Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Training Lessons: It's Easier to Laugh

Early yesterday morning Chad and I headed out for my first 8 mile run. Not only was I running my longest distance to date, I was also responsible for my (and I'm quoting my husband) "hydration and food". For the first time, I looked like a serious runner. Belt with small water bottles filled with my Rehydrate drink and in the pocket of that belt was my favorite part of longer runs. A mint chocolate pudding like gel that I get to eat. Seriously, I love the stuff.

We were around 5 miles when we took a turn down a road I had not run on before. It was around 5:30 am and still pretty dark. A house on my right had it's front porch light on and there was a dog sitting perfectly still on the front step. Almost too still. I am very afraid of dogs, so I was keeping my eyes on that thing.

I was amazed at how still that thing was and asked Chad if it was real. He laughed at me and said no. (Seriously, it was spooky at how real this thing looked. Fur and all.) He laughed at me, and we passed the spooky dog house. I soon realized I was headed DOWN a long steep hill into a dead end. Going down was not an issue, coming back up was another story.

So we rounded the dead end and headed out of what I'm calling death valley. It was awful. I was crying and it was NOT because God was teaching me something. I was crying because IT HURT. Everything hurt. I was just about ready to sit down on the curb and tell my husband to go get the car. But that freaky dog was still on that porch and it had me so spooked I knew I couldn't stay on that street. So I kept moving forward.

Chad actually had the nerve to ask me why I was crying. Between the sobs, and hiccups I managed to get out "hill" and "Can't do this." Do you know what he said to me?

"Come on, we've got to take a look at that dog that has been to see the stuffer." I said, " Stuffer? Are you talking about taxidermy?"

Yes, friends he was. Bless his heart, he couldn't think of the word and "stuffer" was what came out.

Well that started the giggles. GIGGLES at 5:30 in the morning. On the hill of death.

We came to the top and there sat the dog that looked stuffed. While I was still a little spooked by this thing, the giggles had taken over and the tears had stopped. We are still laughing about it all.

We finished and I learned that when running, it's easier to laugh than have the ugly cry.

I'll share Thursday how God used that spooky dog to teach me a spiritual lesson.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lessons in the Holy Classroom: Listening Skills

Since January or so, Freedom's Call has been talking and planning with a church around Warner Robbins, GA. We've been praying and preparing for this weekend. A weekend where we will worship Jesus and dive into His word. Jill is teaching on Spiritual Breakthroughs. It is a powerful teaching and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous! (She has the worship team up on stools for part of a session for some "discussion" time. Mercy, I'm sweating just thinking about it!)

God has had all four of us in the Holy classroom as we prepare for this weekend. If I attempted to tell you a fraction of what has gone on in our lives the last few months, you would not believe it. Instead, I want to share something that is a little less intense. Something God has been reminding me of.

I'll just go ahead and say, if you know me in real life you know I struggle with this and I apologize. I KNOW it and God is working on it. Thanks. :)

I read a Proverb every day. As far back as I can remember I have done this. Even when I was not doing a serious quiet time with the Lord, I read the Proverb of the day. I love Proverbs.

So last Saturday, (after my first 6 mile run!) I settled into Proverbs 18. There are several "mouth" verses in this chapter that I love. A few of them were in my middle school girl's lesson last night. Saturday, I was thinking about how they all worked into that. When I came to verse 13 and knew it was time to stop and settle in for a few minutes. C.O.N.V.I.C.T.I.O.N.

Here it is from the ESV. (What I'm using this month)

"If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame."

As if that wasn't enough, here it is in the Message.

"Answering before listening is both stupid and rude."

Yep. I have a bad habit of being stupid and rude. Especially with my husband.

Whoever said finishing each other's sentences is sweet and romantic and a sign of how close you are...well. They were lying.

Listening skills, along with an extra assignment in humility is what God is pressing into me.

Pretty appropriate since our Bible study girls start "Discerning the Voice of God" this evening. I'll probably need extra homework!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Lazy Saturday that Could Have Gone Bad.

Chad surprised me last night with a date night. Walked in the door after work and said, how long until dinner is ready? I told him 10 minutes and he said, "Good, we leave in 15 minutes."

Thank the good Lord I had makeup on. He handled the rest of dinner while I cleaned up and got changed. Babysitter taken care of and we were out the door within 15 minutes. HUGE, for this OCD planner. Since this was our first and last free weekend for a while, it was good to escape to our favorite Mexican restaurant for a little while.

Since we had no official plans today, we slept in. (Chloe and I were both awake around our normal times.) It's been awhile since I did not wake up to an alarm. LOVED it.

After half a bagel, I headed out with my handsome trainer to run. Today was my first 6 mile run. Yes, I lived. Moving slower than normal this afternoon, but I lived. Totally off subject - I have started my search for my marathon outfit. Apparently, it isn't a good idea to wear new clothes for the first time on race day. SO....I've got to find the outfit and break it in before November, 13. Who knew? I sure didn't. This running thing is a whole new world. And I love it.

Here is the reason this Saturday could have gone bad fast for me.

There were two conferences I really wanted to be at this weekend. Honestly, I have been a little unsettled all week knowing that it wasn't going to happen. At the same time I was looking forward to some much needed family time at home. (WITH NO PLANS.) It was this up and down roller coaster of emotions all week long. This morning as I was running next to Chad, it hit me that I was content. Content that I was right where I needed to be, but more importantly where God wanted me to be this weekend.

I could log on to Twitter and FaceBook, see my friends updates from these two totally different locations and be thrilled for them to be there. I could read their updates and be happy that I was at home with my favorite people.

The Saturday that could have gone bad did not. God knew that I needed the rest and family time. He knows what next weekend holds and that I will need to be rested and focused on Him.

This weekend was just one more reminder that He is for us and for our good. As much as I would have loved to have been at either of those conferences, I would not trade date night and this beautiful Saturday with my family for anything.


(Oh, and if you think about us, please pray for Freedom's Call as we will be ministering to a group of women in Centerville, GA next weekend! We are excited and can't wait to see what God is going to do! Thanks!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Training Lessons: Slow Down

I'm seven weeks into my training for this 1/2 marathon. (Nov. 13 is coming fast!) God continues to use this physical training time as a spiritual training time. Thursday's run was no exception.

When we finished the four miles I was pretty pleased with my time. (43 mins and a few seconds) I was getting ready to share my time with Chad when he looked at me said, "You've got to stop treating every run like it's race day. You need to slow down and concentrate on finishing each run feeling like you could have run a little further." He went on to tell me he was putting a heart rate monitor on me during my next run. Oh,and that I needed to slow down so I wouldn't need to walk as much. Yikes. And to think I was feeling good about my run!

When I "passionately" reminded him that I had NOT walked very much, he "passionately" told me that I would not have needed to walk had I been running at a slower pace. I just shut my mouth and enjoyed my post workout chocolate shake. Chocolate really makes everything better. :)

His words were on my brain all day. "Slow down." and "Concentrate on finishing today's run well." were two things that continued to pop up all day. I know that is God's way of saying, "HELLOOOOO, are you getting this?"

God reminded me that I do the exact same thing in life. I know that God has me, and you too, in a process, or training time. He is always teaching us. Stripping away the parts of us that He can not use and molding us into His image making us more like Him. That process can be excruciating at times. Worth it? Yes, but it can be intense.

Far too often, I find that I just want to get through the training time and celebrate the end of the journey. Selfish and prideful isn't it? To think that I can just be "done" with the lesson before God says it's time.

This week, God reminded me that I need to fix my eyes directly in front of me and concentrate on the next step. The finish line is coming and the training for this lesson will eventually come to an end.

This passage has been on my heart all week:

Hebrews 12:1-2
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For today, I'm to put one foot in front of the other and relax into the rhythm of today's training time. I don't want to miss the joy of today's lesson because my eyes are fixed on the wrong thing.