Monthly Archives: June 2013

Leaving a Legacy

When I leave this world, I want to leave a legacy behind me. I want to live in such a way that when people look at me, they don’t see me. I don’t want to be remembered for the things I did, but I’d rather be remembered for how I loved. That may sound incredibly self-centered, but it is actually God-centered.

I recently went to a funeral for an amazing man, who started the Celebrate Recovery ministry at my church. Celebrate Recovery has changed my life. I came to Celebrate Recovery not believing in God; actually, I didn’t believe in Him and I hated Him at the same time. Through Celebrate Recovery, I have learned to see who God is and how He loves me.

This one man has touched so many lives. I only met him once, but he impacted me more than he could’ve ever known. He loved imperfect people like Jesus and shared grace and hope whereever he went. His legacy will live on forever.

A Legacy
A man is a man
We’re all flesh and bone
But some leave a legacy
Like a carving on stone
Some men live their lives
As an offering of love
Sharing grace with each life
Who is blessed with their touch
That’s who Tom was
His heart will always live on
Because of the impact he’s making
Even after he’s gone
Day after day
God is molding my heart
Changing me, through the ministry
That Tom was called to start
I didn’t have to know him
For his life to touch mine
Because the life that he lived
Showed me a love, so divine
The works of his hands
The loved that he shared
So the whole world would see
That God loves and God cares
Tom knew that God blessed him
So he loved others like Christ
Not knowing the world would change
By the effects of his life

Men like this are rare
Their legacies are far reaching
And even after they’re gone
Their lives don’t stop teaching
The hearts that he’s touched
Have turned around to touch me
So I can share with another
How I’ve been set free
But really, what I’m saying
Is look at the love
From a Father who’s grace
Is always enough
No, Tom wasn’t perfect
But his love sure did shine
And even though he’s now gone
His legacy spreads like a vine


A Runner’s Prayer

Running has changed me and it has changed my life. It has challenged me and helped me to see that I can do so much more than the small limitations I place on myself. I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It has changed how I view God and has given me more clarity to hear Him speak to me. Hearing Him more clearly had given me a deeper desire to speak to Him more honestly.

So this is my prayer for every run and every runner.

The Runner’s Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for this day
For giving me this desire
To start running Your way
I step out on the road
One foot, then the other
I can feel my heart pounding
And my dreams are uncovered
Thank You for strength
To push on through the pain
Thank You for courage
To step into the race
The sun on my cheeks
The wind in my hair
Lets me feel alive
When life’s just not fair
When it’s hard and I’m hurting
You send me a sign
That tells me to keep moving
With a strength that’s not mine
When I feel my heart beat
I feel You moving in me
And with each rush of wind
You are setting me free
So run by my side
And guide my each step
Be my motivation
With each and every breath
As my feet hit the ground
Your stride matches mine
And You’re one step ahead
To be my guiding light
I give you this run
And I’ll give it all of me
I’m running to Your love
And You’re setting me free.
Thank You, Father
For the rush in the run
It’s in Jesus name that I pray
I love You. Amen!

Running to Him

A few weeks ago, I was standing in my garage, looking out at the beauty of God’s creation (the wind, birds, flowers, green grass), and I decided – I want to run. If you know me at all, you know how ridiculous this thought is for me. My entire life, I have loathed running with a deep burning hatred. I assumed that the random thought to run was just that, a random thought, and it would soon pass, but it never did – in fact, it only got stronger. Instead of burning hatred for running, I quickly developed a burning desire to run.

So, I started running.

I started running and something amazing happened. I began to trust God more and myself. Some people may think this is silly or crazy, but in the last few weeks, I have heard God speaking to me more than ever before. It’s a wonderful feeling to be running down the road, wind in my hair, sun on a face, and freedom in my hands.

Running feels like freedom. I’ve spent so much of my life running from the truth and now I feel like I’m running, literally, to the most beautiful truth there is.

1 Timothy 4:8 – For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

It’s an amazing feeling to challenge myself. For so long, I have been my own worst enemy and discouraged myself from doing ANYTHING that might be difficult or that had the possibility of me failing. And let me tell you, feeling like I can never do anything gets tired and discouraging after a while. As an all or nothing kind of person, I justified not trying many things because what was the point if I would only fail, if my “all” wasn’t enough? The sad part is though, that you never know what you’re capable of until you try.

That’s how I feel about running – I didn’t know I was capable of running, until I tried.

I am sure that this, seemingly out of the blue, desire to run came from God. It’s too bizarre for me to be something I came up with on my own. (Although, I also think some of the blame also falls on a sweet friend of mine who has somehow implanted her love of running/working out in my head.) It’s funny how, when I tried to ignore what I thought was just a weird, random though, God kept persisting and telling me to go for it; to at the very least, try!

1 Corinthians 9:25-27 – All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

God has this funny was of changing our hearts sometimes – using things that we think will NEVER have an effect on us.

A few days ago during a run, I felt a strength in me that I had never felt before – a supernatural determination. It was in that exact moment that I realized something that God has been trying to show me for over a year – I can do ANYTHING with His help. If I trust Him, I can push through the pain. I can stay strong through the struggle. I can succeed through the doubts. I can trust Him through my brokenness.

Isaiah 40:29-31 – He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

Seems kind of odd how God would show me so much about Himself through running, but I am eternally grateful for it. Not only has He changed my heart to love Him and trust Him more, but for the first time in my Christian walk, I finally understand what other people mean when they talk about joy. I finally understand that joy that overflows and loves others. That joy that runs so deep, that even in the midst of pain and sadness I still have a solid foundation to rest on.

I know that my life will always have its ups and downs. I know that things in this broken and fallen world will not be easy. But what I also know is that even in the ups and down, even in the pain of the brokenness – I have a joy and a hope that no one can EVER take from me.

Self-Contempt in the Body of Christ

As an outsider, looking in to the church, it can be hard to feel like you belong anywhere. It can, so often, seem like everyone has it all together and like you’ll never fit in, so why bother even trying. I know, for me, that was a big obstacle for to overcome. That is one of the many reasons why I love the Celebrate Recovery ministry so much; it’s a place where other Christians are open and honest about their brokenness. Celebrate Recovery has opened my eyes to see that everyone, even the people who I would’ve thought had life all figured out, struggle with life in this broken and fallen world.

Fellowship, though, is an important part of the Christian life. God did not create us to go through this life alone. He made us to be a part of a community of fellow believers, to be connected with a group of people to encourage and love each other, to pray for and with each other.

Hebrew 10:24-25 – And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

But for the new believer, especially the new believer with a scary past, it can be hard to connect with other Christians. It can be hard to bear your soul, exposing the deepest, most vulnerable parts of yourself, to people who, in your mind, have it all under control. This is a lie though; a lie that the enemy uses to keep us bound in the silence of our shame. No one, not the gracious Sunday school teacher, not the pastor’s wife, not the seemingly perfect looking family sitting next to you in the pew, has it all figured out. Every one of us carries around our fair share (and then some) of baggage, pain, guilt, and sin. We ALL fail to meet God’s standards. Yes, our sins may look different; but that doesn’t matter, we have still ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

For me, it was a struggle to get connected with a small group. I was terrified out of mind at the thought of these people, people who seemed to love and accept me but who I thought had it all together, finding out about my horrific past and rejecting me because of it. But it’s funny how God places just the right people in our paths at just the right time. As I got to know these people better, I learned that maybe, just maybe, they were just as human as I am. I told myself I would probably never open up and be honest with them, quite frankly, I was just scared. I knew in my heart that they would love me and accept me no matter what, but because of the self-condemnation I had carried from my past, I often doubted it. I knew that God didn’t condemn me (Romans 8:1), but for some reason I couldn’t stop condemning myself; which left me with an irrational fear that others would condemn me also.

But something miraculous happened when God gave me the courage to be open and honest, these people still loved me and still accepted me – and I think it was better than before because I was now free, free to be me (even though I’m still not totally sure who that is).

So now, I am a part of this wonderful small group, it’s like I have another family. These people have prayed for me and with me. They have helped me through some rough times. They have just loved me. And I continue to be in awe of the love God shows me through them. But here’s the problem that I still have. I am still ridiculously socially anxious. Because I care so much about what these people think of me, I often find myself not knowing what to say and wondering if I am ever saying the right thing. I over analyze EVERYTHING I say and do. Does it have anything to do with them? No, absolutely not. But it has everything to do with me. You see, more often than not, I don’t know how to interact with people who come from a different background than I do and sometimes I feel like we have absolutely nothing in common. Then I get worried and start thinking, well if I am thinking this way (and I’m the messed up one), what’re they thinking? I’ve recently realized that, quite frequently, I don’t know how to accept the love that others show me. I’m afraid to ask for help because I don’t want to appear needy (which, by the way, I really am). I am weak, emotional, tired, restless, doubtful, and confused. And all too often, I sugar coat this because I’m just scared of what people would say (even though I know in my heart that everyone else feels this same way).

I’ve been struggling with this for a while now; with the condemnation of my own thoughts. But in the last week or so, God has been shining His light into the darkness in that area of my heart. He’s been gently reminding me (in a persistent kind of way) that He loves me and my brothers and sisters in Christ love me, so why won’t I love myself? One thing God has really been harping on me about lately is my contempt for myself. I need to give myself a little grace – but for a perfectionist who isn’t perfect, that is easier said than done. When I am filled with self-contempt, it is impossible for me to love other people with the love of God.

Romans 12:3 – Don’t think you are better (or worse) than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

So today, while sitting in church and listening to the sermon, something my pastor said really stood out to me – It doesn’t matter what I have in common with anyone regarding our personal lives, where we’ve come from, or our experiences; the point is that we are now on the same page. The only thing we need to have in common is Jesus Christ. We are all striving to follow Him and be more like Him and share Him with other people. If that is our common goal, then nothing, absolutely nothing, else matters.

Romans 12:4-5 – Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

We are different parts of the body, but our mission is the same. We each function in our own unique ways, but that’s what makes us so great. If we were all the same, the church would be boring and watered down.

I have a value and a purpose and I am loved. It’s time I start recognizing that and telling that ugly voice in my head to be quiet. I am not who I once was. I am a new creation in Jesus. Love God, love others, love myself – I think all of those need to be in line before we can really get it.

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