Whoa! Where has this Monday gone? What a difference having a little girl at home all day makes, huh? Guess it's still Monday though, so I still have time to sneak in this week's questions for reflection from chapter 14 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.
First of all, WOW! Lysa really shares a part of her wounded past in this chapter and taps into something I'm sure we can all relate to, emotional emptiness. And, if you're like me, you can also relate to that void playing a part in those issues with food and weight.
So, without further ado...let's jump in!
Discussion Questions for Chapter 14
1. "Each time my heart felt a little empty, my stomach picked up on the cues and suggested I feed it instead." Do you feel a similar connection between feelings of emotional emptiness and physical hunger? Do you feel you are able to distinguish between physical hunger and emotionally triggered hunger, or does it all feel the same to you?
Jill's answer: This has absolutely been a pattern for me in the past. Trying to feed my emotional emptiness with physical affection, attention, and, finally, with food. I thought once I had grown as a Christian woman and finally found the most awesome, godly man who became my husband that my desires to look to fill my emotional emptiness with any of these unhealthy things would change. But, not addressing the emotional emptiness meant it was still there demanding to be fed. Christian counseling and growing in many ways has been a huge help in this area. And, just becoming more aware of the times when I tend to feed my emotions instead of my body has been a great tool as well.
2. Lysa describes how she used the phrases of Philippians 4:8 to park her mind in a better spot about the painful relationship with her father. Using the phrases below and Lysa's example as a guide, invite God to give you a better place to park your mind about a painful experience from your own past.
Jill's answers: I'm thinking about my own father who left us a couple days before I started High School.
Whatever is true...Like Lysa's dad, my dad was broken. He was dealing with his own selfishness, lusts, and desires. These broken parts of his character blinded him to the pain he was creating for his three children. It does not excuse his actions to realize this truth. But, it does help me to realize that his leaving had nothing to do with me and everything to do with his own personal flaws and immaturity. I believe my father actually did and does love me. He just became extremely misguided by a series of poor choices and immoral behaviors.
Whatever is noble...When my dad left and refused to see us as important, it made me feel unworthy of love; unworthy of attention; unworthy of affection. But, this is what the King of Kings thinks and feels about me: The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV) That puts things in a much more NOBLE perspective, don't you think?
Whatever is right...There's one precious memory of my father that I remember providing that feeling that all was right, if not in the world, at least in my family. It made me feel loved and cherished my dad even when other acts or words made me feel differently. I remember those rare days when Dad had wake-up duty. He would come and sit on the edge of my bed and gently rub my legs, feet, or back through the sheets and blankets. And then he would softly say something like, "It's Wednesday! Only two more days after today and then it's the weekend." I still remember the love and affection in his voice as he would whisper that it was time to get up and at 'em. It gives me a warm feeling to this day. One thing I know for sure is that God's love endures forever. That it is always right and it is always real. And, on these mornings so many years ago, my earthly father's love felt as if it was unfailing as well.
Whatever is lovely...On those mornings when Dad came to wake me for school, I felt loved and lovely. I felt a peace and calm that I seldom felt throughout my childhood. I remember wanting to hold on to those moments and not let them go. In fact, some mornings I would pretend to stay asleep a little longer, just so Dad would sit a little longer speaking gently and rubbing my back, helping me to have a lovely entrance into the waking world.
Whatever is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy...I praise God for the fact that my daughter is growing up with a father who cherishes her and tells her so each and every day. A man who'll never leave her to wonder if she's worthy. A man who helps her learn more of God's love for her as he showers love, affection, and kisses on her sweet little face and life. And, I'm so thankful to see Alyssa form lovely memories not only with her dad, but with mine as well. We don't see my father very often but when we do there's no sign of the man who broke my heart time and time again over the first 20 or so years of my life. What IS there is the Daddy who came to wake me up on those precious early mornings that linger in the video of my mind. There's no yelling, criticizing, or overly zealous physical discipline. There's no screaming at my mom or my older brother. There's just a "Papa" who Alyssa adores and looks forward to spending time with at every opportunity. Especially when he's able to pull gold-dollar coins out of her ear, which is several times at pretty much each meeting. She'll grow up thinking of my dad as a kind, funny, and magical person who lights up when he sees her. And, you know what? I'm not going to do or say ANYTHING to change that impression. It is a part of who he is. It is a part of the "excellent" that God wove into his person from the very beginning. He's done a lot of growing over the years and he's still not perfect. But, I won't tell my daughter any differently. Let her continue to see God in yet another father-figure in her life (along with Jeremy, his dad, my step-dad, and her uncles) who loves her unconditionally. And, PRAISE GOD for that!!!
3. A mosaic is a work of art made up of hundreds or thousands of tiny, broken pieces of glass or ceramic tile. Lysa describes how God's making a mosaic of restoration and healing in her heart, gathering up her broken pieces and making them into something beautiful. Can you imagine God doing something like this in your heart? If God used the broken pieces of your life to make a beautiful image, what do you hope it would look like?
Jill's answer: If God is making a mosaic of restoration and healing of my broken past and forming it (and me) into something beautiful, then I hope it will look like a woman who understands that most people who lash out do so because of their own inner pain and wounded history. I hope it will look like a woman who loves others without strings attached. A woman who would rather serve another human being than find a cheap feeling (usually tied to food) for myself. A woman who fiercely follows God, absolutely cherishes her family, and truly believes she can make an impact on her world in Jesus' name!
So, how would you answer these questions? Please open yourself up to us as much as you feel comfortable doing so. Let us know how God is taking your broken pieces and making a beautiful piece of art out of your life!