Monday, August 30, 2010

Basic Training

This past weekend I got the privilage of reuniting with a good friend of mine. The reunion was more than just a "I haven't seen you in a long time..." It was a testimony of what God can do through you if you let HIM.

I have known Alisha for about 3 years now. We began working together, in the same classroom, in May 2009. We immediately had a connection. We communicated through "The Office" quotes and observing children. I told her I wanted to be a "Super Nanny" for military families and she was going to school to be a psychologist. At that time I had been going through a lot of things. She was one person who knew and gave GRACE.

After I began suffering with anxiety and depression, Alisha was the most encouraging and uplifting person I could turn to. Crying with me, hugging me, and helping me through the most difficult times I had gone through. Her skills and knowledge in psychology had helped me more than she realized.

It was August 2009 when she began talking about joining the military. At first I thought it was just talk but the more she sought God on what she was supposed to do, the more confident she became in her purpose. Have you ever met someone that was so confident in what God wanted them to do that nothing else mattered? I admire that.

We said "good-bye" on June 25th, 2010. She entered basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX. A piece of me felt sad and happy at the same time. Sad because I would miss the talks we had and the bond we had built but happy because she was going after something God put on her heart.

I began writing letters. One letter a week would have me writing 8 letters. I mean that is the least you could do for someone giving their all to fight for your freedom, right?
Well 8 wks went by fast and my good friend Sarah (I met through Alisha) and I were roadtripping down to San Antonio to see Alisha. Nervousness in my stomach, I felt as if my own child was graduating...and there she was.

Watching flights march together and B.T.I.'s yelling with pride, she had made it. Eight weeks of intense training and once a week communication with family members. No t.v., no radio, not knowing anyone, and basic necessities that we take for granted...gone. One thing did remain though...her God, our God. The strength given to her through purpose, prayer, worship, and love. HE had brought her through the roughest she has ever been through.

Watching her in formation reminded me of something I had heard on a podcast. The pastor was saying that we (Christians) work together to get to the same goal. Same as a baseball team, football team, or any other team. Well, Alisha had joined a new team. They had pressed long and hard for many weeks to get to the point where they were. They had used sweat, tears, and emotion to get through the roughest times and here they are. All cleaned up and showing off their accomplishment.

Well, that's what we have to do. How many of us are using up our "sweat, tears, and emotions" for Christ? How many of us have heard that calling that God has placed on you and go with it full force, no questions asked? I can tell you I haven't. What faith that takes to hear God tell you, only having a year left of college, to join the military...and you say "okay" and go. Oh God, how I desire to have faith like that.

And then I hear God tell me I can. You have to get back to the basics...the "Basic Training" of HIM. Read HIS word, pray, love HIM, and have faith. I know when you press in for that goal, you will be all cleaned up and your reward will be greater.

"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back."-Philippians 3:12-14 (The Message)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oldies but Goodies pt. 4..."Come back race! (OKC 2008)

Here is the blog about my first "long" run after my illness in the summer of 2007. Let me just say I would NOT have done this race if weren't for my good friend Nicole. She was "inspired" by me running marathons and decided to train for her first half marathon. After completing that she wanted to do another. Nicole encouraged me to get back out and run. I was nervous to at first because I had gotten "out of the game" and she just kept encouraging me. She, in return, inspired me.
You are never "out of the game." There are times when you will be dry or feel worn out and weary. Keep moving on! One of my favorite quotes is by Dean Karnazes, "Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up."
I think this is for life in general...there is a reward when you don't give up.

"Sunday, April 27, 2008
Come back race! (OKC 2008)
This past year has been the most challenging time of my life.

As most of you know I have Lupus. It is an autoimmune disease that attacks healthy tissue, usually major organs. It attacks my kidneys.

A year ago I ran the Oklahoma City marathon and couple of days later began swelling. I gained 30 lbs of water weight on my body over 1 month period of time. I thought it was from running but my doctor said it was a Lupus "flare up". Since I had a flare up I could not run. That was very hard for me but I learned that running did not define me. I pressed in on the Lord and kept the faith. I was put on all kinds of medication and homebound for 2 months. I could not work, walk, or play with my daughter.

People would come to my house to bring us meals, spend time with us, and mainly pray for us. I really grabbed a hold of what it means to have brothers and sisters in Christ.

During this illness my daughter, who has Cystic Fibrosis (lung and digestive disease), became ill and had to have an i.v. in her arm for 2 weeks to help fight a bacteria in her lung. We had to do antibiotics through the i.v. and it went away (thank the Lord).

My husband was wonderful. He was patient, caring, and loving. He took care of us so well and we experienced the meaning of through "sickness and in health".

I got permission from my doctor to start running last September after all the weight fell off. I was scared to. I prayed for God to show me the right time to run.

Patience paid off and I began running again in February. I entered a couple of small races and placed second in one. I decided to train for the OKC half marathon (13.1 miles). I wasn't sure how I could do it but I remembered it is never my own strength anyway.

Today I completed the half marathon. I got up at 4:30a.m., it was low 50's, and 15 mile winds. My husband and daughter bundled up to support me. I was ready to go.

About 8 miles in I noticed 2 girls with a scripture on the back of their running shirts, it read "With God all things are possible" Matthew 19:26. That was a reminder to me of what is true.

I finished (thanking God) in 2 hours and 7 minutes. When normally my time would be 10 minute miles, I ran 9:31 minute miles. Only strength from my Lord can help me, I am weak.

If there is something that I learned is to have faith. You may hear it all the time but really that is all we have. When it all seems to be "taken away", faith is all that remains. I am not sure where my health is going to go but I do know my heart is in Jesus hands."

Oldies but Goodies pt. 3..."My Answered Prayer"

After completing my first marathon, I went through this thing that no one warned me blues.
Everything I had trained for had come to an end. I had accomplished what God had whispered to me one day in January 2006. What now?
Well, He sent someone to help me get through and to show me what my purpose in running was all along. One thing I got out of it was not to give up.
I didn't write a blog over this one...but I did copy and paste this years ago. The writer in this blog articulates a lot better than I can. She was an answered prayer. All the trainings we did in the freezing cold weather sharing stories, our favorite movies (The Wedding Singer), and how to be better spouses/parents. These were the greatest times of my running days...

"Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Oklahoma City Marathon blog!
I recently completed the Oklahoma City Marathon with my friend Lacy. Oddly enough, we finished this race in the same time I finished the Wichita Marathon...5 hours and 20 minutes.

Check out this awesome blog, about our run, written by my answered prayer...Lacy!"

lacy's blog

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wichita Marathon 2006

I didn't have to write a blog for this one because my sweet husband made a video for me. The whole point in the video was to show others that with Christ anything is possible. This video reminds me of why I began running in the first place...for Him!

Something that I learned today was, "if you wait until you are 100% sure of what you are supposed to do you will never do anything. Be 80% sure and just have faith."

Whatever God is doing in you today-whether it be a new job, starting a family, renewing your relationship with HIM, or don't have to be just have to have faith!

Oldies but Goodies pt. 2... "Wendy with an 'i' "

If you aren't sure if God answers prayers, here is one story that God totally blew our minds with!
My heart was already humbled by what God could do with a "lame" like me in running. And then He went and humbled me with this...

"Saturday, September 23, 2006
Wendy with an "i".
I had my Lupus appointment a couple of weeks ago. The rash on my face (from Lupus) was very red. I had been concerned about it for weeks and knew my doctor would be, too.
At the appointment he was very concerned that my Lupus would be "flaring up", so he performed some blood work to see if anything was going on in my body. He told me to hold off going off of my last pill. I had been waiting 8 months to go off of my pills to try for another baby. I left the office wanting to cry but I still kept the faith. I told Jeremy to drive to my good friend Maria's house. God ordained, Maria lives 3 blocks from the clinic. I needed prayer. When I got to her house she was more than willing to pray and stand beside me during this life test.
Could this be it? I mean, we have come this far. This was my last pill (medicine for my kidneys). Eight months of preparing for another baby. We figured that if I got off of all of my medicine by September (this month) I could get pregnant in December, right before Jeremy has to leave (deploy with the military). Maddy would be 7 years old and a big helper.
After awesome godly words from Maria and other awesome friends of mine, I began seeking the Lord for His will in our lives concerning a child. Our hearts had been for Guatemala. My dad was born there and came to the States when he was 5 yrs old. He learned english from Sesame Street on television. My heart began to desire that of another country. Jeremy and I prayed. The childrens pastors from our church had adopted a little girl from Guatemala City, 1 1/2 yrs. ago. She is something. A lady from McConnell adopted one from there, too. He attends the child development center, where I work. He is something, as well. I am in awe looking at these "hand picked (from God) children" for these families. I told God when He is ready for us to move in this area I will. I will do it without a problem.
After I ran the Endurance50, I had no idea my husband and friends had planned a surprise birthday /congrats on my race dinner at a resturant. After we ate, we went to Starbucks. When we got there we noticed in big writing on their window...GUATEMALA. What was this? We walked in and noticed that if you buy a bag of coffee, your money goes to a school in Guatemala to help. We totally jumped on it. Wow, Lord was this why you had us desiring the better for Guatemala? Okay we will do it. Little did I know God desires bigger things.
So here it is, Friday night my husband and I are double dating to a Michael W. Smith (Christian artist) concert at a local church. We are worshipping the Lord and amazed at this man who has sung songs for Jesus for 20 years. Nineteen albums and the hand of the Lord is all over him. Such an intimate time.
He stopped singing in the middle for an intermission. Before he left the stage he introduced an organization he is in called, Compassion International in Jesus' Name. I had heard this on the radio many times but never felt pulled to do this. He showed a video on helping children in other countries. My heart began to beat fast. After the video they said to raise your hand if you want a child's packet to see who you would sponsor. I prayed that Jeremy would raise his hand for a packet if we are supposed to do this. I prayed that this child would be Spanish speaking preferrably from Guatemala. I said this prayer with doubt saying to myself "you cannot tell God to do these things". I learned that you cannot limit God. God is so big and wants bigger things for his people...especially children.
Jeremy raised his hand..."thank you Lord", I said. Out of thousands of children's profiles, only one was selected for us. It was by God's process that this volunteer selected this packet to give to us. Here came the profile, it passed through 7 pairs of hands to get to us. My heart was racing to see this child.
There she is...her name is Wendi. My heart melted. I was nervous, scared, overwhelmed, and excited to see where she was from. She is from Guatemala. Jeremy was in shock, our friends were speechless (that is how God does it), and I cannot stop crying. Thank you Jesus.
We committed ourselves last night to this child, trusting that the Lord will do great things for this girl and her family. Just knowing that she will know who Jesus is is more than enough. I am excited to see this relationship grow, excited to see how Maddy interacts with her, but most of all excited to tell her what her name means...Wendi means "walks with God".
"...and whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me." -Matthew 18:5"

Oldies but Goodies pt.1... "My First Marathon Attempt..."

I have decided to close my 'myspace' account. I have held on to this for over a year due to not wanting to delete the first time I had ever blogged. Now that I have this, it's time to move on.

I have copy and pasted my first blogs. Please excuse the grammar, punctuation, and "newbyness" of it all.

This was the first blog ever about running. Seeing as I am nearing the time for my 4th marathon, I thought it would be good to reminicse and remind me of why I love what I love. Enjoy!

"Thursday, September 21, 2006
My first marathon attempt, the Endurance 50
This is my first blog. I wasn't sure I would know what to say but I have some news and thought to share.
Like I said in my profile I hadn't been much of an athlete until I began running in January this past year. I heard about a 5k race on the Air Force Base and wanted to train for it. At that time I was a newby so I thought that a 5k was 5 miles. I then realized after I ran it that I had only ran 3.4 miles. I had completed the race in 32 minutes but I knew I had discovered my passion.
The next race I wanted to run was a 10k Easter Sun Run. I finished 6 miles in 58 minutes and cried as I saw the finish line. I now know what the entrance to heaven will look and feel like. All these people on the sidelines cheering you on, it was amazing.
There was another race on the Air Force Base a month later. It was another 5k, but this time for a prize. I came in 2nd in my age category winning an 8 pk. of Gatorade.'s all good. I finished the 3.4 miles in 22 minutes. This was ten minutes faster than the one two months prior.
Running had me hooked. I subscribed to Runner's World magazine and after 2 black toe nails (from the wrong shoes) I invested in some Asics. I felt so much better running and more confident that I wasn't a newby anymore.
I had heard of this Ultramarathon man (Dean Karnazes) and read about him in awe of how the human body can go to the extreme. In admiration of how he could do this I was determined to do a marathon or triathalon. Could my body do this? I have Lupus. I have had this for 3.5 years. I have not had pain in the last 2 years (in my joints and muscles). Would I cause injury training for something like this? Well, with faith in my Lord Jesus that only He was the ultimate maker and healer. I knew I could do all things in He who gives me strength. I began going off of kidney medicine that the "disease" had seemed to attack and I was still feeling great. I would run short distances on my lunch break at work (3.5 to 4 miles a day) and long runs on Saturday and sometimes on Sunday ( I now know that truly is my day of rest). One Saturday I ran I ended up running 12 miles. I was hurting. When I had stopped running my legs still felt ahead of me. I was walking like a flamingo but the feeling was indescribable. Am I really a runner? I thought.
I had read in Runner's World that the Ultramarathon man was coming to Wichita. He was going to run 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states. He planned to run our October 2006 marathon course. I knew I had to participate. I had gotten some advice from a couple runners on the Air Force base on how to pace myself. At first I thought I knew it all but I then realized runners need each other and I cannot do this alone.
One Saturday I had gotten up early for a long run. I had reached 12 miles and at the 1 hour and 50 minute point I got a massive "runners high". I was sprinting so long and hard. I felt like conquering the world. I was thanking God, he had given me this ability. I was then rudely interrupted by the wonderful bladder and had to run home. I was thinking to myself "how can I run 26.2 miles if I have to stop and go to the bathroom". Well, the Bible says "ask and you will recieve", I knew I had to pray that I wouldn't have to go.
So here it is the day of the race and I am so nervous. Will I be the only one running that hadn't ran a marathon. How fast will Dean go? Will I have an oppurtunity to talk and run with him? Will I keep up? All these questions and more got answered. .
When my husband and I drove the starting point we had no idea it was going to be so cold and rainy. I had ran in rain before but not this windy or cold. The car said 50 degrees but the wind chill was around 40 degrees. We went inside to get signed in and wait for Dean. When we walked inside I was in awe of all the runners. They stood around talking about their previous runs and upcoming runs. "I hadn't done this before. Am I going to be the only one?" I wondered. As we gathered around to talk about what was going to take place I ended up meeting another first timer. We connected right away. We talked about how we were feeling and how we would just stick together.
The first six miles we talked and it went by fast. We were both feeling pretty good and the weather maintained. We got to the 8th mile and I began to run faster. In the famous words of Forrest Gump, "I was run-ning". Dean was making his rounds talking to everyone from the front, middle, and back of the group. How awesome that he would be "mayor" of the road. I checked with someone about our pace and we were running 9:45 min/mile. Wow! I had been running 10 minute miles and this was great.
We got to the 11th mile and we were headed on to McConnell Air Force Base. Yes! This was my turf. I run this road and path everyday. I know I can do this! I felt such pride that my husband serves in the military and I work for the Air Force (Child Development Center). Here I am running with professionals. We were to run 8 miles on base with some air force runners with air force pride. At first we were going strong. I was running in the front with two others. How can this be that a year ago I couldn't even jog one mile and now I am at the 14th mile with no thought to stop. As we came up to the 15th mile the wind got stronger and the rain came down harder. The wind began to push me off of the path. I kept quiet and pushed through. Is this endurance? I can do this.
I could see we were going to be passing by my work My co-workers knew I was doing this today and they were rooting me on. These thoughts helped me press on. My hands began to get stiff and the wind and rain hitting me in the face. I was beginning to feel weak. I noticed my husband on the side with our video camera yelling, "go Wendy! not too much longer". How much longer? I thought. I cannot do this anymore. I wanted to veer off the path and fall into his arms.
As we were running an older man came up beside me trying to encourage me. I couldn't really hear him because my hands were hurting and legs were burning. Freezing from the rain I could barely run straight. Another guy ran up beside me. He told me to run behind him and we would be a shield from the wind and rain. I tried to stay behind them but I kept tripping. As we made a turn on base which was on the 18th mile I knew my end was coming. My hands began to shake and my knees began to knock. One of the guys running gave me a pair of his socks and told me to put them on my hands. I wore them for a little while but they quickly got wet from the rain. Two others came up beside me to encourage me. They stuck beside me for what seemed to be minutes upon minutes. Is this what runners do? They slowed down to my pace and would not leave my side. Dean came up and told me to stick behind him he would run in front of me to guard me. I tried for a little while but then I had to stop. My arms and legs began to shake uncontrollably. The Endurance50 car had been following us. They had noticed me slowing down and one of the guys got out of the car and gave me his jacket. What was going on? I felt fine on the inside. My heart rate and breathing were fine. My body was experiencing something different. The medic car was right behind us and they helped me into it. The medic told me that I was in the stages of hypothermia. She asked me who she could contact. I told her my husbands number and she called him. Was this it for me? All these months of training and I am done? Yes...I was finished.
When my husband met back up with me he was so worried about me. I was pretty hard on myself but he just said,"you're awesome". With encouraging words and some roses I was back to being myself. After about thirty minutes my body stopped shaking. I was ready to go to the finish line to see them and meet Dean.
They finished in 4 :20 min. When we walked inside I noticed the people who helped me and right away thanked them for their encouragment. They had related to me and made me feel better as I had been hard on myself. I looked around the room and I didn't see the first timer. Where was she? Was she okay? I said a prayer for her to finish and to be safe.
I got my gift bag and immediately looked for the Ultramarathon Man book to get it signed. As I stood in line I looked around. I was so proud to be where I was. I love running.
It was my turn to get an autograph. Dean was very welcoming and concerned. He related to the hypothermia and reassured me. I got an autograph and a picture with the ultramarathon man. I walked away with having experienced a little endurance. I didn't even have to stop to go to the bathroom. I was feeling blessed.
After saying good-byes my husband and I were ready to leave. We walked out just as the first timer finished her run in 4:50 min. She did it. She was concerned for me but I was so proud of her. I felt a saddened heart that we were leaving. After all these months of excitement, anxiosness, and nervousness, this was it.
What is next for me? I want to run the October 22nd marathon. I will train for it and prepare for the weather. The most important thing for me to do is to encourage those running around me because I experienced what it is like in a runners world. "

Friday, August 20, 2010

"That's Not My Name..."

Then Manoah inquired about of the angel of the Lord, "What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?" He replied, "Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding." Judges 13:17-18

This scripture has been on my mind a lot. We read this the other night and it has been reinventing to me of what it means to "glory to God."
I was reflecting on things that I have been a part of in the past in my home, in the church, and in my relationships. Wondering if I had really given "glory to God" or did I secretly take glory myself? I know those things may not bother some people but lately my heart has been wanting to go deeper into what the Lord has for me. That means getting into the Word more. I had slacked for so long seeking what God's continuing purpose is for my life...and then I got TIRED of it. I took a step. Wow! What an amazing step it was! Each day I find a renewed sense of the things HE has for me.
This morning I was listening to a podcast and in the message the pastor talks about how there was a lady praying before she spoke at a seminar. She asked God to "show up" when she spoke and so on. She said she heard God say in a loud voice, "I invited YOU to this. This is MY party. You are one of MY guests." I think that was Gods way of speaking to me about certain things I am going through. Good things that is. Although, I see negativity through it because it seems as though it is a stressful situation. I understand, now, that the enemy wants it to be so that all God wants to show me is hidden. Sometimes when you are going through that "valley" what you don't realize is that the mountain is right there. All we have to do is keep moving.
We were invited to HIS party. NOTHING you do is YOU. NOTHING. It took me a while to realize this. I am not just a wife...I am invited to be a wife to HIS child. I am not just a mother...I am invited to be a mother to HIS child. I am not just a runner...I am invited to run with HIM.
So when you are "dreading" that church meeting, that friend who really needs grace, that spouse who just needs you, that child that wants your attention, or that AMAZING GOD that wants you to spend time with HIM...remember, that's an invitation to HIS party!

I am not in charge, the boss, #1, holier than thou, perfect, or God..."That's Not My Name." My name is Wendy...and it means "walks WITH God."
What does your name mean?