this whole struggle I find myself in now with the donut. get out of this vortex of craving food and then crashing over food that is not good for me, I am going to need some serious power.   Serious power is exactly what God has huge amounts of and a food addiction is no match for God Almighty.  However, if I attempt to overcome this without God I am beat before I even begin, as my vast past failures can attest to.

I need God.  I need to stay close to God!  I need God to teach me how to meet my need for happiness and peace through God-approved ways.   When I put food above God in my life it does not give me that happiness and peace.  I am running after a lie and the result is sickness, guilt, and frustration – all in exchange for a few seconds of chewing!

So I leaned on God and He enabled me to say no to the donut.  (Actually I had to say no to the donut about 21 times before I finally was able to get out of the donut-infested building.)  I still craved the donut and it did make part of me unhappy to not be able to put it in my mouth, but my spirit was exhilarated.  This is not a quick fix: God is going to have to completely reprogram how I think.  I am going to have to keep replacing the lies with truth.  I am going to have to learn to crave God first, and look to Him to meet my needs instead of food.  I have a lifetime of attempting to get my satisfaction and peace out of what I eat.  Even though it has not worked so far, part of me still wants to cling to the lie and try that donut one more time.  So I now have my truth scripture from Proverbs 16:20 on a cue card and my goal is to memorize it – to get the truth deep in my heart, and from now on, to face every treat with God as my help and the truth as my weapon.

Join me again next week as I continue this food adventure with God.

 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith.

On The Journey From Hopeless to Healthy

by contributing writer Kristen Webb

Reflections on ‘Made To Crave‘ by Lysa TerKeurst


So my issues with food are not going to be a quick fix.  I thought once I finally nailed down my guidelines (after being wishy-washy for years) that I would immediately soar to victory.  Not quite the case in real life.  First of all, nailing down my guidelines was more difficult than I expected.

How do you figure out what is a healthy diet?  

Because of some OCD tendencies – or maybe perfectionism – or maybe just being a girl – I have some food baggage from my past.   This baggage was not something I was able to get over on my own so I was going to need God’s help to revisit my issues.  I prayed for wisdom and strength and I gave the whole confusing, mangled food-mess in my mind to God.

Like pulling a band aid off fast, God clearly revealed that my first issue was perfectionism.  God really is the ultimate counselor and it is so neat that He can supernaturally reveal relevant stuff in your head.

I had not been in pursuit of a healthy diet but the perfect diet – free from all errors and all imperfect food.   This was not a reasonable or even doable goal.  My first clue should have been when I went to the food experts to find the perfect foods and they couldn’t agree about what was good and what was bad.  Furthermore, various experts have something bad to say about most foods, disqualifying pretty much all food known to man.  No wonder I was frustrated and stressed out! There was no way I could succeed at the perfect diet – I was already set up to fail!

For instance, if I ate a salad but had salad dressing on it I felt bad about the salad dressing because it is not a perfectly good food.  If I was really being a successful dieter I would have salad without the dressing.  But let’s be honest –  that is not even worth eating!  Every time I ate something questionable (all food known to man) my anxiety level would go through the roof!   I was a mess emotionally and that just made me want to each large quantities of the kind of food all the experts agreed was really bad for me.   I got overwhelmed and decided not to make any firm guidelines, but I still felt bad about just about everything I put in my mouth.

I know God wants me to establish what healthy eating is for me and I can see now that I have to get over trying to do it perfectly.

I think I am also easily overwhelmed because my food choices are already limited by allergies and sensitivities.    I was feeling sick all the time.  A few years ago I went to a natural-pathologist who did a blood test to determine what food I am sensitive to.   Her tests showed I needed to pretty much avoid wheat and Lima beans and limit my intake of eggs, sugar, unprocessed milk, and almonds.  The Lima beans I have not had any trouble living without but I consume way too much of the other stuff on a regular basis.  Because I have been distracted by finding the perfect diet I have not had the energy to limit these things I already know I should avoid.   I should not have wheat more than once a week and only small amounts of eggs, sugar, milk and almonds but I have been avoiding making this a firm guideline.   I feel sick when I cheat on this stuff but I still have been binging on it.   But no more!  I solemnly declare to everyone who is listening that I will only have wheat once a week and only very small amounts of eggs, sugar, milk and almonds.   I will not binge or eat a whole package of chocolate chip cookies by myself.   I  also have been not looking after my hypoglycemia.  This is a clear medical condition and is easily managed.  I need to make eating smaller portions often and combining sugars and starches with protein a clear guideline in my healthy eating to avoid feeling sick and dizzy.  So shall it be!  I know that this is easier said than done so I pray that God will be my strength and I admit I need His help.

Okay, so avoiding some foods is clear from a medical standpoint but what about the vast number of other foods that the experts disagree about? strategy to avoid all imperfect foods has not been working so what should I do to find healing? Some wise women at the Made to Crave study suggested I try balance instead of extremes like perfectionism.   I need to let go of trying to do it perfectly and seek God to find a way to do it balanced.   I should not worry about what the dueling experts disagree about, just look at the basics they all agree on.  Also I need to get up to date information on what healthy eating really is.

Perfect food  is a myth and the reality is that most food has some good qualities and some not so good.  The balance is to eat the nourishing food that has lots of good in it and only small amounts of unhealthy content.  A little bit of fat in the dressing does not disqualify salad from being a good choice.    I need to measure my success by eating healthy not by eating perfectly.  In being balanced I also need to avoid (or limit to very small portions) any food that does not have much healthy content.  My diet is not an epic fail if I have salad dressing on my salad but eating a whole box of turtles is not success either.  I can rejoice in all the good the greens give me and rejoice that I am not having a dangerous amount of fat but a balanced amount in the dressing.  I can look to the Canada Food Guide for the specifics to find a starting point of  balanced, healthy eating.  Then I can celebrate each food victory each time I make a healthy choice.

I need to give myself some food “Grace” and stop being a tyrant to myself.   This is especially important because my choices are already limited by my sensitivities.  I need to get creative finding healthy options I can eat to replace the things in my diet that I can’t have.  I need to not feel bad if these options are not perfect, but rejoice in the good parts of them.

Continue with me in the following weeks as I take this food adventure with God.

 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith.

Freedom From Food? Giving Your ‘Cookie Monster’ to Jesus

by contributing writer Kristen Webb

Reflections on ‘Made To Crave‘ by Lysa TerKeurst

I have issues with food.  Even my kids tell me on a regular basis – usually after I’ve eaten half a pie or their share of something.  Until recently I just shrugged it off and didn’t worry too much about it, feeling it was an endearing quality.  If there is a acceptable problem for a Christian to have it is eating and I thought it was not really impacting my faith.  But more than that I felt as a “good Christian” there were so many things I gave up (like not getting drunk or sleeping with men besides my husband) that there should be something I could indulge in.  Food seemed pretty safe and so I just let myself go there.  I did not admit this to anyone – especially myself – but now I am taking a Bible study at my church called “Made to Crave” by Lysa TerKeurst and God has used it powerfully to open my eyes.

I would have to classify my previous limits about food as wishy-washy.  I  never really nailed down my goals or aspirations but kept them vague.  I think I did this so that I did not have to feel compelled to actually follow any “rules”.  If you don’t set the bar at a particular height then you don’t have to feel bad about not reaching the bar.  But the funny thing is that the indecisiveness I used to protect myself from failing caused me huge amounts of anxiety.

Here’s what it looked like in my real life:

I would eat a cookie and immediately feel bad because a cookie was “cheating”.  I am not only sensitive to sugar because I have hypoglycemia but I am very allergic to wheat which is the second ingredient in cookies after sugar!  Despite those realities I somehow convinced myself that it was okay to have cookies.  Now I did not do a good job of convincing myself and so I still had that deep down unrest when I ate anything that was not perfectly good for me.  But one cookie is just the start of the food drama that overshadows my life.

One cookie does not satisfy me.  It just makes me want more cookies.  Since I do not have any set limits it is fairly easy to convince myself that it is okay to have more cookies but again, I’m terrible at fully convincing myself so that nagging anxiety and guilt deep down still exists.  Two cookies are not enough for me, the second one makes me want more too, so number three finds its way into my mouth.   The uneasiness of compromise sucks the joy out the situation.  When left unattended with cookies I have eaten 7 large ones including ones that were earmarked for my children.  I have taken cookies out of the mouths of children!  I have also eaten an entire tray of turtles!  This does not bring joy to my life but I am driven by an all-consuming need for food and because I didn’t want to limit my indulgence, I didn’t make clear limits.  Eating like this makes me feel sick but I still struggle to find ways to keep doing it.   I thought the lack of limits would help me eat more cookies guilt-free but this brilliant idea was not working.

My struggle is as old as the fall and I don’t think I am alone in my pain.  My eyes have been opened through taking this Bible study and I am starting to realize that the root of this problem is trust.  I am afraid that if I give my food choices to God I will not get to eat all the fun indulgent things that I think will bring me happiness and satisfaction.  Yes, I am deluded, and still thinking that somehow the road to happiness is down the road of no limits, even though this has not worked in the past.  I think Satan must be laughing at how his lies are so effective – that he has me unwilling to give up what is causing me immense misery. all boils down to me wanting control and thinking I know how to do this food thing better than God.  I am afraid that if I give my food choices to God He will hold out on me and limit my freedom.  Like Eve in the garden, Satan lied to her and as a result she was questioning God’s goodness because He had limited her freedom and told her not to do something.

I look like such a fool clutching to the food that is harming me not only physically but spiritually as well!  I need to give this area to God completely and submit everything I put in my mouth to Him.


This also means figuring out what are healthy food choices for me by asking God for wisdom.  This out of control cookie monster needs some clear limits.  Anytime God asks us to yield something to Him He is not holding out on us – He wants to save us from the mess we end up in when we refuse to give Him control!  Not trusting God with my food is not an acceptable sin, it’s just a sin like any other.  True freedom lies in giving this area to God not holding it from Him.

Join me in the following weeks as I take this food adventure with God.

 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith.