The Worst Kind Of Success

I feel as if I need to come clean before we even get started…

I just ate four Lindt chocolates.

(Hey… at least I went for the good stuff.)

And ya know, I’m not entirely killing myself over it either. It was sort of a test run. First of all, I haven’t had sugar since December 26th and compared to how my covenant eating has gone over the past few months, THAT ALONE is like a flipping miracle!

Tonight I went to my niece’s birthday and someone plopped a piece of strawberry shortcake in front of me. And not just any ol strawberry shortcake, but made from scratch strawberry shortcake… and if you don’t think “from scratch” is an important detail to this story, then maybe this blog is not for you… cause here at this “diet blog” we reallllllly like food. ;) And I thought “Let’s see what happens… let’s see if somehow, in the lengthy experience {sarcasm} of the past nine days, I have possibly found the fortitude within to eat a little bit and then resist.” So, I ate the cake and then that was it! Success!

Until I got home and accidentally stumbled across those dadgum Lindt chocolates. If it had been the icky-no-good-low-quality regular ol’ chocolates then I probably would have been fine. But nooooooooooo. It had to be Lindt.

Well, you know the rest of the story… if you haven’t lived it yourself then you can certainly fill in the blanks: Because I’d already had sugar tonight, I “might as well”, so I ate “just one” whichhhhhhhhhhhh turned into all of them.

But, I’m sorta glad for a couple of reasons. Here’s why…

I was sorta on the fence about going hardcore with the sugar thing again this year. Like, maybe I should try out that whole balance thing again. Honestly, I knew… I mean… I KNEWWWWWWW it wouldn’t work to have both. But I guess I just needed one last reminder.

Even more so though… ya see, my teacher, James Tippit… he has been talking a lot lately about the idea that sometimes the parts of our lives that we think are successes, God might look at them and just brush them away. But parts of our lives that we view as dismal failures… He might say…

Oh no honey… look… look where I was here… here… and here. This part where you thought all was lost, where you thought you were a mess, a disaster, a wreck… oh, dearest… this is when I was DOIN WORK in your life… in your soul. I was filling in those parts where you were weak… to be strong. I was changing you, forming you, molding you. Making you more like me.

And this is why, tonight, after those infuriating (but honestly… totally divine) Lindt chocolates, I wasn’t in utter dispair. Because this looked like a dismal failure.

Heck, this whole COVENANT DIET itself looks like a dismal failure to me right now… but when I am weak, then HE. IS. STRONG. Perhaps He is just using this whole thing to help melt my heart and reform me… renew me… purify me.

So, tonight, I ask God…

Be strong within me God. Show me how strong you are through my dismal failures. Melt my heart and help me to fall in love with You again. Help me to fall in love with your kindness, your compassion, your ever-ready forgiveness, your patience. Help me to look back on my life and see all of these wonderful, beautiful moments that have changed me, formed me, molded me. Melt me down and make me more like You, so that I might be a blessing. I love you, God. I do. I love you.

Zacchaeus – Short Dude. Weird Name. Noticed By God.

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Okay, so I master teach in middle school youth occasionally, and this past time I taught on Zacchaeus. At first I was really bummed about it because I was all like, “Uhhhhhh, every kid who has ever gone to church knows this story… it’s like the children’s ministry’s favorite one… what the heck am I going to say that’s ‘new’ that they haven’t already heard!?!?!”

But then as I started to study it, I felt washed over with a “new” perspective that I had never heard of/thought of before. Several of my friends wanted to hear the message and since I script out all of my lessons, I just changed it up a bit to make it blog-friendly and thought I’d share it here with you!

 {ZacchIKEAus}

Did you know that IKEA will babysit your kids… for free… for an hour… while you go upstairs and have a cup of coffee in their café?

Yeah. Well, they will.

And yeah, it’s awesome.

And yeah, that is the main reason that I potty trained my kids… so that I could take them to IKEA childcare and maintain my sanity every once in a while. Annnnnnnnd, well, now we are pretty much “regulars” there!

When we first started going out there my oldest son was three and he couldn’t remember the name of the store but they were learning the whole Zacchaeus climbed a tree song in church and so… yeah.

ZacchIKEAus.

Well, let’s talk about him.

Short dude with a weird name.

Yeahhhhhhhh, that combo was probably NOT good for his social life. I mean… I can totally identify with that. I’m a short girl with a weird name. So, yeah, I get it… I’m that chick that has to stand up on the seat at football games when everyone else stands up. I’m the girl who every time someone learns that my name is “January” they have to say “JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER…” as if they were the first person ever to say that to me.

I actually asked this question on facebook and twitter…

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And here were some of the responses…

Napoleon
Flava Flav
Zach Galifianakis
Danny DeVito
E.T.
Rumpelstiltskin
Prince
Benedict Cumberbatch (okay, yeah, he’s not exactly short but his name is crazy awesome-weird, so I had to include him!)

Anyway… those were cracking me up! I mean, E.T.?!?! Brilliant!

But to the REAL Zacchaeus… here’s his story:

 1Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.5When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”6Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.8Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”9Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:1-10

Geeeeeez.

Short. Rich. Weird name. Tough break for this guy.

Plus, what’s even worse is that it says in verse two that he was the chief tax collector and that he had gotten really rich… and man, there is not a whole lot that we like less than a RICH politician guy with a WEIRD name who is also SHORT. So, anyway, Zacchaeus was NOT well liked. Jewish people tended to really not like the people that were tax collectors.

Here’s a pretty good explanation as to why…

As a chief tax collector for the vicinity of Jericho, Zacchaeus was an employee of the Roman Empire. Under the Roman system, men bid on those positions, pledging to raise a certain amount of money. Anything they raised over that amount was their personal profit. Luke says Zacchaeus was a wealthy man, so he must have extorted a great deal from the people and encouraged his subordinates to do so as well. About.com

So, here’s this short dude, weird name, AND he’s basically conning people out of all of their money.

Zacchaeus is a bully.

And we reallllllllllllllllllllllly don’t like bullies.

But Jesus took the time to stop, call him by name, and talk to him… so he must be worth checking out. The thing that I think sticks out the most to us about Zacchaeus here is that he climbed a tree to see Jesus.

Did you pick up on that? He climbed. a. tree.

Like, a grown man. A politician type guy. Climbed a tree. To see some preacher dude.

Okay, that would be a little weird now… I mean, okay, I’m just going to go with THE politician everyone knows: Obama. I mean, he kinda has a weird name like Zacchaeus, so let your imagination stretch. Can you imagine if some super preacher, like Billy Graham, was walking through town and Obama heard about it and he was all like, “Oh dang. I can’t see him… I’ll just climb this tree.”

Uhhhhhhhh, weird.

And it was just as weird then. But ya know… Zacchaeus was willing to do something CUH.RAY.ZAY. to meet Jesus. He was willing to climb a tree to see him. To see if it was true. To see if all this awesome stuff that he was hearing about Jesus was true.

And I think that we have to remember this… because we see people do all sorts of crazy, stupid stuff sometimes, and we are all like “Ugh… they are just trying to get attention.”

And ya know what? Yeah… yeah they are.

They are trying to get the attention of Jesus… well, the only Jesus they know: You.

You are the walking, talking, representative of Jesus.

And they are being crazy because they want your attention. They want HIS attention, through YOU. They want HIS love, through YOU. They want HIS forgiveness, through YOU. But the only way they know how to get to Him… is to be crazy.

You see, most of us, it doesn’t matter if we are 4’6” or 6’4”… we feel that we fall short. Just like Zacchaeus. We feel that there is this… something… about us that makes SHORT. Too short to really see Jesus. Too SHORT for Jesus to see us.

And so people do crazy stuff to make themselves NOTICED.

Zacchaeus climbed a tree. Your friends act all drama-mama. Or they go do crazy stunts to get everyone’s attention. Or they monopolize the conversation. Or… whatever.

Thing is… Jesus NOTICED Zacchaeus. He called him by name. While he was up in a flipping tree!!! And then not only did he NOTICE Zacchaeus, but Jesus also became his friend… in front of everyone. Like, THE guy in town that no famous person would EVER want to befriend, and not only does Jesus befriend Zacchaeus but he also goes over to his house.

Now, I remember when I was in school, a lot of kids would use this as an example for “Hey, mom and dad, you say that I’m supposed to be like Jesus and well, according to the BIBLE, He went to this guy’s house for dinner… a notorious sinner! So, obviously, if Jesus were here today… then he would go to this drunken drug fest at Susie Q’s house this weekend just like he went to Zacchaeus’s house.”

Okay, yeah no. This chunk of scripture is NOT saying “Go to parties… go get drunk or high with those kids.” That’s what not it’s saying here. You gotta look at what this represents.

What Jesus did was to STEP OUT of what everyone THOUGHT he should do and he showed Zacchaeus love. Compassion. He made Zacchaeus worthy just by being with him.

And Jesus didn’t even require Zacchaeus to change or confess or become perfect BEFORE He befriended him… no. I mean, look… Jesus is all like “Zacchaeus… yo. I’m coming to your house.” There was no “Zacchaeus, Hi, my name is Jesus. Look, you’ve been a really bad dude. Tell me all the bad stuff you’ve done, tell me you feel guilty for everything, show that you can be different for a few months, and then IF you do all of that… THEN I’ll come over to your house.”

No. And I want all of you to hear this: Jesus doesn’t NEED you to be perfect or worthy BEFORE He will come over to your house… He doesn’t show up in your life because you are extra awesome… you BECOME extra awesome when He shows up in your life.

God doesn’t choose us for His work because we are worthy;
when He chooses us, we become worthy.

Paraphrase of a quote by Augustine

Okay, so the three things I want you to remember:

  1. Attention seekers: they just want to see JESUS in you.
  2.  Jesus doesn’t require change to be loved by Him: He requires your heart. Change will come.
  3. If we are going to BE Jesus then that means that we can’t require others/attention grabbers to be perfect either.

 {I didn’t script the prayer, but I thought I’d go ahead and end this post with a prayer…}

God, wow. Thank you… thank you for loving me no matter what. Thank you for loving me without me having to do a blooming thing. Thank you for just wanting my heart… despite the rotten condition it is in half the time. Thank you. I pray that you would help me to see some of the people around me that are obviously just trying to get attention… and I pray that you would transfer the feelings in my heart from those of annoyance to those of compassion and love and kindness. I pray that I would see them as you saw Zacchaeus: just a person, doing something crazy, trying to get your attention… trying to see you. I know that sometimes I do that… I stray from  you just hoping that you will come and fetch me. God, if you see me sitting far away from you, call me out by name. Call my name Jesus. TELL ME that you are coming to my house. Seek me out God. Seek us all out. Eat with us when no one else will. Infuse us with your worth… it is the only worth that matters. Oh thank you again God. For the ease with which you accept us all. I love you, Jesus. Amen.

 

Day 752: Never Too Far Gone

The good people over at Proverbs 31 Ministries shared this on their Facebook page this morning and I just had to pass it on. If there is any message we should think about moment by moment, it is this one.

You’ve never gone too far that God can’t redeem you, restore you, forgive you, and give you a second chance.
- Lysa Terkerst

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Day 699: Icemageddon (aka: Icepocalypse)

Well, Icemageddon hit Texas this week.

And it has all but shut. us. down.

Cause you see, here in Texas, we just don’t “do” ice and cold. It’s not that we’re snotty or too good for it or weak… it’s just that we so rarely have gotten ice in years past, that a few responses tend to happen:

a) When they say ice is coming we tend to ignore the weather anchor because whenever we seem to prepare for ice then instead of ice, we have a heat wave.

b) We are almost… amazed… at this copious precipitation coming out of the sky. I mean, gosh, we’ve been under “drought” warnings for the past few years.

c) We get so excited at the prospect of being “snowed” in like those places of lore that we buy out every ounce of food in the grocery stores and, as this Observer article says, “every time the weather media goons predict the end of the world, Dallas swims in homemade chili”. Ha! So true!

d) We are called in to work despite the fact that we have one truck to sand the roads for a whole town, half of us have never even seen snow chains for tires, and from what I have personally witnessed, most Dallasites can barely drive under normal conditions… add some slick roads to the mix and we are one big pile up.

And man, I was ready just like the rest of them… I ran into the store before it hit and loaded up on food for my family for the weekend (although I have learned the hard way that cold boys eat infinitely more than usual). I thought through activities to do with my kids since we wouldn’t be able to go outside as much. I made sure jackets, coats, gloves, and hats were at the ready. And first thing yesterday morning I cranked up the space heaters and got the fire going.

But you know what?

I forgot one thing.

And I feel terrible.

I forgot my mother’s ferns.

You see, my parents sold the “family farm” (not really a farm, but a house with a few acres) several months ago and are building a house in the “big city” (okay, not really the big city, but in a suburb of Dallas) and they are currently living in a condo with zero patio space for the progeny of my mother’s extremely green thumb. So, we were given the ferns to watch over.

Well. Yeah.

I forgot. I mean, I just plain forgot. I was so busy thinking of everything inside my house and my husband was in charge of the “outside” (meaning covering the exposed pipes that have kept us without water before during freezing conditions), so I just… didn’t think about them.

And then I went back and in a feeble attempt covered them up so that the last layer of ice wouldn’t get on them, but I’m pretty sure the deed is done.

The Covenant Diet - Icemageddon

As the ice begins to melt today, I will go outside and find them both to be just a pool of primordial sludge.

And ya know what?

My mom will totally understand.

Sure, she’ll be a little disappointed that her new beautiful patio won’t be adored by her two beautiful ferns, but it’s not like she’s gonna read this post and call me to say “Well, that’s it January. The final straw. You killed my ferns and so now we are done for. I am divorcing you as my daughter. Too bad you weren’t perfect.

But dang… isn’t that we expect for God to be?

Like, we stumble or slip or forget and we just are waiting for Him to say,

Well, that’s it January. The final straw. You ate a Hershey Kiss and so now we are done for. I am divorcing you as my daughter. Too bad you weren’t perfect.

And so what do we do whenever we slip up? So, often we RUN from Him.

Remember, just like Jonah.

Just like Adam and Eve.

Just like little kids.

We run.

We hide.

And so often we DIVE right into whatever it was that separated us.

“Oh dang it! I gave in and ate a Hershey Kiss! Well, I guess I should just spend the rest of the day (which often turns into the rest of the WEEK) eating the remainder of the Hershey Kisses… and a whole pizza… and a bag of Doritos…”

It’s like the equivalent of me being like “Oh, gosh, I ruined my mother’s ferns. I’m gonna just go ahead then and go over to her house and spray down all of her herb plants and trees and flowers with water so that they will freeze over and ruin as well.”

RIDICULOUS.

But that is just how we respond when we “mess up”.

And you know what the best part about messing up with God? You don’t HAVE to make things right. Like, I don’t HAVE to go buy my mother new ferns the same size in order to make it up to her. She loves me. The end. Ferns or no ferns.

And I don’t HAVE to do a Daniel Fast for 21 days to “make it up” to Him. He loves me. The end. Hershey Kiss or no Hershey Kiss.

AND THEN what is even MORE AWESOME about God (and my mom) is that He will give me another chance just like in a few years if my mom needs me to babysit her ferns, she would probably ask me again even though I all but vaporized these.

Okay, so blah blah blah… what am I saying?

I guess it’s what I keep on saying to myself and to you guys over and over and over again…

Don’t.

Give.

Up.

Even when you mess up. Even when you “do wrong”. Even when you aren’t perfect.

Don’t.

Give.

Up.

Because…

At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

So…

Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Day 633: Re-Imaging

One of my favorite parts of this whole blogging experience is the pictures. Some of them are just personal snaps I take on my phone (like from my birthday yesterday on Day 632) and some are pics I take and then infuse them with scripture or a quote. It’s really cool – I’m not an artist but I can use an app and convey some kind of truth or encouragement visually!

Recently, when I was working on Day 626: New and Free, I made this image…

go and sin no more

I loved it. It was so powerful to me.

And just as I was about to hit publish, my eyes glanced up at the text to which I was referring:

Your sins are forgiven.
Go.
And sin no more.

I suddenly realized that I had completely focused on the second half and forgotten the first.

And the most important part.

Your sins are forgiven.

And aren’t we like that with ourselves? We forget the MERCY and GRACE of Christ and go right to “DON’T DO IT ANYMORE.”

So, I re-did the image and used the new one instead

your sins have been forgiven go and sin no more

And I liked it so much better! For two reasons.

It was so much coooler looking to me!

And it was the full story of how Christ speaks to me. to all of us.

It’s the combo deal that we can get from Him. Forgiveness and Hope in a better future. Forgiveness of whatever we were in the past but also Hope that we can still have that full and abundant life that He offers.

So friends, really zone in on that today.

Your sins are forgiven.
Go.
And sin no more.

Day 626: New And Free

Throughout the past several months, I have been totally down on myself about not living “up” to the covenant.

Seriously, if I’m going to be honest, it’d be more like for the past 8 or 9 months (pretty much ever since I tried sugar again) because I just haven’t been able to overcome temptation like I did last year.

And so, of course, that had to be all my fault.

God is good.

I’m bad.

Stop being bad.

That’s pretty much how I felt.

But ya know… that is THE. TOTAL. OPPOSITE. of what this is about. It’s the total opposite of what God is about.

You see, He is looking forward to the new me. He is looking forward to the free me.

And… here’s the kicker that I so often ignore… He is CURRENTLY MAKING me into the NEW, FREE me.

I forget that.

I often think that I have to be perfect now.

I don’t.

I don’t ever have to be perfect.

Because His Son, Jesus Christ, is perfect.

And He will take care of all of my imperfections when he stands with me as I face God who will be ready to make me account for all the rights and wrongs I did in life.

So, now all I am called… is to be in Christ. I do my best because I love Him.

But ya know what He does when I sin. He doesn’t throw stones at me. He doesn’t tell me everything I’ve done wrong before He tells me everything I’ve done right.

You know what He does for me? For you?

He bends down to me.

Wipes the dust off of my face.

He says, Your sins are forgiven.

Go.

And sin no more.

your sins have been forgiven go and sin no more

Day 527: Repetitive Rescue

psalm 91.14-16 verse

Over the past few months, I have found that I have tried to do a lot of this “dieting” thing on my own.

Not sure why… I mean, it’s not like the whole “doing it on my own” was working for me before, but whatev. I guess I just slowly let my pride or something override my willingness to follow God and utilize His Power and His Help.

After reading Made To Crave (well, I read the first half of it and then I had to return it to the library), I just kept remembering her referring, multiple times, to times when she would go into her bathroom or closet or something and cry out in prayer to God. And I sorta realized that I wasn’t really doing that when I was hitting struggles or temptations. So, this morning, knowing that I just HAD to get back on His Path, I started to just very, very simply pray…

God, help me.

And ya know what… I think He heard me.

Yeah… sorry, that was a bit of sarcasm.

I know He heard me.

I was able (not necessarily easily) to turn away from everything that was against my covenant with Him. But I’m gonna tell you that I’d probably said “God, help me” about 57 times before breakfast. Honestly though… it doesn’t matter to me how many times I had to say it! He was there. So…

POSITIVITY: I am heard.

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

PRAYER:

God, I have one of those step by step prayers for you today.

First of all, forgive me please God. Forgive me for turning from You and relying solely upon myself. Forgive me for breaking covenant with You time and time again… willfully. deliberately. pridefully.

And thank you God for your forgiveness and mercy and unconditional love and second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc. changes.

With that being said, thank you for listening to me. hearing me. rescuing me. rewarding me.

And with THAT being said, God… help me. Please keep helping me. Draw me closer to you.

Amen.

Day 332: Sin Speaks

Sometimes I come against a road block spiritually.

Okay, okay…

A lot of times I come up against a road block spiritually.

There can be lots of reasons for it, I guess. Satan. Lethargy. Business. Anger. Denial.

Sin.

And I oftentimes want alllll those other things to be the reason… but sin? No. Not sin. I don’t even want to evaluate that as the reason. I often don’t want to admit that it’s even happening.

And today I came across these verses in Jeremiah. And I really liked verse 3 about calling to God and He’ll reveal things. And I really liked verses 6-9 about how He will make everything happy and prosperous and peaceful.

Butttttt I sorta wanted to just skip over verses 4 and 5. Cause they just aren’t as nice. happy. encouraging. friendly. feel-good.

And yet I must remind myself that verses 4 and 5 are just as much Truth as verses 6-9.

“This is what the Lord says—the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord: Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.

(verses 4 and 5) For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: You have torn down the houses of this city and even the king’s palace to get materials to strengthen the walls against the siege ramps and swords of the enemy. You expect to fight the Babylonians, but the men of this city are already as good as dead, for I have determined to destroy them in my terrible anger. I have abandoned them because of all their wickedness.

“Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them.

Jeremiah 33:2-9

And oh the sins I could list here.

Of course, gluttony has reared its ugly head one or two times of late. Pride. Selfishness. Slander. Not honoring the sabbath.

The list could go on.

But I am reminded today of when God says He’ll heal us…

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.2 Chronicles 7:13-14

So first I gotta:
• humble myself
• pray
• seek His Face
• turn from my sins

And so I might as well start now. And start with gluttony.

God, You are the One in control. You know my sins and yet you are The Forgiver. You are my righteousness. You are there.

My sin is… embarrassing, God. With all your power, your love, your peace, your comfort, your guidance… still I turn to the world for those things. I am… just… human. Please forgive me.

I look to You in your perfection. But I also turn to you because you want me to be… good. You want me to experience… good. blessings. righteousness. I look to You, God, for power. for hope. for refinement. Only you can change me. Mold me back into your image God. Make me… the inner me… radiate You.

God, I want to turn from my sin of gluttony. Help me Lord to turn to You for all of my needs, needs of my soul and needs of the body. Help me God… make me willing to obey. Purify and refine me.

You are the only One who can.

Amen.

Day 240: Snack Attack

Here recently I have been realizing that I am snackie, snackie, snackie. I snack all afternoon and oftentimes up until dinner and then I snack a bit after dinner.

It’s becoming too much of a habit again… eating for the sake of eating. eating when I’m not hungry. eating. eating. eating.

So I’m thinking that I might try a new kind of fast for a few weeks… not a food-specific fast but a fast based on the timing of when I eat. I’m thinking of making a covenant-fast to not snack. To switch that into “positive lingo”, I’m making a covenant-fast to only eat my meals.

I can’t really put a time on it (like the no-eating-after-7pm thing) because my life does not fit into scheduled eating. I might eat breakfast with the boys at 8:00 or I might not eat a banana for breakfast until 10:00 when our morning has finally settled down. Lunch is the same. Sometimes my toddler won’t eat unless I sit with him at 11:00 and sometimes I take that moment of him sitting in one place (note: I did not say “sitting still“! Ha!) to unload the dishwasher or unload the dryer so I might not eat until after I have put him down for nap and after I have prayed… around 1:30.

But. I almost always have a sit down “meal” even if it’s small. But lately I have found myself full already every time I sit down to have a meal because of all the snacking I do up until meal time. Sometimes I just don’t eat my “meal” then and sometimes I eat anyway even though I am not hungry (boo!).

So, all of that to say that snacking is starting to become an obvious problem. And… one thing I have learned is that if there is some kind of problem with food, I have to immediately do some kind of sacrifice for God… to refocus on God… to get myself “right” with God.

So, starting today, here is my new three-week covenant fast:

God, I praise you because you are my healer. I praise you because you are my righteousness. I praise you because you forgive. you restore. you are hope. It is in the spirit of all these things that I give a portion of my freedom over to You so that I might become reacquainted with freedom. I covenant to you that for three weeks I will only eat my meals. I will not eat snacks in between meals, while preparing meals, while cleaning up after meals. God, you have revealed an area of eating that is still lost to lust and desire… snacking. I pray that you help me get rid of this sin within me over these next few weeks and draw my heart to you… closer to you… into you during those times. You are faithful God. I thank you for continuing to point out anything in me that offends you,
and leading me along the path of everlasting life. Amen.

Psalm 139:24

Day Forty-Three: Obedience Is Bliss

(FYI: I am writing this on the evening of February 21st around 9:10pm. It was a post that I needed to write immediately before the awesomeness of it wore off, but since I already posted for day forty-two then I’m scheduling it to post on day forty-three.)

I had a blunder tonight.

Hmmmmmm, perhaps that is putting it lightly. Perhaps that is me not choosing the right word. Perhaps that is me trying to go easy on myself. I’m going to try again.

I broke the covenant tonight.

Yep. Broke it. Shattered it. Demolished it.

Cause that’s what happens to an agreement when one side “breaks” their oath… their bond. The “agreement” is null. void. pointless. non-existent.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop being over dramatic (not that me being over dramatic is a shocker to anyone who knows me). Here’s what happened: I planned a nice meal for us and I even reveled in it during day forty-two’s post: potato and carrots in an onion sauce, baked apples, and a salad. Only, let me just tell you that the baked apples weren’t so much just “baked apples”. It was a Baked Apple Crisp. And I think that any foodie out there is well aware that a Baked Apple Crisp has quite a lot of brown sugar in it.

At dinner, I did a great job of not eating everything on my plate (cause I had gotten an old-me-sized portion… as in, a big ol’ honkin serving). So I stopped when I felt a little bit of pressure. I only ate a few bites of the apple crisp. And that was that. It would have been a perfect evening… except I left out the remains of my meal while I bathed the boys. And then afterwards I came in and ate a few more bites even though I was not hungry. And then after I got both boys down, I snuck (and yes, I say snuck because I walked down the hallway extra quietly so that my husband wouldn’t know that I was finished putting down my oldest) into the kitchen and started chowing down on the leftovers in the baking dish. Oh my gosh. Sooooooo good.

And then… the war began.

Stop!!! January, stop! This is not right. This is breaking the covenant. This is gluttony. This is not what God wants. It’s not what you want. Yes it is… are you kidding me, this is flour and sugar and butter and more sugar. Why would I not want this? Why would God not want this? It’s not gluttony… it’s just enjoying good food. It’s not really breaking the covenant, I mean, it’s got apples in it for crying out loud! This is fine. I don’t need to stop. January. Stop. Think about tonight. Think about five minutes from now. Think about tomorrow. Stop. I. can’t. stop. It’s too good. I. can’t. stop.

And then the moment that I have been hoping for these past forty-two days… here was my next thought…

God, make me willing to obey.

And it worked!

It’s was almost as if my fork was stuck in the next apple. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to disobey. I wanted to obey. I wanted to be willing to obey. I was going to obey.

And I will admit that I broke into tears at that moment. Because God is so great. Forty-two days in and He is greater than I imagined He could be. His Word… that one verse from just one day… written on my heart… swooped in and connected me to God in a way that saved me. And I stood in that kitchen by myself and raised my hands in thanks to the Almighty Of The Universe for His mercy. His compassion. His adoration. His Love. His help. His salvation.

And I knew that immediately I had to come sit down at this computer and write this post.

THIS post is totally going to be one of my memorial stones. I have been wondering what I could do… well, here was a moment where I needed to cross a river and God dried up the water so that I could pass… and here is a stone that I am picking up to remember that He is faithful and He is just to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all of my wrongdoing and wickedness.

Today has been the best day of my covenant experience… which is SO JESUS… because today is the day that I broke the covenant and therefore should have been my worst day. Today though… today was mercy at its best. And hope at its best. And forgiveness. And all things new. Because today He lifted me from the pit and He “turned my wailing into dancing; He removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing His praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise Him forever.” Psalm 30:11-12

Read your bible peeps. Read it. And you will. be. changed.

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