Thursday, November 04, 2010

One thing at a time...

I've been going to a Thursday evening worship service, and one of the things we've been discussing is our sin and the positive and negative consequences directed to both ourselves and others. I also regularly read Jon Acuff's blog, "Stuff Christians Like."

He recently posted the following.

My friend used to deal drugs.

I tell you this, not to add an element of excitement to his testimony, as we are prone to do when we encounter someone who has a really crazy, Jason Bourne like testimony.

I tell you this, because two weeks ago he taught me an important lesson about faith.

We were talking about a famous singer who recently got arrested for having a bag of cocaine on him in a bathroom. The singer told the police that this was the first time he’s ever tried cocaine. When I told my friend that, he said it wasn’t true. He said it was virtually impossible for that to have been his first time. Knowing that my friend didn’t follow this musician or really have any knowledge of him, I asked him why he could be so sure of that.

Here is what he told me:

“No one carries drugs with them the first time they use. No one has the lack of fear it takes to carry a few grams of coke the very first time you try it. No one is alone in a bathroom, carrying a controlled substance the first time they have it. It starts slowly. You’re at a party where it is present. There are a few lines at a friend’s house. Somewhere you bump into it casually. You try it that way long before you decide you’ll be out at a nightclub with a bag of it in your pocket.”

That makes sense to me and more than that, it feels a lot like every other sin in my life.

Nothing I’ve ever done, whether lying or drugs, pornography or gossip, started out with a bag in a bathroom. As I’ve said before, no one wakes up on a Tuesday morning and says, “Today, I’m going to embezzle!” No one says, “At lunch, I’m going to get 10 DUIs and go to jail!” The path to completely destruction never starts out that way.

And neither did the Prodigal Son story. I can’t write about that story enough. It’s the perfect example of small steps to big stupid. In that story, we often like to think that the son got his inheritance from his father and then took a G6 jet straight to hookertown.

But that’s not what Luke 15 says. In fact, this is what we see in Luke 15:13

And not many days after the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

Did you see that? The Prodigal Son packed. For days, he packed his bags before he left the father’s side. He took small steps. He made small mistakes and then he left.

So my question to you today, my question to me is pretty simple:

Are you packing?

Right now, today, are you packing your things to leave the safety of the father? Are you getting your things together for a disastrous trip to somewhere you’ve been before, down a path that will leave you wounded and beaten? Is your luggage laid open on your bed and you can’t get things together fast enough?

Are you packing?

If you are, tell a friend. Tell someone who knows you. Did you ever notice that about the Prodigal Son story? He had no friends. Other than the father and the older brother, no one cared that he was gone. His was a friendless existence. He packed alone.

Let’s put the luggage down. Let’s release the baggage. It’s time to stop leaving and instead start living.

Are you packing?

It makes me think about the things I do that I should not. I decide something's okay, just this once, just once more, and just once more--it becomes a habit. I am poking pins into that water balloon. A bunch of pins can create a gash the size of a knife over time.

I am thankful for accountability partners. I am thankful for the time of confession at church. I am also thankful for the assurance of forgiveness.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

First Full Marathon: Chosen Marathon for Adoption

Marathon Tidbits
  • I have wanted to run a full marathon (26.2 miles) since I was 14 years old.
  • I chose to run Marathon for Adoption because the money went to families that are adopting and to an orphanage in Ukraine. A piece of me is forever in Ukraine.
  • I have been training to run this full marathon since February.
  • My first run with my club (Run A-Way Club) was 10 miles. I was already running 30 miles/week when I started running with the club.
  • I have the best coach ever, John Purnell!
  • I am blessed over and over through Coach, other runners, and with amazing health.
A year ago, I could hardly walk. Not because of my legs, or even my lungs, rather my epinephrine was sky rocket high. I was in fight or flight all the time. I was exhausted, terrified, and wanted to jump out of my skin. I wanted to die so that all those awful feelings and odd happenings in my body would go away. Jesus didn't let this happen. He gave me the best mother in the world, who refused to let me play sick, and forced me to walk, even when it was at 0.5 mph on the treadmill for 2 minutes at a time!

People run for many different reasons. My marathon was a 15 year dream come true. It is also a testimony to Gods healing power. Training has been intense--I went from hardly walking, to jogging, to running 15 miles per week, to running 30 miles per week, to running 60 miles per week. Some people describe me as intense, others describe me as dedicated or driven; the dole juice box describes me as daring and playing. However you choose to describe me, this race was a personal victory! Oh and why do I run? For fun! =)

Race: Chosen Marathon for Adoption Full Marathon
Distance: 26.2 miles
Goal: Have fun! Complete 26.2 miles!
Goal Time: Under 4 hours
Actual Time: 04:04:37 (9:20 min/mi)

Before the race I was nervous, excited, and ready to go. I was bummed that it was super humid and 80F outside. I decided my goal time might need to be revisited (it never really was). The course was quite hilly as well. I train on the flats--San Antonio and Houston are flat.

When the race started, it was still quite dark outside--this was awesome! For the first 2.5-3 miles I just ran. I had no clue how fast or slow I was going. I just went, and loved it! Early morning runs, where you just go, without looking at the heart rate, or pace, are my favourites. The first few miles were glorious in my opinion. I stopped and drank water at every water stop.

I think it was somewhere between miles 9 and 12 I was poured on. Yes, it was raining. Yes, it made the course slick.

As I approached "the summit," (up a huge hill) the half way point, I was told that I was the third female. I saw my parents, my brother and his now fiance, and my two good friends, Lauren and Steven, cheering me on. This was one of the best moments in my life. Not once has someone gone to a race of mine to cheer me on or to watch me. I think the best part of it all was Dad taking pictures, and then running about 1/10 mile with me. It took energy to hold back tears of joy. I am blessed with a family and friends that support me! I kept thinking you have 13.1 more miles to go, you cannot cry, too much energy.

The next 13.1 miles were pretty enjoyable, minus a few details.

Mile 21: My left foot went numb, and I had a really bad side stitch, and I stopped and relieved myself.

Miles 22-24: These were hard, the hills were really getting to me. I never felt like I could not run, rather I felt like I could not run another hill.

Mile 24: I was passed up by the female that won third place.

Mile 26: I could hardly believe that I was about finished! I crossed the finish line smiling. I had no clue what my time was going to be--I was happy and disappointed at the same time--4:04:37. I really wanted my time to be under 4 hours. But...I ran a good race, and my time is nothing to be ashamed of. Upon completing the race, Dad came and gave me a hug. I came in smiling, although when Dad gave me a hug, I cried--tears of joy, tears of completion, tears knowing that my family loves and supports me! At the finish line were two of the women in my club--Lisa and Tina--they had walked the half in their goal time!

This past week I have taken it a little slower, although, I was trained well and was not all that sore. Monday I ran 8 miles, Tuesday I ran mile repeats, Wednesday I ran 4 miles, Thursday 8 miles, I took off Friday, and ran 11 miles on Saturday. I am looking forward to another week of running, and my race in two weeks.

Other tidbits. I told my Mom and Dad that I would be shooting for a much slower pace. I figured given the heat and humidity, I was not going to be able to run like I had originally wanted to. I warned them that I would be slow at getting to the half way point. My mother was reiterating this to someone, also stating that it was my first full marathon. Many were pleasantly surprised when I reached the summit, and it was stated that I am a legitimate runner. :) This was a great comment to me! I'm legit!

Running is fun! =)

My fabulous fan club! Mom, Steven, Lauren, Levi, Molly!

Still smiling after 26.2 miles!

4:04:37! 4th woman to finish, and 2nd place in my age division (18-29 Female)