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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Temptation!

Temptation comes in many forms and I've had more than my share in the last little while!! :-) Who knew I would be so easily led astray!! LOL

Our pastor called our church to a corporate Daniel fast this month. Like Daniel in the Bible, he encouraged the congregation to eat simply and Biblically. Traditionally, Daniel is said to have eaten vegetables and fruits, no meats or sweets or the "rich foods of the king." Jeff and I agreed to give it a try. I did very well at home, even lost 4 lbs in the first 4 days!  ...

But when I traveled with some friends to Berea, KY for their annual Quilt Extravaganza, I didn't fare so well!


My friends and I ate at the inestimable historic Boone Tavern, Berea College's hotel and restaurant of modern Southern cuisine. I was done for!! Chicken in a Bird's nest (the nest is made of deep fried, thin strips of potatoes) with cranberry orange jelly! Spoon bread!! It was fantastic. Not so good for my consistency on the Daniel fast! :-)

And then there were the vendors at the quilt show!! I do not need fabric.  But it's difficult to resist some of the beautiful things I saw.  I managed to pick up just a few goodies.  I still don't know how to use batiks or hand-dyes, but I'm drawn to their rich color and silky texture.  I succumbed to temptation all too easily!

In the wake of my loss this summer, I find myself lonely for Sam so often.  And with that loneliness comes the temptation to fill the emptiness with the wrong things. 

Wanting to be closer than is appropriate with a fun male friend. 
Spending too much. 
Giving in to depression. 
Pulling away from God. 
Telling Him, "I don't want to be close to You right now!"

He is so big and so mighty, though, that my pain and the resulting temptations do not scare or surprise Him!  In fact, He is aware in every way of what I am going through. 

The writer of Hebrews explains:
"...He had to be made like his brothers in every way in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:17 NIV)

Then, catch this in verse 18:
"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."
The Apostle Paul says, "And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

I don't think it's ever easy to resist temptation.  Sometimes, it's downright painful.  And right now, that pain seems to compound the other loss that I feel.  But Jesus knows all about suffering, and He is able to help.

I don't know exactly what way of escape will be available, but when I need it, He will provide it.  It will probably include that perfect little word that is so hard to say:  "No!"  But He will help me say it.

And He will fill the empty places as no one and nothing else can!

Blessings,



23 comments:

Tonya said...

You are so right...we will always be tempted. Hang in there...you are just in one of those dreaded valleys at the moment...but your focus is good and you'll be right back up that hill soon.

Janet O. said...

Well said, Mary Lou. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as you pass through this difficult time. So many others are probably suffering in their own way and can be strengthened by your faithful example. I Corinthians 10:13 has long been a favorite of mine (among many).

kathyros said...

thank you Mary-Lou for another inspirational post. God is certainly using you to impart lovely words of wisdom and strength, hope and love to anyone who reads your blog. Bless igns will be yours, xxx
Kathy, Tasmania, AUS

Quilt Hollow said...

If there is one thing I can say about my blog friend Mary Lou is she gives me so much inspiration to become a better person through beautiful and inspiring post. You are only human my friend and have been giving such a test in the loss of your Sam. You've been handling this all so beautifully and if you think for one minute otherwise...I say not. Bless your heart.

Crispy said...

Awww but the key here is that you know you are being tempted and though you have given in to it a bit, you certainly have not lost your faith. Don't be too hard on yourself my friend.

Crispy

Becky K. said...

Thank you for your honesty. It is so true that temptations are in our face every day. Praying for you and for myself that God will enable us to resist things that are not His will for us.

B-Z-Quilting said...

Sending up prayers for you and your family. Hang in there. God knows and understands every single emotion you are dealing with. Big hugs coming your way!

Lori said...

Ah Mary Lou, I cannot understand what a difficult time you are going through. But I like your attitutde and reliance on God. Take care.

Cheri said...

I imagine the tempter is upset you have changed the temptations into a way to inspire us...and by reading the comments you do MaryLou. I gave myself a little giggle this morning when I thought about what my fellow doughnut loving Presbytarians would say if I brought a tray of carrot and celery sticks to Sunday morning coffee fellowship.

Nancy said...

I find such peace when I read your posts because no matter what is going on in your life you always find strength or comfort in scripture. It always gives me pause.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Spoon Bread! I love spoon bread, but, I've never seen it on the menu of a restaurant outside of Williamsburg. I love that 'elephant' print. My mother collects elephants. That would be fun as a center for a mini quilt. Remember that God knows your heart. He understands and is still with you, even if you push him away on occasions. Take it one day at a time.

Sarah Craig said...

Still praying for you, Mary Lou! And stick with fabric as a temptation if you have to give in - it's a lot safer, and not as fattening!! Seriously, though - you're going through a rough patch, but God will get you through! And we all love you and admire your courage and witness! {{{{{{{{{{BIG HUGS}}}}}}}}}}

Deborah said...

I enjoy following your blog and thank you for your encouraging and insightful posts. We all face temptation and, for such a small word, it is pretty hard to say-- NO.

I am praying that your empty places will be filled and that you will have the strength and courage to say NO when it is necessary.

Teresa said...

I've been finding lots of dark, empty places since saying "no" to unhealthy foods the last 3 months...I've been stuffing them with cotton, which isn't the same immediate gratification as stuffing them with chocolate and other numbing goodies. But there are definitely times when playing with scraps doesn't do the trick. My doctor suggests stuffing those empty places with exercise...what does SHE know...LOL.

Hang in there...it will be a journey, but you are not alone.

In stitches,
Teresa :o)

Sandie ~call me crazy said...

Fabric is also therapy. You made some good purchases and will turn them into something wonderful in time. Do not be hard on yourself. You have been such an inspiration, in your words and actions. Thank you for not shutting us out. ((hugs))

StitchinByTheLake said...

I don't know the depth of your grief, but having been through the grief process after losing both parents in a four month span I faced the same temptations. It's so hard to say no and with our own strength we can't do it. It helped me to have a friend who held me accountable. I got so mad at her sometimes for calling me to task. :) But she persevered and she loved me enough to know I'd get over being mad. I pray for you that same support. blessings, marlene

justkellyhere said...

I love to read the wisdom the Holy Spirit breathes into you! I know from my loss, temptation was so powerful in that, just for a moment, I wasn't peering into the depth of my hurt. I think if I had been submerged in all of it at once, I would have drowned. I just wonder, if some of the challenge of those temptations were not gifts from God in themselves... giving me a tiny struggle to focus on to build up strength until I could handle a bit more of the BIG grief struggle that threatened to consume me. And wouldn't THAT drive the deceiver nuts knowing God used HIM to make us stronger? Love and hugs to you!

Sallie said...

Thanks for sharing and being honest. I am praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mary Lou, I first happened upon your blog through a link. Now it is a regular read for me. My oldest leaves to go to a Christian college 2,000 miles away in 6 days. I am happy for her, yet very sad. And then I read your posts about missing Sam and realize my missing her is nothing compared to your loss. You are an encourager! :)

LuAnn said...

Hi Mary Lou When I come over to read your posts I'm not sure how you are managing to walk this road. You've been given a lot to deal with so losing focus for a bit is probably ok. Hugs and prayers to you and your family. I think about you often.

Patty Sumner said...

Very honest......I cannot say I understand the grief you are going through with Sam. I do know you and I will say......turn away from anything the enemy has placed in front of you to distract you by thinking it helps your pain. Do not let the enemy fool you! Now honesty for me. I am sorry I have not been there more for you. It seems the years have pulled us apart. You know that I will do whatever I can to help you. Be careful, my sister, very careful. This is the time you need Jeff and he needs you more than ever. Call me or I guess I should call you. I love you and just because I am not there does not mean I do not think of you and care deeply for you. Scott and I love you guys like family. Whatever I have is yours....you know the truth and it has lead you so far...Take care and write, write, write. You have a gift for this....it is a great release. God has a song in all of this.....let him give it to you! I love you! Blessings!

Marydon said...

Beautiful share, Mary Lou. Very inspirational.

Would you be so kind to (& tell your friends) comment on my BLOG ONLY (emails don’t count), for the Miracle Makeover fund drive. Charlie, 8 yr. old, & his story are fabulous. Every comment brings us a $1 for the next person that will be sponsored.

Have a beautiful weekend.
Hugs,
TTFN ~
Marydon
blushingrosetoo.blogspot.com

angiejmq said...

Great post, as usual. So many people get distracted in difficult times and they don't recognize the slippery road they may be on. It's during these times we have to be extra diligent and alert for that prowling lion the Bible warns us about.
I hope you're finding comfort in your quilting. Generations of women before us have endured suffering and tragedy with needle and thread in hand. Creating something beautiful can be so healing. God must have known that when He gave us the ability to do so. :)