Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I saw Jesus and He was wearing a cheerleader uniform.

How do you sum up a huge experience both physically and emotionally? It is difficult I'll say. I went into the Nashville half marathon wanting to 1. finish 2. not walk and 3. do it in under 2 and a half hours. If you haven't run thirteen miles lately, I'll just tell you it isn't pocket change. It is HARD to run that far. It is even harder if running isn't exactly what God made you to do. Running isn't really what God made me to do and I often struggle to figure out what the heck He did make me to do. What am I good at? This is a constant battle in my head and my heart. It is very hard for me to see my gifts and to feel God's delight.

I really wanted to feel God's delight in me this past weekend. It is something I was praying for and that I've been talking to some of the key players in my life about lately. It is hard to know exactly what that will look like. On a side note, I've been listening to this artist called Andrew Peterson a lot lately. We all love his music. His lyrics seem to cut right to my heart. He wrote this song titled something like 'Windows to God'. He is basically pointing to those moments in life when for a brief moment you see God. He sites moments where you see Him in the way the sun hits the clouds or when someone says something to you that is very meaningful. Someone else could be standing right next to you and not see God, but because you are looking He is right there. I'm convinced that when you are looking to see God's face you see it. He is always there, but we are rarely looking.

So, Saturday I started the run looking to see Him and feel His delight. I was running through the streets of Nashville and enjoying the people and the beauty. I was running fast and I knew it. Disclaimer-fast for me is a 10 and a half minute mile. I'm a 5'2" mom with junk in my trunk. What did you expect my time to be? So, I am running and I am thinking. I'm doing it. I'm running. I feel good. I feel proud of myself. Feeling proud of myself in the moment is well very rare for me. About mile 8 things started to break down. Think intestinal tract. A pit stop later I was back on my way feeling refreshed like I've got this. At mile 11, I was starting to be very tired. Most people train to 11 miles assuming you can do 13 if you can do 11. I'll just tell you that 2 more miles after running 11 is HARD. So, I had to walk some. Goal number 2 thrown out. I didn't know what my time was, but I knew I was close to my goal. As I keep going, my mindset started to change. I was thinking...Melanie, finishing this thing is huge. Just keep going. Just finish. And just like that I was all happy with my 1 and only goal to finish. Finishing started to feel really hard. And I was praying that God would help me. I felt like I would surely die.

And then I saw Him. I was dragging myself along feeling like I might throw up or faint. Surely my face said, "I am dying. HELP ME!" And I saw this cheerleader and she looked right into my eyes and said, "You are so close. You can do it! Keep going!" I think she was Jesus or an angel. She spoke directly to me and said just what I needed to hear. Was she really those things? Probably not, but God loves to tell us what we need to hear and sometimes He uses unlikely people to point us to Himself. I walked and finished in 2 hours and 31 minutes, but you know what. I finished. I finished! And I did so much more than I thought I could do. God is in the business of delighting in us and He delighted in me running 13.1 miles real slow and I felt really proud of myself and I felt His delight. That is so rare for me. I'd do it again tomorrow for that.

Every mountain top is followed by a valley, this week has been no different. The run was a mountain top experience and this week I found myself back in my old patterns of feeling slow and bad at lots of things. The thoughts in my head are often very negative about myself. Today, was in many ways a bad mental health day. This afternoon I met my kids at school to hear none other than Andrew Peterson the artist that has been ministering to all of our hearts this year through his cds. It was great to chat with him and hear him sing. I was reminded of God's delight and that He made me the way He did on purpose.

At bedtime, Lillian was having a hard time. She was angry that she can't read better. She said she was jealous that her friends were better readers. She said she didn't like that God didn't make her a better reader. Oh boy, is this not my very own struggle. I said, "God has given us all gifts." We reviewed some of hers. Then she said, "Mama, what did God make you good at?" Is this not the very question I had been asking myself ALL day long? "Well Lillian, God made me really good at cooking dinner, and loving old people and running very slow." She smiled. And I realized God showed His face to me with my own voice. I love cooking dinner for my family and being a social worker to older people. And I love running very slow. My gifts are not always easy for me to see, but they are there and He is revealing them to me in the same way that He made me to run. Slowly but surely.


the Jennings secede from the South said...

that is an amazing post. I feel the same way- I am not crafty or artsy or super ambitious and I struggle with what am I good at? What are my passions? Thanks for posting this:)

amy said...

i think God gifted you in many ways. You are a great friend- funny, easy going and encouraging.

Thanks for your willingness to share your heart.

Melody said...

This is really, really beautiful!

Jane-Ellis said...

You are a gifted writer and you are gifted at being real. You are real and present every time I see you, Melanie. I praise God for the way he made you, Friend! love,je

Starr said...

You are a great mom-blogger! You are good at telling a story. You are courageous in your willingness to be open and honest and share from your heart, which allows many people to connect with what you say and that's a blessing. And - believe it or not - you are a GREAT mom! You are a born care-taker, not only for your kids, but for many others around you. You are a home-maker - anyone feels at home as soon as they walk into the magical space you have created for your family on Waterman. And one of the biggest reasons that I KNOW you're a great mom is because you spend time delighting in the things that your kids say and do, in who they are, and who they will be. That is the greatest gift you can give to your children, and there are 2 (now) little people in this world that will be dramatically shaped by the woman you are, and the mom you are to them. I want to be just like you when I grow up. :)

shmaynor said...