Saturday, April 23, 2011

We Are NOT Alone!

Have you ever felt alone?  Like God had forgotten about you? Like He was missing what was going on around you or TO you? Like He was far away? Maybe even abandoned or forgotten?
This morning I was reading in Psalm 22 and was caught by how much the text sounded like words that Christ spoke during His crucifixion.

David... Psalm 22:1...
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
 Why are you so far away when I groan for help?

Christ... Mark 15:34...
Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Yet it appears as though David is feeling these same feelings in Psalm 22.  So I decided to jump onto to check out Dr. Constable's notes on Psalm 22. I loved this quote from James May in regard to the correlation of the two verses...

'He (Jesus) joins the multitudinous company of the afflicted and becomes one with them in their suffering.'

I just love this.  Jesus "quotes" David and this picture of Him saying... I know, I get it, I am feeling the things that you feel and will feel, people of this world.

What a sweet and precious picture and gift. Our Savior, the one that died in our place, paid our penalty, chose death to redeem us... He gets us, He understand us... We are NOT alone.
I need this reminder a lot of times.  When I am in the midst of questions of why, or when will this end, or do I really have to walk this road... I am comforted by this truth in Hebrews 4:14-16...

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

And I was also reminded that the disciples, on "this weekend" that we celebrate this gift of having a High Priest that knows, they were in the midst of grief this day.  Wondering what happened to the one they loved and followed.  Believing that it was all over.  Believing they had been abandoned and forgotten.
I pray that when we feel like... David, Jesus and the disciples... like it's all over, like it's TOO MUCH, that we will trust Him to give us mercy and grace to endure so that He will be glorified. That we will say.... "Not my will but yours be done!" (Luke 22:42)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011 COMPLETE... with a small confession...

Remember when I told y'all that I had given into "peep pressure" and signed up for the Warrior Dash?
Well the day arrived last Saturday to torture myself and know there was a great possibility I might not come out alive.  Ok, maybe that is a little over exaggerating, but I was nervous.
17 of us sign up to participate and we lost 4 to varying things so 13 of us end up dashing!
Here is the play by play...
Our crew all geared up and ready to go... it was pretty cool when we all got there,
 but turned out to be the perfect sunny cool weather!

Rode bus to race site and picked up our packets... Robbi and I are getting excited!!!

Putting on our numbers...

Another warrior pose before we start...

Jordan, Penick, and Robbi dancin' in line... too much energy...

So Robbi shared some of her energy with Paula...

And of course we do some stretching!!!

First up... walk through a muddy river... a little CHILLY...

Then over some cars...

And through some tires...

Then over and under...

Climb up a wall...

Walk a balance beam bridge...

Get tangled in a spider web...

Under a really low tent area... knees a little scraped up...

Over a cargo net bride...

Up and over some hay bails...

Up a cargo net...

Through a muddy river... beware of losing your shoes...

Over some logs...

Run through fire...

See Watermark peeps... and get the crowd fired up..

Crawl under barbed wire and through the mud pit...

Muddy Warrior Pose...

Mom and Dad came to support and take pictures... but wouldn't hug me at the end :)

And then off for a GREAT post-race meal at Babe's!  Can you say fried chicken and mashed potatoes!!!

Love doing this race with peeps I work with and our "extended family".  
And for my small confession... when we hit the hay bails and I new we were almost done... 

I was...


It was such a blast.  So fun.  So thankful for the faster. stronger ones that were willing to hang back and experience it as a team.  No one had to drag me or carry me!

And maybe just maybe... Warrior Dash 2012 is already on the calendar!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Like An Eagle...

Live Video streaming by Ustream
I found out about this live cam of an eagle's nest in Iowa.  It is has been so cool to watch.  The pair now have 3 little ones.  If you watch for very long you get to see how attentive the parents are to their little ones.  It actually has surprised me how much they are aware of what their little ones are doing.  They have built the nest up around them more and more as they have grown. (Good thing because that nest is 80 feet off the ground!)
I thought I remembered a verse in scripture that talked about God caring for His people the way an eagle cares for their young and I found it.

Deuteronomy 32:9-14
“For the people of Israel belong to the Lord;
Jacob is his special possession.
He found them in a desert land,
in an empty, howling wasteland.
He surrounded them and watched over them;
he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes.
Like an eagle that rouses her chicks
and hovers over her young,
so he spread his wings to take them up
and carried them safely on his pinions.
The Lord alone guided them;
they followed no foreign gods.
He let them ride over the highlands
and feast on the crops of the fields.
He nourished them with honey from the rock
and olive oil from the stony ground.
He fed them yogurt from the herd
and milk from the flock,
together with the fat of lambs.
He gave them choice rams from Bashan, and goats,
together with the choicest wheat.
You drank the finest wine,
made from the juice of grapes.

Reminds me to look around and be thankful for all the ways the Lord is hemming me in, protecting me, nourishing me, and providing for me!

Give Thanks to the Lord...

Today is one really long date with God.  Part of it is reading through the book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  One year ago this week started this chain of loss and change which has lead to lots of grief and struggle.
This morning already the book has challenged me in what I am doing in the midst of the hard to be thankful.  Am I willing to be thankful for EVERYTHING that God gives, including what He chooses to take away?  And so I am wrestling and was challenged as I got to Psalm 136 to write my own Psalm of Praise to the Lord, thanking Him for ALL things and remembering...

Psalm 136... changed up for where I am today!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to God who is greater than any thing.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord who is worthy of all our praise.
His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to Him who alone can save.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him who made the mountains, oceans and trees...
His faithful love endures forever.
And flowers and creatures and the breeze.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him who made the stars...
His faithful love endures forever.
And the sun to shine to remind us of whose we are.
His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to Him who saved me from eternal death.
His faithful love endures forever.
He brought me to Himself to rest.
His faithful love endures forever.
He's changed my heart of stone to flesh.
His faithful love endures forever.
And showed me my need of His unfailing love.
His faithful love endures forever.

He's given me community to sharpen and to guide.
His faithful love endures forever.
And He's shown me that I can never hide.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him for always providing for my needs.
His faithful love endures forever.
And showing me it's about relationship not things.
His faithful love endures forever.

He has carried me through many a loss,
His faithful love endures forever.
And reminded me it's for His Glory, the cost.
His faithful love endures forever.
He's called me to thanksgiving,
His faithful love endures forever.
remembering, and praise.
His faithful love endures forever.
And that He can handle the "why questions" I raise!
His faithful love endures forever.

By myself I can not make it,
His faithful love endures forever.
But He promises me He is enough.
His faithful love endures forever.
Even when it seems crazy,
His faithful love endures forever.
I will stop and say, "not my will but yours be done!"
His faithful love endures forever.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chameleons and Eggs

Have you ever taken a personality test?  You know, the ones that tell you if you are a red left brained golden retriever that leans towards depression! I'm not a real big fan of the tests for a couple of reasons.
First, I always find myself trying to figure out what all the questions really mean and what they are trying to push me towards.  Some of this is just how my brain functions and then some of it is because I have struggled with how I am wired.  So if I fool the test I can be someone else :)
Second, I often find myself in this weird middle ground on these tests.  This weird balance of left brain right brain or towards the middle on introvert and extrovert.  Or when I take the test a second time I have changed and then I wonder which one I really am!
Like in the movie Runaway Bride... There is a part in the movie where she realizes that she doesn't know what kind of eggs she likes.  She just always likes the kind of eggs of the guy she is dating.  There have been times where I find myself being a chameleon and just fitting into what works best in the moment.  At times I think I did this out of ease... and then others because I didn't like who I was.  I think over the last 10 years I have really grabbed a hold of who I am and have become more and more thankful for who I am.
Thirdly, in regards to these tests, I think I also feel like it is not okay to just settle right on in to who these tests say we are and just sit there.  God's work in our lives moves us, changes us and molds us to be more like His Son.  And so we shouldn't be settling in and becoming static.
And lastly in 38 years I think there are things about me that have changed a lot and somethings, so I am told, that have been here the whole time.
So why am I talking about all of this anyway?  This past week we talked about our strengths in our team meeting that come from the book Strengths Finder.  I had taken the test 2 time previously with only 2 of my 5 remaining the same, thus making me wonder which were really true.  Then I decided to just read all the descriptions and figure out what I think my 5 are.  And again, the 2 in common remain and the other 3 changed, again! It revealed some good stuff.  As I read through my strengths, according to this book, I didn't necessarily learn a new thought about me and how I'm wired.  But I did learn some new things about how I like to be lead and encouraged.  Or maybe it's clarity on things that I already knew about myself.  Either way... it was some great info.
And I was reminded that it is a good thing to be able to share with those around you what helps you, what encourages you, and to be honest about what hurts you.  It's not always easy, but it sure does deepen the relationship.
So what am I really trying to say?  I'm not totally sure...
Maybe... be honest with those you live life with and know what kind of eggs you like?

Photo of eggs from and chameleons from David R Parks and Robert Siegel.