These past few weeks God has been teaching me so much. Relationships, marriage, friendships, children, family, waiting, obedience, hospitality… the list goes on. I’ve hardly had a chance to sit and process through it all, let alone write about it. But I recently had a refreshing look through a familiar passage that is just filling me with awe and gratitude, so I want to share that with you. Also, I’ll share a bunch of other stuff that has been going on in my head and maybe at the end I can pull it all together and it will make some kind of sense.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
I know I’ve seen this passage used in maternity photos and above baby cribs, but this was the first time I was able to really hear God saying, “No, this is for YOU, too.” Maybe I am just more in tune with this scripture after having a child of my own, but this just became so personal to me. To think that God was there, knitting me together, forming me in the seclusion of my mother’s womb, it must have been such a sacred time. I think of how wonderful it has been to see our baby girl grow these first two years. Every milestone has called for celebration and so many of them have been experienced by just my husband and me. It makes those times so special, seeing her learn and develop and grow. So now I imagine God there, as I was just a tiny bit of multiplying cells and he’s working away forming me and growing me. Before a single soul experienced a kick, a cry, a coo, God saw vertebrae forming and a tiny heart beating. He saw arms and legs protruding and little fingers and toes sprouting on each end. He said, “Oh, look at my sweet child, yawning and tumbling.” These are the moments that no one else has, but God and I.
I studied a few weeks back on what the Word has to say about our health. My general thought on caring for my body has been that I will be getting a new glorified body after this life, so I don’t really need to worry about this one. Boy, was I wrong about that. See, there’s this awful thing about being skinny by nature (please hold your “boo”s), I don’t really have to watch what I eat, so I don’t. I eat bread, and cheese, and more bread, and then some cheese with jalapenos and throw in some bacon, and then I feel gross and tired and so I don’t get up and get active and then the vicious cycle repeats. But really, I don’t eat terrible all the time, my family loves veggies and all kinds of good fresh foods, but pizza…. yes I love pizza… Mmmm. So last month my husband and I did this really weird thing to start cutting out excess in our lives. We got this book 7. Luckily, quite a few of our friends have at least heard of it, so we didn’t look like complete crazies, but this first month we cut out the excess on our food. We ate only 7 foods. And since everyone always asks, it was: eggs, chicken, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocado, apples and wheat bread. We gave ourselves a little leeway when it came to parties and being at other peoples houses, but for the great majority, this is what we ate. I learned quite a few things through this experience.
1. I have terrible self discipline. As in, I cry like a baby when I can’t eat whatever the heck I want. OK, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s pretty bad. I read a sermon during this time about how our culture puts no importance on self discipline. Everything is about relaxation and recreation. People pay ridiculous amounts of money to watch other people play a sport that many people do just for “leisure”. If that doesn’t show us what our society puts importance on, then I don’t know what does. At the beginning of the month I kept asking my husband, “Why are we dong this again?”. I had a really bad attitude about it some days which God would quickly remind me of how ridiculous I was being because I could only eat these 7 delicious foods that many others would be overjoyed to eat. That brings me to my next point.
2. Food is a luxury. I would have never thought this before doing the 7 experiment. I eat extravagantly. And not like caviar and champagne. But the fact that I can walk into a warehouse full of all different kinds of foods with 14 different types of peanut butter to choose from… it’s kind of excessive, don’t you think? It doesn’t stop there though, you know that giant stockpile of nourishment, yeah, it’s across the street from my house. But I don’t go to that store because I like the one two blocks away better. Oh, and then after going to the store and filling our refrigerator and pantry, I might be just too tired to cook or maybe it’s date night, so we leave all this perfectly good food here so it can begin decomposing in our kitchen while we go out and have someone else cook and serve us food for ten times what it would have cost us at home! Am I the only one this sounds absurd to? All in all, we’ve got it gooood. With all these options for meals and eating out, I hope to be much more grateful for this luxury.
3. Good food makes you feel good! I was so used to having a stomach ache here, a little heart burn there, it just seemed normal to me. But take a few weeks and only eat whole foods? What a difference! This was really strange to me because I have never in my life been on a diet. I used to say my diet was anything cheap or free. But produce is not expensive and it’s a whole lot cheaper than eating out. I feel like a diet commercial saying this, but it really is true. The thing that opened my eyes to this was the few times that I did eat something other than those 7 foods, I felt absolutely horrible. So to think that’s how a marshmallow made me feel, I must have just felt like that all the time and didn’t realize it. From that, I have decided that we will be eating more whole foods. Also, I will be learning how to make marshmallows that don’t make me want to throw up. Because there’s no way I can live without marshmallows.
4. Cooking is creative. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am a rule follower. I like recipes and baking and things that tell me exactly how to do something the right way. Let’s just say when you only have 7 things to eat, you start to get creative. Creative like homemade sweet potato flour, apple juice salad dressing and whole wheat pizza dough apple empanadas. Don’t forget the sweet potato souffle and avocado egg salad. I really enjoyed coming up with different things to make although when it came down to it, it all tasted the same. Being able to use my creativity in the kitchen opened up a whole new venue for my “art”. I know this will help me in the future to not look in a pantry full of food and say we don’t have anything to eat. It has given me an excitement for cooking that I never had before.
So now what does all this have to do with being fearfully and wonderfully made? After a month of cutting out excess and a week of studying health and body scriptures I read this verse:
John Piper says in a sermon regarding 1 Corinthians 6:20, ” When God paid the price of his Son to purchase his people from sin and guilt and condemnation, it was the ransom for their bodies as well as their souls.” It’s not just about your soul being saved from sin, this body is part of the package. He goes on to say, “When God bought us he did not buy us as slaves but as dwellings. His aim was not to make us work for him, but to make us full of him.” If I am going to be really serious about this perfecting process, of glorifying God with everything I have, my body needs to be part of that as well. He made this body and redeemed this body. Yes, it walks around in this fallen world and will one day be renewed in heaven, but I have a responsibility while here. Taking care of myself so that I can do more of the good works that he has prepared for me is nothing more than an appropriate response to the one who sacrificed his entire body for my salvation. My prayer is that I would be conscious of the things that I put in my body and even on my body, purifying myself out of reverence to bring glory to him.
How do you feel about your body? Do you use it to glorify God?