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.


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