Friday, May 23, 2014

I'm Thankful

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
-Psalm 9:1

I have a lot to be thankful for...

I'm thankful for mornings. I just love how fresh and new they feel.
I'm thankful for the sun. It powers everything and gives us light every single day.
I'm thankful for colors. They paint the world and make art come to life.
I'm thankful for my senses, for they allow me to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste all things around me.
I'm thankful for laughter. Even in the darkest of times, laughter has the power to ignite joy.
I'm thankful for seasons, for they allow the appreciation of change and transition.
I'm thankful for an education because it takes me to new places.
I'm thankful for my body. It's not model material by any means, but gosh, my body does so much for me.
I'm thankful for my parents. They have done more for me than I could ever recount or repay.
I'm thankful for my sister, for she is a friend I will never lose.
I'm thankful for Crossroads. This church is changing my life.
I'm thankful for Regis and the people that I work with there - all 20 of them. Work makes me smile because it's where I love to be.
I'm thankful for music because it evokes all kinds of thoughts, emotions, and feelings.
I'm thankful for community. My close friends hold me accountable and remind of the important things in life.
I'm thankful for sleep. Who doesn't like to sleep???
And food. Who doesn't love food? Eating is a form of entertainment for me.
I'm thankful for YoungLife and the relationships and experiences I've encountered through it. Without this organization, I'm not sure where or even who I would be today.

This list does not even scratch the surface. There is so much more that I could include here. As I grow older, this list becomes longer. However, without God, this list would cease to exist...

Therefore, I'm MOST thankful for God. He is the very source of every good and perfect thing you can think of (James 1:17). He brought me to where I am now and cares enough to lead me to better things. He healed me. He's transforming me.

I often wonder what my life would look like if I weren't a Christian. Who would I be? What would I be doing? How would my life be different? When I look at the world and I'm confronted with the broken emptiness of it, I'm reminded that I have been given the greatest gift anyone could ever ask for.

I'm thankful that I will never have to experience life without Christ again.

What are you thankful for?

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Finish Line

As some of you may know, I took part in Cincinnati's piggest, I mean biggest, event of the year - The Flying Pig Marathon. I ran the 10k and it was my first race ever. My journey up to this point was unexpected, to say the least. God threw me a curve ball. It all began with a story...

I've mentioned before that I was involved in YoungLife pretty actively from the time I was a sophomore in high school. I went from being lead as a student to being a leader. I never planned on leaving that ministry. God loves surprising us though.

One Sunday morning a couple months ago, I was debating whether or not I wanted to go to Crossroads (my church). After weighing the options in my mind, I dragged myself out of bed and went. I don't think that I will ever forget that service. It changed the entire course of my life.

At the time, I was going through a dry spell with God. I just felt distant and wasn't really interested in pursuing my Father. It's a good thing He never feels that way about us! He is constantly pursuing all of us at all times. That Sunday morning, I was reminded of His love for me.

A woman shared her story. I sat there, and I just took it all in. I was close to tears as I was reminded of the saving grace the Lord brought to me when I was in the darkness of my own story. We both struggled with eating disorders. At the end of the service, she discussed beginning running groups at all the Crossroads sites to train for the Flying Pig. I signed up and I started running. At the beginning of this journey, I was headed one direction, however, as I ran, God took me in a completely different one.

God told me fairly quickly where He wanted me to run. I stopped leading and got involved at Crossroads. I never imagined that this would happen so quickly. I fell in love with the community as I got more involved and met more people. It was awkward at first, but anything new always is.

These past 12 weeks, my life has changed drastically. Words don't do it justice. I never thought that I would be where I am now. I have Jenny to thank for sharing her story, for had she chosen not to do so, I don't know what I would be doing right now.

Crossing the finish line at the 10k represents more for me than just completing it. To me, that finish line symbolizes:
and ultimately a new beginning.

Our God is full of the unexpected. He can't be tamed. He invited me to run and challenged me to trust His lead. I'm excited to see where He takes me next.

Here are a few glimpses into my past 12 weeks:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
-Hebrews 12:1