Friday, January 21, 2011

The Heart of a Woman

God never ceases to amaze me! Seriously! I am reading Captivating for a book study and it is SO good. I have had this book for years now and have started to read it a few times before but have never made it more than a few pages in before putting it down and moving on to something else. Why didn't I read this earlier?! I mean, it's as if God-through Staci Eldredge- is speaking directly to me and the desires of my heart! But I didn't read it earlier because God knew my heart wasn't ready for it a few years ago. I mean, I read things today that I wasn't ready for a week ago! He's an on-time God! :)

The book is all about recognizing the heart of a woman and how the fall of man is the root of our behaviors and insecurities. "Every woman in her heart of hearts longs for three things: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in the great adventure, and to unveil beauty. That's what makes a woman come alive." How true! These are the same things that God wants in a relationship with us. He desires to be known and sought after. He wants to be pursued by us-by me! In the book, Staci poses the question, "where do you go instead of to God when the ache of your heart begins to make itself known?" I've been asking myself this question for the past few days. Where do I go? To what do I turn? When my heart aches, why do I not automatically run into the arms of my Abba- my bridegroom?

God also wants to unveil beauty to us. He does this is so many ways. Hans Urs Von Balthasaar said, "every experience of beauty points to [eternity]." I LOVE that! I am kinda a biology nerd (I'm not ashamed to admit it) and I was talking to a friend that doesn't like/understand biology. I just don't get it. Romans 1:20 says "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--His eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." God uses creation to show us himself! When I learn about the human body and the complexities of each organ and system working together, I can't help but be in awe of how incredible our God is! He planned every detail of each person-down to every cell (and cells are pretty neat!) He is constantly revealing beauty to us, so that we can see His invisible qualities! Anyway, I kinda started rambling so I'll stop. I just get excited about science...

On another note, one of the reasons for this blog is to serve as a testimony about what the Lord is doing in my life and to be able to proclaim his glory. I want to be able to boast in the trials and weaknesses, but at the same time, I don't want to use this as a mask for fake vulnerability. I don't want to simply hide behind a computer screen and use this as an escape from real, authentic community. So all that being said, I'm not writing about anything here that I haven't already talked through with someone face-to-face. Random, just something I've been thinking about and praying through!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Adventures of a Runner

I use the term "runner" loosely, but the adventure part is 100% true! I have been slacking on my running the past few weeks, and getting more nervous as race day approaches, so this weekend I told Sally I was going to stay on program everyday this week. Well, Sunday night it snowed, so I'm trying to think where I can run inside, but Monday when I got home it was slightly warmer than I thought so I decided to go for it! I bundled up in the warmest running clothes I could find and started my adventure. I had to run in the street because the sidewalks were too slippery, and I sometimes felt like I was on an obstacle course, but that just made it more fun! And I got to see lots of kids playing outside and building snowmen. I did step in a puddle at about 2 miles and had to run with a wet sock on my right foot-not fun, but other than that, great adventure and sense of accomplishment!
Here I am before the run... a little nervous!

And 4.5 miles later (I took off the hat and gloves about a mile in, and the top shirt after about 2.5 miles)

I mentioned in my last post that running is my prayer time and yesterday was no different. I am constantly in awe of creation while I'm on my runs, but this time I had a little change of scenery which was nice. I was also consistently reminded that I am washed white as snow! I would run past yards and just see a vast expanse of white. They hadn't been walked on yet and there were no blemishes. It was amazing! I love those little moments when I can just smile to myself and say "Thanks, Dad!"

Another thing God used the snow to remind me of, is the blessing of community and the joys of friendship! We wrapped up in blankets and watched movies and drank apple cider and ate lots of snacks and laughed. Fun times! I ended up staying the night so I didn't have to drive all the way back to my house in the snow and so I started thinking about it all on my run. I have been going back and forth on whether to live alone or with roommates. There's a part of me that would like to live alone- to be able to come home from work and have my own space and time to myself. But more recently, I feel like whenever I start to feel this way and the introvert in me comes out, God just shows me another glimpse of community and the benefits of living life with believers. He's pretty good at that- you know, showing me exactly what I need to see when I need to see it. So, I am now ready for roommates!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Welcome 2011

It's a new year and that means one thing... New Year's resolutions! I personally LOVE New Year's resolutions. It goes back to my type A personality/OCD/compulsive list making but I just love starting off the new year with goals. What do I want to change this year? When I look back on the year, how will I be different--spiritually, physically, emotionally? One of my New Year's resolutions was to start a blog, so here it is. Check that off the list! Now let's see if I can keep it up all year... The blog is designed for multiple reasons. #1 Accountability: am I meeting the goals I set out for myself? #2 Encouragement: I love Hebrews 10:24 "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." This blog will hopefully encourage others in their lives. and #3 Testimony: the verse on the side is another of my favorites! This blog may reveal some of my weaknesses, but prayerfully, through that, will show the amazing power of a sovereign God!

So now that you know my reasons for starting the blog this year (and that one of my resolutions has already been met), I thought I would share the rest of my resolutions. I obviously have the generic "exercise more, grow closer to God" but I split them up into smaller attainable goals. So here are my resolutions for 2011, why I chose them, and how they are going...

1. Start a blog-Check!

2. Coffee dates twice a month- I started working on this last year, but I am really trying to be more intentional about relationships. Fun friendships are great and sometimes it's nice to just unwind, but how many people know my heart? With how many girls am I sharing both my trials and triumphs? So I want to have intentional meetings with friends where we can totally be ourselves and just put our hearts out on the table. I'm excited to see where God takes my friendships this year!

3. Share the gospel/Disciple monthly- I also want to be more intentional about sharing my faith and what God is doing in my life. I am so aware of the importance of pouring into the next generation and am so thankful for the incredible women that God put in my life at different seasons to walk alongside me (maybe I should write some spontaneous thank you notes!). I am involved in different volunteer opportunities where I can meet younger girls, but I want to be more intentional about getting to know them and being in their lives outside of organized events.

4. Take more pictures- there are so many times when I leave an event where I think to myself, "man, I wish I had documented that memory!" so in 2011, I will! My goal is to become "the girl with the camera." Although, 5 days in, I think people are already getting tired of me saying "hey, let's take a picture!" :)

5. Buy a dog- Kind of weird, I know, but I've really wanted one for a while and so I'm finally taking a leap. I went to the Humane Society today and looked around (and fell in love with about 17 dogs). I'm going back with my parents tomorrow so they can see them too, but this resolution may be met soon!

6. Get certified to teach Zumba- I've wanted to do this for a while, ever since I moved back to Memphis and couldn't find a class that even came close to comparing to Nashville. b.fab fitness was more than just a Zumba class. It became a community and a ministry and I would love to be able to bring that here. Plus it's a great workout and I get to dance!

7. Workout 4-5 times a week- Being in nursing school was a lot harder on my body than I thought it was. Stress does crazy things to me! I feel like this is the generic resolution that EVERYONE has, but we'll see how it goes. So far, so good!

8. Earn 2011 Activity Points- If you don't know what this means, don't worry about it :) but I'm up to 20 right now!

9. Run 500 miles- I started running this summer and NEVER thought I would be a runner. I always wanted to like running but would try it and hate it! When some friends from high school wanted to do an 8-week program together, I eventually said I would. So I went every week, and hated it every week, and said I was not running afterwards. Then at the end of the program, there was a 5k, so I ran it and all of the sudden liked running! There is something about the atmosphere of the race that made all the training worth it. Now running has become my prayer time. I don't have an ipod so I don't listen to music on my runs and I love it! I step outside and marvel at creation and can say, "okay God, for the next hour, it's just you and me!" It's amazing the things He shows me and tells me when I take the time to look and listen. I love it! (I'm at 9 miles so far)

10. Run a race every month- As I said, I love the race atmosphere. And it motivates me to keep running if I know there's a goal. So far I've registered for a 5k and an 8k in January, a 10k in February, and a half marathon in March. I'm planning on doing Zoom through the Zoo 4-miler and the Great Urban Race in May and LuvMud in October. I'm still looking for fun races for the other months.

11. Read 52 books- Yes, it's a lot, but I love reading! And I want to challenge myself. These can be any books from books that will stretch me spiritually and socially, to classics, and some silly romantic novels thrown in for fun. The BBC has a list of what they consider the top 100 books ( and I saw somewhere that the average person has only read 6 of the books on the list, so I added all 100. I'll start with the ones I haven't read, but then move on and re-read some of the great ones. So far I've read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. (Technically I started it last year, but I finished it in 2011 so I'm counting it). Now I'm reading Captivating and The Poisonwood Bible. I'm keeping a list of all the books I read so I'll be able to keep track (and recommend). I'm also keeping a list of books that people suggest to me, so if there's anything you think is worth reading then let me know and I'll add it. There are currently 150 on the suggested list so I won't finish them this year but I'll at least make a dent in them!

There they are. Yes, I do have 11 resolutions for 2011. Did I mention that I'm a little bit OCD? :) I'll try to continue this blog all year and I promise it won't always be just a list of random things. It also won't always be this long, but I wanted to set the foundation for the year. I'll periodically update how I'm progressing in my resolutions, but otherwise this will be a place for me to document what's going on in my life and how God is using me and growing me through the year!