The Food War.

Apple and hamburger on scales conceptualOver the past year I have had a major love/hate relationship with food.  (The last time I blogged I wrote about my love/hate relationship with Pinterest so… I’m not really sure what all this love/hate-ness says about me.  Perhaps I need some sort of intervention? Or a Xanax?)

I’ll start with the fact that I love food.  LOVE it.  Every year since we’ve been married, when Jordan asks me what I want for my birthday I say, “I want to go out to a nice dinner and do the whole deal: appetizer, wine, entree and dessert!”  That is the only thing I want and I look forward to it every year!  When my in-laws asked what I want for Christmas one year, I told them a Chipotle gift card.  They laughed and then asked what I really want.  Now 2 and a half years in, they know me well enough to realize they didn’t have to ask that question.  That is what I really want!  My brother-in-law did end up getting me a Chipotle gift card and I’m not lying, it was one of my absolute favorite gifts!  I seriously got so excited that I could just go to Chipotle whenever I wanted without checking our budget first (which has a very small amount alloted for eating out, much to my dismay) or asking Jordan for forgiveness later :).

I love food.  It was what made me enjoy being pregnant in the midst of many other things that made me not enjoy being pregnant! Aaaand it was what made me struggle after having Riley, with 55 lbs to lose from all of the unrestrained food indulgence I partook in.  And this is what made me realize that perhaps I loved food a little too much.  Because it was so incredibly hard to suddenly have to practice restraint and self-control. (OK real quick sidenote: let me not get too over-dramatic here.  Not that I ever have that problem.  But in all seriousness, I’m not a binge eater.  And most of the time I would eat pretty well, even in my pregnancy.  I just mean that I also never told myself “no.”  So while I was never really eating like fried food, fast food, or candy bars all the time; if I wanted a donut I’d eat a donut.  If I wanted a burger or bagel or ice cream or cheese covered anything or, well, Chipotle, I would eat it.  Any day, any time of day.)

Oh man, I love food.

But more recently, I’ve also started to hate food.

I blogged through our sugar-free experiment in July so if you read any of those entries, you know that it was a huge challenge for me!  I was grumpy about it.  It was the most restraint I’ve ever had to practice when it came to food (except for that time I did the South Beach Diet before our wedding.  I don’t recommend it.  Unless you personally like inflicting pain on yourself, in which case, you may actually enjoy it.)  So it was actually really good for me!  I mean, it was obviously good for my body to detox.  But it was also good for my character to have to practice so much discipline and self-control.  We live in such an over-indulgent, rich, convenient society that implementing any disciplines into our lives is a good thing.

I think it was during this sugar free month, however, that I started really wrestling with my relationship with food.  I hated how much of a hold it had on me.  I hated that I literally thought about food all.day.long.  Food I wanted but couldn’t have, and food I could have but didn’t want.  I constantly felt frustrated and bitter.

Then more recently, I started Weight Watchers.  I am so glad that someone pointed me to WW because it was definitely the best weight loss plan for me!  It has room for some indulgences, it’s just all about budgeting.  Every food costs a certain amount of points, and I was allotted a specific number of points each day.  It helped me to not feel too deprived but not give myself the permission to consume whatever I wanted whenever I wanted either.  It put good boundaries around my eating, while also giving me some freedom.  But then what started happening was that I could not see or think about food without attaching points to it.  In one sense, it was good for me to feel a cost attached to food.  That it’s not harmless to just put whatever I want to in my body.  But food just started to feel like a negative thing.  I would think, “mmm a panini sounds good for lunch, but I don’t want the points” so I just wouldn’t eat.  It started to feel like a bit of a thrill to stay significantly under points.   If they were giving me 26 points a day to consume, I would only eat 10.  Bam! Take that Weight Watchers!  And since I love food so much what I would start doing is if I really want pizza and wine (which happens, oh… every.single.day.  Pretty much.), I would just not eat all day, then eat a couple of slices for dinner with a glass of wine, and have only used up 14 points all day!  And still lose weight!  Even though I’m not a type “A” personality and having control isn’t usually a thrill for me, I started feeling the addiction of having control in a way that was producing obvious results.

Then on top of all of this, I have been sick for a few months.  I was feeling nauseous 24/7 and thought for sure I was pregnant (I’m not, by the way).  Eating makes the nausea way worse and would sometimes result in me throwing up. I’ve been seeing my doctor through all of this and about a month ago we pretty much ruled it down to gastritis.  I had never heard of it before, but basically it does cause you to feel nauseous and have a hard time eating. Women sometimes get it after having been pregnant because of all the extra pressure the baby put on the lining of the stomach.  So that was making it way easy to keep my daily WW points super low, because if I did eat anything I felt so awful.  Which made my hatred of food grow stronger.  Food, which I once loved so dearly, was becoming only a source of survival. I’ll eat because I refuse to starve myself, but I don’t enjoy it anymore.  It’s like getting drunk (not that I would know or anything). It’s enjoyable while you consume it, but then you feel awful.  So whenever I eat I have food hangovers and they’re brutal so I eat as little as I can get away with.  I hate food.

Oy.

As I’ve been wrestling with this I have felt so refreshed and thankful for Deuteronomy 8:3 which says, “…man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”  Jesus quotes this verse in Luke 4 when he has been fasting for 40 days and is tempted by the devil to turn a stone into bread, thus proving that he is the Son of God.

The fact that I think about food SO much (whether it’s with positive or negative connotations), shows that it is an idol for me.  But here in scripture I am reminded that God is ultimately my source of life, survival, refreshment, rejuvenation, energy, and enjoyment.  I need Him more than I either need to eat food or not eat as much food.  He is what I must live on. He should be what consumes my thoughts and my every desire.  And He is fully satisfying.  Never too much to make me sick, always enough to sustain me.

The Word is the Bread

Jesus had a perfect relationship with food.  He fasted often, meeting with His Father in his hunger and proving that He is the Bread of life.  But he also frequently enjoyed good bread and wine in the company of friends.  I mean, that’s the kind of person I’m trying to hang out with!  He had it right.  He enjoyed food and drink.  He did not worship it.  I’m trying to figure out what that looks like for me right now.
I’m thankful that he died for me in the midst of my mess with this.  And encouraged by the fact that His resurrection offers hope that I can have new life; I can in fact achieve a healthy, balanced relationship with food.  Both in this life and the life to come.

 

KM.

My Love/Hate Relationship with Pinterest

So last night after talking to a friend on the phone who was working on a Pinterest Christmas Craft, I decided to browse the clever website myself for the first time in… a long time.  Oh man, was it fun!  Next thing you know, an hour has gone by.  I’m pretty sure I was in some sort of trance or something.

I love Pinterest.

But I also hate it.

As far as I can tell, there are 2 different uses of Pinterest:

One use of Pinterest is practical.  Pinterest is such a smart idea!  You can “pin” ideas for all sorts of things.  DIY crafts, gifts, decor, etc; fun activities for kids, recipes, and how-to’s.  For creative, artsy-types, this is probably really inspirational (I wouldn’t know).  For non-creative, non-artsy types (yours truly) it is helpful.  Someone else has already come up with the creative idea and then gives you  paint-by-number instructions on how to do it.  Score for the home team!  Even though my brain doesn’t work like that on its own, I can ride on the talents of others to make Christmas gifts on a budget, find fun family poses for our photo session coming up, create a delicious meal, and have some fun ideas for activities with Riley (I’m so excited about some of my “ideas for kids” pins, that I’m about to attempt some of them with Riley now, even though she’s too young for them!) That is the part of Pinterest that I love.

The other way to use Pinterest I guess we’ll call “fantasy.”  You can pin things that you want, but don’t (and probably won’t) have.  The dream home.  The dream wedding. The dream wardrobe. The dream body. The dream children.  A picture perfect life.  As a matter of fact, the term “Pinterest perfect” has become a thing now, which kind of proves my point.  Pinterest is (seemingly) perfect.  Just pulling up the website is a bit of an awe striking experience, because it’s just…so…pretty!  Every picture is so beautiful.  And it is almost as if you get pulled into this “experience” of putting together the beautiful pieces of your own idea of a picture perfect life. Now don’t get me wrong, I think people definitely use these boards for ideas that they will actually apply and that it is helpful for them in creating the vision for their ________ (home, wedding, etc.).  But come on, lets be honest.  Many of us post things that we will never actually do or have.  It’s not reality. We have pictures of homes we want, when the reality is that our salary couldn’t even afford one room on our “home” board.  We have pictures pinned of “our style” and clothes we want, but the reality is that we will probably never wear that “white pin-stripped top with coral infinity scarf and Tory Burch boots.”  We have boards filled with amazing fitness ideas that we will never actually try.  Or boards of our dream wedding, when we don’t know if we’ll ever even get married (ok, so maybe not “we,” obviously I’m married.  I’m just saying that there are girls who are not even dating anyone who have wedding Pinterest boards.  But I like saying “we” because I’m not above it, so I like to say it like we’re all in the same boat because in many ways, we are).

Because of these two uses of Pinterest, I end up feeling two different things simultaneously when I log on: excitement for projects that I am planning to tackle, and insecurity/covetousness.  (Ok you’re right, that’s 3 things).  I see pins that make me think, “ohhh I can make that for someone for Christmas!” And then I am bombarded with pins of rock hard abs that I don’t won’t ever have and am tempted to “re-pin” feeling a sudden burst of motivation guilt that makes me think I will actually commit to that strenuous workout 7 days a week and see identical results.  I am bombarded with pictures of outfits I drool over, and am left feeling unsatisfied with what is hanging in my closet.  I am mocked by pictures of rooms decorated so beautifully that I feel ashamed of my home.

While I walk away on a mission for a new meal to make, activity to try with my toddler, and craft to make for Christmas, I am also left with a swirling cocktail of discontentment and guilt.

So that is why I love Pinterest.  And why I hate it.

Can anyone else relate?

Also, for laughs, you should check out this website: http://www.pinterestfail.com/  🙂

 

KM.

Coffee Date.

A friend of mine wrote a blog post this morning as if being on a coffee date with her readers.  I enjoyed reading it and loved the idea so much, I thought I would do the same :).

So if I were on a coffee date with you this morning…

I would tell you that it is so good to sit down with you, enjoy delicious coffee and mutual conversation.

I would ask you what has really been going on in your life.  You know, the stuff beyond the stuff you’d tweet about.

After sharing honestly (I hope), you might ask me the same question.

I would tell you that my apartment has been a mess the past 2 weeks.

Our messy apartment

I would tell you that we’ve been out of razors, face wash, and dish detergent for most of the week (dirty dishes and faces are in, no?); and that I’ve been feeding my family tuna sandwiches and lean pockets for dinner.  My daughter may or may not have worn the same pj’s 2 nights in a row, there is a mountain of laundry that needs tending to, and I think we could all use a nice.long.nap.  And glass of wine.  And Christmas movie.  (Ok you’re right, Riley does get naps so one of us is winning.  And I have had wine, and I’m still not winning.  Touche).

The mountain of laundry

Riley feels the exact same way that I do about it!

I’ve been too busy, friend.  I took on a bit too much these past 2 weeks.  And I’ll tell you this: the busy schedule lifestyle is not for me.  My type “B” personality just doesn’t handle it well.  I get overwhelmed and stressed, and then tempted to just shut down.  My max capacity just isn’t as much as some people that I know.  It doesn’t take much to push me to my edge.

And I’m ok with that.  God has done a lot of work in that area of my life, friend.  I used to see my personality as a detriment.  I would get angry at the fact that I could never seem to take on as much busyness as other people around me.  Who I am seemed to get in the way of what I needed to get done.  Why couldn’t I just be more type “A” and energetic as some of my co-workers?  I am more of a be-er than a do-er and this would frustrate me.  Man, I’m glad God didn’t leave me in that place!  Instead, he showed me that my personality is a blessing, not a curse.  As a matter of fact, it turns out there are many people (my husband, for example) who can really benefit from having a slower-paced person in their life.   Before these crazy 2 weeks, I was around a lot more.  And I started to become friends with a neighbor who was out searching for someone to pray for her one day. She found me God led her to me, and we’ve started stopping by each other’s apartments throughout the week to say “hi,” pray, give each other coupons, or tell each other about deals going on at local grocery stores.   But that was 2 weeks ago.  Because then I just got too busy.  I’ve been thinking about the fact that availability is such a rare and beautiful gift in our culture today.  I want to fight to bring it back.

If we were out for coffee I would tell you that although I know Riley is too young to understand giving grace to people, I swear she has been pouring it over me lately.  For that reason, I cannot stop wrapping her in my arms and kissing those chubby cheeks.  I swear that one of the most significant ways that the Lord speaks to my soul is through that little girl. Oh! then I would tell you that (by the way!) she has started walking! It’s only 3 or 4 steps at a time before she falls, but she does it all day and I am so proud of her.

I would tell you that these past 2 weeks have shown me that my heart is in the home.  I realized that I actually find joy in making our home a clean and restful place, cooking delicious meals for my family, singing children’s songs and reading  books with my daughter.  I have missed doing those things in a restful rather than stressful way.  I have hated getting so behind on managing our home.

I would tell you that last night I gave a talk at an InterVarsity Large Group for the 1st time in over 2 years.  And it was hard for me.  I couldn’t read my audience well and I fell a bit rusty in my delivery.  But as He always does, God still worked through it and I was encouraged by conversations I had with students afterward.  It completely exhausted me, but I think it’s important to challenge and develop skills and gifts that God has given me, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve my husband’s ministry in that way.

If we were really digging into each other’s lives, I would tell you that I had a cool realization last night as I was trying to fall asleep.  I realized that somewhere along the last several months, I have been freed from my post-baby body struggle.  As a matter of fact, this morning I took a picture of my stomach. (weird, right?)
(a) I wanted to be encouraged by the progress I’ve made in my weight loss, but also
(b) As I realize that I am getting close to my pre-baby weight, I actually decided I want to remember this body.  Isn’t that strange cool?  I realized that I have come to love it.  Now that, my friend, has got to be the work of the Lord Almighty.  But I think this is why: when I have been in my best shape ever and when my body has looked its best, it was entirely for me.  It made me feel good, and it made me feel admired or (let’s just say it) worshiped.  But this body has been entirely for others.  This body speaks the story of selflessness.  It says that this body grew and took care of my sweet, happy little grace-giver.  It says that  instead of honing away hours at the gym, I have been taking care of a little person.  It shows that I have actually learned what it means to love another more than myself, and at a cost.  And that story and realization has been so sweet to me, that I have actually found myself mourning the baby body as my body starts to look more like it used to!  How crazy is that?  I’m telling you friend, the Lord works through my little girl.

There is more I could tell you, and more I wish you could tell me.  There are so many of you that I wish I could grab an actual cup of coffee with in person!  Whether it’s time or distance that prevents us from doing so, I am thankful for the technology that we have today to connect us to one another.  It was fun having a “coffee date” with you today.  Happy weekend :).

KM.

My Little Picture of Life (Happy Birthday, Riley Grace!)

The first week in March, 2010 I was at a Greek IV staff conference in Orlando, FL. After sitting in some hard stuff that came up in my heart when we studied a passage in the Bible about Elijah, I saw something that made me smile. It was a picture of a baby.

Although coming to Florida for this big conference was typically one of my favorite parts of the year, it was different this year. I was leaving Greek IV staff, after having worked for the ministry for 4 years, and I was burnt out and disappointed. The staff leading this particular Bible study through Elijah’s story was helping us to identify and deal with some of the places in ministry or our lives that felt like death. This was fairly easy for me to do. I had a hard 4 years in ministry, and there was a lot that I just didn’t understand. I was still mourning what I thought being in ministry was going to be like and what actually happened. This Greek Ministry chapter that I cared so much about and wanted to see grow and flourish was actually dying. After identifying the places that felt like death, the Staff leader instructed us to look around the room where there were pictures hanging and to find one that felt like “life” to us when we saw it. When I saw the picture of the baby, my heart leapt. It felt like life to me. A new beginning. Rejoicing. Overshadowing sorrow. I wanted that.

2 days later upon arriving back home from the conference, I saw something else that made my heart leap. 2 pink lines on a stick. I was pregnant! God was giving me the gift of life.

Having a baby was not something that was in our “plan” for our first year of marriage. Our plan was to wait 3 years before trying to have our first child. God’s plan was for us to wait 8 months :). Funny how He works, and how He knows what we need so much better than we do! We didn’t know what to think, what to do, or how to re-arrange our lives for this new little person. We also didn’t know how love was about to take on a whole new meaning and depth in our lives.

Finding out that we were having a girl was an incredible experience for us. Although we would have loved our baby and been happy regardless of the gender, I was really hoping for a girl. We already had a boy’s name and a girl’s name picked out before we went to the Ultrasound, and the day before we found out Jordan leaned over to me and said, “You know… I hope it’s Riley.” And it was :). Knowing that we were having a girl named Riley made the whole experience so much more real to us. I started falling in love with her shortly after.

That was the first time I had tangibly experienced what true unconditional love is. At this point in her little life, Riley had done nothing good or sweet for me. As a matter of fact, all she did was give me nausea, heartburn, aches, fatigue, and make me fat. And yet I loved her more than life itself.

When they placed Riley Grace Maroon into our arms for the first time, at 1:18am on November 8th… well to be honest, I don’t even know how to complete this sentence. I do not think there are any words in our English vocabulary (or existence for that matter) that can describe what you experience when you hold your first child for the first time. But I’ll tell you what, that Jordan Maroon guy I married that made this whole thing possible? I had never quite loved him like I did in that moment. When I saw him hold our daughter, gazing into her eyes and singing to her, I knew that we had just entered a new realm of love that I had never been to before.

Ironically, some of my fondest memories of those beginning days and weeks were getting up to nurse Riley in the middle of the night. Although we were beyond sleep deprived, I was surprised at how quickly and instinctively my body responded to sacrificing and caring for my daughter at any and every moment that she needed me. When she would start her mid-night cries, we would lift her out of her bassinet, cozy up in our bed with her, and Jordan would turn on a dim light and play soft music so that I could stay awake to feed her (and not fall asleep and crush her. Which I was very paranoid about. I was paranoid about everything actually…). It was such a sweet, bonding time for our little family of 3.

Now, Riley sleeps through the night (praise the Lord). She no longer needs us to get up and feed her every few hours in the dark. As a matter of fact, she needs us a little less each day it seems. She has such an independent spirit! She even weaned herself from nursing (at just about a year, yay!), and insists on holding her own bottle :). She loves to play by herself, and just goes off in her own little world where she hides in cabinets, crawls into baskets, hugs her stuffed animals, puts tupperware on her head, and reads turns the pages of and pulls the pop-ups out of books. Jordan and I take pictures and videos of every single little thing, and often look at and watch them at night and then realize that we have stayed up way past our bedtime! We love to look back at how tiny she was when she was so new, and we still puff up with pride when we watch the videos of the first time she rolled over, started making sounds (or coo’s), and started to laugh and smile.

I thought this stage would be hard for me. I thought my heart would break at her blossoming independence and that I would struggle with the dreaded toddler days. But it’s not hard, actually. As a matter of fact, I find myself only smiling big rather than crying as I write this blog post. It is the most incredible thing to watch Riley become her own little person. To learn about her. To see her laugh and play with so much delight and amusement.

So to my little introvert who hates big crowds but loves attention and applause, thank you for the most incredible year of my life (by far). I look at our future with so much joy and anticipation as I continue to get to know you, care for you, teach you, and learn from you. Here’s to many more birthdays, sweetheart. I love you more than I ever dreamed I would.

KM. Mommy.

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The Right to be Human

Recently it has come to my attention that two people I once cared about de-friended me on Facebook. These are not those rando Facebook friends that I’ve only met once or haven’t seen or talked to since Middle School. These were people who I spent a lot of time with a few years ago and considered actual friends. Now, you may be thinking, “That sounds so Middle Elementary School to talk about how people ‘de-friended you’ on a social media.” And if so, you are right. It is. But here’s the thing: I struggle with a certain disorder.

People Pleasing.

I have been plagued with this disorder problem weakness sin issue most of my life. I absolutely cannot stand the thought of people not liking me. It makes me sick to my stomach if I think I have done something to hurt or offend someone. If someone says something that hurts me, it is difficult for me to recover. If it is apparent that someone dislikes me, I rack my brain constantly to figure out what I did/didn’t do/looked like/said that gave them a sour taste toward me.

Which is what I found myself doing in this particular situation.

Was I posting way too many pictures of my daughter? Do they get annoyed by people who talk about their kids too much? Did I post a status that hurt or offended them? Did one of my blog posts that were linked to FB hurt or offend them? Did they feel like I was putting my faith ALLUPINTHEIRFACE? Do things I talk about just straight up annoy them?

Or worst of all, do they just not like me. Period.

The reason I am opening up to you about this (hesitantly, because let’s be honest: I am a little worried that you won’t like what you see of me here) is because I have actually found something helpful to me that I wanted to pass along, in the small chance that someone out there reading can relate. It comes from one of my favorite Bible teachers, Steve Brown (I know, I know, I’ve reference him like 2839274982374932 2839274982374933 times in my blog). In one of his lectures for the “Grace in the Church” class at RTS, he said two things that are really freeing that helped me in this and many other situations:

1: You don’t have to like everyone. You just don’t. I don’t have to like every single person I meet or get to know, and every person I meet or get to know doesn’t have to like me either. Now, scripture calls Christians to love everyone, even their enemies. But that doesn’t mean we have to like everyone. We are people. We have preferences, likes and dislikes. Just as sure as I am not going to prefer or like every single person I know, they are not all going to prefer or like me either. And that’s ok. They actually have the right to dislike me.

2: You have the right to be human. Humans mess up. We do things wrong. We annoy people. We offend people. We hurt people, even if by accident. We fail. I mean, this is why we needed the cross. I need Jesus. With Him in my life, cool and good things can and do come out of my mouth and my actions. But I’m still human. So offensive, wrong, and annoying things can and do come out of my mouth and actions too. It’s ok that I fail sometimes. I have the right to be human. And everyone else around me has the right to be human too.

So the truth is, someone may “de-friend” me from a social media or not pursue a friendship with me in general in life, simply because they don’t like me. And that’s ok. Because they have the right not to like me. Or I might say something stupid, do something annoying, or offend someone. I might mess up. And that’s ok too. Not that I want to offend anyone. If I have done something wrong or hurtful I want to know, repent, ask forgiveness, and restore relationship. But I don’t have to beat myself up. I have the right to be human.

Somehow, that makes me feel better. Lighter. Free.

KM.

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Loss.

As you may have read on Facebook a couple of days ago, it has been a tragic couple of weeks for my family.  About a week and a half ago, my Aunt Louise was killed in a car accident.  This past Thursday, my cousin Christian died in a car accident as well.  Both are my mom’s side of the family.  Both left behind children.  Both are very loved.

I was hesitant to post on Facebook, because I wasn’t really sure I wanted to open something so personal up on a medium that invites so many people to respond however they so choose.  I was afraid that people I don’t even know would comment (they did) and that people who don’t know me well or at all would say the annoying things (they did) (to be fair, I know they were trying to be helpful).  But even though the comment “Stay positive! The children will be fine!” from someone I’ve never even met made me cringe (I’m pretty sure “stay positive” is the absolute worst piece of advice in any difficult or tragic situation.  Also? How do you know the children will be fine? You know nothing about them or the situation), I ultimately decided that it was selfish not to solicit prayer for our hurting family.  In the end, I was thankful and humbled by so many thoughtful friends who have covered us in prayer.  It’s really awesome to have so many people near and far say that they are praying for our family.

The strange thing is that I found myself feeling uncomfortable with all of the condolences. While I was nothing but appreciative for all of the prayers and support, I think I felt selfish that people were comforting me.  It’s like I feel I cannot take credit for the level of mourning that their children are experiencing, and I feel guilty if anyone thinks that I am on that same level. I loved my aunt.  And I loved my cousin.  But their immediate families are the ones in so much unbearable pain.  I only saw each of  them at rare family gatherings (we live far away from both families).  So my mourning hasn’t exactly been for myself, but for

their immediate families.  My heart aches and my eyes sting when I think about my cousin who is 9 months pregnant and is about to deliver her first child into the world without her parents to rejoice beside her; who will be simultaneously filled with joy over her son’s arrival and grieving the death of her mother.  I hurt when I think about my Aunt Lois having to bury her 21 year old son.  I want to scream when I think about baby CJ, less than a year old, who will grow up without knowing his Father, Christian.  It just doesn’t seem fair.

And that’s because it’s not.  I am reminded of something that one of my favorite Bible teachers, Steve Brown, says in one of his seminary lectures:

“Nothing lasts. Nothing is perfect. Nothing is fair. And you’re not home yet.”

Nothing lasts.  Time flies by like the blink of an eye.  Ecclesiastes says that our lives are but a vapor.  When something is wonderful, it may be hard that it doesn’t last.  But when something is awful or hard or sad or painful, I am thankful to remember that nothing in this fallen world will last.

Nothing is perfect.  We cannot expect perfection post-Eden.  God created everything to be perfect.  But we (human beings), starting with our father Adam, chose not to trust God and His perfect creation of the world and relationships.  We decided that we would rather be god of our own lives and live however we choose (i.e. not submitting to a higher authority telling us what to do).  And so perfection ended on Earth.  Everything is tainted with sin, and therefore had to be separated from God.  Death was now a part of life.  And it was never supposed to be.  God created us for eternal life in relationship with Him.  That is why death is so incredibly painful.  It just isn’t right.  And we know that in the depths of our souls.  It just isn’t right.  Life is not supposed to end.  We are not supposed to have people we love taken from us.  So, in a sense, we never quite recover from losing a person we love.  Even when our intellect fails to understand, it’s as if our bodies and the natural make-up of who we are understands that this is not how it is supposed to be.  That there had to be some other plan.

Nothing is fair. Because we live in a world tainted with sin, we cannot expect things to be fair.  Along with sin came complete brokenness of everything.  After sin, illness, pain, broken relationships, disasters, atrocities, suffering, violence, and evil entered the world.  And we see this everyday.  If not in our neighborhood, then definitely in the news.  But if we look hard enough, in our neighborhood and as close as our own home as well.  Fairness doesn’t exist.  Well, it may exist in the smallest ways here and there where we get a glimpse of our God’s goodness and the way that life was originally intended to be.  But overall, fairness doesn’t exist as a generality.  It isn’t fair that one woman can get pregnant while another cannot.  It is not fair for one person to be born healthy while another  is born deathly ill.   It’s not fair that one 11 year old girl is watching Hannah Montana after school while another 11 year old girl has been sold into sex slavery.  It’s not fair that one woman gives birth to her child with both of her parents by her side while another woman gives birth to her first child without them.  It’s not fair that one boy grows up knowing his father while another lost his to a car accident before he even turned one.

You’re not home yet.  The good news is, this is not home.  The God of the Universe is good.  He had every right to leave us to complete destruction.  That would be completely just of Him.  We left Him, so He could have just left us!  That’s what we wanted, anyway.  But He didn’t.  Even when we hated Him, He loved us.  We had the opportunity to get our act together and serve Him sinless and selflessly but we did not.  So He did it for us.  Like a parent who pays off the debt that their child has acquired, or who bails their child out of jail, God paid our debt.  At a very steep price.  The price of the Son He loved more than anything.  He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world, born into humanity.  He faced every temptation and tribulation that we do and yet remained sinless, always worshiping God the Father.  Then he took on death.  And not just any death, death on a cross.  The most excruciating, humiliating death possible to man.  He was mocked and laughed at by the ones he came to love and save.  Death is not foreign to God.  He knows the pain of it.  He knows what it is like to die a human death, and he knows what it is like to mourn the death of a loved one (when his friend Lazarus died, he wept- John 11:35).  But that is not the end of the story!  Home is not a place where death exists, and for those of us who know Jesus as our Savior, we are not home yet.  3 days after Jesus was killed, he rose from the dead.  This proved his divinity and offers us a hope that is more than we could ever hope for!  The hope of life.  The hope of restored relationship with God.  He took our place, paying the debt that we owed God- a perfect life and death of sin.  When we call on Jesus as Lord, God sees Jesus’ perfect life in us.  It is credited to us.  We couldn’t earn it, and we never have to.  It’s a free gift.  And it comes with a promise, an inheritance.  The promise is this:  This life is not all there is.  The world of sin and destruction will not last.  God is making all things new!  He is a God of restoration and peace.  He is in the business of redeeming everything back to Himself, just like it was in Eden.  One day, there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  There will be no sin, no pain, no broken relationships, and no death (Revelation 21)!  The living and the dead that are His will be fully restored to a relationship with God in the fullest sense.

So I’m not going to stay positive in a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” or a “think positive things and you’ll feel better” way.  That is garbage.  We don’t even have bootstraps to pull ourselves up by, we lost those a long time ago.  For my family, this just sucks. It is hard.  No positive thought or attitude can erase the heaviness of losing family.  So I find comfort in knowing that death isn’t right.  It’s not the way it’s supposed to be.  But I’m not home yet.  And at “home” everything is restored, as it should be <3.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers! Please keep praying for my family.

KM.