Take the stairs!

I am becoming hyper-aware of my health and fitness. For most of my 25 years I have eaten what I want (mac & cheese, all the time! yumm), used the cheapest cosmetics (I’m mostly talking shampoo, soaps, toothpaste, etc), parked as close as possible to entrances, and almost always opted for the elevator over the stairs. But over the last year in particular, I’ve been realizing just how important my body is, and how disrespectfully I have been treating it. I’ve watched people eat whatever they want, whenever they want, however much they want, simply because the taste of the food in their mouths at that moment is more important to them than any accompanying consequences. Especially of those consequences aren’t immediate! And, if I am being totally honest with myself, this is the way I have always been too.

God gave me this body, the one I am in. Not some supermodel or athlete just this average weight, fairly tall, normal looking female body. And it may have taken me 25 years to realize it, but God gave this soul this body because this is the one that was perfect to his purposes. How cool is that! Yet I have disrespected and abused this body, at times even hated it and complained about it and wished God had done a better job with it.

How ungrateful of me! I have four limbs, five working senses, healthy lungs, an amazing mind (aren’t brains amazing??) and a beating heart! I am not torn down by cancer or disease, I am not crippled in any sense of the word, I am not deaf, mute or blind. So what has been holding me back all this time from accepting this awesome gift from God and striving to take care of it and use it the way that it was intended?

I don’t know what God has planned for my life. But I want to be ready for it. And I think taking care of this body that God calls a temple is at least someplace to start. So from now on, I will do my best to eat my vegetables and take the stairs.

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Prayer for forgiveness

My Pastor used this prayer in a sermon a few weeks ago. Sometimes (often) other peoples words do a better job than my own. I am not sure of the author (can prayers have “authors”?)

Merciful Lord,

Pardon all my sins of this day, week, year,

all the sins of my life,

sins of early, middle, and advanced years,

of omission and commission,

of morose, peevish and angry tempers,

of lip, life and walk,

of hard-heartedness, unbelief, presumption, pride,

of unfaithfulness to the souls of men,

of want of bold decision in the cause of Christ,

of deficiency in outspoken zeal for his glory,

of bringing dishonor upon thy great name,

of deception, injustice, untruthfulness in my dealings with others,

of impurity in thought, word and deed,

of covetousness, which is idolatry,

of substance unduly hoarded, improvidently squandered,

not consecrated to the glory of thee, the great Giver;

sins in private and in the family,

in study and recreation, in the busy haunts of men,

in the study of thy Word and in the neglect of it,

in prayer irreverently offered and coldly withheld,

in time misspent,

in yielding to Satan’s wiles,

in opening my heart to his temptations,

in being unwatchful when I know him nigh,

in quenching the Holy Spirit;

sins against light and knowledge,

against conscience and the restraints of thy Spirit,

against the law of eternal love.

Pardon all my sins, known and unknown,

felt and unfelt,

confessed and not confessed,

remembered or forgotten.

Good Lord, hear; and hearing, forgive.

Amen.

Why, O LORD, do you stand far away?

Why, O LORD, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
(Psalm 10:1 ESV)

“The presence of God is the joy of his people, but any suspicion of his absence is distracting beyond measure.” –Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David

This is what I love most about the Psalms; the sheer humanity of it! The Psalmists are bold and honest and so authentic in their prayers to God, in a way that I rarely see anymore. For a few months now I have been seriously and honestly evaluating my relationship with my God in terms of my own authenticity. At some point or another, everyone has doubted God’s presence, that he was near and present. I think they’d be fooling themselves (or perhaps trying to fool God) if they didn’t admit that. I know I have felt like that, many times. Yet I continued to pray as though nothing were different, as though I wasn’t feeling the way that I was feeling.

But look at the Psalmist here! “Why, O LORD, do you stand far away?” When I read this, I can almost feel his uneasiness, his restlessness, even his desperateness over the thought of God being far away and indifferent to his struggles. He’s not being disrespectful. He’s being authentic.

I want to be authentic. I don’t want to gloss over the rough spots of my life. I want to be real and honest with God and in all of my relationships. I want to be real.

Moments when this world takes my breath away

A few months ago, at the end of October, there was a freak snow storm that caused most of Western Massachusetts to be without power for up to a week. There were hundreds of powerlines down, tree boughs snapping off every few minutes, businesses were closed and people were freezing in their houses as the electric companies desperately tried to get everything back up and running. It was madness, and people were upset and cranky and really needed a good cup of coffee by the third day.

Yet the morning after the storm was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The world was dead quiet, save for the creaking of the trees as they struggled to stay upright under the weight of the snow and ice. The sky was the most brilliant blue I had ever seen, against the perfectly white snow.

Sunrise, morning after the storm

Incredibly blue sky

And for a few minutes, I just had to put down my shovel and marvel at just how beautiful God made the world around me.

Of course, within twelve hours all the snow melted and we were left without power for the next six days. Patience started to wear thin, we went to work just to get away from the cold, dark house, and I forgot all about that beauty.

Four days into the blackout I had to fly to San Francisco for work. I was glad to go – I would finally be able to shower at the hotel! This is what I was focused on: the long, long, long, long, hot shower waiting for me in California. I was tired and grumpy because I hadn’t really slept in several days and the last thing I really wanted to do was spend seven hours in planes and airports. I tried to sleep, but I’ve never been able to sleep on planes. So I tried to read, but I was too tired to concentrate. So instead I just stared out the window. And this is what I saw:

I had my camera with me and managed to get this shot as we flew over the Sierra Nevada mountains. I felt myself snap back into perspective and just take a minute to thank God for the world, for being the artist that He is and that I am alive to be a part of it.

Romans 1:20 – For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

I am lorem ipsum

I am Lorem Ipsum. That is how I am feeling. Who I am and what I am doing right now is just filler text for what’s to come. It’s a placeholder as the bits and pieces around me slowly come together and become something so lovely and complete. Right now it might be a little messy and confusing and not quite cohesive, but I can see what it might be, what it could be, and I think that’s beautiful.