Thursday, May 24, 2012


Several months ago God revealed a very deep and sad aspect of my life I hadn't noticed before: I have never experienced real love.  It was a selah, stop and think about that, moment.  I was 34 and up to that point I had not had a person love me the way God intended.  That's not to say people didn't feel love for me, they have.  My parents love me. My late husband loved me.  But they didn't know how to love me, to show it in a healthy and functional way.  Because I had never experienced a complete and healthy love, real love, I continued to allow people to enter my life who loved me incompletely.  The result was pain.

What followed this realization was a season of God showing me what real love is, so I would know it when it comes.  God loves me so much, He doesn't want me to repeat the past.  He doesn't want me to live a life of unhealthy love.  He wants me to experience real love.  I know how to love, but I have never been loved.  Love and intimacy should be 100% reciprocated. So God began to teach me about love.  He took me on a journey through Song of Solomon and the book of Ruth to show me what real love is.  He showed me not how to love, but how to be loved, what receiving real love from another person looks like.

Love is not only about what I do for them, and how I love them. Its about loving me because of who I am!  If I didn't do one more thing for them would they still love me and treat me the same?

Love desires to hear my voice and see my face.

Love can't stand to be apart from each other and will take extreme measures to be together.

Love isn't moved by your flaws.

Love is aroused, captured and drawn in, it is not flaunted or teased.

Love gives their heart freely.

Love is a close friendship, and value is placed in that friendship.

Love "sees" you and your value.

Love sees you as beautiful and tells you and others.

Love makes you their world.

Love protects you.

Love provides for you.

Love comforts you.

This is how God loves.  God's love is complete, its perfect.  God's love is the example for all to follow.  And once you experience real love, you will never settle for anything less.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Diva Half Marathon

Sometimes in life when you experience a tragedy, or someone you love and trust fails you, you find it hard to find the good in situations, or the good in people. This past weekend however, I was reassured that there are good people out there.  Lots of them.  They may be virtual friends or complete strangers, and even though they don't know you, they care! They will go out of their way to be there for you.  There are good people out there! This weekend they were wearing hot pink, feather boas, and tiaras.  They were the Divas who took on Myrtle Beach!

The first taste of goodness: the RMM
I discovered the Diva Half Marathon from a private Facebook group, the running moms (RMM).  Inspired by the determination of my friend Kelly, I decided to sign up.  I've been part of the RMM for only 10 short months, but this virtual support group full of wisdom for running, and the race of life, have quickly won my heart.  This was going to be a meet-up, moms from around the country coming together to run! I signed up, got air plane tickets and joined some of the mamas in a room.   It was exciting to be going down to South Carolina to finally these women with whom I have shared some of life's most personal issues, and found some of my greatest support.

I flew down with a few local mamas, and the second I stepped off the plane, one of the ladies had overwhelmed me with goodness.  She had rented a car and had already found out where my hotel was in order to drive me there. On top of it she had contacted my roommates (whom I had never met) to make sure that I had a ride to the pasta dinner meet up the next day.  I hadn't taken time to plan any of it out, and mama Candice had taken the time to make sure I was covered.   Candice is proof that There are still good people out there.

The second taste of goodness: Diva runners from Florida

I'm a fairly social gal.  Even as a runner, I'm usually commenting or chatting it up on the race course.  Diva was no different.  Around mile 10 I was feeling the heat, the sun shining on me was tough.  I'm a northern girl and our sun has barely started to shine. Needless to say, most of my training was in the cold, or very least overcast.  So the hot South Carolina sunshine was tiring me out, and fast. I had started taking walk breaks, which I never do.  It was frustrating to me, but thinking about my fatherless son back home, I knew I needed to play it safe.  Pushing myself was fine, but I had to be smart about it.  

I don't remember what comment I said around mile 10, but it sparked the divas from Florida to invite me to join them.  They were doing intervals: running 1 minute, walking 1 minute.  When asked to join, I decided it was probably a good idea.  Those ladies kindness brought me through the last 3miles. They encouraged me, they pushed me, and most importantly they let me walk just enough to keep me going. As we neared the end, about a quarter mile out, where the crowds were, they said, "let's run in!" and I did.  They pushed me and I needed it.  These divas didn't know me, had no vested interest in my life, but they took time to pull me in alongside, challenge and push me. It was just what I needed. The divas from Florida are proof there are good people out there.  

The final taste of goodness: no mama left behind

After finishing the race I started to look for my RMM friends, after reuniting with almost all of them, we noticed my roommate had not yet finished.  We started back along the course to find her.  Not too far out we saw her... surrounded! Several other RMM mamas had already gone back, and here they were running with our caboose!  I jumped onto the course with a few others and cheering our friend along, we ran down the shoot all the way towards to finish line.  Shouts of encouragement were continual and the support was practically tangible.  I stepped off the course to watch my roomie cross the finish line and I wanted to cry.  A group of perfect strangers, united on facebook as mothers who love to run, had just dropped everything to help a fellow mama.  

I can't put into words the experience, and the emotions of watching Kate surrounded by women who hardly knew her, giving their all for her.  They were not willing to cheer her on, or watch her finish, but rather to get on the course with her, running along side her, taking part in her victory to make sure she finished!  Perhaps that's how I can describe the running moms, we aren't spectators, or cheerleaders.  We are in the trenches with each other, whether at a race, or virtually via Facebook.  We help each other in our everyday struggles, we grab arms and run along side.  We make sure that no mama is left behind.  Every mama crosses the finish line and receives her medal!  The mamas who ran with Kate are proof that good people are out there!

I'm grateful for running.  I'm grateful for the divas from florida and the RMM.  After all I have been through: betrayal, deceit, trials and pain, I have found good trustworthy people are NOT the exception, they are the rule. And they are out there!  You just have to open your heart and give them a place to come in.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The River

My life is a river.  I stand on the edge, my toes hanging over the rushing waters.  If I stop long enough to take my focus off the rapids in front of me, and lift up my head, I see a gorgeous green meadow on the other side.  Its the future I hope for, its my own personal happy ending. I want more than anything to get there, but the way looks too hard, too challenging, and a bit scary.  I look around for another way.  There has got to be an easier way, perhaps a bridge which will carry me over the troubled waters. But there isn't.  There is only one path to the other side... through the river.

So I step out, one small step into the edge of the river, and a hand reaches out to me.  Its Jesus.  I was too focused on the challenges ahead that I didn't even see Him standing in the rough waters, stable and steady.  He was waiting, ready to help me walk across.  With His hand in mine I find the courage to take a step. One step at a time I begin my journey to the other side. I slip, I stumble, I get pushed around by the crashing of the waves.  But Jesus isn't moved.  Despite my instability, He is planted solid, like a rock. And He doesn't ever loosen His grip.  As I grab on tighter to Him, my step becomes more firm, and  begin to slip less.  He matches my efforts each step of the way.  And before I know it, we are safe on the banks of the river, no longer being threatened by the rough waters.  We have reached the other side! The meadow! My glorious future is right there before me!

It is then I notice Jesus.  One hand is still holding on to mine, but the other, oddly enough is pointing back.  Why is His attention focused back there? We just conquered together the impossible feat, the last place I want to look is back.  But there it points.  I just arrived, and can only think about relaxing in the meadow.  But His hand points back. And His gaze is intense.  As I look into His eyes I see a sadness I hadn't noticed before.  Just then a tear rolls down His face.  At that moment I muster the courage to look back, for I must know what it is that has moved Jesus to compassion, when it seems we should be celebrating.  I turn my head, and at that moment I am captured with that same compassion He has.  For at the edge of the banks stands a woman, toes hanging over the edge, scared of whats ahead.  She's doing the same thing I was.  Her eyes roam the banks, looking for another way, an easier path.  And the more she looks, the faster tears stream down her face.  I can see it on her face the moment she realizes the only way to the meadow is through the river.

Jesus looks at me, still holding my hand, with a question in his eyes.  He doesn't say a word.  He doesn't have to.  I know exactly what He is thinking.  "So, what are you gonna do?"  I know Jesus won't let go of my hand and go back, so He waits on me.  He will only go where I go.  I look up at the beautiful meadow, the sun shining down on the trees, the flowers in bloom, its seems to be calling my name.  Then I look back at the woman.  I see the clouds above her, I hear the rapids in the river crashing on the rocks.  I remember how hard it was to cross that river.  I remember how Jesus helped me each step, and if I had to have done it alone I may not have made it.  I begin to think about turning back, not for ever, but just for now.  The meadow will be there, and maybe I would enjoy it more if I wasn't alone.  But what about the river? The current, the rocks, the sudden dips in the river bed.  Could I navigate that again?  Seeing the look in the woman's eyes, as fearful as mine were a short time ago, made me realize that I must.  I must go back and help her.

I slowly make my way across the river, and as I head over to help the woman in my shoes, I notice I'm slipping less, my feet are more sure.  As I begin to pay better attention to the dips in the river bed, and where the rocks are, my walk gets easier.  Jesus, still along side me, looks at me with a warm smile.  We reach the edge and we wait.  My eyes are on the woman, but she doesn't see me.  She's too scared to notice. Tears are flowing down her face, and falling right at my feet in the river.  I just wait.  Just as Jesus waited for me. Then she does it.  She steps in the river.  All of a sudden she sees me standing there. Through her tears I can see her relief.  She's still scared, but knowing she doesn't have to go it alone, she grabs my hand.  She looks in my eyes as I softly whisper, "you will get through this.  It may be hard, it may hurt, but you won't be going it alone. I've walked this path you are walking.  Are you ready?"  She nods at me, tears still flowing, and takes the first step.