August 15, 2013

Precious Memory

I think it's funny that I decided if I didn't have anything to write about I would do a "gratitude post." As if that is something less important that what I have to say about...whatever. How self-absorbed. Duh.

Anyway...Today's gratitude post is about memory. I realized last night at a prayer meeting when we were directed to pray in thanksgiving for memories what a magnificent thing our memory is. I've never really thought about how unique the memory is. The ability to replay something in our mind. A decade, a year, a season, a day, a moment--we can recall because of memory. And attached to the mental picture comes sound, feeling, smell, emotion. A memory has the potential to engage the whole person, physically, mentally, emotionally and definitely spiritually. The more that I think about it, I believe our memory could be one of the most spiritual things about us. God certainly has purpose in everything He creates. I am overwhelmed as I begin to think of all the ways and reasons our memory is needed in our relationship with God...

So we can remember where we've been. Yes, even the most disgusting, deplorable pit imaginable can be turned to glorify God when we remember. And when we are in the bottom of the same pit  looking up we can remember that He's pulled us out before. We can remember His promises. The remarkable, miraculous ability He's given us to permanently engrave His words on our heart and in our minds and souls so that we might stay in the safety of His ways. We can remember. 

And for just sheer grace. Memories of happy times. The moment the doors flung open and the groom saw his bride. The time the family loaded up and headed to Six Flags on a Sunday morning whim. The time the test finally had two pink lines. The time the light was finally at the end of the tunnel. Hope, joy and happiness are just a thought away because of memory.

There is a song by Ginny Owens called If You Want Me To that is one of my very favorites. There are a couple of lines at the end that always bring that big lump up in the back of my throat. She talks about remembering:
So when the whole world turns against me and I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the darkness if You want me to 
When I cross over Jordan, I'm gonna sing, gonna shout
I'm gonna look into Your eyes and see, You never let me down
So take me on the pathway that will lead me home to You

I'm gonna look into Your eyes and see, You never let me down. Wow. God will one day redeem our memory. We will be able to remember our whole lives with full knowledge of Who He is. We will remember in a new way. I think this will give us the ability to worship in Spirit and in Truth unlike we ever have before. Just something cool to think about. Basically, and ultimately we have a memory so we can glorify God. 

August 13, 2013

Cheeseburgers, Scales & Expectations

You know what I hate? I hate when I get on the scale with an expectation and the number that appears is NOT low enough to make all of my sacrifice worth it. What has happened in that moment so many times in the past is that I decide right then and there that cheeseburgers are a more dependable way to be satisfied than losing weight. So I go spend the rest of the day stuffing my face with cheeseburgers.

The problem with this is that it's stupid. Because cheeseburgers are not dependable. Neither is a scale. I mean, they are dependable for the thing that they were meant to deliver. A tasty meal. A tool to measure weight. But neither is dependable to satisfy me.

Expectations are a dangerous thing if they do not consider the primary purpose of the object of expectation. The primary job of a cheeseburger is to taste good, not to make me feel good. The primary job of a scale is to measure weight, not to make me feel good.

But still, I am dying to be satisfied. Good news: The primary purpose of Christ is to satisfy me.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:6-8 

And the primary purpose of me is to glorify God. Love how it all comes together in these words from John Piper:
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” John Piper 

August 11, 2013

On Coffee

Continuing on with my efforts to blog even when I have nothing to say, here is another gratitude entry:

I have been so thankful for coffee lately. I mean it really is such a perfectly delightful thing. I am sad that there are some people who do not like coffee. Really, I am. When I meet people one of the standard questions I ask them is in regards to their stance on coffee. "Hi, nice to meet you, _____. Where do you live?  Ahh. What do you do? Mmmm, that's cool. And do you drink coffee?..." The last person I asked said no and I think I actually apologized to her without thinking...I'm sorry. That's just how much I love coffee.

And it's such a simple thing that I wonder how someone even came up with it. To take some green little beans, roast them, grind them up, then steep with water and drink? Genius...but I would have never thought of that. Every morning when I am pouring in the cream and measuring out the spoon-fuls of sugar I give thanks to God for the grace that is coffee. It gives me so much joy! And I know I could live without it because I have before. But I'd just rather not. I wonder if part of my love for coffee has to with the fact that when I was little my grandmother used to serve me milk and sugar with a splash of coffee in the most beautiful and dainty tea cups with saucers. I still like to drink coffee in a tea cup. It's all about quality over quantity for me and coffee. Well, the quantity of the cream and sugar do matter. But I'd rather have a tiny cup of perfectly brewed coffee than gallons of gross coffee.

This is gonna sound really weird but I think of coffee as a friend sometimes. Probably not a great thing. But when I am stressed or lonely or fighting temptation coffee is my go-to companion. And coffee reminds me of God's great gifts that are so simple and yet so amazing! Coffee brings people together. It forces you to slow down. It helps you think...sometimes the most brilliant ideas come between sips. It can really be an art if you so choose for it to be. Coffee is one of the rare things that smells so irresistibly delicious and then actually delivers on taste to the same degree.(You know there are some food smells that really beat the food's actual taste by a long shot. Coffee is not in that camp.) Coffee makes me think of people I love, it makes me think of warmth when all my surroundings seem cold. It makes me think of home, stability, and simplicity. If I could learn to drink it black it is like zero calories and supposedly has great health benefits in moderate quantities. I doubt that will happen, but you never know.

Coffee is just so, so, so GOOD. Thank You, God for coffee. The end.


August 10, 2013

Choosing Tomorrow's Moments

Yesterday was one of those days that seem to drag on and on as you are fighting to live in the moment but in every moment you are just wanting to eat a big bag of chips. So it's kinda hard, living in the moment. That was yesterday.

I never ate a huge bag of chips. I did live in the moment for the most part. Feeling how that feels when you want something so bad and you could have it but you know you shouldn't so you just sit there and let God hold you down--that actually is painful. Or the way it feels when you want to say something so bad and you could but you know you shouldn't so you just sit there and let God put a hand over your mouth. Excruciating in that moment. And you breathe deep breaths through your nose and you try to remember why you are being silent. Or why you aren't going to Dollar General for the chips. Thinking it through. Pacing. Remembering. Feeling the burn of surrender. This is living in the moment for me, at the moment.

It felt pretty uncomfortable yesterday but today it feels right and satisfactory. Today I don't have to live in the moments of regret and discouragement. I can live in moments of praise and amazement at the grace that held me down and covered me. And in moments of believing that He will do it again. And again and again.

Today's surrender is tomorrow's freedom.

August 7, 2013

Who's the Boss?

Eating Disorder. Disordered eating. What about "ordered eating"?  As in, not eating too much. Not eating too little. Not obsessing over eating. Eating normally...What is eating normally? Just eating to live? No, I don't think that's all there is to it. Eating is closely associated with celebration and I believe that is okay. Eating is closely associated with comfort and I believe that is also okay. Eating is closely associated with Christ in many ways, namely that he tells us to eat and drink in remembrance of Him. So that one must be okay.

He tells us to eat to remind us of our need for Him and how easily do we forget about that? We think we only need ourselves. This is precisely what leads to disordered eating. This is precisely what leads to disordered...anything! In Genesis 3 disorder began. Eve forgot who God was. She put herself in the place of God. She ate in a disordered way. She did not eat to live. She did not eat to celebrate. She did not eat for comfort. She did not eat as a way to remember and give thanks for the blessings of God. She ate because she forgot to remember who God is.

A good friend recently observed, God is the Boss of us. He really is.

I'm just wondering if it really could be as simple as remembering that. Remembering that God created. Remembering that what God created was good. Remembering that like Adam and Eve we are slaves to disorder and sin apart from the perfect life and unfathomable death of Jesus. Remembering that He demonstrates his love by coming for us. Again and again and again. Remembering that we need Him and we need the food that He provides to sustain us for another day. Remembering that He is boss and He knows best.

What if a meal became a time to remember rather than a time to freak out, pig out or hide out? We can choose to remember. We can choose to allow Him to order every part of our lives, including our relationship with food. In Genesis 1 there was order. There was normalcy. In the beginning, there was blessing and there was peace; there was order. The good news is that Christ took away the curse of sin, yet He did not take away the blessings of obedience. That is so cool to me. So gracious! Following Jesus... remembering who He is and what He's done, believing it and acting on it...puts us on the pathway that leads back to the way things were in the beginning. When He goes first, everything else somehow gets put back in order. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

I'm going to pray for God to reveal ways to remember who He is as I struggle through temptation associated with food. How awesome would it be if the very thing (food) that has inflicted so much pain, heartache and so much disorder in my life, God would turn to a thing that would always and forever be reminding me who He is instead? That sounds just like something He would do. I'm asking for it.

August 2, 2013

Life or Death

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19

I feel the weight of this truth so profoundly today.

Last night I was told about a morbidly obese man who died in a fast food drive-thru line. Right in his car. CPR was administered but it was too late. God rest his soul. I can't imagine the heartache that follows a tragedy like that for his family and friends. I'm most definitely not writing about this to impose judgement. For all I know this man was trying hard to become healthy and I don't know for a fact that his obesity was the direct cause of death.  But it just made me think of how many times I have pulled into a drive-thru line to order something that I know I shouldn't. I have felt so shameful, so frustrated and so helpless and so hopeless. I pray that was not the condition of this man and that he was just happily driving through for a quick lunch. 

The fact remains that over-eating and obesity is a serious problem. It causes death. It causes pain, heartache, sadness, depression, disease and ultimately it causes death. Do we understand the seriousness of this? Or are we winking and chuckling as we reach for the 3rd brownie at a party or heading to the fast food restaurant for the 5th time this week? People die of drug and alcohol abuse. We shake our heads. So sad. Serious issue. 

Well, I am serious. If I do not make a turn in my life, the path I am on leads to death. I might as well take up drinking or crack cocaine. People may say, that's not the same thing. Food addiction doesn't affect your daily life. You can still be functional. Well, maybe you can but I can't. At least not the way God intends for me to function. And if it's not the way He intends then it's not life to me. Not real life. And if it's not real life then its just as good as death.

On the other hand, this week I experienced the death of a close friend of mine. She was exactly 40 years older than me; we shared the same birthday. Miss Fairry was a member of my First Place 4 Health group and for the past 5 years or so I saw in her an example of what it means to truly live. Choosing life for herself each day as she took care of others, encouraged others and made her health a priority, she did the latter so that she could do the former. Taking care of her body was not about looking cute or impressing people. It was not about getting to a certain number on the scale or being perfect. It was about being able to truly live for her. To be able to fully serve God in any and every way that He would lead her. And it was about joy. It was about discipline for 6 days of the week so she could enjoy a plate of fried catfish with her husband on Friday nights before they went dancing! Yes, dancing. Miss Fairry died peacefully in her sleep earlier this week. She chose life so that she could live. Right up until she went home.

One of the things that I will always think of when I think about her is scripture memory. She spent most of her life believing that she could not memorize scripture. Somewhere along the way during her time spent in the FP4H program she began memorizing scripture. Lots of it. I loved hearing the enthusiasm in her 70-something voice as she spoke of the ways the Lord was still changing her. What an encouragement she was to me. As I've thought so much about her this week, the verse from Deuteronomy keeps coming back to me. It is one we all memorized together and I know the Spirit of the Lord is still encouraging me through the life of this remarkable woman as He whispers: You have a choice... Now choose life.

Miss Fairry is on bottom right. Love that joyful smile. She always looked just like this.


August 1, 2013


I am basically having to force myself to write here. I think it's important because God is nudging me to do so, and I will, but I'm just saying...I don't really have much to say. At least regarding food, weight and the like. That's probably for the best. So what I'm going to do is record a couple of things I am grateful for today.

First of all I think, if my math is correct, I did 3 loads of laundry today. I know that's not a big deal for 99% of people but for that minute remainder, aren't you proud of me? I'm grateful that I remembered to change out the loads and restart our dying dryer at the right intervals so that I got in three loads of clothes! Amazing. Grateful of course that we have that many clothes, even. Now if I can just get them off of my bed and into their homes before I fall asleep on top of them...

Second I'm grateful that I had plenty of groceries to make 3 semi-healthy meals for both me and the kids today. That is not always the case, but only because I forget to go to the grocery store (or put it off), certainly not for lack of provision...

Which leads me to the third thing I am grateful for and that is my husband. He is just a jewel. And I love him.

Fourth, I am thankful for the peace of God that has kept me calm today and allowed me to focus on things I need to focus on even during the midst of sadness from the passing of a dear friend. I am so thankful for all the memories I have of this woman, for each and every one of them directs my thoughts to Abba Father.

Okay! That was fun.

P.S. I just went and tucked the kids into bed and my son had a total bad attitude. So I thought, "I will have them tell me what they are thankful for today!" So I asked. Daughter answered sweetly. Son answered two things he is "hateful" for. Then I stepped on two pieces of hard plastic toys with my bare feet. So I guess to put in Jonah's terms, I'm kinda hateful for that last part of the day but trying to find the good in it. G'night.