An Unimpaired Condition

I am just feeling so grateful for my legs today. It’s not because they look so great… believe me. I have often thought how great it would be to have the cellulite-free, chiseled runner kind of legs. But rather, what I’m grateful for is the simple ability to get up and walk and run without pain in my knees. I woke up thinking about the painful injury I experienced only five miles into the Twin Cities Marathon ten years ago, and how I determinedly and stubbornly continued to run (and walk) the remaining 21.2 miles anyway—with excruciating knee pain. It took me longer than a year to recover from that, and even up until as little as six months ago, the slight ache behind my kneecaps would flare up whenever I set foot on a flight of stairs. I’ve been wearing patellar tendon straps for the last couple months during my runs, which is a one-inch rubber band-type contraption that is positioned by velcro just below the kneecap. This has been very helpful in reducing the stress from the impact while running, as well as keeping my kneecaps stabilized. I ran a half marathon on the fourth of July, and other than a few of the typical immediate aches, everything sprung back to normal within the next day or so, with no knee pain whatsoever. I continue to thank God and be amazed at that resiliency because for many years, fear kept me from running, and I became quite comfortable making excuses as to why I couldn’t do it anymore. I believed I had done permanent damage to my knees and thought I’d be plagued with knee problems for the rest of my life. I know that’s not a very faith-filled statement, but those were my actual thoughts. From the time I was little, I’ve always heard my family talk about their knee issues, surgeries, replacements, and how “bad knees run in the family.” Without realizing it, I began to accept that as my lot in life where my own knees were concerned. I remember wondering how old I’d be before my first knee surgery. Over time, I’ve not only changed what I believe about the overall health of my body (and knees), but I’ve changed what I say about it. That didn’t happen overnight, but took many years of undoing things in my brain that I actually believed for a long time. Thank God that Jesus is in the restoration business. Restoration is: a return of something to a former, original, normal, or unimpaired condition. Christ has restored my thinking, my knees, my running, and so much more. As I’m training to run the Twin Cities Marathon for the second time this October, I get twinges of fear trying to creep in quite regularly when I push myself too hard, thinking I could get hurt again. I have to make a conscious decision every day to use wisdom in the things I’m doing, but at the same time, not to let fear hold me back from doing all I know my body and mind are capable of. It doesn’t make sense in my head that I am ten years older and my knees feel better than they ever have. This must be what it’s like to feel like your youth is renewed. 🙂  Only God can do that! I am currently waiting patiently to receive healing and restoration in a couple other areas of my body, but just because I don’t see it with my natural eyes, my confession remains the same. When my words line up with what He’s already provided for me, I’ll have it. Everything can turn around in a single moment. I continue to thank Him for legs that work and healed knees every time I run. I’m putting in the necessary work to prepare my body for what’s to come in October, and I’m thankful and grateful that God continues to faithfully provide me with a healthy, healed, whole body. If it weren’t for His promises, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m determined not to take that gift for granted. Anyone want to go for a run? Deut. 7:9 (MSG)~ Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps His covenant of loyal love with those who love Him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations. Luke 17:19 (AMP)~ And Jesus said to him, “Get up and go on your way. Your faith (your trust and confidence that spring from your belief in God) has restored you to health.”  ...

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Like a Real Runner

I just got back from my first 5k of the year and was thinking about this running thing. I’ve never considered myself to be a “real” runner. You know the type. The disciplined ones who hop out of bed each morning, suit up in their running gear, and head straight out door for a 5-mile jaunt. They probably don’t even bother downing a cup of coffee before they hit the pavement… or even have to stop to catch their breath during their run, like I do. And they still seem to like every minute of it! I’ve always wanted to be a real runner like that.  I’m a fair-weather fan of running, and don’t veer too far from the treadmill in the winter months before braving the elements. Even though I’ve run in many 5Ks since I quit smoking eleven years ago, and actually completed the Twin Cities Marathon ten years ago, I don’t even enjoy the act of running. I like how I feel afterwards, but that’s about it. I’ve never really been athletic, but I started loving the thought of running in junior high, so in seventh grade, I joined the cross country running team. There’s no other sport or activity that gives me a greater sense of accomplishment. I’ve always wanted to like doing it, so I sign myself up for races so I can be around people who love it. All the while, hoping that one day something will click in my brain and I’ll love it too—like a real runner. Yesterday’s race was the first winter run I’ve ever done. It was rather invigorating, due mostly to the 12° temperature. The entire path around the lake was pretty treacherous and icy, as was the arctic air being sucked into my lungs. My heart and lungs were screaming at me to STOP and walk every couple minutes, but my legs felt like they could run for miles. Pacing myself so all my body parts would work together in symphony (without one area getting hurt) was challenging since they’re not all at the same level of fitness. Adding to the challenge was the frustration of having my shoes come untied at least eight times during the run. There were 248 runners yesterday, and I came in 146th overall. There were 176 women, and I was 91st. My finishing time was 35 minutes and some odd seconds, which is roughly an 11-minute mile. Not so impressive or anything, but hey! I already know I don’t fit the stereotypical runner mold, and I’m okay with that. I do have a little competitiveness in me, and I love stats, so I can’t help but think how I’m going to work to improve my pace next weekend when I run my first 7K. No matter how many times I’ve run, I find myself throwing up at almost every finish line. This has always bothered me and reiterated the non-runner status in my mind all these years. I mean, how embarrassing! Just once, I want to cross the finish line like they do in the movies. You know, hands raised in victory and all that? Nope. Not me. I can feel totally fine during the whole race, and then when I start hearing all the excitement and cheering at the finish line, I almost always start having gag reflexes. Then I pray that no one I know is pointing a camera in my direction when I have to start hurling on the edge of the path… like I did yesterday. Yep, it’s true. I threw up again at the finish line. And my husband, Jon, was right there to capture it on camera. Lovely. Even though no one who sees me run in a race would consider me one of the big dogs, I keep telling myself, I run, therefore, I AM a runner. I’m content to do my best, run my own race, and be happy making efforts to keep myself in shape and pressing to achieve my goals. I’m as big or small of a dog as my own mind limits me to be. Aren’t you glad that when you have dreams or desires in your heart, that God doesn’t leave us stranded to walk the journey alone? He’s the one who puts those things in there, so of course He’ll help us. I know He’ll help me get to where I need to be physically and mentally in the weeks and months ahead as I train for my second marathon this fall. I’m counting on it, and I wouldn’t want to do it without Him. He’ll be there every step of the way for you too, as you...

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Cover to Cover

I am embarrassed to say that when I graduated from high school, I had never read a book from beginning to end. I really wasn’t interested in torturing myself and wasting time on things that I considered not the least bit fun. Needless to say, I avoided it at all costs. There were so many other exciting things I could think of doing, like going to parties, or well… even cleaning the bathroom toilet. Reading makes you think, and my mantra in those days was, “I hate to think!” What a dope. It was insurmountably stressful for me to sit down and read a single paragraph, much less a whole book. I did barely enough to scrape by in school and nothing more. It wasn’t until a crisis early on in my marriage that I actually sat down and read my first book. Fortunately for me, the depression and desperate situation I was in caused me to overlook any agony I ever felt about reading. In my search for hope and help, I was willing to read anything to find it. (I didn’t know anything about the Lord at that time and wouldn’t have thought of turning to the Bible, but thankfully, that did come later.) A friend gave me the book His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley, and I read it from beginning to end. This was a big deal for me! One of the lowest points in my life was also a turning point for me; not only in my marriage, but it was also what sparked my interest in reading. Crazy! When we began homeschooling, I found myself reading to my daughters all day, every day. I couldn’t believe how much I was learning, even at preschool and second grade levels. I read to the girls when they were eating, brushing their teeth, putting together puzzles, coloring, at bedtime, whatever… I just couldn’t stop reading. As they got older, I read them chapter books and novels, and not only was a whole new world opening up before them, but for me too! I began to see just how much I was missing out on in life by not reading and how much there is to learn out there. I felt like a kid again! Who knew your imagination could take you places you could never go in real life? Or that you could live in a different world, if even just in your mind. And make friends with the characters, with whom you’d somehow find yourself laughing with or dripping tears on the page for. It was like a whole new adventure, and I felt as though I needed to make up for lost time. All the things that I never cared about in previous years, I was now discovering as if it had just been invented. I was teaching myself through the books I was reading, and I found out how fun reading… and thinking… actually are. I love that I now have a Kindle, which enables me to carry tons of books with me wherever I go. It seems that those early years of learning to love books with my kids and getting in touch with my own imagination has changed me for life. It has also put a soft spot in my heart for children’s picture books and good literature. So much so, that I collect them, and someday I will put my hand to the plow and write one of my own. I’ve read so many books since that first one, but every time I crack the cover on the next, it brings me back for a split second in my memory to when I hated reading and learning, and I remember how God has helped me to change in this area. In some of my darkest days, He helped me see the life inside of books. Being able to homeschool for so many years and reading to my kids has instilled a lifelong love of learning in them—and me, for which I am forever grateful to God. Today, I thank God… and give Him all the glory… because I am still married, I still love to learn, I still read my Bible (and finally understand it), and I still read lots of books! Psalm 71:17-18 (Msg) ~ You got me when I was an unformed youth, God, and taught me everything I know. Now I’m telling the world your wonders; I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray....

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I’m fixin’

Even if it’s just a little bit, even just posting a picture, I’m fixin’ to write on this here blog again, no matter how busy my week gets. …yep, I said fixin’. Don’t you love how you can adopt language from anywhere around the world as your own—whenever you want? I just love how they talk in the south. Even though I was born in California and raised in Minnesota (and I’m as northern a girl as they get), I love doing that in my writing because as my friends and family will agree, they can hardly drag an accent out of me in person. I think that that is one of the most beautiful things about story-telling and writing to me. Not only do I feel free to take on whatever dialect or vernacular strikes my fancy, something is awakened and comes alive in me when I write, and I am almost a different person. Nothing else in my world does that for me. Wait! Does that mean I’ve been dead for almost four months since I wrote here last? No, but I sure feel like my head and my heart are about to explode—and I am FULL, after neglecting my writing for so long. I hope you’ll rejoin me in the journey and walk with me again. I’ve missed you all…...

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