Thursday, June 28, 2012


This post is kinda long, so please persevere with me.

Okay, here goes...  

I started running (and I use that word VERY loosely) about six or seven years ago.  I lose track, so I'm not positive.  I'd never run in my life, other than to get away from something I was afraid of, but I was feeling a need to make some changes to take care of myself and to be consistent with it.  For the price of a good pair of running shoes, I could be ready to go and running seemed like it could work around our crazy-life schedule.  

When I started, it looked like this:  run a block, walk a block, run a block, walk a block.  Then, run two, walk get the picture.  It was ugly, but I persevered and after three or four months, I actually began to enjoy it.  It has helped me in a multitude of ways.  Among other things, I've lost weight, I feel much healthier, it deals with the stress in my life better than any meds I could be taking,  I've met some great people that also enjoy this love of running, and I've learned that I'm capable of WAY more than I ever thought I was.

Last Fall I completed my first Half Marathon (details here).  Something I never thought I would be able to do, but with much work, support from friends and family, and more taking care of myself, it was done. :)  

Since this love of running began, I have looked with amazement at people that accomplished Triathlons, or Marathons and could not imagine even attempting it...

But now I have to imagine it.  Beginning July 1, I'm going to begin training for my first Marathon.  26.2 miles. Freakish.  I have a few friends in The Valley that are also going to work toward the same goal and I think I'm getting really excited about it.  I'm trying to be realistic, train slowly and wisely, listen to my nearly 49- year-old body, but I really want to do this thing, if God will hold all these old parts together for it.

Okay - little bit of gapping now... (hang in there, we're almost done!)

I started this blog a little over a year ago and my first post (here) was, among other things, about my desire to contribute to making a difference in the lives of those enslaved around the world, in our country, in our state. I have struggled with how that looks living in a rural area, somewhat removed from where most of the volunteer activity takes place, working part time, homeschooling, parenting, very involved in our local faith community, being a support to my pastor/firefighter husband, etc.  I still don't have very clear answers in this regard, but I do feel like God is beginning to bring at least a little clarity - a first step, maybe.

I'd like to combine these two passions, and drag you along with me. :)  

A couple of nights ago, I added up how many miles I will run throughout the course of this 20-week training, culminating with the marathon in November.  If I do everything they suggest, I will run between 420 and 430 miles over the course of those 20 weeks.  Figuring that up may have been a mistake.  I lost the ability to breath for just a few minutes afterward.  Here's where you come in...

I'd like to ask you to join me, prayerfully and financially, in combining these two passions.  I've spoken with the director of OATH (Read about 'em here) about how this idea can work.  He is developing a webpage where you can donate toward my training miles.  So, for example, you could donate $.10, (or $10.00!) for every mile that I fulfill during this 20-week training.  If you donated $.10, then at the completion of my marathon, you would donate approximately $42.00 to OATH.  The mornings I don't drag my butt out of bed and train, you would donate nothing.  The mornings I do, you would.  

While the training and marathon mean a great deal to me personally, I would like the time I spend training and running to mean something for others.  This would make it mean so much more!  The mornings I don’t want to get up and train, I can think about the girls that will be helped at the end of this through the money donated – that will get me out of bed when nothing else will. 

So be watching - in the next week or so, I'll post a link where you can join me in this journey.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pouring Jesus

A few things I don't like about some churches and their youth groups (brace yourself, I'm likely to offend some with this) -

I don't like that parents are excluded - made to feel like they need to just drop their kids off and leave them alone to do their job.  Or that parents drop their kids off and expect the youth workers to fix what was already broken when they dropped them off there.  Or that parents drop them off because they are tired of how hard teenagers are and want someone else to do the hard work of raising their kids.  Or that it is all about fun and games and not much about ministry and service.  Or that the kids are isolated from the rest of the Body and once they're grown, they have no idea how to be a part of the Body and so they end up leaving the Church.

A few things I love about some churches and their youth groups -

Parents are encouraged to be involved in every aspect of their kids' lives.  Everyone jumps in to invest in the lives of the broken and show them the way to God's healing.  Parents allow others to step in and invest in the lives of their kids where they are unable to do so.  The Church teaches kids that fun and service often go hand-in-hand (and when it's not fun, it's still good and it's even better when we do it together),  kids and adults work side-by-side in every aspect of Body life, so when the kids are grown, they just keep doing what they've always done.

When I was younger, and knew everything, my view of youth groups was almost exclusively of the first description I gave.  It was unfair, filled with pride (on my part), but honestly, sometimes true.  I've seen those groups and I never wanted my kids to be part of that.  I came very close to "throwing the baby out with the bath water" and writing off all youth groups.

Then I had teenagers.  And  realized I knew nothing.  I saw they had needs that I was unable to meet.  Either out a lack of the right gifts, or they were unwilling to listen to me at the time, or I was too close to the situation, or ignorance on my part, or God just had someone else in mind for that particular issue.  And God brought people that could meet me where I was - could meet my kids where they were.  I am so grateful.

Luke and I went to visit at Super Summer last night.  Super Summer is a youth leadership camp that my kids have gone to through their junior high and high school years, and Brian and Dylan are there this week.  It brought lots of memories back for me as they've come back over the years and shared what they learned - as I've watched them incorporate it into their lives.

Last week Brian and Dylan worked at Summit Camp.  A camp my kids have gone to every year of their teenage lives, and now Dylan staffs a week as well as attending.  My kids are better for this.  They love Jesus more.  They know how to work harder, serve better, love deeper.

(Dylan - pouring out Jesus)
Every year, we go on mission trips with families we've known for 20+ years and we work harder than we've ever worked, have more fun than we've ever had, and pour Jesus into people - because of the faithfulness of a couple we met over 20 years ago to keep teaching with their lives, and pouring into the lives of countless teenagers, that faith without works is dead.

Every week for the last nine years, people have come alongside Brian and I, and have invested in the lives of my teenagers and I will be forever grateful.

As I was running this morning, names kept running  through my head  - names of people that have poured Jesus into my kids - and I thanked God for each of them.  Some of them entered my kids' lives early on and have never left, some have been for a season, but left impressions that will last forever.  In ways we could not have done alone.

I think this is why God left us all the "one another"s in scripture.  He knew we were going to need each other.  He knew we'd be tempted to think we could do it alone and we'd need to be reminded that we can't.

So to each of you that have poured Jesus into our kids ---

Their lives are better for having you in it.

Thank you.