Walking through the hurt

I have had many conversations recently with friends who are going through some painfully, intense situations. There are job losses, accidents, death, and many other things that are causing a great deal of hurt within their lives.

One friend mentioned to me that they just want the hurt to stop and go away. As soon as they said that I thought about the many times I have gone through incredibly painful situations and wanted the hurt to go away. It does eventually go away and I come out on the other side of the situation a lot stronger than before. Unfortunately we are a society that does not want to feel the hurt. We want to mask it and make it go away as fast as we can. This is why we self medicate. We numb the pain with so many things; drugs, alcohol, hobbies, reading, TV, the list goes on with what we can become addicted to that will numb the hurt we feel. There is a great line in the Lady Antebellum song, “Need You Now” that I love, “I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all”. I reflect on this lyric often. Usually when I’m struggling through a situation that I just want to go away. When I feel like I need to crawl in a hole and let things pass I remind myself that hiding, masking and numbing the hurt will prolong the healing that needs to take place in my heart. 

I would definitely rather feel the hurt than feeling numb about a situation. I need to walk through that hurt. There is a reason for what I go through and when I am on the other side of it I will be a lot stronger than I was before. It is OK to feel deeply and feel hurt. Our emotions are God given. It is what we do with them and how we respond to the hurt that will grow our character. 

When praying for my friends who are going through these situations I am always reminded of praying through the Psalms. There is hope! 

Do you try to numb the hurt you are going through? 

Busiest Season Of My Life

The Christmas season has come and gone and of course I now reflect on all that took place in the past year and look forward to all that I can only dream of taking place in the new year.

With all honesty I feel I have walked through one of the busiest seasons in my life and having a little vacation over the holidays has caused me to take pause and realize that I needed a break. The two days in a row of taking a three hour nap was my first clue in realizing I was running (no pun intended) on empty.

Over the last year I tried desperately to keep up with my blog and the blogs of my friends. I failed. I love to write but the energy it took to get words on “paper” escaped me on a daily basis. I didn’t even have the energy to read my friends blogs. I  guess I could blame it on working full time, all the running I did, and the class I took through my job. I also failed at returning emails in a timely manner. But I am going to blame it on my poor time management skills. Don’t worry, I am going to get better at that.

Instead of focusing on all that I failed at this past year I wanted to focus more of this post on all the things I DID accomplish this year! I started a new job and really enjoy working for the organization I work for. I had a lot to learn so most days I went home tired from expending so much mental energy. I continued to coach the 5k running group through Run For Your Life until the summer and met a lot of wonderful people. I absolutely love coaching. I ran two half marathons in the spring and even had my best time on the first one! I also completed my first marathon in the fall! This consumed a great deal of my time. I had no idea how much time I would spend running. It was worth it and I’m pretty sure you have figured out that I enjoy running. 🙂

I have completed a college level course through my work called, Beyond Suffering. That was very time consuming. I haven’t done much recreational reading because I did a lot of reading and writing for that class. It was intense but well worth taking. I am looking into taking one class at a time and finish out my degree in the next couple of years. That may take a couple months to get set up in 2014.

I went to my first blogging conference in October and had a wonderful time. I learned a lot and connected with many writers and photographers while there. I do hope I can go back to the Allume conference.

As I look back at all that I accomplished and some of the things I failed at, there is one constant through out it all… my faith. I have relied heavily on my faith this year and prayed many times that the Lord would sustain me and bring me through the struggles and triumphs that 2013 brought and HE did!

I look forward to 2014 with all the new challenges that will come.

Let me know one thing you accomplished this year and what you look forward to in 2014.

Allume, Marathon and School

In three weeks I will be heading to the Allume conference with my friend, Amy! I am very excited about going and learning as much as I can about the blogging world. I’m praying I will be able to really enjoy my time and not worry about everything else taking place in the next month.

I’m on a count down: Five weeks from today I will have completed my first marathon! I am running the Savannah Rock and Roll marathon and my parents are running the half marathon. I love that I will not be running this race alone. I have a lot of running friends from Charlotte that will be running it with me! Yes, we are all different paces but it will be wonderful to have them there.

In the midst of those things I am taking a college level course through the organization I work for. It is called Beyond Suffering: A Christian View on Disability Ministry. I am really enjoying the class and am learning so much more than I expected. It is tough and challenging and I now want to go back to school to finish my degree.  🙂

To be honest this is the first time I’ve had a moment to blog in several weeks. I’m a little bit overwhelmed with all that is taking place. My friend, Amy, joked with me earlier about reading something in my spare time. We both laughed because I don’t have much spare time to do any extra reading. Oh how I wish I did!  My email has been neglected and will be neglected (unless it is urgent) for at least another few days. I’m hoping to be caught up on that this week.

All that to say… I have a lot going on and I am grateful for all these wonderful opportunities!

Faith and Running

Last night a friend of mine sent me a devotional that related how the Christian faith is much like running an endurance race. When I first started running I knew there was something more for me than “just running”. I was learning, growing and experiencing this new found love of running in a much different way than I had expected. I see how my walk with the Lord (my faith in Jesus) is like running a race. When I am in training mode, I have days where I just want to give up. In my walk with the Lord, there are days I want to throw in the towel and ask “is this really worth it”? It is worth it! 

Every single moment is worth it. Let that sink in.

The hard days are what make getting to the finish line that much sweeter. I know once I cross that finish line that I did not give up, I did not quit. I press on and see each new goal as a way to accomplish something great. I run hills that seem to go on forever and with each footstep I sometimes feel that cement has been poured into my shoes but once I reach the top, I rejoice at pushing through that difficult climb. Then comes the down hill portion, that wonderful time of recovery. I’m happier at that point in the run. But I know another hill comes up shortly and the routine continues. And just like that I am reminded of the problems I face. The hills I must climb each day, spiritually speaking, can be short and less painful or they can be long and arduous reminding me that I am not yet at the top. I haven’t finished the run.

I need to press on.  

I am then reminded of Philippians 3:12-14

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” NIV (Via Biblegateway.com) 

My faith and running go hand in hand. I understand my faith in a deeper way than I had before I started running. I am truly thankful. I love what the writer, Paul, says in Philippians. I haven’t arrived yet, but I press on. I continue to train (read my Bible, pray, serve and love others) daily with my faith just like I do with my running (running the hills, long mileage and sprints) to one day reach the final goal. 

What inspires you to deepen your faith?

Ministry IS Messy

I have been wrestling with some thoughts lately about being in the ministry and doing ministry.

I know working in a ministry setting is messy. Why? Because you are working with people and people have lives that are not neat and tidy, wrapped in a big red bow. I’m learning this more with the ministry I work with. (Joni and Friends) Working with people who have disabilities is not easy and is messier at times than working with people who are considered “normal”.

I do know what it is like to be in a family that has some one with a disability and the challenges it presents. I’ve talked about my brother who has Cerebral Palsy and how it has affected him and our family. I can remember many times just wanting him to “act normal” and “be like everyone else” so that we could be a “normal” family. (Side note: My family is anything but normal and it has nothing to do with my brother. 😉 )

Many times I have begged,  and pleaded  for people to come alongside my brother and be a friend and minister to him only to have it fall on deaf ears. I got the “yeah, I would love to hang with your brother and connect with him” comments only to realize that it was not as sincere as either of us hoped or wanted it to be. Why? Because hanging out with my brother is messy. He’s not “normal”. I don’t fault the people I have tried to connect my brother with in saying “yes” when it came down to “I don’t know, let me think about it” and several months go by with no contact. It is not easy to connect with some one just because their sibling thinks you should. Another reason I don’t fault them is because I’ve done the same thing. Many times people have wanted me to connect with someone who is hurting, or their lives are just plain messy and I say “yes” with good intentions only to have horrible follow through.

I’ve realized over the years it takes special people who truly want to get their hands dirty and jump into the mess that is ministry. Disability ministry adds a whole new dimension of messy.

I like things tidy and neat, wrapped in a big red bow. That’s how things in my life make sense. But life is not like that everyday and ministry is certainly not like that. It is messy and often times makes no sense. As a believer in Christ, I’m called to the messy.