Joy? Peace? Hope?

John 1:29″ The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Parenting at every stage presents its own highs and lows. Yay! Little Prince is walking…Yikes! We need to baby proof everything. I have always appreciated each stage and embraced that I will have successes and failures in each of those stages….until now. My boys are 15, 16 and a week shy of 19. They are on a hybrid schedule for school (my oldest is home from college until January) and these kids can suck my life force like nothing I have ever experienced in my life.

Last night, I prepared a family dinner and you would have thought I was asking they to lay down in the street so I could run them over with my car. My attempt at a lovely meal around our table so beautifully decorated for Christmas…hopeful that we could talk about our highs and lows of the day, the Advent season, smiling at each other lovingly was an epic failure. They complained, they fought, they were jerks. My joy at having the family around the table together slowly began to seep out of my body. As I looked around at each of these people that I GAVE BIRTH TO and then stared helplessly at my husband, I had this deep sadness. Who are these people? Where did they come from and what are they doing in my house? It’s ADVENT and we will be HAPPY!

As I prayed about this last night and again this morning (and in full disclosure there were tears) I realized that my joy in the coming of our Savior this season can happen simultaneously with the struggles of parenthood. It doesn’t diminish the Christmas story. This week we light the candle of peace for week 2 of Advent and my prayer is that even in the midst of total chaos, I remember that Jesus will still be returning in the form of a baby…God’s son. Shaping my thoughts in this way does help me cope with the less glamorous parts of parenting of which there seem to be many during the teenage years. With all the change and uncertainty 2020 has brought (fear, isolation, and struggle for so many) this doesn’t change fact. The fact is that God sent his son to live among up. A savior for all the world to see and acknowledge. There is joy and peace and hope in all of this.

I may need a break from family dinner for a hot minute. Kids will still be jerks sometimes, that’s life. Dealing with this is much easier knowing that Christmas is coming, Jesus is coming, our hope… Emmanuel.

The Dirty “D” word

Diet…most of us have been there done that…

Where for forty days he (Jesus) was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” Luke 4:2-4

I’m going to say it right off the bat…The Dirty “D” word is for DIET. I think I’ve tried almost every diet known to man. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Atkins, Mediterranean, Whole 30…I’ve been in (and out) of The Zone. And guess what? I think they all work! If you are determined and have committed to making the long term changes affiliated with these dietary plans then I think anyone can be successful. Then why have I failed? Why do I have a trunk full of weight loss books waiting to be sold back at my nearest neighborhood Half Price Book Store? I’m pretty sure this is because I have FOMO (fear of missing out…on the next food driven celebratory soiree) or maybe I just get lazy. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions but I did vow that I would look at how I approach areas of weakness in my life and how I could do a better job at being intentional in those areas to see growth and progress. I purchased the book Full, by Asheritah Ciuciu (I know. I know. Another book…I AM an author and will tell myself that this is for the great good of authors everywhere). The difference is that this isn’t a diet book. No quick fix, no easy meal plans for busy moms on the go and no diet. This book is about the connection to healthier relationships with food and a healthier relationship with Christ. Well, who wouldn’t want that?!? I read on….

I have a lot highlighted in this book so far but here are a few of the “big” ideas that have really resonated with me.

“No matter whether we’re eating healthfully or bingeing on comfort foods, we will not find the satisfaction we seek until we realize our cravings are meant to point us to God.”

“We don’t need another diet; we need the sanctification that comes by the power of the Spirit.”

“No comfort food can match the comfort I’ve found in Jesus.”

“Food cannot fix anything-God is the only one who can satisfy us because He created us to find our satisfaction in Him.”

There’s LOTS more in this book and it’s taking me a while to not only read but process what God is saying to me through this study.

I’ve decided to practice the discipline of self-control while I read this study. I’m doing it through IF (Intermittent Fasting). I fast for 16 hours and can eat during an 8-hour window. I take this one day at a time. I’m trying to really depend on Jesus for EVERYTHING and this includes finding satisfaction in Him. Living for Him does take sacrifice and it’s NOT easy. But His death for my sins wasn’t easy. Nowhere in the Bible does it say life will be easy. And I know that I can’t live on bread alone and word of God is the living word and I’ll serve that up on a platter any day of the week!