and if not…

Perhaps that is why, in His bewildering mercy, God sometimes shatters our fondest dreams, or at least allows them to be shattered.  (Whether He is the cause or merely allows it to happen, the result is the same.  And in the midst of the pain, the distinction doesn’t always seem important)

In His sovereignly run universe, the unthinkable sometimes happens–the nightmare we thought we’d never have to face.  And no relief comes, sometimes not for years.  More frequently than untested Christians expect, God removes the one source of joy and meaning that we were counting on to make our lives worth living, and replaces it with nothing.

These are the words from Larry Crabb’s “Creating a True Spiritual Community” that I was reading as my phone rang a few weeks ago.  I received news that my grandmother was being taken to the hospital in an ambulance.  No one could tell me what had happened or what they were doing.

I’m a thinker and sometimes I think that I think too much.  What’s going to happen?  What am I going to do?  What can I do?  But the truth is – God has already thought it through.  He already knows where it’s leading and where it came from.  He knows.  We always hope that the outcome will be good, that we will like His plan, but that’s not always the case.  We have to remember those wise words of Ann Voskamp:

And if not, He is still good.

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she shares truth: titus

It’s no secret that I read #SheReadsTruth every morning for my devotion.  It’s no secret that I love their content.  I love how I can relate.  I can make sense of what the Bible says about some things.  At last, it’s not all just old school information that cannot be applied to my life, here and now. Every now and then, they give us readers a chance to share our take on it.  We are just finishing up a study on Titus.

Titus 2:3-5 says

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.  They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Say what?  Now, y’all know I am neither married nor a mother so this is difficult for me to even comprehend being as “independent” as I am.  I mean this sounds good and all, but where do I fit in? Well, turns out we are talking about spiritual mothers/mentors and I just happen to have a mentor. She has taken me on to mentor in all things life and Jesus-related and I learn more and more from her every time we meet. She reminds me when it is really just the enemy sneaking into my head that is making my life so difficult.  She opens my eyes when I am feeling frustrated or restless to the bigger picture.  She guides me with Scripture and past conversations with other women.

Truth is:  as much as we’d like to be “not of this world”, we are in it…at least, for now.  We need some guidance as to how to navigate this life so that we are not “reviling” (this means speaking abusively, according to the internet) the Word. My mentor and I have done everything together from lunch to exercise classes to meeting at her house and mine.  Our time together has been priceless.  I feel that she has helped me to grow in so many ways.  I honestly don’t know where I would be in my walk without her.

So I say all that to say this, Scripture speaks to each one of us in different ways.  I may not have a husband and kids, but that does not mean that I don’t need guidance from someone on how to do life.  It seems that society (at least in the South) doesn’t take too well to single women.  That we aren’t “doing our part” or fulfilling our lives.  Sometimes that makes me feel less than.  When on Mother’s Day everyone talks about how great mothers are and how they have the most important job in the world, I am sad, for I am not a mother…dare I say, yet?  Will I ever be?  I don’t know but I do know that whatever God has planned for me will come into play in His time, not mine, not society’s, and I will be ready and my mentor has played a huge role in that, along with the other people in my life that love me.

Do you have a mentor or spiritual mother?  How do you spend time together?

Wednesday Wonderful

Wednesday-Wonderfulz-final-2-300x300

Ok, I’m joining a blog link-up with Lynda from fitnessmomwinecountry and How My World Runs this week.  We are sharing some of our favorites of all things.  I’ve never done a link-up like this before so this is something new for me.

Here goes:

Right now, and always, I’m loving Yogi hot tea.  I’m trying to cut down on my caffeine/coffee intake so the tea is a great replacement for now.  I love Yogi because it comes with so many different flavor for specific needs.  Here are all the ones I have now….someone may have a problem…

tea

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp has turned my life around.  She has taught me how to love and live life fully right where I am.  Not looking for the next thing or a change to make me happy, but seeing the good in every situation.  I know what you’re thinking, and, yes, there is good in every situation.  I was a bitter Betty before reading this book and now I try to see the Light and shine it where ever I go.  Of course, I still struggle with bitterness, jealously, and disappointment, like we all do, but I’d like to think I’m getting over it more quickly now that I am letting gratitude run my life.  I have counted and named almost 100 gifts.  I will make it to 1000!

1000gifts

So, I think that’s all I’ll share for this week.  I’ll be sure and have some more “wonderfulz” #yeswithaz stored up for the next link up in 2 weeks!  Be sure to check out all of these awesome blogs!

What’s your favorite this week?

released

Guess what?!  I’ve been cleared to run 1 mile!!! I am ecstatic but something inside me is saying, “Don’t get too excited yet…you have tried this before.”  And I have, but it didn’t last.  I thought I was ready but I wasn’t…at least, I wasn’t ready to run 5 miles, like the overzealous idiot I was.  Soooo, I’m running 1.  That’s what my physical therapist told me to do and that’s what I’ll do.  I’m following the rules.  Trusting the process.  I want to get better.

stronger

I know I have gone on and on about this whole process, and trust me, I’m as ready as you are for it to be over.  I just want to run.  Yes, I love my new workouts, and I will never again have running as my only activity.  I firmly believe that strength training, as well as yoga and Pilates, all have a place in my workout regimen, however, I want to run.

There’s just something about being outside under the big blue sky that gives me such a relief.  Ah!  Putting one foot in front of the other.  Seeing how far my legs will dare to take me.  Pushing it just one more minute, one more mile.  Not wanting, but at the same time, desperately wanting, for it to be over.

Running doesn’t feel good when you’re doing it.  Any of y’all who think it’s supposed to feel good, I’m sorry, you’ve been mislead.  Your legs and lungs ache, begging you to stop…but you don’t.  That‘s what feels so good.  The accomplishment when it is over.  The view from the top of the hill.  The complete exhaustion.  The cool breeze on your sweaty skin.  The view of the sunset.  The reflection.  Oh, yes, the reflection.  Reflecting on what you just did.  And, it’s not always a proud reflection.  I have no romanticisms about that.  I remember the bad runs just as well as the good ones.  Yet, still, you remember and you press on.

What is your favorite part of running?

How do you stay strong when you have to take a break?

 

time to heal

Today, I finally started physical therapy for the nagging knee injury that started way back in January.  No, not this January, last January, as in 2013.  Yep.  I’m a procrastinator.  The honest to goodness truth is I thought I could just rest it out.  Take a break from running and it would be no more, but it just so happened I was in the middle of marathon training.  I did rest it from running.  I did the whole aqua jogging thing.  I rode the bike for hours at the gym.  You know what I didn’t do?  Strength train.  That’s the one thing I held back from my body while tearing it down to run 26.2.

healing

Back to physical therapy, from my MRI scan last month I learned that I had a medial hamstring strain and a posterior capsular sprain.  So, basically, I’ve had a pulled hamstring for over a year.  It has never healed because I haven’t properly taken care of it or had it treated.

I was so happy leaving that place because the doctor was so nice and she understood what I told her when I explained, “the back of my knee feels like a rubber band pulled taunt that gets plucked when I run.”  I have no other way to explain the feeling but that’s what it was.  She asked me a few questions about it and I was confident that she just knew.

I can’t express the relief that I am feeling right now.  I am not getting my hopes up yet.  It was only my first session and I’m not running yet, but it’s coming!  I cannot wait.  Spring is here.  I’m ready to run.

And, there’s this…maybe I need more time at the ocean 😉

salt water heals

Oh, and don’t move AT ALL

womp womp womp womp. BANG BANG BANG BANG.  CLANGITTY CLANGITTY CLAGITTY.  CLANG CLANG CLANG.

real

Yes, my friends this is what it sounds like inside of a MRI scan.  I only had to be in there for 14 minutes but that was long enough.

The technician handed me ear plugs as I laid down.  The machine was already making a noise.  I didn’t think I really needed the ear plugs for that.  I could handle it.  After all, I am a first grade teacher.

He told me that would hear a lot of banging and not to move AT ALL.  Well, ok then.  (Truthfully, my knee started aching about halfway through.  I think I was holding my breath because I didn’t want to do this again.)

All week I had been fine.  “I’m not nervous about the MRI,” I told co-workers and friends.  “I am more nervous about the results and what’s to come,” I said.  This is a girl who spent the majority of her teens in tanning beds.  (I know, I know.  I don’t go anymore but I did during 2000-2001 prom season.)  Surely, it couldn’t be any worse than that.  I mean, a tanning bed actually closes over you.

Ok, here’s the truth.  That noise was scary.  Not in the way that I felt like I was going to be harmed scary, but in the way that haunted houses are scary.  You know that nothing’s actually going to happen to you but there’s still a healthy fear there.

Not only was I in this tiny enclosed space, but it was so loud.  Literally, my head is throbbing right now, but inside there I was not hurting.  I was nervous.  Irrational anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks.

I just started praying and praising.  Worship over worry, right?  I’m thankful to be healthy, to have an able body, even if I can’t run right now.  It will come, all at the right time.  I could be battling much scarier things than a bum knee.  I know that and do not want to take that for granted.  I’m grateful the overabundance of people who care about me and share a common thread in my life.  I’m overwhelmed by the love I feel that I desire to share what I can with others so that they may make their lives shine brighter.  As the name states, I live with an overwhelmed heart and for that I express gratitude.  So, no matter what that scan reveals, I know that I have enough.

gratitude

 Have you ever had an MRI or a scarier scan?

What has your worse injury been?  How did you overcome it?

keep my eyes above the waves

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

Grace.  fear.  failure.  These words so often go hand in hand for me.  I know that what I can do is nothing.  What Grace can do is everything.  If it wasn’t for Grace, who knows where I’d be now or what I’d be doing.  But, God, He takes care of me but yet sometimes I still doubt, I still fear, I still wonder.

Crazy things happen every day.  Nothing ever completely out of hand happens to me.  Sometimes I fear that I’m living a life of too much comfort.  That I can’t be that dependent on God because I don’t need him.  I hear the words to this song and I know that I just need to take that leap.  I’m ready to free fall with Him into this life that I would love to live but is such a “risk”.  Can I really do this?  Is it a calling or is it a selfish endeavor?  How do I know?  Well, I know because this is something that I could never ever do on my own.  This is beyond me.  Out of my hands.  Out of my control.  Spirit lead me…

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Take a moment and worship.  You’ll be better for it.