Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sheila Went to Be with Christ This Morning | Atlanta's J93.3

Sheila Went to Be with Christ This Morning | Atlanta's J93.3

I occasionally listen to this radioshow in the mornings while flipping to the FISH & my CD...it just really hit inside me somewhere. The people that impact your life in little ways you don't even think of, and brought home why were here.

To choose Him.

To love Him.

To show His love to others.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fear & Trust

"For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters. For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came." Job 3:24-26 KJV

Would you feel just as beautiful if you looked like you dreamed of, but were 20 pounds heavier?  This is a fear that many women have, which God brought to a friend of mine through a dream.

As I head to the gym yet again, instead of running I decided to do the arc trainer and listen to the fireman who told me I shouldn't run outside till it cools down a bit (I run at 4:30 pm so its crazy hot).  Also telling myself I'm just letting my knee rest a bit more, since it's bothering me a tink.  

This way I'll stretch it out really well first.

If God took away my ability to run-our runs together-would I be alright? Would I love Him the same? Seek after Him just as much?  Would I listen?

My answer to this question is a reluctant "only if you make me"

Has the thing I feared come upon me already?  My fear of not being able to run has begun to take hold before I even permanently hurt myself-from my fear of permanently hurting myself. 

Would I feel just as close to God if He chose to take away my runs with Him?

I've realized my fear of not being able to run has lead me to not running already.  It has also made me think of an even greater fear...
What if I lose the desire to run?  

I tell others all the time, that not everyone is a runner and not to do it if you don't enjoy it...but am I okay with becoming one of those individuals? While I still enjoy running now, I will admit not as much as before (which is a good thing with how my knees are already I'm not sure they could handle much more). What is it about not running that scares me so?  I already know how to keep in shape regardless so that's not it, and I enjoy hiking just as much outside and can bond with God through that or other means...

Is it the change?  Although I can bond with Him in other ways, I guess part of me is scared to lose that bond I already have with a good run.  Why do I feel less beautiful if I don't run sometimes?

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him." 
Job 13:15 KJV

I cannot say I have answers to these questions I pose upon myself, but as I soaked in a hot bath today pondering upon all these things, I changed my answer...if it is your will Lord, I will obey.

“He’ll be coming and going” [...] “One day you'll see him and another you won't. He doesn't like being tied down — and of course he has other countries to attend to. It's quite all right. He'll often drop in. Only you mustn't press him. He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion."
Mr. Beaver, in Ch. 17 : The Hunting of the White Stag
The Chronicles of Narnia

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Georgia red clay running self...

You always forget the joy of something when you're doing it all the time until you can't anymore, and then the memories always comeback the rare occasions you get to indulge again.

This came this morning when I got to do a morning run together with God. I used to love them, but the joy became commonplace until my schedule and weather made it so I couldn't anymore. So this morning, I remembered the joy of my old morning runs.

I started thinking about all those who got me to where I am physically.  Those that got me into working out, health, and running distance on trails.  Of course I would be the start when I decided to join a gym in the first place.  Jeremy would be the second.

I would have to thank him for enjoying the act of torturing me.  I remember getting so mad at him for almost everything.  Making me run for just 10 minutes on a treadmill...he would have to reach over and turn up my machine because I would refuse, and he would smile and laugh.  Or when he would make me do weights and then make fun of me the entire time, making statements about how I made ugly faces while I worked out. 

But he would push me, and had more faith in what I could do than I did, which might be why now I have such a problem always wanting to challenge myself with more.  He showed me I could do anything. 

He also was the start of my healthy diet-at a time when I ate horribly and he ate crazy healthy. In fact he had a plug in his old Lexus 'Lexy' so he could blend shakes right after working out.  I remember he built muscle so fast it would make me mad, and he would always tell me "if you would eat better maybe you would"...

...not enough motivation at the time...

I would just tell him to shut-up and smile back, but it planted seeds in this Georgia red clay, and they actually sprouted.

Then came the marine, Jake.  A close friend of mine who said that when he got back from his mission he wanted to run with me on the silver comet trail, not knowing the fullness of how much I really didn't like running...how much I loathed it. I tried to get started before he arrived for a head start, but it didn't work too well. 

But running with him taught me to pace myself, how to breathe, staying hydrated, and gaining distance. Reaching that point were you find your what I call 'happy pace' and just float there. He knew I could run farther, faster, and harder than I did. He is the reason I am a long distance endurance-style runner and the best thing he taught me was to let go and enjoy the run.  He brought many deep (and silly) run conversations and is probably was the only person who I could ever find who was willing to run with me-besides God.

Looking back at myself before Jake, before Jeremy (aka J-Dawg), amazes me.  Running today thinking at where I came from, how far I've traveled in the world of health-it all really started with them. Those that believed in me before I even did; that saw my potential when nobody else could. It reminds me of my father when he was able to garden.  He could see our horrible hilly, red clay dirt back yard and saw the potential for an amazing garden.  Early in the mornings I remember him waking up before the sun, lining his truck bed with tarp; he would then go to a horse farm and shovel horse manure all Saturday. Bringing it back home, he would mix it in the clay, and drive back to the farm. Over and over again until it was too dark.  He knew what to plant when, and took great care all year long at whatever he was growing. Pulling weeds, pruning, and at the end harvesting and enjoying the fruit (or vegetable) of his labor.

Isn't this what God does in each of our lives?  He brings those in our lives who can see the vision and are willing to work the field, willing to shovel manure.

"Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest" Luke 10:2 KJV

So thank you to J-Dawg, thank you to Jake.  For being willing to shovel my manure and seeing my potential.  Seeing that I'm worth it.  Without you, I don't know where I would be, if alive what kind of life it would be. I would never have gotten the joy of having runs with the Lord and many-a-blog would not have written. 

You inspired me, believed in me, saw my worth.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


"It's hard for me to think about someone so beautiful doing something like that to themselves..."

Or something to that effect was a statement made to me on Sunday after church from an old friend of mine.  It's always hard for me to talk about....quite a shameful part of me, of my past.

Then this morning, reading my friend's blog Running Disciple followed by an article Philosophical conceptions of the self: implications for cognitive science, discussing the two perceptions of self:

This review examines two important concepts of self: the ‘minimal self’, a self devoid of temporal extension, and the ‘narrative self’, which involves personal identity and continuity across time.

really began me pondering upon perceptions, our own and others of something, anything, of each other.

The Three Brides by Jan Toorop 

I see a minimum of three versions of myself, three existing perceptions:

My own

There can possibly be more than 3 really, for every person we encounter has their own unique perception of 'me', but in general it's going to come down to seeing me in three general manners. 

I see 3 general ways I can be viewed:

  • How I see myself:

Dirty, evil, sinner. Never good enough, always messing things up. Imperfect failure. Ugly, fat, unattractive, undesirable, rejected, pointless, worthless, unimportant. unloved and unlovable

  • How Others see me:

While not the opinion of everyone, this is a view I've had expressed to me by a few that I respect the opinion of but don't really understand or agree with. 

To sum it up, a purity test once told me I was the 'virgin sacrifice'...Innocent, pure. Once in high school I got fussed at by my friends for saying the word 'pissed' to express my anger, apparently I am not allowed to say such things.  Older gentlemen tell me that 'if only they were younger' and a date once said that he thought if anyone was capable to earn their saint status, he thought I did (ex-catholic). Most generally sum me up as that church-going good little christian girl, who is a bit too innocent for them. I find humanity always seems to place higher judgements and expectations upon others than themselves, and await for our imminent failure-for we always have decent reasons for our own actions-everyone else just has excuses.

  • How God sees me: How I REALLY am:

I see God seeing me as the the bride of Christ... I am imperfect alone but perfect through Him who cleanses me.  I am in His image, His temple, His light.  I am made of flesh and blood, bone and muscle.  I fall short sometimes, I fail, but all the while comforted by the warmth of His mighty palm where I reside. No one whispering to me what I should be, or trying to label me anything.

Imperfect made into perfection through the blood of His one and only son, the Son of God Jesus Christ who died just for me. 

For I do have worth against my own view.  I am worth the time, worth the seasons of my being.  worth the trials, worth the pain.  I'm somehow deserving of His love, I am beautiful and I am loved.

There is a deeper reason for my existence through Him, I have purpose.

The world always talks about "accepting yourself" and I started wondering when, if ever, I managed this during my recovery. The answer is I think never. 

I haven't accepted myself, I have put down myself and accepted Christ.

If I had of accepted myself, my self-view, or self-perception, would be better.  I don't think I want to accept myself, I just want to accept God's view.  I want to merge His view and make it my own. 

Putting down myself and lifting up Him.

"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." 1 Peter 5:5-7 KJV 

 For I am only worth anything if you see me through Him.  And any "good" others see in me, any beauty is really His beauty shining through me.  Any resemblance to anything remotely close to a Saint, any "virgin sacrifice"-like qualities are His grace being reflected through me.  

I think Paul really grasped this concept when he wrote 1 Corinthians 15:9 

"For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." NKJV
  • Other's viewed Paul as either "Saul" the perfect Pharisee, or Saint Paul the powerful disciple.
  • Paul saw himself for the murderer he was
  • And God saw Paul as a perfect vessel to flow His mighty power though
Day by day I see Him in me, and I have learned to love myself, because I learned to love Him that is in me.  Him that shines through, Him that guides, Him that loves.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Birthday Love Blessings

I have to say I am so blessed.  Today is my birthday, and these past few days have been amazing!  I never really feel like I matter all that much, that I've influenced that many people, or that that many people really care. You never really feel like you make an impact sometimes, but the love people have shown me this year amazes me.  It's meant more to me than any of them know.

It started Friday leaving work, when I was leaving & found everyone trying to make sure I got my birthday card and left with birthday hugs from all my coworkers!  I felt so amazed and loved, I mean, how many people can say they received birthday hugs from everyone they work with :) It was a wonderful way to start my birthday weekend!

Then Friday evening I got to hangout with an old friend and catch up. Saturday I had a goof off day at the mall, and some wonderful cooking from my brother-in-law & sister Tina. Nicole called to have us over for dinner which made me feel oober special, although we had to take a rain check. Sunday was blessed with help from a friend, a good conversation, and my sister Elena giving me a pre-birthday cookie.  Marie came over with my niece Charlotte Monday. Tuesday (my actual birthday) I got to visit with my Aunt Paulette, go eat at a fancy french restaurant Petit Lapin, and then went to see Captain America in 3D! Then my grandma Donna came to see me and eat my mom's homemade spinach and mushroom lasagna, and Elena made me some actual birthday peanut butter cookies!  Top that with all the many birthday wishes on facebook, and ending with Marie's blog-I have never felt more loved.

The family's main celebration is this weekend (with Elena's making some fancy foodage-yayness and some surprise) but even now I feel so blessed to have the family I do have! They have taken so much time and made me feel so special and loved...there are no words to adequately express how I feel honestly.

A friend took the time to make me something I'm excitedly waiting to get, but even without any gifts, I have to say I have never felt so loved before and that means so much, it was the best birthday I think I've ever had and I  will never forget it.  In the back of my mind I still remember that it's also the 1-year anniversary of my furry son, my phatcat kitty man Casper's gruesome death, but everyone has made it so much easier for me to handle.  To have so much love shown to me, I honestly am not sure I really deserve it.

What have I done to deserve all these wonderful people I have been blessed to have in my life, all these people to reserve a place in their heart, day, & lives for me....I don't know but is awesome.

God has blessed me so much, with so many people and their love, I couldn't ask for more :)

So thank you all...for loving me, just the way I am

 *In honor of my Phatman of Love*

Monday, August 1, 2011

Symphony of my Own Trip Through the Looking Glass

It starts out with a normal run, not really feeling like it in the heat of the day after a long Monday at work, but knowing God's called me for a run with Him... the light turns green I press play on my iPod.

"Apperception" begins to play, & so the story begins to unfold within my mind's eye...

(sorry I couldn't find the song I heard online but here's the infomation for it, my version is 6:01 long)
Song: Apperception
Various Artists
Album: Trance Stimuli

We start our life like a run, were going slower than we'd like...not too super enthused really, just trying to get through that day, hour, moment of time that is our life. Were moving in our own power, trying to keep ourselves motivated in going forward despite a good reason for it...and then God comes.

He reveals Himself, the answer...we stop focusing on the motion, the surroundings, the heat, we stop focusing on ourselves and look to Him.  We feed off Him, becoming more energized as we go, more curious of who He is, of His love. The run, our lives, becoming focused on finding out more about Him, growing closer to Him. With every step we take He pushes us forward, leaving His footprint behind us.

But as time goes, somewhere along the lines we lose focus, we start to see less of Him too much of ourselves, our own false perceived power and feeling of control, too much focus gets put on our speed, our own holiness, we begin to breed self righteousness and we lose sight of Him. As we run along, not even realizing His light growing lighter, fading with time.  Not even feeling the drag in every step as we go along...until it hits us, we're alone.

We're lost.

We backtrack, trying to discover when we lost Him, but He cannot be found in the places of our past.  We press forward, with caution...it getting darker as we go. Suddenly we see a small side trail, rough and unpaved, we must have passed it the first time.  Slowly turning from the main trail, turning from the comfort of the path of the world into a trail unknown.

As we run, sunlight unseen, blindly pressing forward into unknown. Having to trust that He is with you, guiding you despite the fact you can't feel Him.  You trip over branches and roots dispersed randomly throughout your path. Falling, cutting your face, you're knees...you begin to cry out to God, within yourself, within your soul.  With all emotions and feelings within you, hurting and alone.

Rain begins to fall, lightly at first, slowly. But it picks up, and through the heavy downpour, you begin to feel something, you feel Him. And with each drop He washes away your blood, your dirt. He cleanses your scars and your spirit. The sun breaks through the rain and you feel His energy again, as you press forward with your run.  This time letting Him guide you.

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
Proverbs 14:12 KJV

As I ran today without my glasses or contacts, the fuzziness made each step I took feel a bit harder to take, probably because I couldn't clearly see my future ending destination.  All object in sight are closer than they appeared.  It reminded me of that verse in the love chapter:

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." I Corinthians 13:12 KJV

And it's so true, especially for the times we live in now.  This life makes me feel like Alice and the Looking Glass sometimes.

Always at war the the Red Queen & White Queens-one of my own mind, and one of the world trying to sway me by 'relentlessly confound me by using word play to thwart my attempts at logical discussion.' As I grab hold of the red queen and shake her with all my might, the Red King of all Kings and LORD of all Lords finds me and we go in checkmate [His death on the cross, His blood cleansing me from all unrighteousness] and one day I will be released from this temporary sleep and wake up to spend eternity with Him!

(and while I've never fully read the books, now I want too!)