His Amazing Grace

I opened my eyes to the sun rise through my blinds and blinked. 8:00am. On my own. Without an alarm. I rolled over to feel my sweet puppy Watson breathing beside me, his breaths steady against me. I smiled and thought about what i’m doing the next few days. I looked around my room, my walls bare, boxes stacked up next to my bed, my pictures put away…

I’m moving to Fort Worth, Texas this week.

I sometimes lay awake at night and wonder if I really am doing this, then wake up in the morning and realize that I am and it’s okay. I’ve said goodbye to countless friends and watched them leave with tears in their eyes and have wondered… where are my tears? I feel emotionless sometimes.

I’ve sat across from friends who want my story of why i’m moving and why I chose this particular seminary… and I think many are waiting on an extraordinary story. One with signs and wonders and huge miracles…  with a clear conviction and direction. I’ve sat across from people who are shocked, because i’ve not mentioned it before, and others who know it’s right.

But instead I sit across from person after person and just explain that I feel peace. That this is something that’s has been on my heart for a couple of years or so and I’ve been too afraid to do it. Because what if…what if I don’t fit in? What if I stick out like a sore thumb? What if they realize that i’m really not seminary material and instead i’m messy and rude and loud and sometimes even obnoxious? What if I get there and accidentally curse in class? What if they see my wicked heart and realize… I don’t belong? 

But all those what if’s don’t matter anymore, because The Lord is my Shepherd and He has guided me to Knoxville and away from Knoxville. He has lead me through dark valleys. The what if’s don’t matter anymore because the applications for seminary asked me all the questions that I was afraid they would and I answered so brutally honestly that..when I got my acceptance letter, I was shocked.

I’ve been silent about it because He’s been stirring something deep within me that feels too personal and too holy to talk about. He’s been shaping and changing and molding me in ways I didn’t realize I needed. He’s transformed me and continues to do so.

Moving away isn’t a big spiritual struggle like I imagined it would be. I thought attending to seminary would be a gigantic emotionally spiritual experience, but it’s just the next step that He’s lead me to and I feel peace.

Whether this is right or wrong, i’m unsure. But I know He will lead me into green pastures and lead me by still waters and I know He’s restored my soul. His rod and His staff they comfort me even in the presence of evil, because I know His discipline will help me stick by Him.

He is my comfort. My peace. And I don’t have an amazing story, I have His Amazing Grace and for me, today, that’s more than enough.

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52 Weeks of Adventure: week 5 He is Faithful.

The most difficult thing about writing these weekly adventures is not what you think it would be. The challenge isn’t in finding the adventure or putting words to the adventure. Instead, the challenge lies in choosing just ONE adventure to write about. You see, in a given week there are approximately 50,000,000 adventures in my life alone. Now, there are probably about 10 that I notice if i’m looking and if I’m not looking, there is probably only one that will be fully appreciated.

So I sit here reflecting on this past week, trying to decide what to write about. I could write about the day I lost my keys, the cookies I baked from scratch using a recipe I didn’t really follow, the lingerie party that we threw for my friend, or the day I went to the DMV and officially became tennessean… There are a million other adventures that I can’t write about to their personal or confidential nature… But this week was just especially lovely and full of adventure.

I’m going to go with the trauma adventure of my missing keys today and maybe later I will add more stories… more adventures… more fun! Tuesday of last week I woke up on time and early late and scattered. I usually do feel this way when I wake up, but that day was especially atrocious. I woke up and looked at Watson and could tell our hair resembled each other. Wild and frazzled. We both looked exhausted. It was a Tuesday that felt like Monday and I had a boatload of work to do to wrap up some things at work

Watson and I made our way downstairs and groggily went on our walk. He pounced and pulled between grass, pavement, and bushes. We spent some time with the neighborhood dogs and then finally, we went inside where we made coffee and tried to wake up from our slumber. As I got dressed and ready for work I started gathering my things from the edges of the earth that is my apartment and got ready to leave. After picking up everything that was at the top of the stairs, I put Watson in his room and headed down to my car only to realize… Where are my keys?

My brain didn’t think too much of it when they didn’t show up and thought maybe they were just around. However, an hour later I was still searching and still not at work. Hour turned to hours. My search continued. I searched inside. I searched in the couch and kitchen and refrigerator because I know sometimes I lose my mind and put things in places that don’t make sense. I searched through clothes and pockets and Watson’s toys. I searched through drawers and bags and backpacks and crevices. I searched and searched like one of those sporadic cartoon characters throwing everything every which way.

Next, Watson and I walked around the parameter of the apartments. We stopped by the poop buckets and looked through them (gross!). My  search turned to frantic texts. My panic wasn’t just that I was without my car and house keys but also without work keys and my USB that has personal information.

Worry turned to frantic searching that graduated into panic all the while, my phone rang my mom called. A girl is never too old to talk to her mom when she loses something. Even if her mom is 12 hours away. After explaining the Missing Key Saga and everywhere I had looked and the importance of finding keys that were not my own (i.e. work keys). “Sara, pray about it,” she suggested, “Last week I was missing a parking ticket and after praying He provided when we really needed it…” And I listened.

Making my way to my apartment, Watson and I walked up the stairs, he jumped on the couch and I got on my face with tears in the carpet and my nose breathing in particles of dust, I prayed. Lord, I don’t know if You hear us or answer prayers anymore but I’m praying… Not knowing where those words came from, not knowing where the doubt suddenly appeared from I paused, stunned. I shut my eyes as the carpet got more and more damp. I tried again. Lord, thank you that it isn’t raining today like it was yesterday. Please calm my nerves. Please provide the keys so I can give back what isn’t mine to who it belongs to and get to work. If You hear me, if You’re there, If you still answer prayers… doubts filled. tears flooded.

My keys going missing was something that really wasn’t a big deal and really shouldn’t have been so emotional, but for me it was a deep spiritual realization and an adventure of doubt I didn’t recognize within me until I offered up fervent prayers of desperation. I laid with my face on the carpet stupefied at my doubt. Both knowing and not knowing the root of where this had come from and why it was just surfacing. Both brokenhearted, confused, and elated because I could deal with it. Finally.

Until you get alone with Him in the quiet do you ever start to deal with what’s inside you and who He is… And that day, the adventure began. It began on my face with my nose on the tear-soaked carpet crying out for Him- instead praying to find my keys, I prayed for Him to take my doubt and give me reassurance that He is faithful. Just like I’ve always known Him to be. Regardless of whether my keys were found or not, I wanted to know His character more and be firm and steadfast in it. He is my identity.

To prepare for not having my keys ever again, I called a AAA who sent a locksmith to make a key for my car. As he took the lock off my door, my prayers turned silent in my heart as he stepped up in his truck to go back to his office and make a key… his car sputtered and died.

His car died. The battery died and I stood there laughing. The inappropriateness and rightness of the situation was too much to handle. His faithfulness was in it somewhere, His glory in my laughter. I felt like Sara who laughed at the Lord when He told Abraham he would be a father to many nations. I looked to the Locksmith, “We could call AAA. I have a membership”.

“Ma’am,” he said, “I am AAA. You called us already.”

My laughter turned to snorts.

Eventually he got his truck jumped, he got my key made and arrived back to my car to program it, all the while engaging me in conversations of star wars and star trek and music. Three things I know nothing about… but eventually he handed my new key over to me at 7:30pm and drove away as I stood there in the cold thanking Him, the Lord, for a glorious day and a key to get to work tomorrow.

My roommate arrived home that night and we told each other of our  trauma filled adventurous and eventful day and as she cleaned her purse out I saw her still. She looked up at me and out of her purse in her hand came my keys… and there was nothing to do but laugh and cry and be so thankful that my keys were okay after all, because He provides. Jehovah Jireh. He tests. He loves. He proves faithful. He always knows our hearts and reveals our hearts to us when we don’t know our hearts. He gives us room for doubt and repentance. He’s a good, good Father.

It wasn’t until later that week when I came home from work around 1am that I realized the depths of awesomness I had in a roommate… even after her profusely apologizing to me when I really didn’t care that she took my keys. I was so happy to have them back. I came home to things she left out for me and made for me… she made a HUGE card with scripture on it, an incredibly nice tea maker, a mug, and on the card were hilarious hashtags like #TeamSara #L’Chaim #yehsua #otherjewishthings #Imstillreallysorry #Nevertakeyourkeysagain…. And the week ended with a huge smile on my lips, tears on my cheeks and a new understanding of Him, grace, forgiveness, mercy… and His Faithfulness.

His faithfulness continues through all generations. (Ps 100:5). 

Sometimes adventures can be painful realizations of ourselves and of Him, but that doesn’t make them any less adventurous. I am so thankful for this week!

 

 

 

 

Let Something Happen To Me

Last night I spent time organizing all of my important papers. Since I moved into my most recent apartment in September, important papers have been piled instead of filed. So it was time to organize and reassess what to keep and what to throw.DSCN0379

I came across a letter a dear friend, Christi, wrote to me several years ago. It’s undated, but I would date it back to 2010- maybe even 2011. A lot of significant things happened during that time in my walk with Him. In the letter she shared with me a prayer that she read earlier that week. The author is unknown but I want to share it with you all today.

 

Oh God,
Let something happen to me,
Something more than interesting
Or entertaining
Or thoughtful. 

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let something essential happen to me,
Something awesome,
Something real,
Speak to my condition, Lord,
and change me inside somewhere
Where it matters,
a change that will burn and tremble and heal
and explode me into tears.
Or laughter.
or love that throbs or screams
or keeps a terrible cleansing silence
and dares the dangerous deeds.
Let something happen in me
Which is my real self, O God.

Emmanuel- He’s Present in Heartache

I lay awake in my bed, my mind full. Question after question. Tears fell, fears filled and I wondered. I started my prayers to Him:

My 23 year old best friend was buried. October 31, 2015. I think that warrants some questions. 

My voice wavered and tear after tear came. Earlier that day I made the mistake of picking up the journal I have used over the last 2 years and reading through it- Prayer by prayer. Line by line. All the prayers I prayed for her. I felt like with each new line with each new word my heart cracked.

Lord, Breathe Your life giving breath into her that You breathed to Eve.

Protect her heart, her lungs, her kidneys, her liver. Let your spirit flow through her body and become a shield of protection around her.

Become Emmanuel to Ciera today- Not the noun, but the verb! Lord, Emmanuel!

Emmanuel! Be with her! Be present! Be active! Let us Know you’re here!

Lord i’m on my face today, We need you.

Lord, help us, help her. help. help.

Page by page covered with prayers. With tear stains.

The journal ends with her date of death.

October 26, 2015 6:02 pm, Ciera ran into the arms of Jesus. 

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This is Ciera and me after our first 8k in November!

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And with the start of a new journal, new prayers have surfaced. Prayers turned to questions.. questions turned to heart ache.

Do You hear me? Are You even there? Do You care? Are You listening? Where are You? 

Question after question. Tear after tear. I clutch my pillow and watch the burning candle above my bed frame.

Right now we are in a season of Advent- a season of actively waiting. Waiting in worship, waiting in longing, waiting in the mess of life for Him to come back and Emmanuel- and take us home with Him and make all things new…

And in the midst of this waiting, In the midst of my questions that sound more like accusations to outsiders, but in my heart they aren’t accusatory- instead they’re filled with anguish and heartbreak and restlessness.

If I pray do You hear me? Do You really pay attention? Are You there when I need You? Are You present? Can I trust You? You took her Home and I don’t understand. My constant prayer throughout the last 2 years in that journal has been for Your name to be glorified. Was it? I don’t see it. Where is Your glory? Is it present- even in the midst of such raw grief and heartache? Help me see it. Help me know.

It’s moments like these when the story of Lazarus resonates with me. I deeply identify with Mary as she runs up to Jesus in John 11:32 and says “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died!” I feel the urgency and the pressure in her voice. My heart breaks with her and I turn to Jesus and echo her heartache.

And as I echo her heartache I hear His response. Still. Small. Whisper. You have to really listen and I hear Him saying.

I know. I know. I’ve been there. I hurt. I’ve lost. I see. I hear. Hang onto Me. Keep on praying. You have been given the marvelous gift of intercessory prayer… keep on. Don’t give up. It feels like I didn’t get glory but I did. I have. I am, my child…I AM.

I hear him echo out His heartache. I hear His encouragement. I hold onto it by my fingernails. Sometimes I hold on not truly believing but truly wanting to. I hear Him tell me that He knows. He has lost- He’s been broken. He’s suffered. I think of the cross. I hear Him weeping with me through the dark nights and singing over me in the early mornings. I feel like a child in His lap with heart break in my hands… “Abba, help!”

He’s here. Even if I can’t see Him. Even when I don’t understand. He is Emmanuel. He waits and wades through our questions and is there on the other side. He’s patient. He knows. He’s here. Always.

So my question and plea is the same as last year- Emmanuel, Lord! Emmanuel! Be with us! Come with Us! Be Active in our grief! Be active in being with us and giving Glory to Yourself. Help us see You and worship You… and be our comfort.

Emmanuel, Lord! Emmanuel!

 

 

I Dream So Many Dreams…

Two weeks ago I stood speaking in front of a college Deaf Education class i’d been invited, welcoming questions from student after student. This isn’t the first time i’ve done this. I heard many of the same questions as I’d had before…

How did you pick up sign language so quickly?
Do you feel more comfortable in the Deaf or hearing world?
How much do you hear?
What hearing aid do you wear? And why?
Do you feel like your mainstream education helped or hurt your future?
What would you do if you could do it again? 

I smiled, with my answers ready. They were drawn from my experience, my opinions, and my life, they didn’t require much thought. But the next question caught me off guard.

So, What is your dream? 

“My dream? Like… For my future?” The class laughed at my question and quieted to hear my answer. I was so stunned by the question, I started to feel the silence rather than hear it. The crimson that rarely came started in my neck worked its way up to my ears and into my smile. I looked around.

“I don’t have one.” I said while humorously changing the topic evoking laughs from my audience.

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This exchange has been on my mind since. I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it. It plays in my mind and I think of all the things I could have said. But more than that, it brings me back to another quite equally haunting memory that I have of sitting in my former counselor’s office approximately 3 years ago and being asked to draw my future out on the dry erase board behind me.

I drew a stick person- me. And a school, graduation, then a job… and house.

Sara, he said, What about the people in your life? What about a spouse and children? 

“I don’t see that in my future, I don’t dream for that,” I replied.

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But none of that is true. None of it. And Yet, both exchanges haunt me. I’ve come to realize that speaking my dreams out loud- allowing myself to dream- scares me. Scares me so much so that I go to tell people that I have no dreams and I want no family, but today with this blogpost I wish to take those answers back. I’m taking them back. No. I’m not letting fear steal my future. I’m not letting Satan steal my dreams. What if the dreams I have are God’s dream? Better yet… what if, by speaking my dreams out loud (or writing them), God enables the people in my life to help them take shape and give them life?

Deuteronomy 30: 19 states that He has set before the Israelites death and life, blessings and curses and it is up to them to decide to choose life. Through speaking my dreams- my hopes- I think that is, in essence, speaking life rather than death over my future. And do I want life. I choose it.

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So what is my dream? What are my dreams? I don’t just have one- and they’re scary to voice because… I feel like they conflict with each other. What if none of them come to be and what if all of them come to be?  Both prospects are equally terrifying… and today that’s okay.

My dreams…

I want to attend seminary and spend too much money learning how to share the gospel. I want to make friends and enemies and pray for all of them. I want to hurt and wonder how i’ll make it the next year and then get to next year and be amazed at His glory. I want to learn and counsel women to be more godly, and counsel women who want nothing to do with God. I want to make friends and live life with them and step into their spaces and see who they are. I want to be there when they have children and get married and get cancer. I want to be there and show up in the most crucial times.

I want to meet someone and love him. Really love him. I want to love him enough to suffer with him for the rest of my life and let myself be held and protected by him. I want the anger and frustration of him not doing what I want him to do and the tears when he expresses his frustration of what i’m not doing with me! I want the excitement when I know he’s coming home. I want to roll my eyes at stupid jokes and get annoyed when he wants to watch sports. I want to pull out the scriptures with him and blush when he reads what we know as Proverbs 31 to me… Eshet Chayil- The woman of Valor! I want to give him high fives… even though sometimes they will land on his face (I’m just kidding…) I want to be silly and play hooky from work and eat pancakes in bed and giggle. I want to spend hours laboring in the kitchen for Shabbat dinners with candles on the table. I want to see tears in his eyes when I give him gifts and love when I give forgiveness. I want us to be angry and passionate. I want to slam doors and open hearts and be a mess and then be put back together in Him- the ultimate Him (Yeshua). I want it all.

I want to bear his children and give them his name. I want to pray for each child as it grows in me and be angry that he didn’t bring chocolate home. I want to feel his frustration and work it out with words and love. My dream is to be kind to him, because love is kind. I want to sing psalms by his bedside… and jokingly curse him in labor with laugher that bubbles up. I want a quiver full of arrows. I want the dirty house and the messy windows. I want the small fingerprints and the sleepless nights, the kind of sleepless night when something so little poops so much you both wonder how it’s possible- and then laugh together. I want the angry tears when he tells me I need to do more and be more and the love when I realize he’s right. I want to see his children grow and learn and fall and be clumsy. I want to pull back a head full of tiny curls and wonder what I was thinking when I wanted children and then laugh. I want the smiles and the frustration. The tears and the laughter. I want family.

I want to move across the country and live on a farm. I want to own sheep. Because they’re cute and because i know nothing about them- and i’m silly. I want to milk cows in the morning and feed them in the afternoon  and wonder why my trees are dying in the backyard. I want sore hands and a warm heart and a tired body. I want Watson to be a farm dog. For at least a little while. I want to smile as I wake up before the sun and smile when I go to bed long after it’s sunk. I want to stay up too late writing poetry and get up too early to cook. I want to be tired and refreshed. Work hard and relax. I want to own a house. A house that I can invite guests to and serve as a haven for young mothers with no husbands. I want to be plan B when plan A doesn’t work and plan C is abortion. I want to cook breakfast for young mothers and give them advice on how to raise children- even though I don’t know what i’m doing with my own. I want to clasp their hands in mine and wipe their tears and then go in the other room and ask the Lord what He was thinking when He asked me to do this… because i’m so inadequate.

My dream is to spend time in the middle east and hand out clothes to those who don’t have clothes and wrap women in Hijab who are lacking and wanting. I want to see the hands of refugees and wipe their faces. I want to wash feet and clothes down by the river. I want to respect and love and serve. I want to hurt. I want to be comfortable and uncomfortable and so comfortable that it makes me uncomfortable. I want to share Jesus with everyone who will listen and love those who spit in my face- like Amy Carmichael. I want to do more than hand out bibles, I want to BE Him and live Him. I want to cook meals and clean houses. I want to teach children- deaf children. Learn new sign languages. Learn new things.

I want to cry for want of home and smile for want of home. I want to be dirty, but have no shower. And be clean and give my shower. And finally go Home.

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Some of these things many never come true. Some of these things may turn into someone else’s dream. All of these things are unrealistic and romanticized and ridiculously realistic all at the same time. I cannot do all of these things, but I can dream them. I can dream them and when someone asks me what my dreams are I can choose one dream and divulge. All of these dreams are mine, but not all of these dreams are God’s. The most common phrase in my list of dreams is “I want”… My hope and prayer is that these “wants” become fewer and fewer and His Want becomes more and more…

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease” 

 

Post-triathlon musings, memories, pictures… St Jude.

I’m sorry it has taken me so long to post an update. I am currently in Rochester, NY at a conference and have found it hard to get some downtime. This blog is my reward for meeting 3 very big goals tonight. (yes, I write to reward myself from writing…)

On Friday, as you all know if you read my last post, I left for Miami and had a little bump in the road getting started. I finally arrived in Miami around 1 am, got a cab to the hotel, and went to check in. At my check in they said the computers were down so there were no keys for the rooms. For that reason, I had to have an escort to my room and have someone unlock the door and lock it behind me. That was interesting.

I slept really well Friday night, woke up Saturday morning just in time for the Swim clinic.

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I was nervous about the ocean swim before the swim clinic began but once I met a few people there and we all swam in the ocean together like a team, I felt a lot better. After the swim clinic, I headed across the beach to the transition area to pick up my rented bike, set up for Sunday and pick up my registration packet.

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So while I set up, I met many people. I met a girl from Brazil, a guy from England, and people from Miami beach who were doing the Triathlon along with me! They were all so nice. I suppose I had a lost puppy look when I was setting up my transition because people approached me to welcome me “Oh, I see this is your first! Don’t forget to enjoy it! You’ll never have a first again, you’ll always be chasing this high”… I got something to that effect repeatedly… I thought to myself: this HIGH? I just hope I don’t die out there... Especially when I asked for advice and was told “don’t forget to enjoy it! You’ll never get this again!”

I was especially nervous about the biking, given my awesome balancing skills (ha! thanks, Meniere’s disease!) and my lack of practice due to weather (thank you, indoor bike machine!) I was most nervous about the bike. What other people considered the easy part is my greatest fear… Biking 20 miles and breaking my skull along the way… because i planned to finish whether I broke something or not. No matter what, the kids at St Jude deserve a finish!

My prerace meal:

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So, the morning of the race I woke up and ate some very non-nutritional food because it’s what I had with me. I was very nervous so I put my tattoos on (we have to temporarily tattoo our numbers on ourselves so they can identify us during each event), put my clothes on, grabbed my to-go bag and headed to transition.

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I tried to follow the directions the best I could. The timing chip was a Velcro on our left ankle, it felt REALLY weird to swim in. I’m glad I took a dip before the race started just to get a feel!

When I got to the start line we were let out to the ocean in waves. First, waves of gender, then age group, then 4 by 4. The girl next to me became my friend in 5 minutes after we had a conversation that went something like this:

Me: Hi i’m Sara! Who are you?
J: I’m jasmine! Nice to meet you!
M: Is this your first time? It’s my first time!
J: Yes! I’m nervous!
M: You come here with someone?
J: No, alone.
M: ME TOO! Everyone keeps calling me brave but i’m terrified
J: ME TOO! I just hope i don’t die out there, but people keep telling me to enjoy it… We’ll never get another first…

Anyways, Jasmine became my best friend, we even posed for picture at the start line, seconds before jumping in the water and the photographer tragically cut my face off.

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Here’s me posing again:

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The swim was my favorite part. I loved it. It took me double time because we were swimming against the current. I only got kicked a couple of times and I’m pretty sure I kicked someone when we were at the last 100 meters, but I wanted to get to the biking part!

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So as we came out the water, we ran straight from the beach to the transition area where our bikes were set up. It took me 8 minutes to transition from the swim to the bike. This was an ENTIRELY Ridiculously long transition. I’m not quite sure what took me so long. I was a little disoriented from the transitioning from the waves to the land, but I was fine. I took a GU, put my helmet on, my shoes, and walked my bike to the road.

I won’t lie, friends. the biking was pretty rough. I was banking that Florida is FLAT, but it didn’t occur to me that bridges are not flat. Over the 20 mile bike ride, there were 8 bridges. EIGHT. Eight very tall bridges. Very curvy, hilly bridges. I saw other bikers walk their bikes up the bridges but I refused.

The kids at st jude want to ride their bikes up bridges, so I rode mine.

About 10 miles in, my butt really started hurting because that seat is horrible! At one point I tried to drink water, but my water bottle fell on the ground so I had to stop every time I wanted water- That slowed me down a little bit, but it didn’t make me lose my smile.

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At one point the biking became so difficult and I had been passed by so many people that I remembered that during my training I have worked on memorizing Psalm 27. So for about 15 minutes I quoted Psalm 27 to myself by memory again and again.

My favorite lines are
“Though and army deploys against me, my heart is not afraid, 
Though a war breaks out against me STILL I am confident..
I have asked one thing of the Lord, It is what I desire:
To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple” 

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I made it through though. It took me 1 hour and 30 minutes.

When I finally hopped off my bike my knees buckled but I caught myself and ran my bike back to transition. I grabbed some Stingers and headed off for the run. 4 miles. The run wouldn’t have been so bad but it was around 10:00, so by that point it was 85 degrees or so. Hot. Humid. Sun shining down. Trees were there on the run to block the breeze and provide NO shade. I wanted to chop them down (i’m sorry, trees). The heat made me angry and determined, I stuffed stinger after stinger in my mouth and plunged forward.

Around mile 3 I got a second wind, the kind where you forget you’re running and you just keep on. You pass people and things and see right through them. The endorphins pump, the adrenaline is going, and.. you’re almost to the finish line…. (the crowd in my mind went wild…)
Yes. The crowd went wild until i hit a half mile from the finish line and found myself running through SAND. Whoever put shifting non-packed sand at the end of a triathlon needs a brain scan. But the girl next to me, my same age (our ages were on our legs)…started to pass me.

So I got mad and gave it a final kick. I crossed. I crossed. I ran accross the finish line. I saw people waiving St Jude signs and cheering! “GO ST. JUDE HERO! GO GO! GO GO!”

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And I made it. I made it…

photo 1Medal selfie.

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but you know who really deserves the cheers? You guys do. Do you know why?

Because up until the morning of my race you were fantastic donators. You guys raised $2,770. YOU surpassed the required goal by $1,770. YOU did this. YOU won a much bigger race than I did, because giving to St Jude so that kids can swim and bike and run.. and hopefully one day memorize scripture to help them get through their life challenges…

Because of you, a child can live.

Because of you. a family will have groceries.

Because of you, they have housing.

Because of your giving.

Because of YOU.

Thank you. Thank you.

 

Update: How I’m doing and What I’m doing without Facebook

It’s been nearly 6 days since I deactivated my facebook and I’ve not felt more free. I get up in the morning and it’s not the first thing I look at. I go to sleep at night and It’s not the last thing I do! I’ve even been sleeping better! Last night I got ALMOST 7 hours of sleep despite me waking up at 4 am to start my day! This is such a win for me!

I think this time off Facebook will show me how to really invest and keep up with certain friendships that I hold dear and truly value. I think I’m learning how to keep friends that I cherish on the forefront of my mind, to check in with them, text them, meet up with them, develop actual friendships with them through face-to-face time instead of face-book time. This is incredibly freeing for me in ways that I cannot yet articulate.

One of my 2015 goals has been to read the Bible all the way through, cover to cover. This is something that I have not ever done! I am EXCITED to do this and just setting that goal has made me more passionate about the Word of God. I am behind on my schedule because some days I only read 1 chapter while other days I read 10. It honestly depends on how awake I am, what I’m comprehending that day, if something touches my heart and I just want to stay in that chapter. It’s so nice to go with the ebb and flow the Lord gives me rather than putting pressure on myself to perform, to read a certain amount, to make sure I can regurgitate what I’ve read…etc. This morning I finished Joshua!

Joshua was an awesome man of God and he has been my main motivator to wake up in the morning! So many times throughout the book of Joshua, chapters start with “Joshua rose early in the morning”. The Bible repeatedly says that. It got me thinking If Joshua rose early in the morning… I want to too! This makes my heart extremely happy for reasons I’m not quite sure!

Updating you all- I am still in training for the Triathlon in April for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In honor of my good friend Ciera Blackburn and in memory of those who have won at life and are living with Jesus forever- To name a few, A.J. Slye, Bennett Coleman, Bree… and so many more. Please donate to St Jude Here. I will not stop raising, giving, doing for St Jude, because they have not stopped doing for children and families with cancer. When one person in the family has cancer, the entire family has cancer and St Jude helps lessen that load. Just a little.

Please pray with me for Ciera as she gears up for a rest at home for a few weeks before going back to do her transplant! Pray for rest for her mind, her body, her spirit, and her soul. Pray for strength and joy as she re-kindles family relationships that she may not have had time or energy to put into. Pray for each member of her family, that the Lord Bless them and keep them and make His face shine upon them and give them a sweet, sweet peace during this time of “rest” and reconnection with each other.

I will keep you guys updated here through my Facebook Hiatus. This weekend I am participating in Disciple Now at church with the High School students and am excited. Please pray for us this weekend as we lift His name higher and make ours a little lower. Please pray for the hearts of those working, participating, preaching, teaching.. Please pray for soft and pliable hearts the Lord can move and change. Please pray that if we see sin in our hearts, that we are not only quick to recognize it and repent, but quick to change and take action as well. Recognizing is difficult, but taking action even more-so.

I cannot wait to update you guys more soon!

Fight Like Ciera!

The past few days I’ve been in Memphis at St Jude Children’s Hospital with Ciera and her family. Being there was a tremendous blessing! I enjoyed being there for her family and supporting Ciera as she starts the hardest chemo she’s ever faced. My prayers are constant, as I hope yours are as well.

Through the next few weeks, we will be taking up donations for Ciera’s family to pay for expenses during this hard time! I know i’ve asked for money from y’all several times during the last few months and we raised 1400 dollars together for St Jude! However, I think we can do better for Ciera’s family. They will need a lot more than 1400 dollars to get through the next 8 months or so (which is how long they plan to be staying in Memphis). The link is below:

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/3UP6a

In addition to this, staying away from home for 8 months can get lonely! I think that we should send Ciera and her family some mail! Send her letters, gift cards, care packages, books, silly love notes, games… She will enjoy every ounce of mail she can get! The address is below:

Ronald McDonald House
Attn: Ciera Blackburn Rm 38
535 Alabama Avenue
Memphis, TN 38105

If you guys are on Facebook, there is a facebook page called “Fight Like Ciera” there you can get updates on her progress, so that you can pray specific prayers and just be there to support her and fight with her!

I know this is a short post with no pictures and no interesting stories, but I need to get the word out! Please pray, and if you don’t pray, then think of her in your heart!

Love you guys, Next time!!

P.S… Has anyone noticed that my half marathon is NEXT weekend?! I’ll be running for Ciera and for the others that i’ve met/am praying for at St Jude: Charlie, Hillary, Silas, Conner, Leslie… and so many more.

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