Let Go of The Worry…

The law is spiritual,
whereas I am weak flesh…

From Romans 7:14

While perusing my closet the other day, I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving. Summer clothing I’d purchased a few years ago continues to fit. I’m not inclined to head out to shop these days and I don’t have much luck with online clothing purchases. So I was thrilled that my old wardrobe will work for another season. I offered that prayer because I know that I’ve found a few extra pounds while doing my part to battle the spread of COVID-19. It seems to me that this effort should have resulted in weight loss. In addition, my husband and I have taken an hour walk six or seven days each week since we’ve been staying home. Still, those five pounds continue to hang on.

If I’m honest, I must admit that it’s not the food I can’t resist. It’s the daily uncertainty and anxiety that I can’t seem to shake. My mom used to say, “It’s not what you’re eating; it’s what’s eating you!” I laugh as I type this and look upward to say, “Mom, you’re right again!” When I’m upset with the day’s news or the drudgery of our current routine, comfort food helps, but only for as long as it takes to chew it.

It is this realization that gives me reason to turn to the passage above from the apostle Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Miserable as we are these days, Paul had far more to deal with than we. Yet, in spite of this, his enthusiasm regarding his relationship with God never faltered. He simply admitted his weakness and then began anew again and again and again. It seems to me that this is the perfect opportunity for me to do the same. Though I probably won’t lose that those extra pounds, by calmly doing what I can to make things better I’ll gain the peace of mind God intends for us all.

Compassionate God, I place my worries in your hands where they will fade in the radiance of your love.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

All of Our Beloved Children

This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.
John 15:12

The news, both local and national, continues to include incidents of children lost to violence. I grew up in a very tough and often dangerous neighborhood where insecurity and fear sometimes overwhelmed me and everyone else nearby. Still, I never endured the day-in and day-out sights and sounds of gunfire and other atrocities which some of our children have grown to consider to be a way of life.

Regardless of our busy schedules, our fatigue and our own worries, we adults are responsible for the children in our lives. Whether they live next door, in our own homes, across town or on the other side of the world, children matter. Whether they present themselves as whiny toddlers or sarcastic teens, they need our support and our love.

Obviously, our own children come first as we are the only parents they have. Still, nieces and nephews, neighbors and acquaintances who haven’t yet reached adulthood also need an occasional smile or word of encouragement from us. Efforts to assist needy children and orphans nearby and faraway need our attention as well. As small as our efforts may seem, they may just counteract the sadness or feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness which might otherwise lead these young souls astray. It’s all about feeling loved and appreciated, you know?

Patient God, you gift us with the capacity to love one another. Give us the generosity and the courage to share this gift with the children whom you have placed in our care.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

I’m Weak, But…

We know that the law is spiritual,
whereas I am weak flesh…

Romans 7:14

While perusing my closet the other day, I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving. Summer clothing I’d purchased a while back continues to fit, so I’ll need only a few more things to get me through the warm weather. I offered that prayer because I know that I’m “up” a few pounds these days. I need to eliminate some high-calorie choices which have become habitual. I also need to eliminate the aggravation which inspires those choices. My mom used to say, “It’s not what you’re eating, but what’s eating you!” I laugh as I type this and look upward to say, “Mom, it is what I’m eating AND what’s eating me!”

Though I’d like to think that I’m “in control” most of the time, I must admit that I never know what my circumstances will do to my eating habits. It is in the midst of this self-doubt that I turn to the good apostle Paul. He had far more to deal with than I, yet his enthusiasm regarding his relationship with God never faltered. He simply admitted his weakness and then began anew again and again and again. It seems to me that this is the perfect opportunity for me to do the same.

Compassionate God, you know me better than I know myself. So it is that I place my insecurities in your hands where they will fade in the radiance of your love.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Start With Love

This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.
John 15:12

The news, both local and national, continues to report incidents of children lost to violence. I grew up in a very tough and often dangerous neighborhood where insecurity and fear sometimes overwhelmed me. Still, I never endured the day-in and day-out sights and sounds of gunfire and other atrocities which some of our children have grown to consider to be a way of life.

Regardless of our busy schedules, our fatigue and our own worries, we adults are responsible for the children in our lives. Whether they live next door, in our own homes or across town, children matter. Whether they present themselves as whiny toddlers or sarcastic teens, they need our support and our love.

Obviously, our own children come first, as we are the only parents they have. Still, nieces and nephews, neighbors and acquaintances who haven’t yet reached adulthood also need an occasional smile or word of encouragement from us. These small efforts may just counteract the sadness or feelings of worthlessness which might otherwise lead these young souls astray. It’s all about feeling loved and appreciated, you know?

Patient God, you gift us with the capacity to love one another. Give us the generosity and the courage to share this gift with the children whom you have placed in our care.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Embrace Tomorrow

I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self,
but I see in my members other principles
at war with the law of my mind,
taking me captive to the law of my members.

From Romans 7:18-25a

It has been three years since a bout with influenza demanded that I attend to my health more vigorously. My inability to eat for a few days made a dent in the ten pounds I kept telling myself that I had to lose. When I returned to eating solid food, I eliminated the high-calorie choices which had kept far more on me than that unwanted ten pounds. Within a few weeks, I actually lost those ten pounds. Within two months, I lost ten more. I felt so invigorated that I actually developed a bounce in my step. I jump-started my walking regimen as well. By February, I had lost a total of thirty pounds and by Easter I reached my wedding day weight. It was mid-June when I weighed what I did in high school.

This amazing transformation has remained intact for more than two years. I have written “remained” -the past tense- intentionally. One never knows what the circumstances of this life might do to my eating habits. It is in the midst of this occasional self-doubt that the words of the good apostle Paul come to mind. Poor Paul had so much more to deal with than I, yet his enthusiasm regarding his relationship with God never faltered. Indeed, he has been well rewarded! It occurs to me that I need to tap into that enthusiasm for the strength I need to hold on. After all, God promises me the same happy end!

Compassionate God, you know me better than I know myself. So it is that I place my insecurities in your hands, for there they fade in the radiance of your love. Be with me and all of your worrying children as we embrace what lies ahead.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved