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Friday, November 6, 2009

Light can make me blind

The time change really messed me over with my running. By the time I get home and changed, I am having to run after dark. I live in a safe, good neighborhood- but I still run hard between streetlights to try to stay in well lit areas.

Tonight I was running down an especially dark stretch of road, when I looked up and saw stars - billions of stars. I noticed that under the street lights I could not see the stars very well.

It made me think about how plainly visible God has been to me during dark times. Many times all I could see were the shadows around me and just enough of the road in front of me to make my next step. But God was present and powerful.

Then there are times when life seems easy. I can see clearly and know what to do and am in control. But God has been forgotten.

As I was worshipping with my new kutless album, I began to pray that I would be brave enough to face the unknown. I prayed that I would live in God's presence even if the shadows are a little scarier and the path is a little more confusing at times.

In case you wondered, I do not set off on my run expecting any new truths or insights. I generally am just seeking release from stress. It is typically around the end of the first mile that I have processed my day and my mind becomes totally still. That is when God speaks. It reminds me of the importance of finding time to be still - even if you are not a runner.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Loud. Crowded. Chaos. Screaming. Shoulder punching. Squealing. Noogies. Eating. Lots of eating.

That's the scene that greeted me tonight as I walked into youth for the first time. I have picked up my kids once or maybe twice, but I had never spent the entire evening. Tonight since we were going to be working on our Christmas lighting display, I decided to tag along.

It was a beautiful sight. There were more kids than I could count. I tried. There were even some parents who came to help out with the work. I got to visit with some new people that I haven't had the chance to hang out with and had the chance to visit with some old friends, too.

It was beautiful to see the kids hanging out, talking, bonding, and taking pride and ownership in a church-wide project. This is an amazing weekly event that I had no idea was so big and so cool!!!!

Then there was also the plus side that I got to spend the night at my husband's side working. For a chick that mostly just needs quality time to feel loved, that was pretty awesome - no conversation needed.

What a fantastic night. Hope I can make it a more frequent habit.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sometimes it's just slow

This one's a quickie. Today I was reading some running stuff online. An expert stated that new research is showing maximum fat burning results when cardio follows weight training.

Now my typical routine is a minimum 3 mile run 3-4 days a week with a 1 mile sprint and brutal weight lifting the other 3 days. On occasion I will add yoga, or Tricia Murphy, or pilates after the weights.

So tonight I decided to try the expert advice and flip flop my workout so that cardio was last. The expert forgot to mention that after lifting weights your muscles are so fatigued that running sprints is not just hard, it's painful. My time was horrid, but I definitely felt the burn. I was totally hacked about my time.

As I was grumbling about my crappy time - hours later - God showed me a truth I have never considered. Sometimes when God lifts burdens from our lives or sets us free from sin it takes us some time to live as if we are free. Tonight I had so recently been weighed down that it was impossible to run with any speed. Sometimes I have experienced that in life as well. It reminded me to be patient with myself when i can only limp toward Christ when I feel like I should run.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Monday Morning Update 11.1.09

November already? How can that be? It was another busy and fun weekend at The Crossroads.

Saturday night The Crossroads sponsored a trunk or treat at one of the local banks. Shawn was the Incredible Hulk, and I was Wonder Woman. Pictures are all over his facebook page if you want to see what we looked like. I think his favorite part of the event was my costume. My favorite part of the event was watching community happen. Our people were visiting with people from the community, and neighbors were meeting each other and making new friends. I love that The Crossroads shares Jesus, but that we also seek to connect neighbors to one another. We want to build relationships, even if those people never come to The Crossroads.

We had tons of new faces join us today for worship. As I stood on stage, waiting for the opening video to finish, I looked at the people in the room. I am privileged to know people's stories. It's one of my greatest blessings of being in the ministry. I looked around and saw a woman battling a substance addiction, but then I looked again and saw a woman who has been sober for over 10 years love on her. It can't be an accident that God brought them together. I saw couples struggling for their marriage, and I looked around the room and saw couples that God has redeemed their marriages and thought that it can't be an accident God connected those families. I saw many terrible and ugly issues in people's lives, but I also saw others in the room who have fought the exact same battle, and walked away whole. As I looked at the crowd, I was awed that God had orchestrated events so precisely at that very moment so that people were connecting with exactly the right people at exactly the right time.

Shawn baptized a young boy today who recently became a believer in Jesus Christ. When Shawn asked him if he had made Jesus the leader of his life and the forgiver of his sins, the little boy said, "I swear." Then he refused to let Shawn dunk him, and instead dunked himself face first in the little bitty portable baptistery (think medium sized wading pool). It was awesome! I love kids!

Loved worship today. We did a new Crowder song, "How he loves." It is one of many new songs on the Crowder album "Church Music" that I really like. I've enjoyed running to the Crowder album this week. I am so excited as I watch where God is taking us as a band. Some cool stuff on the way.

Shawn preached another amazing sermon in the series "Chase the Lion." He talked about taking risks in order to follow Christ. That is not the same as taking risks for the sake of being risky. But following Christ often involves a great deal of travel into the unknown, and that can be terrifying for those who need to know all the details up front. One of Shawn's all time best lines that I use all the time comes from this sermon. He was talking about Peter walking on the water. Yes he sank for a few minutes, but he was the only disciple that day who walked back to the boat on the water alongside Christ. Shawn says, "I'd rather have wet underwear from walking with Christ than splinters in my butt from sitting in the boat." LOVE that line!

I am excited about where God is going with The Crossroads as he brings in new people, and calls and gifts existing members for more extensive ministry commitments. There's lots and lots of amazingly awesome stuff bubbling just under the surface. I can't wait to see where God is going with it all.

On a personal note - for those of you who are keeping up with my quest to create a healthy body that is ready in an instant to go when God says go - Tonight I ran 3 miles!!!!!! The whole 3 miles. No stops, no rest, no pauses, just running and running and running. My time was slow. My speed was a creepingly slow shuffling run. But it was a run. I was so proud of myself. When I started running in June, I struggled to complete a 60 second running interval. Tonight I ran for 42 minutes without stopping. Yes, I stood under the street light for a few minutes and cried. They were tears of joy, accomplishment, and even pain. When I stopped, my legs have never been so weak and shaky. It was all I could do not to collapse in the street.

When I started my run, my intention was to go a mile. Than I wanted to see if maybe I could go just another half mile. Then 2 miles. Then I realized I might be able to run the whole thing. The last mile was sheer grit and determination as I placed one foot in front of the other. My form was sloppy, my gait wobbly, my breathing ragged, but I finished. It makes me think that sometimes following Christ is like that. There are days in my Christian walk that I do more and go places that I never thought I could, and sometimes the only way to get there is with absolutely sheer determination that no matter what, I will follow. I will not stop seeking God. I will pursue my God. I will not be deterred.

In this quest for physical fitness, pray that I will not be confused about my goal. While weight loss is exciting and buying small clothes is cool, it is not my purpose. My purpose is to create a body that is fit enough to be able to say yes to anything God needs me to do. The longer I work out, and the more results I see, the harder it is for me to maintain a wise and healthy perspective on my body. It is incredibly challenging to see beauty instead of my physical flaws. I am thankful for a specific girlfriend who is quietly counting my calories during the week - to make sure I'm eating. And who is lovingly confronting me when I lose my perspective, become consumed with my flaws, fall off into stupidity and don't eat. I have learned that an eating disorder can be managed, but it rarely disappears. It is a monster that lives in a closet in my head. Most of the time the closet is chained, locked, and guarded and the monster is silenced. But on occasion it breaks free and has to be subdued all over again. I am lately reminded of how great my God is that He can bring healing and freedom to the darkest of our darknesses.

Wow, I really wandered off onto a tangent there. And it's all online. That's some pretty heavy stuff right there. I am not hitting delete simply because I feel strongly impressed to share my struggles tonight.