Monday, November 30, 2015
Tomorrow is day one. Advent. It struck me so last year so desperately. I needed to do something. Count the days. Bring Christmas back into our lives. It had been gone for quite a while. I had the idea of an advent box. I had done it with the kids when they were small with a tree and ornaments. 25 gifts, one for each day, and something to remind them of blessings we had overflowing. It turned into 50 gifts, 50 tags and two boxes coupled with my girls declarative statement that she would in fact be quite unable to open the box and only take one thing. 50 wrapped items later..... The box felt more like a Pinterest fail than an advent celebration. But I was wrong. We did celebrate each day. I did see joy on their faces, even if it was from my girl threatening her brother that she would take his stuff if he forgot to open them one more time. Yes, it was good. I shipped the two filled boxes off this year. My girl is far away. And so I sent advent to her. Perhaps this will be our tradition. Perhaps. You never know what life will hold, what a year will bring. So I'm reminded to love as well as I can all that is within my grasp. It may not always be. Thankful.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Today begins a month long stretch into the holidays. I was thinking about how very different things are. From how I grew up. My family is large on both sides. Cousins made up as siblings to my sister and I. Anticipation and excitement is what I grew up feeling. These were my favorite months. As I got older and married and had my own children so did everyone else and the celebration of holidays just grew larger. Funny how life happens. Funny how things change. I remember when my kids were small how I used to grow frustrated at having to split time in so many places....I had yet learned to be so very grateful. Unaware of what I had. We fell into new routines as time went on, still gathering. Still so much blessing. 4 years ago was the last gathering that was full. Yet even then it marked the beginning of change. These days in a row have been hollow and void. Everyone side stepping the pain and emotion. No one quite able to deal with the load it required. It caused fractures. This year everything has been stripped away. Nothing the same. Nothing standing and all of us feel the weight of choices made that brought about a change no one was truly prepared for. My word found me two years ago. The word that I wasn't looking for. The word that really sums up the lesson I have learned along this very long road. It's learning in whatever season, whatever situation, what our response should be. Even through tears and hurt and pain. On the good days and the hard days. I am thankful. It's a choice. A condition of the heart. One brought about by much toil and grief. But a lesson that brings a great reward. In all this, I will give thanks. You have never left me. Never forsaken. Always provided. Even in the most barren day. Things have shifted these days. Nothing is the same but there is a richness to the new, to the changes. I'm learning that it's okay to go forward. He's got me. And the answers will come in their own time. I only need live here, today. Thankful.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
The cold has come this week. Settling in. Seems like quiet has settled into my heart. Sometimes the words just don't come. Life happens. And words get used elsewhere. I used to feel like they would never stop, I could write for hours, days. For now they seem content to be settled under. The cold comes and things slow. All my energies focused other places. All around me nothing is the same. And that takes time. Being still was never one of my strongpoints. Last night in a very rare moment, it settled in and I crawled into bed very early. Sleep came quickly. The holidays are here. I'm ready for rest. Thankful.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Job is the book in the book in the Bible I always skirted around. Almost like if you read the words you would surely be opening yourself up for trouble. In my darkest days that was the first place I ran to. I connected with the words, with his struggle. I had found empathy. Funny how our struggles can be ever so different, but the words of his story rang true in my own heart. His words became the things that expressed my hard days. I gathered them to myself and they gave me comfort. But even on those hardest of days one other thing whispered to me. It won't always be hard. There will be good days ahead. He will work it all out. Sometimes the simplest answers are the hardest. Seek Him. That's been my answer most days. Seek Him....not the answer to my question or the way out or how long....just Him. Thankful.
Monday, November 9, 2015
Yesterday was my day. I haven't run a half marathon in well over a year and a half. I did an obstacle equivalent in March and it was an experience all its own, but running, you see that's my heart. I was the girl who dreamed of running, yet never believed she could. I was the girl who couldn't run the warm up lap at boot camp without stopping. Then 4 years ago all that changed. What I had been working towards for the two years before that finally began taking shape. I was changing. My world was changing. And it was ugly and beautiful and terrifying and amazing all wrapped into one. Little by little I began. Running saved me. He gave it to me so I would not be crushed under the weight of what I was walking. It was my way out on the days that were too much. It was the beginning of a conversation between He and I. He gave me this ability. These legs. These lungs. This heart. This mind. They all have to come together to make it a possibility. And I certainly pray for that first mile. I give it all over. Offer it up. It's not about me. It's where I have to let it all go. You can't hold on tightly and run. You have to lay it all out and leave it on that pavement step after step.
I woke up at 3:30 am. My nerves were gone. And then I heard the rain. Do they cancel runs for the rain? The answer is no, they do not cancel such things for a little bit of water. I drove to her house. I've never done a run without her. The whole way to the race I kept thinking how will I do this in the rain? Is it possible? Can I make it? It was a course I have never run before. Had no idea where I was going. That was actually a benefit to me. We parked and went to the start. In the rain. So many runners. 13.1 or 26.2. That's where we were going. And it was quieter than most I have been to. I looked around at all the faces. It's funny to me you get a shirt for the race but how many people actually wear them. Few. I have specific things I wear. I've been doing this for a while. I know what will get me to the finish line. Nothing fancy. Just what suits me best. And all of a sudden the gun sound. It startled me. I wasn't prepared for it. And we began. And I settled in and started praying. It was going to take more than me to get back to the finish line. A mile in I was alone. I'm not afraid of that anymore. And I saw her. The girl in the blue. And we stayed round about the same pace. I let my breathing settle and came up to my very first hill. I've eased up on myself a bit. You can't go distance without a plan. And that plan has to include grace for challenging inclines. I saw him. A vet. He was running with the aid of an artificial leg on one side. And it made me grateful. Grateful for this beautiful ability God gave me. I run because I can. Because it is in me. And I never want to take that for granted. It passed faster than runs in the past. I paced with the girl in the blue pants. The wind and the rain left us all soaked to the bone. I prayed my earphones would survive. At mile six I just decided it was good. And I was happy. And I was gonna do this my way. And I stopped trying to pass the time and just started being thankful. We paced each other she and I. She go ahead and I'd eventually catch my breath and move up past her. She'd fall back and then move up the same way. Neither letting the other too far out that we couldn't catch. It's motivation. Keep moving. By mile 8 we spoke. Obviously we were both keeping pace together. And it was working. By mile 10 we approached a huge hill and I was beginning to feel the effects of all the running. Do not stop whatever you do. Just keep moving. Before long we rounded the corner and mile 11 found us both dragging. I would pull ahead and then when she came up to me we fell into a steady jog. I would fall back and rest and she would move ahead. It reminded me that we have people come into our lives for a specific purpose or reason. Just for a time, a season. She was the one I needed to help me through this journey, no more no less. I saw a big yellow crossing up ahead and thought there is no way that's the finish. It's not in the right place. It's all wrong. What is it? It was a transition. Just before the end we had to cross it. Seems fitting for where I'm at right now. The end of this journey is coming but I'm finding myself in a huge transition I was not expecting. Mile 12 found us discussing previous times. I was just over 3 hours last year. She said you will be under it if we keep this pace. And so we did. And the last mile had me believing this would never end and I couldn't make it. Everything I owned hurt. And none of the previous 12 miles felt like this. I saw it. In the distance. The finish. And I got closer. And the pain was sinking in but I sprinted. It's what I do. Pull it all out, run your own race. Let all the hinderances go and cross that line. And so I did. 5 minutes faster and soaking wet I did. And I never saw the girl in blue again. I gathered my people and we headed home. I did it. Thankful.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
It's November. I was glad to see October go. A month of much change and upheaval. A month of new starts. And now November. I'm realizing lately how truly blessed I am. And it is humbling. I know where it comes from, His Hand on my life. Guiding me even in the hardest of days. Leading me, even when it is with kicking and screaming. I didn't understand. And fear has overwhelmed more times than I could imagine. But each hurdle, each random occurance to me all fit together in His plan. And tracing that along gives me a map of His direction. And more and more makes me a little adventurous. And that's saying a lot for this girl. I'm nostalgic a bit these days as another big challenge stares me in the face. My last race of the year. It makes 3 this time around. My goal. Increase by one each year. There has been lots of increase this year. Lots of change. Lots of transition. But I hope what I've learned most is that His promises never return void. Thankful.