Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guest Post: Toni's Meatless Journey


Do you remember how we talked last week about going meatless? If not, click here.

I asked my friend, Toni to guest post for my blog today. Toni is a vegetarian and she also has an extremely genuine love for the Lord. Today she has been kind enough to share with us her story about how God lead her to become a vegetarian.

I was so encouraged by what Toni wrote in this blog post. You can see that God is working in her life and it is exciting! Please take the time to read Toni's story below.
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First of all, I want to thank Jen for allowing me to guest post on her fantastic blog. Jen has been a fabulous friend of mine for many years and, through her blog, I have learned so much about the Lord and been encouraged time and time again. This is an honor and a privilege so thank you Jen!

She asked me to tell my story of why I decided to take on a vegetarian diet and it should come as no surprise to the readers of this blog that it was the Lord's choice for me for a number of reasons. I was unemployed for the first 7 months that my husband and I were married. We did, and still do, a monthly budget to keep track of where our money is going and I was consistently looking for places to cut back. Food was the easiest place to make those cuts. Meat is expensive. Vegetables, fruits, and grains when bought in bulk are less expensive. What then began as a search for meatless meals turned into a fascination of health and wellness and nutrition which has stayed with me over two years later. I found myself devouring podcasts and books and articles on the subject of food and its healing properties in our body. It started as a way to cut corners and do much with the little we had to honor the Lord and it turned into much more.

That was where it started and on May 1, 2011 I decided to begin calling myself a vegetarian. i had spent the past few years learning and had decided that, as a birthday present to myself, I would switch to that diet because it is the right choice for me. I do not think eating meat is a sin as we read on Genesis 9:3 that everything from the green plants to the animals of land and sea are permissible to eat. In reading that, though, I was struck with the idea that prior to the flood it seemed that all we ate were the "green plants." We were originally placed in a garden and that is where I have chosen to reside in my diet. If man had survived on that food form the beginning of time to the end of the flood then perhaps I could still survive on it today thousands of years later. Again, I am not condemning meat or its consumption--I have merely found peace in this decision. I have spent my time debating and discussing with others about the theological reasons for my dietary switch but, at the end of the day, this is a choice between myself and the Lord and it is where I find peace.

Have I eaten meat since May 1? Yes. And the Lord has revealed so much about myself and my insecurities through those acts. I am a struggling perfectionist and legalist. If I don't do something 100% then I feel like a failure. So if I eat meat then I am no longer the perfect vegetarian I desire to be and am a failure in that area. If I am a failure on one area of my life then I am a failure in all aspects of my life. Sadly this is one of my struggles. It was at Bible study this past Friday when I was told "Stop hating yourself. God doesn't. Stop thinking you're an awful bad person. God doesn't." What sweet words to this perfectionist soul! God doesn't think any less of me if I mess up. He loves me and thinks highly of me.

In my life, God uses my own decision to be a vegetarian to teach me his love and grace and forgiveness. If I sin in one area of my life, I know that it means I need to ask Him to work on that area in my life. It does not mean I am a wretched doomed sinner. It means there are areas of which I need Him more than I realized. If I eat meat it does not make me any less of a vegetarian in the same way that sinning does not make me any less loved by God. It teaches me to forgive myself the same way the Father forgives me. There is power in His grace. There is knowledge in His love. There is hope at the Son's feet where He cleanses us. Aside from the wealth of health benefits and fun recipes, choosing to be a vegetarian is a key tool that the Lord uses to teach me about Him and His ways and His desires for my life.

I hope you have been encouraged by what the Lord has done in my life. If you have any questions about vegetarian cooking tips, recipes, or vegetarian health please don't hesitate to email me at toni@hammerhealth.com. May you find your own peace and grace and strength at the feet of Jesus as I have.

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