Monday, June 30, 2014

Graceless

"You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."
I Peter 3:4 

What an eventful month it has been! I challenged myself to run 100km in June and I can't believe it ... I actually succeeded! Don't ask what possessed me to take on that challenge in one of the hottest months of the year. I'm really not sure!

In other exciting news, I finally ran a mile faster than my goal of 8:30! I finished a mile this past Saturday in 8:23. Not only that, but I kept running! I finished 1.5 miles in 13:43 and 2 miles in 19:03. It was a very happy day for me!

And lastly, I finally got a hybrid bicycle! I can't wait to start cross training ... and trying something new while talking to God!

While doing my Bible reading today, I came across I Peter 3:4, "You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

This verse hit a nerve with me.

Why?

Because this verse describes someone I'm not.

Over the past couple of days, I've read What's So Amazing About Grace? by Phillip Yancey and In My Father's House by Corrie ten Boom. Both books made me desperately yearn to be more grace-filled and Christ-minded.

I truly want to have a gentle and quiet spirit. 

I desire to show others grace, even when it's not easy.

Especially when it's not easy!

In Yancey's book, he states, "When it comes to grace, the word deserve doesn't even apply."

No one deserves grace. That's what makes it so amazing!

It genuinely hurts my heart to see the church in such a state of un-grace.

But even more so, it hurts that I'm in such a state.

My prayer is that I become more aware of my gracelessness and that when I see it, I admit it, and I beg God to help me overcome it. 

I want to be a person who is comfortable with conversational prayer. I want to lean on Christ day in and day out, talking to him continually about all things, big and small.

Lord, heal me. Help me to become gentle, to give grace, to speak to You, and to pour out Your Love.

"My help comes from the LORD, who made Heaven and Earth!"
Psalm 121:2

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Casting My Cares

"Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall."
Psalm 55:22

My 100km challenge is going so well! So far, I've run at least 2 miles every single day of June, except the 6th. But I made up for it by running a 10k on Saturday morning. So far, I've finished 24 miles this month. Just 38 left to go!

This past weekend, I started to feel very overwhelmed. Sometimes I personally put way too much on my plate and when I feel like I can't get it all done, I break down a little. 

Okay, a lot.

My daughter's birthday party is coming up soon, my son started science camp this week, I'm teaching Zoo Zone for the month of June, we have family coming into town this week, and on top of all that, my husband is on swing shift!

On Saturday morning, 6.2 miles were EXACTLY what I needed to release some stress!

While talking to God, I realized that a lot of my stress really comes from me. 

No one is pressuring me to do a million things and do them perfectly. 

But when I don't succeed at things, or feel like I haven't done them well enough, I feel so defeated. 

Why do I feel this way?

Satan knows exactly how to burden me and I make it so easy for him! I put unrealistic expectations on myself. I don't even know why I do it!

After my run on Saturday morning, I felt much better.

But my run on Sunday morning was the icing on the cake. 

I came to realize that I needed to listen to 1 Peter 5:7 and give all of my worries to God. He really does care about me! He even cares about the little things!

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

I shouldn't even have heavy burdens. Ever burden I currently have is a burden I've laid upon myself. But Jesus promises to take even THOSE burdens and give me rest. 

While listening to my iPod Sunday morning on my run, God had his hand on my playlist. Some people may think I'm crazy, but I know that God moves in every part of my life, and He knew that I was physically listening! I LOVE when God moves through the "little" things!

The first song that came on was called, "Cast My Cares" by Tim Timmons.

I will cast my cares on You the Almighty
I will cast my cares on You 'cause Your good
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You love me, You love me
Oh, oh because You love me

Next, "Revelation Song" by Kari Jobe.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

And then, "Lift Up the Light of Your Countenance" by Shane & Shane.

You are the Light of the world
Light up our darkness
When the night is upon us
You are the Light of the world
Nations will walk by the light 
Of the glory of a Holy God

And finally, "My Heart Cries Out" by Rush of Fools.

Flood my life
Fix my gaze
Fill my lungs
With Your grace
God, I need You
I need You

The Lord was showing me that I need to let go of all of my stress, turn my attention back to Him, and spend my time in worship, not worry. My prayer is that I can just let it go and give it all to Him!






Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Your Will Be Done

"Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air."
1 Corinthians 9:26

A lot of things have happened for me, as far as running goes, the past few days. Sunday night, I beat my mile record by 5 seconds! I really tried to beat 8:30 but it just didn't happen. I finished in 8:52, but I was still so excited to pass 8:57! I haven't even come close since last year!
I also dedicated myself to a 100km in June challenge! That's 62.137 miles! But more than the distance, that's 2 miles with God daily!

On Sunday, I ran with my praise and worship music for the first time in a long time. My iPod has been dead and sometimes I enjoy it just being me, the road, and the Lord. But one song came on and touched my heart in particular. 

"For all of this life
Your Spirit ignites
A heavenly fire
Untouched by the night
You opened our eyes
Turned death into life
Revealing all truth
There's no one like You"

There is absolutely nothing I love more than when God opens my eyes. Especially when I ask for help in a certain area in my life and I can physically sense and feel Him helping me. The Bible says in John 14:13-14, "Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it."

This doesn't mean that anything I ask will be given to me. Not everything is God's Will. But when I struggle with sin in my life, it is God's Will that I come to Him for help. And He is faithful to answer my prayers and to help me!

While doing some personal study this week, I came across my opening verse, "Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air." It just warms my heart when I come across verses that mention running. Just like I don't run outside with no goal or purpose in mind, I don't live my life with no purpose or goal in mind. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about purpose and what God wants from my life. God wants me to start with the little things. He wants me to give him everything, my entire being. If I hold back even one area of my life, I'm not fulfilling my purpose. My purpose is to serve God! 

Can I serve God while being judgmental of other people? 

No.

Can I turn around and serve God after gossiping?

No.

Can I serve God while being puffed up with pride?

No!

I know I won't ever be perfect this side of Heaven, but it's time to let go of those seemingly "little" sins and give EVERYTHING to God.

"Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth."

Your Will be done .... Your kingdom come .... My hope is in You.
Lord don't delay, come have Your way, my hope is in You.
my hope is in You.