Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Give Your Soul the Food that Nourishes

I hear her quiet footsteps coming down the steps, her soft voice quickly following:

I'm hungry, mama.

I smile.  My heart melts as it always does when she announces a desire for food.  My daughter's feeding disability not only prevents her from eating normally, but also from recognizing hunger pangs, so these rare words from her lips are especially sweet.

What can I get you for a snack, hon? Pudding?  Yogurt? 

I offer a wide array of options to satisfy her hunger, hoping one of them will strike her fancy.

No thank, mama.  I'll just eat this pretend hamburger.
She picks up the brown, plastic disk off the floor.  I pick up another piece of laundry.  She pretends to munch away.  I pretend that I'm not bothered by the whole exchange.

But I am.  My heart breaks that when I offer her body real nourishment, she rejects it for something fake -- pretend food that will never nourish.

Yet I'm more like my daughter than I care to admit.

I too, regularly choose to indulge in something lesser, something pretend.

In a day spent constantly meeting the needs of dependent little ones, my energy tank runs dry, and my soul craves nourishment.

I need food that will sustain me through long hours and thankless tasks.  I need encouragement, rest, strength, purpose, hope, a reason to persevere – yet I opt to feast on fake food.  I busy myself with social media, texting, email.  I indulge in hobbies, snacks, daydreaming.  I fill up my soul with enough distractions to get me through until bedtime – and then curiously wonder why I’m still hungry after my house is quiet.

Perhaps we’re choosing the wrong nourishment. 

Our merciful God extends a dinner invitation for malnourished souls like mine: 

"Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money - come, buy and eat!... Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, 
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?  
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  
Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live..." 
(Isaiah 55:1-3)

Your soul doesn't need a distraction.   It needs real food -- God Himself.  God holds out the promise of good, delightful, rich, satisfying food -- He offers Himself:

"Come to Me; hear, that your soul may live..." (vs 3)

True nourishment is never found in something, it’s always found in someone.

Put down the fake hamburger.  Turn the iPhone on silent. Ignore the text. Let the remote lie untouched.  They won’t fill you anyway.
Instead, come to Jesus. Find rest in Him.   And allow the promises of His Word to nourish, strengthen, and encourage your soul.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

You Can Turn Today Around

The clock had barely ticked 9am, and already, the morning was replete with whining, complaining, outright rebellion, free-flowing tears, and a pair of wet underpants.   I held her on my lap as she whimpered quietly.  And I pleaded.

The day doesn't have to be like this, sweetheart.  You don't have to continue down the path of disobedience. Wouldn't you rather that today be full of joy and fun, rather than sadness? You can repent, choose to obey mommy, and we can turn today around.   

We all have those days -- days when it feels like everything is falling apart, and we're sitting in a pair of wet underpants by 9am.

We easily believe that days that start well, stay well.  But days that start off poorly...well, they only ever get worse.  

I frequently find myself in patterns of bitterness, complaining, harsh words, impatience, nagging, or envy, and it feels like I just can't escape the trajectory.  The whole day is ruined, I tell myself. The only way out is for the day to end -- for me to just try again tomorrow.  

When it feels like all is ruined -- there is always an out:  Repentance.

Repentance has been a buzz word in our home.  Repentance means turning away from disobedience and turning towards obedience, and always through the power of the cross.

"Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,  
that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord..."
Acts 3:19-20 (ESV)

The gospel says we can always, always, turn today around.

There's always room at the cross for confession.
There's always grace through the cross for forgiveness.
And there's always power through the cross not just for a new day, but for a new middle-of-the day.  

Maybe you can't change the attitude of your children today, or tackle ALL of the laundry today, or solve your financial crisis today.

But there's one thing you can change today -- you.  You can turn from patterns of sin and destruction that will only ever make your day worse -- never better.  And if you can change you, then no matter how poorly today has gone, you can turn today around.

Is your home filled to the brim with whining children, piles of dirty shoes, unwashed dishes and never ending to-do lists, and the only contribution you can make is a poor attitude?
Are you ready to crawl back in bed by 10am and pray that tomorrow comes quickly?

Don't give up.  Don't give in.  Just repent.

You can turn today around.