Saturday, October 8, 2016


Some thoughts as I review my last race and the past several months....

As I sit here with hopes and dreams in my heart , I realize that I’m allowing too many thoughts to possess my mind these days.  I don’t know that any of them are necessarily bad things, but each one takes away from another.  This goes on (if left unchecked) until you are left with all these great things -none of which get done very well, because you just can’t focus on one thing.

This summer, I trained for my 5th marathon with hopes to reach what has been an elusive goal of mine as far as finish time.  Training was one of those things mentioned above in the slew of great things and ideas.  Honestly, I missed more mid-week runs than I care to admit and failed to train for the speeds that I had in mind.  I did my long runs, but it was a constant juggling act to include them while still having fun and enjoying the process.  At some point, I tried to forget about a time or pace and just get it done.  

Hmmm…”just get it done”.  Is there quality in that when we make that statement about anything?  Shouldn’t we be striving for the best?  What is the best?  And, by whose standards really?

I have been reflecting over the past several days on life - personal, work and running/training.  I have been noticing in each of these areas that I am not committing 100% of myself to any of them.  I’m constantly cramming something else in until I become so overwhelmed that I don’t know where to start…and, nothing really gets done well.  It is true of my work.  It is true of my relationships.  It is true of my housework and renovation projects.   And, it was true of my training.  

Yes, I went in injured when I probably should have taken a step back.  I allowed the excitement of a new exciting destination to lead me into registering.  To be transparent, I had the first twinges of this injury last year when I finished my marathon and really couldn't fathom that it wouldn't be gone by this fall.  I had high hopes in my head of the training and steps I would take.  Basically, I donned my “I am Superwoman and can do anything” cape.  As I trained, the pain wasn't unbearable so I continued to make half hearted attempts to train but did not address the injury head on, somehow thinking the injury would just morph itself away and I’d have some semblance of glory. 

That thought is really very convicting as I think about it.  Glory?  Is that why I do this?

Glory really isn’t mine to proclaim whenever I have a win at anything in my life.  It was my Jesus that stands beside me and allows them to happen.  Don't get me wrong, I never stopped believing in God or trusting in him for the big stuff.  BUT, I had somehow made life so busy that I didn’t hear his whispers.  I didn’t hear him gently telling me to back off.  And, I wasn't really seeking him heavily either.

Towards the end of the training cycle, it became evident that the injury was reminding me that it was here to stay (along with the additional injures that decided to join the party), which left me knowing that I was more distant than I had thought.  I began to make the race about God.  I bought a shirt for the race that reminded me of that and began to focus on music that spoke to my heart and connected me more to Him.  Did I do this to somehow appease God so I could meet my goal?  No...I did it because I recognized that it didn't matter any more.  The time was nothing.  And, as usual it was all about faith and trust.  

(me, my BRF Liz, and her hubby Robert)

During the race, I began feeling pain that was nearly unbearable.  I heard him whisper at that point..."Back off."  I did not heed the whisper, as I didn't really want to admit what I felt was defeat so early in the race.  I finally relinquished at mile 13, totally feeling defeated and unsure of how this was going to play out.  I considered quitting and just calling it a day, sensing that I was being repaid for my stupidity.  But, I could feel myself being pushed to continue in whatever capacity I could - that equated to a lot of walking and many teary phone calls to attempt to compose myself.  Long story short, I was all alone with my thoughts for many miles.  The feeling of wanting to quit came up many times.  And, in many ways I kept getting the message to push forward in whatever way and however slowly I could.  Once I got over my pity party of one, I started considering my shirt and my ministry and somehow managed to run/walk to the end of what was the most rough, painful and humbling race that I have ever had the blessing to compete in.

(painful and teary finish)

Am I sorry I ran the race?  No.  Do I wish I had treated it differently from the beginning?  Yes.  But, I still firmly believe that there is ministry in running.  I believe (or want to believe) that my “Through Christ” shirt may have helped some others struggling.  If I could be just a glimmer of Jesus to someone out there on the course, it was all worth it.  

Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.  And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."

This race and its humbling reminder does have me reassessing my life in all areas right now.  I don't want to live my faith life lukewarm or by just getting it done.  I want to live with purpose - wholeheartedly. [Funny how God works.  This was the lesson at my church about 3 weeks ago.]  I cannot do that on my own and will likely continue to struggle and need reminded of this.  I would far rather be overwhelmed by Jesus than overwhelmed with all the things I add into my life that overshadow him. 

Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about the things we cannot see."

Monday, July 1, 2013

I Can't Write That!

[SIDENOTE:  I'm not sure where this post is going, but it has been on my heart.  To keep it real, I don't plan to edit it like I usually would because I've found that there are often reasons for things like this.]

The purpose of this blog, for me, has been about transparency - about being real and finding a way to get things out, while feeding my need to write.  When I sat down to write, I felt like I had something on my heart, but no real topic in mind.  My first words on the page were:

"An interesting thing happens when we stop for two minutes to digest the world around us, when we take a moment to unplug, and when we review our motives.  It is often in that moment that we find...." (Yes, it was blank after that as I paused, feeling that what would come next would be fake...or, worse yet, something I wasn't ready to admit or share with others.)

Gasp.  I stopped writing.  My hand shook a little.  Why were those the words that fell on the page?  I jotted a note below it before quickly closing the book to close the thoughts that were falling out of my heart.  The note read:  "I can't write this!" *insert hard underline* "I feel so lost sometimes." The words left a shiver as I thought of the range of feelings that I had been feeling these past few weeks.  Cue slamming shut of my little book I write my blog posts in.

For the next couple minutes, my mind raced.  Where was my heart going with all of that?  As is usually the case, I felt compelled to open it again, which is how this post started.  Clearly, something -some feeling- is inside that needs to come out.

I've been struggling as of late, searching for guidance on how to stay strong in my commitments and my convictions.  I have been battling with feeling ranges of overwhelmed at times to content at others, angry on one side to pleased on the other, lost in on hand and filled up in the other.  To be honest, it freaks me out more than a little.  It causes me to question my usefulness and my abilities.  I mean, I'm supposed to be more put together than this, right?

I generally end up pressing on because I feel this nudge that there is something more - some deeper meaning to all these random crazy thoughts.  I guess I try hard because I feel like that's the only noble course to take and I want to be known as a noble body, willing to be used.  Some days, it does take more convincing than others. 

Today, I came upon Proverbs 3:5-6.  I've seen/heard/read it several times, but today it caused me to think on the ebb and flow of these feelings I've had as of late.

Prov 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Interesting how that works - how inspiration comes at just the right time to cause us pause and to cause us to think.  While I often feel lost in my thoughts or in life itself, I am reminded that my path is laid out for me.  All I need to do is continue to walk forward with my eyes and heart directed upward....oh, and be sure to be looking out for the people that God places in my life to keep me on his path and inspire me to move forward to contentment, fulfillment and pleasure rather than being overwhelmed, lost or angry.  I guess being honest about how we are feeling is part of that process.

Can you relate?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Keep Getting Back Up

Side note:  Sorry about the length of this post.  I hope you stay with me.  This is not a boastful post to say that I have it all together.  On the contrary, it is meant to show you that I struggle and give you a peak into the provision that is granted when we choose to persevere in the midst of the storm.


Things in life take time.  In this day of instant gratification, it is difficult to remember this at times.  It is difficult to see something we want and look at all of the steps involved to get there and not be overwhelmed, causing us to either quit or look for a shortcut.  But, it is in these moments (often blindly) that we must persist down a path of right steps. 

Example:  You don’t sign up for a marathon the day before you consider running it.

Back in August or September last year, I was feeling pulled to run a marathon.  I know, crazy!?!?!  My quiet voice (well, it often shouts) said that I couldn’t do it –that it was too far.  After running a half marathon in October, the nudging became greater and greater.  I found that, while I was afraid, this thought occupied my mind endlessly.  In November, I signed up and mailed in the registration, feeling that this was something that God was asking me to do – a part of my faith journey and learning to trust God fully. 
(Cue nervous, throw up feeling and email to my hubby saying “I’m not sure I CAN do this.”)

I immediately started looking at the training plan ( ) and anxiety welled up inside me.  How was this slow, achy and gimpy body going to do this?  I had people doubt as well, asking “How do you know you can even do this?  Have you ever even walked 26 miles?”  Truth?  In that instant, I didn’t think I could.  I took those words to heart and they created doubt and fear.  Heck, there were many days I told God I didn’t even want to.  I remember asking God, “What could this possibly do for your kingdom?...So, I raise money for water, but that’s so few people.  Can’t you get someone else?...This looks impossible.”  Possibly the lamest excuse I tried to use was that I simply didn’t have the time.

God didn’t lose his patience with me (I certainly would have if I were him).  Instead, I kept feeling him ask, “Do you trust me?  I can use you.  I’ve chosen you, not someone else right now.”  I felt like this was my Jonah moment.  God had Jonah swallowed by a whale.  *gasp*  Ok Lord, I thought.  I’ll train, but you better make me strong.  (Wow, arrogant much?)

As I posted the fundraising page and money came in, I started logging miles and the weeks started flying by.  9 miles, 10.5, 11.5, 12, 14…Seriously, I ran more than a half marathon…for fun?  All the while, there was that constant stress about winter temperatures, doubts, aches and exhaustion from pushing my body harder and harder.  But, beneath that surface stuff there became a desire to see what God was up to.  16 miles, 17, 20.  I started to feel good about the race and about blowing away a finish time that I had set as a goal.  Sure, I was still complaining and asking God why I was out there in below freezing temperatures.  That 20 miles included head on bitter cold winds, fatigue and a painful fall at 16 miles, complete with tears and a bruised wrist and ego.  But, part of me was excited to continue –persevere and be stronger than I had been before.

Two weeks later came my 23 mile run that would be my second to last long run and clearly the furthest this tired body had ever run.  I started out and felt good.  In my excitement, I got cocky about God’s provision and failed to ice and stretch after the runs.  Cue the ridiculous knee pain and buckling that would end my training and my ability to run for anything longer than 1 to 2 minutes at a time for nothing further than 3 miles total.  Did I mention that it was about 6 weeks before the race? 


I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t spend a tearful week (at least) depressed that God would bring me to this point and then kick me to the curb.  I became angry at the hours and sweat equity that I had invested.  For what?  I was hopeful after that week that I’d get back to training and would still do my last long run.  Nope.  That certainly didn’t happen; the knee was simply not strong enough.

Wow.  I started feeling guilty.  God had given me such an opportunity.  Had I valued it enough?  Had I taken that for granted?  Had I been working toward glory for myself instead of God’s kingdom?  I cannot tell you how humbling that was to see a path that had looked clear and straight that suddenly became narrow and filled with blind curves.

As I sit here, tears well in my eyes, remembering the realization that I had taken God’s will in this and given it a back seat to my desire to excel.  This began a different thinking.  Perhaps God didn’t want me to run and instead wanted me to walk.  Ok…”That is still far, but ok, Lord.  I feel you working.  I just wish I knew why.”  I started working to keep my legs strong with low impact stuff and decided to pour over his words, begging God to help me follow this through however that looked while still honoring him for his glory.  I could feel him reassuring me that his way is always best.

Race week came.  The knee was still sore, but feeling better.  I had been dying to test it out and run but hesitated because I certainly didn’t feel that testing God was the right answer.  I prayed, “God please let me run some of it, but prepare me to walk.”  I was a ball of emotions and nerves at the opportunity.  As the gun went off, I ran with the crowd for a bit, feeling the surge of 6 months of waiting from the day of registration.  I’ll get into the details a bit more in the next post, but I will say that I will never forget the feeling of God carrying me, allowing me to walk/run the course and come across the finish line into the arms of my husband who believed in me all along.  It wasn’t the way I had thought it would look when I signed up, but it was God’s way.  And, he allowed me to see that he provides for those who persevere even when things feel lonely or impossible.  He is ALWAYS with you.  You just have to keep getting up when you fall.

Zephaniah 3:17~ “ For the Lord your God is with you.  He is a mighty savior.  He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears.  He will reign over you with joyful songs.”

 Many of those miles were spent by myself on the road.  But, I was never alone.  I was surrounded by prayers from people God put in my life and cheers from my family and friends –all honoring the journey into a deeper faith that I was taking.

My God was, and is, bigger than an injury midway through training.  He is bigger than a layoff right at Christmas or a son moving away.  As Beth Moore says, “You will do what you can’t when you BELIEVE.” (emphasis mine)
(That black stuff on my arm?  That would be the smeared marker reading "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." While the marker didn't work out like I had thought, I'm glad I put the most important one on there first.)
What is God asking you to do?  Are you willing to do the hard stuff for him?