runnin’ down a dream

For me it’s never, “Do I feel like running today?” But rather, “I wonder how many miles can I squeak out before the kids get up?” It wasn’t always this way. And please, friends, let me say that for as much as I run I’ve never won a race. After running dozens of races I’ve taken home all of two age category trophies – I’m no Steve Prefontaine by any measure. Also, contrary to my blog’s name, I’ve never actually run a marathon (I was using the word as a shout-out to my favorite sport & a metaphor for life). I did run a half in 2010 only to find out 2 weeks later I was pregnant with #3. Only God knows what my future in running may hold.

Those close to me know I am very passionate about physical fitness and it’s a big part of who I am. Growing up my parents always had me and my brother in tons of sports and we both continued to be solid athletes throughout high school. As we considered our colleges and ideas for becoming adults, we both parted ways with athletics. To this very day I still miss sports very, very much. But for me leaving sports was something I felt I had to do in order to dedicate myself to my studies. I was at a large university studying to become an engineer and I just didn’t feel I had time for it. Without sports (or Christ) and the healthy environment it promotes, I became victim of the tragedy that befalls likely the majority of college students – gaining the “freshman fifteen” (except for me it was more like 25). Believe it or not, I was partying hard every weekend and smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

The summer between my sophomore and junior years changed that. I met a boy who was very into physical fitness. And in talking about my love for the good ol’ days on the hardwood, he laughed and said he bet I couldn’t even run a mile anymore. “Run a mile,” I remember saying, “Of course I can run a mile! Anybody can run a mile — I used to run so much it isn’t funny!” And just like that a challenge was issued and I had to step up. So I planned a mile run, 1 mile out from my apartment. I ran it… it wasn’t pretty and when I reached my end point 2 things had become evident: #1, I could not “run” a mile, and #2, next time I need to plan my mile in a loop because now I was exhausted and had to make the walk back to my apartment feeling completely pathetic. Looking back I can’t believe I was surprised at the time, given my unhealthy lifestyle. But I was. I had taken my physical capabilities, up until that point, for granted. That mile was a HUGE wake up call.

So I started jogging. Initially I used it as a crutch to really cut back on the smoking. Then BONUS: I started losing some weight. Then DOUBLE BONUS: I was just feeling better about myself in general. It was affordable and available so I did it. I signed up for my first 5-K and enjoyed it. But I soon found myself losing motivation. I had reached my 5-K goal and I wasn’t really very good or a “natural” at running. So to set a new goal and stick with it I signed up for another race, this one to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. I didn’t even know what Cystic Fibrosis was at the time, but I knew I needed another goal or I’d quit and I wanted to be an athlete. A legitimate athlete. Again.

I went online and looked up Cystic Fibrosis. And at that moment – and I still remember the moment – I realized there are TONS of people out there who can’t run and would love to. People who were runners, far better runners than I, who had gotten sick or in accidents and would give anything for one more mile. And there I was, sitting at my computer, with two perfectly good legs and I wasn’t appreciating them. At this time in my life I didn’t know God but I was smart enough to appreciate what I had been given. At that very moment I decided I was going to start using my legs, and my body, to run races. To raise money for those who couldn’t run. And as my way to show that I appreciated the “gift of gait” I had been given. I didn’t want to end up some day potentially on the other side of things and look at my legs and my memories be of them sitting on the couch. I wanted my memories to be the joy of running through the woods on a colorful fall day. To know that if injury or illness befell me could look at my life… and my legs… and know that I lived. That when I used them I felt free of all life’s burdens. And now, as a Christian, when I run I feel closer to my Maker.

When I stand at the starting line now, three children and countless miles later, I give thanks to God for my many blessings and I pray my run somehow brings Him glory. And I think of my favorite pre-race scripture “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Phil 4:13) and I know that regardless of my natural running abilities (or lack thereof) I can tackle the road ahead if me. Because Christ is always by my side.

Run by faith,
Lindsay

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rolling in the deep

1 Tim 6:8-10 says, “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) for all of two months now. I walked away from an amazing career with a solid company and terrific coworkers. And so far, I’m proud to say, I haven’t regretted it even once.

For the past decade of my life I’d fallen prey to the biggest lie that has been spoon-fed to women of my generation: that women can “have it all” – “having it all” being defined by a husband, career and kids. (Please take note that a career is much different from a job. A career takes dedication both in and out of the office.) I had a beautiful house & a cleaning lady who made sure it was on point. I sent my kids to a terrific Christian daycare (the one thing about my past I don’t regret). I wore fancy shoes. It all probably seemed quite enviable from an outsiders perspective but on the inside my life was a scramble. With my career “blossoming,” balancing my (at the time) two little girls was tough. I’d sit at dance class and send work emails. I’d sit in work meetings and make grocery lists. I’d slip out of work 20 minutes early once a week to “supermarket sweep” my way through the grocery store and rush to get to the girls’ daycare by 6pm when it closed. Life was hard, but I was winning awards at work, getting praise and promotions, and making a good living. It all seemed worth it. I’d put the girls to bed by 8pm and log back into my work computer and keep at it all night. It was never-ending. But I was (& still am) driven. And I wanted to succeed.

In talking to one of my dearest friends, a grandmother herself, she told me how she used to babysit her grandson when he was young and that she’d actually seen him take his first steps and several other milestones… But she didn’t have the heart to tell her daughter when she’d call a few days later proudly declaring he’d taken his first step that he’d already done it several says prior. She kept mum and let her daughter think exactly what I had thought… that she could have it all and not miss a beat. Hearing her tell me this broke my heart and made me think about all the things I’d been missing with my girls while I was out conquering corporate America.

While I was chewing on all that we had a health-scare with my third pregnancy that really woke me up and made me realize my babies needed me more than my department at work. I also realized I’d been a crap wife to my husband and I’d been failing my family. And I realized I didn’t have it all – I had a bunch of other people who were doing it all for me so that I could be pushed into what I thought society was telling me I should be. I was alive but I wasn’t living. My relationship with Christ was in the gutter. I needed to get things together, and fast.

With the terrific support of my last manager I was able to return to work post maternity-leave from baby #3 part-time. It half worked, half didn’t. Instead of feeling like I was failing at home but doing ok at work, I pretty much felt like I was failing everywhere. It was disappointing and awful. My bosses at work told me I was doing fine, but I hold myself to high expectations and couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t doing all that I could in my part-time role.  I couldn’t bring myself to continue to fail my family and take advantage of my company’s generosity with the flexible work arrangement.I’d spent 10+ years driving towards my “out of the home” career… yet I felt God was calling me to something more. He blessed us with three healthy, beautiful, smart, funny, perfect children. And He gave me an awesome and loving husband. I prayed about it and the answer became clear.  They needed me.  It was time.  But how on Earth could we make it happen?

We sold our home to unload the mortgage and give our family a shot at success on one income. We’ve literally got half our life in boxes in the garage as we live in an interim state trying to figure out our plan for the next who knows how many years. The focus of my life is no longer my “out of the home” career, or my husbands for that matter. My eyes, my heart, all that I am is focused on Christ. He has the plan. I have surrendered myself and given all trust to Him. I do not long for the life I used to have. I do not and will never define or consider myself a success based on the size, location or price of my home, the brands of my clothes, or the make and model of my car. These things matter not to me. Salvation is now my one and only prize.

I still get up by 6am every day. I still have schedules, tasks and appointments. I still manage a budget – the most important budget of my life because my job-retention status depends on it. There is a lot to be said about being a SAHM. I don’t know if I would appreciate it the same had I not taken the journey to it that I did, but I’m glad for it. I look in the mirror and know that the person looking back at me is someone that not only I, but my girls and husband, can be proud of.

Sometimes you have to stop, just for a minute, in the midst of it all and let the chaos fall silent. When you actually listen to what God is trying to tell you He will change your life.

What is love?

This whole ‘blogging’ phenomenon is a little bizarre to me but I’ve decided to try to utilize this forum to share a symphony of the random stuff I think about every day, which includes (but is not limited to) Jesus, family, and of course running.  I pray I find time to blog semi-regularly and I pray my blog inspires friends to read the Bible, love their spouse more today than they did yesterday, raise their kids to know Jesus, and take a healthier approach to their lifestyles.

John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Now think about that for a minute.

You know when your child(ren) get hurt and your heart breaks to pieces while you watch them bleed or cry in pain?  Have you sat next to them at the hospital, seeing them weakened from illness or injury and just felt so helpless because you knew there was nothing you could do?  Their fate was in God’s hands.  Whether or not you cared to admit it, to humble yourself to the thought, there was someone else, someone greater out there who had your child’s life in His hands.  If you were given the chance I have no doubt, friends, that you would surely lay down your life for your child.  Each time I was pregnant and in the delivery room with all three kids I told my husband, “If something goes wrong, please take me.  Please let them live.” The love for our children runs so deep we wouldn’t hesitate to harm ourselves to save them.

Now imagine loving someone so much that you would sacrifice your child for them.  God loved us so much that he gave his one and only Son.  He gave his Son knowing he would watch Him die on that cross.  Can you imagine the pain of losing your child for what you knew was a greater purpose… but a purpose that many would mock, belittle, judge and flat out refuse instead of appreciate?

When I told my husband, “Please let them live…” with the first two births he responded that he couldn’t.  That he needed me.  But the love I had for that child inside of me was too strong – I would have been so upset with him had he chose me over that baby.  With the third he simply said that we could make more children but he couldn’t make another me.  And today, really looking at it from this perspective for the very first time, I can even more completely understand how my husband felt at that time.  He loved me first.

Which brings me to the topic of love between a husband and wife.  It’s important in a marriage to respect and understand the relationship between husband, wife and children.  Women, I think because of the special bond of pregnancy coupled with our motherly instincts, tend to blur the lines and forget the rules that are clearly laid out in the Bible.  Ephesians 5:22-24, 32 says as follows, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything,” and “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  Wives, remember today to put your husband first.  Above everything and everyone but God.  Glorify and respect him.  Unite as one flesh.  And he will shower you with love in return.  Perhaps he will respond slowly or with hesitation (because he might wonder what the in the heck changed!)… but it will come.  For God loves the church the same way that our husbands love us, but we must first show our spouse the love that God intended us to.

I absolutely without a doubt love my children, and they are still strongly planted as the number 3 seed in my heart and life.  If you strive to raise your children in a Christian home you must first show them what a proper relationship between man and wife is supposed to be.  The relationship between you and your spouse is the first and greatest example of love your children will know.  God so loved us – His ministry, that he sacrificed his Child.  He put the Church first.  Love your spouse.  Serve your family.  Live your life giving glory to Christ.

Run by faith,

Lindsay

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