Tag Archives: inspiration

In the Stretching Moments

17 Nov

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For over three years, I’ve been walking on a broken foot.  Every step towards something or away from something was taken on a foot that wasn’t healed. Because I didn’t know it was broken, I walked on it anyway.

Often times, my foot would was sore and swollen. My podiatrist assured me I was fine, just suffering from tendonitis.  She told me to keep doing my normal activities and gave me a strong painkiller.  So I worked out, jumped, played, drove, shopped, and swam.  I walked on a boardwalk, on a sandy beach, on the sides of beautiful rivers, chased children and puppies, and I stood.  When I stopped taking the painkiller, which masked what was going on in my body, it hurt too much to stand. It hurt so much to walk, at times I would fight back tears.

Right now, it hurts too much to stand.  Sometimes I fight back tears.

So I’m in physical therapy, learning how to stretch my muscles and tendons because my broken foot doesn’t work properly.  It can’t do what it was designed to do—to roll from the heel to the toes—to carry me from place to place.

The muscles in both feet are atrophied. Therefore, they’re learning how to be strong again through stretching and bending and pulling and aching.

And the stretching out hurts.

As stiff muscles are pulled this way and that, they burn and the burning makes me nauseous.  Yet I keep stretching because I know my foot won’t always be broken.  I know that the stretching will provide the healing I need.  I know the muscles will become strong.

My foot isn’t the only thing that’s broken.  In fact, in many ways it has taken a back seat to my broken heart and crushed spirit.

See, I was doing life broken and crushed I didn’t realize it.  From the business (busyness?) of doing ministry and life, my spirit had become atrophied.

And now I’m in the place of the stretching out—finding a new place to belong, putting myself out there to make new friends, healing from wounds that are still bleeding, and pulling on  muscles that are rigid. 

I’m opening my hands before God, for He is the One who gives and takes away

The stretching out is uncomfortable, but I’m trying to see it as a gift.  Everything God gives me or allows to happen in my life is part of the stretching.  He is making the hard places malleable and builds strength in the weak places.

The stretching is necessary if I’m ever going to walk right again…and I don’t just want to walk, I want to run!  I want to run the race He has given me to run.

It is strange how God still allowed me to walk broken and to do ministry so crushed, yet that’s His mercy.  Maybe we’re all broken, but He only makes us aware of the areas of brokenness as we can handle them, as we become ready for Him to heal them in our lives.

I’m walking broken—physically and spiritually and emotionally—but I am still walking.  Isn’t that really the point of this race we call life?  Whether we rest or run a marathon, we keep on going.  Whether we’re warming up for a sprint or drinking Gatorade on the sidelines, we look at what is ahead, not behind

And sometimes we’re in the stretching, the waiting and the trusting for the moment God will let us run loose.  We will be stronger, faster, and more like Him because of the stretching.  The brokenness and the stretching is all part of the life race. 

Unlike other races, It’s not about who wins.  It’s about how we get there.  Because we were made to run.

*This post was heavily inspired by Jennie Allen’s RESTLESS Bible Study and Ann VosKamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts.  I highly recommend both resources!

Imagine… A Women of Faith Weekend

8 Sep

On Friday morning, BFF Sarah and I will be heading to Philadelphia to attend the two-day Women of Faith weekend (WoF).  Thanks to BookSneeze, I received two free passes in exchange for telling y’all about my experience.  Sounds good to me!  Ah, the perks of being a blogger.

I’ve never been to a Women of Faith weekend, so I don’t really know what to expect.  According to the WoF website, outside food and drinks will be confiscated—does that mean I can’t shove a pack of Mentos into my purse?  Will I be forced to pay $4 for a small soda?  I know that Jesus is the living water, but will He be handing out Deer Park at the event?  Keeping us dehydrated could cut down on those infamously long lines at the women’s restroom I suppose.

Anyway, the theme of the weekend is “Imagine,” and I will, “be refreshed, encouraged and inspired. Because the God who loves you can do far more than you can ever Imagine.”  (Refreshed = free water, I’m sure of it.) Lately, I’ve been feeling parched, discouraged, and vacant.

I’m so thirsty for something more.  (More of God?  Definitely more than just slogging through the day.)

I don’t feel like I can make it through another minute.  My strength is failing me.  Not only do I need courage, but I need to be encouraged.

I have so many thoughts running through my head.  I want to do this and that, but I get so tired—I’m too tired to start, too depressed to even try. I ache for inspiration (and motivation).

And I think, I can’t go to Women of Faith this weekend.  I’m too weak, too depressed, too me.  My anxiety is kicking up at the thought of being closed into a stadium with thousands of women.  The thought of being touched or hugged by a stranger gives me knots in my stomach.  O, God, please don’t make me go.

His response? “I love you far more than you can ever imagine.”

I won’t let my fear control me.  I will bask in refreshment, encouragement, and inspiration.  I will let it fill me up and surround me like a warm bubble bath, and seep into my dry soul like aloe vera. 

Just let go of the fear and imagine…

(The video makes the Women of Faith weekend look pretty fun!)

Have you been to a Women of Faith weekend?  What was it like?  Think my Mentos are contraband?  Are you going to Philly this weekend for WoF or another stop on the Imagine tour?

WHAT?! Hitler’s Meim Kampf for Inspiration & Jimi Hendrix a Child’s Role Model?!

11 May

This is ridiculous!  First, business student in India are buying  Adolf Hitler’s autobiography for inspiration and now educators in San Francisco are hailing Jimi Hendrix as a great role model.  Is it me or has the world gone completely mad?

To the students in India, Meim Kampf is not a book on business organization strategies, but rather a hate-filled memoir of insanity.  In Meim Kampf, Hitler lays out his anti-semitism and his plans to eradicate the Jews and others who he feels are “inferior.”  This is not good business.  In fact, it didn’t even work because bigger “businesses” ended his nefarious practices.

To the educators in San Francisco, I know you do things a little differently in San Francisco.  But just because Jimi Hendrix was arguably one of the best guitar players that ever lived doesn’t make him a good role model…for the education system.  Hendrix never graduated from high school, was known for his drug use, and died choking on his own vomit after a drug binge.  This isn’t “hip,” it’s crazy.  Not only that, but it’s a waste of the taxpayers money.

Travel with me to a place called it’s-never-gonna-happen and imagine that students in India bought the Bible and studied the book of Proverbs for insight on business and the educators hailed a Jewish teacher named Jesus as a role model for students.  Of course, that would be completely ridiculous, right?  Especially the Jesus part, since he is a religious figure and all.  I would have to argue that the Son of God has been a pretty good role model for me and that the Bible has helped me through all sorts of decisions, including ones that break the heart and wound the spirit.

It’s sad to live in a world that hails Hitler’s manifesto as good literature and Jimi Hendrix as a childhood hero.  Yet it’s a world longing for inspiration and heroism—something we Christians have to offer through the gospel, in our lives and dealings with others, and our study of Scripture.  Never has it been clearer to me than now.

Offer the world the hope you have and give them a reason to ask you about that faith you have.  Be visible.  Be active.  And do it now.  The world is dying to know Truth.

If I wasn’t a writer, I would be…

17 Jun

If I lived 200 years ago, I could be the woman writing with the quill in this painting.

I was trying to think of some whimsical, light-hearted topic to share with the world, or maybe something insightful or amusing. Perhaps I’d go for a topic about God or the Bible to encourage everyone out there. Unfortunately, I’ve got nothing…not really.

But I thought, well, maybe I should blog anyway. Although the basis of writing a blog post is to actually say something, what if I say nothing of substance? While some may argue that none of my blog posts have substance, I can assure those of you in that camp that this post will lack more substance and focus than usual.

See, I like to have my thoughts well-ordered and organized before I present a topic to the world. Using keen words and stunning adjectives, I want to wow the world with my command of the English language or just my writing ability. It’s sad that sometimes the only thing I think I can do correctly is write, and even then, I still kick myself for the typos.

I’ve always been a writer and a storyteller. It’s as much a part of my identity as my freckles or my life as an only child. After I write an article, I get this feeling in my stomach, a sort of nausea, and this thought it in my head–“What if you never write anything after this? What if this is your opus?”

I’m not looking for compliments or assurances about my writing. I’m just sharing an irrational thought that swims through my brain. At times, it really scares me because if I’m not a writer, then what am I? If I can’t hide behind my skill, then I would have to be something else besides…a writer.

I wish I could say that I would be sustained by my identity in Christ; unfortunately, I can’t promise that. As much as I would like it to be true, I think my main struggle in life can be tied back to this simple truth–I struggle to know who I am in Christ and how God views me. It seems so much more important what single Christian guys or random strangers think about me than the King of the Universe…and I don’t know why that is. Rationally, I know God’s opinion is the one that matters, yet even as I type on this blog I wonder what some of you out there think of me. Not what I write, what you think of ME.

This is an area of my life I am praying about and asking God to change in me. Of course, He can’t just zap me with self-confidence (enough assurance to be confident, but not too much to be cocky. A shot of appropriately humble will do), but He actually takes me through experiences in which I come face-to-face with situations that stretch, mold, and bend me.

More than ever, I see my life as a construction zone. I want to tell people I meet now to come back in six months because you’re just seeing the framework of who I could be…I’ll be much more fantastic and interesting then…and then you’ll want to stay. Really, I am changing, but at the same time I’m still afraid that people will leave because I’m not enough. If I’m forthright about the process, does that mean I get a extension on your opinion of me?

I realize how stupid that sounds, but stupidity loves company. Almost every person has struggled with issues of identity, purpose, and spirituality. I guess I want to be real about my current battles because it helps keep things in perspective for me, may help someone else, and because I’m a writer and that’s what we writers do. We write about stuff that (hopefully) matters.

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