Day 337: Restraining Order

I’m going to a breakfast party today for my ladies’ bible study.

Sorry. Allow me to be a bit more specific…

I’m going to a breakfast party today for my ladies’ bible study without my kids.

We get to drop them off at the church and then go over to the leader’s house for our final meeting. I’ve been a part of this ladies bible study for a couple of years now (it’s called Mom Matters… isn’t the double meaning cute?) and this last meeting is my favorite part! It’s just relaxed and a great time to spend with the women that I’ve been growing with all semester.

And we are all bringing a little something for breakfast. Our leader had us reply all to her email and state what we are bringing…

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And there were also emails claiming donuts, sausage balls, pumpkin bread, cinnamon rolls, cookies and the like.

Now don’t get me wrong… I ain’t knockin homemade cinnamon rolls or sausage balls. On the contrary, I love them both under old circumstances.

But, it just sorta struck me that it always seems to go this way with parties (especially those at Christmas and really especially those with only women) that we slough off all desires of being healthy and dive into decadence and indulgence.

And…… why? I mean… well, why???

(And trust me… this is not me pointing fingers! This is a self dialogue, really, to myself… about myself. Next year I have planned on having “free days”, and even as I write this I know that I will need to sit back and evaluate that plan… cross examine it against the Word of God.)

    For God has revealed his grace for the salvation of all people. That grace instructs us to give up ungodly living and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this world, as we wait for the blessed Day we hope for, when the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ will appear. He gave himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to him alone and are eager to do good. Titus 2:11-14

I read these verses and I am reminded that God has called me to a higher standard (what an honor!) and, often, that standard looks very different from the way the world views things. Things like ladies’ breakfasts. and book club meetings. and birthday parties. and holidays.

He has asked me to practice… restraint. And in a world where self-indulgence is king and self-denial is frowned upon, well… that action is different. It sticks out. It looks weird to people. It looks weird to me.

Which is why I love the last verse of that chunk, verse 14…

    He gave himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to him alone and are eager to do good.

I mean… look at those words I bolded.

To rescue us.
To make us a pure people.
To make us belong.
To make us eager to do good.

Gosh, isn’t that worth a little self-restraint here and there?!?! It’s just cool to think that I have been rescued from pumpkin bread and cranberry blitz bars.

So, anyway, I’m gonna have to read up the Word to see what I can glean from it. (Cause I know that there were a plenty of celebrations back then…)

But for now, for today… I know that I want to go to that party and “live [a] self-controlled, upright, and godly life in this world”. And give God thanks for His Grace through my restraint.

Day 225: Limitation Station

Day 1 off of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

No, I promise I’m not gonna count every day of the days that I’ve been “off” my hard-core fast, but today it is kind of important. The days following a fast when I institute food back into my diet are often precarious.

I have been a bit nervous about adding back in coffee (and excited too… not for the buzz but because I have been missing the flavor!) and bread… cause I have been having some issues with bread the past few months.

So I had a cup of coffee this morning! And please note: I had a cup of coffee this morning. Not two. Not three not four, five, six. But a cup! It was delish!

Actually. Falsehood. It wasn’t delish. I mean. It was good. Now, I had it after the boys woke up so I didn’t really get to sit and enjoy it like I usually do before they wake up. I had to reheat it twice, but still… it was good. But mostly I was happy that I limited myself to one cup!

And then during my typical hot spot, I did my prayer time so no worries there. But about 3:00 I got hungry. Needless to say, I need to go to the store so we had like nothing covenant-worthy in the house.

Waiiiiit. Falsehood. Again.

Maybe that’s what I “told” myself but truth be known, there is an apple, a clementine, raisins, peanuts, peanut butter, beans, and several other things had I really looked. But I have been limited to those things for the past few weeks and I wanted… something. else.

So I made my “granola bar in a bowl”. It’s very filling and I really enjoy the flavors. But it can be a “dessert” substitute if I’m not careful.

So, I realized pretty quickly. Okay, if I “turned” to this on day one and I know I shouldn’t have it every day, then this might need to be a thing that I put a limitation on. So, I decided that I can have it once a week. And even just deciding that made me feel better!

It’s weird, too, when I think about it that the longer I’m on the covenant, the more limitations I want to put on myself. I guess the covenant experience has shown me that my true happiness and freedom are found as I bind myself to God. Limitations are no longer something to be feared. or dreaded. Limitation is something that I embrace because it gives me freedom from stressing about those things. freedom from the spiritual war. When I limit myself, I feel as if I have already won the battle! That is a wonderful feeling!

And this verse totally struck my mind… it totally expresses the journey that I have gone on this year:

    Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 7:24

Day 142: Got Almond?

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I think that everyone has “those” foods that are areas of temptation, or weakness, or just plain old habit. Most people list things like sugar (cough, cough… chocolate) or salt. But a lot of people also have drinks as an issue… Route 44 Dr. Pepper is one I hear a lot, mocha frap from Starbucks, etc. For me… it’s milk. Good, fatty, whole milk. Back when I used to work out I would have a glass after a good run when most people would drink water. My best friend used to tease me about coming over and having a glad of milk and a handful of Hot Tamales candies. In fact, her mom kept them stocked with both for when I would come over… which was often.

So, when I made my covenant, I knew that milk would have to go as well. Even though I could have dairy… milk was just… well, almost a dessert to me. Certainly a treat, and definitely an avoidance to drinking water. (I know it’s weird, but water has never really been that “awesome” to me… maybe cause I was always drinking milk instead!)

Well, the other day I was in a bit of a daze as I was making my coffee (which is not entirely that odd seeing as how I am half-asleep when I make my coffee most mornings), and I poured whole milk into the mix instead of the almond milk that I have in my coffee every other morning. Once I realized it, I wasn’t going to pour out that precious milk (two young boys in the house… we go through a lot of milk) or the even more precious… coffee (two young boys in the house… need I say more?). So I drank the coffee with whole milk in it. No biggie.

It was actually kind of gross.

I mean… in comparison to my coffee with almond milk, which has like… flavor. It was kind of cool though how this life of sacrifice is actually better than my normal life. Again like I mentioned yesterday, I would have missed out on a lot of things, both spiritual and “earthly” if I had not done this covenant.

And honestly, I’m not sure of a scripture to put with this one (comment below if one comes to your mind). It just makes me think of how we just don’t see… the whole picture. And by that I mean, there I was for years thinking that whole milk was kind of the end all be all for drinking in coffee. But… it wasn’t. There was something better out there.

And I think that is what this covenant has shown me… there is so much about this world that I haven’t discovered, and might not ever discover… without God showing me. But it took me committing to Him, allowing Him to break down this wall inside of me… in order for me to see that the grass IS indeed greener on the other side if HE is the one that takes you there.

It just makes me want to covenant with Him about… everything! So that He can show me how lame my “whole milk life” is (that I thought was oh-so great)… and reveal to me how amazing an “almond milk” kind of life can be (which I don’t even know exists)!

Day Twenty-Three: Beating Brownies

I have some good friends Jason and Alina who had their first baby about a month ago and now that her mom is back at work and his in-laws have gone back home as well, I offered to make them a meal. It meant so much to me when people brought us food (including Jason and Alina) that I love to return the favor or “pay it forward” when I can.

So I started planning a couple weeks ago trying to decide what to take them. I’m not a super good cook so I have to be careful not to pull any Hail Mary’s when I make meals for people lest the food be uneatable and then they are stuck with a bunch of gross leftovers plus they are hungry. Okay I’m rambling. Anyway, I chose to do my easy enchiladas cause they are… easy, and I have made them a bunch of times and have yet to completely mess them up. So I made those, some rice, some black beans, got some chips and salsa and then… one thing left.

Dessert.

I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of time to cook since my youngest has been sick and teething, so I thought brownies would be easy and yummy and they could munch on them for a few days. I grabbed the triple chunk brownies cause they are extra yummy.

Annnnnd a little background on me and triple chocolate brownie mix. Remember my story the other day about the cookie dough? Yeah. Very similar. Essentially I would make brownie mix (always triple chunk) and I would eat so much of it that I often times ended up having only enough batter left that I would have to bake them in a creme brûlée ramiken. When I was pregnant, I would purposefully buy pasteurized eggs so that I could make and eat raw brownie batter.

So. Essentially, for a food addict… this was like dealing with crack for me.

But it went great!!! I even rinsed my finger instead of licking it (trying to get out of those habitual overeatings) and although I longed for it… I did not take a bite nor did I lick the bowl. And actually, now that I think about it, I didn’t long for it. I went into it thinking, “I’m going to stick by the covenant.” And so it was never like a temptation really. Chocolate is just not something that I’m gonna have. Period. The end. That’s it.

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