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Friday, June 15, 2012

Women of Impact: Story 2. Kerri

I reconnected with one of my first ‘college’ roommates the other day over Facebook chat.  She is a Facebook friend I rarely see.  But unlike other Facebook friends who may really not be friends at all, this woman has exemplified devoted friendship. 

When I moved to Saskatoon to go to University I lived in a house with 4 other girls that I previously had no connection to.  My friend was one of these girls.  I was new in town with pretty much no one to hang out with.  However, there was no time to be lonely.  My first evening after moving in she invited me to come out with her and a friend.  And so that evening I cruised 8th street in a pick-up truck!  While in other circumstances the idea of driving up and down a main street in Saskatoon wouldn’t have thrilled me, that night that was, like, the best invitation ever!  My friend took the effort and made me feel amazingly welcome.  She has this special gift of naturally making any situation a fun place to be and we had so many great times together that year and the photos to prove it!  

My friend is able to impact lives through her invitingly fun personality and her willingness to initiate friendships.  However, she doesn’t just initiate friendships she is a friend that you can count on to make the extra effort.  My wedding date fell on the weekend that she was to write her certifying exam at the end of her veterinary technician course.  Bummer, right?  Well she didn’t hesitate for a moment.  She made arrangements to drive all the way to Edmonton to write the exam on a different date, so she could attend my wedding.  That was more than a gesture of friendship.  That was an exemplary action of how committed to friendship this woman is.  She loves her friends and she makes sure she shows it.

I mentioned that I hardly see this friend.  This is true.  In the past few years I have seen her once or twice.  However, again just recently she blessed my heart.  She was going through a difficult situation and found my blog and just encouraged me incredibly by taking the time to open up to me about her situation and share with me how my blog gave her the words she needed in those moments.  I admire this woman for how easy she makes it to be real together.  Life is full of many people living 2 lives: one on the surface and one underneath.  But this woman lets you into her life, the one underneath, so that she only lives one life, and because of this you feel so special to be blessed with sharing this life with her.  And you know, that she cares about not only what’s on the surface of your life, but also what’s in the guts and depths of your life too.  Indeed, she is exactly the friend you are so glad to have graced your life.

My friend is an incredible woman of impact through her gift of giving meaningful friendship.  And for that I thank her.    

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Body: A Temple

Today I listened to the daily audio bible as I was doing some of my yoga stretches.  I’m a bit dismayed by how my body feels these days.  It aches from the way I hold Rayna.  It feels beat up from a 5 Km run.  It’s tight, it feels weaker than I think it should, and it seems to be holding onto those last few pregnancy pounds with an extra tight grip.  But as I stretch my body, it responds.  And as I push my body athletically, it performs.  And as I look in the mirror, I know that my body is beautiful regardless of the extra pounds, because it is my physical house here on earth and a gift from God.  And so I embrace my body and marvel at its wonder this morning. 

I love, like really love, physical activity.  There is nothing like running and hiking and strengthening my body.  Sometimes it is really difficult.  Just on Sunday when I was running with Ryan and Rayna I was complaining about being hungry, about the run feeling so much harder than I thought it should, etc.  I complained for a full 10 minutes off and on before I realized what a whiny-pants I was.  Then on completion of the run I thought, “Wow, that was a good run!”  Good.  Good because it was done, for one; but, also good because I am so thankful for my physical vessel.  I am aware that some people’s bodies fail them early in life and so I am thankful for each step I can walk, each push-up I can do, each moment I can pick up my daughter and hold her soft skin close to my own.

We have fascinatingly beautiful bodies.  I have a degree in Biochemistry.  The chemistry of the body is absolutely mind-blowing, from the Krebs cycle* to the central dogma.  It is so intricate, it is so precise, it is so orderly.  Our God is the Creator, undoubtedly when you look at our bodies!  Furthermore, I have had the blessing of being pregnant with and delivering my daughter.  The miracle of pregnancy and child-birth are unparalleled.  Feeling Rayna kick me in the womb was ‘crazy’.  When I stopped to think about it and the growing child within me it was indescribable.  While I have believed in God for as long as I can remember, in this experience it was so evident that truly it is only possible for a child to develop within me by the hand of our God.  In addition, child birth was incredible.  Incredibly painful, yes; but, pushing my daughter out of my body with all my might was like no other experience.  When I crossed the finish line of my half-marathon last year, I was overwhelmed by the high and the accomplishment.  But that was nothing compared to child-birth.  When my daughter was born, I have never felt more proud of myself and I have never been so overwhelmed with such pure and complete satisfaction.  This body of mine is indeed amazing.

In I Corinthians 6:19-20 the bible tells us that our “bod[ies are] a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in [us], whom [we] have received from God.” A temple that is what my body is!  It is a gift and as a Christ-follower it houses the very spirit of God.  Furthermore, I Timothy 4:8 tells us that “while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”  Therefore, I conclude with resolve to embrace with thanksgiving every opportunity to train my body and strengthen this physical vessel and enjoy what it is able to do.  But, training of my body is not the final key to full satisfaction.  Only godliness gives satisfaction in every way.  And so I also have renewed commitment to continue my journey towards godliness. As I struggle to ‘unstick’ these last few pregnancy pounds and regain my fitness level, so too I strive to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles [me] (Hebrews 12:1, NIV) so I may be found spiritually fit on the day I find myself crossing the finish line of this life.       

*Indeed, when I was memorizing the Krebs cycle, as required for one of my first biochemistry classes, I really thought my mind might burst with all the details I was trying to pour into it; it really felt like it was too much detail that as I put one part of the cycle in, the rest wanted to fall out!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Women of Impact

I have wanted to write my memoirs for a while now as a way of writing about the women who have impacted my life and helped shape me into the woman I am today.  I don’t think I will be sitting down anytime soon to embark on the complete endeavor of formulating a book; however, I want to shape a portion of my blog into something a little more consistent. I want to honor real women, present and past, in my life through my words, through this blog.  And so today as you read my first story (of many to come) of a woman of impact we will honor her together.

My encounter with a woman of impact this past week: Gina

This past week I went hiking with a friend, who is a single mom, and her son.  I am just starting to get to know this friend; she is relatively new in my life.  I don’t know the details of her story; but, I do know she is a committed mom who loves her son.  As we were hiking I began to see more glimpses into her life. 

As mother myself now I appreciate when Ryan comes on board to be “fun-dad” to our daughter when I am tired and don’t have any conversation or smiles left for her.  I appreciate when Ryan is there so I can pop out for half an hour or an evening and our daughter is in good hands.  I appreciate that Ryan is there to verbally and physically share the struggles and stresses of parenting.  I appreciate that I have a partner in parenting.

My friend does not have these luxuries.  She has to be “fun-mom”.  She has to be ruling setting mom.  She has to be a provider.  She has to be care-giver.  She has to be present.  Always.  I mean she has assistance in some people, but for the most part day in day out she has to be there: to calm her son into sleep, to play with him so he can burn off steam, to talk to him so he can voice his dreams of what he wants to be when he grows up, to put food on the table to nourish him, and so many other things that I don’t even know about parenting yet since my child is not yet so grown.  She has no co-pilot in parenting. 

I said to her: “you must have lots of energy and patience.”  She replied, “I pretty much am exhausted all the time; but you get used to it.”

My words are inadequate to describe the impact this woman has on a daily basis.  She is impacting her son’s life.  She is so committed to her son.  She loves him so much.  She has to work so hard to be mom to him.  You can see she is doing everything she can, the best that she can, to be the best mom she can to him.  Daily she gives so much, fighting exhaustion, to give him the best. She is giving her all, so he can have the best of this life.  I can only imagine she feels like she turns up short as she tries to fill 2 roles.  And while she alone cannot replace the constant daily presence of Dad in her son’s life, she is indeed a mom and a half to her son, doing a wonderful job! 

She is also impacting my life.  I mentioned that I don’t know this friend that well yet.  This is true.  However, I admire this woman and I admire the mom that she is.  She is humble, hard-working, doesn’t complain, and has a faith rooted in God.  I am glad to have her as a friend and truly believe that as our relationship grows, so will my admiration for her.  This woman of impact is doing an incredible job at navigating this challenging life and with whatever credibility I have, I say “Well Done!”  Thank you for the positive impact you are having on my life.