The last few weeks of my life, hmm...I take that back, perhaps the last couple months, have truly been a whirlwind of emotions. Some of the reasons I feel quite validated being emotional over and some of the others I feel that I just need a good slap across the face. Nonetheless, the emotions, both good and bad, have definitely been there.
I have been trying to get back to the roots of who I am...really trying to become the person I love. Honestly, as silly as it sounds, blogging has been a big part of this effort. I love to write and it is such an effortless and natural way for me to communicate and express myself. I started exercising again when Son was about six months old, but I wasn't exceptionally dedicated. After watching this season's Biggest Loser, I have really been feeling the tug to get up and get serious about my health. I know that my children look to me to be the example for them and how they should live their lives, and I want to make all the best choices possible. So, inspired by the Biggest Loser, I started trying to figure out an affordable and motivating way to get moving. Right around the same time, a couple friends mentioned the Disney half-marathon that they were participating in. After reading about it, I realized that the fees are a little out of my league this time around, especially considering that I am really not a seasoned runner and don't want to put so much $$ into it before I feel it is really "my thing." However, I am training with a couple friends who are doing it, and I am going to try my best to keep up and get in tip top shape! Woo hoo! I have already felt a surge of energy and just been in a better mood this week after only running three times! So I do feel really excited about that!
We have also started to go to church again. This was a huge burden on my heart. We were going pretty regularly until we moved in September. Our old churches were further than we wanted to drive and somehow, every Sunday there seemed to be a new excuse why we couldn't go. Well, this last Sunday, we finally stopped making excuses and went to church. We went to one that wasn't our top choice, but the service turned out to be great and the kids really enjoyed themselves. It was so exciting to see Daughter come out of her class and show me the craft she made and tell me all about what she did. Her age is so incredible right now; she is changing and growing up, literally right in front of my eyes. It is overwhelming!
So there you have it...life has been throwing quite a few curve balls lately and God has been teaching me to lean on Him and find the lesson through it all. I have learned to not only pray that God would reveal the lesson He wants me to learn, but to also show me how to use it. I have learned about envy, gossip and greed and how they can be poison to surrounding people and relationships. Through these situations I am learning to use those lessons to be a better person and to be the friend to others that I want in my life.
Through blogging I have learned to be transparent and how much it is appreciated when you are honest and truthful about who you are; people are grateful to see that everyone else is having a bad hair day, has naughty children sometimes, or just wants to cry (or scream). It is a protective wall that we sometimes put up - but it is not our real lives. We do not bake cookies and make crafts every day and our children are not always smiling with pressed clothes and matching shoes. I think we all need to see the reality that is life and learn that it is nothing to be shameful of; it is an honesty than can help us lean on one another and learn from each other.
When I first was reading about the half marathon, I was disappointed that we wouldn't be able to afford the registration fee. I thought "I want a goal, a purpose; something to work towards, attain and complete." I felt pangs of jealousy and had to argue them back down. I was driving, running errands, and thinking about this, when I literally heard God tell me
"Hush, you have a goal...reach it."
I knew right there that God wanted me to focus the devotion that I had building for the race on Him. I am already running a race and He desires that I am looking only to Him for purpose. Wow...I couldn't believe that I had let this disappointed feeling consume my heart, even for just the short time it did. I realized that it had taken my eyes away from my Lord, and that was unpleasing. I asked God to help guide me back to my path, to my race, and to help me run it with fervor and pride. I have His name on my chest and I will hold my head high and run for Him. My race right now is to focus on becoming the beacon that He created me to be. So now, when I run in the mornings with the girls (and my hollering young children), I am trying to focus on Jesus. I have been humming hymns and worship songs, admiring the splendor of the early morning, and praying for God to push me to the end. No really, that prayer is often overtaking the humming. And it is fair to say that the prayer has very quickly become a desperate plea for help or an ambulance. ;o) Still, it has been glorious.
And my final lesson could very well be that slap across the face that I spoke of earlier. In church on Sunday, the Pastor read from Numbers 11. We went through the whole chapter, and let me tell you, if anyone ever says God has no sense of humor, this is the chapter to share. Anyway, for me, the entire impact of the chapter was summed up in the very first verse: Numbers 11:1 Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it and His anger was aroused.
Wow, I always thought it was just a pet peeve of parents! But no, our complaining is displeasing to and angers the Lord! Just sit on that for a minute. Pastor Gary went on to explain quite a few points, one of which was that when we are discontent and complaining, it is a sign that we are far from God. Honestly, my eyes got a little misty when he said that. I have been complaining a lot lately, about anything and everything! I don't mean to and I really don't consider myself much of a complainer, which proved to me even more that it really is a sign of distance from the Lord. And doesn't that just make perfect sense? If God created us the way we are, down to our very fiber and number of hairs on our head, if He carefully chose and placed us in each situation in our lives and thoughtfully set us on the path He desired for us, how insulting and inconsiderate is it for us to be discontent with His decisions?
That is really us questioning the Creator of the Universe, the Son of God, our Comforter, Advocate, our Faithful and True Deliverer, our King of Kings, Morning Star and Master. Our feelings of discontent are us being discontent with our Heavenly Father, the only One who has never had any other interest than our eternity and well-being in mind! How can we be discontent??
Pastor Gary challenged us to go one day without complaining about anything. Kenny and I are starting tomorrow. ;o) We said that yesterday and the day before, each day trying and failing. How wonderful that even with our discontentment, and even though I may drift, my Savior is still right where He has and will always be. Waiting for me with his arms wide open to hold me and accept me as I am and to help me be a better beacon for Him.
The past couple months have been filled with so many less than pleasant circumstances. The past couple months have broken me in so many ways. However, the Lord had lifted me up on His shoulders and is teaching me to give my life as a sacrifice. I did that when I was younger, and now I am learning to remit control to the One who deserves it all. I have been broken and sacrificed.