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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Race

Race day preparation and motivation:

On May 29 2011 I am running 21.1 Km in the Run for Water Half-Marathon. This is the day I was due to give birth to our child. It is because May 29th was my due date that I want to run this race even though I’ve been behind in training due to my knee injury this past winter. At first I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to go for it. I now know I can go for it (accepting that completion may require some walking). So today I have registered for this very symbolic race which has become an accomplishment of much importance for me on a very significant day for Ryan and me. Consequently, this half marathon has been weighing heavy on my heart because I so badly want to complete it even though I can feel my knees aren’t 100% and I’m pushing my distances.

The Pep-talk:

This past Wednesday I was able to sit down with my dear friend who is a prayer warrior. She not only prayed for my knee and for the race on the 29th, she also prayed that God would be with me in my car on my drive home and that I would experience Him. Well God spoke very briefly, but pointedly and profoundly. God told me He will run the race with me. He knows my desires to complete that race and why it is so important to me. He understands that the race and the condition of my knees are not trivial for me. He will run with me. He will be with me with every stride I make, every step I take. He will be there with me on the very emotional day that should have been the birth of our child. He will give me the physical strength I need to complete that race and the spiritual and emotional and mental strength as well.

God told me he will run the race with me. This race of life can be challenging. I said to my friend why can’t our bodies just be able to do what we want them to do? I’m trying to be healthy by running, why should my knees prevent me from doing that!? The race path isn’t smooth. Striving for that finish line may produce injuries, will likely result in fatigue, and will hopefully provide moments of adrenaline driven highs. And God will be running with me when I’m slowed to a walk, when I’m elevated to a sprint. He will be with me on the plateaus (where I am now). He will be with me on the steep uphill out of the valley that’s slippery (where I was a couple months ago). He will be there when the “rush” of the race is so profound it bubbles out me and I can’t contain it. He will be there in the mile marker accomplishments. He will be there at the finish line.

And in these words that God has given I am reminded of the verse in 1 Timothy 4:8 “Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart.” You can easily replace ‘in the gym’ with ‘on the trail’ and this verse speaks directly to me. Yes it’s good to be physically fit, but how much better it is to be spiritually fit. I don’t really know what to expect in the coming 2 weeks of this race of life, but I do know that God will be there with me in it. I do know that in the end what really matters is that I am “[running] with endurance the race that God has set before [me]” (Hebrews 12:1).

The Prize:

For the most part Ryan and I have not fully grieved the loss of a child. Our miscarriage has felt like the loss of a pregnancy and the loss of hopes and dreams that came with that. However, as our due date approaches (and the bellies of our pregnant friends grow), I find myself thinking more of the loss of our child. So as I prepare to run that race on May 29th I know that regardless of what placement I finish at, I will feel like a winner. All participants who complete the race receive a medal. When I complete that race, I will be obtaining a medal of memorial for our child, for the blessing of his or her life that was too brief. This medal will also be my earthly parallel of the prize that God has called us to press on towards. The prize of LIFE that is available through Jesus Christ. The prize all Christ followers receive when they cross the finish line of the race of life (Philippians 3:14).

Saturday, May 7, 2011

God's Pharmacist: Opportunity

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I guess I haven’t been overwhelmed in the last while with any emotions that have stirred me to want to share my thoughts. Life has been relatively even keel. Spiritually I feel like I have been in a place of living off of the past. God was so very present when I cried out to him in our time of miscarriage. But in the last weeks, I feel like I haven’t learned anything new about God. We became members at our church and my testimony spoke of all the things I learned of God over the last months. But here I am feeling like if I’m not still learning, and if I’m not still hearing God’s voice, then where am I? I think of the story of Gideon in the bible. He was a man who started his journey with God well, but in the end his passion faded and thus his leadership failed. I want to start well, continue well, and finish well. So I suppose I am learning! I am learning that I need to daily call out to God and ask for Him to speak into my life, even when life is traipsing along well.

Aside from my relatively neutral heart lately, I have been provided with opportunity. The position of pharmacy manager became up for application a few weeks ago. I hesitated to apply. I wasn’t sure the extra responsibility was worth the promotion. However, after much encouragement at work to apply for the position I sat down and talked with Ryan and his wise words reminded me that when opportunities are granted we ought to take them. So as of September I will be pharmacy manager at Walmart pharmacy! This comes in the month when I was expecting to go on maternity leave. The dichotomy that I was looking forward to this year away from work to focus on other pursuits (family!) and here I am ready to pour myself into my work more was difficult at first as the congratulations started coming my way (this was not really a big deal to me and not what I had hoped to receive congratulations for)! However, I’m sure it’s an irony not lost on God, because he has been showing me that He uses opportunities, in fact He creates them! Go figure. As we wait to become pregnant, as we wait for a family, God has other plans. I am now interested to see how these plans will unfold and I am trusting that God will provide me the ability to manage well.

Speaking of my role as a pharmacist, I want to share something I wrote last December. It’s about how God has called me to be His pharmacist.

Revelation 22:2 “The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.”

I am a pharmacist. I deal with drugs and medicine on a daily basis. I see how people want medicine to heal them. Often times it’s a desire for something to heal them so they don’t have to put any effort in. My blood pressure is high, but if there’s a pill that can bring it down so I don’t have to exercise - great! I don’t like to see this. I like being healthy and promoting healthy living so as to minimize the need for medicine. And then to have the option of medicine when lifestyle is not enough or when misfortune has it that it is required (I think of my father). (But even when we do all the right things, guess what? We are human and so lifestyle and medicine will always fail in the end…it’s inevitable. We can’t live forever, even if we exercise, live balanced, eat organic and treat our ailments.) But God has a medicine to heal. And he has a medicine to give us eternal life. And it doesn’t even require any work on our part. Isn’t that exactly what more people are searching for? (Think of weight loss in a pill.) God’s medicine is healing for the soul; it is the message that we are loved and forgiven of all our wrongs and failures if we only choose to accept. God’s medicine is the acceptance of a Saviour who is awesome, who is revolutionary, who is relevant, who is God himself. God’s medicine requires no effort. (This is good, because effort has ended in heart ache and failure all too often for so many people.) Simply believe. I need to get in the business of being God’s pharmacist, dispensing God’s medicine to all the sick, hurt, lonely, depraved people out there. Hmmm. That’s exactly what my “job title” is as Christ’s follower.