Day 604: Peace Out

peace and faith

I’ve talked about her before.

The woman who had been bleeding for twelve years.

I mean… the story has always grabbed me. It’s just so… me.

Although I haven’t been bleeding for twelve years… I’ve been EATING for 34 years.

And really, I started to write a whole new post about this, but then when I reread my post from Day Seventy-Eight, it was still just so… perfect for now, so I’m not sure if this is breaking some kind of “blogger rule” but I’m just going to copy paste it here…

Day Seventy-Eight: G.I.P.

My favorite miracle has always been the woman in Mark 5 who had been bleeding for years. She had suffered… for twelve. years.

And I know that some people have already heard this about her and the background around her, but just in case someone had missed it… not only had this woman been suffering physically, but she had also been suffering socially. A woman that was bleeding was considered “unclean” (for obvious reasons) and was not allowed into the community. For most women this would only last a week or so but this woman had not been allowed into her community, her church, possibly even her family for twelve years.

There are so many different lessons that this one woman can teach, but more than anything I just like to identify with this woman…

A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But he kept on looking around to see who had done it.

Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

I find a connection with her for two reasons:

1) The woman had tried all the ways of the world to be healed and had gotten worse. Not only was she suffering physically, socially, but now she was also suffering financially… and had gotten worse. I identify with this when I think of the money I spent on “good for you food” that wasn’t that good for you… on SlimFast (yeah, remember what a waste that was for me?)… on pills… teas… herbs… exercise equipment… you name it, I probably bought it. And yet, at the beginning of this covenant I was worse off than I had ever been… eating a mixing bowl full of cookie dough.

But I suppose that is what drove her to go to Jesus. She had nothing… literally, nothing… to lose. An unclean woman touching a rabbi could have gotten her in some big trouble. And she would have made Jesus unclean as well. But all she wanted was healing. All I wanted was healing. And I had nothing to lose by going this way with Jesus. By allowing Him to “clean me up”.

2) She was healed and her suffering was over. Even though I am already beginning to feel the relief of healing of my addiction, I’m sure that it doesn’t even compare to the relief that she must have felt. But to hear Jesus say the words, “Your suffering is over.”

Over. Done. Gone. Forgotten. Closed. Completed. Ended. Finished. Past.

And I like to imagine her as the crowd’s attention, and Jesus’s attention, was turned toward Jairus because his messengers arrived telling him that his daughter had died… I imagine her still on her knees. Watching as the crowd walked away. Watching as Jesus walked away. I imagine that it must have been like seeing the world for the first time in 12 years… seeing that it could be full of hope. full of beauty. full of peace. full of relief.

And then I see myself in such the same way. Jesus has ended my suffering. He has ended my slavery to this lust for food. And now, because I am healed. Because I am no longer suffering, then I can… Go. In. Peace.

 

Day 449: Blame It On Beth Moore

Beth Moore Patriarchs Best Verses Ever

No sugar for five years.

Really, January? Really???

Hey. That’s what God said… don’t look at ME.

One year is cute… five years is getting wayyyyyyy closer to real sacrifice.

What can I say? Blame it on Beth Moore.

She was the one who wrote The Patriarchs. She was the one that was open and honest on page 62. She was the one that put those three, little, almost insignificant verses in between those little, almost insignificant parenthesis.

You know. The kind of verses that you read at just the right time. when you are in just the right attitude. when you have just the right heart to receive them. The kind of verses that you have read a gazillion times before, but this time… this time you are seeking God so fervently. you want to meet with Him so much. you need a word from Him. a vision. a Hope. And then someone like Beth Moore goes and throws them all together…

I was done for.

Here are the three verse chunks… first I’ll put the plain on scripture and then I’m going to do some verse interrupting because I think it’s just as important to know what was simultaneously going through my mind as I read them.

Give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

 Give your bodies to God {Let go of the need to control this experience with your body… give your body’s control over to Him} because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice {Hmmmmm, he’s repeating this whole “give up” mentality} —the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world {Like diets, balance, gluttony, doing things my way}, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then {Give up and THEN He’ll show you the way to do it} you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect {That’s what I want… the PERFECT diet that’s not a diet!}. Romans 12:1-2

Honestly, after these verses, I was already feeling His pull. I knew that I had tried to do it “my way” with the slackened covenant, and I knew that it wasn’t going to work unless I did things His way… which might not look normal to the outside world. But after reading those, I was so terribly curious about the other two verses. I mean, could they say anything more???

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. {Oh and this fight with food is a battle, a war!} We use God’s mighty weapons {the Word, faith, truth, His righteousness, prayer}, not worldly weapons {like typical diets}, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments {My OWN arguments}. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. {This obstacle of food drains so much of my thoughts and life that it does keep me from spending that time focused on God, so it must be destroyed! Mwah ha ha ha!} 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

And even though the next verses only called for verse 23, I was struck by a few more verses.

They (the Gentiles) live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:19-24

They (the Gentiles) live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. {I hate to say it, as miserable as I was, I was EAGERLY eating that chocolate.} But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, {that. right there. that did me in. throw off your former way of life. stop eating sugar.} which is corrupted by lust and deception. {Yep. Those would be the two words I’d use to describe me with sugar.} Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. {Let GOD do this. Go back to the new you that God formed you into.} Ephesians 4:19-24

And well, yeah… I can’t really blame Beth Moore. God put those verses there. For me. For that moment. And, truth be told, I was really far behind in my study, but now I’m actually glad… I needed those verses at just that moment. He really does work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose!!! (Romans 8:28)

So, there ya have it. That’s partially how I came to the conclusion to go back to a sugarless life that I referred to on Day 444.

Oh, and next time I’ll talk about how God told me to give up something else for those five years. It’s almost as shocking as me giving up chocolate!

Day 246: Walk The Line

Day 7 of my Sans-Snacky fast.

So I have figured out yet another thing about my eating (I know, I know… I thought I’d be “done” figuring stuff out at this point too)!

The other night when I had my Thor Pizza experience, I had justified having the pizza because it was still “around” dinner time… so, yeah, that counts as part of dinner, right?!?!

Yeahhhhhh, no.

So I realized that I didn’t really have a clearly defined concept of “dinner” or of a “meal”. And when rules or expectations are not in black and white then I tend to look for the gray. I tend to want to walk the line… not avoid the line.

And ya know… back in Old Testament days, maybe it was the norm to just sin or not sin. Maybe the “line” wasn’t that big of a deal, but once Jesus came… well, He really stepped it up. He made it more about the motivation behind the choice to sin or not to sin. It suddenly became more about the actual thoughts. It wasn’t just adultery to have an affair, but now to look at a married person and want them was adultery. It wasn’t just murder to take someone’s life… but to hate them… that was murder in your heart.

Well, a similar concept is going on here… I knew in my soul that I was “breaking” my covenant fast with God by eating when I was no longer sitting down to eat dinner at the table but I was still eating. But, I just thought about the outward action of it and since it was “around” dinner time I went with it anyway.

It might not have been gluttony (although it was… cause I wasn’t hungry but I was still eating) from the outside looking in, but it was gluttony in the sense that, in my soul, I was choosing what I was lusting after instead of choosing what was right.

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. 2 Timothy 2:22

So I tell ya… poor Thor… but I think that next time I have to make that pizza that I’m going to have to bake it, take out my son’s two pieces or whatever, and then immediately wrap up the rest of it in foil and toss it in the freezer. I want to run from that stuff. I don’t want to walk that line of sin. I want to run as far away from it as possible!

(And I got some practice at this pretty quick cause my son asked for two pieces of pizza for dinner tonight and then only. ate. one. Oh heavens. But because I had already written this post, I was able to withstand. I wrapped that piece back up and put it in the fridge. Here is the temptation of gluttony in solid form…

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Day 217: Practice Makes Perfect

Day 14 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

I’m not sure how I survived this for forty-six days during Lent. Geez. All I want is a tortilla and some feta cheese and my life would be great.

So funny how starting this whole thing in January I was probably thinking “All I want is a Reese’s peanut butter cup and my life would be great.” ha! How things have changed.

But actually I think the temptations are harder on a short-term fast because you know that you’ll get that stuff again… and soon. When I started my covenant so many months ago, the lust for chocolate and sugar quickly died off and stayed away for quite a while because the day when I would once again get to have those things was sooooooooo far away it was pointless to even dream about eating it after a while.

But now that I’m pretty much just one week away from a feta topped salad, or a cheese pizza, or a fish taco… well, it makes the wanting of it stronger. But that’s a good thing on a fast. To want something but not be able to have it. It creates a tension in me… a tension that brings my struggle to light. A struggle between the light and the dark.

What it does is make me practice over and over the act of choosing God. relying upon God. feasting upon the things of the Spirit.

And hopefully three weeks of “practicing” that will carry over past those three weeks. So that for another three weeks I’m still just in the habit of choosing God over my own desires and wants.

Day Eighty-Three: Good Food Begets Good Food

We went out to my parent’s house on Sunday for a “pre-Easter” because they will be out of town on Easter. My mom, in true southern woman form, made an awesome prEaster meal: ham (which everyone else said was amazing), roasted veggies, buttered baby new potatoes, salad, and crescent rolls. I had a beautiful plate of the veggies, potatoes, and salad… she has been so kind to consider my dietary needs and make sure that I have enough to eat at every family meal.

Well, let me tell you. The woman made these potatoes that were off the reservation… in other words, they were uh.maz.ing. Now, I have always had an affinity for potatoes… I like them even completely plain (although I cannot abide a microwaved potato… they just don’t taste the same). But these were truly scrumptious. I found myself fighting off some of my old habits of slinking back in to pop another in my mouth after we were all finished eating, and another, and another. I just had to remind myself that God has given me self-control.

All of that wasn’t just to lust after potatoes for a few minutes, but instead to point out that it was a really, really good meal of good food, good spices, good flavors. And today when I ran into the store with my son to get his class’s Easter eggs, I couldn’t help but grab some broccoli. I started thinking about dinner prep and I kinda got excited about making another gooooood dinner.

And I did make a good dinner… cedar grilled tilapia for my husband (which I can’t wait to try next week when I am off of my Lent fast), broccoli with a pepper lime butter sauce, and garlic mashed yukon potatoes. It was… goooood. And the nice thing about a yummy and good quality meal is that it is not only nutritionally fulfilling, but also craving fulfilling, AND emotionally/mentally fulfilling. I don’t have to fight off the mental urges of having had a sub par dinner… thoughts like “That wasn’t enough.” or “That wasn’t good.” or whatever. I was able to walk away from the table and totally and completely forget about food.

And having been able to just write those words makes me smile. Oh how far we’ve come Jesus, oh how far we’ve come.

Day Seventy-Eight: G.I.P.

My favorite miracle has always been the woman in Mark 5 who had been bleeding for years. She had suffered… for twelve. years.

And I know that some people have already heard this about her and the background around her, but just in case someone had missed it… not only had this woman been suffering physically, but she had also been suffering socially. A woman that was bleeding was considered “unclean” (for obvious reasons) and was not allowed into the community. For most women this would only last a week or so but this woman had not been allowed into her community, her church, possibly even her family for twelve years.

There are so many different lessons that this one woman can teach, but more than anything I just like to identify with this woman…

A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But he kept on looking around to see who had done it.

Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

I find a connection with her for two reasons:

1) The woman had tried all the ways of the world to be healed and had gotten worse. Not only was she suffering physically, socially, but now she was also suffering financially… and had gotten worse. I identify with this when I think of the money I spent on “good for you food” that wasn’t that good for you… on SlimFast (yeah, remember what a waste that was for me?)… on pills… teas… herbs… exercise equipment… you name it, I probably bought it. And yet, at the beginning of this covenant I was worse off than I had ever been… eating a mixing bowl full of cookie dough.

But I suppose that is what drove her to go to Jesus. She had nothing… literally, nothing… to lose. An unclean woman touching a rabbi could have gotten her in some big trouble. And she would have made Jesus unclean as well. But all she wanted was healing. All I wanted was healing. And I had nothing to lose by going this way with Jesus. By allowing Him to “clean me up”.

2) She was healed and her suffering was over. Even though I am already beginning to feel the relief of healing of my addiction, I’m sure that it doesn’t even compare to the relief that she must have felt. But to hear Jesus say the words, “Your suffering is over.”

Over. Done. Gone. Forgotten. Closed. Completed. Ended. Finished. Past.

And I like to imagine her as the crowd’s attention, and Jesus’s attention, was turned toward Jairus because his messengers arrived telling him that his daughter had died… I imagine her still on her knees. Watching as the crowd walked away. Watching as Jesus walked away. I imagine that it must have been like seeing the world for the first time in 12 years… seeing that it could be full of hope. full of beauty. full of peace. full of relief.

And then I see myself in such the same way. Jesus has ended my suffering. He has ended my slavery to this lust for food. And now, because I am healed. Because I am no longer suffering, then I can… Go. In. Peace.

Day Seventy-Six: Manna Musings

I have thirteen more days after today to be on my Lent fast of fruits, veggies, and nuts. It has been far easier than I expected as well as extremely eye opening as to how much processed foods I consume even on my regular Daniel Fast.

Having said that, I miss cheese, eggs, and fish!

I mean… I miss the pasta and beans and rice and bread, too, but I only miss them because of the convenience of them in recipes, like spaghetti and pasta, stuffed bell peppers with rice, carribean style beans, and veggie enchiladas and tacos… ooooo, and a mushroom burger!!!

But all of those things I could take them or leave them, but I want a veggie omelet, a baked potato with cheese, a panko crusted tilapia filet!

I don’t want another orange.

I don’t want another apple.

I don’t want another raisin.

Honestly, I don’t think this way that all the time! But there are times when I look in the fridge for breakfast and get a little discouraged when it looks like I’ll be having yet another clementine. But most of the time I just grab whatever is on my fast to eat and just go forward from there which is a good sign, I think, that I’m moving away from food as a lust into food as a nourishment.

But, I do think about how the Israelites felt with manna everyday. I mean, I may not have as much variety as a non-faster has, but I have way more variety than manna for breakfast, manna for lunch, and manna for dinner.

But I guess in a way I do have manna for every meal. I mean, God provided more than just manna during those “drop feeds”.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. Exodus 16:4

And this is exactly the same learning that I am having to go through. I probably would have been one of those Israelites that gathered up extra only to find it had turned to rot with maggots in it.

Actually, I have been that Israelite. I have eaten more than what I need and the result was that I had an addiction to that “more”… a rotten, maggot-infested pile of “more”. of an overweight body. of an overweight soul.

But just like those Isreaelites that learned the hard way didn’t make the same decision again, I have handed over my pile of “more”… my extra… my excess. And in return, God has given me as much as I need. And it will feed me perfectly, well, for at least the 40 years it fed the Israelites!

Day Fifty-One: Just Say No And Do It

When I made my boys some Velveeta Mac N Cheese tonight, there was just enough leftover for a mini-serving. I, of course, still needing to fight some leftover instincts, thought about having it. Not as my dinner… just as a… as a… as an extra dinner, I guess.

But instead of it turning into another apple crisp night, I just looked at it and said, “No.”

Then I took the boys’ servings to them. And that was it.

It all seems so simple, doesn’t it. Just Say No.

And in some ways it is simple. Really… saying “No” is the answer to so many problems in my life, but I avoid it so often. And often I avoid it when I need to say it the most!

  • When I am already overwhelmed but someone at church asks me to do something, and I just can’t say “No” even though saying “Yes” is going to be detrimental to me.
  • When I see my Facebook icon on my phone even though it is time for me to read my Bible… I should say “No” but so often I choose to say “Yes” and scan through my News Feed.
  • When I’m tempted with too much food, then I so often should say “No” but I find myself saying “Yes” and taking another bite, and another, and another.

I mean, I’m sure that there is a reason that the “Just Say No” phrase was the catch phrase for the anti-drug campaign in the 80s.

But there is also another part to that No… and it’s another “Just” statement: Just Do It.

Oh, my dear Nike. If only it were that easy then I would have a rocket hot bod that could run a marathon. As it is, I am lucky to be able to run across the backyard after my toddler.

But, I’m not talking about Just Do It meaning that I’m saying “Say no to food and then go work out.” I’m saying… “Say no and then ACT out the NO.”

So much of my struggle over the years has been saying no in my head but then not following through with my body. I would be standing in the pantry eating another Thin Mint (and really… that name is SO DECEPTIVE cause they do NOT make a person thin! Haha!) after having already eaten ten or eleven, thinking “NO! NOT ANOTHER ONE! NO MORE! STOP!” But it was like my hand would just keep reaching into that bag.

Until, God.

Cause I tell ya… I cannot explain it. But I can turn from an open wrapper of Thin Mints now. Because it is almost like God is the one saying No. He and I are in this together and I think that maybe these verses address it (and yes, these are some of the same verses from yesterday’s post but in a new version):

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Ephesians 4:21-23

And I like especially the last verse because it tells us HOW to Just Do It. And the best part is that it is sooooo much easier than Nike’s expectations! We are to let the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes. That means that God is the one doing the work!

The thing though that we are responsible for is the “let”. You might be thinking, “Huh? We have to do the ‘let’ part of it? What does that even mean???” We have to LET the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes. And how does the Spirit do that? Mainly, through the Word of God. Which means, that for the Spirit to renew us, we have to be reading The Word of God.

I feel like I’m a broken record on this, but again, this blog is for me! Hehe, and I need to hear those words over and over again. I’m just not going to experience a God Life if I don’t read the Bible. Plain and simple.

And I want a God Life. And I want it more than I want food. And I want it even more than I want chocolate. And… well, that’s a lot!