Day 765: Why I Really, Truly, Honestly Started The 7 Fast

Supposedly.

I’m supposed to be a Pinterest Perfect mother.
I’m supposed to run 5 times a week.
I’m supposed to cook gourmet cuisine every night in my kitchen.
I’m supposed to volunteer at my kids’ schools every week.
I’m supposed to write and manage a fun, trendy, cute blog.
I’m supposed to keep my figure slim and rocket hot.
I’m supposed to…
I’m supposed to…

I’m supposed to.

Most of the time I’m an open book about the things that I’m not doing that I am “supposed” to be doing. I mean, we live in an awesome age where it’s okay, even cool, to be “real”. And that’s the whole reason I created this blog… was to be real with myself and my family and my friends about what I was eating.

But ya know what happened?

My blog got kinda popular.
I started to get, like, a lot of followers.
It felt like people around me were… watching.
Watching and waiting for me to mess up.

And I felt the need to keep up this “everything is great” face sometimes… because otherwise people might not still “believe” in my blog, or they might think I was an internet fake, or… or… or…

But then I gained twenty pounds… in five months.

And I’ll tell ya. You can fake a lot of things but you can’t hide weight gain. Oh, the shame I started to feel. I was like Icarus… I flew so high but now I was falling back down to earth. I was gaining it all back. And fast. I started to decline invitations to go places. I started to search for leggings and long flowy tops to at least attempt to hide it.

And ya know, gaining weight back: it was supposed to really motivate me to get a hold of things, to really buckle down, to make myself change.

And ya know, it kind of did. I started to focus more on balance in my life. I would allow myself to eat a bite of chocolate here or there. I wouldn’t let a binge get me down.

I was starting to feel a bit of peace about this whole food thing.

But then I decided to read this book called 7 (which is awesome and before we go any further allow me to explicitly state: I am not bashing the book) and the first month you do a fast. I chose to only eat the 7 foods (well, I chose ten actually) that Jen Hatmaker ate.

Well, in anticipation of going on this fast, I did what every person would do who struggles with food and binge eating…

I ate everything in the house.

If it was sugar, I wanted it. If it was pizza, I devoured it. If it was bread, or pasta, or a burger, or tacos, or fast food… I was going to get it.

So, realizing that if I kept this up for another week I’d gain another ten pounds, I got all gung ho and started the fast a week early. The first week was awesome! {See my rosy-cheeked post about it on Day 749}

But it backfired.

I started to make a bunch of little allowances (“Oh, I can eat carrots because they’re healthy” and “Well, I can’t say ‘no’ to a piece of cake at Nanny’s house) and then it just sorta crumbled and turned into me saying “Why still fake it? I’m not doing the fast at all anyway.” which turned into “Well, if I’m not fasting then I’m just going to binge, binge, binge.”

Cause I can’t control this.
Cause I’m out of control.
Cause something is wrong with me.

That’s how I felt.

And why?

Why did it all fall apart on me?

Because… I didn’t do that first month of the 7 Fast for God. I didn’t do it to help me understand better the plight of the poor. I didn’t do it for anyone other than myself.

{Alert: Confession coming…}

I did the fast to lose weight.

All because of this one little phrase in Hatmaker’s book from Day 21…

“Do you know what happened this month? After eating only whole foods and virtually no fast food, my pants are falling off.”

I remember almost being disappointed when I read it because I knew… I knew instantly that my motivation had changed from desiring to focus on Him to desiring to focus on me and finally getting my re-gained weight off.

And that simply wasn’t enough of a motivator to keep me going. Doing a fast, under the pretense of doing it to get closer to Jesus, so that I could lose weight? Ick. It just felt wrong…

So, needless to say. I just stopped. I realized that going through the cycle was just making me sicker and sicker emotionally and mentally and spiritually. Best to stop the fast than to be sick at heart.

And stopping allowed me to look again at my motivation… and to see yet another connection in this journey. I think I’m starting to realize what is sabotaging me. What is ruining me.

But… that’s a post for another day.

{I know, sorry… that was just the worst and meanest “cliff hanger” ever! But honestly it mainly because this post is already reallllllly long and that post is gonna take another chunk of time! Look for it… realistically, on Monday!}

I’m not sure that this post is really spiritually helpful for anyone else, but in a way, I think this part of my journey will prove to be integral to my eventual healing and I wanted it documented. So, thanks for indulging me!

Day 759: A Prayer

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God,

I feel this struggle with food pulling me… toward some epiphany about You, your power, your plan.

But, honestly, this whole experience hurts and I’m tired. I just want to give up and try a bunch of short cuts to just lose weight. I just want to be skinny, fit into my clothes, and never worry about food or fight with food or lust for food.

So I come to You.

Oh God- Refresh me. Renew me. Give me a fresh and new purpose and passion to care for this body you’ve given me. Help me remember that it is an honor to You when I honor my body.

And please God, give me wisdom. Whisper in my ear what to do, which way to go. Guide me to information that will help me overcome. Light it up in my heart so that I might become determined and disciplined once more.

I know that You always have great, amazing and sometimes shocking plans and I know that I often don’t see the entirety of your plan. Help me to walk in faith and know that even through this struggle you are working a miracle of faith in my heart, that you are laying a path for a future prosperity in my soul, that you are doing something purposeful.

God, I love you. I trust you. I believe you.

I will wait.

Give me patience to wait on You and Your plan.

Amen.

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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 751: I’m A User, Baby

I’m on day four of my 7 Fast, and I just have to confess that I am really, oddly enough, enjoying it. It’s so… simple. There’s not a lot to think about in regards to food.  So, as I looked at my list I thought about Jen Hatmaker‘s thoughts in the book, 7, as she embarked upon only eating 7 foods for a month. She just went on and on about food.

I mean, she didn’t really veil it.

Jen Hatmaker loves food.

I said to myself, “Yeah. I love food too.”

But then I really thought about it: No. Actually, I don’t ‘love’ food. I mean, I enjoy it but I don’t like cooking. I enjoy going out to eat, but it’s not like a “have to”. I could eat Chick-fil-a every day of the week for every meal and not get bored. Peanut butter and jelly for lunch every single flipping day? No prob here. Now, chocolate, I really do love a good, decadent piece of chocolate. But food… it’s whatev.

So why in the heck do I eat so much of it?!?!?

Because. I don’t love food.

I use food.

The Covenant Diet - I'm A User, Baby

Photo cred: LegalJuice.com

I use it to nourish myself, sure. But I use it for a gazillion different reasons too.

I use food to comfort myself.
I use food to procrastinate doing chores.
I use food to give myself a treat.
I use food to make me feel better when I’m sick.
I use food when I’m bored.
I use food to help me forget.
I use food to escape.
I use food.

And I am reminded that this is the entire goal of this journey. Not to lose weight. Not to be healthy. The goal of this journey is to switch from using food for all of those things and to start using God instead.

God, when I open my life like a book, I see all the areas where there are small holes designed to perfectly fit you inside. But I see that I have filled those empty spots with food. And it’s so ingrained in my daily way of life that I’m having difficulty throwing out the food and replacing it with You. Help me, God. Help me to throw all of my energy into focusing on You. into using You to fill the emptiness inside of me. You are the only one that can and You are the only one that I want to. Amen.

Day 745: I Am Just Like Justin Bieber

I’m not so sure that I would recognize Justin Bieber’s voice or one of his songs if it came on the radio right now.

I really think I only knew even a little about him because my husband teaches guitar and sometimes sweet precious little preteens come in wanting to cover their favorite song.

Admittedly, I even misspelled his name just now as Beiber (shoulda remembered my i before e rule).

But whenever his name started to splash across my facebook about his arrest and his mug shot, I have to admit that I felt terrible for him.

Uhhhhhh, but January, he has, like millions of dollars. Why on earth would you feel sorry for someone who has millions of dollars???

I know.

I know.

Maybe it’s the perpetual high school teacher in me. Maybe it was Jon Acuff’s post about him yesterday. Maybe it’s just that when I look at his mug shot I see a kid… a kid.

Justin Bieber Mug ShotI mean, only a kid wouldn’t know to NOT smile in a mug shot. But look at him in his profile shot. I mean, if that were your kid… he looks so… gosh, I don’t even know the word for that expression. Lost? Confused? Hurt? Terrified?

Empty.

But when I read this article in The Atlantic this morning, I felt like I understood that kid in a new way. And it was just in this one sentence:

They can’t mess up.

Gosh.

That’s it.

I mean, really… think about it for a sec. Don’t you ever feel that way? feel that pressure? Have you ever told yourself, “I can’t. I just can’t mess up. I just cannot go wrong again.”

It starts to crush your soul a little bit each time you have to say it to yourself.

And then it obliterates a part of you whenever you fail yourself… again.

And you and I don’t have the paparazzi watching and photographing and videoing our every. single. move. Documenting every mess up. every slip. every time we simply just didn’t meet someone else’s standard. We don’t have exec’s whose billion dollar enterprise hangs on our every moment.

Can we even imagine that life?

So often that’s how we feel about God. We have this weird idea that He’s up in heaven just ticking away each mess up. Filing away a pic of every time we sin. Shaking His holy head and pursing His lips saying “Why should I even be surprised?”

But here’s the deal…

He’s not doing that.

God is not the paparazzi hoping that you’ll make a mistake. God isn’t even like your agent who needs you to do it all perfect so that you keep your status. God is like a perfect parent… He just wants to love you, to be with you, to help you up when you stumble, to guide you to make decisions that will help you feel at peace and content with this world.

So, even though it seems weird, we are all like Justin Bieber: we don’t WANT to mess up. we think we CAN’T mess up. but we DO mess up.

But we don’t have to respond the same way. Because our God: His plan doesn’t hinge on our actions. His salvation for us doesn’t depend upon our success. His love has nothing to do with how well we sing, dance, talk, or act.

He truly loves us just as we are.

And He loves us just as much despite all that we aren’t.

Day 738: Every Day, In Every Way

Day 738 The Covenant Diet - Every Day, In Every Way

My son has a ptosis on his right eyelid. He’s had it since birth and the doctors said it might just resolve on its own but it hasn’t.

Honestly, I hardly even notice it anymore.

It’s not super severe, but it’s there.

He never really noticed it until lately. I mean, he’d say: “One of my eyes is sleepy” and then he’d move on to build something amazing with his Legos, but that was really it. No biggie.

Until.

Until he went to school.

And wow – other kids were really keen to point it out. Not maliciously, but just “Hey! One of your eyes is closed!” He would just shrug at first and say “Yeah. I was born that way.” He handled it so well. Again, no biggie.

But recently he has become very aware of it and whereas before he wouldn’t let us even discuss the idea of surgery, now he is the one asking for it. {He’s going to have to have surgery because it is affecting his vision.}

And last night on the way home from church he said, “Mom! Please, can we just go get my eye fixed tomorrow? Cause, like, everyone is making fun of it and I just want it fixed.”

I wanted to sit down with him and say, “Oh man. I get ya. I get it. But I promise that even though we’ll get that eye fixed, kids are gonna find something else. They always find something else.” But I decided that was a bit too “mature” of a response for him. So, I said,

I understand that you want it fixed and that it hurts your feelings when others tease you. I’m really sorry for all of that. Ya know, when I was younger, people used to tease me about something too.

What? What did they tease you about?

My hair. My very, big curly hair.

But I like your big hair.

Yeah, me too. But it’s wasn’t “normal” and so kids teased me about it. But know what I learned? I learned first of all that Jesus loves me, all of me, big hair and all.

{My son then pointed out that I also have a big belly and that sometimes people make fun of people with big bellies. Yeah. Thanks dude.}

And I also learned that it didn’t matter what was on the outside… my big hair or my big belly… because what was on the inside was more important: that I am fun, that I love to laugh, that I am nice to people no matter what, that Jesus loves me all the time, every day, in every way.

{He then pointed out that I am fun but that I am not very good at Mario. Okay, well, I’ll give him that one. I am not very good at Mario. Like… at all. And this is a serious hit on my level of “coolness” in our house.}

And later that night I thought about our little conversation. I was trying to decide if I had gotten anything into his soul about the truth of what he should think about himself. But I couldn’t make myself think of him: I just kept talking to myself… about myself.

January, do you really believe that? Do you really believe that it doesn’t matter what is on the outside? When you looked in the mirror before church tonight and cursed the fates because you were wearing your “fat jeans” and you still had a roll sticking out over the top – it mattered to you. It mattered what was on the outside.

I had to answer myself: Yes. Yes. It does matter. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to totally make it NOT matter on this side of heaven. But what a great reminder that it’s not what matters to Jesus. Not saying that He doesn’t want me to take care of my body, and not saying that He doesn’t care about what I care about, but that just that He… He loves me.

He loves me.

He loves you.

All the time.

Every day.

In every way.

So just stop. Stop for a second right now. Stop and close your eyes and whisper His name. Whisper the name of Jesus.

Jesus… fill me with Your Love right now. I want to feel Your Love. I need to feel it. I need to know that when you see me, you just see the core of me. I need to know that in your mind, your gaze pierces through to the heart of me. I need to know that in your mind, your gaze burns through the mistakes, through the fears, through the facades, and that it just sees me: Your daughter. Your wonderful, beautiful, lovely daughter. Remind me today Jesus. Remind me to whisper Your Name. Remind me to push past all that is temporary when I look at myself and to see me as you see me. Remind me to love myself the way You love me: all the time. every day. in every way.

Day 735: It Was My Husband’s Idea

A few weeks back my husband mentioned that he’d read somewhere that it was good to eat 8 meals a day.

I gave him that Are you kidding me? look, because I mean, come on… I eat 8 meals a day and gain twenty pounds.

{Of course, let’s not bring up the fact that five out of those eight meals consisted of cookie dough and Hershey kisses.}

But I totally blew him off.

Until I started thinking about Steven Furtik’s new years messages from last year and just the phrase “Change the way we change” kept popping into my head, so I thought that I’d give it a go. Cause I’ve never done that whole 8-meals a day thing even though it’s totally “cool” with the whole nutritionists clan (which is probably part of the reason I didn’t want to do it… it’s a pride thing, but that’s for another blog). But ya know, I knew it would validate my sweet husband a little that I would try his idea and at the same time showing him that I would instantly blow up into a huge blimp.

Only.

Yeah… that didn’t happen.

I loved it.

Cause eating eight meals a day (well, I actually usually only eat six or seven but that is more than the “traditional” three) is awesome. You get to eat, like, all day long. Which is exactly what I was doing before only it was wayyyyyyyy less on purpose and with wayyyyyyyy more overeating and with wayyyyyyy more junk food!

Eight meals a day is like a dream come true for an overeater!

Cause what do we do normally? Well, we eat all day. So what we are doing here is still eating all day, but now we are focusing on our portion control and our hungry cues and smart eating.

It’s purposeful.
It’s fulfilling.
It’s easy.
It fits with any diet!

Okay, honestly, I’m gonna let you look up the science behind it (if you want). I haven’t read any of the science, but I do know that I get hungry about every two hours (if I’m eating smaller portions) soooooooooo, that’s basically my rule of thumb. Since I don’t have a hard and fast schedule like someone might in the traditional workplace, I go by when I ate last. For example, here’s what I might eat in a day:

  • 6:00am – tea with milk, if already hungry, I have a piece of Ezekiel 4:9 toast
  • 8:00am – apple with another cup of tea (or the toast if I didn’t eat at 6:00)
  • 10:00am – small bowl of granola and milk
  • 12:00pm – salad, split in two
  • 2:00pm – salad, the other half
  • 4:00pm – banana
  • 6:00pm – black beans and rice, split in two
  • 8:00pm – (tends to be optional for me) the rest of my black beans and rice (or I usually have a cup of tea)

Okay, I know what you’re thinking:

Uhhhhhhhhh, Rowe. A banana??? Yeah, that is NOT a meal.

Tell me about it.

But I think it’s a meal in the sense that you are stopping what you are doing to eat. I am being deliberate about preparing something for myself. Deliberate about stopping and making food happen. So, if you want to call it three meals and planned out snacks… that’s fine. But “eight meals a day” was just easier to say! (Ha!)

One other caveat that I’d add: I’ve been tracking calories. I know, I know… I always said that I hated it (and I promise to always have at least some mild distaste for the process), but I started doing it because I realized that I needed some accountability and some retraining, so I found this app where other people can see my “food diary”. I’m not like crazy about the calories but it is helping me to get a better understanding of my portions. Like, I always mocked the portion sizes on, for example, cereal boxes… but actually if I’m eating smaller portions (more frequently) then it’s actually perfect. Tracking is keeping me from dumping as much salad dressing on my salad. It’s helped me to know that while broccoli and squash and stuff like that isn’t “free”, it is certainly a great way to “foof” up a meal that would have otherwise been plain.

I know this isn’t a very Jesusy post (but the last few have been pretty spiritual if you need some Jesus: Day 734, Day 730, Day 729, and Day 728), but it’s something that is helping me along my journey from gluttonous to glorious, so I just thought I’d share some of the nitty gritty!

Day 720: Remember That Time I Had A Diet Blog And Then Gained Weight???

Well, ya know how it’s not real cool to tell everyone on your diet blog that you’ve gained weight? Cause it doesn’t exactly foster “confidence” in what you are doing. Especially after you’ve had all these articles written and been interviewed for an article in The Atlantic. Yeah, gaining weight would be a totally lame thing to admit to.

But, well, I’m all about being totally open and “transparent” (that’s the new trendy Christian buzz word for “being real” right now, isn’t it?). So, I’m going to tell you that I’ve gained weight.

Only, it’s not pretty. It’s not like, “Oh, I’ve put on the Christmas 5″ or anything cute like that.

Nope, I weighed myself in August and then I weighed myself again this weekend knowing that it would be more but secretly hoping it wouldn’t be. And oh, boy howdy, it was most certainly more.

TWENTY POUNDS MORE.

Since August, people.

Uhhhhhhhhh, yeah. That’s not good.

Not. good. at. all.

So, of course, like I used to do when I weighed myself (and I haven’t weighed myself since Day 118: Trippin), I spiraled into a pit of despair and self-loathing.

Ahhhhhhhh, the life of someone who struggles with weight and eating issues.

But honestly, it didn’t surprise me. I’ve been three-day dieting for months now. You know what I’m talking about…

Monday: I’m so hard core! This is so great to be eating healthy! I feel awesome! No more sugar or bread foreverrrrrr!
Tuesday: Yeah! I’ve still got it. This time… this time is different! This time I’m gonna do it!
Wednesday: Uhhhhhhhhh… why the HECK did my husband’s client send him a box of PREMIUM chocolates?!?!?
Thursday: {Nom Nom Nom on aforementioned box of chocolates}
Friday: Since the box of chocolates is all gone, eat a bag of tortillas because it’s really the only bread in the house. I mean, might as well… cause I ate like a pig yesterday.
Saturday: Self-loathing is at its peak… perhaps sneak into the kids Christmas stocking candy. How much is is that Plexus stuff???
Sunday: Admit defeat, decide you CAN do it this time… tomorrow is the day! Soooo, gotta eat the rest of the Christmas cookies to, ya know, clear the house of their evil.
Monday: Repeat. previous. week. all. over. again. and then again. and then again.

But I’m also going to tell you a very, very important thing…

I’M. NOT. GIVING. UP.

Did I want to order Plexus immediately? Yes. Did I contemplate getting a job just to get me out of my house and away from food? Yes. Did my husband talk me down from doing both of those things? Yes.

Cause here’s the deal: Plexus is an easy fix for me but I know… I know… that it won’t solve my problem. I may not have an eating disorder (or heck, I might… I’ll let my bestie determine that… ironically, she’s a psychologist for all that stuff) but I do know that I have some disordered eating habits.

And that has got to change.

So, to change… I’ve got to make some changes.

Honestly, there are several posts coming up on that this week: changing the way we change, incorporating systems into my life to help with this cuh.ray.zay. weight gain, and most importantly, making deliberately sure that Jesus is more of my DAILY life.

I wanted to write it all here right now, but then this post would be a gazillion words long. So, I’m forcing myself to spread it out over a few days. And, well, if you’ve read this far then hopefully that means that you’ll be on this journey with me… continue on this journey with me, despite the fact that I’ve put on some poundage and because of the fact that God’s changes are on His own timing, but people… HIS CHANGES are oh. so. glorious.

So, here I go. Still journeying on that path from gluttonous… to glorious!

Day 710: I’m Just Gonna Say It… Sugar. Is. A. Drug.

I taught middle school and high school long enough to know a little bit about drugs.

I didn’t use drugs when I was in school so I don’t really have any personal experience, but all it takes is a few days where you let the kids talk and work on a project or something in class and WOW. You will learn a LOT about what is going on in their personal lives.

Wayyyyyyy more than you ever wanted to know in a lot of cases.

And I’ve counseled kids through deciding to go to rehab, telling their parents, getting busted, etc. It is a terrible, terrible road to be on when you are a child of 14 or 15.

{Now go ahead and take a minute if you need to get all political or anti-capitalist or whatever it is you do or think when you see someone talking about kids and drugs and school and America… and then, stop. Stop all of that and take a second to just pray for all these kids that are already getting wrapped up in the world of drugs that has the potential to utterly and completely ruin their hopes, their families, their lives.}

So, I’ve heard a ton of them say that they went to a few parties (or even just one) and drank some beer and then they went to a few more parties (or even just one) and they smoked a few cigarettes and then they went to a few parties (or even just one) and they smoked some pot and then they went to a few more parties (or even just one) and they smoked some crack or whatever “hard-core” drug was there.

And, after the fact, you know what I’ve heard them lament?

Not the crack.

Not the pot.

Not the cigarette.

Not the beer.

The party.

Seriously.

It’s the PARTY that they regret.

Because you know what they say… “If only I hadn’t gone to that first party. That was the thing that let everyone know that I was open to whatever.”

And gosh, don’t we, as sugar addicts have the same story. “Oh, I was doing so well until Icemageddon hit.” or “I had lost 10 pounds but then Halloween rolled around.” or what is coming up, “I really want to lose weight for Christmas when I see my whole family.” and then we proceed to eat our weight in Christmas colored Hershey Kisses.

Now, listen.

I’m not saying that sugar and drugs are the same thing.

Wait.

Ya know what? I’m gonna go ahead and say it.

Sugar. is. a. drug.

Look… there’s even been some studies done recently that are “lending support to the hypothesis that high-fat/ high sugar foods can be thought of as addictive”.

Seriously people.

That’s disturbing to me.

When I read that, it contributed to my decision to quit. Quit eating sugar.

FOR.EV.ER.

And when you look at the similarities of how those of us who struggle with this particular drug and how it compares to those who struggle with other types of drugs: the planning over how to get it, the lusting over having more, the sneaking around to get some, the lying, the guilt, the pain, the need… it’s so similar.

Yet our “drug” is legal.

It’s in our pantries. our refrigerators. our grocery stores.

It’s at our parties. our celebrations. our everything.

It’s a gift at Christmas.

Even SANTA puts it in our stocking.

It’s no wonder that so many of us find ourselves in a life-long struggle with it.

So, stop thinking that this is just a game called “weight loss”. If you struggle with sugar (or even MSG which has very similar properties) then know that your battle is real. It’s not entirely in your mind. But it also means that it’s time to get serious about getting this out of your life. I’m not saying that it’ll just suddenly go away as an issue if you get serious, but it is time for all of us to start pursuing freedom from this drug.

Christ came to set us free… come on, let’s get free.

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