Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Gift of Feet

I know a lot of people who are completely grossed out by feet. I don't mind them, but other people's dirty feet can irritate me sometimes. This morning on my run, all I {mostly} thought about for seven miles was what a gift our feet are to us. If I didn't have two feet, I wouldn't get to do so many things I love! I couldn't drive, I couldn't feel the sand between my toes and the ocean, and I couldn't run! As I started to reflect on the last year, I realized I have run over 300 miles, ran two half marathons, am training for another one, and joined a crossfit gym. These are all things I love and am so incredibly blessed by the opportunity to do them. God has revealed so much to me on the journey of running, and now crossfitting, and I am so thankful for each step of the way.
Thinking about feet made me think about shoes and how blessed we are to have shoes to protect our feet when we go places. There are so many people in the world who do not have one pair of shoes and I have so many different kinds! WHAT A BLESSING!!! My favorites are definitely my rainbow flip flops, I don't go ANYWHERE without them! They are the absolute best. I also love my purple crossfit shoes. I love the bright color and love what I get to do when I wear them..except mountain climbers. Mountain climbers are my least favorite..give me burpees over mountain climbers any day! My running shoes that I got for my birthday last year and I have used for all my training and races, have run a lot of miles with me and they are something I will always be thankful for. They've taken me lots of places and experienced lots of things with me. I feel a sentimental attachment to these shoes because by the grace of God I have accomplished things I never in a million years thought I could do.
All this led me to think about how Jesus traveled many miles by foot. He was able to meet people and minister to the sick, poor, and hard to love as he traveled from town to town by foot. I am excited to see where God takes me as I journey through life!

So what I'm really trying to say is, I am extra thankful today that we have feet to run and feel the sand between our toes.

Praise Christ for the simplest blessings :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fall Leaves

This morning on my run, I was surprised to see so many fall leaves. While I know this favorite season of mine is in full swing, we live in California. So I wasn't really expected to see leaves falling from the trees until December. I mean it's supposed to be 80 this weekend! Despite the unpredictable weather in sunny Southern California, it actually felt like fall this morning! I couldn't resist going on a run! There were so many beautiful leaves on the ground I wanted to stop under every tree and pick up my favorites..though I refrained so I could get my miles in. However, when I was almost home, I did pause for a moment and pick up a leaf. I picked out this one leaf from all the rest that were there on the side of the road. It wasn't a perfectly colored and crunchy leaf, but I thought it was beautiful. Then it hit me. The way I see this leaf is the way God sees us. He pick us out from all the rest. He loves the way we look and the unique qualities that we have. Though we change like the seasons, he still loves us the same. He never changes. He remains constant as the seasons come and go. Sometimes leaves are green and beautiful and soaking up the sun and other times they fall down to the ground. The Creator of the seasons takes such delight in the beautiful we display whether we are luscious and green with blossoms in the spring or if we are brown and on the ground in the fall. He uses us to radiate who he is. Even the leaves lying in the street proclaim his beauty. God can use the simplest things to speak to us. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Dreaming of a Midwest fall,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Summer Recap: GREATER GOD

This summer I got to be a part of a phenomenal staff of 50 people and work with hundreds of students during my nine weeks at Ponderosa Lodge at Mount Hermon. I could easily say, without hesitation, that this summer was the best summer of my life and I would not have changed a single thing about it! Not only did I get to work with amazing people and students, but I also got to live in the mountains, 15 minutes from the beach. Does it get much better than that?! I am so thankful for the incredible people I met, loved working with “big kids”, learned new things about myself and grew in my relationship with God in ways I never have before. Our summer theme for camp was UPSIDE DOWN, live like you belong to another world. After living in a colorful world that looked like a mix between an Alice in Wonderland scene and a Dr. Seuss book for two months, the transition home was more difficult than I anticipated. I went into minor culture shock as I returned to school about four hours after I got off a plane from camp. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my fellow Upside Downians and miss doing life and worshipping everyday with the remarkable brothers and sisters the Lord blessed me with this summer. As a staff, we focused on the theme “Great call, GREATER GOD.” This summer, God opened my eyes to what a GREAT God he truly is. This is not a lesson that ended August 18th when I left Ponderosa Lodge with tears in my eyes. God has continued to reveal this to me as I’ve been back at school this year. Our God is greater than stress at work, feeling exhausted from lack of sleep, loads of homework, and details of planning a huge event. Each day I am blown away at the ways our God is working in our lives.
In continuing to learn about our GREATER God, he keeps reminding me to trust him. Because he is GREATER than anything we face, how can we not trust him?! So often I let little things get to me but this summer I began to learn how to let those things go and trust in the sovereignty of our GREATER God. This is definitely something I’m still working on!
Now that I’ve been home from camp for about month, I’ve had some time to process the amazing summer I had. A year ago this time, I had NO idea I would get to spend my summer the way I did. I had just started to think about maybe working at Mount Hermon and a friend encouraged me to do so. While he tried to tell me what a life changing experience it would be, nothing could prepare me for what the Lord had in store this summer. The last two summers I worked with elementary students doing day camps in Southern California and I thought is God really sending me to Northern California to work with junior high and high school students?! Are you sure God? Lots of people asked why I didn’t want to work with younger students and I told them I really felt called to work with older students this summer..even though the thought scared the living day lights out of me! I am still in awe of the ways God revealed himself to so many students and our staff this summer. Each day I heard incredible stories and saw lives being transformed. I am praying and hoping I can return for one more summer before “real life” begins after student teaching next fall but trusting that our GREATER God already knows what he has in store!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pushing Forward

When I got home from camp, I knew I had less than eight weeks to train for my next half marathon. When I signed up for it in May, I thought it would be fine. But after not running for three months, I felt so stupid for signing up to run 13.1 miles in October. I told myself that I had to get up and train, even if I was tired and even if it was hard. The first three weeks back were awful. Two miles felt like 20 and I thought there was no way I'm going to survive this race. What was I thinking?! With the heat I was worried about when I would train..besides 5am..and tried to get myself to spend as much time on the treadmill as I could, but that was miserable. Surviving running for 30 minutes was a huge victory in my book. Being able to run three miles without stopping felt like a little goal but one that was difficult to reach. As the days passed I prayed and prayed asking God to give me strength and endurance to run for his glory. The last three weeks seemed more difficult than actually running my last half marathon but I told myself to keep pushing forward. You can do this. You will build up to more miles. Baby steps. Small victories. This last Saturday, I ran 6 miles. And it felt SO great!!! While it's not quite half the distance of what I will be running on October 13, I felt so much better after getting over the huge mental block that was standing in the way of me being able to increase my milage. I have learned what I mental game running is!
The last few days I've been thinking about running and how it has changed my life and how God has used it to teach me so much. Sometimes our faith and relationship with God is like the first few weeks of training for a race and you feel like there is no way I'm going to get through this or survive what I'm facing. But when we rely on God for our strength and trust him with all our hearts (even to help us survive those little runs), he will not fail us. He is constant and unchanging when we are a mess. Praise Christ!
Over the summer at camp, our staff theme was "Great call, GREATER GOD." This is something the Lord is continuing to teach me, even after the summer. Our. God. Is. GREATER. Than everything!!! God has placed a great call on my life to run for his glory. While this is a great call, I know I have a GREATER GOD who is by my side every step, every mile, every run, giving me the strength to finish. I have a God who is greater than losing sleep, squeezing everything into my schedule, and a God who is greater than the hills (physically and metaphorically!) that I face. As I continue to train for my race, I am relying on the strength of my GREATER GOD.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

RO Week

This last week I got to serve as a support staff member up at camp. As counselors, we take turns supporting each other and when other people are counseling, we help with games, activities, sitting with cabins, and giving the counselors a break when they need it. When we are on rotation, we get to stay in a house with other girls on support staff and it is so much fun! We get up pretty early and don't get to bed until late at night so we are super tired but I love being on rotation! It is awesome to serve at camp from a different side! 

Even though we are not counseling, each morning we take time to be alone and spend time in God's Word. This is something campers, support staff members, and our leadership does. I love it! Last week I was reading and stumbled across this verse "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" 1 Corinthians 15:58. For a week when I was working on rotation, I thought it was perfect. There was a lot of people getting sick, students getting hurt, and crazy things happening at camp. This verse reminded me to not let the enemy's attempt to hinder us keep us from doing God's work. 

Each week we have four teams that each have a cheer captain from the support staff. I was secretly hoping I wouldn't be chosen as a cheer captain. Not even five minutes after I had that thought, someone on leadership staff walked up to me and told me I was going to be a cheer captain. I was scared I wouldn't be very good at getting people excited for games and knew it meant I would get pied in the face on Tuesday. Once I got over my initial fear of dressing up and having to be crazy, I really enjoyed being a cheer captain and am so thankful that they chose me to be the cheer captain for the blue team last week! Being pied in the face wasn't that bad because the kids loved it and I got a nice shower afterwards:) It was challenging with no voice and when I felt sick, but it was an awesome experience!

Once campers head to bed, the support staff usually goes out and does something together. One night around 11:30, we went to the beach and sat on a cliff and watched the waves crash on the shore. It was beautiful. I love love loooooove the beach and enjoyed sitting on a cliff overlooking the ocean late at night where all you can hear is the water and see the white waves. It was so cool to sit there and pray and worship God as I reflected on my time here so far. I am in awe of how great our God is. The beauty of the beach blows me away every time I go there.

For Fourth of July, we took the students to the top of the hill that overlooked the valley and watched fireworks! I. LOVE. FIREWORKS. It was a fun night with the staff and campers! As we were getting ready to go to bed, I got a phone call that I needed to go to the hospital with a camper in an ambulance that had a severe asthma attack. As the 12 year old was lifted into the ambulance, I was so scared knowing that I needed to be strong for her when she had never been in an ambulance before and her parents were two hours away. I was able to pray for her and the doctors and the nurses as I sat there and had nothing with me but my phone. This late night in the hospital spending time with the sweetest 12 year old I have ever met ended up being the highlight of my week. It was a joy getting to spend time with her and asking her questions learning about her family and asking about her camp experience.

Last week was so much fun and I've learned that junior highers are the most hilarious people!

Loving serving,

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Never More Than We Can Handle

Because I want to be an elementary school teacher, I was a little scared when God called me to work with junior high and high school students this summer. Don't get me wrong, I was beyond excited to be working up at Ponderosa at Mount Hermon, but I didn't know how God was going to use me this summer of if I'd even be able to connect with students. Last week was our first week with campers and I had eight girls in my cabin. They were all sophomores in high school. GOD. DID. AMAZING. THINGS. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday were all pretty cool and there was a heavy mist most of the day. Pool games on Monday and field games in the water on Tuesday were pretty cold but we still had a ton of fun! Wednesday we went to the beach and it was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day. We took all the campers to the beach for the afternoon and we couldn't have had better weather! Thursday and Friday the weather was really warm. On our last night together as a cabin, at midnight we went up onto the field and went stargazing. It was a beautiful night and we enjoyed just laying on the grass looking up at the stars:) One thing I love about being in the mountains is that we can see the stars and vastness of the sky. It reminds me of how powerful and amazing our Creator is.
This last week God taught me a lot. He reminded me of how he NEVER gives us more than we can handle. Each day I had to rely on the Lord's strength for every little thing. I knew that as I led small groups and did activities with my cabin, I need the strength and energy that only comes from God. Each morning I could not get up after only a few hours of sleep on a roll-away bed without knowing that God would provide all I needed. Throughout the week I heard and witnessed so many amazing conversations and students who moved one step closer to Jesus. I was amazed at the power of Christ in the lives of all the students here. Even though some days and moments were hard, God was at work. He was moving in all of our hearts. Not only is God working in the lives of students this summer, but he is working in the lives of our staff. It has been so cool to be encouraged and loved by and to encourage and love others on a phenomenal staff. This summer, I have seen the power of the body of Christ. I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life this summer.

Learning to trust the Lord more everyday,

Friday, June 21, 2013

One Step Closer to Jesus

Last Thursday, dad and I left at midnight to drive up to Santa Cruz for me to work at Mount Hermon Christian Camps this summer as a junior high and high school counselor at Ponderosa Lodge. Dad and I drove all night, stopped and slept in a random hotel for a few hours, and then continued driving. When we pulled into Mount Hermon, it was so beautiful and I couldn't believe that I actually get to spend my entire summer here!! For the last 8 days of training, we have been doing ropes course, skate park, paint ball, and lazer tag training as well as going through our daily bible studies for the summer and learning about how to work with students and what our ministry will look like this summer. It has been so much fun getting to know a phenomenal staff of 50 people! We've laughed a lot, done some crazy things, and prayed together a ton! Almost everyday since I have gotten here, I have been moved to tears at how amazing this place is. Yes, it is beautiful, but on one of the first nights we were here, we got together with the rest of the summer staff from the other camps at Mount Hermon and took communion together and had a time of worship. A few days ago we had the opportunity to meet the board of directors for Mount Hermon and pray with them. Such a moving experience! Each Sunday, the entire summer staff meets at one camp site and worships together and then prays with members from other staffs. It is so cool to see so many eager people excited to serve the Lord and meet the campers that are coming just a few hours later. Not only have we been be learning about how to help students move one step closer to Jesus, we have been able to and been challenged to move one step closer to Jesus. I really appreciate how important our personal relationship with God is so valued here at Mount Hermon and is a crucial part of our ministry. Each morning we have 30 minutes of alone time to spend in the Word after we start our training off with worship. Side note: the band for the summer is AWESOME!!!! Each night, we listen to one of our leaders give a talk about this summer and what it will look like and are challenged to talk to God and given time to sit alone and listen to Him and then end the night in worship.
Students arrive on Sunday afternoon! We have 195 high school campers coming to Ponderosa Lodge for our first week of camp!! Our summer theme this year is UPSIDE DOWN, Live Like You Belong To a Different World. We have decorated the entire camp with bright colors and fun decorations to make the Upside Down world come to life. It is kind of an Alice in Wonderland look. Last night, we all dressed up in crazy clothes and went to downtown Santa Cruz and had a scavenger hunt looking for our leadership staff who were dressed as people on the street. As we were running around, people would stare, laugh, and ask what the heck we were doing. We would tell them wer are camp counselors and they would just nod their head and laugh. This definitely helped show me what it's like to live the Upside Down life and that as followers of Christ, we do not belong to this world and we live our lives like we belong to another world, the Kingdom of Heaven. As we teach students how to live the Upside Down life, our goal is to help students move one step closer to Jesus. This one step looks different for everyone. This week you can be praying for our students to receive what the Lord has in store for them, for the staff to have energy as they serve the campers, and for all of us to learn more and more what it means to live the Upside Down life!

Learning what it means to live the Upside Down life,

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Relying on His Strength Alone

Eleven days ago, I ran my first half marathon. It was the most exciting I've ever done!! My goal was to finish in under three hours and run the entire way without stopping. I crossed the finish line at 2:21 and ran the entire way! Over the course of the last four months, I trained, I got hurt, I was frustrated, I failed, and I relied on the strength of the Lord more than I ever had before. A year and half ago I ran a 5K and it was fun but really hard. When I started getting into running I told myself that I want to run a half marathon before I graduated from Biola. It seemed like a pretty lofty goal and I secretly thought I'd never reach it. In January, I decided that I was going to register for OC Half Marathon. After I registered, I sat on the couch and thought "This is the stupidest thing I have ever done. What was I thinking? You've never run more than three and half miles at a time before and your measly little one mile run was brutal this morning." Needless to say, I never thought I could do it. I did not run much last semester so starting up running again this year was difficult. On January 2 I couldn't even run a mile without dying. I found a 16 week training plan and it helped me gradually increase my milage.
Throughout the course of my training, God so graciously surrounded me with amazing people to encourage and help me. For this first race, I did not do it with anyone or train with a friend. At first I thought this would be hard because I did not have anyone to drag me to the track early in the morning or motivate me on long runs but I found this time to be a perfect time to talk to God. I also learned that I prefer to run without music so I can focus on my breathing and praying. Before I started my training, I talked a lot with my friend Jeremy who runs like a crazy man, my high school calculus teacher who ran her first half in February, my best friend who used to run cross country, and her sister who is also a seasoned runner. These people were so encouraging and I am so thankful for their help and insight. When I started my observations, an aide who works with a special needs student in the class told me that she was running the LA Marathon and it was great to get advice from her too! Training was hard and the first week when I had to run 6 miles I thought I was literally going to die. Before each run, especially the long runs, I prayed and asked God to help because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to do it on my own. Each week as my milage increased, I was amazed that I had made it as far as I did. After each mile I would track how far I ran, how fast I was going, and if I liked the run or didn't or any other things I wanted to remember about the experience. Surprisingly, my shorter runs (2, 3, or 4 miles) were more difficult than my longer runs because I thought I could complete short runs relying on my own strength and each time God reminded me that I couldn't.
After about a month and half of training, I got hurt and had to take a break. I was so worried I wouldn't be able to run the race. After lots of foam rolling, prayer, ice, and rest, I was able to slowly begin running again. On April 3, I ran 12 miles, my longest run during my training. Then after that, from extreme pain in my knees and legs, and being busy with Chrysalis, RA, and a TPA, I had to take another two weeks off from running. With less than a month to go, I was starting to worry if I would be able to finish this thing. 13.1 miles sounded so daunting! And my 12 mile run was killer, how was I going to add another 1.1 miles onto that? I started doing runs on the treadmill and pushing myself but I still thought it would be difficult to finish in under 3 hours if my 12 mile run took me 2:45. But with God by my side, I was able to finish almost 40 minutes fast than I thought I could!
Because I did most of my training without music, I didn't want to bring music with me on race day. I am so glad that Ari had me make a playlist just in case because I turned it on about mile 3 and listened to it the rest of the race! Right after I had reached mile 3, I was so overwhelmed by God's grace and faithfulness and goodness and sovereignty and blessings that I started crying and was in awe of where he has brought me this semester. I couldn't believe that I was actually there running a HALF MARATHON!
The journey of training and running was long and hard but so great at the same time! The Lord taught me that I must rely on his strength always and in all circumstances. I found that my days were so much better when I started it with a run. I loved the feeling of wind in my face and breathing deep and hard as I ran. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have run this race and glad that God has blessed me with a body that can run and bring glory to him!
On October 13, I will be running the Long Beach Half Marathon and I'm excited that I'm running with friends this time!

SOOOO thankful for my family who had a busy weekend and had to get up super early to come and support me. It meant so much to me:)

Even though she is busy with school and doesn't like getting up early, I so glad that Emily got to come and be there when I finished! Hopefully we can run one together someday:)

My best friend and my inspiration to start running, Ari, motivated me to push myself and made me meals after my long runs at the beach and encouraged me every step of the way! Excited to run October with her!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Maker of the Universe

With it being the middle of the semester, Missions Conference last week at school, Chrysalis training, floor events, and observations at the elementary school, there is so much going on. It is so easy at this time of the semester to fall out of our disciplined routine of doing homework, going to bed early, running, and staying up to date on friends’ lives. Usually my time with and awareness of God fall by the wayside and I start to feel like I’m drowning..mostly because I’m trying to do it all on my own, not relying on the Lord.

Yesterday in my Methods of Teaching Science class, our professor had us watch a video on YouTube of Louis Giglio. I had never heard of him or seen anything of his online before but I was amazed when I watched this video in class. It is kind of long but I highly recommend watching it! It gave me chills. The wales, the waves, the wind, all declaring his beauty! WOW. How can that not make you stop and marvel at the greatness of our God?!  This got me thinking about how great our God really is. Like really. It is so hard to fathom that the God who made the universe…like THE UNIVERSE, and everything in it, loves me. Not only does he love me, but he is working all things together in my life. He is bringing glory to himself through the work he is doing in my life and he is working his plans out for my life each day. I have been reading through the Gospels for the last few months and it has really brought to a place of being reminded of who God is. Who he is and what he has done. It has been so great to be reminded of these things. Each day as I read stories of the work of Jesus, I am in awe of his power. His greatness. His compassion.

Last week during Missions Conference I was also thinking, God is SO creative!!! Everywhere we look there is so much beauty. With yesterday being the first day of spring, flowers are blooming and the weather is lovely! Oh how I love feeling the warmth of sun on my skin and seeing flowers and sun dresses everywhere! But when God created everything, think about how much fun he had!!! Creating so many different kinds of flowers and weather, and people! Just think of all the different kinds of people he created! WOW. And he loves them all. Every nation, every tongue, every tribe. This alone is amazing to me. When I sit in my elementary classroom and look at the students, I think about how different each one of them looks, and that’s just the outside! On the inside they each have a different heart, different abilities, and different stories. Our God is so great!

When I was thinking about how great God is and reflecting on the video we watched in class, I couldn’t help but think of this Psalm:
O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[b]
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
                        Psalm 8:1-9

Amazed by my Creator,

The Orange Cone

It really is the little things in life that make our day. One of my teachers this semester said we should “redeem the little moments” in life. So often people look for or want to dwell on the moments that “take your breath away.” Is God only present in those moments? No! He is working in, revealing his love for us, and bringing glory to himself in every moment!

For my education classes this semester, I have to spend 40 hours in a classroom observing this semester. We got out field placements a little late and it took while to get into the classroom. I prayed and prayed about where God was going to place me. I was worried about having to spend so much time in a classroom with a teacher that was difficult to work with or a school that was uncooperative. When I got my placement, I was at the same school I was last semester, which doesn’t normally happen. Lake Marie Elementary is a quaint little school in Whittier with one class per grade level. Last semester I had the chance to meet a few teachers during elections and I was a little worried about who I might be placed with. For my Elementary Reading class, they try to put us in kinder or first grade classrooms and I had been placed in a third grade classroom. I was a little bummed but I really feel like God has been softening my heart towards older students. When I let the idea of third grade settle in, I was excited to learn something new working with an age I didn’t have much experience with. When I got to the classroom, the teacher made me feel very welcome and after being there for just three weeks, I feel very welcome and comfortable. It has been such a blessing to spend time in Miss Fuller’s classroom and I have fallen in love with the students. They are so sweet! Last week I got to teach my first lesson to the whole class and the students were so kind and cooperative:)

When I get to the school, I park on the side street right next to the school. Usually when I am walking in, I run in to the custodian and always say good morning. He is so sweet and earlier this week he asked why I park on the street. I told him I wasn’t sure if I could park in the parking lot and it’s no big deal. He said I should park in the lot because I work there (kinda)! The next day I tried to park in the parking lot and there were no open spots. I see him everyday I go, and he asked if I got a spot and I said they were all full. He asked when I was coming next and that he would put a cone in a spot for me. This morning I was running late (since three people needed to shower at the same time:::the joys of dorm life). When I pulled up to the school and saw an orange cone sitting in a parking spot, it made my day! Jose had saved me a spot! This custodian who doesn’t even know my name remembered I was coming on Thursday. I saw him when I was leaving and he said I’m glad you got your spot! I didn’t mind parking in the street whatsoever and he really wanted to make sure I could park in the parking lot. As I drove away today, I was reminded of the way God shows his love to us and provides for us. I was so touched that someone went out of his way to make me feel accepted at a school. Lake Marie Elementary has been so wonderful and I am so thankful that God has placed me where he has. It’s been really cool to share my faith with the people he has put in my path there! Why do I get so worried about what my future holds? God’s got it! He cares about the little things. I’m so thankful for the beautiful weather today and the way God reminded me of his love today.

Blessed by the little things,

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Step by Step

I've just completed week four of my half-marathon training. I've had some great runs and some really, really difficult runs and run farther than I've ever run before. Much to my surprise, it is my shorter runs that are more difficult and my longer runs that are easier and more enjoyable. When I run, I take flashcards with Bible verses on them and memorize Scripture at every mile. The first four verses I've got down! The verses for miles 5 through 7 I'm still working on. Before I registered for the OC Half-Marathon, I was really excited to challenge myself in a new way. Once I actually committed and signed up for it, I felt crazy. I've never really been a runner, I have no business being registered for a HALF-MARATHON! When I was thinking about New Year's Resolutions and what I felt God calling me to in this year, a half marathon kept coming up. I had found one I was interested in over Christmas break and talked with friends about doing it but wasn't sure if I was actually going to follow through. My goal was to run at least one half-marathon before I graduate from Biola. So now I have myself committed to running and enjoying it for the most part. Every run feels and looks different for me. Last semester I did not run much. So when I came back to school in January and started running again, it felt like the hardest thing I had ever done. This also contributed to me feeling like an idiot signing up to do a half marathon. I knew that this was something I was not doing alone though, God would be with every step, every mile, and every day as I prepared for the race. I knew two miles was not much and I could probably do it with no problem. Much to my surprise, some two mile days have been extremely difficult for me! The days I head out thinking I can conquer a run with ease and it's no big deal and I can rely on my own strength, those are the days that God tells me, "you need Me everyday". Long runs I know there is no chance in the world I can finish without the grace and strength of God helping me every step of the way.
Today I got to surprise my best friend Ari and go to her church to hear her perform my favorite song she has written called Quiet Streams. Last night I did my homework and laundry so I could spend the day in Laguna with her and her family after church. Since I was in an eight hour class yesterday (yes it was Saturday, yes it was awful, and yes I hated every moment of it), I did not have time to go my long run. The training schedule I am following has me running 2-5 miles on the week days and longer runs on the weekends. Saturday I was supposed to run 8 miles. Sadly I did not get to. I was kind of dreading having to run that far because I wasn't sure I'd be able to finish after some disappointing shorter runs this week. Today when I came down to Ari's house I brought my shoes because there is a beautiful path to the beach and great places to run by her house! So I started my run trusting that the Lord would help get through the next 8 miles. IT WAS AN AMAZING RUN! I enjoyed every second of it and trusted that God would help me fight the pain, keep going, and conquer the hills!
As I was running on the sand, I saw lots of foot prints. Some were bare feet, some were running shoes, some were big, some were small, and I even saw some animal foot prints. As I was running and praying along the shore, I heard God tell me, "Child, I am with you every step of the way. Step by step I will guide you and lead you on the path I have for you." This brought me extreme peace knowing that I didn't have to think about how much farther I had to go, or what I had to face this week, but that I could enjoy and trust God each step of the way as I finished my run and as I go about my daily life learning what it means to be His disciple. God is revealing Himself to me in new ways this semester and I am so excited that each step of the way on my journey through Biola, He has been there guiding me exactly where He wants me. He lead me to Biola, called me to be an elementary ed major, and has allowed me to serve in various leadership roles during my time here. I have full faith that as I continue to grow and learn at Biola, He will guide me along the path He has designed for me.
Putting one foot in front of the other,