Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My New Year's Resolutions... in October

The last week, I’ve had a million blog thoughts running through my mind. Verses I’ve read as I cuddle under my covers just before drifting off to sleep, songs on the radio that bring tears to my eyes and a prayer to my lips, crazy things I’ve done with my siblings, and memories with my Captain Awesome that make me smile and miss him even more. So bear with me as I spew these random ramblings at you all.

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I always have high hopes of making sweeping changes in my life every year when January rolls around. Never mind the fact that I rarely – ok, never – see those changes still intact by March.

In September, the most brilliant of ideas hit me. Why not start my resolutions in the fall?? If somehow they manage to stick, I will feel like I’ve conquered the world on January 1st, rather than just starting.

Remember the list from two years ago here? Well, I still have high hopes of someday accomplishing those things. I believe the list went something like this; Exercise a little more, Try to eat more healthy, study Chinese, make prayer and Bible reading a bigger part of my life, etc. Do you wonder what is on that list of changes I’ve been chipping away at now??

The first thing has been exercise. I know. Shocking. And completely unbelievable. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I {H A T E} exercising. And what I hate with an even more passionate passion is running. Uggh. Even the word makes my muscles burn.

But for some reason two weeks ago, I decided to tackle what I loathe more than anything. I started on such a small scale that it’s almost embarrassing to vocalize it here. I had a mile-plus section on our road that was my project to tackle several days a week. And in an effort to not come across better than I am, I should say that I couldn’t even run the whole mile straight.

Correction: when I say {run} it’s more like a jog, if I was really honest. Somehow calling it running makes me feel better about the whole charade.

I would start by power walking and then set off at a jogging pace. What seem like two thousand steps later, which was actually only about ten yards, I was huffing and puffing embarrassingly. I wanted to lie down on the concrete and kiss my beautiful life goodbye. Every muscle in my puny body was screaming in sheer terror.

Since then God has been impressing thoughts on my heart that is often slow to learn. The biggest is that of endurance. I’ve read this verse in Corinthians over and over in life, but it’s come alive for me since I’ve started ‘running’.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim;”

- 1Cor 9:24-26

Running is hard work. Especially for me. Every night when I get dressed up in my cute black and purple shoes and head down the road, I growl and remind myself how much I {H A T E} running. But it makes me think of my life. It reminds me that character growth takes tons of painful, hard work. Loving people who are unlovely is not fun. Holding my tongue from nasty words hurts from all the biting. Serving in unrecognized ways cuts my pride down. It takes steady, consistent work. Over time, changes are slowly made. Results from the hard work finally pay off. And hopefully I reflect Jesus in a better way. All for the purpose that He may be honored through my broken lives.

Since I started running, I’ve missed days. I’ve not always completed a full mile. But somehow have begun to build up my ‘running’ tolerance. I even had one day where I survived running the whole mile! {Yes, you have permission to insert laughter here} It’s even beginning to feel like I could go a little further each day – by further I mean about 20 more steps. And I hope that eventually my weakling muscles will show off the miles run.

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On a completely different track, I just have to talk a little bit about my crazy fall. It started off with Bring Me Hope’s tour in Medford, Oregon. It was really awesome to travel to northwest America for the first time. The mountain/hills reminded me of North Carolina.

I stayed with the Scotts, a family who have traveled to China and been in incredible blessing at camp. The first day I arrived, it literally poured down rain ALL. DAY. LONG. But we still tromped around the quaint town of Grants Pass sipping coffee at the famous Dutch Brother’s Coffee, window shopping, and drinking 25 cent phosphates {aka. sodas} at the ‘ole fashion drug store while the rain poured down outside.

These are the things that I {L O V E} about touring. Meeting with friends. Seeing their corner of the world. And together sharing our heart to reach out to hurting children around the globe.

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We also had rousing games of round robin all weekend long. It was totally awesome because the Scott’s have an ongoing ‘family feud’ with another family in the area. It totally came out at the ping-pong table. Problem was this other family was sick-amazing at ping-pong. The Scotts could totally hold their own, but it was a battle. They were gracious enough to graft me into their family team for the games and my competitive side came out with a passion. We played game after game after game.

A note here on my ping-pong skills. They are zip, zero, nada. I struggled the whole time just to stay in the running for at least two rounds. Way too often I would end up on the wall of shame. {Somehow I can never pull off the dejected face when I need to.} In my defense though, I did make it into the finals {O N C E} and scored a big one for the Scott family!!

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Tomorrow I head north to Minnesota for another tour through the weekend. I’m super excited to see old friends and I’m hoping to sneak in a visit across the North Dakota border when I visit a family in Moorhead.

In other traveling news, God given me the {H U G E} blessing of being able to travel to Australia in November. I will go with my co-worker, Kristen {check out her awesome photog blog here!} and we will meet up with our Aussie friends who have come to China the last several years. Believe me, I’m freakishly excited to see the land down under. {A W E S O M E!!}

Sometimes I look at the blessings God has given me and feel completely unworthy. I feel like He continues to remind me of the lesson I learned while traveling to Oregon just two weeks ago. Whether He brings blessings or trials, I will still choose to bless Him. To serve Him. To love Him.

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One last random thought and then I’m gonna go to bed… the alarm always blares way to early and soon.

I was sitting in the bus this afternoon after driving the 8th grade football team to a game. I had my Bible and was trying to read in somewhat of a comfortable position – which is virtually impossible on vinyl bus seats. A verse in the first chapter of 2 Corinthians jumped off the page and made me smile, not only at the goodness of God, but the practical application in my life.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.

- 2 Corinthians 1

How true that was of my six months in China last year. I know that I have not shared much of my experiences, but those verses could have been right out of my own mouth.

the ride

Someday I hope to share more of the events that transpired, but until then, I have to publicly thank Jesus for bringing me through that dark valley. He was always beside me. Always faithful. Always loving. And as I look back, I don’t know how I would have survived without Him. Prayer works. His timing is good. He delights to give good gifts to His children. And He can see the bigger picture. I’m thankful that though I doubted and wrestled with my faith and questioned His sovereignty, He never left my side.

And I love Him for it.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty… He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge. His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. He will call upon Me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.

- Psalms 91

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As you think of it, please continue to lift up Spring. She is one of the girls who lived at the Ranch with us. She is in Beijing receiving counseling and help for her struggles with suicide. Jesus has saved a life again and I can’t thank Him enough.

Continue to lift up all the forgotten hearts in China and around the world. They need us to tell them of Hope.


4 comments:

Olivia Coy said...

On running...
I pretty much hate it too. Every spring/summer we have a homeschool running club that I've participated in for the past 3 years. I really hated the running part and loved the socializing part. I can't say running ever grew on me but I went from huffing and puffing just doing 1/4 mile to completely jogging a 5K this past 4th. I made it my goal to not stop to walk at all...and with the strength of Christ, I made it to the finish line. I always tell myself, "Liv you can go further, you will not die from running, keep going. Don't stop." My own little pep talk in my head. Keep up the awesome work...it will pay off. =)

Beth Ann said...

Wow, thank you for being so transparent in your writing. When you shared a little about China, I totally related. It's amazing how God uses such things to show us our own weakness and His strength. You are a blessing, Nicole. I'm so happy for you and your Captain Awesome! Stay in touch.

LocaChica said...

I love, love, LOVE your blog!! I'm sure I've commented that like 5 million times since I began following you..
As for the exercise and running, I'm so glad I enjoy that stuff! I think it's wonderful though, that you have the ambition and motivation to get up and do it, even though you hate it :)
What you said about God using certain things to show us His strength and our weaknesses-that really hit home. Going through the death of a loved one, and the loss of my dad's job, I'm utterly helpless and 100% weak unless I'm abiding constantly in God.
LocaChica

Living Out Loud said...

One word. A W E S O M E-N E S S.

Thanks Nic. Miss you so much.

Love, sis in <3