So, last week was pretty much a victory. I think there were two meals all week where I didn't get two fruits and/or two vegetables in. Not bad. This week it's "Only 'real' beverages: coffee, tea, or water not sweetened with real sugar but honey or 100% maple syrup." I can do that for a week. My friend Kimberly recently got me using maple syrup in my coffee in the mornings (shout out! I love it! Thanks for the tip! :)) And I'm not a big soda drinker. Maybe once a week. Kirsten and I decided we would have a "cheat day" on Sunday so I will probably drink a Route 44 Dr. Pepper then. :)
I've been in the process of cutting out sugar for a few months now. One day I was walking, and talking to God, and I smelled the sweet smell of honeysuckle. I closed my eyes and drank in the fragrance. Then I almost audibly heard, "You don't need all that sugar in your diet. Give it up and see if I will prove Myself to be sweeter than honey to you." I tried to be swiftly obedient and give up sugar completely starting when I got home that day for breakfast, but literally the only thing I could find to eat that had no sugar in it was a whole wheat tortilla wrap. No joke. I had been eating Greek yogurt and berries, thinking that was healthy, but saw that my one serving of Greek yogurt had THIRTEEN grams of sugar in it. So that day it was a whole wheat tortilla wrap for breakfast, and a frozen tilapia for lunch. I was STARVING and lethargic by the afternoon, so I remedied it with a Mt. Dew. HA! It definitely lifted my spirits. The next day I tried again to go sugar-free but most everything in my cupboards had some sugar. Since then I've just tried to be mindful of my sugar intake and not go extreme. I haven't put white processed sugar in anything and then a few days ago I had some really good sweet tea with real sugar in it, and it was delicious while I was drinking it but afterwards I felt terrible. It's funny how taking a break from something for awhile helps you realize that it's not really even good. Just another way that His ways are always the best.
Speaking of His ways being best, I've been doing a study I found online on the Song of Solomon. It is such a delight. And it's not at all what I once thought it was! I remember being in youth group, and hearing snickers every time the Song of Solomon was mentioned. I always thought it was exclusively about sexual love between a husband and wife. Oh no, it is so much more!! Every line is so symbolic and rich and deep. Check out my notes! It has become my new favorite book!
I love it because it is all about intimacy with our Heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. It's such a beautiful picture of his tender love for me, and His desire to shower me with blessing and rest and renewal and radiant beauty. The Shulamite woman says, "I sat down in His shade with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste. . . He brought me to His banqueting table, and His banner of me was love!" (2:3-4). In Him is shade and rest and comfort and renewal and sweetness. He goes over and above with a bountiful banquet of harvest. And His banner over us is love! Check out His invitation: "Rise up, My love, My fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Rise up, My love, My fair one, and come away!" (2:10-13)
It reminds me that of all the things I enjoy about parenting, my favorite is when one of my children just sits in my lap and rests in my arms. I find such satisfaction in bringing them comfort just with my presence. I know that is how He feels about you and me.
"Oh God, You are my God; early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life. . . "-Psalm 63:1-3
"Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon the earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my Portion forever. . . It is GOOD for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in Him."-Psalm 73: 23-26, 28