Day 353: Back To Basics

After my experiences on Wednesday, I woke up this morning knowing that I needed to recenter myself.

But, like I’ve mentioned before, there isn’t a ton of time in my life to just sit and ponder, so this morning I found myself saying simple prayers. informal prayers. prayers from the heart.

God, please help me honor You today. Help me choose well. Help me. Help me. Help me. I am dependent upon you. I rely upon you for strength. Help me God.

But with just that prayer… just that prayer alone… I found myself able to resist all that “junk” today. Not saying it was an easy resistance, but I resisted nonetheless.

And after that refocus, I thought to myself, “I need to get back to what I was eating a year ago, right at the beginning of the covenant.”

And well, whadda know? My mom got me some of my favorite winter soup for Christmas… Tomato Basil from La Madeline’s! Sooooooo gooooood. So, that’s what I chose for lunch.

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I have lately really wished that I had cataloged everything that I ate at first because it was all so easy. so perfectly filling. so tasty.

But then I am reminded that it felt that way because the goodness of the Lord was a new taste to me… the power of God was a new flavor… the sufficiency of God was a new feeling. It had so little to do with the foods that I was choosing and so much to do with Who I was choosing.

But, all the same, I want to remember… I want to get back to the basics of how I started. Things like prayer, bible study, and good foods. And as I looked for a verse today about remembering His Goodness from the past, I found this verse… well, I found the second verse but the first just really snagged me as well.

“Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given.” 1 Chronicles 16:11-12

But look at that. Remember: 1) the wonders he has performed, 2) his miracles, and 3) his rulings.

And I have those in my own life: 1) enabling me to have the strength to stick to a covenant, 2) me going for a year without sugar, 3) his commands against gluttony and lust and greed.

When I remember the wonders he has done and his miracles, then I want to remind myself of His Rules because I have been reminded already, twice, of examples of His Goodness… makes me more prone to remember that His Rulings are for. my. good. and they are for. His. Glory.

Day 141: The Impossible Life

The other day as I went shopping, I started trying to figure out how long I had been on the covenant in “months”. I write down every day what day I am on but for a non-math person I have to take a moment to divide by 30… and even then I usually abandon that method and just count the months since January 11th when I started.

So by that method I am a little past four months. Cool!

And then it hit me. Had I only done 3 months like I originally planned then I would have been finished with the covenant last month. And I would have missed out on the last month of blessings.

Day 93: Fallen And Forgiven
Day 106: He Is.
Day 117: HE WILL DO THIS!
Day 118: Trippin
Day 132: A Celebration Of Life
Day 136: A Fast Shopping Trip

And looking back at those days I am so glad that I chose to stick to God for a full year. Or I should say that I am so grateful that He called me to stick by Him for a full year.

Honestly it makes me wonder what my life would/could be like if I chose to do this covenant indefinitely. I mean… when I first started I would have thought it was nigh impossible to stay on this covenant for five years, twenty years, the rest of my life… but now I honestly have a lot less respect for the word impossible.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26

Last year at this time I was sifting through my clothes and giving away almost all my size 8s, 10s, and 12s that I had been keeping in hopes that I would some day get skinny again. I was, in essence, giving up.

Last year, I did not really understand that what has happened was actually possible with God. Because, yes humanly speaking, me… being frees from food… it was impossible at that point. There was nothing that was gonna work to that end.

But, now I see… when you have the power of God on your side, and when you allow God to work His Power inside of you… really, really, really… ev.ery.thing. is possible.

It sorta makes me want to, like, take on the world! It makes me realize that this covenant diet is minuscule compared to what He can really do. And yet this covenant diet is the biggest thing that I have ever seen God do in my life.

Looks like I have an impossible life coming my way!

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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Day Thirty-Nine: Damsel In Distress

I want to start out by saying that I’m so glad that I decided to do this for a year. Five weeks in and I’m realizing that I’m gonna need another 47 weeks to get this worked out. That might sound like I’m “down” but it’s actually almost like a sigh of relief! I am just really glad that I gave myself a lot of time to get “over” this addiction. To work through my bad habits. To become a new creation. Too often before I have expected myself to become a new creation over night and that’s not always the way that it works. I mean, hey, I have thirty-three years of addictive habits that I’m trying to break. That might take a little while!

Now, with that being said, I feel like I have moved into Phase II of this experience. Phase I was getting past my addiction to sugar, namely, chocolate. Honestly… haha, yeah… honestly, I thought that was my only “issue”. Nope. Turns out that I realize over and over that it really wasn’t about the chocolate at all (well, okay, maybe a bit because it was soooooooo good), but that it has been an issue of the heart. So, once chocolate was gone I simply started to slowly work in new “addictions”. But the good news is that I’m not going to let those new addictions master me for the next thirty-three years but I’m going to deal with them now. nip them in the bud now. abolish them from my life now.

So… yeah. In a way I feel like I am back at square one. I’m seeing some of the same tendencies popping back up! Eating what is not beneficial but is still technically “okay” on the fast (e.g. potato chips). Eating past the sensation of full (e.g. dinner last night and tonight when I ate two servings worth and was way past full). Eating too late in the day and ignoring hunger sensations in the hopes that I would let my belly eat a little fat while I starved a bit (e.g. yesterday when I tried to skip lunch altogether).

I can tell that my weight loss has stalled out a little bit and I think that it is because of these things.

So, I’m needing to remind myself of the covenant. And I don’t think that this is a sign of me faltering, or Satan winning, or a lack of faith, discipline, etc.

I have just finished reading through Joshua in my daily bible readings, and after Joshua and the Israelites cross over the Jordan River (God, again, stops the water from flowing so that they can cross) they pile up 12 stones that someone from each tribe picked up when they were crossing the river. Then Joshua tells them why:

“In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ “Yes, God, your God, dried up the Jordan’s waters for you until you had crossed, just as God, your God, did at the Red Sea, which had dried up before us until we had crossed. This was so that everybody on earth would recognize how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that you would hold God in solemn reverence always. Joshua 4:21-24

It’s not that atypical to set reminders… to need reminders. Heck, it’s all through the bible of the Israelites setting up altars to God to remind themselves that He came through. Like Noah when they got out of the boat. He built an altar to God. I just really like how this part ends… the stones are there so that they can tell others what God did… and why He did it: so that everyone would know how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that we would revere Him always.

So, I am going to be thinking over the next few days of a way that I can set up my stones to remind me that God’s rescuing hand (which I just love that adjective… not just His hand, but his rescuing hand) is strong and that I should revere Him. In the past I might have put a picture of me looking all fatty to “demotivate” me from eating, or a picture of me all skinny to “motivate” me to not eat, or a pig, or a… well, you get the picture. But now again, I am pulling the attention away from me and refocusing it on the things of eternity.

And I think when I see those “stones” and remember that my God has a strong rescuing hand… I might just allow myself to be rescued at that moment. A damsel in distress rescued by The Knight In Shining Armor.

Wow… sounds kind of like a love story.

Yep. The Love Story.