Monday, November 18, 2013

Press On Friends.

So there’s just something to this exercise thing. Since the beginning of the summer, my exercise regiment has been modified significantly. But, I still ate the same way (2 cheat meals per week). Okay, so that does NOT work. No cheat meals when you are not exercising full force.

Running was not happening. Moving my elbow behind me pretty much caused me to fall to my knees in pain. And Crossfit exercises had to be modified if they involved significant weight on my arm (including pull-ups, pushups, and any weight overhead). I still worked out 5 days a week but to a lesser extent.

And I am FULLY aware of all those people who can work out 3 days a week for 10 minutes a day and eat whatever they want whenever they want and never gain a pound. And I am FULLY aware that I am NOT one of those people.

Shoulder surgery has certainly improved my pain, and I am recovered to about 90%. I can’t do overhead squats or anything that involves my arms extended and moving backwards…YET. But, I will.

And so now, I am back on the wagon of regaining strength and working out 6 days a week…3 run days and 3 Crossfit days. Eating healthy. No cheat meals. Uuggh.

I can look at others all day long and see their choices and how much they can eat without even gaining a pound. I can watch friends try to gain weight (You will NEVER write that statement about me…ever). I can complain when I don’t get to eat what I want. None of that changes the fact that God has entrusted me with this body. He knows my struggles. His Word about honoring Him with my body applies to me. I cannot sugarcoat or explain that away. It is for me. It is for you. It is His command.

I will press on.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Running Free

The old mare ain't what she used to be...that's how I feel these days. Just a year ago, I was preparing to run my first half marathon. And it was scary. And awesome. All at the same time!

Since my shoulder injury and surgery, I haven't been able to run. Pushing my elbow backwards in any form (even the little bit required for box jumps) is excruciating. It pretty much took me to my knees pre-surgery. Now it's improving but still not where it needs to be. But, I can run again. And now I think I will.

We are signed up to run the half-marathon in a two person relay this time so I will only have to run 6.6 miles. I am NOWHERE near that right now. I got on the treadmill this morning...side story...JT wasn't home from Crossfit with Kaitlyn, and Madison is sick, so I did NOT want to leave the house without a lead dog. So, the treadmill was my option. I did open the exterior door which let in plenty of cooler air. Meanwhile, the paranoid side of me pulled out a marine cooler and placed it in front of said make sure no small rodents or snakes got it. And, in case the cat from next door or a deer or a bird was to come by and hop in, I closed the interior door to the house..make sense? Sure, it does. Now, moving on. I ran 2 minutes and walked one minute for 3.1 miles. I thought I might die. Several times. It was hard. But, I finished.

I like to run...WHEN IT'S OVER! The idea of running has always appealed to me, but my body doesn't understand that it should enjoy the fresh air, the freedom, the exercise. Nope. My body revolts. My feet hurt. Breathing is hard. But, it's my mind that fights the MOST. My brain starts thinking about quitting as soon as I start. Excuses overflow. I have to rely fully on the Holy Spirit to keep going. This, my friend, is a task not easily undertaken. I literally battle the flesh with every step I take.

My body needs to run for the exercise. I love Crossfit...LOVE. I love my morning crew. They challenge and encourage me. The exercises make me stronger and develop endurance. But, I have to run too. For my weight alone, my body needs to run.

With a 5K in December, in which both of my younger brothers are running, I seek NOT to embarrass myself. I would love to finish close to 30 (idealistically under 30) but this is slow going these days. Please help to hold me accountable for running. I need to run 2-3 times a week just to get back to normal again. And I need to run faster...a lot faster. I will seek to run every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. The weekly runs will be 3.1 while the Saturday run will be longer (beginning with 4 miles and increasing). PLEASE text me, message me or just ask me in person how the running is going. I NEED IT!

Thank you all for helping me to get back into running shape!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What Good Am I?

What good am I? That’s the question that many stay at home moms, especially homeschoolers, ask frequently. The church lingo would say “What’s my purpose?” It’s the same. You know that feeling of a pit in your stomach or ache in your heart like you just aren't doing all that God has designed you for? Like you are somehow missing out? Or maybe that you don't belong?

In a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram world where people post their yummy meals, perfectly dressed children and immaculate-just-redone-with-one-million-pinterest-ideas rooms, I can get easily discouraged in the daily grind. You see, I rarely post pictures (with the exception of this month of focusing on thankfulness). Why? Number one - I don’t keep my cell phone on me at all times (I hear some of you gasping. Others are saying, “No wonder she hasn’t texted me back in five days.”). So I forget. Secondly, it’s just not a priority to share with everyone how grand my life is or how mundane or how hard. I forget. I think I should document a day in our lives to show you just how awkward those photos would be...another post for another day.

Life is hard. No matter how many children you have. No matter whether you work inside or outside of the home. No matter how you school your kids. No matter whether your husband leaves for work or works from the home office. Whether you live in the city or the country. There are only 24 hours, and we all have to live in them.

So, you might be like me and wonder, “How am I supposed to DO more than I’m already doing to serve the Lord?” Of course, I’m not suggesting that you have to DO anything to earn the favor of the Lord or His unmerited grace. Focusing on the love relationship with Him through daily time alone in His presence and prayer are essential. But, how do you minister to those around you and not feel like you are just adding another checklist item to your agenda?

For me, God has reminded me of simple things that I already do on a daily basis that can be a blessing to someone else.... If you are at home, could you send a note of encouragement to a few people each week? Offer to keep a young mom’s kids while she shops alone? Take an elderly widow to the grocery store? Cut grass for an older couple? Help a newly married man set up his family budget? Start a Bible study for women/men in your area? Bake cookies and take them to the local fire department? The list could go on and on.

And here’s the kicker. Each one of us is gifted differently with different personalities...why? So that we are drawn to the areas of ministry that others are not...and they are drawn to minister in ways that we are not. See how the Body works? Everyone doing a different job all for the expressed purpose of bringing God glory!

You have a purpose and you are loved by the King of kings. He wants to use you right where you are today. Whether it’s wiping a kid’s nose for the tenth time today or listening to your neighbor over tea...encouraging a co-worker in his marriage or taking a weary momma out to lunch. Serve the Lord with gladness and know that you are a child of the Most High. Even in the mundane, He will be glorified!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Why Every Day's Not a Friday....

I will NEVER forget seeing the title of the book for the first time - Every Day a Friday. What? Friday is when the weekend begins and we can all kick off the responsibility of jobs for a few days and just relax. EVERYTHING is going to be okay! Maybe this author hasn't read the Biblical accounts of Paul, Job, Jeremiah or Jesus...And surely, he doesn't have children. You know, kids don't understand the concept of sleeping late or no responsibility or relaxing. I wanted to remove all the books from the shelves and stomp out the door. I don't know about you but I've seen a lot of suffering in the church and every day is CLEARLY not a Friday.

The sermon at church yesterday centered around God’s plan for suffering in our lives. It was a timely message as I had just been dwelling on why times are so tough for so many people. We have friends who are struggling in their marriages, dealing with devastating losses and fighting for their lives. It is not a season of suffering for us...but that is generally a reminder that we are about to enter into such a time.

As I reflected back on the suffering in our lives, most of it has come in the last twelve years...exactly the time since God called us to begin One Way Ministries...hmmmm. I began to think of the rocky roads in our lives and how God has used EACH one of them for His ultimate glory....

The death of JT’s grandfather who was the bedrock of our family (and showed me what a loving grandfather looked like)...God showed Himself as THE Comforter who gives eternal life to those who believe in Him.

The conviction and imprisonment of my own father to 25 years in a state penitentiary...This was the beginning of the road to knowing God’s amazing love for us as His children. He became the Father that I needed most.

The move away from Canton, Georgia to Birmingham, Alabama to begin the ministry (some of the loss we felt was a direct result of our own pride and arrogance)...God demonstrated His faithfulness time and time again through a job and a house and a new church home.

The death of JT’s grandmother who held the family together...God again showed Himself as the Healer who takes away sickness through His sovereign plan.

The death of JT’s father (the most devastating loss we had ever faced in life)...It took us a while to see God’s plan but now we know that God’s design was good and for His ultimate glory. He demonstrated His love for us and showed us what it was like to be without a Father (leading us to understand the plight of the orphan).

The destruction of our home and worldly goods by a fire in January of 2005...God allowed us to live through “The Lord gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

The two year adoption process of Jett and the year that followed (the darkest days for our family as we faced our own fears and misconceptions)...God’s name be praised for the faithfulness and steadfastness He displayed. We can now walk other families through similar circumstances knowing that God’s goodness is at work!

The adoption of Zeke and Elly and the great feelings of loss that it caused all of us. The grieving was so heavy at times and hard to bear... God reminded us of our need for Him and total reliance on Him alone!

The death of JT's mom unexpectedly just two years ago which left us feeling all alone and without any parental guidance or wisdom...God showed Himself as Sustainer and Provider and pointed us to His Word for all wisdom!

There are so many other circumstances I could list (and did on my worship guide this morning). Why God? Why the suffering? Oh, I KNOW the answer...I have lived it. It is for our good and His glory. It is His design to make us more like Him. Do I like it? NO! Do I need it? YES! Suffering makes my life look more like Him and encourages others in their life journey. My walk through difficult times should point others to Christ alone. Oh Lord, find me worthy to suffer for Your name’s sake!