Day 325: A Happy Sad

Looks like I’ll have to ask a bit of forgiveness… again. But this time I truly have a good excuse… well, actually, several worthy excuses, and one excuse that I wish I didn’t have.

To start it off, last Friday my oldest got sick… 103° fever and followed it with a nasty cough. Ick.

I was in a semi-monologue skit at church with a bunch of lines, a three-hour rehearsal on Saturday afternoon, and three services on Sunday… don’t get me wrong, I love doing that stuff, but it does need to go in my “excuses” list nonetheless! (It was really a beautiful skit. You can see it and the whole service here. I’m around minute 43, I think.)

My husband, two boys, and I flew out to Denver on Wednesday morning to visit his brother’s family… which means I had to pack us and we spent a whole day at airports and on planes. Since then we have been hanging out non-stop (which might be why it has taken me several days to craft this post!)

On the plane, my youngest came down with the same cold/flu sickness his older brother had and has had a 103° fever the past few days.

In the midst of all that… life… and all that… stuff, my world and heart was forever changed by… well, by eternity.

On Saturday morning, my grandmother began to have symptoms of congestive heart failure. She went to be with Jesus on Sunday afternoon at 1:02. My whole family was there, and she even waited for me to get there after I rushed to the hospital after finishing my skit at church… she died about thirty-seconds after I got there and gave her one last kiss. She was an amazing lady… made me feel special right up to the last moment.

Indulge me… I want to share my favorite photo of her with my son. (We had snuck in some ice cream for her. She loved ice cream… but I think she loved my kids even more.)

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And not to minimize or appear like I am “using” the experience for a post, but her favorite hymn was “To God Be The Glory”. And so I would like to give God some glory for minute.

Throughout a painful mourning process, I was able to turn to The One for comfort. And, more so, when I turned to Him… He provided the comfort I asked for and needed. He answered with peace. He responded with the salve of The Hope that I have in her destination and in our future reunion. He assured me of my Identity in Him as I suffered through the pangs of regret.

And I experienced God fulfilling the verse that has been my favorite since college… perhaps written on my heart then for such a time as this…

    We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

And I read that verse this week… needing to be reminded that my sadness wasn’t going to crush me. But then, I read further on…

    We never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

And knowing that my grandmother was saved and warmly welcomed into the arms of Christ (you can read her beautiful salvation story here) gave me the ability to fix my gaze on things that cannot be seen and know that those things will last forever… like her soul being united with His Promise.

And I honestly thought to myself a few days into the grieving process how glad I was that I had learned to cope the “real” way. For once, I had true, real, deep, cutting pain… and I didn’t turn to food to soothe me. In fact, I never once thought about eating food as comfort. My husband even had to remind me to eat, but never once was did I need to be reminded to turn to scripture or prayer.

And it’s all because of the renewal that Christ has done in my mind. The retraining is slow at times and there are setbacks here and there. But my mind IS being renewed. reworked. retooled.

And I can think of no greater testimony and gift to my Mamaw’s memory than to turn to The One she taught me about.

And I will end with one more indulgence… a tribute to her memory. She repeated this poem to us hundreds upon hundreds of times. And it is beautiful. I hope you are as blessed and encouraged as I have been by it.

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Day 160: Ode To Anice

Lately my husband and I have been talking about some of his food documentaries. Like, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, The Gershon Diet, King Corn, etc.

And they have helped me become keenly aware that Jesus saved me.

Yes, He saved me from Hell.
He saved me from wallowing in my sins.
He saved me from a life of hopelessness, and regret, and broken identity.

But He also has, literally, saved my life.

You see, I was consuming in a way that was, simply put, going to work my body to death. Not because I was working out too much (haha- no chance of that!!!), and not because I was over stressing things in my life (not a super stressful person… patience is really my only virtue), but because…

Well, look at it this way, if my body is a factory and it is required to work a certain amount… I was eating so much stuff that took so much effort to process that I fear my body would have literally gotten so worn out that it would have… shut down.

And a little background here… my Dad’s mother, Anice, passed away from a blood disease when he was a young teenage boy. He doesn’t talk about it a lot but when he does, the experience has to have been the most devastating thing he will ever experience. Over the years I have imagined him as that young boy. I have attempted to imagine his pain. But it is a desolation that I simply cannot fathom. I cannot conjure it.

Now his mother, of course, could not help her illness. For that we can only blame Satan for bringing sin into the world… the sin that made our bodies imperfect. that broke our DNA. that killed our chance for immortality.

But it has made me think over the years… am I willingly killing myself? What if, at the age of 35, I keeled over and died because I had over-consumed? I would purposefully leave my boys motherless… I would have purposefully allowed them to go through that devastation and pain… for a Twix candy bar!??!

It is a strong thought. a compelling thought. a horrid thought.

And yet despite the fear of that happening, I simply could. not. stop. over. eating.

Until Jesus saved me.

Until this covenant I was barreling toward that barricade at the end of the track unable to find the strength to pull on the break.

Only Jesus had the strength.

And so now, even if I should die at the age of 35… or 55… or 85… in my last moment, I won’t have to say that it is “my fault” that I am leaving my sons motherless. Because Jesus has saved me.

Inside and Out.

And I’m pretty sure that is something my Grandma Anice would be proud of.

Day 126: Evil Eats

So more and more I discover another friend is doing the covenant and every time I hear that I get excited for them… for the possibilities of what God can do in them.

At first I was a little… bummed… that a lot of these people were doing the covenant and yet they didn’t want anyone to know. I guess, in a weird way, I took it the wrong way… I took it along the lines of it was them saying that they didn’t really like it, or they didn’t really think it was a good idea, or whatever.

I know some people wanted their “silence” to be along the lines of a secret fasting like the bible encourages.

But some people didn’t have that as a reason to not tell. Then the more I thought about how I felt about it at first, I kind of realized that it could be that people weren’t ashamed of me or my idea… they were ashamed of themselves.

Again, not everyone has the same motivations for doing the covenant. I think some are into it because they want to covenant with God to honor their bodies… the weight loss and/or breaking food addictions is not their priority.

But for the people that are addicted or feeling like they want to lose weight, then they might feel that doing a covenant like this implies that they have lost control and need God’s help over some area of their life.

And, well, a lot of us don’t particularly like to admit that we need help. Not from friends. Not from family. And certainly not from God.

And then this chunk of verses got my attention:

In the past you were slaves to sin, and goodness did not control you. You did evil things, and now you are ashamed of them. Those things only bring death. But now you are free from sin and have become slaves of God. This brings you a life that is only for God, and this gives you life forever. The payment for sin is death. But God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:20-23

I know that we don’t often think of eating too much as being “evil” but really when you think about it, God views everything as “right” or “wrong”…… “good” or “evil”. I looked up “evil”, I noticed it’s antonym (cut me some slack… I’m a former English teacher… annnnnnnd a bit of a nerd. I kind of like definitions and whatnot)…

It’s the opposite of righteous.

And dishonoring this body that God has given me… well, that’s definitely not what I would call righteous… therefore, it is evil. And really when I look back and some of the ways that I have treated this body He has given me… well… it was just pure evil. Satan had a hold on me that was fierce and the little bugger was working hard to keep me weighed down… both literally and spiritually. The way I was treating my body is just like the verse above says, “Those things only bring death.”

Not saying that eating right will give me eternal life… heck no. Only my Jesus will give me that. There are some people that eat well their entire lives and die of cancer at 37. And there are people that eat heinously and live to see 97. But I know that God has made rules and guidelines for a reason… self-control does lend itself to so many things that can help a body live longer… and I want to live a long time. If He has implied that I can live longer if I live with self-control and peace, then by golly, sign me up.

Day Seventy-Two: Voluntary Amnesia

And yet again, I was inspired by something that my pastor said in church on Sunday. I was looking through the verses that he shared in his sermon series American Jesus, and here was one of them…

For while I was with you, I made up my mind to forget everything except Jesus Christ and his death on the cross.
1 Corinthians 2:2

It ties in a bit with what I was discussing yesterday… about my mind starting to transcend out of the pit of food addictions into thinking about Jesus Christ. And I think that this is almost like a goal verse for me… I want to forget everything except Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. I want that to almost be a watermark in my vision of the way I view the world… I want Him, His Death, and His coming back to Life being at the forefront of my mind all. the. time.

And ya know, when you think about things in that light, a chocolateless life is… no biggie. It’s forgotten. A pastaless life… who cares?

Because I am making up my mind right now to forget everything except Jesus and His death.

(And that’s why this post is so short… I have forgotten everything else. Haha! Just kidding. But it is short because that verse is so succinct and I just didn’t have anything else to add!)