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 467: Good Gluttony

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Thrown into an empty well by his brothers to die.
Sold by the same brothers to slave traders.
Sold again as a servant in Egypt.
Blackmailed by his boss’s wife.
Ended up in prison.

Joseph.

I have become nigh-obsessed with the story of Joseph.

You can partially blame that on Beth Moore as well, too… just like Day 449: Blame It On Beth Moore. Cause I’ve just finished her study The Patriarchs on Wednesday nights at my church. And the other partially would be that I was assigned his story to master teach in our youth department on Sunday at church a while back (Day 349: Ohhhh, Hockey Puck).

And it’s just so interesting how the bible can come alive over and over again. I mean… it’s Joseph. You know, Joseph and his coat of many colors?!?! Any kid who went to church heard the story of Joseph. And it was a great story then too… but it’s just cool to me how as an adult, I get something entirely different out of the story. As a kid I remember thinking the moral was “Don’t be prideful or people will try to throw you in an empty well.” Cause then I just sorta checked out on the rest of the story where all the bad stuff happens to him.

And now I realized that the second half of his life IS the story.

Because after all of that horrible stuff happened to him, he was raised to the highest status in Egypt, he was able to set aside grain for the entire country that would then feed his family, and he was able to reconcile with his brothers. And it all boils down to what he says to his brothers after his father has died and they are afraid that he will get revenge on them since Jacob isn’t there anymore to see it. He tells them:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20

As I struggled a bit this week (what with the granola bars and all on Day 466: Hungry Hungry Hippie), I had to fight not getting down on myself for being imperfect. And then I remembered this story again… and thought, wow. Gluttony was trying to harm me, but God intended it all for good.

There is a lot of proof (my relationship with Him has never been closer and my faith has grown exponentially), but my favorite is this:

God has used my gluttony, my being in the pit, my selling of myself over to the sins of gluttony and food-lust, my burden of being overweight and trapped in the prison of sugar-addiction… He has used all of that for the good.

For you.

To save your life.

Because as I have traveled this path I have realized HOW. MANY. OF. US. THERE. ARE.

So many of us struggle with this. So many of us feel defeated. unhealable. trapped. lost. forgotten. resigned.

And it’s not just overweight women either.

Skinny girls. LOTS of skinny girls live on diets of chocolate. I know. I know because I’ve met them in coffee shops where they’ve bawled their eyes out. I’ve chatted with them while dropping off my son. I’ve read their emails to me where they confess their hoarding spots.

Manly men.
Average weight people.
Children.
Moms.

It’s… everywhere.

And I’ve seen and heard how God is using this journey of mine… from gluttonous to glorious… to help people begin their own journey of healing and renewal and freedom.

God is using my struggles with the sin of gluttony… for good.

And that… that is good.

Day 122: Eat His Words

My husband brought home a surprise Olive Garden dinner for us last night. It was my fav OG meal: shrimp fettucini alfredo, OG salad, stuffed mushrooms, and… breadsticks.

Dern those things. I mean… don’t get me wrong. They are uh.maz.ing. Like truly one of the foods that was delish before I went on my Lent fast and was still delish after my Lent fast.

But I think as good as they are, I need a “break” from them… from bread and chips.

I have really been praying on what I should do and time and time again I feel pulled to stop eating them. My only reluctance comes from how it can limit some of my fav meals like enchiladas or this “chips n chicken” recipe both my husband and I love (I use mushrooms in my half).

So I’m going to try a “balance” for this one. I’m going to modify my covenant from “avoiding” breads and chips unless they are in a recipe to refraining from eating breads and chips unless they are an ingredient for a recipe.

Cause really, it’s just not worth it. Both breads and chips have become an issue that is slowly, stealthily creeping towards being “bigger” than Jesus in my mind.

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose one of your limbs than to have your whole body go off to hell. Matthew 5:30

Of course, I’m not talking about cutting off a limb but it is a similar principle. There is something in my life that is taking my focus off of Christ… just like the chocolate and sugar was (although that was more severe for me which is why I know that I can afford myself no leniency with it)… so I am going to chop it off and rid that distraction.

Now for how long? For a month? Three months? The duration of the covenant?

Yeah… I think bread and chips are a big enough of an issue that they need to go for the rest of the year.

My mind was just teetering on writing this: {sigh} but then I thought, “Wait, think about how you really feel……” and there it was. Not disappointment. Not fear. Not regret.

Peace.
Relief.
Joy.

Truly… People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

Day 106: He Is.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I met up with a friend who has recently started the covenant and it was really neat to talk through some things with her.

It acted as a reaffirmation that this isn’t just something that works only in my head, but that it is God. And He is the same God to me. to her. to Christy. to Debra. to Sherry. to all of us.

But one thing that really stuck with me as she and I talked was the area of comfort eating (or comfort shopping, or comfort dating, or drinking, cutting, smoking, TV watching, etc). Most of us seem to have something earthly that we turn to instead of God. For me, it was chocolate. And if I didn’t have chocolate well then any old food would do. But like I mentioned on Monday, after a while of not having chocolate, my mind went immediately to the Word of God for comfort. But it has taken 100+ days of renewing and retraining for that to happen.

Here’s my point. (Sorry, both my boys have been up a lot at night this week with nightmares or sickness so I’m in that “I’m totally exhausted so I’m going to ramble” kind of mode!)

So here is my point. Haha!

What I think was important is that I had to cut chocolate and sugar completely out of my comfort options. Doing so allowed me a chance to retrain my mind to turn to God for comfort. I needed chocolate to be a non-option so that I couldn’t make it my god. Just like God used to tell the Israelites to do whenever they conquered a new city or area: total destruction of anything that could sway their affection from Him.

But once I removed that other “god” of chocolate from my life, then it simply made it easier to turn to Him. And so now, it’s not about turning to Him for comfort as a second choice because chocolate isn’t there, but now it is about turning to Him because I realize how much better He is at comfort. at healing. at love. at hope. at relief. at joy. at peace.

• No chocolate bar can comfort me in my hour of sorrow.
• No new shirt will be able to heal me of sadness or regret.
• No husband, boyfriend, or lover can ever completely love me as I am.
• No beer will give me hope of a future.
• No cut on my arm will relieve my pain.
• No cigarette will bring joy to my life.
• No amount of TV will give my mind peace.

But He can give me all of those things. Because He is…comfort. healing. love. hope. relief. joy. peace.

He is…everything.

He is.

Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. Psalm 119:50

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 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.

Day Twenty-Six: Light As A Feather

(sigh of relief)

I feel so much better today since I decided not to weigh anymore. I literally feel as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders (hehe- pun). I wasn’t dreading my food selections this morning like usual. I didn’t look in the mirror and think “failure”. I didn’t even think about my weight. In fact, as I write this I’m having to really think to remember how much I weigh!

So as I was putting words to that just now I started thinking “why?” Why would not-weighing give me so much freedom?

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1. Weight is one of the world’s measurements of my value. And I no longer desire to be “measured” by the world. Sure I’ll still have the mirror as a “gauge” of my weight but it won’t be as black and white… fail or succeed… like it feels now. I already feel as if I’ll be able to get a better renewal going without those numbers daunting me. haunting me. pulling on me.

2. Weighing myself causes me to fixate on losing weight instead of thinking about eternal things. When I weigh myself or think about weighing, it seems to permeate my thoughts all day. I even made a note on my phone about what I should weigh by each week to lose the weight by the time June rolls around. I would find myself checking it and checking it. Almost… worshipping those smaller numbers.

And so when I removed those numbers, when I removed that element out of my day to day attempts to focus on obeying God, pleasing God, honoring God with my body… it was as if I freed myself from a “restraint” the world had for me and I was suddenly light as a feather. Almost as if I was “above” the weight. “Above” having to weigh myself. “Above” the worry of such… mundane worldliness.

Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen. 2 Corinthians 4:18