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.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Runner

I have many friends who are runners.  In fact, I'm friends with an entire group that get up at 5ish in the morning to run.  While I do love them all, I find this well...nuts.  Never having been a runner and the most running I've ever done, being when chasing after my children, I really have never seen the draw.  I still don't.  I have to say that I don't see myself ever rising before daybreak to get in a run.  I only rise before daybreak if I'm going on a trip or Black Friday shopping.

We have completed our second week of actual running in this C25K program.  I love my couch.  My couch is white with these removable covers that are machine washable making it safe for kids.  The comfort level of this couch is second to none.  The windows in the room this couch resides in faces the east and the light streams in making it a wonderful place to get comfy with a book.  While this room is a living room or receiving room, I think of it more as a sanctuary.  It's my peaceful place in a world gone mad.  I can get lost here and venture to brave new worlds.  There is a piano here that my daughter sometimes plays while I'm reading making it an even more pleasant experience as I listen to beautiful music as I read.

I miss my couch and yet...sometimes...when we are out together hitting the pavement, my husband and I, I think about what I may be missing holing up in my favorite place.  This place that I find such a comfort and bring me such joy may also be the very place that I am hiding in.

Am I hiding?  Surely I'm not hiding because I'm not a runner.  I've never once had a desire to run.  Sure I've had a desire to be healthier or thinner but never, not once, to be a runner.  I still don't.  The irony of these last few statements is that without question that is exactly what I am.  I'm a runner.  Not in that I take to the open road and pound the pavement, although I have been doing that.  Well in as much as I do my bouncy shuffle down the road and hope that I don't hurt myself or pass out.  But more than that, I'm a runner in the sense that when I get scared or overwhelmed or just don't want to do something...I run.

I don't stick around to see the outcome.  I don't climb the mountain to see what's on the other side.  I much prefer it if someone goes first, takes pictures, and then tells me all about it.  Sure I have dreams.  Big giant, scary, what if dreams but I really don't think I want them to come true, because what if it's too hard?  What if I fail?  What if it's not right?  What if I misjudged and I chose wrong?  What if I only THINK that it is what God wants for me?  What if it isn't?

What if ...excuses are second nature to me.  I'm great at excuses.  Runners usually are.  Not the ones in running shoes and all the fancy running gear, no they are dedicated.  Rain, snow, or the heat of the day, they keep on running.  They have to get their run in.  They are more reliable than the USPS or just as reliable anyway.  No I'm not that kind of runner.  I'm the other kind.

God couldn't possibly want ME to go speak.  God couldn't possibly have plans for ME.  God couldn't possibly be trying to tell Me something.  Who am I?  I'm broken.  I'm a,,, well... forty something woman with daddy issues.  Still upset that her dad didn't call and wish her a happy birthday five days later.  What on earth do I have to share?

When I am walking with my husband I take one of my ear buds out so we can talk.  Tell him my fears and we talk about the kids, we talk about everything and nothing.  When the app says to run however, I plug back in and listen to my contemporary Christian music.  Sometimes I cry.  I'm really out of shape, I only know how out of shape I am because I was once very in shape.  I can tell a distinct difference.  But I don't cry because of the pain from running, or maybe I do, only it's the running I'm good at.  My legs burn and I listen to my music and talk to God and I wonder why I'm running.  Until a whisper comes that maybe I'm running to something instead of away from something this time.  Towards what I don't know.  I don't even know if I want to know.

Do you run?  In this running we've been doing I have to run for 1.5 minutes then walk 2 minutes back and forth until time is up and I have to say I count them down.  For someone who is good at one kind of running I count this down till it's over. Then I think shouldn't it go for the other way too?  Shouldn't my faith be enough to sustain me so I don't have to run anymore?  So I don't WANT to run anymore?

We were asked in this bible study to think of what our life verse would be.  The first verse I could think of hangs on my wall.  Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  My father comes out and tells me plainly that He will not harm me that He wants to give me hope and a future and I run...because I suppose I don't know how to stop.

I think that is why we are meant to do this program.  I didn't want to do it.  My husband did, I didn't.  I'm a very supportive wife so I agreed.  I'm good at supporting everyone but myself actually.  But I think this is why we are doing it, at least why I have to do it.  Because I need to know that the running can end.  That there is a beginning and end to everything and sometimes even when you are running there is an end.  Maybe that's the point.  You have to learn to run to learn to stop running.  To learn to trust that even if I don't like it, it leads to something better than what I had before.  To learn to get past my fear so I can get to the blessing beyond it. 

I'm not certain of anything except that I'm a slow learner.  So if you are looking for me, I'll be hitting the pavement with my husband three days a week.  I should warn you that I did get some new running shoes today so my bouncy shuffle may faster. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ten Years...I Wonder....Did you know?

I find myself sitting in my office this evening, torn between wanting to express what I'm feeling and wanting to escape into the book I'm reading.  This room has been so many things in the ten years since you were here, yet I can still see the hospital bed in front of the window and the dresser with the television on top of it in the corner.  It would seem as though nothing has changed and yet everything has changed.

This morning I awoke in complete despair as if it were going to happen all over again.  My feelings so raw that it could be a premonition of what is coming even though it has been ten years since it became my reality.  I keep waiting for the rain to come and the lightening show outside the window.  By this time ten years ago...has it really been ten years?  It feels so fresh to me today.  By this time ten years ago everyone had gone home from the pool.  The nurse had been called hours ago and come and gone.  In just a bit will be the time when I told uncle Paul to go home and get some sleep because we didn't know how long it would be.  The children would have been long down in their slumber at their other grandma's house.  And here I sit.

I sit on the same side of the room that I would have been at your bedside.  Sharon would be at the other side of the bed.  About 12:30 a.m. I would have sent my husband upstairs to sleep not knowing it would only be another hour or so.  I talked to you that night.  I told you how much I loved you and told you it was OK if you wanted to go be with Jesus.  In between talking I watch the lightening show and while I am normally afraid of storms, for some reason I felt no fear of the storm that night.  I only whispered my love for you and how much I would miss you.

It was after one in the morning and I knew instinctively almost, that the time was drawing near.  It was as if time slowed down and sped up all at the same time.  You were here and yet you were leaving, as though I  had been watching you pack for hours and you were trying to say goodbye but weren't sure about it.  I think I felt Him come to the foot of the bed before I felt you leave.  I was holding your hand and told Sharon to do the same, it was time.  I still find it a miracle that I knew that.  It is an odd sensation to feel the spirit leave the body.  One minute there is life and the next minute it is gone, off to a distant place I can not yet visit.

I wonder...did you know that day that you would be leaving this night?  Did you know that Jesus would come himself to take you home?  What was it like to awaken and look up onto His face?  Did you cry or did you smile knowing you were finally going home?  Did you take one last look at your family or did you in awe and wonder just follow Him home?

I can't remember the last time I heard your voice.  It makes me sad that I can no longer hear your voice.  I have no one to call when I'm cooking dinner.

I think I even miss you getting mad at me.  You used to get mad at me.  I hate that you got mad at me but I liked it too.  It's how I knew you cared.  You don't bother getting mad at people you don't care about.

I'm sorry.  It's been ten years and I'm sorry if I didn't do enough.  I'm sorry if I didn't make you proud or if I didn't do enough for you.  I tried.  It's so lonely this feeling.  I'm an only child and I'm alone without my mother and yet I'm not really alone.  I'm surrounded by family and friends.  Perhaps just alone in the misery I sink myself into every year for three days.

Tomorrow is the official date of death.  July 14th.  It's the French Independence Day, one of the only things I remember from French class in high school and also just one day before my birthday.  I haven't decided if you were trying to hold out or if you were trying to go before so as not to ruin it.  Not that you had much choice in the matter, no one ever does really.  I do remember the struggle on your face though before you left.  You were always so stubborn.  A trait I might have inherited a bit of.

I hate my birthday.  Everything about it reminds me of this, of you.  You always made birthdays such a big deal.  Now they are, but for all the wrong reasons.  I'm a willful child mad and upset because nothing can be the way it was because you aren't here.  You didn't miss anything and the parent I'm left with misses everything.  Barely acknowledging us four times a year.  I know, what did I expect?  I guess I had hoped he would come up to bat.  He just stays in the dugout and never even makes it to the batter's box.  That makes me sad too.  He's missing everything and even though you are in heaven I feel as though you still never miss a thing.

Today in church we talked about what Jesus as been doing in our life.  I went back ten years to this night.  The night Jesus came and stood in this very room I sit in now.  I have a feeling He is here tonight as well.  Perhaps sitting in the other chair as I write this, reminding me of how far we've come.  I've struggled more this year than last.  Yet I know He will find me and help me find my way back.  That's the difference between now and then.  I couldn't find my way through all the darkness.  Now it's as if when my heart feels heavy and dark His light starts piercing through all the dark until the light just bursts through and the darkness is gone.  I know I'm not alone.  I know my father holds me in his arms and comforts me and heals me.  I know the pain I feel every year is the reminder of His love and His grace and without the pain I wouldn't have truly known what I was missing.  I accept it, it still hurts and threatens to break me, yet it refines me.  I know this is what I must do to get where I want to be...with my father, always with Him.  I know now I can't do anything on my own.  Nothing works without Him.  I need Him.  I long for Him.  My heart breaks and sometimes I still feel like running away and yet I turn around and I run back to Him because the alternative would shatter me.

I'm so happy you get to be with Jesus.  He loves you so much.  I know he does because he loves me too.  I wonder...did you know?