Yesterday I traveled to Whole Foods to buy overpriced bacon. This was an intentional trip. I wanted bacon without nitrites, nitrates and cured without sugar. This choice of pork product is because I’m currently participating in the Whole Life Challenge. In a future post I’ll blog about the process of this journey and how it’s been a wonderful tool. Anyway…I think it’s so cool that the package literally has less than five ingredients listed. I love buying things where I can pronounce everything in the ingredient list. Perhaps you are giggling at my fanatical, legalistic bacon choice for a silly game that I paid money to participate as a player. Maybe you think it foolish that I would pay $6 for less than a pound of bacon. Although it isn’t the most frugal grocery purchase I’ve made it isn’t one that I would consider wasteful.
Whole Foods seriously makes me happy. This store is ALIVE. It is beautiful, organized and a happy place to shop. It’s brimming with beautiful colors, a variety of exotic smells, products that I can’t pronounce some I’ve never even heard of and certainly haven’t tasted. This store intrigues me, challenges me and helps me to realize that living in America is a blessing. I have the privilege of traveling to a store where I can choose any number of products that I want to eat and drink. Clean drinking water is a gift that I dare to say most Americans take for granted. We shop in stores that have aisles of water to choose from. You could spend an entire day in Whole Foods. From coffee to dinner, from meetings to dates, from shopping to learning…it can all take place there. Live music, classes, fun events, and lively sales take place at this one store. I wish I could shop there more regularly but I can’t. One I can’t afford it, two it’s not easy to shop anywhere with five kids in tow and three I simply don’t have the time to make it to Asheville.
Yesterday was a gift. It didn’t feel like one because I left the house in a tizzy. A frustrating morning, full of harsh words and unkind actions. Words that can’t be “unsaid” or “unheard”. I tell you I’m a worn out woman with a raw and exposed heart. I’m feeling so overwhelmed and under prepared for this life that is mine. I’ve been told by a friend that she feels I’m fully equipped for the work that God has called me to and I know God’s word says in Eph. 2:10 (ESV) “For we are his workmanship , created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Most days I feel FAR from capable of this task of being Nathan’s wife, mother to my 5 J-s and working on becoming fit, whole and healthier. It all seems hopeless at times, too much, too grand for me and like I’ll never get off of the hamster wheel.
So there I was in the middle of the gourmet overpriced bacon section, spending time looking at all of the wonderful non-gmo, free trade dark chocolate (I didn’t buy any) and smelling all of the wonderful smelling food on the lunch menu and feeling blessed. Blessed that I have a husband that allows me to leave the house for a breather. Blessed that I have a vehicle to take me to the overpriced food warehouse FULL of selections of healthy food that I can use to fuel my body and those of my family. Blessed that God has forgiven me and even though I certainly don’t understand the season of my life I can trust in his goodness. The blessing continued into the evening. Unfortunately so did the harsh words, the moments of silence, the hurt feelings. It’s a paradox how love and anger can reside within a person at the same time. So unusual that someone can scream at you and then cry in regret a few minutes later. Being human is such an experience. I’m so glad Jesus came to save us from ourselves.
There were two very wonderful friends that blessed me and held me up with prayer and some wonderfully encouraging texts full of truth and scripture. Fuzzy pajamas, leftovers, a nice warm bath with goats milk and lemongrass soap and a book helped to make my evening pleasant. My head hit the pillow and there were still unresolved feelings of inadequacy, fear and sadness, but there was a rising Hope within me and a feeling of warmth in my spirit. I was reminded by my friends last night that suffering is not hopeless. We suffer with a purpose. It makes us more like Jesus. All of the bad stuff that happens seems unfair BUT grace is most assuredly unfair. I don’t deserve a second, third or 100th chance. Yet, the work of the cross assured that I am forgiven and will always be forgiven. My life is not unnoticed. I was also reminded that is a privilege to share our sufferings one with another. Jesus is not going to let me drown in my grief or the troubles of this life and neither will my support team, my community, my faith family.
The undeserved blessings continue even into this evening as another friend will be blessing me with a facial, some peaceful kid-free time and some health food!!! I’m a blessed woman and tomorrow morning as I eat two slices of my overpriced bacon with my over easy eggs and roasted veggies I’ll think of the high price of scandalous grace and how I’m treasured beyond measure. Tonight as I’m being pampered I’ll take it all in and pray that I can find ways to extravagantly love those in my world. I’ll keep praying for eyes to see my children and my husband as Christ sees them. For God so loved……If He lives within me then I can love. He can forgive them and I can walk in that forgiveness.
I pray that the scandal of grace will hold me in this season. It’s 27 days until Spring and I would certainly love to wake up on the first day of Spring and know that the thaw has occurred and that a newness will come to my heart, my life, my family. Buds of peace will bloom and new attitudes will blossom. But I’m not going to wish the rest of winter away. I’m going to rest in the growth that is taking place even though I can’t see it. I’m trusting in the process of the Sovereign God. The one that prepared his Son for his journey to Calvary can prepare me for the work of my life. Change takes time and these growing pains won’t kill me. Bacon and blessings….two things I’m grateful for during this lenten season.