It’s happened again. Just when we thought it was safe enough to plan a trip, the hazards of this crazy year have kept us from seeing our family one more time. Our firefighter/paramedic son has been directly exposed to the virus, jeopardizing our plans to see him and his precious family for Thanksgiving. I’ve been trying to get up there since July, first canceled by Flyboy’s surgery, then by an outbreak in Wisconsin that made air travel seem like a very bad idea, and after that, not wanting to risk taking Wisconsin germs to our daughter in Indiana after her recent surgery. Thanksgiving was to have been our reward for being responsible and doing the right thing three times already this year.
Boom. Another frustrating roadblock.
It makes one want to go eat a pail of ice cream. Or go to bed for the rest of the day. Or assuage the disappointment with some retail therapy.
What hard times these are! We can’t make plans or spend time with friends…we wonder from day to day if schools will close and when we’ll be able to fully and freely worship together again.
Is this your story, too? Are you struggling with unwanted pounds? Depression? Overspending?
While I was in Indiana this past week, I continued on my sugar fast journey, and stuck to it. I’ve gotten this far and am determined to follow it through to the end. One of the most important lessons I’ve walked away with so far is that I don’t need to succumb to overeating, overspending, or giving in to depression. For all the times in my life that I’ve heard the words “Jesus is the answer”, I’m experiencing it anew.
I won’t lie – the time caring for Heidi and her boys was exhausting, but in the very best possible way. I slept like a log every night, got up early for my morning fortification with the Lord, and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Closer to the end of the week, as I was starting to feel the effects of the many trips up and down two flights of stairs and a herd of boys who struggled to understand why their mom wasn’t quite herself, God met me in an amazing way.
Fixing lunch one day, I picked up the bag of artisan Italian bread I’d served the night before with lasagna and looked at the ingredients. I couldn’t believe it, but lo and behold, there was no sugar listed there. I ripped into it and thoroughly enjoyed two pieces. I felt a little chagrined that I’d not stopped to consider what I was doing (that’s part of this process – mindful eating), but man, it was the first bread I’d eaten in weeks, and oh so good.
Later that day, after walking the little boys home from school, I was rummaging in the frig for what I needed to fix supper, and I happened on a bottle of red wine. (Flyboy and I have ever and always had an alcohol-free home, a personal decision we made when early married.) I decided in that moment to have a glass. Again, I was not very mindful – I’ll admit it – but I did enjoy it.
That night, lying in bed, I reviewed (like I do every night) what I ate during the day, how I felt about it, etc. I contemplated the two extra indulgences: the bread and the wine. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Such symbology – Jesus came to me through the bread and the wine to remind me that because of the cross he is present in all things in my life when I welcome him there. Whether I’m tired, bored, angry, frustrated, feeling defeated or on top of the world, he is there. He knows what I face, he understands my deepest concerns, he lifts me up, he rescues me from rushing waters and puts my feet on dry land.
Are you battling to finish 2020 without going under? Have you gained weight in quarantine? Has Covid attacked your family? Have you overspent? Have you planted yourself in front of the TV and non-stop binge watched? Is anxiety taking over? Are you fearful about the results of the election? Are you afraid for the future? Jesus is present in all things, even when we are threatening to implode. He is bigger than the struggles and the fears we face and bigger than our failures. He is bigger than the boogie man. He is bigger than the government. He knows the beginning and the end and all that will happen in-between.
Rest in him. He is our ever present hope.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. –Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)