Saturday, May 22, 2010

Unpleasant, but not Intolerable

Today, God had a very specific lesson in mind for me. It was a simple faith exercise. Kind of like homework, I guess. Just a simple assignment. And it could have been called, "How to praise through unexpected adversity." :) Nothing major, just a pop-quiz.

So far this year, I've not run in weather above 65 degrees. In fact, 65 might be pushing it. I knew that today was going to be warmer, and I was kind of looking forward to it. But I also knew that since it had been over half a year since I'd run in heat, I would have to relearn what it was like to run in that kind of temperature.

I guess I forgot how hot 70-80 degrees is for running. I always do when summer starts. It sounds like a nice temperature, but you forget that hot running starts in the mid-60s.

I slept in a little til about 7:30, got up, ate some oatmeal and plugged in for a quiet time with the Lord. Haha! It was about unexpected adverse situations and how to handle them in your mind. It made the point that you had to immediately surrender the situation to God, recognize His sovereignty and praise and trust Him. Otherwise, you'd get trapped in bitterness, anger and dispair.

Totally great lesson. If we truly trust God and know that He works for our good in all situations, then no matter what adversity we face, we can know that He's got a plan and is carrying us through.

Fast forward to miles 6-14 today. Until mile 6 it wasn't too bad. I was running into the wind, so I was able to stay cool. At mile 6, I headed around a turn that took me out of the headwind. Immediately I noticed the heat. And, man, was it hot! I think by that point it was in the low 70s. But by the time I was a few more miles down the road and running with the wind, it was darn close to 80. I had brought one flask of Powerade, but I ran out of that by mile 10.

Thank You, Lord! It was hard, but the whole time, I kept remembering the lesson from this morning. It really carried me through. The whole time I was on the road, the Lord helped me to understand that, while the circumstance wasn't ideal, it wasn't intolerable. He would carry me through. I could handle it because He could handle it. The situation didn't have to be pleasant, and no, I didn't enjoy it. But I knew the whole time that He would carry me through to the end.

What a great lesson today! No matter what situation, we don't have to deny the fact that it might be less than ideal, but we don't have to give in to the mentality that it's beyond what we can handle. God's always with us and will always see us through even the most crappy of situations. Might as well accept that as truth and take on His peace and strength. :)

Thanks for the great lesson, Lord. :)

Ciao, friends!
-Jill :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Road Rage

I do have something to say this morning. And it is directed to all motorists: Please do not try to spitefully hit runners to teach them a lesson. You'll regret that, trust me. Now, this didn't happen to me, but to another runner just behind me.

First, I will tell you a secret that not many non-runners know. When you see us running on the paved streets when there is a perfectly good sidewalk about 5 feet away, there is a reason. The pavement is easier on your knees. Sidewalks are pretty much the most destructive surface you can run on. Hence, why we stick to the roads whenever possible.

So, this morning, I was running on the edge of the road close to the curb as usual. (I don't maliciously try to hack drivers off by taking up too much room. I do know my place.) There was another guy who was running toward me on the same side of the road. We passed each other, gave quick hellos and I kept running on. Not 20 seconds later, I hear a loud car horn behind me. I turned my head around and saw that this angry woman driving a dark green Toyota had honked at my fellow runner and pretty much tried to run him off the road by scooting as close to him as she could.

Let me set the scene even more. It's 6:15 a.m. This is a four-lane residential road. There is NO one else on the road. I'd been passed by 20 other cars that morning who had just veered slightly to the other lane and gone back after passing me. That's pretty logical. But this woman had an axe to grind with the runner. And when she passed me 5 seconds later, she wasn't any more removed from the curb. She was just mad.

Poor lady. My fellow runner and I certainly were protected by the Lord this morning, and undoubtedly, we're having better starts to our days than she is. But it was certainly a great exercise in praying for your enemies this morning. And it went right along with what we studied at Bible study last night about experiencing violence in this world. (We gave road rage as a very common example.)

Hey, that's just the world we're living in. Thank God that He controls the world with a Word. :)

Ciao, friends! Don't get run over today! :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jesus Calling

Um...Holy crap. I just ran a 7:20/avg. 14-mile run. :) That's never even come close to happening before! The closest I'd come was last weekend's 7:37 average of the same distance. YEOWZA!

Part of the reason I ran so fast this morning was because I wanted to time my half marathon. Not too bad 1:36:27. I haven't calculated the average on it, but it's not a bad pace. I can live with that. :) And who knows what I'll do on race day and what I hope will be a flat course.

Race day = June 19. I'm running in one last race before the summer heat puts the kabbash on racing until the fall. (At least for me. I know there are some people who can race in hot weather and love it.) But I'm in shape and want to maximize it before the summer sets in. So...Bring it on! I would love to place in my age group in this one. It's a pretty small race, so I do have a shot!

I haven't blogged in a while. Just haven't had much to say, I guess. (Shocking, I know!) But it's been a good week. Especially spiritually. God is really teaching me about the importance of letting Him transform your mind. How we think will determine how we live. We must win that battle of the mind or else we'll spend our lives in bondage to the enemy, who fills our heads with his poisonous lies. Thankfully, God's truth CAN trump all of those lies and expose them. But we have to position ourselves to receive that truth, and we also have to do our part. We have to be mindful of what we're thinking and then surrender our thoughts to God and allow Him to reveal whether they're true or false.

At the recommendation of some of my small group, I got the book "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. It's a devotion book that has messages written as if straight from the voice of Christ. It's a fine line to walk putting words in His mouth, but it's also VERY powerful when you receive these messages. Today's was about spending time alone with Him and now it's necessary and not just a luxury. So...I'm going to spend a good chunk of the afternoon in His presence. He carved out an afternoon free, so I'm going to accept His date. :) I hope you all have as wonderful of afternoons as I'm about to in the presence of my Savior. :)

Ciao, friends!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


A big shout-out to my friend Amy from my small group. She shared the most awesome quote with us: "Courage is fear that has said its prayers." AMEN! She didn't cite who'd said it, and I haven't looked it up, but whomever it was absolutely nailed it.

Sometimes I still get nervous before a routine run. I'll be worried that I haven't slept enough or eaten properly, or I'll fear getting injured. Heck, sometimes I just even fear how hard the workout is going to be. The best solution to those fears is ALWAYS prayer. Through prayer, God reminds me how big He is, how small I am, how much He loves me, how capable He is, that He is the provider of my strength, and that He will be with me. And then, He always tells me, "Jill, don't be ridiculous. You and I have done this a thousand times. Go out and enjoy the experience with Me." :) Thanks, God, for Your patience with me.

I think the most clear picture of that quote above is Jesus in the garden. Worst fear ever? Yes. Most courage ever? Yes. MASSIVE prayer? Yes. That's how Jesus handled fear--He prayed. And He prayed honestly.

If I'm scared before I run (for whatever reason), it's important to verbalize the fears to the Lord so that He can squash them. It's that way with any fear in life. Heck, even going to work some days takes courage and prayer. (I'm about to head out to a magazine deadline day. COURAGE!) But we must remember how strong and mighty the Lord is and that He's with us.

Today, let's say our prayers and accept His courage. :)


Monday, May 10, 2010

Get Focused

First, thanks to everyone who read this on Saturday and prayed for Georgia. I got home Saturday afternoon and went straight to her and Jim's house. Walked in, hugged Jim, and then went and latched on to Georgia and cried. We both did. It's really scary to almost lose someone you love so much. That hasn't happened to me in a really long time. And I am thanking the Lord that He saw fit for her to stay here on earth for a little while longer. I can't imagine life without her. And when I try to think of what that would be like, I break down.

So...please keep praying for Jim and Georgia. They have a good system of care for her now, but it's tough, and the road to healing will be long. But I know that the Lord is with them. That's evident in the fact that she's still here at all!

The run today was nice. One of my easy days out there, and I didn't take the iPod so that I could get in some extra prayer time. That was awesome. My best conversations with God happen in two places: the running road and my closet. :) I think it has to do with the solitude of each. Jesus has my full attention.

You know, the story of Peter walking on water with Christ has been coming up a lot lately in my life. One thing I've been thinking about recently, especially in my own life, is just how important it is to focus on the right thing. Peter looked at Christ; he walked. Peter looked at the waves; he sank. In my life, I look at Christ; I walk. I look at the problems; I sink. It's easy to let troubles overwhelm us when we forget that Jesus is right there, allowing us to stand on stormy waters. But when we look at Him only, we won't see the massive waves crashing around us. I know for me recently, I've spent far too much time looking at the waves and forgetting that Jesus is right there allowing me to walk on water with Him.

Today, I want to stay focused on Him. And I will pray that all of you will do the same! :)

Love you guys!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Speed and Prayers

Um, nothing like a little love and concern to fuel a pace. I got a call last night that my aunt Georgia is really sick. I talked with her on the phone, and her voice really scared me. I almost got in the car and headed home then, but I didn't. I decided to stay here.

Well, when I got up this morning, I knew I wouldn't be at peace if I didn't go home to see her. So, I called my momsy, told her I was coming home, choked down some oatmeal, packed a bag and then headed out for a run (on too full of a stomach). :) Either way, it didn't matter, I wanted so badly to get on the road that my legs FLEW. It was the fastest long run I've ever done. 7:37 pace. Not that it was exceptionally long, but it was a long run, and it was in strong wind. But urgency pushed me on.

"Why is she blogging if she's so anxious to get home?" you may ask. Well, there's an urgency, but there's also a demand from my knees to be iced. I'm letting them get their post-run treatment and then hitting the road.

No long spiritual lessons today. No deep thoughts. Just a prayer request for Georgia--one of the dearest women to my heart. Please pray for her.

Thanks, all!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Martyrs, Thieves and New Shoes

Happy Friday, everyone! And a MARVELOUS day it is! :) Why? Because it's NEW SHOE DAY!!! :) :)

This is a big day in the life of runners. We get new shoes 3-4 times a year, and every time we do, we get about 2-3 days of absolute HEAVEN on our feet. It feels like you're running on pillows! The old shoes have gotten beat down pretty badly, but you don't even realize it because it happens so gradually. Until, that is, you slip on a pair of new babies and take 'em for a spin. Oh, hallelujah! :)

When I run, I wear the Saucony Ride. They're not the most beautiful things in the world, but man, do they feel good! :) They're rated pretty well among neutral/cushioning shoes regarding their softness, and that's what I like. I need good support, but I need good cushion more. Every runner is different (hence the number of shoes out there), but this is just the one I've found that fits my running style best. So...Praise God for the first week in the new shoes! I'll be celebrating the whole way! :) And a HUGE thanks to Ashley for making the pit stop by Gary Gribble's for the pick up. Ash, you are

I've had a lot of feedback from the blogs the last couple of days, and I want to thank everyone for their encouragement. Man, I am truly surrounded by a "great cloud of witnesses." :) I love you all so much! And I want to encourage you back and say how incredible you are to take the time to bless your sister over here. :) I really have been blessed with some great friends.

There's a song by Jennifer Knapp that I've had rolling around in my head for the past couple of days. It really brings a smile to my face regarding all of life's challenges and the truth about what we are to do with them. If you have a chance to listen to "Martyrs and Thieves" totally do it. It will encourage you so much! But here's a line from the chorus:

"So turn on the light and reveal all the glory.
I am not afraid to bare all my weakness
knowing in meekness
I have a kingdom to gain
where there is peace and love in the light, in the light.
Oh, I am not afraid
to let Your light shine bright in my life, in my life..."

Amen, sister! Turn on the light! Let's bear our weakness today knowing that in our weakness, He is strongest.

Ciao, friends!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Truth and such...

Good morning, everyone! :) Happy Thursday! :) What a marvelous morning to get out and use the bodies we've been given by God. Great cool temperature and a bright, shining sun. Praise the Lord! Great run this morning, by the way. Far, fast and filled with the Lord's presence! :)

I have to apologize if I alarmed anyone else with yesterday's post. I shared from a point of great frustration, and I should have been more peaceful about it. God is so good. He's got everything under control, and I have nothing to worry about. He's graciously and patiently revealing to me many of the things over the past few months that I could have done better, and He's making adjustments in my heart and mind.

For one thing--and I just realized this on the run this morning--I didn't realize how much I thought my weight was tied to my finish time in Boston. I so badly wanted to PR that I subconsciously kept trying to keep dropping pounds so that I could run faster. I'd read somewhere that so many pounds is equal to so many minutes off your marathon time. That was always in the back of my head during training. That's one of the reasons I was internally okay with it when I went to a really low weight. Sure, I looked bad, but don't all runners? Especially the fast ones? :)

Well, I have to say. . . I think I am wrong about that. I have two shining examples of FAST women who are at healthy weights who can kick my butt on the road any day. The weight thing certainly does carry some truth, but it's not the final say. And I should have been more concerned with my overall health than with my finish time anyway.

So, there's one lesson from the day. For my next marathon, I'm going to do a few things differently. Nutrition will be one of them. The amount of control I put into my schedule will be another. I don't want to abandon my social life again, and I don't think I have to.

But that's a blog for another time...:)

Ciao, friends!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Shedding Light

I have a feeling that Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings are always going to be a bit of a struggle. As much as I look forward to the morning runs, I look forward in equal dread of the Wednesday elliptical machine workout. It has nothing to do with the physical action itself--I'm glad to give my knees and body the rest they deserve. It's the sheer boredom factor.

In the past workouts, God has helped me focus by meditating on Scripture. Today, He gave me quality time with the new issue of Runner's World. YES!!!!!!! :) I was wondering when I'd get a chance to sit down and read it. Well, there's a magazine stand on that workout machine for a reason. I'm sure it hurt my focus on the workout, but really, let's be honest. These days aren't about getting fitter. They're about getting moving in a restful way. So, I feel completely okay with the fact that I got to read up on Ryan and Sara Hall's recipe for Cytomax pancakes. haha! :)

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Ashley yesterday. I have told you all that a TON of people are questioning my weight and if there's something wrong with me in the head about it. Well, if you read the blog yesterday, you will know that I'm FULLY aware that I'm too thin, and I'm eating more to try and regain some of the healthy weight. It's not going to happen overnight, but it will balance out. I fully believe the Lord is at work and giving me great wisdom and counsel about it. I'm (again) enjoying the larger bowl of oatmeal as we speak.

But here was the question that came up in the conversation. With the amount of gossip that's gone on about me in the last few months, wouldn't it just be easier for me to e-mail blast everyone and say, "Hey, look. I recognize a problem. I'm dealing with it. You can all stop talking now." Why are we so afraid of doing that? It seems like such a simple solution.

What if we did that with all of our sins? Isn't that what God tells us to do when He says we should confess our sins to one another so that we may be healed. (That's in James 5.) Why are we so afraid of revealing our shortcomings? Are we afraid of others judging us? Don't they have issues of their own? Why do we have to be so perfect?

Listen, we ALL have our issues. We are all sinners bathing in the blood and water at the foot of the cross. What is the big deal about being open in our struggles? The light is where sin goes to die. In darkness and privacy it breeds and grows. Let's just be real! We all struggle. We all sin. We all need Jesus desperately.

I'm screwed up, and I'm seeing a HIGH Counselor about it. ;) What about you? :)


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Get It

What a run this morning!! :) Ten miles, 7:45 average. Great spring weather. Hallelujah!! :) Strength, energy and life! Thank You, LORD!

So, I've found a new theme song. It's "Alive Again" by Matt Maher. It's kind of been out for a long time, so I know we all know it, but today as I was running, it hit me between the eyes:

"I woke up in darkness
surrounded by silence
oh where, where have I gone?
I woke to reality
losing its grip on me
oh where, where have I gone?
Cause I can see the light
before I see the sunrise.

"You called and you shouted
broke through my deafness
now I’m breathing in
and breathing out
I’m alive again.
You shattered my darkness
washed away my blindness
now I’m breathing in
and breathing out.
I’m alive again!"

He's called and shouted at me for the past five months. And He's finally broken through my deafness. He's given me wake-up call after wake-up call, and I have ignored Him. But I finally get it. He's doing this because He loves me and because it is best.

SO many people have told me since Christmas that I'm too thin. I understood that, and I knew it, and I always figured I'd do something about it...down the road. Well, I never really got it that being too thin also means being unhealthy. I just thought it was that I looked ridiculous.

Oh, shame on me! God has given me a body, and I am supposed to take care of it! But instead of taking care of it, I've abused it and driven it into the ground. I've robbed it of vital nourishment out or fear and ignorance, and now I'm in a hole.

But praise God, I finally get it. If I want to be a runner, I have to eat like one. That's different than eating like I did before. And I can't fear it. It's good for me. It's what I'm supposed to do. And, as a woman, that's a hard pill to swallow. We all have insecurities. (Mine are deep and take a LOT longer to tell than a blog will allow.) And the idea of actually putting ON weight is pretty terrifying. But God has been patient with me long enough. It's time for me to stop ignoring His warnings and start obeying Him before He has to take drastic measures to get my attention.

Lord, I get it. Thank You for Your mercy and patience. Give me the courage to live healthfully, Lord. I trust You!

If you feel like it, pray for me today, that I'll have peace in eating the calories my body requires. :) Extra oatmeal this morning! Yum! :)

Have a great day, friends! Let's all remember Jeremiah 29:11!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Praise on the Road

Some days you just feel like going fast. :) Today was one of those days for me. From the first step of the run, I felt awesome. The body was just geared up to go! :) (Surprising, since that's not what it said when the alarm went off at 5:00. haha!)

So, what's a girl to do other than just go with it? :) I went for a fast 6.5 miles and enjoyed EVERY second of it. Especially since it was high 50s with almost zero wind. Wow. :) What a day it's been already! :) Best start to the morning. :)

In my time with the Lord before the run, I read Hebrews 13:15 -- "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name."

What a great verse to read before a run! It gives such meaning and purpose to every step. Every move of your body becomes like an offering of praise to the Lord, who gave you the body and the strength and the endurance. Thank You, Lord, for Your life and strength and power. Thank You for giving us bodies to use for Your glory! Help us to be good stewards of them, Father. And let us offer you frequent praise today. Great things You have done!

Have a great day, all! :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Training Detox

As much as I have come to love the mornings on the road, I've become just as big a fan of the Sunday mornings off of it. It's my rest day. :) And I'm enjoying it. :) This morning was so beautiful that I still got to experience the outdoors, I just enjoyed it in a more idle way by grabbibg my Bible and heading for one of the benches in the apartment complex. (And grabbed the coffee cup, too. Sunday morning wouldn't be complete without it!)

I didn't write yesterday because I didn't have time between the run and our church service project. It was an awesome run, though. UNBELIEVABLE weather. No wind for once! And, I can tell that I'm coming down out of training mode. I ran it a little slower--over 8 per mile--and I totally didn't care. :)

I'm learning that it's okay to ease out of training, just as you ease into it. At least for me, it's okay. After the marathon and training so hard for so long, I would have gone CRAZY if I'd just stopped running for a while. Instead, I eased out of the training mode by gradually scaling back, and I'm getting now to the point where I'm almost ready to engage in running like a normal person again. :) Almost. I'll get there. Life circumstances will step in and make me.

One other thing I've also had to embrace over the last two weeks has been the absence of any sort of life I had while training. You wake up after the marathon and realize that you've turned down so many social opportunities over the past four months that no one even bothers asking you to do anything anymore because you'll just say no. What a lonely position to be in! But I'm working on that, too. It's just going to take some effort and humility (and maybe some bribery with homemade cookies) to beg my friends for their company. :)

So, that's the scoop. Training detox is well underway, it's just taking some time. But I'm also looking at the future race calendar and trying to decide what races to do in the fall. I'm looking at a half in September and another full in October. I'll keep you posted! :) More life lessons from the road to come! :)

Ciao, friends! Enjoy a day and be sure to position yourself to encounter Christ today! :)