Something is comforting, not in the calories, but in the companionship, food can provide.
When life is good, we celebrate with ice cream, and when life is bad, we cope with brownies.
Any day can feel familiar and lovely when coupled with the coziness of Grandma’s recipes or the warmth of your favorite meal with your favorite people.
Although for all the goodness offered to us through food, it can also become something it was never intended to be, a friend.
‘Tis the season for wish lists and gift giving. And all around the interwebs, you can find ways to fill both needs.
However, even throughout the year, each of us has an additional wish list that we aren’t necessarily sharing with others; almost an unspoken wish list, if you will.
Things that even money can’t buy. Heart level things.
Like the mending of a hurtful relationship with your mother or father. Or the opportunity to finally quit your job and pursue something you love. Or the relentless longing for a child to fill your heart and home.
We may gather round dinner tables or smile across the church aisle over the next few weeks as if all is merry and bright, but deep down, many of us are wishing for something far more grand than a beautifully wrapped present under a tree.
The season of Thanksgiving is upon us. A time for feasting and fellowship, family and friends.
However, despite its name and festivities, this season of giving thanks can quickly be overshadowed with grocery prep, holiday planning and black Friday shopping.
So, friends, how do we slow down long enough to sincerely be thankful for all that we have before making lists of all the stuff that we still want?
After 14 hours sitting sedentary in a car and logging hundreds of miles of fast food and soda pop, I looked into the hotel mirror that night and saw the worst version of myself. Greasy hair, muffin top belly, and a blotchy, pimpled face.
“Disgusting. I feel so disgusting,” is all I could think.
For the remainder of that day, all I felt was unattractive. Fat and unattractive.
Fast forward 12 hours + a solid night’s rest. The morning greets me at 6:00 a.m. and I head to the same hotel’s weight room for a 30-minute run on the treadmill. When I return to our room, I look in the same mirror. Staring back at me is the woman from the day before, sweaty, stinky and make-up less. Yet, this woman looks different. She doesn’t seem fat at all. She seems strong, capable and full of life.
My muffin top was still there. The adolescent-type pimples hadn’t disappeared overnight. I still hadn’t showered. So, what in the world had changed that I viewed myself so differently within just 12 hours?
Today I am speaking to those married women who are in the throes of an unsatisfying and difficult marriage. I want to speak to you who are tired, angry and finally ready to walk away from your marriage.
I want to have a heart-to-heart conversation with you because there was a day when I sat where you now sit and I, too, had finally had enough.
(Please note: I am not speaking to women whose marriages are dangerously unhealthy, where physical or sexual abuse is occurring, or there is a serious threat to you or your children. This encouragement is to women whose marriages are difficult, not dangerous.)
We were standing in an empty parking lot, the final stragglers from a local meet-up. Continuing our conversation long after the doors closed, we stood by our car doors, and my good friend listened as I grumbled about the overwhelming season of life in which I found myself.
I steadfastly declared that I would simply quit the most taxing endeavor I was a part of because it was all too much and that was the most expendable option. Quitting made obvious sense and I sighed in relief just thinking about the freedom it would bring.
That is until she looked me right in the eye and said, “You’re a quitter. You quit when things get hard.“
“I’m not a quitter,” I replied, with more question than resolve in my voice.
“Yes, you are.”
“For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.” (Luke 8:29, NIV)
I have read the story of the demon-possessed man named Legion multiple times. I am most familiar with the version in Matthew 8 and Mark 5, however, as I was having my quiet time this morning, I found myself once again reading about the naked lunatic in Luke 8.
And something struck me that I had not read before.
Today was a hard day. Our baby-turning-toddler has been refusing to sleep, both at night and at nap time. The rainy days keep piling on, which, in turn, wear thin the patience and imagination of the big kids. Daddy had an overnight travel and I am attempting to eat better & exercise more (which simply translates into I’m hungry and not happy). I tell you this so you know that I need this reminder too.
Our baby boy turns one in less than a week – and I keep catching myself wondering where on earth those months, those 365 days, went.
Babies don’t keep. I understand that simple statement far better now than I ever did in those early years with our oldest. If I had to do it all over again, this is what I would say to the first-time-mommy version of me (and to you).
My days are filled with broken arms, baby dolls and butt paste. Yup, butt paste. But please hear this: that is neither a complaint nor a banner of glory. It is simply a description of what my life looks like right now, in this moment. Literally, our son has a freshly broken arm, our daughter wanted to play babies today and our baby has a diaper rash!
You see, God has been teaching me about contentment. And apparently it cannot be found in yesterday’s achievement or in tomorrow’s plan – it is something seen and recognized right here, in this breath.
Contentment is quiet and easily missed;