Friday, June 2, 2017

Listening

 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!"
Ephesians 3:20-21

It's been exactly one year since we left Florida. I can't believe a year has already passed. It's been a roller coaster for sure, but as I reflect back over the last 365 days, I can see how faithful God has been. Even when my faith wasn't the strongest, and I seriously doubted, God provided every step of the way.

When we first felt the stirrings, four years ago, that God was calling us to the Pacific Northwest, God said, "I have a plan for you."

When we got our official orders, and the location was Washington, God said, "This is just a peek at things to come."

When we struggled to sell our house, and we felt anxious and overwhelmed, God said, "Don't you trust Me?"

When we arrived in Washington with no idea where we'd live, God said, "I have just the place for you. Have faith."

When we found our church home on the first day here, God said, "This is your family. I'm taking care of you."

When we found a home in less than a week, God said, "I'll never leave you nor forsake you. Don't you believe me?"

When we connected all the dots... The call to church planting... The church God led us to... The town our house is in... God said, "Remember? I have a plan for you."

When we put Jack in public school instead of private or homeschooling, and he landed in the perfect school, with the perfect teacher, God said, "Do not be anxious. He's in My hands, too."

When I desperately yearned for friends and spiritual companionship, God said, "Don't think about the past. Start another Bible study. I will bless it and I will bless you."

When I sank into a pit of depression, feeling homesick and depleted by the weather, God said, "Here's a random sunny and beautiful day in the middle of winter. Go run. I'm waiting to spend that time with you."

One year. 365 days. A lot can happen. A lot HAS happened. In hindsight, I can see God's footprint in every valley and on every mountaintop.

Some people call me crazy. Running? In the snow? In the rain? In the cold? Why would anyone willingly do that?

I can't explain it. It's one of the things God called me to do four years ago, seemingly out of nowhere. I felt so convicted and I had no choice but to say yes. I look back and wonder, was it for now? Was it because God knew it was something I'd need when he moved us here? I may never know the answer. But I can look back over my life and see how plainly God has blessed us. Many things are with no other explanation.

I remember crying nearly all the way from Florida to Arkansas on June 1, 2016. I literally felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest. Why would God ask me to leave my home? Why did it hurt so much?

I expected to reach our one year anniversary and feel sad. Instead, I feel grateful. God has provided in more ways than we could have imagined. He who is able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, He has blessed me.

Oh how He loves me.

I just need to listen.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Even When I Run Away ...

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

It's been over a year since I wrote in this blog. The past year has brought many life changes for our family. My husband returned from deployment and we packed up and moved across the country. I've had to adjust to a new home, a new school for my son, a new church, and new friends ...
New everything.

I haven't written in this particular blog because it's always been my place to share about my running journey and how my relationship with God has matured through that quiet time with Him. But over the last year or so, I haven't really been running. 
And I've felt further from God than I've felt in a really long time. 

At the beginning of 2017, I slowly began running again. A friend and I signed up for a half marathon and despite the sometimes awful weather here, I haven't missed a training run yet. I began to feel like I was finally getting in a good place. I was back in the Word, talking to God, developing some close relationships, and I finally started to see the sun, even if it wasn't actually shining outside just yet. 

But then I received a phone call on February 23.

When you move, everything changes. The first thing you do after finding a home is find new doctors. As a parent, doctors for yourself are the last on your list. The kids had many appointments and we were finally able to successfully deal with some things with our son. After a huge sigh of relief, I scheduled an appointment for myself for just a regular check-up.

The results came back and while it wasn't exactly bad news, it wasn't what I thought I was going to hear. 

A couple of weeks later, I went back to the doctor for further testing. I went alone because I wasn't exactly sure what was going to happen, but I thought it would be pretty similar to what I'd had done before. 

It wasn't. 

After a pretty painful procedure, I went home scared and confused. Shamefully, my first thought was why? Why would God allow this to happen to me, especially now, after a very rough year, when I felt like everything was finally falling into place? Was I being punished? I just couldn't understand and I was mad about it. Like a child, I wanted to throw a fit and just tell God to leave me alone. 

I knew in my heart that God could never leave me alone. But I could turn away if I wanted. 

So I did. 

I just gave Him the cold shoulder.

I waited for an entire week for results and when the call came, it wasn't good news.

Some people would disagree with that. Some people would hear "precancerous" and think, "They caught it early! It's treatable, everything is going to be fine."

But that's not what I thought. That's not how I've feel.

I feel like I've suffered tremendously in this area of my life after making really stupid mistakes in high school. I've not only suffered physically, but also emotionally. I've dealt with feelings of guilt and self-loathing for years and years. There have been times when I truly believed I'd never be able to heal. When I finally started to let my guard down again, I got this phone call that changed everything. It wiped out every bit of progress I thought I'd made. 

How do I move on from here? How do I reconcile my feelings to the truth I know about God?

Well, I know how I don't do it. 

I can't do it by ignoring God and giving him the silent treatment. I can't feel close to God if I refuse to hear Him speak or give Him the time of day. I can't feel God's love if I shut myself off from Him and run away.

Running is a gift God gave me a few years ago. He gave it to me as a way to run toward Him, not away. I know He's standing on the sidelines, just waiting for me to head in His direction. He's cheering me on with His arms open wide and even though I can't see the finish line yet, He's already there. 

I still don't know what the future holds. I don't know what life will look like a few months from now. But I know the one thing that never changes and that's God's love for me. Even if I tell Him I don't want it and I feel like running the opposite direction, He never leaves. His Word holds the Truth, even if I think I don't want to hear it. He will never leave me nor forsake me. When I'm brokenhearted and crushed in Spirit, He is close to me.

Even if I try to push Him away.