Treading (Diving?) into Uncharted Waters

Since there is (STILL) nothing to tell you on the job front (*sigh*) or weather front (it is SO! FLIPPIN'!!! HAWT!!!) I will go back to what I mentioned at one point -- some things God has put on my heart since training for the half-marathon that I completed in July (and am now training for another).

If you know me well, you know that health and fitness have always been important to me. I won't lie, they started being important to me for reasons of my appearance. Exercise and eating right helped keep me at a healthy weight -- and able to fit into my clothes. But, as I've aged, I have 'softened around the edges' (and i don't just mean my rear is bigger, though that may or may not be the case).

My commitment to care for my body has extended from simply "whatever it takes" to fit into my skinny jeans to truly caring for my body. Sometimes it's a delicate balance because I like to set goals for myself (i.e., the half- marathon) to keep me on track with my exercise. When I get injured, I'm tempted to push my body beyond what is reasonable in order to meet my goals, thereby defeating the purpose in the first place.

I am hesitant to talk about this at all. The main reason being -- I am keenly aware that no one wants to hear it. I used to talk about it quite a bit. But several experiences, including one lost friendship, have led me to realize that people just flat don't want to hear about it. I get that. As Troy very gently told me, "No. No one wants to hear about it. Sarah, I lived with you for 17 years and am just now wanting to be healthy. I had to choose for myself."

So, I am diving on in, and saying some things I'm thinking. If you agree with me -- super. If you hate it, feel free to kick a hole in your computer screen or write me nasty, anonymous comments. I can take it. This is just some of the stuff rolling around in my brain I want to process.

One thing I think is that I have become very... disillusioned? disappointed? Saddened, no doubt, as to how little the church will address how important it is to care for our physical bodies. Again, I have learned the hard way that it is a VERY touchy subject, but so are sex and finances, and we seem to conquer those just fine. The body that we have each been given is a precious gift from the Lord-- just like my children, my car, my house, my money. Shouldn't I care for it lovingly? (I was encouraged to see one of our elders broach the subject recently, and Tim Archer had a great series on Christian attitudes toward eating and food.)

I was REALLY struck by this thought this Sunday in small group. This was NOT the topic at all, but Ephesians 5:19 was read: "After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it just as Christ does the church." Know anyone that hates her own body? Um, yeah. That was me for TOO many years.

I am so ashamed of how I thought of and treated this body, this creation of God. And the way I would talk to myself?? Oh, mercy. I see myself in someone that I am around on occasion now. Of course, it's always an eating occasion (because, you know, how else do people ever communicate if not over food -- another rant for another day) and this person always mentions that she is STARVING because she hasn't eaten all day.

I nod knowingly to myself, remembering the days. I don't know this person's mindset, but mine would have been: "I'll just skip breakfast. I'm not that hungry anyway. Oh, look at me. I think I can go a little longer. OOooooh, I'm doing GOOD! I can probably make it until I meet friends tonight without eating. Just a little longer." Then, out with friends, I would eat too much, too heavy, be miserable, and say horrible things about myself that night -- then again the next morning when I weighed.

Then I finally figured out: I would NEVER do that to one of my children, or my spouse or parents. Basically, to anyone that I loved. And if I were to love and care for my body, I needed to CARE for it -- and treat it right, and feed it regularly. Hey! Guess what? If you feed your body (and brain) regularly, you can think straight, get yourself off the couch AND not scream at your children for asking a simple question. Who knew? And? Even better? My workouts work when I eat on a regular basis! Wow. There must be a reason that God made our bodies to get hungry every few hours. Bodies require fuel regularly to work right. Simple as that.

Of course, then, over the years, I've had to learn WHAT to feed my body, which has been a whole other journey, perhaps for another day. Refined sugar is just useless to me, so I generally don't eat it. Lysa TerKeurst talked about her journey doing away with sugar today, as well.

Also Ruthie (my trainer for the half) and Jae (just an awesome gal) tell their own stories about sugar. Both of them seem extreme reactions to sugar, but keep in mind, these are women that went off of sugar, then had reactions to small amounts of sugar. Their reactions are similar to what I've noticed in myself now that I don't eat sugar.

Ruthie wants to be a "fitness minister" at a church. I'm rooting for her! I would love to go down the same path -- or write her articles for her.

This summer I read "Women, Food, and God" by Geneen Roth, a look at the emotionality many of us have tied up in our bodies and the way we eat. It reminded me of the bondage I was in for so many years to my outward appearance and diets and food and called me to give thanks to God for setting me free from that way of life. If that is a journey you would like to take, I will tell you that it was a gradual, years-long journey for me, with God leading the way and healing as I was ready. You can't expect to change a lifetime of thinking (a "brain rut", I call it) in any 12 week program or plan. Grace to yourself has to be the overriding theme.

I don't know if I'll talk about this much here or not. Again -- I know none of you want to hear it. But I believe with all of my heart that our bodies that house our spiritual beings should be loved and cared for as much as our spiritual beings. And... I do wish it was addressed more in the body of Christ. Hey -- wonder why we call it the body of Christ anyway? Hmmmmm....

This Ride I'm On

So... Hey!

I have SO much I WANT to tell you, but very little that I am ABLE to tell you right now. (Is that not the most annoying way possible to start a blog post???) Trust me, if you know me well enough to care -- you are welcome to call me and I will tell you the WHOLE story, all the ins and outs and ups and downs and just flat make you sorry that you asked. But there are just some things not quite ready for Internet publication yet. (did you know that Internet should be capitalized? I don't know why, but my writing for the newspaper has made me aware of this fact. Doesn't seem right to me, but it is what it is. Get on board, people.)

We are at the job-search stage that is pretty cool. It is quite obvious that God is at work. Obviously, God is always around and at work in our lives, but we have been through a job search that felt much more like wilderness wandering -- and we needed to be reminded that God was in the wilderness then. There have been parts of this job search that have been a bit of wilderness wandering, but currently, things have been happening that we can't explain other than the hand of God. We don't know where they will lead and what the end result will be, but they all serve as part of our faithful story to ourselves that God will provide all of our needs.

There are other areas that Troy and I just see God moving in mighty ways that is such a blessing -- though crazy-making, as neither of us will admit to being excessively patient!

Last week I was honored to share some of HIStory along with some of my teen missionary partners at the mission reporting meeting. I said that on the way to McAllen, I looked up and found Deuteronomy 4:29:
But if from there you will seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and all your soul.

This is a promise to the Israelites -- but it is so true for all of us. I know I haven't been able to be very specific, and I meant to write other stuff here tonight like what all I'm learning about my own health while training for this half marathon, but that can wait. For now, I just want to encourage you, like me, to seek the Lord your God and look for him with all your heart and soul. He is there, waiting for you to be found by you.

If you CAN be specific, I would love for you to share with me where all you have found God this week.


My Story, HIStory

I do want, at some point, to go back and share more of the HIStory that was made in McAllen, but I am burdened by telling that so thoroughly, and I want to quick tell you about some of "the rest of the story" (that really dates me, doesn't it?)

(SIDETRACKED by the rest of the story...) Did you LOVE Paul Harvey? I especially loved his "The Rest of the Story" series. I guess there has always been storyteller in me...

Back on track...as if there is one...

So... my husband is out of work and has been all summer. It's all good -- he had been employed at a local Christian university and, in short, his position was eliminated. His boss (that goes to our church) made the decision because their department needed more Master's level degrees in their department (Troy doesn't have one) for their accreditation. Hard decisions had to be made, and now God has room to work.

God is faithfully showing himself to us at every turn, giving us just enough light for the next step. We will continue to have amazing God stories.

My baby girl has started marching band practices in preparation for starting high school in a few weeks. (hear me take a deep breath). Today we got her registered, her marching shoes ordered, her uniform fitted, a decal for the car, the whole 9 yards. We are good to go.

The school keeps most of the uniform except the hat and some sort of sash (why would they send home pieces to forget on game day??) When she tried on the hat for us (that, like all band hats, mostly engulfs her head) I teared up for the first time. Grinning out from under the hat was the very same little face of a 2 year old toddler who told me, "I'll be 3, then I'll be 4, then I'll be 5, then I'll go to kindergarten." Only this one has more expensive teeth.

That child has always been ready for "what next?" and "aren't we going somewhere?" She is my on-the-go kid, and FOR THE LOVE she will not be disappointed in marching band season. Lots, lots LOTS for our calendar! Wow.

Soon school will start again and Riley will play football. And soccer. And, Lord willin', Troy will be starting a new job. So we will probably have a busy and active fall. I am SO excited for all that will be going on with the kids and their activities. This may not be the best time of THEIR lives, but it's the best time of MY life -- to watch them using their gifts and talents, and just flat having fun. It will be a busy, glorious time. Praying to see God through it all, and how He would have me serve Him best as band mom, burning up the roads taking kids to different events, etc.

One last thing. Since we aren't busy enough, I'm training for another half marathon at the end of October. It really doesn't add to my life, just makes me much more disciplined in my exercise -- which, honestly, my brain will need in the midst of the nuttiness.

So... catch me up with you. Are you amping up for school? Tell me what's up with you!
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