Day 644: {Sometimes} Smooth Sailing

Have you ever been sailing?

It’s really… kind of an amazing experience. It’s beautiful, and clean, and pure, and scary, and stressful, and dangerous.

Probably another one of those things that is so much like life… just a perfect metaphor.

You get on this sailboat and you have all this work to do, and you have to do it right or the boat will capsize or you’ll run it aground or something equally terrible. Or even beyond your control, a huge storm can blow through and despite your best efforts, you could be sunk… literally.

But on the flip side, if you do the work right, then you sit down for a bit on the boat or stand at the helm and you feel the wind pushing you along. You hear the wind tap, tap, tapping against the sails. You see the water stretching out beyond you and you rock back and forth as the boat pushes through the waves.

It’s… just awesome.

And life is like that… it can be so much hard work and if you don’t do it right then it makes life more difficult for you. You could capsize your life, or run it aground, or just ruin the boat entirely. Or a terrible storm out of your control can come through and ravage your life, your plans, your work.

But, on the flip side, you at times can feel the moments of peace and see the beauty of life stretching out before you.

And it can be… just awesome.

But the hard part of both sailing and life … is choosing to struggle through the hard work, to push through the storms in HOPES that you will eventually get to experience the peace and beauty.

So let me tell you: this is the really, really good part… It IS Worth It.

This is what Christ promises us…

Have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33

He tells us that even in the storm we can know that the storm. will. end. We can keep our eyes on the horizon knowing that He has overcome the world. He has already defeated it. He has already begun to move His hand to wipe away that storm.

We don’t sail through life hopeless.

We sail through life knowing that after the storm, there does come a rainbow. As cheesy and overused as that metaphor is… it’s accurate. The SON will shine through the rain and you will see the beauty that can He can create in your life after a storm.

So, climb aboard me hearties… and God’s speed!

{Okay, sorry for that last part… couldn’t help myself. I figured since I went with the trite “after a storm comes a rainbow” I might as well use some kind of cheesy pirate and sailing gibberish to finish it off!}

 

Day 166: Thor, Table For Two

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I know. I know.

A picture of pizza and Thor?!!? What am I thinking? But there is method to my madness…

You see, my five-year old is on this cheese pizza kick, and he is sooooooo not an eater. Not a healthy eater. Not a bad eater. He’s just not much of an eater.  I think it comes from the days when I was nursing him and realized, a bit later than I should have, that he was in the 4th percentile (which is an indication that either a kid is starving or has something seriously wrong with them) and in our case… he was starving… my milk was not so much milk as it was… water. Yeah, as if nursing isn’t already the most difficult part of motherhood, add the guilt of starving your first child.

That was a rough time for me… we’ll leave it at that! Haha!

Anyway, so when he likes a food… I pretty much jump on it. Unfortunately the effect of this is that he then almost ODs on whatever food he likes and then never wants it again. But until I choose to learn from that mistake, when the kid asks for a cheese pizza (which is really only like every other week or so… I’m being over dramatic about it simply because he almost never requests food), well… then I give him a cheese pizza.

And this one time in particular, he asked for a cheese pizza on a Friday and I was exhausted from being up really late the night before, so I conceded reallllllllly easily to his request. And then when he came across this pizza at Target and it had a picture of Thor on it… well, whatever defenses were left completely crumbled! (I’m sort of an Avengers nut thanks to my kid… and my favorite is either Thor or Iron Man… wow. irrelevant information yet again!)

Oh wow… ANYWAYYYYY all of this to say, he ate about half of the pizza. And so what was left? Yep… the other half of a cheese pizza. A cheese pizza that’d had Thor’s picture on it.

I was doomed.

Sure, I had already eaten my dinner. No, of course I wasn’t hungry. And I already mentioned that I was tired.

This is a bad combo… pizza + tired = fail.

And I ate his left over piece and two more pieces.

Shame. Guilt. Sorrow. Grief. Resolve. Shame. Guilt. Sorrow. Grief. Resolve.

You know the cycle.

But one thing that I have started to add in to that cycle whenever I eat when I shouldn’t or eat something I shouldn’t or eat in a way that is not honoring God because it’s eating for a reason other than eating to live… then I add in the step of evaluating WHY I ate when I wasn’t hungry. or what I shouldn’t have. or too much.

And a lot of times it is because I am tired.

My revelations on the importance of sleep are going to come up more in another post, but in essence, if at all possible… I need to get enough sleep. Sure, I have a toddler, so this is not always possible. But when I can get enough sleep, I need to shut down facebook, shut down my bible even, shut down the dishes and go. to. bed.

Otherwise, I’m asking for it the next day. And why set myself up for a struggle… doesn’t Satan do that enough as it is? Why should I make it harder on myself!??!

And I love The Message’s version of these verses… encouragement to do what we can, or as my husband has taught our son to say, “Do my best and trust God to do the rest!”…

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Hebrews 12:1-3

Day Ninety: Painful Penitence

Sometimes I lament the fact that I have struggled for so much of my life only to discover that the answer all along was so very, very simple. But this week I came across this verse that sorta changed my perspective on that a bit:

The pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have… [that] leads us away from sin and results in salvation… Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm… such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

It makes me almost glad, looking back, that I hit rock bottom. I needed that pain to push me toward repentance. And he still uses the sorrow of my occasional failings (like the cookie dough, the apple crisp) to push me back into repentance.

And really, I think I want my heart to always be in a state of repentance… because then my pride can be kept at bay (well, at least a little bit of it).

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalm 51:17

But after I wrote that I started thinking, what IS repentance anyway? I mean it’s a word that I have heard, and said, a bazillion times, and maybe a good ol’ southern Christian woman should know the meaning but, well, I’m just not entirely sure! So, when in doubt, check it out! Haha!

Dictionary.com says it is “to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better.

So it’s not about making up for sin, as it is about remembering past sin, and doing what is necessary to keep it from coming back.  Like for me, I have to continually read the Bible, but also sometimes it helps to re-read through some of my journal and blog entries when I was struggling. The key for me is to “think about things of heaven, not the things of the earth.” Colossians 3:2