God’s Kind of Justice

Evening!

I wasn’t able to post this week due to my computer crashing. However, since I wasn’t able to post, I get to share a blog my roommate wrote.

My roommate wrote a beautiful blog about her struggles with desiring justice as a child and seeing God change her definition of justice as she got older.

Many times, our character defects can also become our strengths in recovery. Enjoy her story as much as I did!

How I Got to Here

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In Death, In Life

Happy Post-Resurrection Day!!

I hope you enjoyed celebrating the day Jesus rose from the dead! My day was filled with church, family, food, games, and travel… followed by wine, cookies, and recap with family and friends. At the end of the day, it was lovely to relax, pet my dog, and be with like-minded friends that love Jesus.

My neighbor, aunt, and I are celebrating Jesus’ resurrection for the next eight days. Each day this week, we’re living in the joy of new life through Jesus Christ. Today, I wore sparkly shoes and put flowers at my desk. Tonight there will be a toast with my neighbor and we will reflect on the impact of the resurrection in our lives.

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With all this celebrating going on, you’d think my heart would be light and I’d have a smile plastered on my face… but that’s not the case. Well, not continuously. This morning actually started off pretty weird. I was running a little behind this morning and didn’t get to do anything that out of the ordinary in my quiet time. I had wanted to add something extra to celebrate the resurrection, but didn’t get the chance. I threw a lunch together for work, got in the car, and had technology fall apart (which seems to be my norm). As I’m trying to connect my phone to the Bluetooth in my car (because it had disconnected for some reason), the system isn’t recognizing my voice, repeating commands, and failing to pair up. I’m screaming, “CONTINUE!” at my car like I’m speaking to an elderly person with hearing problems. I’m calling people idiots on the freeway and wondering how they received a drivers license.

Halfway to work, I finally got the phone to connect, got my Resurrection playlist going, and felt miserable. How could I praise God for a new life after the fit I had just thrown? I was able to play a song and a half before pulling into work and rushing to clock in. Some day of celebration.

At work, my sparkly shoes were hidden by my desk and everything felt horribly normal.

Lunch came around and I got in my car to run some errands. I put on my Resurrection playlist for a second time and asked God for a fresh start. I’ve been discovering that God can change my day without me going to sleep and waking up the next morning. He can change it in an instant. He can change me in an instant.

The song, “One Thing Remains,” started playing. I listened to that song while at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. That is where it is believed Jesus was crucified – His tomb not too much further away. Thinking of His sacrifice fills me with gratitude when I think on it.

A lyric came that surprised me as I drove in the car.

“In death, in life, I’m confident and covered by the power of your great love.”

At church yesterday, we covered Romans 8:31-39. A well-known part of that scripture reads,

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

The two connected for me in that moment. Neither death nor life. In death, in life. God knows I’m not perfect. Just because I have the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean I’ve reached glory yet. I’m a work in progress. And whether I’ve reverted to my old self (pre-Christ) or whether I’m living the fully satisfied life under Christ, I’m safe. God isn’t looking at each one of my actions, words, or feelings and weighing the balance of good and bad. He’s looking at His Son.

How can I celebrate the resurrection after realizing I’ve been a murmuring, whiney, first world human? Remind myself that is the whole reason Jesus came to live a perfect life, die, and resurrect. He did it so that I can place my trust in Him and know that I am secure regardless of my failures. Not only am I secure in physical death and physical life, but I am safe in spiritual death and spiritual life. There is never a time that I am not protected by Jesus Christ. Praise God!

The fact I am secure while being an idiot is glory to God and His magnificent grace, mercy, and love. His power to save a humanity that does not deserve it! I tell you, after thinking through this remarkable truth, my spirit was lifted and resurrection celebration was on!

So, be encouraged. God loves you and He is able to be present with you because of the sacrifice of His Son. God will never leave us and His love will never fail.

During my lunch break, I bought some flowers to put on my desk. The leaves have a thorny appearance with a beautiful, soft flower in the middle. I thought it was perfect for the lesson God taught me today. The crown of thorns Jesus wore and the suffering He experienced places a hedge of protection around the new life I’ve been given. It can never be taken away and my future glory is promised in Christ.

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Happy Resurrection Week!

The Beauty of God’s Patience

You see this adorable baby? Her name is Tucker.

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She’s the love of my life and one of my greatest teachers.

I’m not the wealthiest person ever, but have very expensive hobbies. One of them being gardening. Flowers ain’t cheap! We have a section of yard I like to call, “The Hill.” It’s not beautiful, but for the past couple of years, I’ve dreamt of it being just overflowing with colorful flowers. I imagine it being a place of prayer or long conversations with friends. A place that just smells and feels good to be in. However, that takes some moneys. So, usually it looks halfway hideous and halfway kinda cute. You do what you can.

One of my strategies is repurposing flowers from one area to another to boost the color factor. This is something I did this weekend. I moved four plants to the Hill and mixed in some plant food and fresh soil for good measure. Boy, am I sorry I did that.

Plant food has delicious things like: fish remains, blood (how?), meat leftovers… things that dogs find irresistible. How do I know?

The morning after I planted them, I stepped outside to observe their progress. They were gone! In their place were big holes with plant food up for the taking.

Tuckerrrrr. Annoyed, I replanted them and prayed that the trauma of two replantings wouldn’t be the end of these repurposed flowers.

I leave for a bit, come back, and they’ve been dug up again! The annoyance was growing, but how can you be annoyed at this face?

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Well, the day after I re-re-re-plant them, I come home from church to find that they had all been uprooted AGAIN from their new homes. And Tucker had some fiendish fish breath.

A surge came over me. I looked into Tucker’s eyes and she knew she had done wrong. She ran into the house and plopped down on her bed as I RE-planted my now half eaten, traumatized, repurposed plants. My thoughts were everywhere, That stupid, idiotic dog. These are all going to die and I’ll be back at square one. I should’ve never planted these back here. Why did I use that plant food? What was I thinking??

I walked into the house and looked at my guilty dog laying on her bed. Gah. I was so angry, but realized being mad at her wouldn’t help the situation. She wouldn’t comprehend the connection so long after her sinful (in my opinion) act. All that’s left to do is love.

Well, guess what. I went to work on Monday, came back, and were the plants in their homes? NO.

Oh, let me tell you, the defeat that washed over me as I looked at the holes in the ground, the practically dead plants kicked to the side; the smell of fish coming off the breath of my excited dog. It was all just a little too much.

However, the Lord did a miraculous thing. He popped the question in my head, Lord, what are you teaching me through this?

I know that couldn’t have come naturally from me. Yet, there it was. I pet my dog and spoke kindly to her. I took the hose, walked over to my flowers, and slowly began re-planting each one. And look at my beautiful garden!!

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Is that beautiful or what?

Let me tell you the lesson God imprinted on me as I was packing dirt around each one of these destroyed plants: God never tires or grows angry as He replants.

Every day, we wake up a mess and He speaks kindly to us. We find ourselves drawn to harmful patterns that stunt the growth of what God is doing in us. He plants; we dig up. He packs in dirt; we paw it away. He waters; we take the whole plant out of the hole and toss it into the blazing sun. Anyone other than God would have scrapped the garden and pummeled us.

Praise God for His patience! He has always, always been faithful. First to Israel, and now to the world. As we live, God gently brings us under Him and we grow in wisdom. We look more like Him. We grow in beauty. God understands our weakness and He loves us anyways. He’s able to because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  I’m astounded and grateful for the steadfast patience of God.

Recovery is a Process

Lately, I’ve been struggling more with my body image. It’s something I need to take time to surrender to God, but there are also issues I need to address.

My tendency is to be a chaotic eater. That’s where you want to be healthy, but live such a chaotic life that in the moment of ravenous hunger, you settle for whatever is closest and most readily available (fast food is a popular one). I also zone out with my food. I’ll be eating away and look down to realize it’s “suddenly” gone.

When my body image and eating issues start getting out of hand, I go to the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. Their book has helped me tremendously in working through my emotional eating.

Lately, I’ve found myself fearing the idea of not having enough food or being left hungry. I think it may be because at my job I work at the front desk and don’t have the freedom to move around the building like my coworkers. If I have a need, oftentimes I have to put it off because of my responsibilities at the front. This could lead to me feeling trapped, so when it is time to eat, I feel like I have to over eat since I don’t know when my next opportunity will be. This is just a guess because I’ve been ignoring what I’ve been doing for a while.

Like the title of this blog says, recovery is a process. There’s no magic wand to swoop in and fix your problems. It’s a walk with God where you feel your pain, bring it to Him, and work through the pieces He brings to your attention. God is good to gently guide us through recovery one step at a time. I went through the Intuitive Eating book one time and experienced a release of food guilt that I’d been carrying around for a very long time. I think this time through, I’ll develop new and healthy habits when it comes to eating and food choice.

I’m excited about the possibilities, but am aware the process is not oftentimes easy. Eating is so tied in to our emotions on a subconscious level. I understand that my eating patterns serve as coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, boredom, and twisted ideas of pleasure.

So, here we go into the recovery process with food!