Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rewriting the desires of your heart...Lord, it ain't easy!

Prepare yourself for an honest, heart-to heart blog...I need to write it but you are not obligated to read it! But, if you struggle with some area of your life, and sometimes it just feels so freakin' hard, read on...


So this morning, after a night when I should have just surrendered and gotten up and watched old movies, I read a section from Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst, a fellow soldier in the war on satisfying our deepest desires with God and not other things.

The first part talked about man not living by bread alone, and that in itself was something to think about. But then it went on to say...from her heart...

"And I don't want this spiritual journey and the physical victories I've experienced to stop. So, the very next choice I make is a crucial one. Literally, it will determine if I am walking the path of victory or compromise. One wise choice can lead to two, can lead to three, can lead to a thousand, can lead to the sweet place of utter dependence on God and lasting discipline. A place more worthy than brief vacations every now and then. A place our souls were made to call home.

A place where discipline makes disciples who truly understand what it means to delight themselves in the Lord, for the Lord has been allowed to rewrite the desires of their hearts. It's a place not wrought with sacrifice but rather a place where they see healthy choices as overflowing blessings so pure and rich, they'd never trade them."

How does God know these things? Does He read minds? Does He sit there and look in a big book and say, "AHA! Today's the day I need to smack this one in front of her?"


Don't ever tell the Lord you want to hear from Him unless you mean business. He's way too good at what He does.

So, Hilton Head is coming up next week. Usually one of my favorite times of the year. All the things that bring me joy are, bike rides, walks on the beach, my favorite garden center and birding spots...and restaurants that in the past have made my tummy sing.

And therein is the problem...

This year I don't want to go.  There, I said it. I don't want to go. Ted knows it. I know it. And God knows it. Because this year it will not be the same. And I desperately miss the same old same old right about now.

Going this year involves bringing a boat load of food, spices, oils, blenders and slow cookers and mixers and a gazillion other things I need in order to prepare what I can eat. And we are in a third floor condo!

It means doing things differently...letting go of a lot of traditions and forming new ones...all of which sounds like a lot of work to me.

And it's all the fault of this eating plan I'm following. Have I told you before how much it consumes my life? How it seems every minute of every day is either spent thinking of when I need to eat, what I need to eat, what supplement to take, or what test to monitor? And money wise? Yeah, I could build a covered deck and re-roof my house and take a few cool trips for what this is costing me.

Today I'm trying to figure it out. I went to bed last night in tears, and it was all over 2 e-mails I had saying that I will need to cook for myself on this vacation, but yes, I can cook one night for the others. We had always divided up the nightly meals to give each of us women a break...which was such a help!

And then I went on to read that one night we would be having pizza! And that's what sent me to bed in tears.

Don't get me wrong...I know the e-mails were written in love, by those not wanting to sabotage my way of's so ridiculously fine tuned that no one should have to embrace it.

And the pizza part? Hey, it's tradition! Along with ice cream in front of movies at night, and ice cream cones at Sea Pines, and lunch out with the girls after our day of bargain shopping.

You see, no matter how much people say they are proud of me, or encourage me, they can't understand how hard it is to live with a health issue that involves something you deal with on a daily basis and definitely can't live without. I mean, heroin addicts don't hang out in heroin dens when they are looking to heal, right? Or alcoholics in bars? But what do you do when your issue is food and it's everywhere and you've got to have it?

And it's such a social part of life...

And its smells hold memories that you can't stop from invading your mind no matter how hard you try...

And all the places you used to go to and love are no longer compliant and it is no longer a joy to go out, but a BIG DEAL...

Or someone says "We're having pizza!" and your world crumbles and for a few minutes or hours you wonder, "Is this really worth it?"

Honestly, I miss some foods. They were my enablers...and even though I know they are killing me, it's hard to let go of years of friendship with them and now call them enemies.

So, me and my organic coffee with coconut milk and stevia are sitting here on the deck this morning trying to remember how I felt when my blood sugar was through the blood pressure in the red range... my weight going up and up. Was it really that bad back then? I mean, at least I got to do some really cool food eating! And you know, I never knew how sick I was because of the food I was body had just adjusted itself to sickness and called it normal.

Then the Lord smashed into my thoughts and brought to mind what happened last weekend when I tried to re-introduce eggs into my diet...a simple thing like eggs! I felt like I wanted to die. Those traitors, we have been best buds for years! And now they have gone rogue, too? I'm not sure if I was sadder about the sickness they brought on, or all the things it meant I could no longer make without them.

Anyway, back to what I read this morning...

First, "Man does not live by bread alone." Well, ain't that the truth? Haven't seen bread in any form for over a month and I'm sure I won't be seeing it...gluten-free or otherwise...for a very, very long time.

But I don't think it was the bread part God was stressing, important as it is...

It was this part I shared above...

"And I don't want this spiritual journey and the physical victories I've experienced to stop. So, the very next choice I make is a crucial one. Literally, it will determine if I am walking the path of victory or compromise. One wise choice can lead to two, can lead to three, can lead to a thousand, can lead to the sweet place of utter dependence on God and lasting discipline. A place more worthy than brief vacations every now and then. A place our souls were mad to call home.

How does He know about my vacation?

How does He know that all I have to do is hear the word home and my heart melts?

I'm glad I don't have to get myself or my act or my face together to meet with the Lord this morning...I'd never hear from him otherwise!

Once again, it's all about choices...discipline (shudder)...reaping what you sow...for good or bad.

And once again I'm called to look at my life through a different lens...not the rose colored ones I wore for years...

One that doesn't see pizza and cheese and ice cream as fun foods...good foods...celebration foods, but as poison for me...

Where salads and meats and vegetables are my friends...not my enemies...who desire good things for me, and not ruin...

Where good choices (and God knows how desperately I need His strength to make them) meal at time...are the daily key to victory or failure.

I know to many of you, these issues seem like small ones...but to me they are giants...breaking the stronghold of 59 years of anything is ridiculously hard.

My daughter says, "Be honest and share" so I am.

I am not a super woman.

I am not stronger or more able to make good choices than the next person.

I'm me....fragile and weak and at times very lonely in this new way of living.

But I don't want it to rob me of my that God has placed in my life abundantly so I can remember how rich I am and why life is still worth living no matter how hard it seems.

So, today I will choose to see Hilton Head as a blessing.

Just a different kind of blessing.

And I will choose to do something else the night all the others enjoy pizza...maybe sit by the pool and read and eat a salad. Me and God.

And I will, by God's grace, do life one meal at a choice at a day at a time.

That is my choice.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Do not go gentle into that good night...really?

I've got a lot on my mind today...things that are so big and weighty and feel like they could crush me if I didn't have a strong-shouldered Lord.

All my plans to plant and clean and plan for an upcoming trip are taking a backseat to my need to sit and think and pray and wait. Funny how life butts in and flings our best laid plans into the wind.

As many of you know, my mom is back in ICU, sedated, strapped down for her own good, waiting for who knows what. My dad and sister will be going to the hospital today to meet with her doctor and talk through a plan of action.

Dad called last night, and I knew from the moment I heard his shaky voice that something was wrong. And something wrong always has the word "Mom" attached to it these days.

He wanted to talk...about life. About death. About living wills and how hard it is on those who are called to figure them out.

We talked from our hearts...a sacred place that both of us have guarded for years...him, in his Swamp Yankee upbringing where emotions were to be kept private... and me, not sure if I could risk being that vulnerable. Our relationship has become a gift...still a work in progress. God knows it had to be, for such a time as this.

So, as my world narrowed and all I could hear was his bleeding heart pouring out in words, I listened. I had no answers. I am not God, though Heaven knows that many times in my life I thought I was. All I could say at the end was that I believed with all my heart that if/when the time came to make that decision, that God would give him peace that it WAS THE TIME...with no doubts or regrets. How could anyone go on if not for that?

Like I said, no one should be put in that situation. Especially after almost 60 years of marriage.

Oh, I did say one more thing...Please don't do anything until the daughters can get there to say good-bye. I don't know why I said it. It made the words he had just shared way too real.

So here I sit this morning. Waiting. Dad and my sister are now on their way to the Mom and Doctors and words and emotions and more words and emotions. And Decisions, with a capital "D".

I have the easy part. Writing is my keeps me sane. Oh, and the other trick I have to keeping my sanity? Go to the bathroom, wherever you are, when you are stressed, and text someone for help...for prayer...for words of encouragement. I just told that to my sister and I'm sure she laughed, remembering how I accidentally left my phone in the nursing home bathroom last time I was up to see my Mom. I'm expecting to receive many bathroom texts today...

Something I read this morning keeps resonating through my was written by the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas...

"Do not go gently into that good night..."

Irrationally I find myself wanting to whisper that in my mother's ear...I see myself standing by her bedside, bending down, holding tightly on to her hand...

Fight death, Mom! Your husband and your family need you to!  And besides, it's the American Way...don't back down, don't give in, don't give up.

So I read the rest of the poem...the first stanza of which is...

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

What's funny is that I don't see my mom raging or raving. And that's not how I want to remember her. Yes, she could fight for one more day, one more week, one more month or year, but in the end, she, like all of us, must die. There's no other way to go Home.

I would not wish for her to continue on this earth forever. There is so much wonderful about this world, but there is also so much broken and fractured. No one should be here forever.

So that is where I am resting...that no matter what the outcome of today's meeting, it is good. 

And Mom, if I could say one thing to you right now, and I believe the Lord can whisper in your ear 800 miles away, this is what I would say...

"Don't rage. Just rest in His love and goodness for you. And please, please, don't be have a Heavenly Father who will never leave you nor forsake you...He knows the way Home. And your family? Don't worry about us...we have enough memories to last us the rest of our have made us rich. Whether its here or There, Mom, we still have so much to look forward to...this is just the first Act...the best is yet to come. I love you with a never-ending love."