Repentance Isn’t Painful


A wonderful illustration of repentance from Lily & Light describes it as the following:

Repentance is simply 
comforting and healing our weariness and pain
by changing the course of our thoughts.

It is turning from sin and to God. 
It is securing our peace, and our place with Jesus.

 

When you think of repentance as comforting, does that change the tenor of the act for you? It does for me. As a daily exercise, repentance can absolutely feel like a real bummer. Who wants to start, end, or meet God in the middle of their day with a heavy heart full of self-loathing? Not me. Yet I have done it for as long as I can remember, even if only moment-by-moment.

Yes, repentance involves feeling badly about something. Otherwise you wouldn’t realize or care that whatever it was, was wrong in the first place. But here’s the key that I think Kristin was making: that’s where feeling badly ENDS.

After that initial feeling of wrongdoing, and turning that sin over to the Lord, it’s time to be comforted. Imagine yourself a child who has been punished and is crying because you feel sad about disappointing a parent. What does that parent do? Turn around and walk away? “Glad you’re crying, you horrible kid!”

Of course not. You wrap your arms around the hurting child, despite being angry at what they did – and maybe you still are! You don’t let that feeling overcome your desire to show your love to your child.

I believe it works sort of like that with God. He doesn’t like what we did; He didn’t want us to choose sin over obedience. But He isn’t holding it against us when we’ve sincerely repented. He’s ready to wrap His arms around us!

So our thoughts have turned in a different direction. Now we have our second choice to make: to keep sinning or stop. It’s that simple (to say – in actuality stopping that sin is often incredibly difficult).

Therein lies the rub, yes? If we have decided to trust in our loving God and repent, and be welcomed back into a complete relationship with Him, it’s just as hard to stop doing what we were doing. The following are some examples that are problematic – to say the least – to disengage from:

  • Rage – to stop letting your anger emerge against yourself or others;
  • Lust – to stop letting your thoughts wander towards that man or woman, especially if you’re married; to stop wanting ANYTHING more than God;
  • Greed – to stop thinking you need to make more money if you can’t afford what you want – because the more you make, the more you’ll want;
  • Laziness – to put down the remote and get up and do what needs to be done; to get off Facebook (AFTER you’ve read this post, of course), and get back to work;
  • Addiction – to put down that drink, that drug, that food, etc.;

These are just some of the many obstacles that separate us from God. You have your own, private ones, and the public ones you can’t hide. At any rate, they gotta go. If you can decide to put them down and turn away and never do them again – awesome. Congrats. But most of us have to put them down A LOT before they’re fully gone. And even then, we have to be watchful for the prowling lion from 1 Peter 5:8. We cannot let it beat us.

Some of these sins require more than a promise made to God, to yourself, and/or to family and friends. Some of these sins require significant outside help. Do it. It’s worth it. Anything is better than hating yourself for what you’ve done and continue to do.

Let Jesus set you free! Blessings y’all!

 

Cosmic Fame


There are so many reasons to admire famous people. Excellent entertainment skills; astonishing athletic ability; exceptional leadership. Even great business sense.

I like reading about the accolades of celebrities. I like when they use their fame to good end. It shows a human side to people we so elevate.

However, it is that elevation that causes such trouble. CNN did a story about a woman who stood up to former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

As regards the Sandusky debacle, Vicky Triponey had this to say:

“The culture is deep,” she said. “The culture is making decisions based on how others will react, not based on what’s right and wrong.” It focused on the interests of those at “the top of the chain,” she added. “Others at the bottom didn’t matter.”

She had nothing to do with Sandusky and wasn’t aware of it happening; her problem came when she tried to institute penalties against football players who broke the rules, and she came up against a solid brick wall: Joe Paterno.

The names of celebrities who committed true crimes are endless. I won’t even mention any others. I just want to express that it is nice and normal and good to have people to look up to and admire. It gives us a goal as well; something to strive for. Something we want.

It’s when that gets out of hand – when the hero worship is taken way too far – that we need to take a serious step back and stop excusing famous people who commit crimes. I can promise you that whoever out there you would let off the hook for a critical wrongdoing would not do the same for!

Get Up & at ‘Em!


When I was a kid, I hated getting up to go to school. I mean, I actually liked to go to school, but I hated the waking up part. We had to get up at 5:30, when it was still dark outside. We lived thirty minutes away from our school, and there were four of us – so I get it. I hated it, but I get it.

There were two unsuccessful methods used to rouse me from my bed. The first, and  the worst,  thankfully did not happen often. My dad would get two pots, turn on the overhead light,  and bang the pots together, singing, “Get out of that bed! Rattle them pots and pans!” until I screamed in  anger. Mission accomplished. I was, indeed, awake.

The second method was employed by my older brother,  who would simply wrap me up in  my comforter and drag me to the breakfast table. I would wake up on the floor by my chair. Everyone would be eating, and not paying the least attention to me. Very disorienting.

To my father  and brother, perhaps these modes worked, in that I actually did get out of the bed and get to the table. But I was in one foul mood. My oldest child can totally relate.

Getting him up is nowhere near as tough, but most days he totally rebels against it. He whines, he fusses,  he attempts to hide under his bedclothes (while I or my husband are pulling them off him like a Band-Aid) – and then he eventually quits moping and starts bouncing around like a jackhammer.

Despite all our planning, our mornings seem to be really rushed. And yet I dread the day when the kids are supposed to get themselves up and moving. Good Lord. They may still be in bed when schools is over!

The Skinny on Being Curvy


A few weeks ago,  I was getting dressed for a Girls Night out and surveyed myself in the mirror. For the first time in my entire life, I saw a curvacious woman looking back at me. What’s more, I wasn’t even upset – I thought I looked great! I’ve had two kids. And I will never be twenty years old, ever again.

This was a major breakthrough. I’ve been trying so hard to lose weight over the last year and was getting nowhere. I was starting to lose focus on it and just quit. I hated the way I looked. And now,  suddenly, I don’t!

Ugh, I know. I hate women who talk about their body all the time, but I don’t, so keep reading if you’re like me!!! Ok?

Anyway, this past weekend, I was reading Glamour (I only read trashy mags at the salon) and saw a fantastic  article about how men view women’s bodies. I’ve read this before; seemingly about once a year, Glamour or some such does a piece on this topic. For some reason,  it stuck out BIG TIME for me.

Photo courtesy of oceansbridge.com. Alexander Cabanel painted this, The Birth of Venus.

The article, out in this month’s magazine, I think, compared a photo of the original Venus versus a slimmed-down version, and asked 1,000 men to choose which they liked best. Overwhelmingly, they stuck to the classic!

However, upon seriously reviewing this photo, the original they showed men portrayed a woman with a slightly larger belly and arms as well.  Anyway, the point is, men do not care about skinny. Well, maybe some of them do. After all, taste is taste. But by and large (no pun intended) men want REAL women; women with weight to spare, women with normal bodies; women who enjoy food! Women who actually eat food.

It might do to remind ourselves, once again, that just like most men out there don’t look like movie stars, neither do we! So they want to be around women with substance, and a tad of belly fat will not deter them.

So why does it deter us? Is it just because we are constantly considering ourselves a project with an area (or twenty) that need to be fixed? Maybe. Of course it has to do with magazines and movies and  how thin women are in them. But really,  at least for me, if I had the choice between being an angry, hungry model with no a** or breasts, I’d rather be me, eating a darn good cheeseburger. And not worrying about it a bit. Not that I eat that way all the time – I am pretty health-conscious. But I have finally begun making peace again with my body. It is an awesome place to be!

Moms Gone Wild? Really?


This morning I was dismayed to read a CNN post about moms gone wild – in their 40s. Drunken evenings, cheating on  their husbands with strangers, and the general feeling that raising children is boring and a brain drain, so why not go out and have a good time?

I was actually thinking about this during my morning quiet time, in which I am currently reading Marigold Mornings (Dorothy Evslin) and happened to have already had this addressed. But back in the 70s Evslin wasn’t writing about key parties or orgies or hooking up. She was writing about the women’s movement. Either way, we seem to  be swimming in a sea of discontent.

Why is that? Why are we stay-at-home moms discontent with our lives? Is it because we have the ho-hum hum-drum duties of chief nose-wiper and head chef and cleaning lady? Teacher of letters and numbers and colors and watcher of endless episodes of Sesame Street?

Are we expected to enjoy runny noses, and dirty britches? Cooking every day and cleaning up spills and messes and Lord knows what else? Teaching children the basics when we aren’t particularly patient? Watching children’s television? NO! Why do we think we are supposed to be these wonderfully cheerful women when it comes to all our daily chores? I, for example, don’t mind a little bit of Sesame Street or Bob the Builder, and I don’t always mind cooking. So no, I am not waking up pumped  to start dealing with diapers and school and children and husband expecting all these things of me.

But in fifteen or twenty years, when I look back at my life, am  I going to regret  this time at home with my kids? Absolutely not. I can tell you, without a doubt, that I will know then, in my bones, what I already know now – I wouldn’t trade t he work and  sometime-drudgery for anything! I know there are some moms out there who have to work – after  all, I dropped my oldest off at daycare years ago when I was a single mom. You do what you gotta do. But when you have a choice, choose your kids. Choose your kids over money and stuff. It won’t be gratifying instantaneously, probably.  But it will be down the road.

Think you’ll go  crazy staying a t home? Then don’t! Take your kids to a class for moms and children. Hook up with other moms. I love taking  my kids for an early-morning walk  at the park. Get out of the house every day, for some  part of the day, if you must. But unless you find a quiet. calm center, your days as a stay-at-home mom are going to be long.

But, getting back to the original point, going out and going nuts are not things a parent should do. But who said we can’t have fun? My husband and I have an active social life – we have a small group that meets  once a  week, a Sunday School class, and social activities with our church friends. I have a gym class once a week. I get out and do things.

The bottom line is that work is work. Sometimes we enjoy our jobs and sometimes we know we’re having the kind of day where you show up and work to get paid.  It’s the showing up and  working hard that counts!

How to Recreate a Childhood Summer!


Photo courtesy of thedigeratilife.com.

Just about everybody has their favorite memories of their childhood summers. While I have learned to relax when my body needs it (most of the time), that’s a really hard thing to do. Between our jobs, our families, our obligations to our churches, friends, and activities, our lives are often overly busy and that elusive “fulfillment” seems to really mean days full of stuff we have to do, not necessarily things we want to do.

Everyone says that summer is the season to slow down, but in reality our bodies internally and naturally do that in winter as well. Spring and fall are the times of year when the instincts inside us speed up; it’s not too hot and not too cold and we are instrically programmed with more energy.

The things we all love about summers growing up aren’t the jobs we hated doing. Theyr’e things that were FUN! So why not add a little of that to our adult lives when we can? Don’t say you’re too busy. You aren’t. You just have to prioritize. Get up earlier to mow the lawn so you can enjoy afternoon pursuits. Or why not leave it for the week? Just take a Saturday once a month to have a day strictly for activities that inspire you.

Here are some of the ways I like to recreate my childhood summers:

PHOTO COURTESY OF officialanneofgreengables.wikia.com. Don’t forget – that’s Anne spelled with an E!!!

1. Anne of Green Gables on rainy afternoons;

2. Frozen yogurt;

3. Watching the sunshine play through the leaves of a tree;

4. Sitting under a tree while summer rain falls;

5. Reading without fear of reprisal;

 

Photo courtesy of growfoodeasily.com.

6. Attending the Saturday-morning farmer’s market in lieu of picking vegetables in my cousin’s garden really early in the morning before the heat sets in;

7. I have to add this an adult – escaping the heat of the kitchen to have dinner out!

What about you? Please share your tips of having a great summer in the comments box! Enjoy the rest of this time of year!

My New Favorite Thing – & it’s PERFECT for Summer!


I am an ice cream lover. I admit it. I may need a support group, actually, especially after tasting froyo at Menchie’s this week.

Photo courtesy of columbuscrave.com.

My ultimate fave flavor is the cake batter – wow!!! So freakin yummy. Also, they let you taste-test what you want before you buy it! And you get to mix and match flavors. It’s a win-win, y’all, and perfect for cooling down during the sweltering Southern heat!

Photo courtesy of twitter.com.

We all know yogurt is a healthy food item, but did you know that froyo is better for you than ice cream? Some claim it’s rich in nutrients, has probiotics to aid digestion, and helps keep your heart and blood vessels healthy by “converting fiber” into “healthy fats.” So go ahead, and enjoy with (moderate) impunity! Yes, I know, there is no such thing as moderate impunity. Oh well, I’d say once a week isn’t too bad!!!