Archive for February, 2013

February 24, 2013

Day 411: My House Has Been Bugged

Seriously.

Bugged. All over the place.

We haven’t been able to escape the bugs. None of us.

And it’s been messy.

And honestly, at this point, I think I’d prefer a governmental bug tap over this bug.

The stomach bug.

{Dummmmmm dum dum dummmmmm!}

My toddler picked it up somewhere… at McDonald’s, at church last Wednesday, or even possibly the Albertson’s shopping cart. And then he passed it on to me, and one of us passed it on to my husband, and one of us passed it on to my preschooler.

And I’ll tell ya what, one way to put food in its place real quick is to have a stomach bug. And this one’s been a doozie. (Yeah, I just said doozie.) You spend four days, at least, just wanting to avoid food. It’s like my entire life’s focus is flipped to its polar opposite during those four days. My husband made the boys eggs the morning that I came down with it and just the smell of the eggs was enough to make me nauseous! {But props to him for taking care of the boys… he didn’t have it yet and was trying to keep the house afloat!}

I was so hungry yesterday evening after one day of eating nothing and another day of only saltines and Gatorade… that I jumped the gun and ate a baked potato.

Okay, okay. A baked potato with sour cream.

And butter.

And cheese.

The whole. thing.

Not half. Not one devoid of those additions too-fat for my extremely sensitive tummy. Not one that might get somewhat close to following the BRAT Recovery Diet. Nope. The whole thing. Pretty much loaded.

WHY?

(I ask that question a lot don’t I?)

Because these gluttonous tendencies just POP up out of nowhere when I least expect them. I mean… I ate that sucker like a woman starved. I guess I was… literally… starved at that point. But it was like my mind, my renewal, my restraint just went out the window and I wasn’t even thinking! I was just EATING.

BUT. I learned my lesson! This is a great, great thing! I didn’t try to eat a freaking pop tart or something this morning… I ate a banana. And for lunch I ate chicken and rice soup (yes, yes, I know that I’m a vegetarian, but we are a little low on stockpiles for sickie people, so I went with what was best out of my options). And for dinner, I made rice for me to eat! And I EVEN stopped eating when I got too full!

It is a small triumph, but hey… I’ll take it!

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This last week in my Beth Moore study over The Patriarchs, she was discussing Tests and Triumphs and she talked about how sometimes you can just read his Word, learn what God wants to teach you, apply it and never need to “leave the classroom”. And sometimes you simply “don’t get it” being just in the classroom and so God has to take you on a little “field trip.” Well, this year has been a mix of those two things. Somedays I learn it from The Word, and some days I have to take a field trip down to the ol’ Gluttony Community Center to get myself turned around. But I get encouraged when my mandatory field trips are shorter and shorter. Instead of me trying to eat too much again today, I went back to my normal ol self! It was a pretty short field trip!

You see… God is good. As much as I try to do it my own way, He is good. He always pulls me back to teach me The Way. And when The Way heals me, soothes me, redirects me, then He has Glory. And He Has Victory.

And that might {might} just make it worth having the stomach bug in the long run.

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory…The strong right arm of the Lord is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things! Psalm 118:14,16

February 23, 2013

Day 410: Overlooking Neglect

On Day 406 I wrote about our blow up pool. Hmmmm, never thought that I’d write about a blow up pool on my blog about covenants and dieting. Ha!

Anyway, that morning before the post went “live”, I was doing my hair and I was wondering what caused the hole to get into the little rainforesty part of the pool (which has since been cut off of the pool cause it got a little too bothersome). I guess it could have been one of the boys jumping on it. Or maybe driving a Hot Wheel across it. Or maybe it was when I was dragging it out of the little shed. Perhaps it was when we left it out back, empty of water, during a huge wind storm and watched it as it flew back and forth through our backyard like a pinball (that was actually kind of fun to watch).

Not sure what did caused the hole, but I do know this. Whatever did it was a result of neglect.

The word neglect immediately makes me think of sad-faced puppies on TV with Sarah McLachlan’s voice hovering around us.

sarah mclachlan dogs 2

But I’m not talking about that level of neglect. I’m talking about a far more dangerous level of neglect: the kind you don’t even realize is happening.

Okay, yes, so watching the pool bounce around the backyard was an obvious neglect.

But a lot of the other things… the basic “use” of the pool… didn’t seem like neglect. When it boils down to it, I didn’t take super awesome good amazing care of the pool, and it got a hole in it.

As I thought through this while I globbed gel on another section of my hair, I was like, “Oh, well, I won’t put this little thought process in my “Patched Up” post because it’s not like me neglecting my pool relates to me and my faith. I mean… it’s not like my faith was struggling because of neglect.”

{Picture me sorta freezing my hands mid curl-twirl as a wave of Holy Spirit goose bumps slid over me while I realized how wrong I was about what I had just said to myself.}

Honestly, that is exactly what had caused my faith to just sorta want to puff out slowly through a little hole. I neglected it. I mean, I went to church for women’s bible study, and I went to Sunday School, and I taught lessons in the youth department, but I was neglecting my own personal study, meditation, and prayer at home. I was neglecting God.

You neglected the Rock who had fathered you; you forgot the God who had given you birth. Deuteronomy 32:18

It was parental neglect… only I was the one neglecting… I neglected My Parent. My Father. My Rock. My Maker. And I had been overlooking it for so. very. long.

Sure, I had little verses here and there, but I was not taking much time for Him. I was too busy. too tired. too busy. too tired. And that led to me being too unmotivated. You know how it is, you skip a day, then another, and then another, and then, well, you’re just so behind… why keep it up? Take a few more days off while you’re at it.

And as much as I hate to say it… I know exactly what happened.

  1. I became a vegetarian after being a meat eater for 33 years, and my vitamin B12 levels got realllllly low (although I didn’t know it at the time).
  2. When my vitamin B12 levels got low, I got realllllllly tired.
  3. When I got reallllllly tired, I didn’t want to wake up early in the morning.
  4. When I didn’t want to wake up early in the morning, then I missed the chance to read or pray in peace and quiet before my sons got up and demanded all my attention.
  5. When I missed the chance to read or pray in peace and quiet before my sons got up, then I never got another chance until bedtime.
  6. When I didn’t get a chance until bedtime to read and pray, then I would fall asleep on my bible because my vitamin B12 levels were low.
  7. Rinse, and repeat.

So, like I said on Day 406, I was still getting in little snippits of God, but I wasn’t following the example of Christ and going up on the mountain away from everyone else to take an extended amount of time to focus on My Lord and what He wanted to say to me.

Essentially, if we jump back to the pool = faith analogy, and my pool got a hole in it that needed a patch = my faith got a hole in it that needed a patch. So, God = the patch for my faith. And before going to God, I kept having to blow up that dadgum faith pool because the patch wasn’t sticking. Well, it’s just like any patch… you have to give it enough TIME to stick. If you fill the pool back up with water before the patch is ready then it’ll just float on off.

And that’s what I have been doing for months. Going to God for only a few moments a day when I need to be going away to find Him and seek Him and allow Him plenty of time to apply a patch to my ever deflating faith, so that He could breathe in His Spirit. But now I know how to keep my faith aired up. Not that I won’t do the exact same thing again, but I can alsways remember…

The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

February 22, 2013

Desperate Measures (Haha!)

Saw this on Pinterest… don’t you think it never crossed my mind. (Although I was thinking something more along the lines of large industrial chains!)

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February 21, 2013

Day 408: Funny Honey

Honey.

Honey is a little funny.

It’s a little tricky.

It’s not sugar……… but it is sugar.

It’s “better” than sugar, but it’s still basically sugar.

It’s “approved” by healthnuts, but I still manage to abuse it.

I had gotten to the point where I’d had to come face to face with the fact that I was using honey in the same way that I used to use sugar. I was using it…

when I needed an emotional boost.
when I was tired.
when I felt like my energy was low.
when my lunch was less than satisfactory.
when my hot tea was “inedible” without it.
when my oatmeal, peanut-butter, raisin granola bar in a bowl wasn’t nearly as yummy without it.

And I was just choosing to “look the other way” when it came down to it. I was talking to my dad about it one day and I asked him if he was eating honey (he’s cutting down on his sugar, too) and he said “No, I mean… it’s basically just sugar.”

I wanted to balk at his answer. I wanted to give him all of my excuses “No, it’s better than sugar.” “No, it’s okay to have a little honey if you cut out refined sugar.” “No, it won’t lead me toward being overweight or getting diabetes.”

But I didn’t say anything back other than “Yeah, that’s true.”

Cause it is true. He was right. It IS basically just sugar. And although I can see why people say that it is “healthier” for me than sugar, when it boils down to it… I was eating it for wrong reasons. I wanted that sugary, sweet taste… which is not bad in and of itself, but I wanted it all. the. time.

So, I had to Just Say No to honey.

Haha… that’s kind of funny isn’t it? Had to “just say no” to… HONEY?

But I knew that it was creeping in as a stronghold and I thought it best to nip it in the bud. I didn’t do that last year with bread and I allowed bread to become my go-to. my addiction. my comfort. my “need”. But I am learning more and more and then again and again that if something is “tripping me up”… sugar, bread, facebook, meat, working on the sabbath, and now, honey… that it’s gotta go. I don’t want anything holding me back. I’d much rather “sacrifice” some luxuries in my life and life a life of fulfillment than keep those things.

Note: I wrote the above part of this post back in late January and, needless to say, aside from never getting around to publishing it, I also never got around to “quitting” honey. I definitely cut down on it, but I was still going to it for a “fix”.

Well, a couple of days ago we were out of honey and I wanted to make some granola bars for my son’s lunches, so I picked some up when I went to the store. Good ol gluttonous me grabbed the biggest one. Then I thought, “Well, I don’t want it to get all crystallized and wasted since I don’t eat as much of it anymore.” So, I went to replace the jumbo one and get the medium sized and that’s when I noticed the price!

Holy Honey, Batman!!! $13.59?!?!?!

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Well, that pretty much solidified the no-honey initiative in my life! It figures out to 34¢ an ounce which doesn’t seem like a lot but I know that we’d blow through those 40 ounces in a month. And I do know that $13.59 is a lot to spend on a luxury once a month.

That’s gas money.
That’s ten shirts from the thrift store for my son who definitely needs a few more.
That’s a lot of loaves of bread for lunches.
That’s three or four visits to Starbucks (which I’d much rather have than honey)!

So, my soul might be on a diet from honey but, now, so is my WALLET! Ha!

February 19, 2013

Day 406: Patched Up

rainforest pool

Last summer, my boys wanted to blow up our little kiddie pool in the backyard, but Big Daddy was gone and I didn’t know how to work the air compressor, so I decided that I would just have to go old school on that pool. Well, sorta old school. I used a bicycle foot pump.

And it took for.ev.er.

But I did it. I struggled through. Switched out which foot I used several times. Sweated. Huffed and puffed. Used my hands to work the foot pump a few times cause my legs were giving out. But I kept going and finished it. Even had to blow up the little extra decorative parts using air from my lungs.

And then, I realized… one of the little extra blowup parts that made the pool look like a rainforest… had a hole. It wasn’t the WHOLE pool that had a hole, but still, If I didn’t keep that part aired up it would fall over into the pool. I mean, the pool would still be usable, but not as fun.

My faith has been so much like that pool the last few months. It has needed constant work to keep it aired up. And it just hasn’t been as much… “fun”. But, it’s worked. When my sweet grandmother went to Jesus in November, my faith was there… it led me immediately to Jesus. He was my comfort, my hope, my refuge. Then my faith went back to “keeping it aired up” status. Not splashing around. Not resting in the cool comfort. Just working at keeping it going.

But lately, there is this tiny… okay, maybe not tiny, but very small… almost imperceptible change happening in my heart.

Where I find myself softly choosing Jesus instead of my own desires.
Where I find myself longing for His Word.
Where I find myself speaking words of adoration and thanks to Him.
Where I find myself slowly, slowly finding calmness, contentment, perspective.

Honestly… I can’t say that there is anything that I did, or didn’t do, that led to this change. Maybe I’m reading my bible again more. Maybe I’m praying more and with a little more faith. Maybe my Sunday School teacher is the bizomb and is ripping apart everything that I have believed and making sure I believe it for real. Maybe just picking up the Beth Moore book every couple of days is transforming me. Maybe it’s my life calming down a bit. Maybe it’s the Easter season upon me.

Or maybe it’s just God’s plan. God’s timing. God’s change.

Cause I learned a lot about myself, my faith, my God, my gluttony, my hurts, my hopes during that time of keeping my faith “aired up”. And I was reminded of how important it is to stay the course, stay steady. It doesn’t have to be a Beth Moore study every night, or a Jim Cymbala prayer, or a Billy Graham conversion.

A verse a day. A prayer a day. A worship a day.
In the car. On the potty. In my bed. At the dinner table.
Quick and hurried. Tearful and begging. Flustered and worried.

The key… is going back to Him. Keeping that faith aired up. Cause He’ll patch that hole. You keep it aired up and He’ll patch that hole when the time is right. When you’ve learned a little something. When you’ve realized how much easier it is to just let Him patch that hole instead of keeping it aired up.

And then, for a bit, you can sit back, grab a glass of iced tea (peach flavored, if you’re really living it up), and relax in the cool, refreshing water of His Spirit.

February 18, 2013

Recipe: UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole

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I purchased a bunch of green bell peppers at Sam’s last week intending to use them for stuffed bell peppers, but the more I thought about making stuffed bell peppers the more I just couldn’t muster up the energy to make them. They really aren’t that difficult, although the whole process of getting them to stand up never comes easily to me for some reason, but they are kind of difficult to eat. Plus, my bell peppers always end up a bit… soggy. And, well, that’s just plain ol’ gross. With this recipe because they only are in the oven for about 15 minutes, they still have a bit of crunch to them!

I remembered seeing a recipe for UNstuffed Bell Peppers, and although I couldn’t find it on Pinterest, I did find a couple of others that sorta reminded me of the basic idea, and then I made my own (vegetarian) version! It would be vegan if you just left out the cheese! I would love to try this with black beans as well, but we were out tonight.

A question for my experienced cooks: could I make this ahead and refrigerate it?

UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (frozen is fine)
  • 3 teaspoons of minced garlic (jarred is fine)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (regular would probably be okay too)
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce (I used tomato and basil but I’m sure any would be fine)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 6-8 dashes of Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 1 cup colby jack cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese chunks (if you want… we are feta freaks and so I put it in a lot of stuff where it doesn’t make “sense” but it always seems to be soooooo gooooooood!)

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to directions.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  3. Lightly spray a 9×13 casserole dish.
  4. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Saute garlic, onions, dried basil, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin until soft (about 3-5 minutes).
  5. While vegetables are cooking, cut and seed the green bell peppers. Cut into 2 inch chunks and arrange along the bottom of the casserole dish.
  6. In skillet, add fire roasted diced tomatoes and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes while the juices cook out a bit.
  7. Add in kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons cumin, and cayenne pepper sauce. Stir to combine and allow to heat through.
  8. Stir in rice.
  9. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of colby jack cheese lightly over bell peppers in casserole dish and 1/4 cup of feta cheese on top of colby jack.
  10. Spoon the vegetable and rice mixture into the bell peppers in the casserole dish.
  11. Sprinkle with remaining colby jack and feta cheeses.
  12. Cook at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until colby jack is melted (feta rarely looks melted).
  13. Serve and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes and then enjoy!

As soon as I arranged the bell peppers and saw how pretty it all was, I started to get excited!

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This step is really important I think because it lets some of the flavors come together without it having to spend a bunch of time in the oven.

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I could hardly wait when I pulled the dish out of the oven. It looked beautiful and smelled DIVINE!

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February 17, 2013

Day 404: Rally Tally

tallymarks

Lately, I have been taking a study at church over The Patriarchs by Beth Moore, and in one of the videos she mentions that God isn’t in Heaven tallying up every time we sin; He is up in Heaven tallying up every time that we take an opportunity and do something that honors Him.

(Note: that is a TOTAL paraphrase because I can’t remember exactly what she said! And also, I have no idea if that statement is biblically sound… yet. I’m going to look into it; however, Beth Moore is a biblical scholar, so I tend to default that most of what she says is accurate.)

And I only have like two more minutes to post (cause I’m trying to get to sleep by 10:00 or 10:30 since I’m doing this whole up early thing for Lent), but I really wanted to post this.

Think about the last time you messed up and…

ate a bag of Oreos (or Girl Scout Cookies, since that’s “in season” right now!)
devoured your lunch leftovers even though you weren’t hungry.
hid some food from your husband or roomie so that you could sneak-eat it later.
ate someone else’s food because you couldn’t resist it.

And just remember that as BAD or HORRIBLE or GUILTY or SAD or DEPRESSED that you felt at that moment, God. isn’t. tracking. that.

What He IS looking to mark down is the time that you…

stopped by and visited a widow in the nursing home whose family lives across the country.
defended someone that was being picked on.
told someone that they were important and loved by you.
sent your kid to a less-than-desirable school so that you could reach more people.

It’s just cool to think that God is up there looking, watching, waiting for you to do GOOD. WE are keeping that tally of ourselves that marks down every time that we do BAD. But He IS tallying every time that you do choose to drink a glass of water instead of eating a handful of Thin Mints because you want to honor God by taking care of the body He has given you here on Earth. He IS tallying every time that you think of Him and take a deep breath instead of chewing out your son, your brother, your neighbor, your parents, your boss.

So rally up… be freed of all of those nasty marks of “BAD” and “WRONG”. Instead, start to think, “How can I get a “good-mark” for God? So that I can take that and get a jewel for my crown so that I can offer that crown with lots of jewels to God when I am at the judgment seat in Heaven.”

February 15, 2013

Day 402: Food, UNglorious Food!

You know, if ever Food had a theme song… then I don’t think that there is any doubting that it was the scene from Oliver where the boys all serenade… well, food. Okay, I can’t help it… if you haven’t seen the movie, then you can at least watch this song.

And especially the part near the end of the song. Here are the lyrics (just in case you aren’t as big a nerd as me and don’t have them memorized) for the very end:

Food, glorious food! Don’t care what it looks like — Burned! Underdone! Crude! Don’t care what the cook’s like.
Just thinking of growing fat — Our senses go reeling One moment of knowing that Full-up feeling! Food, glorious food!
What wouldn’t we give for That extra bit more — That’s all that we live for Why should we be fated to Do nothing but brood
On food,
Magical food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Fabulous food,
[OLIVER] Beautiful food,
[BOYS] Glorious food.
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Oh, how I identify with that song.
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But for ALL the wrong reasons! The boys in this video obviously dream and sing about food because they get slop to eat. Is that why I dream and sing about food (okay, so I don’t really actually SING about food)? No… I dream and obsess over it, not because I don’t have good quality food to eat, but because I have always had SO MUCH stuff to eat!
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But lately, I’ve been becoming extremely disenchanted with food. I know that should have happened long ago, but I’m almost going to the pantry or the fridge every time and thinking, “Nothing in here is going to taste the way I want it to taste.” But then when it doesn’t taste the way I want it to taste, I dwell on it even more while I long for some kind of wonderful flavor to hit my tastebuds. Not sure if this insatiable desire is a result of having had so much sugar cross my lips over the years or if so much sugar crossing my lips was a result of this insatiable desire. Either way, I’m having to fight it back now.
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So, a couple of nights ago I just found myself saying to God, “I don’t want to think about food anymore.”
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That was it. That was my prayer. And then I realized that saying that a) out loud b) to myself, and c) to God already started to help. So I said it again. And then when I woke up the next morning, I said it again. And again. And again.
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I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Psalm 77:3
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And I don’t think that it was a coincidence that this new prayer of mine has come about right at the beginning of Lent. Not that I’m changing anything with my eating, but it is 40 Days of Focus on Jesus. I did give up Facebook for Lent which has already been such a relief for me, and although ironically enough I did add a twitter “activity” to do during Lent, I’m cool with that because twitter for me is all about Jesus, so it’s been a great refocus for me to be on there. But I’m also giving up “sleep” for Lent, and I think that this will be the game-changer for me.
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No, I’m not not-sleeping for 40 Days… that’d be cuh.ray.zay. But I am waking up at 5:30am every morning to make sure that I get in a shower (so that I’m fully awake) and some bible study/reading/meditating time on Christ. I used to get up early all the time like that, but somewhere in the midst of my toddler becoming a frequent night-waker, I started to sleep in until juuuuuust before my boys woke up in the mornings, so this is a big deal for me.
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Not only is it a big deal because I am missing out on sleep so that there is the element of “sacrifice” for Lent, but also because if I am getting up every morning (including Sundays) for the 46 days of Lent to commune with God… well, that is gonna have a pretty big effect on me.
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And that is so what I hope for! I want my soul to be getting thinner and thinner (got this concept from that guy over at Fat Pastor) as it sheds off this desire to appease my worldly desires. And I want to lose all of this desire and obsession over food. I know that the only way for that to happen is for me to replace those thoughts with the thoughts of God and let Him take it from there.
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You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
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February 13, 2013

Day 400: Mirror | rorriM

I’ve been really contemplating how to honor God this Lent season (yes, I know it’s supposed to be Lenten but that word just makes me think of lentils and that word just gives me the willies). And so I decided to give up Facebook for the 40 Days (although I “lent” on Sundays too cause I don’t do so hot on days “off” of things). But that seemed so… well, so not enough this year. Not only did I want to sacrifice something but I also wanted to offer up something. (Especially after reading mignonpanache’s post about Lent when she mentioned the idea of “mirroring” Christ for these forty days. I mean- in His Life, of course he sacrificed so much but He also GAVE so much and He continually pointed our attention to GOD. And I want to mirror that!

How ironic that my sacrifice (Facebook) would be so similar to the thing I “offer” to Him… cause it’s on Twitter. Ha!

I follow this blog called Fat Pastor. And can I admit that I totally followed it because the name was just kinda strikingly funny to me??? Anyway, in this post, he brought up this thing he’s doing on twitter from @umrethinkchurch where you post a pic a day based off of these words that they posted and hash tag it #40Days and #rethinkchurch. (f you aren’t on twitter you could just as easily blog these or journal them to yourself in the form of words or on facebook or with {gasp} REAL PHOTOS. Here’s the order…

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And already today it has refocused my mind on Him! At first I was like “Why would focusing on ME the first day be a good way to get me into all of this?”

And then I remembered just who I am IN CHRIST. And it was a refreshing reminder.

20130213-184508.jpgAnd here was the pic that I posted for the day…

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sins. imperfections. goofiness. burdens. filth. exhaustion. happiness. reality.

All of it is the real me. And the real me… is a saved me.

And at the end of the day, that is what matters.

That is what His Walk To The Cross was all about.

February 12, 2013

Day 399: Lent Life

lent cross

Last year on Fat Tuesday, I published this post. It was an interesting thought process for me, especially since I was only on Day 42. Here is the main point of what I wrote:

I guess though that the more that I think about Fat Tuesday I sorta get a little insight into my “issues” of overeating. Fat Tuesday is pretty much all about getting to overindulge simply because lenting requires sacrifice. It’s almost as if we fatten up on this day because we feel like we deserve it since we will have to self-sacrifice the rest of the time. And that is kind of the mentality that I’m afraid of having...

…But now that I get to thinking about this whole Fat Tuesday mentality, I’m kinda of wondering if maybe that’s not what would please God. I mean, my whole thing has been about Him changing my mind, my heart, my soul. Wouldn’t that be just like me turning my back on Him pretty much as soon as He has delivered me into the promised land? Which is so much of what the Israelites did when He dropped them off. After the generation that had been wandering in the desert died off, the people started worshiping other idols in no time. And God was NOT pleased with that scenario. I’m reading through Judges right now and it seems like any time one of the judges gets the people back in order, everything is good, then he or she dies, and everyone gets right back into their mess of looking somewhere other than God. And then He punishes them.

Yeah… I don’t want that.

And wow – reading that now, after my weekend of… gluttony… I’m even more assured that sticking to a more strict covenant is what is right for me. It was one thing for me to have a night off in California when I didn’t have a lot of options, but it was an altogether DIFFERENT experience being here at home AND baking a bunch of sugary treats! I just… lost control.

No, I gave up control.

But either way, I let myself get into a Fat Tuesday Mentality of I have to “sacrifice” the rest of the year so I should be able to eat whatever I want and as much as I want during this “off” day.

And it was just a terrible, terrible time.

I mean… I didn’t even really enjoy it because it was all about breaking the rules instead of celebrating in what God had done. I knew that the only sugar I was supposed to have was at my husband’s birthday PARTY (cause that was the agreement that I made with God), but I started eating sugar the night before while making all of his cakes and cake balls and red velvet cake popcorn.

On Saturday morning, I tried to get back on the right page and I was resisting eating one of the cake balls that I had made for him, but I eventually gave up and ate one.And I think that’s when I first started lamenting what  was going on. I was “fighting” with those cake balls. I hadn’t “fought” with sugar for so long. It was horrible. It was extra horrible because I gave in.

My mind immediately told me: See. Nothing’s changed. Just live it up and give in. You can just get back on track tomorrow and no one will know the difference but you.

And then at the party I was too busy to eat, but I did load up on my dessert plate… But WHY? What was the point? I’d already had everything!

Once I got everyone to bed then I ate some more, although not too much, I was stuffed and exhausted.

Then Sunday… oh my. Sunday I ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate until I was, quite literally, sick.

I ate TRYING to make myself so full that I couldn’t eat anymore. I wanted to stop eating all that junk and I knew felt that getting obscenely full or eating everything was the only way at that point. I finally collapsed into bed, feeling horrible and sick and knowing that I was done with sugar again.

Monday would be a new day. A fresh start. A day without fighting the food. A day without sugar. A day without justification or rationalization. A day of boundaries. A day of joy and peace and comfort like I had known for the past year.

And Monday was all of those things for me. Much like an Ash Wednesday will be for some tomorrow. A breath of fresh air as they step away from something that has its hooks in their soul: Diet Dr. Pepper, Facebook, television, etc. And really, I sorta “bashed” Fat Tuesday last year, but now that I sit here and think about it… the Fat Tuesday to Ash Wednesday is really such a beautiful picture of our salvation. We think we need to party it up to live, and then we step from the things of the world into a new life because of Jesus. Not condoning Fat Tuesday for those reasons, but… really, salvation is just this exact process for all of us.

Our life before Christ = one big ol long Fat Tuesday
Our life with Christ = choosing to follow rules and a code in order to honor Christ and focus on Him

The main difference is, we don’t have to keep going back to Fat Tuesday year, after year, after year. We can live a Lent life… all the time.

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