This is the first installment in a series that will follow over the next many months about our experience of assisting our son Jonathon and his wife Sarah adopt Izze. Hardest experience of my life, but also life-changing. I hope reading about our experience will touch you in some way and that you might gain a bit of insight in your own life. Thank you Izze – we will never be the same…
|Izze-who has taught us much about “refinement” over the last year!|
My husband David and I began a diet and exercise challenge almost a year ago – just a few months before Izze was born. I have learned much during the past year and some of my lessons have come from our physical challenge. Let me explain….
When we first started our “program” I purchased the books outlining an entire year’s meals and exercises. I like to “cheat” or look ahead to see what is coming up – thinking somehow it will “prepare” me for the upcoming challenges. The first exercise I absolutely failed at was the ‘women’s push-ups’ (you know, from your knees, rather than the full body type). To begin with I was expected to do 10 women’s push-ups; I could not even complete 3. Cheating – looking ahead – I saw that I would soon be doing 12 push-ups in sets of 3 – the very thought of that made me laugh out loud! I could not even complete 3 – how in the world would I ever do 36?! At the end of nearly a year, I am happy to report that I am doing 25 full-body push-ups – sets of three – that is 75 FULL-body push-ups! Can you believe that?! The lesson from that experience for me is this: it is wisdom that God does not allow us to see too far ahead. Many of us would give-up before we even get started. The challenges that we encounter in life are hard – in the beginning, many of us fail miserably and it is only through consistent effort and ‘building ourselves up’ that we begin to see some measure of success. We also gain strength from each and every one of life’s experiences, thus preparing us to meet the challenges that lie ahead. I can look back on my life and draw courage from those challenges that I have successfully met and conquered.
I also think it is interesting that, like exercise, each day we ‘do the work’ helps us to build the strength to meet the next challenge. It does not come all at once, or even feel like we are making any measurable progress – but when we look back to the beginning – we can see that we have come very far indeed! I think if I could see the next challenge that was waiting for me, I might run hard and fast in the opposite direction!
Sometimes I think our Father in Heaven is able to see the amazing person we have the capacity to become and thus ‘provides’ or allows us to have experiences to achieve our personal best. I am absolutely stunned at the physical progress I have made since beginning our challenge. I have lost pounds and inches, developed better/healthier eating habits, and can do many physical things I never imagined I would be able to do. Last summer we had wood floors installed on the second floor of our home. I have some rather large pieces of furniture in those bedrooms and my husband and I agreed to move all the furniture and do all the “tear-out” of old tile and carpet/pad to save a bit of money. Prior to taking on this physical challenge I would have required additional man-power to get the large armoires down our stairs, but my husband and I were able to move everything ourselves (with only an extra set of hands on one piece) down to the garage. I was ecstatic at my progress – my upper body has always been the weakest part of my body – and thrilled that we could do it ourselves. I feel like a ‘diamond in the rough’ and am kind of excited to see a better me emerge.
I have also decided that, although the scriptures tell us we should strive to be perfect – even as He is, we are also told that we will not become perfect in this lifetime – that my challenge this last year to ‘perfect’ my physical body is clearly as elusive as attaining perfection in this life is. I can clearly see however, that I am way ahead of where I started a year ago, and that I MUST keep up the effort, even if I have to wait until eternity to see a ‘perfected’ body. I believe that this is why the counsel in the scriptures, NOT that we will actually arrive at perfection, but that we will be so much better than when we arrived. Life is a journey – a lifetime of learning – life is refinement.