Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Stronger

"There will be sounds of joy and gladness and the happy sounds of brides and bridegrooms. There will be the sounds of people bringing to the Temple of the LORD their offerings of thanks to the LORD. They will say, 'Praise the LORD All-Powerful, because the LORD is good! His love continues forever!' They will say this beause I will again do good things for Judah, as I did in the beginning," says the LORD.
 Jeremiah 33:11

Have you ever had one of those days where you can tell that God is right there actively working in your life? Even though the day may actually be tough, you can almost physically see God's Hand moving. I've had one of those days today. Little bits and pieces of blessings that I can not only see now, at the end of the day, but that I recognized as they occurred. I'm so thankful for days like today. 

It all started this morning. I've been really trying hard to get up early and have some quiet time before the kids wake up. I've been guilty of pursuing God on the first two or three days of the week, and then kind of thinking that's "good enough," so I slack off the next four days. It has been my heart's desire to get back to that place of daily rapport with the Lord. That's the reason I started running in the first place!

I don't have any set plan for devotions in the morning. I've been in-between Bible studies, so I've just been reading whatever I feel like God has laid on my heart. I opened my Bible app on my phone and saw a verse from Jeremiah 33. But instead of reading on my phone, I felt the need to get up and get a devotional Bible. The devotion was for Jeremiah 33:11 and it was about expecting God's endless love. That's right: endless love. Not conditional, but unconditional. Even if the love I have for myself comes and goes. 

I just really haven't felt like myself lately. I've been frustrated with my running, with my attitude, with my parenting ... with everything. I feel like I just can't keep it together. Why can't I seem to do things right? To be the best mom, wife, and child of God I can be? Why don't I pursue Him more? Why isn't it easy now like it seemed to be last year? 

And then I read something in the new Bible study we started today that shifted my perspective. First of all, we don't pursue God: He pursues US. And secondly, we don't act the way we do because of who we really are. We act the way we do because of who we think we are. 

I've been acting the way I have lately, because that's who I've told myself I am. 

But I'm not that person.

And I don't have to keep chasing after God.

He never left me in the first place.

 I was just looking in the wrong direction.

During my run tonight on the "dreadmill," I started seriously training for a 10k. I know that probably sounds crazy. Yes, I've finished two half marathons, but no, I've never run a 10k race. I've made it my goal this year to improve my times. Run a faster mile, mile and a half, 5k, 10k, and half. Lots of opportunity to lean on God's strength!

While nearing the end of my workout, I prayed, "God, PLEASE send a song on my iPod that will get me through this last ten minutes of running. I'm mentally and physically exhausted!" Not your ordinary prayer, I know. But God and I, we talk like this a lot during my runs.

And wouldn't you know it, 'Stronger' by Mandisa came on next. 

I'll leave you tonight with a few of her lyrics. Hopefully you can see how God used this song to not just bless my run, but to bless my day. To remind me that He loves me endlessly, that He is constantly pursuing me, and that there is never any need for me to believe lies about myself. 

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it's gonna end
God's right there
Even when you just can't feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

 When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you Stronger

 'Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I'm sure that He's gonna help you get through this