Today’s Guest Contributor is Bettie Rae Mader, friend of the Bellator Society.
Candy, cookies, cake, pie, bread, wine, pasta… These are a few of my favorite things!
The love/hate relationship I once had with Lent meant I loved the opportunity each year to attempt losing weight by “giving up” my sweet delights. But, I hated of the thought of abstaining from my comforting friends.
My life revolved around food and Lent made this annoyingly apparent.
After nearly 50 years of Lenten struggles, I finally realized the futility of “giving up” these cherished pleasures. And honestly, there were Lenten seasons when I did nothing at all. So, what could I offer then? I was baffled not only by my inability to keep my Lenten penance, but also by the question: What could I give up for my Savior?
About thirteen years ago, shortly after Easter, I experienced a deep depression. I recall seeing my reflection in a glass door, throwing my arms up, and telling my loving husband that I hated myself.
He, lovingly, handed me a pamphlet (I later learned he had been waiting for the right opportunity to give it to me) on the solution to food addiction. Food Addiction! This seemed very bizarre and unrealistic at the moment.
Well, my Savior, Our Lady, or my Guardian Angel prevented me from discarding the message on this small piece of paper.
A few weeks later, I took the first step to find out more about food addiction.
I made a few phone calls. I asked many questions. I made a decision to give it a try. Little did I know I would begin a new way of life by this introduction to a Twelve Step program. My life began to change.
My next Lent came, almost a year later, and I could no longer “give-up” my edible treasures to my God! I had already, for nearly a year, been giving up these treasures to Him every single day.
He showed me His Power over my addiction to sugar, flour, quantities, and snacking. He wanted me to give Him control for 24 hours, one day at a time…by His Grace I could do that. My part was so little!
But now Lent is here again!
Again, my question is: What can I offer now?
The Twelve Steps help me to look at myself and discern how I can be who He created me to be. I get to look at my character defects—my sinful tendencies–and make an action plan to overcome them. I rely on His Mighty Power and His Mercy with confidence that all is possible.
I can give Him my sins—that is the purpose of Lent for me today—but I have to take action. In prayer, I ask which “one” am I ready to give up for love of Him.
I don’t have to live in fear that I will mess up…God does for me what I can’t do…He and Our Lady will get me through Lent. All I have to do is find ways to practice the virtue that opposes the “one” I am giving up.
When I fall, They pick me up…I know They will never tire of lifting me up. Lent transforms me, because grace is given to do the giving up.
Bettie Rae Mader is first and foremost a child of God who practices her Catholic faith full of imperfections. The wife of a loving, committed husband. The mother of 6 beautiful children and 13 grands! She is blessed.