You have traveled around this mountain long enough. Now turn north.
Deuteronomy 2:3

Inspired by Lysa TerKeurst’s Made to Crave

I was never a skinny kid. In fact, I can never, ever remember a time in my life that I wasn’t enamored with food. At the summer barbeque, I would eat 5 chocolate chip cookies until my mother would catch me, my hand in the cookie bag: “Taylor, that’s enough.” One Christmas, my parents were having too much fun to notice just how much of my Aunt Dana’s fudge I was enjoying. Not surprisingly, I barfed in my sleeping bag at 3am that Christmas night because I’d just plain had TOO MUCH.

Food is just my thing, ya know? I live in a house of men, and all I do all day long is cook for them: homemade protein power waffles and sausage for breakfast, smoothies, homemade soups, homemade meatballs by the truck-full. I seduced my teenaged boyfriend-now-husband with shoe boxes of heart-shaped cookies and brownies and–well–I think you get the point: I use food to love my men. Food is what Jack and I do for dates and vacations. Other people go places to do activities or visit sites. We eat.

Food has marked my days, holidays, vacations, my mornings, noons, and nights. Food is how I bond with people. Come over, I’ll make a pot of coffee and a treat. We’ll talk, and the kids can play. Or, come over and watch a football game: we’ll have a warm bowl of ribs, roasted mushrooms, and creamy polenta with a good glass of Cab on a cold Sunday night in February. Come over for Gooney juice with roasted honey chicken and coleslaw and homemade french fries in July . . . potato chowder on Halloween with a bacon tomato blue cheese salad and a glass of Chardonnay. Just had a baby? Congratulations! Here’s some freezer meals and pan fried pork chops, roasted green beans, and mashed potatoes with country gravy. Sick? Home-made soup is on the way!

It is a lovely thing to love people and to cook for them and to feel useful. It is a lovely thing to watch people take another spoonful of something I’ve made just for them. I love people. I love to nurture. And, I love filling a need. So, food and wine and all things good just fit with me and my apron that says in sparkles, “Home is where your mom is.”

But, you can tell. The ribs and the coffee treats and the wine and the chowder have kind of–you know?–stuck to me. Like a costume I’ve donned, I’ve worn this weight around my middle for a long time. Actually, I’ve worn this particular weight–this exact number–for an exact time: 6 years. Since Caleb, I’ve had two more babies and lost all of the weight from those pregnancies. But, I always stick to this sticking point: I always stick at this number.

And there are a lot of reasons I can give you for this. There are a lot of reasons why I continue to smoke occasionally when I am at my breaking point. We have been through hell in the last 6 years; we have lived a starving of the souls, a lent of the minds, a wilderness. I needed a chocolate, a glass of wine, a ciggy. I wantedto feel satisfied, to feel relaxed, to feel at peace in the midst of chaos.

I realized this week, on a particularly stressful day, that my immediate response to a stressful situation was to head to my favorite gluten free bakery. I literally started to drive the car there, and I pulled over to the side of the road. Something inside reverberated, What are you doing, Taylor? And I could feel that little girl inside me, but I want it, but I need it, but I’m worried about Sam!

So I turned the praise music up, and I grabbed my Jesus Calling, and I sat there on the side of the road and read and prayed. I told God how angry I was at this specific situation I was struggling with; I told God how worried I was, how anxious, how unfair I thought it all was. And then I turned that car around and I drove myself home.

Now: before you begin to think this is a message of legalism, please understand that I will never give up the gluten free cinnamon rolls that are only made Saturday mornings at Hailey’s bakery. Nor have I felt compelled to give up wine entirely. But it is time for me to stop circling this mountain of self-soothing. It is time to literally feel a physical hunger now and again so that I am not so numbed out that I can’t experience the True Satisfaction, Peace, and Relaxation that comes from bowing low with hands held open. After all, “he has filled the hungry with good things,” (Luke 1:53) and I want to know what those good things are!!! If they are better than chocolate cake, can you imagine?!

I know that this world is not enough for me. There is not enough gourmet food and wine and cigarettes that can ever bring Caleb back, can ever erase the scar down Sam’s chest, can ever make my brain work “normally,” can ever bring our Dad back, can ever heal one wound I carry. And so, it is time for me to stop circling this mountain of dissatisfaction and head north to richer country. Give me the good things, Lord. I’m ready.

One Hungry Mama,

I have published my “scripture map” for this journey north because it’s going to take more than will power and one blog post to change this mama’s behavior! forward! AMDG