I was reminded today what a blessing it is to have such a supportive online community of friends. In numerous situations lately, the power of a strong praying community has felt so very tangible in my life. When I begin to doubt my course in life on long, strenuous days, God inevitably graces me with some form of encouragement to remind me what my priorities should be. Often, it happens so quickly and so tangibly that I almost have to laugh out loud as I imagine him smiling down on my little home office in Fresno…
For those who are paying attention, I am on Day 3 of the Whole30 Challenge. You wouldn’t think that something like this would consume as much time and energy as it has, but in my case I feel both overwhelmed and blessed by the Challenge. To be successful at making a major life change such as this one, I reflexively cling to prayer. I am both a horrific cook and a lazy grocery shopper. Both of those factors may prove as large a “challenge” for me as deprivation from particular food groups. It seems impossible to “fake” your way through a major life change like this. Either you’re “all in”, or you’re lost.
When I lay my head down on my pillow tonight — God willing — I will have completed three successful days of this new way of life. A part of me is tempted to say “Only 27 more”, but that would completely defeat the point of rethinking my approach to my health. At some point, I will need to give up “counting down” and accept that I am making many changes in my life permanently, and for important reasons.
Today, I received a major boost of strength from a friend who wrote me specifically just to tell me that she is praying for me, and that she actually has been doing so for several days. This is not a friend I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person, and yet knowing how sincere she is, her note felt like a warm hug on a day when I really appreciated encouragement and support.
All too often, I refuse to admit my own weakness, my own need for help from others. 9.9 times out of ten, I’d prefer to be the one on the giving end — I come by that from my mother, who is a consumate giver. Having my friend’s note today and hearing the care in her words made me want to turn around and do the same thing for other special people — people who don’t expect it but definitely deserve to have the same lift I felt today. And yet there was also great grace in simply saying to this friend, “Thank you!” and accepting the care and help she extended, and accepting the fact that nothing was expected of me in return.
The words of today’s first reading from 1 John 2 so beautifully capture this sense of well-being:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
While what awaits beyond this life has not yet been revealed, days like today provide a little glimpse of the beauty that awaits us, the grace that will be ours.