Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Run With Me?

It has been on my heart for months now to start a running club. Actually, the thought first crossed my mind a few years ago. But that was it. The thought came and went with no significance, much like many thoughts (i.e. "I should paint my toenails today." "It would be cool to go to Europe." "I think I'd really like to be a dog groomer, but I wouldn't want to get bit." etc.) Until recently.

I'm about to seemingly go off on a tangent, but hang with me because it's relevant:)

In my last post, I shared how I've been struggling to juggle my role as a working mom, when my heart longs to be home with my daughter. This isn't the only struggle that I've been experiencing lately. God has really just been allowing me to be wrecked-relationally and financially. I have thought a lot about Job lately. Though I would not compare my circumstances to the depths of his, I honestly have thought, "God, who do you think I am, Job?!"

But here's the cool thing...there is purpose in the turmoil I have been experiencing. I know that, without even knowing what it is. I can feel God refining me. I can sense God moving. I can see that he is shattering barriers in my life by way of preparing me for something. It's that same kind of feeling when you have a particular word right on the tip of your tongue. So close I can almost taste it. And I know from personal experience that it is often at the end of our selves that we hear and see the will of God. I'm there.

Throughout the stress that I have been under, I have had this nagging desire to start a running club. In my stubborn protest against not being Job, I have pushed it aside again and again. Sometimes I would even tell God, "You move first, then I'll move. You give me more time, then I'll look into starting one." Yeah, I don't think God works like that.

Is this the calling I have been sensing? I don't know. But, if nothing else, I want to continue breaking barriers (disobedience in this case) that would keep from being used by God. So, here's my first step.

What is a running club? It is two or more people that meet for the purpose of running. Two or more? TWO or more? That shouldn't be hard. I just need one more person to make it official:) "Official" running club things will develop in time, like a name, a website, a schedule, etc. For now, I am just generating interest. I am looking for other women (Sorry men, I'd like to avoid getting stuck with just me and some creeper running around Clarion County together!) who run and would like company. It doesn't matter if you are fast, slow, experienced, out-of-shape, have never run before, run marathons every day, etc. If you are that person, let me know. If you know someone who may be interested, get us connected.

My dream for this club is to be a way to connect with other women. I have a girlfriend who loves running as much as I do. When we hang out, we don't go to lunch or go shopping or sit and drink tea (do other female friends do that?). We run and we talk. We talk about all kinds of things. She doesn't know Christ. What a great connection to have with her. I want that with more women. Running is my passion, why can't it be my ministry too?

Well, I guess that's it. That's my heart. Okay, I'm off for a run.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I have been struggling for a while now...feeling trapped in my circumstances. Trying, sometimes desperately, to create solutions that would change my situation. Feeling disappointed when those "solutions" fail to create change. Sometimes I have even allowed myself to go to a hopeless place, believing that maybe things will always be this way. What way? Different than what I want.

Here's the deal...

Ten months ago my life changed drastically when I became a mother. Though I struggled at first with all the normal first-time-mom-things like nursing, sleeplessness, and what I like to refer to as chronic selflessness, I have come to absolutely love and cherish this role. When I hold my daughter late at night and she rests her head on my shoulder (if you know her, you know it is extremely rare for her to slow down enough to do this) I am humbled to tears at this responsibility and privilege. To love her. To nourish her. To disciple her. To lift her up to all she was created to be.

Wanting to stay home and be a full-time mom was something that I have always known I would want to do. So, it was no surprise when that desire began to burn within me as my six weeks of maternity leave was rapidly coming to an end. I returned part-time using earned sick and vacation days. And now, having maxed out my ability to use time-off I will go back to a full-time schedule beginning next week.

A lot of tears have flowed from this. Having to adjust to leaving my baby. Not being the one to share the best parts of her day. Functioning in a constant state of hurry-to get out the door in the morning, to get dinner together after work, to get to the one-million-and-one activities on our schedule, etc. Watching all of my created solutions fail to allow me to be free from this job. Coming to the realization that God wants me here.

That last one is tough. Because although I have my own will, desires, dreams, God has bigger and better ones. And I know that. And I know that even if I can't see it right now, this is best for me. And I know that this life is not for me, that I am on mission. That I have to stand up, shoulder my cross, and press on because there is something important to be accomplished.

At my job where I have the privilege of providing counseling to victims of sexual assault, I meet people every day in a state of brokenness. I get to share in their sorrow and offer them encouragement and hope as I walk them through learning how to heal and move on from a very dark place in their lives. I keep this verse on my desk as a reminder that the opportunity to do this is not in vain:

"The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know what to say to all these weary ones. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. "

~Isaiah 50:4

So, I am choosing to fight the lie that this is what my life will always be like, and instead believe that I am doing what is needed at this time. I am choosing to see what feels like chains as purpose instead. And I am praising God for the freedom that comes in knowing who I am in him.