Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ma Ma Material Girl
(Please watch this video after you have read the blog. I hope you enjoy it!)

Yeah, this song from the 80's certainly fit me this past week. I have been struggling with material wants and possessions.

It all started when I was sick a couple of weeks ago. I grabbed the laptop and began searching for new winter coats. I love "The North Face" brand and I not only found one coat I liked but I found two. They were both $300.oo a piece. I knew there was no way I was going to get both of those but I was obsessed with those jackets. Everyday I was online looking at them and going through withdrawls of not being a compulsive buyer. You see I am taking a financial class called "Financial Peace" and it is awesome. The class is taught by Dave Ramsey (financial radio host) and God has used this class to teach me a lot. I still have more to learn but I feel much closer to the knowledge of being debt free. So, this whole jacket situation and the Lord's conviction had me sweating and heart racing (silly I know) of not buying the jackets. I honestly could have but I knew that was not right.

Since that episode a couple of weeks ago, I have been comparing jackets of what looks similar to that $300.00 jacket, just not as expensive. I found one at Old Navy and I bought it. Buying that one led to looking at more jackets. No, I didn't buy any but I was seeing how I needed different jackets for different occasions. Then I began looking at sweaters, then purses, and then shirts. I was beginning to feel like I had to have every thing for every situation.

I had plans to go out with a friend to a Fall Fest and thought I had to have a new shirt. She isn't materialistic or judgemental but nothing I had was good enough. I bought a new purse because I thought I had to have something new for a Louisiana trip I am going on. Yeah, God quickly told me to give that to someone for Christmas.

I began to wonder and seek out about why I would be acting this way when I haven't had this much of an issue before. I am usually able to control my shopping issues.

God showed me a small but huge (to me) root. I downloaded some music to my MP3 player to run to. It is a party cd. There are songs like "Golddigger", "Oh I Thank They Like Me", and "Party Like a Rockstar." I am not really motivated by any of this music but since I carried the cd into my car and would listen to it just for the beat purposes, I began to sing these songs in my head daily. When you take on the "hardcore" music, movies, or attitude of the world you tend to mold into what the standards are. Jesus really urges us to be against it. I am not judgemental to those who choose to listen to this and it makes me pick up my running pace, but it is not good for me to listen to non-stop with an attitude. It makes me anxious, proud, and feeling like I don't need anything, I'm good. That is not a good feeling for me. I need Jesus.

I know it's okay to want and at times fulfill it. I am, however, taking a God lead class to get out of debt and live like no one else later. In order to do that I have to live like no one else now. Being more responsible on how I handle money and not being compulsive.

So I had a little breakthrough, but I had a big test today.

We went to our financial class today. The couple lives up Rock Road. After class was over I wanted to stop by Dick's Sporting Goods and look at their North Face jackets. I told Maddy, "how about I stop by Dick's?" She said, "no." I got angry inside. Mind you, she knows nothing of what I was going through. She didn't even know I was angry inside. I knew what God was saying. I took a breath and said "yeah, let's go home." I was relieved. It was a small but huge (to me) step.

Babe and I are on our way to being debt free and that is freeing to us. I know there will be trials along the way and tests to see our hearts to everything we planned to do. I do not believe it is wrong to want but when it consumes you, that is not healthy. When you are led by "worldy" motives whether it is music, movies, or others, it can create (if you let it) in you someone you won't like. It isn't pure and it isn't pleasing to God. You can become something you despise and when that is fed it creates something bigger and can be destructive.

"All this time and money wasted on fashion-do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers-most of which are never even seen-don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving."-Matthew 6:28-30 (The Message)

For the busy heart motivated by "earthly" influence:

"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse."-Philippians 4:8-9 (The Message)

The Lord is freeing me and I am learning something new everyday. I do not have to "Party Like a Rockstar" or "Thank They Like Me." Jesus loves me whether I am wearing nice or tattered clothes. When I leave this Earth I take nothing with me but my soul. That is the only label God sees on me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't run alone!

"I was wondering if you might want to be my running partner for the Wichita Marathon Relay in October?" my friend Amy asks me in July. I was a little hesitant because ever since my "swelling days" I am leary of committing to something I may not be able to fulfill. There are days where my body is completely normal and other days where I feel like I am carrying an extra 8 lbs. I say that because I literally carry an extra 8 lbs.

I tell my friend Amy I will do it. Although I was unsure, God knew and I felt like it was okay.

I trained off and on depending on how I was feeling. I knew I could do it but my heart wasn't sure because of the water weight. I guess you could say I didn't really care. During my "hard core" running days I took pride in running and counted every mile to the training log and more. I just HAD to do it everyday. Everything has changed. Now I don't feel bad if I just don't want to run.

About a month ago I was doing so good with my running and swelling. I was keeping a steady pace for longer distances (thanks to Tracie for allowing me longer lunch times) and I hadn't swelled in so long. I was feeling good and confident. I got the stomach flu and it all faded away. I was so sick that I did not care what happened with me and running. I couldn't even think of running. I didn't train for a week-I couldn't. I started to get fearful of this virus and would I be able to fulfill my part-which was the first part! I just rested up and didn't stress out about it.

One week before the run I was feeling better. I started to run and was really shocked at how much faster I had gotten. I just knew I could keep this pace and get a better time than my time at the Oklahoma City 1/2 Marathon (April '08). My time was 2 hours and 7 minutes. I was ready to see what was going to happen.

A friend of mine called me on Monday and laid her heart on the line about how she had an ailment and was afraid she would not be able to run at the race. I told her I would be praying for her and believed that she was supposed to do this. We were excited about how it was going to turn out and agreed to rest when needed.

Then it happened. I woke up Tuesday morning with huge ankles. My calves were tight and my upper legs were heavy. The water had arrived. I sat Tuesdays run out and decided to do it the next day. Well the next 4 days came and went with no running. It feels like my legs are stretched tight and I cannot even enjoy the run because I am concentrating on being done. It is very uncomfortable to go through. I am currently taking a water pill that helps flush out the water but sometimes it is not enough. I cannot eat too much salt and I have to intake lots of protien.

I prayed for God to help me make it through the race and for me just to enjoy it. Running is supposed to be fun and it is. I do not want to stress out about constantly looking at my pace or worrying about breaking a record that I may miss something God is trying to show me.

I woke up Sunday morning (race day) and immediately looked at my ankles. Yep, the water was still there. I just shook my head. I wasn't even nervous because all I could think about was my nemesis. I still just laughed a prayer of how only God can pull me through. I believed Him.

We started out and I was feeling good. When I reached mile 3 I began to feel tight. I almost stopped and honestly gave up but I could not stop. My mind had given up but not my heart. That is where God communicates with you and there was no way I was stopping. I pressed on.

I uploaded new music to my MP3 player. There are songs I don't really listen to but really enjoy the beat. Songs like "This Is Why I'm Hot", "Golddigger", and "Pjanoo". Yeah after about 2 rounds of that I was ready for worship. The only problem was I had accidentally deleted all my worship songs. I was feeling tired and I noticed a mile marker. It was mile 7! I had no idea I had already ran 7 miles. Then a song came on that made me pick up my pace. "California Love," thanks to Tupac and Dr. Dre (I think) I was able to get to mile 10 in no time. Getting to mile 10 was a breeze, it was what came after that made me doubt all God had ever given me in running.

I was running on base on gravel, dirt, and bumps in the path. Not to mention 20-30 mile winds. I felt myself slowing down more and more. That was okay. I just wanted to make it at this point. I made it past mile 11 and 12 and I was beginning to feel relieved. I had turned off the MP3 player and wanted to take in the last part of the race. I am glad I did.

I was on the home stretch to mile 13 when I told myself "I'm done!" I came to the point where I was okay to walk the rest of the way. I only had 3/4 of a mile to go-I was fine to walk. I ran passed a volunteer and she said "Good job! Almost There!" I looked over and it was my friend Cindy. I said "Hey Cindy!" and she said "Wendy? Oh! I was wondering if you were running today!" At that point her son, 15 year old Zach, said "Wendy? Is that you?" and he took off after me with his Heely's on. Huffing and puffing I said "yeah, Zach it's me!" He plopped his Heely wheels up and said "I am going to run with you!" and he did. I told him, "I wish I had wheels right now." He asked me, "Is this your first race since your feet were swollen? It is cool that you are running!" All I could say without crying was "Zach you came at the right time. Thank you for running with me, I almost gave up!" He just laughed. I asked him, "Are you going to be a runner now?" He laughed and said "Oh! I can't run!" Then I laughed and said, "you are now!" I was nearing the finish line and I told Zach, "Thanks so much for running with me, you came at the right time. You will not know how much this means to me." I patted him on the shoulder and he said, "no problem." As I crossed the finish line I noticed him turn around to go back to his mom, only this time he plopped the Heely wheels down.

There was so much going on around me that I could not take in what had just happened. I thought about it on the bus ride out of the base. This is what I concluded. God doesn't want me to do this alone (race and life). I had a running partner to finish out the marathon. I did 13.1 miles and when I was done she picked up the rest of the 13.1 miles. Therefore we completed a marathon-together. When I was to my breaking point (which we all get to in life, not just from exercise) I was done, then God could step in. Although Zach may not have known what was going on, he was being used by the Lord. Zach did not have to run with me, but God used him to show me I am not alone in this "race." We all need someone to "run" with in this life. Someone to cry with, laugh with, and just have fellowship with. We are never meant to be alone or think we can handle things on our own. God is there and he sends people along the way to help you get through. Sometimes we just need to take off the MP3 player to hear what He has to say.

What will happen with the water weight, I do not know. What I do know is that God isn't worried about my health as He is my soul. I know He doesn't want this for me but if I can see Him more through this, then why would I want to rush what He is doing? Like a marathon, you have to pace yourself. You can't get ahead of the pace God set before you or you will fall out. Let God be your trainer. His training plan is one to make you a true champion!

Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. Hebrews 10:35,36

So I finished the race with 2 hours and 7 minutes. The same exact time as the one in April. Amy finished in 2 hours and 27 minutes. A total of 4:34 minutes. We finished 5th out of 10th.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

God's Will

"You are due for another blog," my friend Shana tells me today. She has me stumped. In my mind I got nothing. I explain to her that I was extremely sick this past week and didn't really get anything out of it. I have never been that sick before. Last week I was running so good. I was running a 9:15 pace for 4 miles. I have never been that fast before for that long. I don't really desire that, but I'll take it when HE gives it to me. Then I got hit. The Stomach Bug! For 3 days I was bound to the couch. My loving daughter taking care of me like I was her elderly mother. I felt that way. I did nothing. I had plans for Saturday to run a long run and spend the rest of the day with Maddy having fun. I woke up and spent the day bonding with the toilet. I felt terrible both physically and emotionally.
Sunday morning we woke up and I could not make it to church. I told Maddy I was sorry and we would go next weekend. Since we were out of groceries (one of Saturdays errands) I wanted to take her to her favorite place to eat-IHOP. I wasn't thrilled about sitting in a crowded place while sitting shoulder to shoulder to someone BUT she sacrificed for me.
We got a waiter that some people may laugh at. He was in his late 40's early 50's and VERY excited being at work. He would come to the table and sing ballads of the 5 stack pancakes and side of grits you can order. His name is Will.
After a little while of singing and laughing at our table Maddy asked me why he acts that way. I told her he loves working here and not everyone loves their job like he does. We need to be happy having someone like him. I also gave her a side note of not making fun of someone like that and to appreciate his personality. She told me she would never make fun of someone.
Will brought us the receipt and a poem. He said his wife writes poems and he thought we'd enjoy it. It is titled "Child of God." It is about how we are created in God and has scriptures all over it. Madelyn looked at it and said "I have CF." Will said, "What was that?" I told him, "She has CF. It is Cystic Fibrosis and it is a lung and digestive disease." All of a sudden a soft sympathetic look came across his face and he said, "Oh, I need to pray with you. Can I have your hand?" Maddy gave him her hand and he prayed for God to touch her, heal her, and give her HIS love. He said the words that make me fall to my knees, "In JESUS' name." I was so choked up. I told Will thank you and he was back to singing about seeing us next time.
When we left we were so refreshed. I still had a turning tummy but my heart was so full of love for my Father, Savior, and Best Friend.
I knew I needed to write about this but couldn't gather the strength yet. I now know why.
As I was reflecting about this on which to write about. I began reflecting on my dad. His name is Will or William Joshua Makepeace. I have not seen him in 6 years. I was not fully devoted to the Lord at the time I seen him and I was an angry adult who had not yet gotten over or forgiven his abandonment from childhood. I wrote him a letter saying we are better to be friends. He never responded.
Guilt sometimes comes over me but the Lord reminds me of my "youth" at the time it was written.
I love my dad. He may have done some things to hurt me but I still love him. God still loves us right? We turn our back (on Him or others), HE loves us. We take things in our own hands, HE loves us. We "got this", HE loves us. Addictions, Gossip, and UNCLEAN heart, HE loves us.
I am hoping to make a trip to New Orleans (home) in February. I am praying to see my dad. Like the prodigal son, I am back. I am back to throw myself down and ask for forgiveness. Like the father, I am praying he takes me back.
Did you know God does that? He takes you back. He will welcome you in and never let go. We are not promised a perfect life (my dad was not there). We are promised a life filled with hope, peace, and love (your Heavenly Father is there).
So there it is, Will is God's Will. He made them, He loves them, and He loves you!

"His father said, 'Son you don't understand. You're with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours...He was lost, and he's found!"-Luke 15:15 (The Message)

Thank you Shana for the accountability. Especially for allowing me to reminise on my dad/Father. I appreciate you!