Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Monday Nights

Monday night Bible study is what I look forward to every week.  I don't have to lead it nor do I have to prepare for it.  I just get to come.  Do you know how refreshing it is to not be the leader?

There are 15 of us - some weeks there are 8, some weeks there are more.  I love that we don't have outside reading to do and we are so flexible that it's easy to miss one week and join the next.  We call it our "no guilt Bible study."  We understand each other's hectic schedules and will take each other when we can.

I am one of two women who are currently childless - everyone else is either with child or already a mom.  I am thankful these women are pioneering before me and for the wisdom I'll glean from them when it's my turn!

I really believe that Monday nights have been watering holes in the midst of my desert.  My soul has been nourished by their honesty, encouragement and prayers.  Each week we draw someone else's name from the hat with specific things to pray for until we meet again.  Many of these women have been meeting together for 10+ years and it is overwhelming to recount all the answers to our prayers.  For marriages, for jobs, for healthy babies, for healing, etc.

Can't wait for next Monday.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Desert Song

I desire this song to be my heart's prayer
and I know it hasn't been.  
It is downright hard to praise You in the desert
when I feel dry and discouraged.  

It's easy to praise You on the mountaintops, 
but in every season?  I long to, I do.

For the joy of my salvation to be restored. (Psalm 51:12)
Just to be filled to be emptied again?  It's exhausting, God.  And it hurts.

I keep meeting with my small group girls because they ask to come over or meet for coffee, but how can this go on while I feel like I have nothing to give? 

How can the weak lead the strong?

We sang The Desert Song by Hillsong United Sunday morning for the first time and it grabs me.

Verse 1:
This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

Verse 2:
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3:
And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4:
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow

Much of what I am studying to share at our college group or with my after school Bible Study has been speaking to me in my own predicaments.

If God already knows my heart and my words before they're on my tongue, what difference does prayer make? (our college group is going through Yancey's book on prayer.)

And this verse stuck out to me in the book (Girl Talk with God) I'm starting this afternoon with some high school girls.  1 Peter 1:7-8 These trials have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

And this verse at the top of a friend's blog:
1 Corinthians 7:17 And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there.

You are still God, just like the song says.

Run, Forest, Run!

Never before have I considered myself a runner.

Chrislyn and Kayla both ran a half-marathon last Spring.  Never have I even considered the idea of running by choice on a regular basis.  Actually, I've quickly considered the idea and then just as quickly dismissed it because I tried running and hated it.  The first time I went, I tried to keep up with Paul and my asthma kicked in.  The second time, I had to stop by the public restroom, if you know what I mean.  The third time my ankles hurt, and there was no forth, fifth or sixth time.  I quit.

And then an opportunity presented itself to join Chrislyn in the St. Louis Go! Half Marathon in April 2011.  I signed up even before I started running again just to make myself to commit to it.

And thus, the training has begun.  Right now I"m not on a training regime, I'm just jogging to get in shape so that by the time January rolls around, I should be putting in 15 miles a week and ready for a training schedule.

I still think it's crazy that I'm actually spending money to run 13.1 miles, $80 to be exact.  Not only does it cost money, but it takes a while to get suited up.
  1. Convince myself to put my workout clothes and shoes on.
  2. Put on workout pants ($19), dri-fit socks ($6), tank top and nike dri-fit top (for some reason I already had a workout tank and the Nike top I got from Goodwill before I went to Bolivia), headband to keep my ears warm ($5), and new shoes that are supposed to help my ankles ($95).
  3. Convince myself to actually leave the house...
  4. Determine route and set playlist and stopwatch on iPod
I have been surprisingly disciplined with running so far and am hoping I can keep it up until the race on April 10th.  I started running November 15th and have put in 21 runs so far.
  • Total distance run: 59.25 miles
  • Total calories burned: 6,878
  • Longest distance run without stopping: 4 miles
  • Fastest time: 2.6 miles with a 9:30 pace
Am I fast?  No.
Am I determined?  Yes.