Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Running Toward Elightenment

Enlightenment comes when you stop looking around for it.  In my wildest dreams I never imagined that I would ever run.  Of course I'm still not sure what I do could constitute running.  Today during our run a neighbor came up in his car and asked me if I were trudging through Nutella.  When I finished begging him for gum, because I had forgotten to grab some before heading out, I told him that was exactly what I was doing.  So there is one lesson learned:  Never, ever, under any circumstances run without gum.  All that huffing and puffing makes for a very dry mouth which makes the run almost unbearable.  He didn't have any gum but offered me water which I declined because I can't carry anything when I run.  It's just too much of a hardship.  I have enough trouble carrying myself.

Today we ran for thirty minutes.  In. A. Row.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The girl who whined about running for two minutes is now running for thirty.  Not well I might add, but running nonetheless.  It's painful, I ache, and it doesn't help me in my quest to stay up late and read as many books as I possibly can in one year, but I am persisting in the quest.  I am being enlightened in doing so. 

God tends to use unlikely means to get his point across.  I always said I couldn't run and I wouldn't run.  So...God put it on my husband's heart to want to Run for God.  I wish he had put it on my heart to want to run.  He didn't.  I still don't want to run.  But he did put it on my heart to want to encourage my husband and to do this with him.  He also took a non-runner and made her a runner, or a trudger (that may not be an actual word but it should be) at the very least. 

A couple of weeks ago we were going out to run for twenty minutes.  I told myself that my rate of surviving the runs was 100% so I needed to just get over it and get ready to go.  Funny how just as we were getting ready to go I heard a whisper from God that said that my survival rate for public speaking was also at 100%.  Some people tend to look at me funny when I tell them that.  Sometimes God whispers to me but sometimes I need big neon signs. 

In July I was asked to speak in November to a group of ladies in the Department Club.  Now maybe that doesn't sound unusual to you.  Maybe it isn't but what if I told you that just the day before in church we were talking about evangelism and everyone took a candle to light and pray about who we could ask to church.  In all fairness maybe not everyone took a candle.  I did take one, to this day I think it is still in my car.  In my mind I thought, "Well sure I can invite someone to church.  No problem!"  The next day I got the phone call asking me to come speak.  God not only whispers and uses flashing neon signs sometimes he just uses his sense of humor.  Funny that I can't just go speak to one person I get to go speak to the masses.  OK maybe not the masses.  There could be only like ten of them for all I know.  But you see the humor right?

I think I'm learning that maybe there are a lot of things that I have always thought I couldn't do that maybe I can do.  (Excuse the obnoxiously long sentence.The get longer when I get excited.) 

Saturday I went to see Beth Moore live.  I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing she is.  I look at her and I think, "She is who people should hear speak.  Not someone like me.  I couldn't possibly have anything to share that could help anyone."  But what if I'm wrong?  What if I'm just broken enough that God could use me to help even one?  Being the runner that I am, in which I tend to run from everything.  I'm usually too scared for anything out of my realm of comfort.  God is trying to teach me not to run away but to run to him and let him do the work. 

At the end of the even on Saturday Beth asked anyone who struggled with panic and fear to stand up so we could be prayed for.  Yes I said we.  That's my first reaction always.  I stood and my best friend and people I've never met laid hands on me and prayed for me.  I have never experienced that before.  It was very emotional.  I suppose I have never thought about whether or not anyone prays for me other than my children, my husband, and Christi (a.k.a. the bff.  If you have read my books you've read about our antics.)  After the event I asked her if she was ready to take our act on the road.  She's not so sure but I think I have her convinced we should have a band.  The way I see it, any mistakes I might make in speaking can be made up for by a good praise band. 

All that to say this...I'm still running, I'm a runner, only from now on I'm running towards something instead of away from something.  Oh and IF you are unfortunate or fortunate enough depending on your perspective to hear me speak, just keep in mind I'm a movie lover so there will be movie references and even clips shown.  This broken servant needs visual aids. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Letting Go With A Vision (A sending the first one to college story.)

We discussed it for a year...maybe more.  We planned, we saved, we "prepared," and we packed.  We knew it was coming.  We were excited.  We ARE excited.  And yet...I feel a bit like Hannah of the Bible.  Walking away from my child and leaving her behind to find her God designed purpose in life.  Giving her back I suppose.  This child that I nursed, cuddled, taught to walk and talk, introduced to the 80's, whom I love is now a young woman. 

We moved her into college this weekend and said our goodbyes today.  She will not be sleeping under my roof every night.  She will not be fighting with her sister at least once a week.  She is embarking on her own journey that God has designed just for her and it is a strange almost surreal thing.  It's a bit like leaving a part of your heart behind that you will see later. 

Have I mentioned that her college is a mere twenty minutes from my house?  That is by car of course, certainly if you chose to ride a horse or a bike it would take longer.  I know it seems ridiculous.  Perhaps it is but maybe it isn't.  No matter how far away the college is, the entire family dynamic is now changed.

This child of mine will not be sleeping under the same roof as her family every night.  This child of mine will not be here for breakfast and dinner.  This child of mine will now learn self-discipline on an entirely different level. This child of mine belongs to God.

She will come to visit on breaks but even with her being close, it is my duty to allow her to learn to depend on God and herself.  It is my duty to allow her to form a new family within the halls of her dorm.  To release my hold and not only hope but expect that there are others that God has in mind to make a difference in her life; that will ultimately help to mold and shape her into the woman He has in mind for His purpose.  It is my duty and it is hard. 

My heart yearns for the days when she was young and she needed me.  She doesn't need me as much anymore.  She may want me, but she doesn't need me.  She is amazing.  I can say this because she is my child.  If you know her, or think you know her, allow me to tell you that you don't.  You don't know her.  You think you do, but you don't.  You only know, just as you only know of me, the side of her that she allows you to see.  My daughter is smart.  She is caring and sensitive.  She gets her feelings hurt easily.  She has a hard time trusting people.  She gets along better with people older than her than with her own peer group.  She is incredibly funny.  If you don't know this about her, you are missing out on one of her most incredible qualities.  She is also fiercely protective of her siblings and if I get sad she senses it and allows me to cry on her shoulder.  She is destined for great things.

I know all of these things and through all of my excitement for all she is yet to be, all that she is about to do and see and know, I miss her.  It's been an hour, it's been a minute, it's been a week, it's been a year, and I miss her.  I miss her and part of me can't wait to see the other side.  The side where she has learned what her life calling is, she is mature and self-assured.  Where instead of not wanting to make eye contact with people for fear of whatever they may think of her, she holds her head high and makes eye contact with everyone because the only one she is concerned with pleasing is God.  I look forward to that day and that is the vision I held in my mind as I walked through first one door and then another door and came home.

A quote shared with us this weekend was this:  "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision." -Helen Heller  What a profound statement.  Don't you think?  Allow me to apply this to my current situation.  I refuse to be blind to the needs of my child.  While I could see her anytime I wanted, that is not what she needs.  She doesn't need me to be in her way.  I'm no longer first string, I'm sitting the bench.  Oh sure she can still come to me if she needs something, money, advice, or just an ear.  But we both have to learn that our roles are changing.  We need to keep the vision of the future in front of us.  We need to have a vision of the future.  We need to trust God's plan.

So with a vision of her bringing friends home on break, calling me to tell me she isn't coming home because she has a better offer, walking across a stage to receive a diploma that she earned, and fulfilling her life calling, I know that not only will she do great but I can allow her to be.  I can learn to sleep at night with her at college.  I can learn to cook for four instead of five.  I can learn to not tell her to do her homework.  I can learn to not call or text her EVERY day.  I can learn to open my grip so I can receive something more.  Can you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Growing Pains

Today was another run day for us.  My husband says that he thinks Wednesdays are the best run days.  He thinks we get farther or go faster.  He may go farther faster but I am still lagging behind.  I can't keep up.  I trot along with my bouncy shuffle hoping that a bone in my calve doesn't break because my calves hurt so much when I run, I feel sure that something is about to break.  This cannot be normal.  The only consolation I find in this is that while he does shoot out far ahead of me, he does always walk back to me for the walk part of this venture.  This ensures that if I do go down, he will find me and I won't be alone for long.  (Hmm...kind of like God keeps coming for us.  I feel a lesson here.) 

As I was running and listening to my music today, I kept my eyes on my husbands back so I would know when to stop running and when to walk.  (His phone has the app running while my phone plays the music that keeps me going.)  It occurred to me that this scenario is much like our relationship with God.  Only when we keep our eyes on Him do we know which direction to go and when a change is coming. 

I sing along when I run sometimes.  I also apparently have revelations about my walk/run with God.  I realized also that the pain I feel in my legs could be compared to growing pains.  Oh I don't think I'm going to get any taller and if two weeks of this business hasn't helped me to lose any weight yet, I'd venture that it's not going to any time soon.  I think I'm having more than one kind of growing pains though.  As I run and feel the pain in my legs, I tell myself that it cannot possible hurt forever.  This pain that I'm feeling now will go away once I get to where I'm going, which is home when my run is over.  (Side note:  Could this help with restless leg syndrome?  I, of course, self diagnosed myself with this but I do wonder if it will help or hinder this problem.) 

Much like the pain I have in my legs from running, I seem to be having growing pains in my faith.  I get asked to do things that I don't necessarily want to do.  I don't feel qualified to do.  I don't feel prepared to do.  I don't think should be necessary for me to do, but mostly I just don't want to do.  I am having growing pains and I feel weak.  But then 2Corinthians 12:9 pops into my head.  It says: But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  

I am weak but He is strong.  In the race to this life's finish line I don't want to miss out on the celebration at the end.  While I'm feeling the growing pains now, with Christ all things are made new.  2 Corinthians 5:17
If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new.  I don't know how new I qualify to be at this age, but I do know I have a lot of growing to do.  I also know that I don't want to stay the caterpillar if I can become the butterfly.  Butterflies are beautiful and they can fly. 

When I run I sometimes grow weary.  I won't lie to you about that.  (It is sincerely possible that I'm doing something wrong while actually running.  Form maybe?  I don't know)  In the Bible study we are doing it quotes Isaiah 40:31 -but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  I don't want to grow weary.  I want to run my race and meet my Jesus at the finish line.  I sing praises to God while I run and my legs are burning but when I get to the part where I'm asked to trust and fulfill what may be my true purpose I do sometimes grow weary there too.  I'm getting there.  When asked personally by someone to do something I say yes.  I panic first of course and throw a fit, but then I say yes.  It's my process.  God knows it's coming.  God understands growing pains.  

I don't have everything figured out yet.  This running Bible study has given me much to ponder and I think I'm learning a lot.  Mostly that sometimes we get asked to do things we don't necessarily want to do (like running, speaking in front of people in a class, speaking in front of a large group, like running) but if we will only allow ourselves to try something different we might just get to the other side and wonder what we were afraid of in the first place.  It's just growing pains...I have them, you might have them too.  I hope to see you on the other side.