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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

You step, I'll Work

These last few weeks I just feel....tired.

Between my husband being gone for a week with the youth at camp and taking care of the kids alone, VBS and training my energy is sapped. 

I am co-leading an online study with (in)courage with Beth Moore's Children of the Day. It is so much good information but I have gotten behind and so then I feel like I am drowning and not really learning because I am just trying to keep up for appearances sake and that just feels fake, so I hope to get back to it soon and really take it all in as I have time.

Needless to say my "set aside" God time has been lost in the shuffle of chasing a 10 montho old and training for a marathon, neither a small task ;)

But I have found God is so faithful to me and although I am not learning probably nearly as much as I could be He is still speaking to me so clearly, I know it because it's the same message every where I go.

This idea that faith is activated as we move into it, not as something we sit around and wait for.

I have been listening to "Sun Stand Still" by Steven Furtick on my long runs and it's been so good. Probably need to listen to it again as "running brain" only lets so much in at a time. For all the amazing things that were said in the book the thing that the Lord is over arching to be the theme in this time is, you step, I'll work.

Even this morning I listened to a random sermon from Elevation and it was from the series "waiting room" and talking about what are we waiting for. That so many things God has already given to us and yet we sit around hoping He will make them happen in our lives. He referred to the prodigal son story and the older brother who was whining about "you never killed a goat for me and my friends" and the father tells him, you have access to all I have. The subtitle of the message was "go get your own goat". 

It's really a practical thing that God is ingraining in my heart that is not lost on me in my training for a marathon. I started training for this thing on faith completely. I dislocated my knee twice at the beginning of this year and honestly, it never would have entered my head to even THINK about training for a marathon while I was sitting in that ER room or in those physical therapy sessions.

But when the chance arose, I took it. I think it has more meaning in my emotional journey of healing than I even understand, a way that God has taken my mom and I full circle in many aspects. I felt immediately that running a marathon with her was a chance from God that I needed to take the opportunity to pursue, even if the chances of that happening seemed slim.

Many things shot up in the beginning, my knee was really very sore for the first few weeks, but I just ran through it hoping I wasn't making it worse. My husband applied for a job in California which meant we might not be here for the race, but I paid for it anyway. I remember on one of my earliest runs just talking to the Lord, like, "OK here we are, you and me, and I need you to get me through one small run at a time" the word "Audacious" was brought to my attention. The AUDACITY to believe that I am under a year from having my second son by c-section, running on a recovering dislocated knee, well over weight seems illogical, but isn't that what faith is all about? I thought if I could get one word on my running bib like last time (which I chose Persevere) this time I would choose Audacious. 

And so, one foot in front of the other, one run at a time, I finished them. My knee stopped hurting, training worked out (its hard to get so many runs in with kids not in school and working husbands) we didn't get the job in California, and last weekend I prayed again that I would be strong to the end, and I was.

Not to sound cocky, as you all know I don't perceive myself to be some elite runner, but it's like I have this confidence in the back of my mind. To put it in a phrase, "it ain't no thang". HA! But I really know it's God, how else could it not be? And here we are working on me, again. Him showing me things, prodding me, encouraging me, teaching me.

This idea that He already has everything I am asking from Him, but I have to step out. 

I couldn't train for a marathon if I hoped God would just instill the ability in me as I walked up to the race on August 17th. I have to try, start in the little runs and work up to the bigger runs.

Why is it so simple for me in that, yet hard in other areas? Perhaps because I have already conquered the fear of the unknown in already running my first marathon. I know it's hard, but I know training makes it easier. I know what it's like, what to expect, how to manage my fueling, the rest and food it takes, etc etc. I have overcome the challenge that lies in ones mind that its impossible, I have done it, so I now know, it's not.

He is trying to take these same principles and ask me to trust Him in other ways, in other areas of freedom that look impossible, in dreams that I am afraid to step out in because I don't want to fail.

I think one of my greatest fears is being wrong about myself, that I am not capable, but God doesn't ask me to be capable, He asks me to step and trust. So whatever I know to do next, do that thing.

It reminds me of when I first started going on mission trips in high school and my mom was always worried about how we would pay for them. The money always came in from somewhere. The man at the parents meeting for Guatemala said, "God calls us to go, not raise money, so if He wants them there, it will come". 

Waiting is active. I am waiting to be ready to run a marathon, but I don't just stand around to do that, I get my butt on the trail and do my part and expect God to meet me there with his power, and He has.

"Taking a step of faith" is an old phrase we like to throw around but it's true, sometimes we just have to step out. And most the time, it's not about these big career changes or life altering events, it's the little mundane things that God wants our whole hearts in that we hold onto certain we can never change them, that it's just "who we are", but God is not satisfied with that. The Holy Spirit is here to sanctify us, change us, and ultimately give us the freedom Jesus died for us to have.

I can say with all certainty that I am changed because of God's work in my life. I have a freedom now that I didn't have before, but here is the thing, I believe I have had it for some time, I just didn't walk in it. I instead listened to all the lies that filled my head constantly. I became their slave bowing before them like they were my task master, believing the accusations against myself and others, that in fact no one was coming to save me, there was no freedom to be had.

But then, I chose to step, I got UP.

I told that bully that I allowed to live in there to shut the hell up (sometimes its necessary) and start literally taking those thoughts captive, I mean lock them down. They weren't going to run my mind, and therefore my life, anymore. 

I didn't know it was going to get better, I just knew I couldn't stay in that place, and so I stepped.

This is what God is showing me again. There are some things that we don't know for sure in life will work out the way we dream or envision. We don't know how it will get worked out, smoothed out, put in place, and we can not know any of the ending without having a beginning. 

Faith is stepping out not knowing where you are going, where it leads, what happens next, but it's trusting He is good and He wants to show up for us. We've had access to the goats all the time, we just have to get us one!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chubby Girls Can Run Too

So here I am with 39 days until my second marathon.

Yesterday my mom and I ran 16 miles, that's far, but all I can think is...

"when will I feel like I am a REAL runner?"

I guess when I think of runners I think of a certain body type, a certain speed, a certain someone that I am not.

I know in all actuality that I am a runner, because I can cover that many miles, but isn't it weird that I would think that way.

It's strange how what we think about ourselves.

The truth is that I am not losing weight this time like I did during last times training.

I know this slows me down, although I am not training specifically for time, I would like to someday.

I do feel like I am having this mental and inner struggle with my food. It's spiritual as well. I am so all or nothing, I am all into training and I am also all into eating whatever I want, which keeps me right where I am.

Last training I lost 30 lbs throughout that time, but I paid careful attention to my food. I tend to think that I am on a certain time table in life to achieve this weight loss goal and I am a failure as a human if I am not that certain weight. This is the inner struggle, I have to get to a core tie in my soul where I want it for myself. Not to join the clubs I talked about in my last post, not for acceptance, not for pats on the back, not to be told I am beautiful. Those reasons are all so shallow and will never hold up for me, they haven't thus far.

For me it has to be more, and it's something I am working out with the Lord, honestly. Figuring out what it is he wants me to do, not what society wants me to do. Realizing that He isn't going to love me more because I am thin, like I feel society will, but because He wants me to be tied to nothing. For nothing to be my slave master or to define me.

I have signed up for a dietbet challenge with Chris & Heidi Powell for July 22nd-Aug 18th where the challenge is to lose 4% of our body weight in a month. I am hoping it will be a good kick start for me to get back going in the right direction. JOIN IN!

I realize I am powerless to change things, but I also realize God meets me with power in my steps of obedience, and doing nothing or rebelling completely is not doing that. Again, having all the right answers in my head don't always convert to having them play out in my life practically. I want that to hurry up and be, but God knows me, that it needs to take deep root and we're walking this journey slowly together.

In the meantime, 
for all the girls who are not their ideal body weight or even in their healthy BMI range I am here to say...
we can run too, we can be runners!
{I am 30-50 lbs over my healthy weight currently}

What qualifies one to be a runner?
hmmm, running?

What qualifies one to be a marathoner?
Not a body that screams "I run!!!"
Actually, running marathons.

It's a journey, its a process....

If you have thought about running but thought you couldn't cause you are heavier than the average runner...
do it!
You can!
If I can, any body who wants to can.

And when you get in those long upper miles you realize something....
my body is strong, and more than that, my mind is...
because running long distance requires a perseverance of both mind and body,
that is how I know I will be an over-
comer with God's help.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Neon Dash GIVEAWAY!!

I love fun runs and I think it's a great way to have fun while doing something active as well. Every year someone comes out with another great idea for one and I am so excited to participate in the 

This is how they describe the run....

Walk, Run or Dance along an amazing 5k (3.1 mi) course while we cover you in vibrant Neon head to toe! You’ll get energized with music pumping at multiple Glow Zones™ while we cover you in bright Neon colors! Join thousands as you cross the Finish Line into the After Dash Bash™, filled with performers, music, food/drinks, and tons of Ultra Violet Blacklight! Every participant becomes part of the show as they blink and glow the night away in this one of a kind 5k extravaganza! You’ve never experienced anything like this!

The entry fee is currently $25 but will be increasing very soon.

Check out more details or about a run near you here

They are having on in Denver, and this is your chance to join in on the fun for free!

Denver, CO

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
Aug 9th, 2014

6:00 pm

I will definitely be there and would love for you to join me!

All you have to do is comment on this post, 
or ANY of the outlets that I post to on social media for a chance to win!

Good Luck!!!
 See you in the dark!

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Eisy Gideon and Mommy Insecurity

Today is my littlest one's 10 month birthday. I can not believe that only 2 months from now he will be one already. I have neglected to write enough about him, and so today I wanted to do that.

He is a light and a joy!

Ashton was a pretty easy baby, but I say E is probably that much more easy.

His little personality is really laid back, like my husband and my dad.

I am over all pretty laid back, but I am for sure the dramatic one of the two of us, so every once in a while I see that drama rising up in him, oh dear.

He sometimes will scream like mad when he doesn't get his way, but mostly he only gets upset when he is hungry, tired or sick. Other than that he is Mr. Smiler.

I feel like this year has flown by in having a second child. Mostly because the months of his life have just been so chaotic and it's all just flying by.

Somedays it's nice to see how independant he is getting and then others, I still can't believe I have two kids and I just want to snuggle him some more before it's all over, that baby stage.

At 10 months Eisy is crawling like a pro, cruising, and standing while letting go. They told me this week at our church camp when he was in the nursery that he was walking behind one of those push toys with wheels, so maybe walking is not too far away. Ashton walked at 11 months, so we will see, I know he is his own little self. He can say "MOM" which he usually screams when he is mad, but his favorite right now is Da-da-da or sometimes daddy! A couple times, I kid you not, I have heard him yell out "Aaaton" {Ashton}. He can also "say" all-done in sign language and with inflection but not every time. 

He LOVES his brother. Oh my, two nights ago we were driving home from my parents house and Ashton was making Eisy laugh harder than I had ever heard him laugh, then I was laughing. It's was one of those mommy treasure it up in your heart moments. He is starting to get big enough to be able to interact more with his big brother. Sometimes Ashton will hand him a controller so they can play video games together.

I love having my boys.
I am lo-key by nature, a "be-er" more than a "do-er" so most the time being a stay at home mom is no problem for me. Sometimes I may use it as an excuse to stay isolated and then wonder why my life doesn't feel more whole.

 Maybe it's completely normal to feel like you are a little scared at all times that you are failing your children. That every day you have this big mirror in your face to remind you just how selfish you really are. How much they are dependent on you in every way, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, to show them how to be human sometimes bears its weight. 

Let me just get really honest, I don't think "mothering" comes to me naturally. I love my children but I don't look at it as though it's in my DNA to know how to be a great mother. Maybe it might be more that I look at how other women mother and then make unhealthy comparisons. 

I feed my kid chicken nuggets and waffles and not enough vegetables.

They go to bed too late, most nights.

And if you have been on the internet recently you probably read that article about 5 minutes in a mom's head and that is just about right. 

One thing I heard recently was do you do what you do for your kids because it is what is best for them and your family or because you don't want to be embarrassed by what others think of you. I know that the latter enters my mind more than I want it to.

It all started when I had to have c-sections and couldn't/chose not to breast feed, I think you are immediately kicked out of the "good mom club" right then and there, at least it felt that way. 

I have been trying hard to work on what I allow to enter my mind in regards to negative thinking because it was one of the greatest causes of my depression, but it still happens.

You see, Eisy struggles greatly with eczema, rashes, and allergies of some sort. We keep steroid cream on him perscribed by the doctor along with daily baths and alternating with other gentle lotions perscribed by our pediatrician. It works, and then it stops working.

Sometimes his skin itches him so bad that, if his nails have gotten too long, he leaves large scratches on his precious little face. These heal withing a day or two and I have to really stay on top of his nails, but I know this is not the source of the problem and we need to do something.

OK, here is my REAL honesty right now.

MOMS ARE REALLY OPINIONATED. No offense if you are one, I know I probably tend to be as well, we only want what is "best for the children" and if we have ever been through one instance with our own child then we are immediately experts on EVERYONE else's child. 

I cower from the glaring and judgemental eyes and speak the words they are not speaking, "how could you allow your child to suffer this way, what a BAD MOM". 

I hate jumping on bandwagons, I like to keep things simple and do what I have known to work. I rarely express opinions about things I haven't done explicit checking into and found to be true because it just makes one look ignorant. But I feel like so many "health" things are just trends and that if you are not on some kind of healthy "in-crowd" that you are looked down upon by those people, which makes me want to run away from them even more.

Perhaps God has allowed me to feel this way to help me get how people who don't believe the same way Christians do often feel the need to run as far and fast as possible from our possible "we are so much smarter, better, holier than you are" mentality. No one likes to be made to feel stupid or not enlightened to the "better way".
Please don't take offense if you are promoting any healthy lifestyle thing, this is less to do about anyone or anything in particular and more about my lack of knowledge and not wanting to join a "health club" just because it is the in thing to do and not because I, personally, have found it to be the truth and not just jumping into "what's cool" blindly. Whether it be essential oils, eating organic, being gluten-free, being Paleo, not doing cross-fit, or drinking enough protein shakes, it all just rubs me the wrong way for some reason, and some of my greatest friends do one if not several of the for mentioned things. 

But here is the truth, I grew up with no allergies, none. I never had any major, or long lasting health issues, I was spoiled in that way. Yes, maybe they are polluting our food now with all sorts of things that are now causing a rise in all these allergies, and I feel like I want to be in denial about it because it is not something I know, it just seems trendy, and I tend to run from doing anything too trendy. (Have I said this enough, I think I am trying to explain it to myself).

But now, here I am, a mom, and I am not just in charge of my health only, but also my children. I think there are some things that don't need to be made a big deal, unless my child begins puking from McDonalds I will probably buy him a Happy Meal now and then, that is just me. But here I am with Eisy and his skin and something is not right and just ignoring it or hoping it will just resolve itself doesn't seem likely.

Some ladies I came in contact with this week were sure that E has a gluten allergy, just the idea made me want to vomit in my mouth for 2 reasons. One, that I feel like a incredibly bad mom for not knowing for sure already and two, ughhhhh it just feels like it's a hip thing to do to be gluten free. Now before anyone jumps on my case, just let me write what I really feel. I have 2 close friends who are gluten free, one with straight Celiac disease, one of the first I had ever heard who had it, and I know she wouldn't have it if she didn't have to, it's just some people make it a "thing" when it might not be a real "thing" for them, it's just "healthy". Like when Jimmy Kimmel interviewed the folks outside the health club asking if they were gluten-free, and they all were, and only one of them even knew what it was or what it did to their body.

I guess what it boils down to is that I hate being FAKE. This is the bottom line. I don't want to be all "green" because I want acceptance, yep I think that is it. That there is this condition for acceptance and the truth is I can't do everything everyone think I should do is best, because that is impossible. But instead of looking into what I can or should do for what is best for me, Eisy, Daniel, Ashton, I just throw the baby out with the bathwater and say "Oh yea??? Judge me for that!" 

I have worked so hard to remove myself from jumping through other people's manipulative hoops just to ease my conscience that I am being "nice" and "agreeable". I am so agreeable by nature and want people to feel comfortable around me and part of that is not disagreeing with their way of doing things, this is part of myself that irritates me.
Just writing about it is helping me figure out the source of all these things, the underline feelings that get conjured up and to be honest the fear that I am not smart enough or perhaps don't have the self discipline enough to really change my diet, let alone the kids. Being a failure is a real fear.

On Sunday at church when I was volunteering I met a girl who is a dietitian and she seemed so down to earth and not judgmental, I think I need to talk more to her. She knows the science behind things all the while give you space to come to the conclusions about it. I don't need any more rules and regulations that make me feel stupid, so I need to find another way.

Have any of you ever felt something like this? Has anyone ever struggled with their child through something similar? Thank you for your thoughts and kindness.

 My baby love, I will fight for you. I love you so much.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Audacious Faith and Running Another Marathon

Last night I was on a hot quick three mile jog and was struggling through the hot miles and my sore muscles from Saturday's long run. Here I am again attempting to train for another marathon.

I came across my old marathon training vlogs and think I am going to try and make those again, even though I am already 4 weeks in. This time I feel like I am in some sort of delusional fog about it. Maybe it's because I have done it before, I actually know that my body can travel such distance.

Those last 6 miles were killer for me, I definitely "hit the wall" but I got across that finish line.

Here is the thing, I am totally training this time on faith, one run at a time. I know there are runners of all shapes and sizes, but sometimes as I am running I feel like I am an unlikely candidate to be a marathoner.

Only 6 months ago I was recovering from two dislocated knees that had me even unable to take care of my kids, and even though I had lost quite a bit since having my son last August I am still quite a bit over where I would like to be. Regardless it's a lot of weight to lug around on long runs and a bum knee.

On one of my first weeks on a short run my knee was killing me, the same day I decided to step out in faith and sign up for and PAY for the marathon on Aug 17. I was having strong doubts that my knee would make it that day, but I just told the Lord that I would trust Him one run at a time.

This is one thing He has been showing me, that we only have this day we are in. Why worry and stress in how we are going to get to three months from now, that bridge will come in time. This is the same for running. How am I going to run 20 miles in several weeks? I don't know, but I don't have to run 20 miles today. Today it may be 3, or 5, seemingly insignificant in comparison, but many times its the insignificant things that get you to the super significant. The day in and day out.

The thing is, it is harder some days more than others. Somedays I feel amazing and fast, others day I feel like I have to tell my body "listen I am the one in charge here." And I guess this is one of the many reasons training for a marathon is such a picture of me that parallels my faith.  It is such a big feat that the idea paralyzes most people, surely my body couldn't do that. But that is faith, "being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see". I don't see myself as that "runner" girl, and yet I have run on and off for four years. What I like about it is that I am unlikely, that I have something inside me that others may not recognize, that on most days, I don't recognize and it's this really tangible way to see it.

Believing again for that next run when you were hurting pretty bad from the last one, and then having an amazing run. That fight, that spirit inside that says, "I am going to try again". 

So much like life, I may not look the part, I may not be the best, or fastest, but I am here, I am alive, and I am going to give everything I have to do something because through Christ, all things are possible. It's not so much about all that, it's about making it through something you weren't sure was possible, and your faith is another muscle fatigued stronger that next time.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Listen: What God is Teaching Me {Encouragement}

Today I am linking up through (in)courage's "the power of encouragement" and had already written this post about all God is teaching me and so wondered if they could be two in one?

I looked up the word 
it means
to give hope, confidence, or support to someone

if that doesn't describe what God has been doing in my life, then I don't know what does. He has given me much hope, rebuilt my confidence in Him and therefore in myself, and supported me 
{drug me, carried me, whatever you want to call it} 
through every valley and desert.

Today I was reminded that my word for the year is "Listen", sometimes I forget that and have to refocus on what it is I am meant to be focusing on. I feel like I have been busier in my life, I have no idea why either, and its pretty uncharacteristic for my life, but so it is. 

I have not been writing at all, and if you happen to be reading this, you will know that. But, then I tend to go with my feeling on it, which maybe not the best thing to do, and rather need to practice more in my writing. Yet, knowing that my word is Listen, I know that listening is about being still and quiet much more than rambling away, so maybe that is part of it.

I feel that since my birthday things have lightened up. 
I feel that the Lord sort of spoke to me that this was a new season, so I certainly hope in that. I have more of a peace than in a long time, and I am enjoying that. 

If I haven't written about it before, which I may have, one of the biggest impressions I have felt from the Lord is this transference of thought in who exactly this life is all about. We tend to want God to bless our plans that we have for ourselves, in the time we deem fit. I feel He has reminded me that this is not how it works, I am blessed to be a part of His kingdom but it is in fact, His. That He has created me for a specific purpose and given me specific gifts, but these aren't things I strive, fight and stress over. No, He will make a way, in fact nothing can stop Him, but in truth, I have little if anything to do with it. Really, all by Him, for Him, through Him. It's not my job to wonder if others confirm my calling, gifting, or whatever, actually it's my job to serve people and not worry if I get noticed at all. We get so swept up in getting validated in our culture, you really have to be conscious to not gauge yourself against others.
 Just do me, and be me, and be free. 

It's this new awareness of His God-ness, His Other-ness, His Holyness. That He is to be feared, in that, He is to be respected, obeyed, honored. He is so big, so sovereign, not to be taken lightly. That we should be on our faces more often than wagging our finger with our hand on our hips when we don't get our way. This idea of remembering WHO it is I am actually talking to. 

It reminds me of this idea in Job where God addresses Job in chapter 40...

The Lord said to Job:
“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
    Let him who accuses God answer him!”
Then Job answered the Lord:
“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
    I put my hand over my mouth.
I spoke once, but I have no answer
    twice, but I will say no more.”
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm:
“Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.
“Would you discredit my justice?
    Would you condemn me to justify yourself?

He goes on with all the questions He has for Job, basically in my summary 

"Sit down son, and remember to whom you speak"

I think this is something that I have forgotten too easily. 
As the Nichole Nordeman song says 

How does one approach a Deity
with informality
And still protect the Sacred?

Face down on the ground do I dare 
To take the liberty to stare at you
Oh, let me 
Oh, let me not forget to tremble

"the cradle and the grave could not contain your divinity, neither can I over simplify this love"

So, this idea of His grandness, which I still don't totally get, which I still don't honor the way I should. And I think this is the thing, that I have had such sweet times of intimacy with the Lord as well, where He loves me in the details. Marrying these two ideas seems impossible. How can I have intamacy with this amazingly Holy God where the angels are covering their eyes and feet and yelling "Holy, Holy, Holy" to each other about Him. The One in whose presence Isaiah said "Woe to me and my people, I am man of unclean lips"?

But I did feel like the Lord brought me some clarity in that this past weekend. That because Jesus became a man, this is how we can have intimacy with Him.  Actually anything beautiful and good that involves interaction between us and God is because and through Jesus. 

I want to delight in Him, I want His joy to be my strength. And with the Holy Spirit, I want Him to open my eyes and ears, I want to know Him more, see more of Him, just get it more. And as I write this I am realizing that I am sort of learning the relationship that I have with each person of the God head. With God, I revere in His Holiness, in Jesus, He walks with me, He is my way to God, how God see's me as Holy, comes near me in my pain, laughs with me in my joy. The Holy Spirit, He guides me, teaches me, counsels me, changes me, reveals to me, and so much more. 

God is so real, just walk with Him a while and it becomes beyond evident.
I met with my counselor last Tuesday, just telling her all I have learned about myself recently. It has been life altering, and for the better. There is no way I could have come to these conclusions on my own, I have this Holy Counselor, you see? She was so excited, told me I was one of her favorite clients, and that she thought it was so cool in how far I had come. Never have I had such peace, and peace is so valuable when you have lived without it for so long. Realizing I am a fighter, and that can be a really powerful thing.

Speaking of fighting for something, I have started training for another marathon. I am not sure that my head is entirely around this idea yet, but I have paid for it. My knee has been giving me some pretty throbbing pain, but I am training by faith, one run at a time. This is another thing God is teaching me, I can only live one day at a time, but that these little days aren't as meaningless as they may seem sometime. That when training for a marathon it's the many 3 mile, 5 mile, smaller runs in the middle of the week for many weeks in a row, that get you to that 26.2 in the end that day. That every day matters, because it's the only one I have. I may not know what He wants me to do in the future, what I am "called" to, what job Daniel will get, but I do know that today I have two little boys to take care of and so that is what I will do. 

So I will keep you posted on how that training goes.

Lastly, or maybe the one last thing that is at the forefront of my mind in what God is teaching me, is that my place of freedom is on the other side of my obedience, or disobedience as the case may be. 

For so long I have heard the concept of the promise land, like the Isrealites after they left Egypt. Instead of going straight there in the week or two it should have taken they literally wondered around in the wildness for something like 400 years. What a waist. I don't want to waist time or my life. I want to be engaged, be intentional about LISTENING to what God is teaching me, convicting me of, wanting to prune, refine, whatever, and DOING that thing. 

Where I want to be, where we want to be, walking in the wide open spaces of freedom, peace, and more of God is often just on the other side of our own rebellion. Yes, I want God, but I don't want to give up....fill in the blank. For me, God is pointing out my selfishness in my marriage and my use of food to soothe me.

These are two things I want to be better, not that they are completely bad in and of themselves, but the places I want growth and change I tend to want to blame shift. If I learned anything huge in the past 8 months is that I can only change me, so I need to stop looking around at whose fault it might be, and do what I need to do.

Here is the thing, this sucks and is really hard. You start noticing how much you think things should be your way at home, you think "no, he needs to know that I am NOT ok with this laundry left like this" or "it is HIS turn to take the kids, I need a break". Man, you just realize when you are trying to make the first move in dying to yourself, that it's really eye opening. That I'm really stubborn, and right fighter, and "but if I don't stand up for myself....." but I heard a good thing not long ago, I think from Steven Furtick, that if you give away your rights it doesn't bother you when people don't give them to you. So, I'm trying in this.

The food thing, always a struggle. But I have to give God control there too, if I want to be really free and that not to be an issue,'s just on the other side of that disobedience, i.e. too much ice cream, too many nights out, too much not caring like it's a part of my life God doesn't really care about.

The Holy Spirit is sure good at His job, and He wants all of me, all of us, and won't let up until that is happening, to the day we die. 

I just want to cooperate, I want the MORE, I want as much of Him as I can possibly get as soon as I can get it. I want to live a life set apart, because of Him, for Him and by Him. 

Because, it really is All about Him.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My 32nd Year of Life, one of my hardest

I haven't written in a while and I can't tell you entirely why, mostly I suppose because I didn't have an easy way to do it, and that has been remedied. But one of my goals for 2014 was to write at least once a week, so I am going to try to get back into that.

This post may feel a little depressing, or maybe it will encourage you that none of us are alone in seasons of hardship? I know this year wasn't hard compared to many others lives, but compared to my own life, I would say it was one of the hardest years I have ever had, and I had thought that I had already experienced some difficult ones. Take any one of the incidents that happened they wouldn't have been all that bad, but maybe because they were all piled on top of one another it just felt like being beat up, I am sure many of you can relate.

I write these things as remembrance, because after I wrote all these things out in my journal I was sort of taken back by how hard the year really had been, but then, the next day I thanked the Lord for all the ways that HE had been faithful, so I will include those here too. This is my life, and if I don't remember it than no one else will, right? This is long and detailed, proceed having been forewarned ;) 

When I turned 32 I was about 20 weeks pregnant with my second son, Eisy. I think there was part of me that wanted to have a girl because I already had a boy, but I can't imagine life without him now. Actually on my birthday last year my birthday present was a ultrasound to find out if I was having a girl or boy. My husband had changed jobs in March after 6 years with the same company and so we were then in the 90 day waiting period for our insurance to kick back in, so yes, for three months I didn't go to my OB/GYN so we went and paid to find out. After much looking since E has his legs over his head, we finally saw it was another boy, and that he would be a big boy as well, just like his brother.

I had stopped taking my anti-depressants, obviously, when I found out I was pregnant with him and honestly I was feeling pretty good emotionally. I think I was sort of gearing up for pregnancy because it's not necessarily easy on me. The previous fall I had died my hair dark and I really wanted to go back to blond, so my mom also bought me a hair appointment for my birthday, he added a few blond highlights, and it looked better than the botched job that I had done, but it wasn't back to blond and I just didn't feel like myself.

I had seen a few times a girl that just listened to me about my relationship with the Lord and prayed with me and encouraged me. She said I needed to be in a time of receiving from Him instead of trying to do anything, so that is what I started to do. I was really struggling at church because I just felt so empty, like I really had nothing to give. I felt the Lord ask me to set apart six months for Him and really focus on spending time with Him, receiving from Him, and letting Him give me my identity again, it was for sure lost. To find again my authentic self. 

For what had turned into years I had become familiar with hating myself, with always doubting myself and with thinking horrible thoughts toward myself that I presumed others were thinking about me. I think it was more self hatred and a real oppression of sorts. It all contributed to my depression. Comparing myself and trying to keep everyone happy had simply become exhausting, but instead of looking at myself and trying to make changes in me, I figured it was someone else's fault and someone needed to save me. That someone was Jesus himself.

He took me through this six months that I called my "dark period" mostly because of my hair, but it was hard. I was pregnant, in summer, we seemed broker than ever and I felt really rejected by people. I felt that I wasn't a good Christian because I simply couldn't pull myself up by my bootstraps, I felt people were irritated with me for pulling out of ministry and I was stuck at home with no car. 

As these months rolled on I felt things with the Lord grew deeper, that He was speaking to me at a rate I simply couldn't digest fast enough. An over arching theme was definitely humility. That I was not supposed to get my identity from what I did, from people who I wanted to approve of me, from my hair, my appearance, etc. That the Lord asked me to stop striving after any of these for a while, just focus on who He said I was, because the was the only way I would really find out.

The other overall message of this season was one of hope. That as I grew with a child inside me that He was also birthing new life in me spiritually. That this was so similar to growing a child in the fact that I have no control over it, I am just the host, and I do the best to keep myself engaged in the process so that I remain healthy, but I have no say in the timing or way or problems or shape things take. That at first its just a personal knowing that something new is growing, and slowly, over time people can tell and see and notice. Also the idea that eventually you have this baby, everyone sees this new addition to your family and you are changed forever, but you don't know what they will look like, what they will be like, how it will all play out, you are basically just along for the ride, isn't that so much like life?

I felt incredibly alone, I felt I was having tension with everyone, probably because there was no peace to be found in myself even though I so desperately wanted it. One of my only friends also moved with her family our of state. I felt really rejected by everyone else. My mom planned me a baby shower and only one of my friends that I invited came, I tried not to be sad but it really hurt my feelings. Just little things, that were big things at the time happened. Daniel was out of town for a week when I was well pregnant, taking care of Ashton, and my molar tooth started killing me. It was unbearable and I was screaming in pain from it. I tried to go to the dentist but they wouldn't do much on me because I was so pregnant and they couldn't x-ray or anything, they just told me I would have to wait a few months till I could get it taken care of, what?

I was really worried about our money situation and always assumed the way God would provide would be in a certain way. I knew we needed to tithe and we did, and things seemed to get worse. We were barely making it, our car payment was killing us and we had missed it one too many times. I had no idea how we would get all the little things that you need when you have a baby, but was thankful the insurance was back in flow and was able to return to the doctor and get caught up. My c-section was scheduled for September 3rd and this baby was on track to be bigger than Ashton, and he was 9lb9oz. Ay ay ay!

When August rolled around I knew this was the last month of my 6 months the Lord asked me to set aside, but just as this was the hardest month physically it would also be the hardest personally as well. I thought I knew what that meant, but I didn't. I knew we were struggling with our car payment but I thought, "this is something we need, we only have one car to begin with, and Daniel has to have a way to get to work, God provides needs." One night I had just rolled over to go to sleep when I heard what sounded like a semi outside our window, it drove away and I thought nothing of it, but then it came back. I looked out the window and there was the tow truck at 11pm hitching up our family car. It was so devastating I think because Daniel had bought it when we were dating, it had our stroller, the car seat, even my 26.2 sticker on the back, it was like watching a part of our lives being taken away. I woke up Daniel and we slightly freaked out, just sat there, staring out our window, crying about what in the world we would do now? Thankfully my brother was able to bring over my parents car they had been using as a second car so Daniel could get to work the next morning, we are still driving that car in fact.

I didn't understand why the Lord was allowing all this, I just kept thinking He wasn't being faithful the way He said He was going to. Yet at the same time I was experiencing this intimacy with Him. The interesting thing was the I was doing Priscilla Shirer's Gideon study during this time. So many parallels and now that I am a bit removed from the situation I would probably be overwhelmed by the words I really needed during that time. How God called Gideon to fight the enemy, Gideon kept asking for confirmation, and once he finally assembled the army God kept slimming it down. Surely that was few enough, not anymore God, no take more away. The same was for us, I thought it had been quite enough, God had other thoughts in mind. I decided to name Eisy after this study, this character from the Bible that God saw as more than he saw himself, this "mighty warrior" who was hiding in the wine press because he was scared of his circumstances.

I kept wondering if my dates were wrong with the pregnancy because they kept measuring him so large, so I started praying I would go into labor if they were off. For some reason this trusting God through all of this process was huge for me because my birthing process with Ashton had also been pretty hard on me and I was really nervous about that. I knew this six months was almost over, then I would have this baby, and hopefully things would change. I started having regular contractions on August 26th and went into to see the doctor, he checked me but he said I wasn't in labor, so I went home. My parents took Ashton that night, just in case because my contractions had been so regular. Daniel and I walked around Target, slowly and went to chic-fil-a and the contractions stopped and I had a pretty good sleep that night. The next morning, right after Daniel left for work, gush, my water broke. Wait, was it my water? I never experienced any of that with Ashton, yep, for sure, there is no mistaking that. Called Daniel back and told my mom and we headed to the hospital where another gush as I stood up out of the car, that wasn't embarrassing, ha. They got me into a c-section an hour later and Eisy Gideon was born at 9:30 on August 27th, 2013. As they were cleaning him off and sewing me up I asked Daniel, "does he look like Ashton?" he just shook his head, nooo. I like to refer to him as our little white surprise, ha.

Knowing what to expect this time around seemed to help a lot. I really wanted to breastfeed because that didn't work out with Ashton but even now, that he is totally on formula, I almost wish I would had done formula from the beginning. I know all judgements that could come along with this, but it was just so hard on me, I can't explain it, and it makes bonding with them so hard because I am constantly feeling like a failure and frustrated. But besides that, the recovery and hospital part wasn't so bad. And here he was, in the world, just at the end of this six month period that was so significant to me, and I was even home by the time the month ended.

My parents came over for me every day while I was recovering from the c-section, not nearly as devastating to me as it had been the first time. It seemed, again, a bit humbling to have them come over every day to help me in that way, little did I know what was to come a few months later when I would need them even more, but it was very helpful. My friend Holly came out and my sister came out, and I felt, OK.

I knew that now my pregnancy hormones were gone, but I felt like I was coping alright emotionally. So far everything had gone so smoothly. I knew I was familiar with those old feelings of depression that I would hopefully recognize it sooner, but it just feels like bad days that last too long, and it's harder to detect than you might think.

I started notice things were getting harder to handle, pressure from relationships I couldn't handle, no support, but what support did I need, I didn't even know? I began running again a bit, I put a goal out there to run a 5k on Thanksgiving and began to train, I also slowly began to lose some of the baby weight. I felt good in that aspect, so why was I still struggling so in other areas, I can't even remember what happened really. It was around this time also that I was eating ice, like I had done A LOT of while pregnant, and my FRONT tooth chipped off right down the middle. I cried. I had finally found a solution to my sore molar by getting a root canal started through the dental school after trying to go through our dentist and crying at the endondontist when they wanted me to pay $1000 on the spot for the root canal that day, that I didn't have. Now here I was with a hole in my smile, it remains that way to this day. It's hard, but I assume part of this humbling experience for me.

Maybe there was more of a build up then I remember, but it always seems to happen in October for some reason, right near my brother's birthday, and it did again. I was just crying and alone and feeling rejected, alone, misunderstood. I was letting all these horrible things sit in my head that I liked to tell myself through other people's mouths, that they had never said. Sure they might have thought some of them, but anyone who sits in those things is going to get depressed, let me tell you. One night I was up all night, I was feeling desperate and to be honest, suicidal. I can't even grasp back to that time to tell you a reason other than I really believed I was stuck, nothing would ever get better and I everyone hated me and thought I was a huge burden and annoyance to them. I text all my family this bizarre text about how I was such a burden, about how I wasn't OK, and why did everyone hate me and be so fake. Something along those lines, it all seems so crazy now, but at the time I know it was my way of needing people, and then hating myself for being needy. It was a text that was saying, I need you while screaming, I hate you.

No one responded to me, not one person. This devastated me even more. Who do I turn to when I want to end my life. I wanted to punish them and make them sorry when I was dead. Sorry if this is extreme, but it's real, and it's the only way I know how to be about it. I even thought that I would tell Daniel if I did kill myself that they weren't allowed to come to my funeral. The truth was they couldn't have known the depth of my desperation and they certainly didn't know what to do to help me. When Daniel had me think what I would have done if I had gotten a text from one of my siblings out of the blue like that what I would have responded, I wasn't sure I wouldn't have done much different. They just didn't know what to do.

I talked to a few friends who had struggled with depression during this time, I needed someone, anyone. One friend really encouraged me that she got to a point where she just said, F it, to be blunt. To just let go, give up, this was the only option left. I took this to heart and by doing so, I started releasing my family, my expectations, just letting go, really. I mean, Let it Go, is a popular theme right now, but I don't think I had any clue what that even meant, not really. I came to the realization that no one understood, even if I wanted them to, I wanted them to be my people, to get it, to help, they couldn't, not these people. I had to let it go. I had to do what I knew I had to do, those things that trapped me in fear, those things that paralyzed me, that I felt I couldn't do, those were the things I had to do.

I found my old prescription of anti-depressants and made a new appointment with my doctor's office with a new doctor as mine had left. I found a free counselor, thanks to God, and made an appointment. I took control of things, I made steps in the direction I had to go, and I decided I needed to stop think I wasn't worth the effort, money, whatever. So, OK, the prescription cost near $100 a month, it has to be a priority, period. Getting my husband home from work early so I could go to the counselor, it wasn't being selfish, I wasn't being an inconvenience, it was necessary for my health, for the health of my family.

This changed everything for the better. Going to the counselor weekly, where she pointed out that I had a bully in my head that I let run things. That my self image was a dorky girl, cowering in the corner, letting this bully in my mind call me all kinds of names and shoving me around. And I let her, I let her because I believed them as truth, that I deserved to be called those things because if they are true, you have to accept them.

Who knows how exactly things changed, they just did, slowly, over time. I ran that 5k on Thanksgiving and I had lost some weight. Things were looking up, feeling positive. From Thanksgiving to December 31st things were good, smooth, nice. Things seemed to be evening out a bit.

January first I went to work out and dislocated my knee, badly. Go back a few posts down here on the blog if you want to read all the details of that. Both on the first and again on the second. For three weeks my parents then had to come and help me with the kids mostly because I couldn't walk and carry Eisy at the same time. Humbling, once again.

I finally got into an orthopedic surgeon three weeks after it happened, had an MRI to make sure there was no broken bones fragments floating inside, and there were not, so I was off to physical therapy.

I started going there twice a week, it was a fun way to get out of the house, have grown up interaction there and having a place to talk twice a week with my mom and going to coffee. Daniel and I seemed to be a bit distant however, between having an infant, my knee being out of commission which made me really out of commission, and work being what it always is, we were just missing the whole keeping in touch with our marriage thing. Here's the truth, I started liking the attention that I was getting at my physical therapist. I think this is somewhat normal as they are helping you to feel better, talking to you on a regular basis, etc. but during this time I was reviewing that AHA book. (I somewhat wrote about this in the review). He began speaking in the book about warnings the Lord gives you and you have a chance to heed them or ignore them. I knew through this and many other aspects the Lord was warning me about this situation. I wanted to rationalize it, it was nothing, nothing had happened, nothing was going to happen, but the fact that I was thinking about it more, worrying about it, I knew this was a red flag. I felt like I was being "seen" again, that I was acting more of myself through this growing process of trusting God through these hard times. That I was beginning to be more of my authentic self and feeling proud of myself again. I was comfortable with myself and I enjoyed the attention, even if it was truly innocent on both parties. It wasn't from my husband I started feeling uncomfortable about it.

I talked to Daniel about it and we decided I shouldn't go back, but then as my next scheduled appointment approached over the next couple days I started rationalizing I was being so silly. I had my kids worked out, my ride, my outings that I personally enjoyed. I asked Daniel, he said he trusted me and that I was choosing us. I got in the car that Saturday and drove towards my appointment. I felt the Lord saying, no. I wasn't 100% sure He was saying it, but I thought it was better for me to obey then ignore, so I did. I told Him, "well my knee is important and I want full use of it again, but I will be married to Daniel all my life too, and I can find another PT, but please heal me because of my obedience to you today". I honestly believe He has. My bend is significantly greater and I plan on trying to run on it soon, I am so thankful.

We also started going to a new church around the end of the year and a few weeks after I dislocated my knee went to learn about becoming members. Daniel began to help in Jr High which has been extremely life giving to him and we are getting more involved. They did a 40 day fast up until Easter and we decided to participate. We decided to pray for our marriage, our finances, and for new opportunities. We fasted every day up until 5 and then broke the fast. I found out 40 days is a long time. I hope to write another post about what I learned during that time specifically later on, but we were hit again during this time.

Our car broke down, they started making Daniel work till 8 and everyone got sick. I think because he had been fasting one Saturday night Daniel passed out in the kitchen, thankfully not very hurt. We had no car and were having to rent a car for far too long for our finances. But just when I thought we wouldn't be able to afford our groceries, the tax return that took us FOREVER to file because we didn't have Eisy's SS# came in, and a man who I had prayed with at one of our prayer meetings offered for us to use his suburban as long as we needed to. Humbling.

So as this year of my life has come to a close I am overwhelmed both by the difficulty, the pain, the confusion and the mistrust I experienced, and then the provision, the love, the faithfulness, the change, the depth that I have also experienced. I have been listening to Steven Furticks sermons and one phrase that really has stuck with me through this experience has been that we pray for the Greater thing from God, and that doesn't always mean MORE, BETTER, HIGHER, or MORE MONEY, like we would want, like we would expect, especially here in America, that sometimes the GREATER thing is actually DEEPER. And this has been what this season has been for me.

The over arching lesson is that I am worth choosing things that bring me life, that I matter, and that I can fight for what brings me health, and on the other side, that this life is not about me. Don't ask me how they reside in one lesson, but they do. That I am part of God's story, He has made me to be a part that matters to the things He is doing, I don't get to write my own story and then get irritated with Him when they don't play out the way I want. That He showed me, even just this last Sunday that my trust has been more in the circumstances working out the way that I think they should, the way I see them playing out to my best interest, and not in HIM as a person, the one I choose to trust because He is good. He has proven it again and again, and I can stomp my feet that He provided in a humiliating way, but I can't say He didn't provide. That when you look at the Bible, how often does He choose to do things the most explainable, logical, easiest way...hmmm, rarely.

And so, I am grateful, grateful for having learned new things. I want to know Him more, and He has shown me more about Himself and in turn, myself because of all these difficulties. I am learning to trust Him, not just asking Him to remedy my discomfort so I can go on without Him on my own way and then again get irritated with Him when He isn't jumping though my hoops. His story, not mine. He must become greater, I must become less.

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