Monday, March 24, 2014


I have heard the best way to stick to something is to gain accountability for it. 
Tell people about it. 
And since I posted it on social media, I guess the cat is out of the bag
...I am training for my first half marathon! 
I ran my first 5k in January and decided running wasn't so bad after all. 
The training program I used (Couch to 5k) kept me disciplined.
And since I had registered for the race in November and recruited a friend to run with me, I knew I would have to do it! And this past weekend, I ran 10k (6.2 miles) and started feeling more confident that I could do the half. 
But there is quite a difference in 6.2 and 13.1.
So why a half marathon?  Why not a 10k next? 
I probably will run a 10k race sometime during this training,
but I know myself, and I know I need a stretch goal. 
I work well when the goal seems impossible. 
And when it looks like I couldn't do something, it is motivation for me. 
Because I am just that head strong and stubborn, I guess. 
It is crazy how much running and my relationship with the Lord go hand in hand. 
I blogged about this in an earlier post, but I am learning a few more things physically and spiritually as my running journey continues. 
Get rid of old clothes. 
The clothes I started off running in, in November, do not fit anymore.  
I was running a mile for time a few weeks ago and my shorts were literally falling off to the point that I couldn't really run. 
And my closet is packed full of clothes-- most of which are too large.  
(I really need to get rid of them, anyone want to help clean a closet?)
But I still hang on to them. Just in case? 
I feel like, we, as believers, are guilty of this. 
We hold onto our old "filthy rags" just in case. 
We are still wearing the clothes we have made for ourselves when robes of
righteousness are ours through Christ. 
" give unto them beauty for ashes..." -Isaiah 61:3
"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." -Isaiah 61:10
I can stop labeling myselfAnd others.   
I still do not consider myself a runner.  I think of a "runner" as a person who runs marathons and finishes with a great time.  Someone with a slender build.  Someone who knows the "ins and outs" of running. Someone who knows about hydration and gels and carb loading. 
And that someone would not be me.
In my mind, I am still the "big girl" with a bad foot who could never run. 
Labels are deadly. 
Even in the Christian life, I confess that I label. 
I give myself or someone else a label and expect them to act accordingly. 
But it's opposite. 
I remember about 5 years ago, a counselor I was seeing told me she would never ask me about who I thought God was, but she would tell me who I thought God was by my actions.
That hit hard.
If I run, I am a runner. 
And in the same way, if I love Christ and follow him, I will do what God commands. 
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments." -John 14:15
It gives me new ways to be thankful. 
I remember hearing people say that they used their running times as times to really worship God and to cry out to him in prayer. 
I was thinking "yeah, I will cry out to God during a run, alright.  I will pray that I don't die". 
But now I get it.  I love to run outside. 
(Treadmills make me feel confined and no one can confine me, it just suffocates
me and I end up freaking out.) 
When I am running outside, I notice things I wouldn't notice otherwise. 
And it really is some of my best prayer time and time for me to just worship God. 
I can pour out my heart before him.  I can clear my head. 
And above all, I can be thankful that he allows me to run. 
And that he has given me good health. 
And that he has given me a second chance to take care of my body,
that this body can really be used to honor him. 
"...or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." - 2 Corinthians 6:19-20
Pace Yourself.
It really is a (half) marathon, not a sprint. If I start off too fast, chances are, I won't finish strong.  I have learned to be realistic.  I am not some record breaking runner. 
I simply set out to finish,  and to finish strong. 
Today, in this moment, in this mile of the race,
I want to breathe in His direction and breathe out obedience.
Too often in my walk with The Lord, I want to do great things for him, which is definitely not a bad thing.  But I have to be realistic. 
Can I really just drop everything here in the US and go die a martyrs death in some third world country?  Am I equipped for that?
Sure, I could, but is that being faithful to what God has called me to today? 
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
As I was running Saturday, I wanted to stop after about mile 4. 
And I considered it.  But I kept pushing through. Because there was a goal. 
And I had others cheering me on. 
(Literally, through texts!) 
How much more should we persevere as children of God?  
There is a much greater goal than finishing a measly run. 
We live to see the face of Jesus. And to be with God forever.   
Our Heavenly Father and a great cloud of witnesses is surrounding us as we
are sojourning on this Earth.  There is a goal and there is a purpose. 
Even in suffering, hardships, loneliness. 
There is more than what we see. 
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." -James 1:12
I am reminded everyday that he is making all things new. 
But running has been a way for me to truly experience that in the physical realm. 

And these two dear friends will be joining me once again.
(Have I mentioned that I have the very best and most encouraging friends?)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Very Best Two Years...

"I don't really know what my emotions are, I just know I have a headache.  I am on my way to treatment and I have knots in my stomach.  I am ready to change but so scared of the process.  I don't want to be broken like this, but Lord, I want to be made whole."

Those are words that I journaled as my friend drove me to treatment.
Deep down, I knew this was a time I would never want to forget.
This was my first sober day.  
That was 730 days, or two years ago, today.  

My first sober day was painful.
As my mind started to clear from the fog that drugs had left me in,
I started feeling the pain of my sin.
My body ached.  My heart ached. And I had not felt anything in years.  I had literally killed my soul.
But as time went on, I got my emotions back (oh BOY, did I get my emotions back!!)
I felt alive.
But I still had no idea that he was preparing me for such a full life, rooted in him.
I had no idea that on that November day when I would leave treatment,
my life would truly begin again.  

My worst days now are infinitely better than my very best days in addiction. 
The past two years have been so full.  

Full of change.  There are very few things about my life now that are the same as they were 2 years ago.  Location, job, ambition, desires, goals, dreams, focus, hobbies, reactions, you-name-it. 
I surely do not live for the same things.

Full of joy.  Joy that can only come from The Lord.  It hasn't been a "breeze", but I have a living hope that does not change as my circumstances do.
There have been many tears shed, but my joy is in something that tears cannot wash away. 

Full of hope.  I no longer wake up dreading the day because my hope is in the
risen Christ who has conquered all.  Whatever I face has been filtered through the GOOD hands of my heavenly Father who works it all for my good. 

Full of friendships.  New ones, and restoration and healing of the old.
All of which encourage me to press on to know the Lord.

God has replaced that desire I had for drugs and alcohol with a desire to know him today.
In the same way that my body craved drugs two years ago, my heart longs to be with him today.
I remember using every bit of energy that I had on getting my next "fix".
My prayer is that my energy will now be exerted in pursuing God in that way.
I fail him daily but his love has never-- and will never fail me.   It just keeps pursuing my heart.
I just want to know him and be made like him.  And I want others to experience this good gift.
And I know that this is a good gift of his grace.  

I credit no one or nothing else for this day.  Not even myself. 

You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
Psalm 119:68