Running the Race

On Friday, I ran my first 5K race with my sister and dear friend.  Even now, five days after the fact, I still kind of can’t believe we did it!  I am not so much amazed that we actually ran a 5K but more so that I finished the training program for the 5K.

For some reason I have a hard time finishing things.  Especially a training program for a 5K.  I have started and stopped the program time and time again.  I never made it past week 5 of 9.  It really annoys me that I am like this.  I am not naturally a very goal oriented person.  I enjoying making and having goals in my life, but when it comes to accomplishing those very goals, I struggle.  

This last “time” around, doing this program alongside of my dear sister and friend made a huge difference.  We held each other accountable.  We let one another know when we finished each run.  We encouraged one another.  We supported one another.  I truly would not have wanted to go through this training without either of them.

There is someone else I could not have gotten through this training without, my Best Friend, God.  There were so many times I wanted to stop running.  Each time I would simply repeat over and over, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” believing these words God proved faithful and helped me finish when I was ready to give up.  

God has been teaching me quite a few things while running that I feel compelled to share with you!  

Towards the end of the training you just run for 20, 25, 28 and then 30 minutes straight.  It was in these longer runs that I needed God more than ever, at first any way!  Right around 5 minutes of running my ankles began to tingle.  It is that moment where you can either stop the pain or push through it.  In that moment of choosing to push through it seems as though the pain is going to last for the remainder of the run.  Just minutes after making that choice to continue to run, the pain truly does go away.  Then right about when you have only 5 minutes left in the run, you feel like you don’t have any strength left and need to stop!  Again, you can choose to stop or to keep going.  If you keep going, you will find that when you finally reach the 20, 25, or 30 minute mark you feel like you would be able to keep on running!  

I cannot help but relate this to life.  This life is not easy, it was never intended to be.  So often we are running through life on the path God has for us.  We are so set on finishing the race in Heaven with God one day.  Then something so unexpected happens and tries to keep us from running on the course God has for us.  We are faced with the choice to stop in pain, or push through.  We think we need to be the ones to push through, when in fact God is waiting patiently for us to find our strength in Him alone.  I think this is one of the most comforting truths for me: God never asks us to do something that He will not be there to help us through.  Yes, it will be hard, more than we (in our own strength) can handle, and indeed painful; however God promises to never leave us nor forsake us.  He promises to be our strength.  He promises to be our Helper.  With God we can finish the race marked out for us.  So often we want to stop short because we cannot imagine the thought of taking one more step.  In that moment, we need to repeat God’s promises and get rid of the lies!  

Finally completing this training program has been such an encouragement to me.  It reminded me that God does not expect me to do the things He asks of me alone.  He wants me to do them with Him.  God has been faithful to me with running, giving me the strength I need and I know He will be forevermore.  The next time I want to give up on something He is asking me to do because it seems impossible, the next time I want to stop because the pain is too great, I will remember I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Philippians 4:13

Hebrews 12:1 

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It’s You!

“I will give you treasures from the darkness and hidden wealth of secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name”………Isa.45:3

I was surrounded by darkness the night I fell to my knees.  There was a light shining from the corner of my room but the pain pouring out of my wounded heart left me trapped in darkness.  I was crying tears different from any others that have ever fallen from my eyes.  Each one that slid down my cheek felt like poison.  I thought my life would end that night not from anything other than a completely crushed spirit.  Truth was not one part of my heart could handle another dose of abuse.  I believed there was no way out of this “cage” of darkness I found myself in that night. 

As I sobbed, I was overcome with the idea to pray to God.  This could not have been my idea after all, here I was a dirty, lost girl who had not only turned her back on God but completely shut Him out as I barely held on to the bars of my cage that held me captive in sin and darkness.   

I convinced myself prayer was certainly not going to work. “God is not going to hear your cry for help.  Think about what you have done and who you have become. God does not care to hear from you.  It is too late, you are too damaged for Him to fix.  He wants you to pay for all of the awful things you have done.  He cannot care for someone who has become what you have become; a shameful disgrace.”  These thoughts were truly the soundtrack playing in my head on repeat and someone kept turning up the volume.  

In an instant, God’s Spirit took over and turned down the volume on the lies running rampant through my mind.  With silence filling the room, I began to pray with the only words I was able to muster up from the shattered mess of my heart, “Please God, help me.  I keep going back to him and I know I have to stop but I can’t do it.  Please God, please do it all for me.”

To my complete surprise God took the shame filled puddle of tears I was knelt in that night and surrounded me with His grace.  His love came down for me and shattered each bar holding me in my cage.  I truly found God when I felt Him kiss my heart with the words I had searched for my whole life from anyone other than Him, “I love you Diane”.  In that moment I knew these words were true and came directly from God’s heart to mine.      

For the first time in my life the words “I love you” were not an empty phrase used to convince me of something I never felt.  Instead His love showed me that when I was sinning He was working.  When I was refusing to let Him in He was waiting patiently for me to come back to Him.  When my room was filling with darkness His Light found me.  When I cried out He heard me and didn’t call out my shame but instead called me by my name.  When I asked Him to do it all for me He did more than I could ever think or imagine.  

God replaced the lies that locked me in a cage with His truth that unlocked the darkness of that cage and brought me into His glorious light. 

Truth is we can all relate with these dark cages of fear, abuse, depression, loneliness, sin.  God wants me to share a secret with you, one that Satan does not want you to hear, God Himself is holding the key to set you free he just needs you to cry out for help.  No matter how dark your cage or how trapped you feel God’s love is always able to unlock your cage and bring you into His light.   

Before I encountered God’s infinite love for me that dreary night I would have never believed the very words I just wrote to you.  God has done a miracle in my life.  It is my sincere prayer that as you soak in what God has done in my life you open your heart to receive the many treasures He is preparing from the darkness you have found yourself in.

 

My Heart’s Song

Another Sleepless night alone, crazy from this mess we’re in

I read your texts to her on your phone

Watched you shave and dress and get out my car

Drove the city, checked my phone

Knowing you aint missing me

Imagination running hot, and you’re right where you wanna be

Do you think I’m made of stone?

Do you think it doesn’t hurt when you ignore me?

Leaving me to think the worst

And when you’re out there in her arms, then call me to be in mine

Do you think it’s all a game?

To play with my emotions all the time

Cant you see my heart is broke?

I’m just barely gettin round

Don’t know how I’m getting by

All your friends I see passing by

They know me, but the “me” you told them

They all know I’m acting stupid

And cant believe I keep going back to you

God I hate to feel so dumb

But I just cant turn loose of you

Do you think I’m made of stone?

Don’t you know my pain is real?

Its the worst I’ve ever known and it lasts even with you

What am I supposed to do when you cheat and drink your life away?

I shouldn’t go back to you I know

Wish I could ignore your call like you ignore mine

Do you think I’m made of stone?

Oh it cuts me like a knife

You have stripped me of my innocence

What am I supposed to do but wait for your call?

Do you think its just a game?

To play with my emotions like you do

Another sleepless night alone

I guess you really never cared

I wrote these words down after listening to a Dolly Parton song just four years ago.  These words truly were the song of my heart.  I was trapped in an abusive relationship and this is how I spent my days feeling.  The pain I felt behind each of these words was killing me.  Most days were worse. I will never forget the glorious day, Jesus touched my heart with a brand new song.  A song that knew no ending, one that comforted me, gave me peace, showered me with love, and saved my life!  The song God continues to sing for me every day completely covers any song I ever wrote on my own.  I do not feel alone anymore.  I know God’s embrace.  I know the song of my heart; it is GOD ALONE.  Thank you Jesus for replacing all of the words in the heartbreaking song, with words that mend my heart and bring me closer to you every day.  I love you!

Please understand that there are women every day that suffer and some even die from being stuck in abusive relationships just like I was.  I have found and believed the saving power of Jesus Christ because of such an abusive relationship.  Maybe you know someone in an abusive relationship- help, encourage, and support them in finding God’s love.  Maybe you are in an abusive relationship-please contact me for help, support, encouragement, and love.  No one can save anyone from abuse but God himself.   

Please say a prayer right now for everyone who is singing the song above.  Please pray that they will come to know God, trust HIM to free them from abuse and find the new song HE has for them:)  Prayer works, I know this firsthand.  Ask God to open your eyes to the hurting around you.  It is my desire to share God’s song of my heart with everyone.  Let that be your desire too.   

Psalm 40:2-3. 

 

Why?

How many times have you begged with somebody, why?  Why did you do this, or that?  Why did you hurt me?  Why did you betray me?  Why did you let this or that happen?  Why, why, why, why, why????  What a painful question to have to ask somebody.  Asking why, implies that you have been mistreated in a way God never intended for.   

I have come to absolutely detest starting a sentence with why.  There is no need to.  We will never fully understand why people do things or do not do things.  We will never grasp what is going on in other’s lives.  When we ask why, are we not being completely selfish?  Fighting for an answer to somehow make us feel better, give us some sort of relief.  Does our comfort really come from a watered down, not accurate answer to the question why?  What satisfaction will your heart receive when you finally hear some sort of response to your question: absolutely none (I happen to know this personally).

I remember a time in my life when I asked God, why?  I remember not even being able to speak the question, the pain behind that three lettered word was far too deep it left me speechless.  I believe God detests sentences started with Why just as much as I do. I believe we are not supposed to know why something happened.  God has a purpose and a plan for each of us.  By asking Him why, we are doubting that His plan is best for us, and better than what we think it should be. 

I just recently came across one of my journals from when I was going through a rough time in my life.  Each line on the page had a single sentence on it, all starting with the word, why.  I never found out the answer to any of those questions.  I remember when I wrote down each one of those questions.  I remember wanting peace, closure, comfort, resolution.  I realized something as I was rereading over all of those questions tonight: why questions are not where our comfort falls, our comfort is in God alone.  Knowing the answers will not leave a lasting joy, comfort, and peace to our hearts.  When God promises us that He knows and knows best, we can confidently believe those words.  Knowing God knows the answers to all of my sentences starting with why is what gets me past the wondering.  I am not meant to understand things, I am not meant to know the answers.  If I needed to God would let me know.  All he tells me, (which is more than I ever need to know) is that He loves me with an everlasting love, no matter what I do, and that He is joyful when I trust in Him alone. 

I do not just want to speak the words, I trust God, I do not doubt God.  I want to live out those sentences confidently.  I want those sentences to be backed up by every move I make in life.  I want those sentences to be the reason WHY I never ever, ever have to ask the question Why ever again!