Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm Free to Be Me...!

I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I'm so clumsy
But on Your shoulders, I can see....
I'm free to be me!

- Free to Be Me
 Francesca Battistelli

If you've never heard this song, then you should give it a listen. I heart it!

.  After an amazing conversation I had last night (until the wee hours of the mornin'), and now hearing this song....all-of-a-sudden....everything makes sense.

I feel like something is about to happen in my a shift of some kind.  But, I can't tell what it is.  I'm sure it's a good thing....'cause God is always doin' somethin' good, but the not-knowing is making me loco.  I feel like a change is needed, but I don't know what the change is.  I feel like I have ants in my pants...but I don't know why I feel anxious.  Am I supposed to do something?  Or am I supposed to be patient (ugh!) and wait?  If I am supposed to do something...what the heck am I supposed to do?  Or, if I am supposed to wait...what the heck am I waiting on!!!!???  Is my indecision making you want to click out of this blog?  Believe me...I understand. But please don't...this is a good one.: )

I've been praying that God speak to me in a very blatant and obvious way about what I should be doing about a myriad of things.  I think if I listed all of the thoughts and worries that run through my head, you would have to wonder how I don't just live my life curled up in a little ball crying in a corner. ; )  Okay....that is a slight exaggeration.  Slight....!

Have you ever had times in your life like that?  When you know that if God doesn't give you some sort of a flashing billboard pointing you in the right direction, you're liable to give up altogether, quit your job, join the circus, try and be the bearded lady, but then get frustrated with yourself that you can't grow a beard, which makes you feel even more like you can't do anything right, and so you quit the circus and the vicious cycle continues!????? No??!!  Well, count yourself lucky then...cause I most certainly have....many times. At least about the giving up part.  I have yet to desire an attempt at beard-growing.  That, hopefully, is a big plus to the fellas out there.

I have yet to actually quit my job and join the circus, but I have definitely fantasized about running away from life for awhile..maybe living in a cave or something...I don't know, the plan hasn't exactly been well thought out...!  I tend to get this feeling a good bit...the one where I feel like I am doing everything wrong no matter how hard I try.  I realize that this is not a feeling that God wants me to have.  It's not from God.  But, just that knowledge alone, for some reason, is not enough to make me snap out of it.  So God mercifully dropped a billboard in my face last night while I was talking to one of my amazing friends who is like a sister to me.  The one.  The only. Heather Baston Hull.  She has known me since I was born and has seen me through every trial, tribulation, joy and wonderful moment that this world has given me...and vice versa.  I am so thankful every day that we have both come to have deep relationships with God.  Without Jesus as the center of our lives...I don't know where we would be and what we would be doing. (I feel like there would be a very real possibility that it would, in fact, involve joining some sort of traveling show.)  And even when it seems like our lives are pretty darn different and that we wouldn't be able to understand what each other are going through....God comes in and shows both of us that not only are we not alone in how we feel and what we are going through, but that we can lift each other up and encourage each other in His word as we continue down the difficult path.

When the phone rang at 9:45 last night, I almost didn't answer it.  I'm not a big phone talker...believe it or not.   I had been reading for hours and I was just about to close my eyes.  But....for some unexplainable reason....I answered it.  And I am SO glad I did.  Even though we didn't really know it...Heather and I both very much needed to have this conversation.  It started off like any other chat..ya know...babies (her), boys (me), work, friends, money, etc, but within a few minutes...I realized that I was staring at my billboard from God.

As we were talking about the various things in our lives that are making us want to run away and live in a cave...we both realized that even though our circumstances are totally different (She lives on a farm in WV with her beautiful baby and wonderful husband.  I live in a studio apartment in DC without a baby, boyfriend, or husband...not that I'm dwelling on that...)...the feelings and general experiences are almost exactly the same.  It's pretty mind-blowing actually.  We both have been feeling totally stressed, exhausted, and stretched too thin.  We feel like we aren't doing enough while at the same time feeling like we are doing way too much.  We can't sleep because all we can think about are all the things we still need to do and can't imagine actually getting done, or all the things that we think we did wrong already.  We don't like asking for we don't.  We don't like accepting help when it's we suffer in silence.  Or we suffer loudly...either doesn't help. We always feel like we need to keep a smile on our face.  God forbid someone get a glimpse of some concrete evidence that we aren't...*gasp*....perfect.  We feel that we have to have our lives perfectly organized and controlled.  But they rarely are...or at least they don't stay that way for long.  We always feel like we can't say no.  So we end up killing ourselves trying to be everything to everyone.  Sometimes we feel alone even when there are people there.  Sometimes we are almost paralyzed by our fear that we might mess up.  We have days where we feel like we really might lose it.  But we don't want anyone to know that.  Because people that lose it...well, they're crazy...and we don't want to be crazy.  We want to be perfect.

But what we realized last night...after hours and hours of that our need to control every aspect of our lives and always make everything as perfect as possible...well, it's making us very out of control and un-perfect.  : )  All our efforts are futile.  And do you know why!!?????  It's because WE can't do it.

God wants us to lean on Him and give Him our burdens.  He tells us in Psalms 55:22 that if the righteous cast our cares on Him, He will not let us fall.   If I believe in God...which I do.  And I believe that what He says in the Bible is true....which I do.  Then why do I struggle so much with believing that He won't let me fall?

He promises to carry our burdens for us, but so many of us carry them around anyway.  We feel like being who we are isn't good enough somehow.  So...we keep trying harder and harder.  But the truth is...we are exactly like God made us to be.  How boring would life be if everyone looked the same, was the same size, talked the same, had the same skin color, liked the same things, etc?  BORING!  So then why do Heather and I find ourselves comparing our lives and ourselves to other people and then feeling bad when, by our own account, we don't measure up?  Why don't we just give up all this crazyness to God?  It seems silly, but the reason that we hold on is because.....without meaning to....we don't trust that He will take care of all of this for us.  We have been let down too many times by humans and we think that God will do the same.  Maybe we even tried trusting God in the past by giving things to Him and we felt like He let us down.  But we can't always trust our feelings, can we?  Just because something is hard, or doesn't work out the way we thought it would, doesn't mean that God isn't answering our prayers.  Are you a bad parent if you let your baby cry?  The answer is no.  Then, is God a bad Father if He let's us cry and feel alone and scared sometimes?  The answer is no.

If God was sitting in front of me right now and tried to explain His reasoning to me....I am pretty confident in saying that it would probably sound like Charlie Brown's teacher to me...because I wouldn't be able to understand.  Just like it would be if Heather tried to sit down with her one-year-old and say to her, "Kylie, when Mommy puts you in your jumparoo and walks away for a minute to fix a sandwich, there is no need to be scared or cry.  Even though you can't see me...I am right behind you, watching you to make sure you are okay.  I know that you feel alone and scared, so you cry....but I just wish that you knew that I would never let anything happen to you and that I love you all the time."  Kylie's command of the English language is an obvious first issue as far as Heather being able to communicate this to her...but also, Kylie's age and lack of experience would make it impossible for her to understand even if she understood the words that Heather was saying.  When God let's us go out on our's not because He's mad at us, or punishing us for not being perfect.  It's because He loves us and wants us to grow and be confident not only in the fact that He is always there...but the fact that we are okay on our own.  I am sure that when Heather walks away...Kylie feels totally unequipped to protect herself and fears that without Heather...she is in danger.  But after a few times of being alone and realizing that she is okay...Kylie will quickly learn that she can survive without Heather.   We are all infants to God.  We all need to grow up and gain knowledge, strength, and confidence in order to make it in this world.  Any good parent would want that for their child....and God is the only perfect parent there is.  So, please...take comfort in the fact that the times in your life where you feel alone and like the world is on your are NEVER EVER EVER alone.  God is there....always.

 There are so many reasons why people carry things that were never meant for them to carry.  I know for me, I like to be in control of everything because I am afraid that if I let go...everything is going to fall apart.  I feel like if I don't try to be perfect, then I am making God look bad.  I feel the pressure of people watching me.  What if I do something "un-Christianlike" and it causes someone to turn away from God?  What if I make a bad decision and go down the wrong path?  Aren't I supposed to be perfect, like God is perfect?  The Bible says that, you Matthew 5:48.  I take that verse and I run with it...believe me.  But if you back up a few verses to Matthew 5:11...Jesus is asking us to take His burden.....because His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  But wait a minute!?  God wants us to give up our burdens...and take on Jesus' burdens!?  But take heart my friends....Jesus' burden is the whole reason for His coming to Earth....and that is....LOVE.  We need to give God all the cares that this evil world chucks on us every single day, and we need to take up Jesus' burden of loving God and loving each other as we love ourselves.  Yes, love can be hard...but in comparison to hatred, anger, and unforgiveness...Love is a much easier burden to bear.  Does love hurt sometimes?  Yes.  But is it worth it?  Yes.  It is. God tells us in Hebrews 11:6  that without faith it is impossible to please God.  And He tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for (Heb. 11:1).  But He also tells us  in Corinthians 13 that when it comes to faith, hope and love....the greatest of these is love.

What does love have to do with my every day stresses?  Everything, actually.  Because...dun dun dun...God is LOVE!  If I can wake up in the morning and know that my only job for the day is to love God, love myself, and love others....and let God guide me through the rest.....well, it's already going to be a better day than if I woke up feeling like my job for the day was to save the whole world.  We aren't superheros.  No matter how awesome it would be to be able to leap from building to building in a single bound, or take off my glasses and suddenly be able to fly through the air..wearing a super stylish superhero outfit of some's just not the reality of it all.  We are human.  If we do's because of God.  Separate from God....we are all a bunch of bad bad Leroy Browns...and he was the baddest man in the whole dang town!   We need God.  All the time.  Sometimes I am quite sure that God is up in Heaven rolling His eyes and putting on His Ipod so that He doesn't have to listen to me anymore.  (He would totally be listening to MC Hammer...Too Legit To Quit...I just know it.)  But God would rather I come to Him with everything than to keep it all to myself and drown under the weight of the world.  I am Free to Be ME!  And AWESOME!


Super Katie

Friday, May 14, 2010

Guest Blogger: The Once Green Fields...

Back by popular demand, The Dailies is proud to present today's guest blogger, Wajh.  

So Katie has asked me to be her guest blogger…that is wonderful!  I thought and I thought and I didn’t know what to write about.  First I thought I could write about running because let’s just be honest, running has helped me through the toughest times in my life.  Then, I thought, “well, Katie’s got that avenue pretty covered.”  Basically, there wasn’t much more I could add.  So, then finally, I decided to just write about one of my earliest memories in Afghanistan…one of my birthdays. So here goes….

My mother was a teacher in Afghanistan.  She only taught the morning shift (8-12) and would be home by 1 p.m.  My grandmother and housekeeper usually babysat my sisters and I,  while she was out teaching.  We were pretty well off at that time and really my mom didn’t have to work. But, in order to have her own independence and promote women’s freedom, she chose to work.  Anyhow, she would be at work.  We would be home and weren’t allowed to go out and play.  Around 3:30 p.m. every afternoon, she allowed us to go outside and play with the other neighborhood kids.  Rain or shine…snow or wind…we would run outside at that time, find our friends and play until we heard a faint voice from our balcony, “Nabila, Wajhma…come home, your father will be home soon.”  We would rush back home and get washed up for dinner.  This was our everyday routine.  Everyday we had to ask permission to go out and play at the same exact time and we had to come back home exactly an hour later.  One day, I walked out to play with my friends.  I approached them and wanted to say hello and see what game they wanted me to play.  For whatever reason that day, they did not want to play with me.  I remember asking Azeeta why she didn’t want to play and I got the silent treatment.  I didn’t understand.  I was so confused and in my little life span of five years, I felt so hurt.  So, my lips curled down and my tears rushed down my cheeks, uncontrollably. I put my head down and ran home.  I slammed the door shut.  My mom came running to the hallway and asked if I was okay.  She sat on the floor so that we were eye level and wiped my tears.  I told her what had happened and I felt so sad about it.  She calmed me down, washed my face and said, “I have an idea.”  So we went in my closet and pulled out my green maxi dress.  She smiled and said, “I’m going to put this on my daughter because it’s her birthday today.” Culturally, Afghans didn't used to celebrate birthdays regularly.  At that point I didn't even know it was my birthday.  But,  I do remember feeling so happy!  I jumped up and down at least a thousand times with excitement.  As she put the dress on, my eyes widened as much as they could and my smile could not get wider.  She then brushed my hair into a half pony tail with a white ribbon and left some wisps on the sides.  Oh wow..what a moment that was!!!  I will never forget it.  I felt like a princess.  She then said, now go outside and invite your friends to come over for your Birthday.  I didn’t ask any questions, I carefully ran down three flights of stairs to the huge green field in front of our house.  At one point, I think I stopped on the field and twirled around.  That field was our sanctuary.  It was  where all the kids in our block would gather and play for hours on end.  It was our territory and no one could take that away from we thought.  Anyhow, as I jumped, walked and twirled on the lush green field,  all my friends gathered around me and asked me where I was going.  I smiled and said, It’s my birthday.  My mom said you have to come over for my birthday party.  By five o’clock, my dad walked into our formal living room with a handful of five year olds.  I remember dancing and laughing.  I remember cake and pure happiness.  That night, with a smile on my face, I fell asleep with my green dress and white shoes.  A couple of days later, a coup de tat occurred.  The Russians were taking over the country.  We saw jets streaming above our home with roaring sounds.  Rockets and bullets were being fired and were heard throughout Kabul.  I remember standing in our balcony and looking out at the once lush green field that looked gloomy and gray.  We were not allowed to go out and play anymore.  I missed my friends.  Soon, I would hear that most of my friends had fled the country with their families.  I didn’t know what that meant.  Thinking back now, that was the last time I celebrated my birthday in Afghanistan.  It was the last time I twirled with my green dress on that field and it was the last time I saw some of my friends.  I wonder where they are today….

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Guest Blogger - The Shane Effect....

The Dailies is proud to present our guest blogger for today, Dionne!!!!  Golf clap everyone!!!

Dionne has known me since I was knee high to a grasshopper (that there is country talk fur sayin' she done know'd me since I was just a young feller).  She and my cousin, Heather went to the same elementary school growing up and they were totally BFFs.   I was always so jealous of how big they could tease their bangs.  You should have seen these bangs, ya' was art...they could have hidden Jimmy Hoffa in there (maybe they did!?).  It just wasn't fair.  My bangs just refused to stay in the "tarantula formation" no matter how much Aqua-Net I used.  (Sorry Ozone..).  They would show up at our super awesome 4th grade dance parties with their teased hair, neon socks, big earrings and their matching New Kids on the Block t-shirts tied on the side....and there would be poor little Katie...sporting a perm so serious that it would make a poodle blush (why did a girl with naturally curly hair get a perm!?  Oh, many questions!), hammer pants, the obligatory nerdy retainer (pink sparkles!), and glasses big enough to cover the moon.   It's a wonder I ever got kissed (sorry mom....I hope this isn't breaking news).  BUT, the good news is...I have moved past those covetous days and entered into a whole new....non-bang related, friendship with Dionne (I'm still a little jealous of Heather's hair...I'm not going to lie.  One of these days...I hope to get over it).  I feel pretty safe saying that our new friendship is much much deeper and way more profound.  As many other young hipsters in the eighties found out...a relationship built on hyper color and Banana not a relationship with a solid foundation.  You would think after "walking the dinosaur" with someone that your relationship would be pretty well solid...but alas...that was not always the case.  We took a few different roads in life, but in recent times have found ourselves converging onto the same path....the one that leads towards God...the one that is, unfortunately, less traveled.  She is one of the funniest, most creative people I know.  She also happens to be one of the strongest people I know.  She sent me an email today telling me about an experience she had going to see Carmen in concert and the message she shared definitely made me think. And I don't know about you...but I am a big fan of thinking.  Without further adieu....

Take it away Sam!


Last night, in a last minute decision, I went to a CARMAN "Concert" with my boss and a co-worker. Carman was performing in Philippi at my boss's church. I'd never heard of Carmen, but I was told he was a religious singer of sorts. He was apparently popular 'back in the day'. Google and YouTube  him if you've never heard of him.

Basically I had no idea what I was going to witness.  I had envisioned a cross between David Copperfield and Patrick Swayze's character in Donnie Darko (another great movie) and even some snakes thrown in the mix...I was preparing myself for the worst case scenario.  I envisioned one of those embarrassing, train wreck type shows you can't tear your eyes away from. But, as it turned out Carmen was pretty awesome.  Especially when he announced that he was going to speak on "The Shane Effect". 

He told a story of how as Christians we have this need to minister to others and take them into our homes and open our lives to them, thinking that we can help and fix them. But in reality, this is not what we should be doing because you never know what you're going to open up when you start digging into people's lives. You never know what evil may lie within them. He used this analogy: There's a reason why there is a set number of surgeons in an operating room. There's a certain person that is skilled at opening up a person, a certain person skilled to fix the inside, and a certain person skilled to sew-up and finish the procedure. We Christians think we have this same ability, but truly it is only God who can be the 'fixer'. So what happens when we invite these people into our lives in hopes to change their life? We are now thrown in the middle of the whole Evil mess. We question our faith and if we don't turn it over to God, we'll become mortally wounded and want to wander off into the wilderness away from Him "to die".

Carman went on to say that even though it's hard for us to believe or understand, Christians are many times exposed to these evil, empty people. People we love and think would never hurt us, but in fact they are the ones that CAN hurt us the most because they know how to do it best. They know us like no one else because we have opened our lives and hearts to them. People can seem perfectly fine and you feel at peace with this person which is the whole point of deception. These desperate, empty people can fool the unfoolable person. When you are wounded by someone like this, you question yourself and ask, 'Did I not pray enough? Go to church enough? Did I not say the right things?' And after the person is done beating us up, we beat ourselves up, and we ultimately finish ourselves off.

Enter-- The Shane Effect...

Drumroll please! The 'Shane Effect' is taken from the movie....'Shane'! 

Shane is a gunfighter sent to protect a family. He goes into a bar and shoots up all these bad guys. There is one guy in the balcony from behind with a rifle that shoots Shane. Shane turns and shoots and kills him and then walks out of the bar and starts heading out of town. He's limping from the wound. A little boy is pleading with Shane to say, but Shane continues to leave. He's not heading to the doctor, he's heading to the mountains to bleed out. He just completed this great act of heroism and someone from behind shot him. He could have stayed with this kid who obviously loved him and waited out his last days with him, but he didn't want the kid to see him die so he went off by himself.

How many times do we put ourselves on the line for someone and they come from behind and attack us, hurt us and we start to bleed out? We're hurt beyond what we think and beyond what anyone else can understand. We can't discuss it. We won't discuss it.  Even though we should.  We are content to go off by ourselves. It happens to people who are born again Christians, and it's part of the "Christian Experience". Getting wounded IS part of the experience. The one element that is hard to remember is that when we head off on our own into the darkness there is a man in a robe asking us to stop and telling us we don't have to die. Who better to know about being hurt by the ones you love the most than our friend Jesus?

God wants to heal you and stop the bleeding. You could be bleeding for years,and it doesn't matter. You just have to recognize it and ask for the healing. Take Lazarus for example. Before Lazarus was dead he was a friend of Jesus--what a great thing indeed! The place of burial is also the place of resurrection. Read that again...the place of burial is also the place of resurrection. The end is just the beginning. Whoever you thought you were or were going to become before you were hurt and shot from behind, you will be better and even more than you imagined. Lazarus was much more popular after his resurrection.

Hearts break, relationships go broke and loved ones die. Carman told the story of his brother's death. Carman prayed and prayed and prayed for his healing, but he still died. Here, Carman is going around the world praying for complete strangers and seeing them healed, but his prayers couldn't heal his own beloved brother. That messes with your prayer life. Then he inherits his niece who turns out to be unwed and pregnant. She suddenly becomes ill and after giving birth she dies. What scripture does all that fall under? Where in the Bible is that story told? Nowhere, but the point is that we are not alone. Maybe we feel we don't qualify for God's love, but if we come before Him He will answer in some way. It may not be the answer we want or think we should get, but it will be an answer to give us peace if we hold onto our faith.


When I read this, I thought about all the times that I stayed around people that I knew where fixin' to shoot me from behind while I wasn't paying attention or while I thought I was safe with them.  Some of these people called themselves Christians, or God believers of some kind.  And you know what....they shot me.   Sometimes it's the slow bleeding smaller wounds that add up and cause us to bleed out.  It's the little rips and tears that people make at who you are, what you believe in, and how you live your life that finally do you's the little abuses that add up.  And other times, it's a gaping wound left after a huge blow that causes us to "die" instantly.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:5 that we..."should not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.  If you do, they may trample them under their feet and then turn on you and tear you to pieces."  Jesus is telling us not to allow people into the sacred places in our hearts without much thought and caution.  Some people will take all that we have and rip us to shreds.  It's sad but true that we have to guard our hearts at all times...because our hearts are the wellspring of life (Prov. 4:23).  Our hearts is where God lives.  When Jesus went out and hung out among the sinners, He didn't pull up a bar stool and have a beer with them and tell them all about His most sacred secrets and let their sin overtake Him.  He came to give them the good news that He has come to be the sacrifice for the Jew and the Gentile...and that anyone that accepts Him will be saved.  While He didn't wait for them to get their life together and come find Him in the synagogue....and came to meet them where they were....He certainly didn't let their decision to live a life separated from God take Him away from His task.  It's an unfortunate fact that there is much evil in the world.  It's taken me a long time to realize that being a Christian, and being, loving, giving, forgiving, and kind..doesn't mean I am a spineless chump that is going to be taken advantage of and abused.  The same power that conquered the grave....lives in me.  I am a child of the Most High God.  I am protected and cared for by the Creator of Heaven and Earth.  If God is for me, who can be against me (Romans 8:28)?    Being a Christ Follower means that you have to be as shrewd as snakes and yet innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).  I love the fact that our place of burial....that place in your life where you have died to your old self, your old hurts, your old ways, your old emptiness, your old the same place where you raise up and live again.  No one can understand our bleeding gashes left by people that know not what they do....more than Jesus.  He is just waiting to receive you into His arms and heal your wounds.  But just because some people "know not what they do" doesn't mean that you stick around for the beating.  Let God fight your battles and you will always be victorious.  

I feel so blessed to have amazing friends like Dionne, Heather, and Wajh.  We do our best to be a team for eachother....backs together...making sure that there is no one lurking around trying to put a bullet in our backs.  Thank you, Dionne for sharing this awesome testimony.  You are welcome back to The Dailies anytime.  


Katie the rootin' tootin' roughenest gal this side of the Mississipp!  : )

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Run and Not Grow Weary Part II...

Soooooo, apparently I am still pretty sensitive/oddly emotional about my half marathon.  I was limping around work yesterday and this lady I know was like, "Wow, you did a long walk this weekend and now you're limping?".  I gave her a confused look and said, "Um, no.  I ran a half marathon...and now I'm limping."  To which she replied, "Oooh, is that a long ways?" : /    "It's 13.1 yeah...I would say so," I say with an abnormal amount of 'tude.  With a chuckle and a smile she says, "Oh my goodness, if I walked that far, I would be limping too."  I quickly retorted with the volume of my voice increasing with each syllable, "Yeah, actually it is far and I didn't walk it, I ran 2 hours and 24 minutes......that's an eleven minute"  She begins to become aware that I am starting to raise my voice and yet she says, "Yeah, it would probably take me three hours to walk that."  At that......I turn bright red and hobbled away as quickly as I could before I forgot the commandment to love thy neighbor...even when your neighbor doesn't understand your major accomplishment and refuses to listen when you try and tell them how awesome and important it is. : )  Bad Katie. 

I don't have any children, but I feel like with the big things in life....the things that you work at, train for, strive for, grow, and's similar to giving birth (let me preface the paragraph below with the following:.....First of all...I don't know nuthin' about birthin' no babies.  I have never given birth or even been in the same room and/or hospital floor with anyone giving birth...however, I have seen quite a few very informative documentaries regarding the subject, which therefore, I feel, completely gives me the right to wax poetic about baby birthin'. Wink.)

Any mom out there can tell you that when it comes to their baby, there is no one in the world that is allowed to look at that baby and say anything other than the nicest of all niceties.  There is no allowance for anyone to say something like, "Eh, she's cute, but her eyes are a little close together and she kinda reminds me of that red-headed weird neighbor boy from that movie The Burbs."  Hell to the no!

Every mother on Earth is so deeply proud of this little creation they have labored and birthed. This little baby is a part of them.  These mothers have fed, grown, and cared for this little one even before it was big enough for them to see on an ultrasound or feel kicking and fluttering in their tummies.  These mothers spent endless nights unable to sleep, uncomfortable, sick in the mornings (sick in the middle of the day and at night too).  These mothers would try and picture what their little bundle of love and joy would look like, sound like, be like.  These mothers would have days when they loved being pregnant.  Loved the feeling of having this new life growing inside them every day.  And other days, they almost couldn't stand waiting to meet their little one.  (AKA...get this baby outta me.) They would worry about the health of the baby.  They would worry that something would go wrong.  And when the day finally came for the baby to be welcomed into the world...that's right...labor pain.  Sarcastic YAY!  These mothers had to push and fight in order to bring this new creation into existence.  They had to keep going even when it was painful and they had no energy left.  They had to forget about what they looked like or what people thought.  They had to forget about being embarrassed or keeping it together.  No one else mattered but the baby.  These mothers knew that if they kept going...even though it was unimaginably painful for a brief time (when you look at your entire life that is...I'm sure it seems far from brief as your going through it) that they would be blessed with something that would forever change them and change the way they understood life, and family, and God, and everything. Most mothers would tell you that they barely remember all of the pain...and even if they do...they consider it all worth it in order to hold their little one in their arms.

But wait...there's don't have to give birth to a baby in order to have the experience of birthing out a new creation in your life.  Lots of women never experience giving birth...for many reasons.  And of course men don't get to experience this in the same capacity....obviously.  But God loves us all so much that He gives each one of us the opportunity to bring new life and new creations into this world no matter where we are from, whether we are a man or a woman, no matter our age, or race, or income level. Will we allow God to birth something out in us?  Will we allow God to grow and birth out the purpose and promise He planted in us?  The decision is ours. 

Running the marathon is kinda like my new "baby".  I think that is why I am so sensitive about it right now.  I fully expect everyone to hear about my "baby" and go on and on about how amazing and wonderful it is and how they can't believe I did it.  I know that other people were around and other people heard me talk about it, or read what I was saying about it...but no one can really understand how amazing it was to me personally...except me and God.  I have had other "babies" I've labored painfully over in my life, believe me....but this one is unique...they are all unique.  Just like parents all love their children the same, but just in different ways...that is how I feel about the seasons that God takes me through.  Although I love all of these growing experiences the same....each one offers me a new and different opportunity to learn and grow.  Some things in life come easier to some rather than others.  For example, it's really not a big deal for me to get up in front of people and fact, I totally love it...the more the merrier.....but, for some people that is like a fate worse than death.  So for that person, being able to finally stand up in front of people and speak with ease and HUGE!  Well, to me...running 13 miles wasn't something I was necessarily "scared" of was just something that I had never even remotely considered doing.  It wasn't until I actually considered doing it did I become scared.  : )  I thought it was basically impossible for me.  But now that God has gotten a hold of me (I'm talkin' kung fu ninja grip here people)....He has taken all of the limits off of my life.  I used to be afraid of heights...not anymore!  I used to hate spiders....not anymore!  I used to think I would never be able to live in DC....HERE I AM!  And you know what...this is just the beginning.  This is just some surface scratching. 


Monday, May 10, 2010

Run and Not Grow Weary.....

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

The day of the race, I didn't feel nervous or worried.  My only real goal was to finish.  A few weeks beforehand, I was wondering if I should even attempt to run this race given the face that I had probably torn a muscle in my left quad.  But, I woke up knowing that everything was going to be okay. 

This was my first race.  13.1 miles.  I know that most runners prepare everything the night before.  Pin their numbers on their shirt.  Set out their clothes and gear.  Get up extra early and stretch and eat and make sure they haven't forgotten anything.  But not me. Minutes after it was time to head out the door...I couldn't find my socks so I dumped out my entire clean laundry basket on my floor just as Wajh was knocking to come get me since I wasn't in the lobby where I said I would be. 

There was a quarter marathon and a half marathon going at the same time.  The course was two loops.  The starting line was in Rosslyn and the runners for both races would start together.  The course looped out and around the Pentagon and back to the start in Rosslyn.  Something about knowing that I would have to touch my foot on the starting line after the first loop and keep going another 7 miles was almost enough to make me think I couldn't do it.   Almost.

Wajh and I didn't run together, so once everyone was lining up to start, we parted ways with hugs, prayers, and smiles.  As the race started, and I was getting my pace, I looked around me at all the people.  I tried to figure out who was running the quarter marathon and who was running the half marathon, but I couldn't tell.  It was easier to keep my pace when I realized that some people are running a different race than I am.

God showed me SO much through this entire experience.  And I can guarantee He's not done with me yet.  I have learned so much about myself.  I didn't run this race for anyone.  I didn't run this race to prove anything. I ran this race because I wanted to really experience the words that I preach on different level than I have ever done before.  I tell people to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when life gets hard, painful, and it would be easier to stop.  I tell people that nothing is impossible with God.  I tell people to take risks and try the things they always told themselves they couldn't do.  I tell people not to look at everyone else's life and compare yourself to them. 

As the race started and I found my comfortable pace, I realized that there were all kinds of people passing me.  Some of them were running pretty fast, and some of them were just barely going faster than me, but if I wasn't careful with maintaining my speed I could have easily told myself that I was going too slow and that everyone was going to pass me by.  I do this in my life.  I look around me and I perceive that all of these people are running the same race that I am...and that they are getting ahead faster than I am.  If I would have tried to keep up with all of these people then I would have burned up my energy too quickly and had to stop and walk.  We are all running different races.  If I had tried to keep up with the people that were running half as far as I was, then I wouldn't have had enough energy to keep going after the first loop.  I had to make sure that I kept my stride. (It was especially hard when there was a hot guy running near me....hey...give me a break...the only scenery I had to look at was the Porta Potties and the Pentagon.)

When the Bible tells us to run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1-2), God isn't telling us to run as fast as we can and then burn up all our energy and fall over.  Perseverance isn't about's about the determination to keep on moving forward even when it's hard and there are obstacles in the way. 

It was a windy and chilly day.  Sometimes I would be running with my back to the wind, but sometimes I would have to run against the wind....uphill.  At some points throughout the course, there would be people on the sidelines cheering.  It was so awesome to see husbands, wives, children, friends, mothers, and fathers of the runners out in the cold cheering them on.  Even though they weren't cheering for me, their spirit motivated me to keep going. 

Sometimes in life, we aren't going to have anyone there to cheer us on.  Sometimes we will have to run the race alone.  It's hard to feel alone when you are going through a tough time, but honestly, it can be equally as hard to be right in the middle of a major accomplishment and feel alone.

Don't get me wrong...some of the most amazing parts of the race were in the second loop after many of the runners had spread out and I would be running down the highway all by myself.  It was a mix of feelings all at the same time.  There was an intense feeling of accomplishment; knowing that I was strong and determined enough to keep going even without someone by my side to cheer me on, push me, and pace me.  There was also a deep sense of God's presence.  The run was so wonderful and easy the first 9 miles that I felt like it almost wasn't fair.  I remember praying over and over again for God to please not leave me because I was so desperate for this feeling of ease to stay.  There was also a sense of wishing that there was someone there cheering for me because I wished that someone could see me. 

I spent so many years of my life believing that I couldn't do certain things. I allowed other people to tell me who I was and what I couldn't, shouldn't, and wouldn't do.  And yesterday, with each stride forward, I wished that everyone that knew Old Katie could see me. Not because I want to prove them wrong....but because I want to prove GOD right.   God says, YES YOU CAN, when the rest of the world says, NO YOU CAN'T. 

After the 10th mile, my left knee started to have sharp shooting pains.  Even though my body wasn't tired at that point, just looking around me and seeing that I was basically alone and that I still had 3 more miles to go was almost enough to make me stop and walk.  Almost...  The wind started to blow in my face.  My eyes were watering.  I felt increasing fatigue.   At mile 12 with one more mile to go, my feet started to feel like lead.  The wind was still blowing against me.  The road ahead started to incline.  I felt like I didn't have enough energy.  I stopped.  I started to walk.  I started to tell myself that running 12 miles straight was good enough.  No need to push myself.  But then a couple that had been running the same pace as me, ran up beside me and said "Come ON!  You can do it!  You are SO close!"  I raised my head up and saw the twin towers in Rosslyn and prayed that God give me the strength to keep running until the finish.  I realized that I wasn't alone.  There were people all over the place that were praying for me.  God was with me.  I COULD DO THIS!  So I picked up  my lead feet and I started to run again.  I felt like there was no energy left in me.  I started pumping my arms as hard as I could because my legs were dead weight.  I remember the Bible verse that I wrote at the top of this blog...I kept repeating the part about running and not getting weary. 

As I am nearing the finish line, there are people cheering....I get a sudden burst of energy and start to run as fast as I possibly can.  There are people on both sides of me running as fast as they can too.'s a real race.  I can't see faces, I can only hear voices and cheering.  My eyes are focused on the blue finish line.  My right foot starts to cramp as my stride lengthens.  With each step the cramp in my foot getting tighter.   But I just keep on pushing as hard as I can.  As I am crossing the finish line I raise my right hand to Heaven and put my left hand around the cross hanging from my neck and I thank Jesus for a finish I never could have done without Him.   The first person I Wajhma.  And.... I start crying.   There were just so many feelings happening at the same time.  I understand that there are lots of people that run half marathons and marathons.  I get that.  But this race was run by me....and only I know just how big of a deal it was for me to finish this race.  I'll be honest with one point, itt was so hard to keep going when there was no one there cheering "Go KATIE!  GOOO KATIE".  It was hard to keep going when I knew that no one would think less of me if I walked.  But that was the whole point of this race for me.....doing what's hard, even when there is no one around to pat you on the back and encourage you while you are in the middle of the hardest part.

Perseverance to run the race of life involves being able to keep going down the path even when you're alone, it's hard, and there are obstacles.  Of course, I know I'm not alone in my life....but it can seem like it sometimes.   We all feel like we are alone sometimes....even when we're in a relationship, or married, or with our friends and family.  It's weird to feel alone when you are surrounded by people, but we've all been there.  Running this race gave me courage to never let the lie that I am alone stop me from running toward my goal.  With God...I am NEVER alone.  I also learned that I can't compare my life to other people.  We all have our own goals and purposes.  We can't compare our lives to the lives of other people.  As long as we are on the path towards God, then we are exactly where we are supposed to be.  I learned that I don't need to move too fast in life.  When I pace myself I am able to enjoy the world around me.  I am able to run and not grow weary because I am going at my own pace.  At one point in the last mile there was a lady that was speed walking faster than I was running...yeah, she was right behind the 70 year old Orville Reddinbacher look alike that sped past me like Flash Gordon.  If I wasn't so exhausted I probably would have peed my pants laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.  : )  In conclusion...I am so above and beyond excited that I ran this race.  I can't walk and I'm emotionally and physically exhausted.....but I did it. 

Thank you all for your prayers and support.  I am truly blessed with such an amazing group of friends and family.  I hope this blog makes sense because I am truly out of it right!


Road Runner

Beep! Beep!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Things That Are True and Good...

Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.(Philippians 4:8)

 I was talking to one of my friends the other day while they were going through a hard time.  There was so much advise I could give...and had already given...., there was so many things I could say to try and make it all better...but I know that once the conversation is over and my friend is alone with their thoughts...they are going to need more than just a few words of loving advice.  No matter how much sense advice makes, it's usually not enough to get you through the tough times.  So, I told them what I do when nothing seems to make the hurt, stress, and worry go away....I think about things that I know to be true and good.  I could spend my whole life trying to figure out my future, where my path will lead me, who I will be with on that journey....but meditating on the negative things of life that are completely out of my control doesn't help me keep my shoulders back, my chin up, and put one foot in front of the other down the narrow road.  It's great to have drive, motivation, desire, and goals...we need that.  But we all tend to focus on things that are out of our control and they just end up consuming us.  The more I think on things that bring me down or depress me...that aren't good, true, and lovely....the more and more down I will get.  I know that there are lots of self help books and seminars out there telling us all that we have the answers inside of us, but I've tried to find the answer all by myself, and just like I am on multiple choice tests...when I don't know the answer, I just chose randomly and wish for the best....and that usually ends up sucking.  Yes, I have free will, and Yes I want to make my own choices...but I don't want to be alone in those choices.  With God, I'm never alone.  I can chose the path, but it's always best to have a Guide.  A Guide that has already traveled this path ahead of me...making a way for me.  So, the next time you are down and nothing seems to make it better...try thinking on these truths and see if it helps at all...

Things that are True:
1. God loves you and I SO much that there is no way that we can possibly comprehend it.  We can't fully grasp the enormity of God's love, but we can feel it around us and in us every moment as long as we pay attention.  "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Matt. 5:8).  This verse isn't just talking about when we get to's talking about right now..on Earth.  The pure of heart are able to see God in everything.  In every flower petal, in every rainstorm, in every baby crying, in every face.  God loves us completely and totally unconditionally.  He carries us because He loves us.  He collects our tears, because He will give back to us all of the things that caused a tear to fall.  He disciplines us because He wants us to grow (think of a baby taking it's first steps...that proud look they get across their face.  That is it looks to God when we takes steps into something we are scared of.  And when we fall back on our little butts...He is there, smiling, waiting for us to get up and try again.)
2. God is good.  Although there is evil in this world, God works all things out for good for those that love Him.  We can't understand how God can use the tragedies and perversions of this world for good...but He does.  If you look for God in everything, you will begin to see Him.  "Seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matt. 7:7).  When we spend time focusing on the negative and what we don't have, we are less able to see God in the details of our lives, and the lives around us.  How can you look at a sunset and not think that there is a loving God?  He paints the sky for us every night.  He courts us...He draws us to Him.
3. God is powerful.  There is nothing that is outside of God's reach or ability.  Nothing!  Where we are limited as humans, God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving.  The same power that raised Christ from the dead, lives in you ( Rom. 8:11).  Now power.
4. God gives mercy and grace.  By giving us mercy, He is withholding the punishment we deserve.  By giving us Grace he is giving us something that we don't deserve.  We all deserve to be punished because we can't stop sinning.  God is perfect.  We are not.   But because He loves us, He sacrificed His son....even though we don't deserve it...and for those that accept this sacrifice...we are washed clean.  There is no greater gift.  Grace is one of the things that Jesus offers that is totally unique to any other religion on Earth.  We can't earn His forgiveness with good works or sacrifices....we only have to accept His sacrifice and the work He did on the cross.  We can't lose His love.  There are no favorites.  He loves His children all the same.  We can't be bad enough to lose His love and we certainly can't be good enough to buy it or earn it. 
5. God gives justice.  Our God is a God of order.  He makes the wrong things right.  When His children are harmed, He brings justice...but within His justice He shows Grace, Love, and that all things are for the good of those that love Him.
6. God knows the desires of our hearts even before we do.  He knit us together in our mother's womb.  He knew us before the world begin.  He created us for a purpose.  He created us to have certain desires.  And with those desires we are spurred onward in life, having faith that we will receive the things that we hope for. 
7. You are completely unique.  There never has been nor ever will be another you or me.  In all of the history of the world there will never ever be another you.  You were planned for.  You were desired and designed by God for this particular time.  You may have been born in a time where there the Earth and it's people are struggling, but count yourself blessed that God knew you were strong enough and powerful enough to be born now.  Your purpose on this Earth is written on your heart.  Keep your eyes toward Heaven and you will do things in this life that you never dreamed possible.  Praise God that He has blessed you and given you life. 

Things that are good:

1. True Beauty
2. Selfless love
3. Selfless giving
4. Forgiveness
5. Grace
6. Mercy
7. God

Mediate on God's love.  Meditate on the gifts that God has given you. Meditate on your many blessings.  Meditate on your uniqueness.

 AMEN! Amen! Amen.



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bright Sunshiny Day...

My half marathon is this Sunday.  I've had to take some time off of training because I was sick, and then I had to take more time off because I pulled a muscle in my left quad.  Boooo!  But I ain't worried.  My goal is to finish.  I don't care how long it takes me, I don't care if I have to walk...I'm gonna finish.  Please pray that all goes well.  I don't usually ask people to pray for me.  Isn't that silly...and kinda sad?  Yeah, I think so.  I don't know why I don't, really...I think it's a mix of not wanting to bother people, being prideful and not wanting people to know that I *gasp* need prayer, and/or being stubborn and wanting to do everything myself.  BUT I'm gonna put all that aside and ask for some prayers.  So pray big and pray often, 'cause this is my first race.

My bestie Wajh posted this awesome quote on her Facebook page and I just have to share it:

"Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it." -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Preach on Mr. Von Goethe!  

Sometimes we may not know what life is going to bring us or where it's going to take us, but we have hope...a knowing hope.  Just like it says in the quote...we look at the fruit trees covered in snow and we can't possibly imagine how they can come back to life and blossom.  I know that if I spent months covered in snow and ice, I would certainly be reluctant to bloom again.  But it's our hope that keeps us going.  Just when it seems as if we are down for the count, God comes through.  We look at our lives, and at the moment they seem like a fruit tree in winter.  We get scared that we aren't going to bloom again.  The truest show of faith is that even though we are afraid to bloom, we do it anyway.  We take the risk.  Any open blossom is more vulnerable than a bud held tightly together, but the real beauty is inside...and sometimes we just have to believe that if we allow ourselves to bloom all we will get is more sunshine.