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

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Food For Thought

God also said, “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every seed-bearing tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food.

Genesis 1:29

I’m closing in on two anniversaries today. It has been five years since a bout with the flu assaulted my appetite for a few days. This turn of events made a dent in ten pounds I knew that I should lose. When I returned to eating solid food, I considered my eating habits and eliminated the things that were better left on my plate. Within a few weeks, I actually lost those ten pounds. By summer, I’d lost a total of forty-two pounds which brought me to my teenage weight. Wow!

This amazing transformation remained intact for two years. It was October when I discovered I needed shoulder surgery. The recovery regimen would be tough and confining and I wouldn’t be able to exercise for some time. I secretly worried that this loss of control would negatively impact my diet as well. As it happened, my mobility was more limited than expected, my exercise regimen lay dormant for longer than expected and ten of those lost pounds made their way back to me.

My husband and I recently returned from an east coast cruise. This adventure included exhilarating walks uphill and down. When we returned home, I found myself with a treasure trove of memories and three less pounds to lose. Once again, I assessed my diet and adjusted as needed. Next October, I plan to celebrate three anniversaries: that bout with the flu, shoulder surgery and my return to using God’s gift of food wisely!

Dear God, be with me in this effort. When I feel my best, I do my best for you!

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Give Them A Break

“Should you not have had pity
on your fellow servant
as I had pity on you?”

Matthew 18:33

A few years ago, I shared that I accidentally lost a few pounds due to a bout with the flu. The truth is that I gave thanks for this illness because I had struggled to lose just ten pounds for what seemed like forever. When I recovered, half of that ten pounds was gone. I immediately adjusted my diet to take care of the rest. In the end, I lost four times my original goal and I felt wonderful. Our three granddaughters had arrived by then and I was thrilled to be able to play on the floor with them and to run after them without effort.

This small miracle prompted me to finish the job by toning up a bit. When the weather cooperated, I walked outdoors. Otherwise, I made good use of the mall. During one early morning mall walk, two totally “in shape” women stopped at a nearby water fountain for a drink. When I did the same, they struck up a conversation. They seemed surprised by my status as a grandma as we chatted. Suddenly, one interrupted me to point out two other early morning walkers. “Get a load of them. Have you ever seen anyone so fat?” I quickly responded, “Yes. That’s what I saw every time I looked in the mirror until I started to do what they’re doing today. Give them a break!” With that, I walked away.

Loving God, I responded harshly to those women because their remarks opened up old wounds. Help me not to judge others by the packages they come in or by the words they unthinkingly utter. Bless me and those fellow walkers with a greater ability to love as you do.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Weak, but Strong

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. The clothes I purchased five years ago continue to fit. Months before I’d made these purchases, a bout with influenza forced me to make my health a priority. My inability to eat for a few days made a dent in the ten pounds which I had told myself often I had to lose. When I returned to eating solid food, I decided to take action. I eliminated high-calorie choices which had delayed my weight loss. 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.

That this transformation has remained more or less intact for five years is a pleasant surprise. I write “surprise” because I never know what my circumstances will do to my eating habits. In the midst of this occasional self-doubt, 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. God invites you and 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, for there they fade in the radiance of your love.

©2015 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