Strengthening my Spine

mg_8896Dread. It was written all over her face.
And I’d only mentioned Lent.
“You’re on your own this year, Mom,” Robyn replied boldly.
Then Brian offered, “How about if we go to Starbucks once a week during Lent and talk about the significance of Easter?”
Big smile.
“That I will do!” she responded.

Meanwhile, as the chocolate fest from Valentine’s week winds down, my own Easter preparation takes shape.
And again this year, I find myself worshipping at the altar of sugar and I am ashamed of myself and this illicit relationship.
My husband disappointes me? Pie or cake is the answer.
I can’t fix my children’s problems? I turn to chocolate.
Blaming, shaming self-talk? Warm, soft cookies right out of the oven.
Relief from the repetitive cycle of my mundane life? Brownies with ice cream is a favorite.
Anxiety? Pure unadulterated candy.
And for desperate situations, Graeter’s ice cream with chocolate chunks is the answer to my most insurmountable problems.

There’s something really warped about going to sugar for comfort instead of Jesus.
Proof of my brokenness.
Words from the pulpit echo in my mind. “The Father seeks broken people to worship Him in spirit and truth.”
That would be me.
Lent invites me to go to God, to look hard into His gentle strength, to talk to Him when I’d rather just consume sweets.

Here I am whining about my struggle with sugar and simultaneously 21 Coptic Christians are beheaded. Even before the Lenten season started, they made their decision about how to worship in spirit and in truth. They took the cross of Christ seriously and died for the hope Easter offers.
Ann Voskamp said, “Love without a Cross has no backbone.”
Jesus loves with backbone.
And the more my eyes are focused on His Cross, the more I am prepared to live a better story of sacrifice, discipline and dependence.
During Lent, I strengthen my spine.
I cry, “God save me from myself.”
And I do it every time I say “no” to what I want, which is sugar and “yes” to what I need, which is a Savior.
And He responds gently saying, “Come to Me.”
And I am filled with gratitude that He understands my frailty.
He is compassionate toward my weakness.
He smiles about my victory over that candy bar I walked past in the check out aisle.
He savors the conversation He and I had about it as I struggled with temptation.

Bottom line is–I’m pathetic. Really. I am.
The good news is–He loves me anyway.

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