Sunday, February 26, 2012

God Moments

     I was traveling last week and the next appointment had me in Roseville, CA. I don't get out to Roseville much. In fact, I believe it's been well over a decade since I've set foot in that town. I don't even drive through it. My journeys just don't take me there, until last Friday. I was meeting a couple at 11:30 but I had 20 minutes before the appointment so I walked into an unfamiliar coffee shop hoping they had WiFi. I went to order something and a young man approached me. He took my order, engaged in small talk, and then said "You look very familiar." I mentioned that I had been thinking the same thing. "What's your name?" I asked. He told me and the light came on. He used to be in my friend's youth group back in my youth ministry days so we had done summer camps together and the like. He was also my friend on facebook, but being out of context I didn't recognize him instantly. He came around the counter and gave me a hug and was able to sit with me for a while. He shared that he had been dealing with a lot lately, and that last week was the worst week of his life.  He had called his former youth pastor to talk about his issues, issues that my current ministry addresses. Knowing this, his youth pastor said he needed to give me a call. That was the week before, and there I was sitting across from this young man last Friday. He said he felt God had brought me there that day. I was in full agreement as I listened to him talk. I gave him my phone number. I'm waiting for his call.
     I left that coffee shop in amazement. God knew. He knew that kid's work schedule and what my calendar had for me that day. Being 20 minutes early, the coffee shop, Roseville... God was aware of it all. When I told Marty about it, she commented on how much God cares about us to orchestrate such a meeting. I agree. He cares so stinkin' much.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pig-pen Part 2 (or Sobered by a Stranger)

     In my last post, dear readers, I left you in the parking lot of Jack in the Box, humiliated and vowing never to return, but there was always Taco Bell down the road.
     One Sunday evening, I decided to write the 12 steps down in my journal along with a scripture and I prayed for God's help. As I worked my way through the steps I stopped myself because I wasn't ready to give over my late night eating binges. In fact, I was looking forward to having a couple beefy crunch burritos in a couple hours (after everyone had gone to bed).
     Later that evening, I was checking my facebook and I met Kristian.

     Kristian made a birthday video for his wife that became quite popular on the internet. What can't be seen in the tribute is Kristian was battling bowel cancer at the time the video was made. This man immediately got my attention. The video was moving and intriguing and pulled on the heartstrings when he incorporated his two young sons at the end. I was compelled to learn more about Kristian's story. Marty had recently told me about cancer and how sugar can exacerbate it. Mm hmm. Then I got an automated email from some fitness dude that discussed research dealing with sugar and cancer. Coincidence? Then I met Kristian.
     I found the blog he started once he was diagnosed. I read what his reaction was when he first found out. I discovered a man who had his faith securely in God and would believe for healing. I read about his fears, not of dying, but of leaving his young family without a husband and father. And I was sobered when I read his very last entry, posted by his wife after he had died on January 2, 2012 at the age of 36.
     I went to bed that night and laid my head on the pillow with my eyes wide open. Kristian did not choose to have bowel cancer, yet I was choosing destructive behavior regardless of the consequences. Kristian did not want to leave his family, but I wasn't insuring that I would be around that much longer if I continued doing what I was doing. I realized I couldn't keep living like that. Tomorrow was going to be different.
     It has been two weeks since meeting my life-saving friend Kristian, and I am happy to say that I have not patronized a fast food restaurant since. No soda has touched my lips. No candy has been consumed. We had cake at church last week and I passed. And I made a lofty goal. As much as I love candy, I resolved to not eat one piece of holiday candy for the entire year of 2012. No Valentine's, no Easter, no Halloween or Christmas candy allowed. It will be a first, and if you know me, this is huge because I've been known to hit the clearance shelves after the holiday and stock up on the sweets.
     Kristian is one of my best friends that I will never meet here on earth. He was my bucket of cold water and he has impacted my life drastically. I am so glad I ran across his story and I look forward to thanking him someday in heaven... but not any time soon.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Friend in Pig-pen Pt. 1

     I've long been fond of the character Pig-pen from the Peanuts comic strip. One cartoon shows him clean himself up, go outside, and as he walks only a few steps, he is back to his same dirty self. Even when he tries to be well-groomed, life just makes him messy again. I can relate to Pig-pen. Just when I've cleaned up one area of my life, there's another that needs tending to.
     I'm about to get vulnerable, fair warning. However, I know as I share out of my weakness and brokenness, it will connect with someone else's and offer them hope (which, I guess, has become my mantra). It is no secret that I'm a recovering addict and I thank God for sobriety and healing in certain areas of my life. But addicts are known to struggle with more than one addiction, or trade one for another. And I'm humbled to admit that's me.
     My eating habits never really matured. I'm not a big fan of salads, always preferred regular sodas over diet, and helped myself to something sweet to eat after a meal. For the last few years I have been dealing with aspects of food addiction. I hesitate when I think of typing the details because it's embarrassing... I got into the habit of waiting until everyone was in bed at night, sneaking out and driving to a nearby fast food joint, and bringing home an entire meal to consume in front of the TV. This would happen at least three or four times a week.
     Marty and I would have discussions around my diet and I would brush off her concerns or admit I needed to change, but nothing ever really stuck. I knew she was worried about me, but it still wasn't enough to make me do something about my issue.
     One night I pulled up to the window at the Jack in the Box that is two blocks away from my house. The worker greeted me warmly and asked,"Are you coming from home?" "Yes," I said. "You're earlier than usual," she observed. And at that, I was humiliated. That was as bad as it could get. The drive-up window attendant knew me on sight and knew my late-night routine. As I drove away, I told myself I would never patronize that place again. And I haven't been back since. Maybe I wouldn't be as familiar at Taco Bell down the road...
     To be continued...