Monday, February 1, 2016

The beginning of something beautiful

I feel like I'm going to sound like some sweet older southern woman right now. (Hang on, we're going there...for just a second. Please laugh with me. I mean no offense.) His grace ya'll. Oh my gosh, how deep His love is for us! I wish you could understand! I wish I could understand! But what I'm feeling right now is absolutely incredible. He loves us so much that He comes into our mess and meets us right where we are. And He stays there and sits with us. And allows us to feel the disappointment and frustration and to question Him why a million times with tears streaming down our cheeks. But He just sits there and wraps His arms around us, holding us with a constant love. A love so deep it spans the depths of the ocean a million times. And He graciously lets us fall into this place, knowing the hurt we'll experience and the pain He'll suffer watching us go through it all and look at Him with tears in our eyes, knowing He could have stopped it all. He looks back at the tears streaming down our face knowing He can take our pain away right there. And knowing WE know He can take it all away. But He doesn't because He's our loving Father. And He sees all. And He KNOWS we will make it out, and not just make it out, but be stronger for it, and even thankful for it. So He graciously lets us fall. And then gently shows us how and why we got there and tells us it's okay. That we're forgiven. That He will help us back out. And He doesn't just say it. He does it. He saves us. Which goes above and beyond what He ever needs to do. He fills us with His peace and joy.

Okay. Off my soapbox. I swear to you though. This moment will go down in my history as one of the best moments ever. It took me 3 days to get here. (And yes, I'm well aware of how quick that is.) I sat and wallowed in my pity for those 3 days. Then slowly started being grateful and thankful for it all. Friday all I did was go to work. I went home, sat in my disappointment. And Saturday I just mostly sat in my disappointment too. There were glimpses of hope, but it was mostly just God delivering all of my sins on a silver platter. Gently. But it still hurts. I re-prioritized that night, like I said in my last post. I wrote my list down. And felt better, but was not "there yet" so I really really wanted to skip church and serving Sunday. (Not to mention the first meeting for a mission trip I'm going on. That I should be excited for. Hard when you're hurting inside.)

I ended up at church. (And btw, can I just say how on point Pete's message was with what God had just taught me? Confirmation much?) And I served. And it was kind of hard, but kind of great. I came home, ate, didn't DO anything (remember, slowing down), and left for my meeting. The meeting was fine. And then I came home. And looked around. And...there wasn't really a moment. There wasn't really a thought that triggered it. It was just life going on as it always does. I reminded myself of my list and decided that I wasn't going to "do" anything. I made some food. Then decided to clean up my living room and kitchen (because it was a DISASTER) and I actually was happy doing the dishes for the first time in a while. Because it didn't feel like the dishes were something that was "in the way" of me getting to the "important" stuff, to tackling my todo list. It was kind of nice. (It's funny how when we look back, we see so clearly all the warning signs.)

I sat down, read for small group on Tuesday, and I looked again at my 3 part list, (OH! I forgot to tell you what this list is...hang on. I'll get to it.) and went to bed genuinely HAPPY. I felt fulfilled. For the first time in... (embarrasingly) I don't know. Now I don't want you taking this as I wasn't happy. I was. It was just buried under the mountain of stress, todo lists, and really just life in general. But last night...that joy (HIS joy) was uncovered. That little list is going to be a life-changer. And here's why: because I made time, remembered, and prioritized what I care about most in life. It's so easy to over-look. We say we love our family, we say we love God, but then...how much time do we actually spend with them, or talking to them on the phone if you can't be with them, or DOING something for them, or praying for them, or...whatever it is that puts them on that list.

Okay, the list... so, story... (I know. But my life is crazy stories.) So I had my 3 things from yesterday, the 3 big things that I learned in all this, and the first was re-prioritze. So being the crazy list person that I am (okay, fine I just like visuals), I decided to make a physical list of my priorities to remind me when I forget. TOTALLY MAKES SENSE! So I start. #1. Easy. God. Okay. #2 and #3 were easy too. People. (People in our lives are important!) And then I stopped. And I started drawing blanks. It wasn't that I couldn't come up with anything important to me, but it was that nothing even came close to touching how important the first 3 are. So I just looked at it. It was a clear cut line. One God had drawn long ago, but that I completely forgot. And then was like okay, let me draw that line. I'll draw a distinction and then continue. Except everything else kind of all swirled together and nothing stood out in any order. So I left my list at that - 3 numbers. Simple.

Hi. My name is Jessica and I love simplicity.

Perfect. So last night. I did everything I could think of around them for that day. And when I went to bed. I felt SO MUCH BETTER. I said "happy" before, but I could explain it this way too. It was like the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders. I did things I haven't done in a long time because I was just too "busy" and would "do them the next day." And it was just...I don't even know how to explain it. I was back to who I am. Who I am created to be. What my heart desires at it's core. Stripped down to the basics. Simple.

And it's so obvious now. Honestly, it's embarrassing how obvious it feels like that should have been. And I'm SO thankful that it's just me and God who truly knows about the details, because ya'll would just look at me and be like you're insane. What were you thinking? How did you even get there? How could you forget something so important to you? Sigh. Such is life. I don't know. If I knew, I wouldn't let it happen again. The sobering part is that this will happen over and over and over again in all sorts of different ways. But thankfully we have a God who will save us every time. In big ways and in small ways.

Can you imagine if He hadn't let me continue down this path and injure myself? I'd still be stuck in the crazy cycle I was in, unknowingly digging myself a hole and calling it amazing. Lol. Oh man. Life is crazy. And I'm all in.

So, I think I completely didn't write about what I wanted to write about. Oops. ... I'm kind of pumped for this race. I know a handful of people running and I'm totally going to be the girl dressed crazy, with an awesome sign, screaming and cheering on all the runners. It's going to be fun. I'm excited. And I'll run my half marathon. Probably under God's spotlight only. On a random day where He's the only One cheering me on. And I think that's the way it should be. It aligns with who I am. But I'm super pumped for the girls running the race. They're going to rock it. And I'm going to give them the biggest hug ever at the end. With a TRUE smile on my face. Because this is their moment. I'll have mine. I'll run that 13.1. And honestly, I have a feeling I might run the full 26.2 someday. But if not, I'll be okay. Because I've got my list. And 26.2 is not on it. 13.1 is not on it. Ever running again is not on it. So even if I was never able to run again, I know that I would be okay. But I'm pretty sure I will run again. And if you ever see me out there, I will have the biggest smile on my face ever. Because I GET to do this. I GET to run. I GET to workout. And that's amazing!

And for those of you who REALLY want to know my plan, or who really just like step-by-steps like I do, here's my thoughts:
- I'm taking an entire week off of working out. Okay, almost. 6 days. It's un-necessary because I can totally do upper body. That doesn't have anything to do with my knee. But I'm taking it off.
- I will ice and rest my knee. The first few days I did just that. Now I'm starting to incorporate some light knee exercises (3 positions, stand, sit in chair, sit on ground, and squeeze your knees/thigh muscles for 5 seconds, then off, 10 times - can you tell I've done physical therapy for my knee before? hahaha)
- This weekend, if I'm feeling up to it, I will do extremely light exercises that benefit my knee. I'm going slow. I want to do this right and I don't want to be injured. Meaning, no pushups because that puts pressure on my knees. (And yes, I'm actually, truthfully sad about this.) And maybe some light walking, to get my legs moving. All listening to my body and not being impatient.
- I'll do 3-4 modified upper body and abs exercises a week. Modified because you wouldn't believe how many incorporate pressure on your knees or movement of them.
- I'm going to throw myself a party (okay, fine, it'll all be in my head) when I go get fitted for new running shoes in a few weeks. (Again, when I'm ready.)
- I'm going to take a few weeks to build up to 3 miles. (BUT I WILL BE RUNNING! AND CELEBRATING THE FIRST TIME I RUN A MINUTE! =D) I think this is going to be the hardest one of all. 3 is my jam. It's my sweet spot. And I like to run "fast" and without break. Can't do that. We're going slow. Slow and steady wins the race. (If there were a race... ???)
- Then, I'll re-evaluate and maybe start training again. But I'm thinking this is about a month or even 2 out. So we'll see. Like I said, re-evaluate. I'm hopeful that I can hit big miles again before it gets too hot in the summer, but we're going to see. Take each day as it comes.

So...if you've stuck around this long, you're probably crazy... Go get yourself checked out. No really, thank you. I appreciate you reading my rambling thoughts. I'm well aware of how jumbled this whole post was. It's kind of like how this whole thing happened. But, what I was going to say, is that if running and how it applies to God, or just faith experiences, or whatever...I don't really know what to call it....if that interests you, I stumbled upon this and I loved reading it. It's a 2 parter, but it's Amanda Rego's "why I run"/faith story/whatever. She's an elite distance runner with a pretty interesting story that has really stayed with me.

Okay, I'll stop now. I have a million more thoughts but they're all a really big jumbled mess in my head. And I'm hungry... Food wins. Peace out. (???)