For Meghan, You Were Wonderfully Made

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I have sat here for a very long time, wondering what I should type.  What could I say to even do justice to really truly describe the amazing woman who was our friend, Meghan.  Sometimes when things happen like this, words seem empty or even scarce.  I have thought about Meghan and her family a lot this weekend as I know many of you have as well.  We all loved her.  She was a friend, an inspiration, a mother, wife, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, a Breast Cancer Warrior, amazing writer, a giver, a Red Phoenix Rising.  So I decided to write a tribute blog post to her.  My blog is all about Living Wonderfully Made, and boy did Meghan emulate that.  So, here it is…..

Meghan, Red Phoenix,

There is no one way to describe you, but there are many instances that describe who you were to so many people.  Over the past two years I have watched a woman who fought with everything she had not only to fight against cancer, but to bring more kindness into the world.  See, Meghan, that is who you were…. You were kindness.  Your infectious smile and your beautifully written words to describe some of the hardest things to have to write about was nothing short of talent.  Your beautiful little boy is an example of the love you and your husband had together and he I know will not only grow to be a strong man one day, but also will grow to continue on your legacy of kindness, because, you instilled that in him.  Your love for people was apparent in the continued stories that we all read of how you impacted so many.  

As I close my eyes to picture you in my mind, I think about the times we spent playing softball, little girls just wanting to have fun, get dirty, and play!  Over the years we all grew up, moved on, and started our families.  Your friendships to those closest to you remained strong as you always knew how to make your friends feel special.  I know this only because it is so apparent in how they talk about you.  You were special to them Meghan, you were their treasured friend.  Your family, now, this is where I get emotional, because oh Meghan, you were so special to them.  The “Brown Sister’s”  wow what a Foursome you all are.  Each of you so unique, kind, special, and absolutely BEAUTIFUL in your own unique ways.  I loved seeing your times together.  A special bond of four amazing sisters that death can never take away.  

Meghan you left us with a gift.  Your presence on this Earth, even though we all feel it ended way too soon, your presence was a gift.  Your continued crusade for spreading kindness and love is a gift that we all treasure.  You have impacted so many and it will never be forgotten.  

On sandy shores in Heaven, I am picturing you walking next to Jesus holding His hand and talking with Him about kindness and love.  Meghan I know you are not here on Earth, but in Heaven you will be waiting for the ones that miss you so dearly here.  A Red Phoenix Rising up above the clouds and flying towards a warm sunshine in the distance.  You were a true example of what it means to LIVE Wonderfully Made, because Meghan, you were oh so wonderful! 

 

If you all would like to read more about Meghan’s Journey about who she was and read her blog I please URGE you to click on this link to read more about her and GIVE.  Her family will need our support for the future.  Let’s all continue Meghan’s legacy of kindness and love by giving to her family.  You can click on the link below to do so.

“I Am Red Phoenix” Blog and Link to Give:(Copy & Paste Link)

http://www.iamredphoenix.com/give

 

 

A Letter to Depression

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One of the things that many people know about me is that I am pretty open and honest with the things I go through in life.  I share my story and I share it only because I want desperately for those who need to hear it draw some strength for themselves by hearing it.   My openness about my life is not always received well but I think of that as the enemy getting angry at the fact that God is using my pain to help someone else.  If you aren’t met with resistance then, well, you aren’t doing it right.  So today, I am sharing with you something that I have struggled with for the majority of my teen and adult life, Depression.  It has been something that has come and gone and I have fought it and won in various seasons of my life.  Over the past year with all the changes and new paths that my family and I have been on, it has decided to come along for the ride.  It wasn’t until recently that I decided that I needed to seek some help for it.  Yes, you heard that right.  A Christian woman who loves the Lord is seeking help for depression.  It is a very real thing that many people don’t understand and often feel like you just need to “get happy, count your blessings….etc”  If it were that simple, trust me I would be jumping on that!  I am not new to this road so I know exactly when it has crossed over to the path of no return and when I need a hand to pull myself out.  So today I am taking that first step.  I also decided to write a letter to Depression to put it on notice and declare war on it.

I am sharing this not for sympathy or attention because I don’t want or need it.  I am sharing this because I want to help someone else who may need to crawl out of this darkness themselves.  So please read, share, and tell others that you think may need to hear this.  Thank you and remember to LIVE WONDERFULLY MADE!

 

Dear Depression,

I often don’t ever like to acknowledge you because I feel that gives you power, but I want you to know how I feel about you so you will no longer feel the need to stick around.  You have plagued me for too long.  Through most of my adult life you have felt the need to pop into my life during times of change or even times when I was trying to find my way in peace.  You leach on and suck the life out of me, sometimes I can’t even think!  I am so tired all the time, but yet you won’t let me sleep.  You steal life, kill my spirit and drive wedges between the most important relationships in my life.  You are nothing but a big black cloud that follows me around.  I have fought you and cried about you over the years and quite frankly I am just sick of you!  So I say, NO MORE!  I am not going to fight you with tears, medication, or sleeping my life away.  Nope, I am going to fight you with the most powerful things of all.  The LOVE of Christ that resonates deep in me.

Yes, the power of prayer and the living God Himself will help me defeat you.  I will be eliciting the help of counselors, friends, family, and my inner light.  That light shines brighter than any darkness that you could bring.  God has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).  I will laugh in your face and change those hopeless thoughts into a flood of hope and courage.  I refuse to let circumstances define me or let you rule my mind.  I am sure this will all take time but your days are numbered depression.   Mark my words, you have NO power in my life.  Life is too short and precious.

You see, I have a precious family.  Yes, we go through hard times, but you know what, our LOVE is stronger and deeper than you could ever imagine.  Lets just call it what you are, you are evil, you are the devil trying to steal, kill, and destroy me!  You may think you have the power to do that, but my Savior came so that I may have life.  My family has my back, my GOD has my back and most of all I AM stronger than you think.  The strength that lies within me is often underestimated by you, but I have made it through a lot and I will continue to do so.  I will never stop fighting.  I know all your tricks.  I have been dealing with you for a while.  My God is bigger and smarter and honestly so am I!  My heart, soul, and LOVE for my family is big, broad, and never-ending.

I will end this letter with this…. “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.  He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You make your saving help my shield; your help has made me great.  You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.  I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.  I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.”      – 2 Samuel 22:33-39

– Carolyn

True Meaning of Live Wonderfully Made

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When I first put together this blog, I had a different idea of what it was going to be.  The phrase “Wonderfully Made” comes from my Life Bible verse that I live by.  It is something that I have strived to come to peace with.  Finding oneself & being comfortable in your own skin is so challenging, but I have found that with God’s help, it becomes not only an adventure, but also an awakening.  Last year was a year for me to become strong and truly comfortable in my own skin.  What I quickly realized was, that was only the beginning of the journey.  God has had some different plans.  This year has brought new challenges that I needed to be physically strong for, but I found I need some work on the emotional and faith strength.  No one has it all together, but honestly a year ago I thought “Hey I am doing pretty good!!”  I find humor in that because I look at things now and that is not what I am saying!  Right now I am saying, “I am a mess!”  Living Wonderfully Made is not only about the physical part of life, but I have been learning it is about being your “Authentic Self.”  It is about incorporating your whole life including the passions that maybe you sometimes ignore or don’t leave time for.  It is about being unapologetically you!  No excuses, no masks, just TRUE Authenticity!

So what I want this blog to be about is a search for a more authentic self in all capacities. I will be chronicling my journey and I hope to highlight the journey of others as well.  My life and every messy part of it will be a topic.  Transparent and honest about myself as a mom to a special needs child, a woman, a wife, and everything else in between.  Sharing my passion for words and my reality is nothing new to me.  The one thing I have recently promised to myself at the dawn of this New Year is to pursue my passions, pull myself out of the intense darkness I have been feeling and shock the world with light.  You know, no pressure.  I hope that in reading my words that you too, will pursue a Life Wonderfully Made.  The one that God has intended for you.  So….Shall we start?

-Live Wonderfully Made,

Carolyn Decker, xoxo

11 Years of Recovery and What I have Learned

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Blog Post 11 years

It has been a long 11 years, but here I am on the other side.  In a place where I NEVER knew I would be.  So for my first blog post as part of a newly designed blog, I thought I would share what I have learned in these 11 years of recovery from one thing I would not ever wish on anyone, an Eating Disorder. I won’t get into all of the icky stickies of what my eating disorder was like, because honestly that does not help anyone.  Just know it wasn’t pretty and that I am lucky to be here today.  So with that being said, here is what I learned.

  1. Every year there is something new to work on in recovery.

Recovery has many layers for those trying to get out of the pits of an eating disorder.  There is cognitive levels where you need to change your thinking, there is depression, anxiety and mastering those emotions, there is the nutrition end of it (holy moly that is a tough one) and of course there is the ever loving, finding peace with your body.  For the 11 years I have been in recovery, all of these variables have been a work in progress and while I have not perfected them, I have become stronger in fighting all of these variables.

2. Get to know your body and LISTEN TO IT!

One of the biggest things I have learned is if I am not listening to my body in all aspects, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, then I will be not in-tune to what it needs.  I feel like this is important for everyone to learn.  Even those without an eating disorder history it is important to learn how to listen to your body.  So one way I have learned to do this is thru paying attention to every thought and feeling that I am having.  When I am feeling off I search for the reason why, is it my diet , is there stress that is not needed, am I allowing myself enough rest, am I praying?  These are all things that I have learned to do to create balance in my life to stay healthy and in recovery.

3.  Finding Peace with your body is Tough, but it is POSSIBLE

So it is really tough as a woman these days to find complete peace with your body.  I mean lets be honest, with everything plastered in social media, TV, Music, etc…. it is nearly impossible to not feel tempted to compare yourself.  For someone in recovery, it is 10 times magnified!  So, I have learned to not completely mute the outside noise, but at least limit what I pay attention to.  I have learned that I need to focus on what GOD says my worth is and not what other people say it is.  So I hold close to my heart the fact that I am FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY Made in God’s image the way He wants me to be.  That is what I lean into during times of tempted comparison.

4. Be Fearless!

It takes incredible guts to fight an eating disorder.  It affects every aspect of your life.  It turns you into a person that you never thought you would become and then when you are trying to get better, you have to find a whole new you.  Its exhausting and a LONG process.  One of the big things I have learned while going thru this process, is that I need to be fearless.  I need to take big steps and do things I would have never done before.  This year I took a fearless step outside of my comfort zone and joined in the process to becoming physically fit but also nutritionally fit!  Holy smokes did I have some growing pains with this process and still do, but I have come a long way and boy am I glad I took that step!!

5. Recovery IS POSSIBLE

This is the biggest thing that people misunderstand about Eating Disorders.  I am here to tell you that it is possible with hard work, support, and fearless perseverance.  There can be peace after the ravages of this disorder.  So I guess what I am trying to say is that if you know someone that is struggling, if you are struggling or you think you know someone who is struggling, just know, it is POSSIBLE TO RECOVER!  I am living proof!

 

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  This is a huge week for me to celebrate because it marks 11 years of recovery.  This year I am celebrating even more because I have found a peace that surpasses my understanding, which I can only give credit to my Lord and Savior.  Without Him bringing the right people to my life and providing the right support around me, I would not be here.  Not only that but he brought a passion to help others into my life and now I am fully pursuing that passion through Wonderfully Made Fitness.  What a journey it has been and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Slipping Up and New Beginnings

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I sat there, in the bathroom, in disbelief at what I had just done.  As many of you know it has been 10 years of long and hard work on my recovery.  I have had ups, downs, and in between’s, but this was earth shattering.  In the world of eating disorder recovery we call these “slips” or “slip ups.”  This was more than a slip for me.  This was devastation, this was a cry for change and it was a turning point.  Yes you are reading this right.  Carolyn Decker 1 month ago had a slip up.  Yes, I purged.   It was a moment of low self-esteem, loneliness and fear all wrapped into one moment.  I sat there after I did it and could hear my son out in the living room playing with his toys.  I just cried and said “WHAT AM I DOING!!!!!  ALL OF YOUR HARD WORK!!! WHAT ABOUT YOUR SON!!!!”  I couldn’t believe what I had done but at the same time I recognized, something needs to change but I didn’t know what. I prayed and prayed then…my sister texted me with a question.

My sister texted me because, that week I had been asking her about these “Clean Eating” challenges she had been doing.  She told me about it and then said to me….. “I have been afraid to ask you this, but do you want to try it?  I really think it would be good for you and you would learn a lot!”  Immediately when she asked me this I knew it was God telling me…. “Carolyn, this is the change…. you need to do this.”  Okay, so you all are asking yourselves…what the heck does this have to do with your slip up?  Well, it has everything to do with it!  For a very long time I have had a backwards and really unfortunate relationship with food.  Even in recovery!  I have looked at food as a pain in the butt and something I have to do.  I often would skip breakfast, lunch, and force myself to make dinner only because I had to make it for my family.  I wasn’t doing it to lose weight or anything I just have always looked at food as…well, the enemy!  Many of you are probably saying to yourself, “Carolyn has always eaten around me, she doesn’t seem to hate it!”  Your right because I don’t always hate it and I have learned to put on a really good front!  The thing is that in my mind, I have been going through the motions without understanding what food should be or what it should do for my body.  Quite frankly, I don’t understand it!  So indeed this challenge my sister was talking about was definitely something I needed to do!  So….with that said, I did the challenge.

5 Day challenge of clean eating with Kristen Lang…. I totally felt this was a great first step for me!  Boy did I learn a TON!!!!! Basically the concept of clean eating is looking at food as FUEL for your body and eating fresh, wholesome, non processed foods!  It is NOT a diet, lets just make this clear!  It is a life style change.  While I won’t go into all of what I learned here are a few things that really stuck out to me during this challenge.

  1.  Clean Eating is NOT hard to do.
  2.  It was FUN!  I’m sorry you didn’t read that wrong… I said it was fun!  Yes the girl who had anorexia/bulimia said eating food was FUN!
  3. FOOD=FUEL meaning…. Eating fresh, wholesome, non processed food to be strong and healthy!

With that said I am going to continue my challenge starting in a week!  I recently purchased the 21 Day Fix pack!  It is a program that helps you navigate in a healthy way, your eating habits, includes an exercise regime, while someone (Kristen Lang, my sister) holds you accountable.  I know that there are a lot of women out there who have struggled like me or who just struggle with food in general so, I am going to be blogging through my journey of the 21 Day Fix Program!  This is huge and I am a little afraid of putting myself out there like this but I feel God calling me to do it!  So there it is folks!  Hold on, because I have a feeling this journey is not only going to blow my mind….but it just may blow your mind too!  I can’t wait to post on my first day!  See you all then!

Remember you are all,  WONDERFULLY MADE!

My God Love Story: Love Letter to God

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This is week 2 of my study with Proverbs 31 Ministries online book/bible study of “Am I Messing Up My Kids?”  I am really enjoying what this book and the study is bringing to my life.  Most of all I love reading the blogs and comments other women share about their experiences! I am learning so much.  If you would like to join this study, visit, proverbs31.org and click on “online studies”!  Now, this weeks topic, “My God Love Story.”  I wrote a Love Letter to God. 

Papa God,

I am writing to you with a humble, open, and thankful heart.  Out of the darkness that was my life, you saved me.  My choices, my shame, my depression, my thoughts of ending it all, you saved me.  Before I knew of your true love for me, you were orchestrating my future, weaving in the right people to cross my path so that it would lead me back to you.  I stand in awe of the series of events you planned to bring me back to the relationship I once thought I knew, but wasn’t mature enough to embrace or understand.  Only when I was on the bottom ready to end it all did you reach down, scoop me up, and cradle me in your loving arms.  What joy, relief, and comfort I felt when I came crawling back.  My face and soul were bruised and dirtied by life.

When I was younger, I would pray to you out of fear not knowing that your love was unconditional and pure towards me.  I would try my hardest not to “mess up” during the day and spent my nights praying hard so that you would wake me up the next morning so I could try to be better the next day.  I know You remember those prayers and probably now You shake Your head along with me because I was so lost and naive to what Your love truly is!  I also know that you remember the pain of my adolescent years.  Teased and Taunted in middle school for being a Christian, I tried to share the story of You with others, but I was teased.  That was hard Papa God, and I ran away from it.  I sank into my eating disorder and depression.  I fell away from….You.

My early twenties proved to be harder, You watched it all.  I tried to find love in all the wrong places, which left me feeling empty and shamed.  Little did I know, better days were to come and blessings would be given, more than I could ever know or understand.  Papa God, the day I hit the bottom, wanting to end it all, I know You were crying with me.  My mother prayed so hard for me to come back to You.  I praise and thank you for making me reach out to her that day.  She brought me to the Church to talk to her Pastor and I recommitted my life to You that day.  Praise Your Holy and Wonderful name Papa!  Oh what Joy and Peace You brought!  Not only did You save me, but, You blessed me with gifts that I cherish with my whole heart and soul. You gave me love through You but also through my husband!  A meeting of this Love is the only kind You could have orchestrated.  Pure magic and a miracle all wrapped into one.  More and More blessings you bestowed and then the ultimate blessing…. My son.  Made from pure love You gave me the most precious gift I could ever ask for!  Papa God, You saved me, healed me, renewed me, and blessed me.  You continue to do so everyday.  I want to spend my days with my son telling and teaching him about You, Papa, and what Your love truly is!  My love for You is growing and I still sometimes don’t get why you love me so much, it is hard to wrap my mortal mind around it.  Papa, I love You.  Thank you for setting me free….

Love Always and Forever,

Carolyn Decker

“See, God has come to save me.  I will trust in Him and not be afraid.  The Lord God is my strength and my song; He has given me victory.”

-Isaiah 12:2

The Day after Wyatt was born.

The Day after Wyatt was born.

Bible/Book Study! “Am I messing up my kids?”

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As many of you know, I am very transparent about my life and the struggles I go through.  I feel that being this way helps people who maybe going through similar circumstances.  Being fake and acting like everything is fine and dandy, I think, only hurts people and sets other’s up for feeling insignificant and alone.

As a new first time mom, only a month in, I have experienced a variety of feelings.  They range from Pure joy, anxiety, exhaustion, frustration, sadness, and many more.  No one fully prepares you for motherhood.  While all of these feelings are HIGHLY common, for someone like me, I have to keep a close eye on them.  The reasoning is because of my history.  That being said, I have God in my life and I praise HIM daily because God is sufficient enough for me to get through the variety of feelings I experience.

A Church friend of mine posted on her Facebook page that she was going to do an online Book/Bible Study through Proverbs31 Ministries.  They are an online blog for Women started by the wonderful Lysa TerKeurst.  The book/bible study that she mentioned was for the book, “Am I messing up my kids….and other questions every mom asks.”  I looked into it and thought that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to ease into motherhood with some help from Godly Women and God!  I also feel it was God’s way of saying…”Come on Carolyn, this will help, do it!”

The study starts today and I will be blogging every Wednesday about my thoughts through this 6 week study.  Be prepared for it to be honest, transparent, and real.  Being a mom so far I have found out is LIFE CHANGING. It is definitely for the better, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with some hardships.  I am looking forward to writing about this as well as sharing some weekly pictures of my beautiful/handsome son, Wyatt Rockwood-John Decker.

Remember you are all, WONDERFULLY MADE!

This was a picture taken a day after my son Wyatt was born!  He was born on June 9, 2014.

This was a picture taken a day after my son Wyatt was born! He was born on June 9, 2014.