Thursday, August 29, 2013

Things I Learned This Summer (Part 1)

Hey Friend,

As the smell of school bus fumes fill the air and kids with bright new sneakers once again grace the halls of neighborhood schools, I thought it would be a good time to write my back to school essay..."What I Did This Summer".

Seriously, I did learn quite a few things about God, myself, my family and others this summer and I hope that you won't be bored to tears with my reflections...

After several years of what seemed like nothing but trials - a long drawn out divorce, my dad passing away, the dog dying, a rebellious son, extensive knee surgery and recuperation which made me have to leave a job I loved (teaching), and a few other plagues; dawn finally peeked through the darkness.

Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

On May 31st, my summer began with the sweetest, kindest, most wonderful man in the world asking me to marry him.  I know that only God truly loves unconditionally, but I have to say that my fiancĂ© comes pretty darn close. I've been a busy bee making wedding plans.  We want something small and intimate, but boy I've realized what an industry weddings have become.  When asked by the florist who my wedding planner was, I replied, "You're looking at her!" 

One thing is for sure...God has been in control all along.  God is in the business of bringing beauty from ashes and He has never failed nor forsaken me.  Perhaps that's why I knew immediately what lyrics we would dance to for our first dance together as husband and wife:

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you     (Rascal Flatts)

Besides, this southern girl needs a little country to kick off what I know will be many happy years together. 

Now there's the little matter of fitting into the dress I picked out.  That leads me to another thing I learned:  It's a lot easier to put on weight than to take it off.  Okay, no big revelation there, but what matters is understanding why I put it on and having the right motivation to take it off. 

For why I put weight on, glance back at the 3rd paragraph.  I admit I am a stress and comfort eater (double whammy). When the goin' gets rough, give me the M&M's.  There is something physiologically soothing about eating a pint of ice cream.  But, God calls me to cast my cares on Him and find comfort and refuge beneath His wings.  Ben and Jerry's is a far cry from the comfort God can offer.

My motivation to take weight off was all wrong too. 

I am the temple of God and His spirit dwells in me. (1 Corinthians 3:16)

If my body was God's temple, then God was slummin' it for quite awhile.  I was not treating my body like a suitable dwelling place for God's Holy Spirit.  I will not say that this has been easy, but I did have to come to the realization that God had equipped me with everything I needed to make some radical changes in my life (which included my eating and exercising habits).  I had to believe with my whole heart in Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.

 Christ and I have taken off 45 lbs. and still have a way to go.  Like many things in life it takes commitment, obedience, accountability and encouragement.  Since taking that first step, God has been faithful to provide.  When I slip up or stumble, He doesn't criticize me, He just says, "Keep taking steps, Bev!"  God is pretty awesome that way!

I'm out of time and room for today and laundry calls my name so I will end this post with one simple thing I have learned...Whether they are two or twenty, children are most beautiful when they are sleeping.  Nuff said.