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 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 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 325: A Happy Sad

Looks like I’ll have to ask a bit of forgiveness… again. But this time I truly have a good excuse… well, actually, several worthy excuses, and one excuse that I wish I didn’t have.

To start it off, last Friday my oldest got sick… 103° fever and followed it with a nasty cough. Ick.

I was in a semi-monologue skit at church with a bunch of lines, a three-hour rehearsal on Saturday afternoon, and three services on Sunday… don’t get me wrong, I love doing that stuff, but it does need to go in my “excuses” list nonetheless! (It was really a beautiful skit. You can see it and the whole service here. I’m around minute 43, I think.)

My husband, two boys, and I flew out to Denver on Wednesday morning to visit his brother’s family… which means I had to pack us and we spent a whole day at airports and on planes. Since then we have been hanging out non-stop (which might be why it has taken me several days to craft this post!)

On the plane, my youngest came down with the same cold/flu sickness his older brother had and has had a 103° fever the past few days.

In the midst of all that… life… and all that… stuff, my world and heart was forever changed by… well, by eternity.

On Saturday morning, my grandmother began to have symptoms of congestive heart failure. She went to be with Jesus on Sunday afternoon at 1:02. My whole family was there, and she even waited for me to get there after I rushed to the hospital after finishing my skit at church… she died about thirty-seconds after I got there and gave her one last kiss. She was an amazing lady… made me feel special right up to the last moment.

Indulge me… I want to share my favorite photo of her with my son. (We had snuck in some ice cream for her. She loved ice cream… but I think she loved my kids even more.)

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And not to minimize or appear like I am “using” the experience for a post, but her favorite hymn was “To God Be The Glory”. And so I would like to give God some glory for minute.

Throughout a painful mourning process, I was able to turn to The One for comfort. And, more so, when I turned to Him… He provided the comfort I asked for and needed. He answered with peace. He responded with the salve of The Hope that I have in her destination and in our future reunion. He assured me of my Identity in Him as I suffered through the pangs of regret.

And I experienced God fulfilling the verse that has been my favorite since college… perhaps written on my heart then for such a time as this…

    We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

And I read that verse this week… needing to be reminded that my sadness wasn’t going to crush me. But then, I read further on…

    We never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

And knowing that my grandmother was saved and warmly welcomed into the arms of Christ (you can read her beautiful salvation story here) gave me the ability to fix my gaze on things that cannot be seen and know that those things will last forever… like her soul being united with His Promise.

And I honestly thought to myself a few days into the grieving process how glad I was that I had learned to cope the “real” way. For once, I had true, real, deep, cutting pain… and I didn’t turn to food to soothe me. In fact, I never once thought about eating food as comfort. My husband even had to remind me to eat, but never once was did I need to be reminded to turn to scripture or prayer.

And it’s all because of the renewal that Christ has done in my mind. The retraining is slow at times and there are setbacks here and there. But my mind IS being renewed. reworked. retooled.

And I can think of no greater testimony and gift to my Mamaw’s memory than to turn to The One she taught me about.

And I will end with one more indulgence… a tribute to her memory. She repeated this poem to us hundreds upon hundreds of times. And it is beautiful. I hope you are as blessed and encouraged as I have been by it.

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Day 156: Label Maker

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Last night I was talking to my friend… hmmmmm, not sure that I have mentioned her yet so I need to make up her code name… my friend… my friend…well, I’m going to actually put a bit of thought into her name, let’s call her Ananya (Ana for short) because that name means “unique” and/or “energy”… and she is certainly both of those things!!!

Anyway, after quite a lot of conversation we discovered that her covenant needs were less about WHAT she is eating and more about HOW she is thinking! It was a fascinating discussion that was worth bumping my previously half-drafted post back a few days. As Ana talked, we realized that she was constantly filling her mind and soul with horrible, horrible “self-talk” that was destroying her soul and subsequently hurting her body. (You don’t have to be a hippie to know that the mind-body relationship that God has put within us is a complicated and yet extremely powerful thing!)

So, we came up with a plan for her that I think was nothing short of brilliant and entirely going to be a blessing from God. In fact, I think that I’m going to do it for the next five days as well just to see what comes up!

Like most people might need to journal their foods for a few days to come face to face with either how much they are eating (having to force yourself to write down that you ate 5 cupcakes or 3 servings of mashed potatoes or whatever is a great way to realize that you might just be eating more than you realized) but also to face up with what they are eating (like I was completely unaware that I was eating the edges of my son’s peanut butter and honey sandwiches… because I had been eating them for so long I didn’t even realize it)! But since Ana is already a pretty healthy eater, but apparently a pretty UNhealthy self-speaker, she is going to do a variation of that. Ana is going to journal her thoughts all day. Every time she has a negative thought “My belly is a ginormous lump of fat” or “Look at all this cellulite… ugh where did it come from?” or “Even if I do eat this healthy banana I’m still going to get fat” etc… then she is to write it down and then replace that thought with a truth from the Word of God.

Even though there are a lot of good, positive quotes out there that could help, I really encouraged Ana to stick to the Word of God to replace those thoughts… because it will take all the pressure, all the work, all the success or failure off of her. After all, it is God who gives us the ability to succeed!

And I thought this might come in handy (Ana, I was going to email it to you but I figured we could all use it)… I got these verses from a list in the study Me, Myself, and Lies (which is an AWESOME study) and then I transferred them into first-person because they just seem to grab my heart more when I do that… Jennifer Rothchild called them “Truthful Labels” and I thought that was so accurate… God is the one that speaks the truth to us, and I, by all means, want HIM to be the one that labels me (instead of me, the world, and certainly NOT the devil)! He is my true Label Maker!

THE TRUTHFUL LABELS GIVEN TO ME BY GOD

  1. I belong to Christ, and so I’ve become a new person. My old life is gone; my new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
  2. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased my freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave my sins. He has showered his kindness on me, along with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:7-8
  3. God has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
  4. I didn’t choose Jesus… Jesus chose me. He appointed me to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give me whatever I ask for, using the name of Jesus. John 15:16
  5. In Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So, I am also complete through my union with Christ who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:9-10
  6. If God is for me, who can ever be against me? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for me, won’t he also give me everything else? Who dares accuse me whom God has chosen as his own? No one! For God himself has given me right standing with himself. Who then will condemn me? No one! For Christ Jesus died for me and was raised to life for me, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for me. Can anything ever separate me from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves me if I have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep’) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is mine through Christ, who loved me. And I am convincned that nothing can ever separate me from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither my fears for today nor my worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate me from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate me from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39
  7. I am certain that God, who began the good work within me, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6
  8. Now, I am free from my slavery to sin, and I have become a slave to righteous living. Romans 6:18
  9. So now there is no condemnation for me who belongs to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
  10. I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
  11. Even though I was dead because of my sins, he gave me life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that I have been saved!) Ephesians 2:5
  12. I am God’s masterpiece. He has created me anew in Christ Jesus, so I can do the good things he planned for me long ago. Ephesians 2:10
  13. Now, I can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit as everyone else because of what Christ has done for me. Ephesians 2:18
  14. Since I have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let me hold firmly to what I believe. This High Priest of mine understands my weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings I do, yet he did not sin. So let me come boldly to the throne of my gracious God. There I will receive his mercy, and I will find grace to help me when I need it most. Hebrews 4:14-16
  15. I died to this life, and my real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3
  16. God bought me with a high price. I must honor God with my body. 1 Corinthians 6:20
  17. See how very much my Father loves me, for he calls me his child, and that is what I am! 1 Corinthians 6:20
  18. But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that I am God’s child because they don’t know him. I am already God’s child, but he has not yet shown me what I will be like when Christ appears. But I do know that I will be like him, for I will see him as he really is. 1 John 3:1-2
  19. So now I, as a Gentile, am no longer a stranger and foreigner. I am a citizen along with all of God’s holy people. I am a member of God’s family. Ephesians 2:19
  20. I am a chosen person. I am a royal priest, part of a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, I can show others the goodness of God, for he called me out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9-10
  21. Since God chose me to be a holy person he loves, I must clothe myself with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12
  22. I have had that veil removed and can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes me more and more like him as I am changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18
  23. And since I am his child, I am his heir. In fact, together with Christ I am an heir of God’s glory. But if I am to share his glory, I must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17
  24. He no longer calls me a slave, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now I am his friend, since he has told me everything the Father told him. John 15:15
  25. For the Lord my God is living among me. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in me with gladness. With his love, he will calm all my fears. He will rejoice over me with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17
  26. Because of Christ and my faith in him, I can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12

Day 152: Me, Myself, And I

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I talk to myself a lot more nowadays.

I mean, I have always talked to myself quite a lot, especially right before starting the covenant, but the past few months it has been really noticeable… but both times it has been about food.

Before, most of my talking was more of a fight with myself as I tried to convince myself not to eat an Oreo, not another Oreo, please… please… not another Oreo. Or the convincing myself that another Oreo was no biggie, that I deserved it, that I needed it. Or it was the mean, mean self-talk when I did realize that I had eaten half a bag of Oreos.

Okay, okay, a whole bag.

But now the self talk is a bit more constructive and has a lot less of me battling… me. Now I think “Am I reallllly hungry? Do I realllllly need another bowl of carrots?” or “Would eating that bread with honey leftover from Saxon’s lunch realllllly honor and please God?” (And I write that one specifically because it is a struggle for me right now.)

Like, recently my husband had his last day of school and so we went and got him a “special meal” at Dickey’s BBQ. After he had eaten I kept eyeing his BBQ sauce… and here was my “self-talk”…

I can eat BBQ sauce, right?

Well, yeah, but will it honor God?

I don’t see why not. It’s not meat and I’m hungry. Besides, I may love meat but I really love the sauce that goes on it!

Then go for it!

So, I did! I ate the BBQ sauce with a spoon and it was yummy!!!

So, it is neat to see that God has truly transformed my mind. I mean, I like that my conversations with me are more… more about Him than they are about me fighting with myself.

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 12:2

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 104: The Blue Bell Is Ringing

I started to write this morning on a different topic and got sidetracked (dern kids! Haha) but now I am glad that I wasn’t able to finish because I have a post more about the now.

Today has been… rough. Not like the “oh my kid dropped the entire tub of powdered gatorade out on the kitchen floor” kind of tough (although he did do that) but the kind of tough day that deals with being hurt emotionally, dreams deferred, hopes squelched.

Honestly, there is no need to be specific about what is going in (nor can I… although I will be clear that it is not marital nor is it something pertaining to my kids) because all of us have had THAT day. Some of us have had a day like that many times. Some of us a few times. Some people experience a day like that every. single. day.

Now you might be a little nervous that this is going to be a post where I vent my frustrations or something because the connection to food addiction and overeating probably looks pretty… non existent. But, alas, the connection is very, very strong.

Today has been tough. So today should have been a “drown my sorrows in a tub of Blue Bell day”. I should have comforted myself with the bag of chocolate frosted donuts that I treat my boys to once a month. A family visit to Sonic should be in order complete with chocolate shakes and all of a bacon cheeseburger.

But instead… today was a day of renewal for me. A day where I was reminded of God’s unending love and care for me. Because instead of wallowing in decadent foods… I turned to the Word this morning.

I craved it.

I feasted on it.

I gorged myself on it.

I hungered and thirsted for righteousness.

And I have been filled.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

Day Fifty-Three: Roommates

I guess I’m on a bit of a “thankful” kick again, but I suppose that’s a good problem to have!

I just… well, I am just seeing and feeling… God… lately. I mean, I have had two other major times of renewal in my life before but it has been a long, long time since. By no means because of Him, but because I haven’t taken the time to invest in renewing my soul for so long. I have known that God was there during the rest of the time between- He was by no means silent or absent.

Let me explain it this way in a little analogy: If the condition of my soul was relative to how “close” God lives to me, then for the past 15 years or so he has moved back and forth from living down the street and a few times in another subdivision.

Now don’t get me wrong, He wouldn’t have been the one moving closer or farther, but it is I who move Him closer or farther. But since I have been at home and able to reallocate my time a little differently, I have been able to spend more time with him.

So, I have moved Him from a far away subdivision to a few streets over. This is when I essentially went from not attending church to coming back again (long story for another day).

Then, I started to stay at home and went to the women’s bible studies at my church. Through those studies, I very quickly moved Him from a few streets over to being my next door neighbor. I saw Him more frequently… I sought Him out more frequently.

But since I have started this covenant and let God get to work on the most basic part of my life… my eating… I have (almost subconsciously) moved Him into my house. He is here all. the. time. But in a good way!

And well, He is just about the best roommate… ever!

This morning, I had a different post written altogether, but after I read this Psalm, I bumped it back. So, here ya go… my “inspiration” for this post…

I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy. He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him.

Death stared me in the face, hell was hard on my heels. Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn; then I called out to God for help: “Please, God!” I cried out. “Save my life!”

God is gracious-it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God. God takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings. Soul, you’ve been rescued from death; Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears; And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”

I’m striding in the presence of God, alive in the land of the living! I stayed faithful, though bedeviled, and despite a ton of bad luck, despite giving up on the human race, saying, “They’re all liars and cheats.”

What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me? I’ll lift high the cup of salvation-a toast to God! I’ll pray in the name of God; I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it together with his people.

When they arrive at the gates of death, God welcomes those who love him. Oh, God, here I am, your servant, your faithful servant: set me free for your service!

I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice and pray in the name of God. I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it in company with his people, In the place of worship, in God’s house, in Jerusalem, God’s city. Hallelujah!
Psalm 116

Day Fifty-Two: And The Youth Will Lead Them

My oldest boy (he is 4 1/2) has been really into telling me about what he’s learning in church on Sundays in his class. Which I am esctatic about because that means that he is 1) really listening and 2) really interested!

This past Sunday the lesson was about the ten men that Jesus healed from leprosy while only one came back.

As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
Luke 17:11-19

Now I think as adults we tend to analyze this a bunch of different ways, but the “kid analysis” was so simple and so brilliant.

So after Pasco told me the story, I asked him my typical, “What can we learn from this story?” And his response: “Mom, you need to thank Jesus when he does something nice for you. Just like the sick man said thank you.”

That was it. So simple. So true. It wasn’t shocking or anything but there was something about hearing it from someone else and especially since the “you” was in there- it made it… personal.

January, you need to thank Jesus when he does something nice for you.

Hmmmmmm- like healing me from a leprosy of my soul, for example? Because that is just what Jesus is doing for me. It didn’t necessarily happen in one flash of lightning, but just like those men with leprosy… it is happening “along the way”.

So, like my son said, I need to thank Jesus… because he has done something nice for me. Sooooo…

Jesus. Where do I begin? Thank you for every moment of freedom that you have given me already. Thank you for every moment of freedom that I can look forward to in the future. Thank you for renewing my heart and for giving me an obedient heart. Thank you for helping me to bring my mind along with that same renewal. Thank you for the Word that you have given me. Thank you for the time to read it. And thank you for the way it changes me, renews me, purifies me. Thank you for healing me of my addiction to food. Thank you for my salvation. Thank you for loving me so much more than I could ask for. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Amen.