Monthly Archives: July 2013

Fighting with God

Sometimes, I just wish God would take my advice. Seriously, wouldn’t life be so much easier if He would do things according to MY plans instead of His plans…

Okay, now that I have that out of my system, I’ll go ahead and also say I’m selfish. I wish God would give me my way so that things would be easier…but that’s not the case. In my heart, I trust Him, I really do, but my mind is fighting with Him in anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness. I just don’t understand the plan and there is absolutely nothing I can do…and that terrifies me.

But I’m glad, that even in my doubt and anger towards Him, even when I question whether or not He knows what He’s doing, He continues to show me His love, grace, and mercy.

Things don’t make sense now, but one day they will…and I live in hope for that day.

My Fight With God
If I can be totally honest
God, I think Your plan stinks
Are You sure this is right?
You want to hear what I think?
I’m sure that You don’t
But I’ll tell You how I feel
All these things that are happening
It just seems so surreal
Why don’t You answer me
Or show me what’s next
Just a glimpse would be great
To prepare for the steps
You tell me to trust
You tell me to pray
But quite frankly I’m mad
Because things won’t go my way
Yeah, I know that is selfish
But do You know that this hurts?
This world that I live in
Just keeps getting worse
You tell me You’ve been here
You say You know my pain
So why does it feel like
These cries are in vain
I don’t want to “be still”
And I don’t want to wait
I want to change this
Where are You? You’re late
I can see You moving
In the world all around
But here in my life
You’re not making a sound
Am I asking too much?
You’re right, maybe I am
I just feel so alone
Like You’ve let go of my hand

If we let truth be told
I know I can’t see
I know You haven’t moved
You’re still reaching for me
You know how I hate
To be out of control
Life feels like a twister
And it’s hurting my soul
But what I’m holding on to
Is nothing but dust
And dying to myself
Is an absolute must
Help me hold on
To the strength of Your truth
Fighting on my own
Is a battle I’ll lose
My strength has diminished
I don’t have much anymore
Just my hope in You
That You offer much more
So if I say that I hope
But I fail to see
Am I really living a life
That shows what I believe

I believe You are good
I believe You are near
Please help my unbelief
And meet me right here
I don’t understand
This life that I live
I don’t have much to offer
Myself is all I can give
Please forgive my anger
And my cries of doubt
It may not make sense now
But I know You’ll work it out

Advertisements

When Writers Don’t Write

There’s a certain anguish that ensnares the writers soul when a writer doesn’t write. Maybe you think that I’m being a little over dramatic; but the truth is, unless writers write, they will live in a world of mental and emotional turmoil…or maybe this is just me, maybe other writers don’t feel this way. But I can’t believe that I’m the only one.

My mind is in constant motion. I hear/see/think of something inspiring, and if I don’t write it down right then, it’ll probably get lost in the disorganized chaos of my brain. My creative mind is a blessing and a curse. My thoughts often center on what I can create, what kind of art can I write, that will glorify God and show others the greatness of who He is?

In the book Pursuing Christ, Creating Art, which is one of my favorite books, Gary Molander talks about how artists feel things on a deeper level than non-artists. There are higher highs and lower lows. Life is lived through a series of Heaven and hell experiences. There is seldom a middle ground when it comes to the emotions of an artists. Why, you ask? This is because the greatest, most inspiring art, in whatever form it may come in, is created from the depths of pain or the heights of joy. In between feelings do not create great art.

But this way of feeling things can get incredibly exhausting. The higher highs are great, those moments are priceless. Those are the moments I hold on to in the lower lows. The lows are extreme, they are painful, and they often pull me away from my writing. But when I slip away from writing, my life turns chaotic. Life start to slip into a state if confusion and anger; and even though I know the answer is, sit down and write, I often don’t want to fight the battle of getting the words out of my head.

You see, for me, and I’m sure many other writers (or any kind of artist), when creative thoughts and ideas come into our minds, we want to get them out. We want to get them into a tangible form and create art with them. But when we ignore the thoughts, when we set aside the ideas…our brains become clouded with our own creativity and then getting it out isn’t fun anymore, it’s hard and sometimes painful.

It’s not always about a great piece of art, sometimes I just need to write so that I can process the chaos of the world around me. Writing my thoughts, journaling, helps me to understand my feelings and circumstances more clearly and look at things with a less emotionally irrational perspective. Writing is not just about creating art, but it’s also about giving in to one of the deepest needs of my heart.

I think, this is why many writers on TV/movies/books are portrayed as insane…it’s what I like to call, crazy writers brain. It’s when too much is happening in my head at one time, I am, in a way, over stimulated. And until I get the thoughts out, until my words go from my head to my hands, I find it hard to process the world around me.

So to all the writers out there, keep writing…even when it hurts. If God gave you the gift of writing, don’t waste it, you never know who you may be inspiring. Let your emotions, joyous or depressed, lead you to create great art!


For the Well-Meaning Civilian

This is for all the wonderful, well-meaning civilians out there. For those who, so often, try to reach out and help the military spouse when her husband is gone. For the civilian who wants to show love and encouragement to the scared young mom while her husband is off in a combat zone…I’m going to offer you a little bit of advice on the best way to support the military wife during times of deployment or separation.

#1 – Do not try to offer cliche phrases as words of encouragement. These phrases include, but are not limited to: “You knew what it would be like when you got married.” “It gets easier, doesn’t it, since you’ve already done this before?” “At least you have your kids to keep you company.” “I don’t know how you do it. You are so strong.” “Put on your big girl panties and drive on.” “You have to stay strong for your family.”

These phrases, and many others like them, may come with good intentions. But for the scared, lonely, and stressed out military wife…these words do not offer much encouragement at all. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had people tell me to stay strong, pull my big girl panties up, or some variation of that. But to be quite honest, unless you’ve been on this end of battle, you don’t know how incredibly impossible it is to just “stay strong” when it, quite frequently, feels like the world around you is falling apart.

Many people seem surprised when I confess that I break down in tears about once a week, after the kids are in bed and the silence of the house is depressing. I just miss him, his hugs, his voice, his touch. I let myself break down, I cry out to the One whose strength has sustained me this far, and will continue to sustain me until my husband is in my arms again.

So if you want to offer encouragement, support, and love, just give her your ear to listen or your shoulder to cry. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything – that is okay, we won’t take offense to it. Offer to pray with her and for her. Give her Bible verses that might encourage her and remind her of God’s strength and love for her. Don’t expect her to be strong, but point her to the One who will be strong for her.

#2 – Want to give her a gift? Offer to watch her kids so she can sleep, read, clean, run, or whatever it is that she wants to do. She doesn’t know what peace and quiet is like. She doesn’t have time to sit down and read or to just sit outside and watch the beauty of nature unfold. Let her enjoy a few hours out of the house, away from the kids…let her feel free for just a little while.

Being the spouse of a deployed soldier is, in many ways, like being a single parent. It’s me and the kids, all day, everyday. While I love them and enjoy watching them grow and learn every day, it’s hard to do it day in and day out without a break. Life can get mundane and repetitive and it’s easy to slip into an “I’m not making any difference in the world,” train of thought. Which then leads me to feeling overwhelmed and stressed about my life and questioning my parenting ability and value.

Military wives, even if we portray an image of independence and self-sufficiency to the world, need your help to survive the deployments…whether we’ll admit it or not. We may not ask for help because of our own foolish pride; but it means the world to us to know that someone cares enough to offer.

#3 – Hug her. You may have no idea what she is going through and maybe you feel uncomfortable with her despair and desperation. Hug her anyway. And don’t let it be a fake, quick, one armed hug that just feels like your hugging out of obligation, not love.

It may have been days, weeks, or months since the last time she felt the warm embrace of a hug from someone who cares about her. Your hug will never replace the tenderness of the arms of the man she loves. But a hug can bring a tired soul to life and remind her that she isn’t fighting this side of the war alone. Your one hug can mean more to her than you’ll ever know.

I have a few friends who do this for me. They always seem to know, I’m pretty sure it’s God’s planning, exactly when I need a hug. Few things compare, when I feel like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, to the feeling of a loving hug of a sweet friend. It feels like someone came along to help me carry the weight. Which is what we’re all here for, right? God didn’t make us to go through this world alone. He made us different in every kind of way. He made us to need friendship and love. Show her friendship, even if she is feeling too low to show it back.

#4 – Invite her and her kids over for dinner of bring dinner over to her house (and stay to eat with her). She’s missing the company of adults. Spending all day with children can get frustrating when all you want is some adult conversation. Just talk to her over a meal, not about anything in particular, just talk.

She is tired of sitting down for every meal with kids who don’t appreciate what she cooked for them and who end up throwing half of it on the floor. If there’s a baby sitter available, go for a moms night out. Have dinner, watch a movie, anything that allows her to spend some time with grown ups.

I’m sure there are many more things that could be added to this list, but these were just the primary ones I could think of.

As a proud Army wife, I am deeply thankful for my friends and family, whether military or civilian. The battle on home front is not one that we can fight alone. I think it is harder for civilians to understand what we’re going through and often our silly pride stands in the way because we think they can’t/won’t help for whatever reason. From my experience though, my civilian friends often want to help more than my military spouse friends because they don’t have the added stress of the deployment. But what stops them is they simply don’t know what we need from them. And unless we tell others what we need how they can help?


No Shortcuts

There are no shortcuts that lead to anywhere that is worth going. I’ve tried to take many shortcuts in fitness and weight loss, in recovering from my past hurts, and in mending relationships with people I have hurt.

But let me share a big lesson that I have learned: SHORTCUTS DON’T WORK!!

If I want to succeed and complete what I’ve set out to do, no matter what it is, it will take hard work, determination, blood, sweat, and tears. I can’t give 50% and expect 100% results…it just doesn’t work that way.

Most people are their own worst critics, as I tend to be too. I’ve lived most of my life convinced that I was a failure and that I shouldn’t bother trying, so I never gave 100% in anything I’ve ever done. If I was destined to fail, what was the point in trying.

But what I know now, what I first learned through Celebrate Recovery, is that in my own strength, I will fail. The strength I need is a strength that can only come from God. With that strength though, I can accomplish anything.

Running has reinforced that same idea. I am not a fast runner and I am not a long distance runner; although, one day, I plan to be both. Right now, I am a dedicated and determined runner. I’ve learned, through recovery, running, and working out, what it feels like to want something so bad that I am willing to go through the pain, to hurt, to cry, and to suffer to get to my goal.

I’ve gotten to a point now, where I’m honestly just tired of excuses. If I can get out there a run 4+ miles, if I can push through 30 minutes of the pain of an Insanity workout, if I can trudge through the hurt of my past and come out still breathing on the other side…then there is no excuse as to why anyone else can’t accomplish their goals.

Now I’m not saying that I’ve done these things on my own, quite the opposite; I have only been able to push past the fear and pain because of the strength and determination from God. God will not give me a dream that He will not also equip me to carry out. It just might take a little but (or a lot) of effort of my end.

A few weeks ago I ran my second 5k. I came in at 39:10, which was 22 seconds faster than my first one. As I was rounding the last curve and into the home stretch of the race, I started to burn out, my legs started cramping and my lungs were hurting. But out of no where, I got a sudden burst of energy as Eye of the Tiger started playing on my iPod. Tell me that’s not divine motivation?

God works in mysterious ways that and it always reminds me that He cares about the little details of my life.

So why do I workout? Why do I run? Why do I continue to go through recovery? If it hurts so much, why do I do it? Because my fear of not doing it is greater than my fear of staying where I am. My pain of my past life is more painful than the process of become who God made me to be.

My body is His Temple…it’s about time I start treating it that way – physically and mentally.


All I Need

God is all I need; I know that. But I am still scared of this world. I am tired of this world – the pain, heartache, sickness, and death. I’m ready to go Home, to my eternal Home where death is no more.

Sometimes life seems so surreal. It’s so hard to fathom the things that happening right now. We always think these things can never happen to us – until they do. My family shed many tears in the last 36 hours with the diagnosis of my sister’s brain tumor. We are all scared and wondering why and how this happened.

I can’t answer any medical questions. I don’t know why and I don’t know how. I don’t know what the outcome will be and I don’t know how we will all hold up through it all. All I do know, the only thing I have to hold on to when life hurts this much, is that God is with us. He is here. He has a plan. And He is active through all of this, even though we may not see it.

I need grace for every day. Some days I need more than others, but He ALWAYS gives me exactly what I need to keep on keeping on. So yes, I am scared, terrified even, of what the future of our family will look like, but I am trusting the One who holds my heart. I trust that no matter what happens, His grace will always be enough.

All I Need
In times like this when I can’t see
All I have is hope in Thee
I’m letting go and falling hard
I need to know You’ll catch my heart
I’m trusting you to be right here
With your love to calm my fears
I need Your arms stretched out to me
Embrace me now and let me see

Walking blindly through the rain
The grip of love holds my pain
I’m scared, I’m desperate, I’m confused
Waiting to see what You will do
The only One who’s conquered death
Gives me hope for every breath

Life is hard, I want to flee
And all I have is rest in Thee
I lay my life here at Your cross
And trust in You to find the lost
Fighting this world all by myself
Leaves me crying out for help
I’m exhausted of all my strength
And trusting in Your priceless grace

Walking blindly through the rain
The grip of love holds my pain
I’m scared, I’m desperate, I’m confused
Waiting to see what You will do
The only One who’s conquered death
Lifts me up to give me rest

Hear me now, hear every plea
All I want is peace in Thee
In the chaos of this place
Help me now to seek Your face
Your love all I’ll ever need
I’m crying out on bended knee
Though it seems like it’s the end
You are there at my defense

Walking blindly through the rain
The grip of love holds my pain
I’m scared, I’m desperate, I’m confused
Waiting to see what You will do
The only One who’s conquered death
Gives me peace, He’s never left


Am I Home Yet?

Home. It’s a short, four letter word with a very long meaning. What is a home? What does it mean to be home? The dictionary defines a home as “a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.” But as I think about how good it feels to be at home, I started wondering, what does that really mean?

Being “at home” is much more than a physical place of residence. It’s much more than having a roof over your head and walls on each side. A home is a place where pains and joys are shared with those you love. It’s a place where children grow and messes are made. It’s a place where love is felt between family and friends (who are often just an extension of the family). It’s a place where mistakes are made and lessons are learned, but everyone still loves you the same. It’s a place where memories are formed and bonds are tightened. It’s a noisy, chaotic, sometimes unbearable, but heavenly, place.

For the first time in my life I can say, I AM HOME!

For much of my life I have felt like I was searching for something; a place where I could quit trying, striving, and pretending. A place where I could feel loved even when I made mistakes. A place where I could find rest. A place where I felt safe, even if the world around me was crumbling.

But when God found me, I found that place I had always been searching for – my Father’s arms. In God’s arms, I am safe, I am loved, I can rest, and I can heal. No place on this earth can provide that same feeling.

It’s ironic though, that once I learned how to rest in God’s love for me, I began to also feel at home in my physical environment.

I am a beach girl from San Diego, so living in Central Texas has been a challenge for me. There’s no beach and it’s ridiculously hot. But then, God brought me to a fabulous church and gave me an amazing church family. He gave me some wonderful friends who love me unconditionally and who will walk through life’s ups and downs with me.

Because I have learned to be at home with God, He has also given me the gift of being at home on this earth.

Ultimately, my home is heaven; and I look forward to the day that God calls me up. But in the mean time, I’ll enjoy the home He has given me right here, right now.


Learning the Limits

I’ve always been an “all-or-nothing” kind of person. Because of that, I’ve pushed myself, in certain areas of my life, way beyond my physical or mental limitations. I think learning my limits, among other things, is one of the things God is trying to teach me as I run and work out.

Being that I’ve found something that has given me more joy than anything else I’ve ever done, I’m bound to push myself too hard…that’s just what I do – what I’ve always done. But here’s the thing that worries me, if I push myself too hard, I will probably hurt myself, then I’ll be out for good. I’ll lose the thing that I took so long to find. And while not running may not be the end of the world, it would definitely be very upsetting.

So I’m learning that there are physical limitations to what I can and cannot do.

Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given to me I say to everyone who is among you not to think more highly of yourself than what one ought to think, but to think sensibly, as God has apportioned a measure of faith to each one.

God didn’t make us to be limitless and indestructible. If that we’re the case, we wouldn’t need each other and we wouldn’t need Him. But we do. We cannot make it through this life on only our own strength; I can tell you from experience, that doesn’t work! I can push myself farther than my physical/psychological ability, end up hurting myself, and live in a solitary and depressing world – or, I can admit my need for God and for others and enjoy the freedom, love, and grace that comes along with that. Which will I choose?

I am human. I am fallible. I am clumsy. I am stubborn. But in spite of all that, I am loved, I am forgiven, and I am free. My body is not as indestructible as I, too often, like to think it is. I have physical limitations and I have emotional limitations; and in those, in my weaknesses, God’s strength and glory will shine.

2 Corinthians 12:9 –
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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

So here’s to my weaknesses. Here’s to that grace of an amazing God who is strong in my weakness.

Thank you, God, for teaching me that I have limits.


Stay the Course

Do you ever think God isn’t involved in or doesn’t care about the small details of your life? You know, the things that are seemingly insignificant, that don’t really make a big impact on life (or so you think)? That is where I experience God’s love more than anywhere else.

I am impatient. I want what I want and I want it now; a result of growing up in a culture of instant gratification. I often expect God to do what I want Him to do, just because it’s what I want Him to do. I don’t give a thought to whether or not it is the best thing for me from God’s perspective. When God doesn’t do what I think He should be doing in my life, I find myself getting frustrated and doubtful about whether or not He’s active in my life at all. But in my doubt and in my frustration, God proves Himself over and over again as He shows me who He is and how He loves me with small, unnecessary, movements.

Now don’t get me wrong, God has worked in and through me in huge ways that I never knew were possible; and that simply amazes me. The changes that God has made in me, never cease to show me how much He loves and cares about me. But those are the big things, the obviously broken parts of me. Somehow, I seem to often forget that God also cares about the little things, like how far I run, the books I read, the time I go to sleep, the timing of the sunset…and the list goes on.

Let me be honest, until now, I’ve really never given my all, all my energy, strength, and heart, to anything I’ve ever done. But now that I finally see that I really can do anything, I also see that there is only One who deserves my everything because it’s only through Him that I can do anything.

God has shown me magical things lately…things that prove His love for me in unimaginable ways.

A few weeks ago, I was out for a run and still trying to decide how far I would run, when my music stopped, there was God to tell me to slow down and take it easy, not to do too much, too fast. In that moment I was awestruck by God’s overwhelming love for me in things that don’t really seem to matter.

While out on a different run, at 2 miles in, I was feeling tired and I wanted to quit. When I ran by this church in my neighborhood (which I didn’t know existed until then).

20130706-230846.jpg
I was breath taken by God’s activeness in my life. The words on that sign spoke so deeply to me, it was as if Jesus, Himself, was standing right there speaking to me. It was unlike any feeling I’ve ever had before.

So when I start thinking that God is silent, that He’s ignoring me, or that He doesn’t care…I can think back to that sign.

“Stay the course. God’s timing is perfect.”


Even When it Hurts

It’s not all guts and glory. I’ve been running for about 6 weeks now. I’ve had my bad days and good days. I’ve learned a lot about pushing my limits, but not pushing them too far, about proper hydration, and how to fuel my body. I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve had sore muscles and hurting feet. But have I had a bad run? No, I haven’t.

Even when it’s hard, even when it hurts, the run is still, always, worth it. Tonight, while making random turns through my neighborhood and not really knowing where I’d end up, I was about 2 miles from my house when the nausea kicked in and I nearly doubled over because I thought for sure that I would vomit. Then I realized that I still had to get back home and I wanted to cry. But, as always, I survived. I made it home, drank some water, laid down, and I dozed in and out for about 30 minutes.

This run wasn’t any different from any other run. Except that maybe it was a little hotter. This is what I mean by learning about pushing myself too hard. I have an all or nothing personality and I tend to over do it. My thought process says, “if you’re going to do something, you might as well go all the way with it,” even though, more often than not, that train of thought it what gets me in trouble.

I’m getting a little off track here; the point I’m trying to make is that, even when it hurts, it’s still worth it. Even though tonight’s run took a lot out of me – both emotionally and physically, it also gave me a lot, spiritually.

I felt horrible tonight and I wanted to quit, like I’ve never wanted to quit before, but I knew I had to get home. I sucked up the pain, fixed my eyes on the road ahead, and I made it home.

Over and over, through running, God has shown me amazing dependence on Him. Life, just like running, gets hard, uncomfortable, painful, and sickening, but in life, just like running, it is possible to push past all of that and depend on God to be my strength.

Yes, it hurts. No, I don’t like the feeling of pain. But the feeling of being alive – nothing can compare to that and I’ll gladly trudge through some pain and discomfort to feel that.

20130705-225658.jpg


Freedom

Today, our nation celebrates its freedom. We celebrate the independence that so many men and women have fought and died for.

But today, I am also celebrating another type of freedom. Personal freedom – the freedom of knowing I really can do anything! After successfully completing my first 5K, I feel a freedom that I’ve never known before. Freedom to push myself beyond my limits. I actually did it! I walked up to the starting line, started the music, and let go. I let go of all my insecurities, fears, doubts, criticisms…and I just went. In comparison to something like a marathon, a 5K isn’t very long at all. But for the new runner, 3.1 miles is an extreme accomplishment.
20130704-145517.jpgBEFORE

Six weeks ago, I had very little self-confidence. I was afraid of trying something that I could possibly fail at. The word “failure” constantly echoed in my head. But then I started running and God showed me how much more I am capable if I just trust Him. When I took the first step out of my driveway and began my first run, I thought I would hate it, that I would never do it again…but strangely enough, the exact opposite happened – I loved it and I haven’t looked back since.

20130704-150057.jpg
This morning, I woke up early. I laced up my running shoes. I turned on the music. And I lived. Until I discovered my love for running, I didn’t know what I was capable of. Until I started running, I didn’t know what it meant to live a life that is fully alive.

20130704-150313.jpgAFTER

Living a life fully alive. This is what I was made for. I didn’t know what that meant for so long, but now that I know, I can’t believe that I’ve been missing so much for so long.

I read a quote one time that said: “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you figure out why.” That quote has proven to be true in my life. The day I learned what it felt like to be alive; why I was on this earth, something changed in me and I became a whole different person.

20130704-151602.jpg
Now let me explain that a bit. I’m not saying I was born to run (although I believe that is true too, lol). What I’m saying is that I was born to live. God put breath into my lungs so that I could live and love – and in order to do that, God also gave me running.

20130704-152137.jpg
Since I started running, I’ve had at least 5 people tell me how much I encourage them and give them hope that they can do it too. Since I started running, I’ve had a heart that, more desperately, longs to love other people, especially hurting people, just because they’re people. I have a heart that longs to love because God first loved me.

So get out of my way doubt and insecurity. I am on my way to conquering every limitation I’ve ever thought I had. Look out world…this girl is ALIVE!


Best Race Signs

A collection of the signs that inspire us when we run races.

Bald Runner

My Journey In Ultra Running

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Chris Martin Writes

Sowing seeds for the Kingdom

running in circles

it's more fun to run together

Breaking the Chains

Moving Forward in Life

Faith4TheJourney

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. ~John 17:3

Our Life On The Border

Our life and ministry on the Border, The Baja & Beyond!

Jesus is for Losers

Really Random Thoughts From a Crazed Follower of Jesus

liveworship

ˈliv ˈwər-shəp - The collision of life, God, and the church.

ONE MOUNTAIN AT A TIME

Sharing stories. Encouraging hearts.

Grace Bible Church - Killeen, TX

Trust God's GRACE. Submit to the BIBLE in community. Be the CHURCH.