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 300: Almond Joy

Ahhhhhh, day 300. Now, I’m not so hot at math but I know that if I am on day 300 and there are 365 days in the year, THEN I have less than 100 days left. (How’s that for a word problem??? My 4th grade teacher would be so proud! Ha!)

And still my journey is rocky and rough at times. Although, I continue to grow and discover why it is rough and rocky. And so I consider myself “well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.Philippians 3:12

I laugh at myself a bit here as I look back at the first sentence of that last paragraph… “And still my journey is rocky and rough at times.” This is true, but when I think back on the grief and weight (both literal and spiritual) of last year… it is so. much. better.

And it is honestly exciting to think, as I come closer to starting in on year two, how it will be THAT much better next year on day 300!

Thinking about that made me want to find a verse, and I was looking for a verse about the future and had seen Ecclesiastes 9:4There is hope only for the living.” And then I kept reading and I came across verse 7: “Go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this!” (Ecclesiasties 9:7)

I was kinda like… eat my food with joy!?!?! Hmmmm, ya know, this focus on weight and weight loss, this struggle with gluttony and food-greed, the lack of self-control and discipline with food, and the ill-placed comfort from food… it has stolen this opportunity for finding joy in my food. Food is the enemy. Like this sign I saw recently at my retreat…

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All we think about anymore with food is how it will affect our rear end or our thighs or that flabby stuff under our arms. We think about if it is off-limits or allowed and then we pine after those things that are off-limits or, worse, we give in to the off-limits food and then have to endure the guilt and shame, failure, and inadequacy. We find ourselves enveloped in despair and hopelessness. All of these things… because of FOOD. Oh these words are a far-cry from eating with joy.

But, now, as I sit here, I am able to happily, joyfully snack on almonds and raisins. Why? Because for 300 days I have been freed from the guilt of food, the shame, the failure, and inadequacy. I’m not saying that I am totally free of food… but oh so much closer just to have a freedom from sugar-food. It’s certainly a step in the right direction!!! I can look at a plate of brownies and know that I don’t need to despair… that it is not hopeless… that Christ has given me power and strength… and oh what a joy that is!!!