I haven’t written for a few weeks. But yesterday I wrote an article for the Thin Within newsletter. (Click here if you want to be on that list.) It sort of tells where I have been, so I am sharing it here today.
Each time we are hit with a trial of some kind, we have a choice to deepen our understanding of God and build our intimacy with Him. Or, we can…turn to food or some other false comfort. Understanding this and being intentional the moment a challenge strikes has transformed my Thin Within journey over the past 20 years.
But, I must admit, there are times, if broadsided, I forget the new habits and revert back to behaviors of my past. Sure, I “crow” about the virtues of turning TO God and away from the counterfeit comfort of food. Nevertheless, my guard was down last weekend when I visited my 26-year-old daughter in the Chicago area.
Because of a conflict between our two grown children, their dad and I agreed to be a part of a Facetime meeting in the hopes of seeing a solution emerge that the two of them could live with.
Upon the four of us “meeting together” for the first time since the marriage disintegrated in 2016, I was assaulted with all kinds of thoughts that surprised me. Lines from a song jumped into my head: “Every time I see your face, it reminds me of the places we used to go…”
Deep sadness (mixed with resentment) overwhelmed me as I recalled the last time the four of us met (in person) and their dad told the kids we had brought into the world together that the marriage was over. Our family exploded as we all went our separate ways—their dad and our son to live in an apartment outside of Sacramento, our daughter back to college in Illinois, and Daisy Dog and I off to find adventure that God might have for us, renting a bedroom in a farmhouse on a 10-acre ranch in river country.
The old Ringo Starr song lamenting only having a photograph to show for memories of the past kept churning through my mind. And…I turned to food to numb the pain, anger, and heartache I felt.
I would like to say that I recovered quickly, but even as Michaela and I enjoyed the movie, Onward, later that weekend, I wished I had had one more day with the Bob I had known for 35 years, before he “died”..one more day to enjoy his kindness, one more day to remind him of how God is crazy about him.
…And… I continued to console myself with food.
The tears and eating outside of 0 to 5 boundaries lasted three days.
It may seem like I missed the opportunity to deepen my intimacy with the Lord by turning to Him for solace and comfort.
But, thankfully, I have learned that failure is a great teacher when given to the hands of our Redeeming God!
Days after returning from my trip, I sit with the Lord. I invite God IN to my failure. The opportunity may have been lost in the moment when it all happened, but I now choose to reclaim the opportunity to learn from my failure:
Lord, what happened? What do I need to do so that I will be equipped for victory going forward? What can I do to change my desires so that, if all things are equal or similar, I will turn TO You instead of from You and to a lie?
I know that beating myself up for the failure isn’t the answer. I can’t hate myself into positive change.
Quietly, gently, (His kindness leads me to repentance) He leads me to bring all the broken pieces and recently stirred-up emotions about the unraveling of my former husband’s life (and our family) and the deep disappointment and wounding I experienced.
I extend myself the kindness that God extends to me. I journal about the memories I have. I invite God to show me the blessings I have now and in the past. I cry with Him. He, the God of all compassion, the Spirit of God (the Comforter) gives me His divine comfort. I give a sacrifice of praise and thanks.
He even takes the line from that old Ringo Starr song that haunts me in the middle of the night and shows me how to turn it to gratitude and praise, even while the lament and loss is real in my heart. I express it to Him. The song becomes a good trigger, as I pray for the reconciliation of Bob with Jesus and with his daughter. I exalt my God.
Again, it is His kindness that leads me to repentance. I renew my mind with HIS truth about His character as my true and only comfort. I personalize the Word so that I have targeted truth to refute the targeted lies that the enemy has so cleverly whispered in my ear:
Praise be to the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts me in all my troubles, so that I can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort I myself receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – NIV)
Thank You, Lord, that you ask me to bring to You my sadness, my longing for a better way. You have promised that You will comfort me and, in turn, I will be able to comfort others. Thank You that You waste nothing.
Blessed am I when I mourn instead of trying to hide it or numb my sadness by overeating. I will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 – NIV)
Thank You that you don’t ask me to stuff my feelings or shove them away. Instead, You want me to mourn freely. To let my grief out. You comfort me. Thank You!
When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. (Psalm 118:5 – NIV)
Thank you, Lord, that even as I cry out to You, You are bringing me out of a place where I have been trapped. You give me freedom!
There is a day coming when I will never again hunger and never again thirst.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be my shepherd;
He will lead me to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from my eyes. (Revelation 7:16-17 – NIV)
Thank You, God that You have promised that one day, there will be no heartache, no lack, no need as You will meet all needs fully. And…You will personally wipe all my tears.
Thank You, Lord, for Your overwhelming kindness to me. I choose to turn TO You. I turn away from the lie that I have looked to. I repent.
How About You?
Is there a failure that you can take to the Lord? Perhaps invite Him IN. Ask Him to show you His grace and mercy, His tenderness and kindness. Then ask Him to help you to make a plan so that going forward, you can use what you learn from the failure to be equipped for victory in the future.
Tell us about it here in the comments. I would love to hear from you.
Shameless Sales Pitch:
Would you like to learn tools to turn challenges to opportunities when they hit? Consider joining me for a Thin Within Fall Focus group, “From Failure to Freedom,”beginning the week of September 14.
Some of what is on tap:
- Create a freedom list to envision what freedom looks like for you.
- See God redeem failures and mess-ups!
- Develop new strategies to be equipped for victory.
- Enjoy studying scripture with 7 to 9 other women.
- Join weekly LIVE Zoom coaching and strategy sessions.
- Prepare for the strangest holiday season we are likely to ever have (due to the pandemic affecting travel and gathering with family and friends).
Come join us! We would love to have you. We added a session on Thursdays at 3pm Pacific Time and it still has plenty of room.
Let’s not have our guard down or miss any opportunity.