Friday, August 26, 2011

Top Three...

Spectacular Places to Run if you live where we do...

1. Liberty State Park- Jersey City, NJ
2. Central Park- New York, NY
3. Waterfront Path- Hoboken, NJ

These are our favorite locations to run through... but we are looking to find new favorite spots. Send us your suggestions.
Our first new location to try... Roosevelt Island. We'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Where, in Who or What Does Your Identity Lie?

Over the past couple of months I have been spending time thinking about the parts of my life that I place value in. Life is layered, it involves taking on many different rolls. There are people, places and things that pull me in every direction. It can be hard to find focus and direction when it always seems like there is so much to do, so many needs to meet, so many people to please and places to go. No wonder anxiety prevails the lives of so many. No wonder anxiety so often overtakes my life and soul.

So, I have been thinking about what roles are an important part of my identity; and what are the life giving, meaningful roles and relationships that I should spend my time investing in. Here's the list I came up with:

I am a follower of Christ.
I am a daughter.
I am a sister.
I am a teacher.
I am a friend.
I am a runner.
I am a writer.
I will soon be a wife.

So, these are the parts of my identity that I place the most value in, that I hope to invest the most in. This summer I have seen that when one of these roles seems to be taken from my life, I am shaken to my core. I have realized that I have invested my self worth in these roles in such a deep and intimate way that it feels like I don't quite know who I am without them.

I can see that God is teaching me that my identity in Christ is what is real and lasting. It is what will never be taken from me. While I love teaching, even if I am not a teacher this year, I will still be me. I am still a unique child loved by God. While I love running and training for this marathon, if I am injured an unable to do this, it will not be the end of the world. I will still be me. Although I will be far from my sisters and parents this year, I will still be me. I am continually looking to Matthew 11 this week as I am thinking about these things.

"Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matt 11:28-30

Running Update:
We are continuing to follow our training schedule, distances and the amount of time we are investing is increasing.
We have 11 out of 26 children sponsored! We have been humbled by the generosity of our church community.
We need to have 14 sponsored by September 7th to be eligible to run in the New York Marathon.

Please consider sponsoring a child through world vision. Click on the link at the left of this page to do so!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Running in the Rain.

Our long runs are truly becoming long. Last night we ran for 12 miles- the longest distance that we've ever run on our own. At mile 2, it started to rain. It continued to rain throughout our entire run, just as it did last week. I've found running in the rain to be refreshing for two reasons. Rainfall puts Jersey City at its quietest- streets and parks are empty. It also keeps us cool, a welcome feeling in the midst of summer.

Here are a couple of pictures of us, rain soaked and exhausted.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Let Go.

I have a strong desire to have control over my life circumstances. I think that I can have a firm, unrelenting grip on the way that I want things to be. Unfortunately, if you have lived life for any substantial amount of time, you know that this is not a helpful or productive way to live. Why? Because we really, ultimately do not have any sort of control over the way things happen. (Thank goodness). Over time, with much guidance, from God and trusted friends, I have discovered that this is not a healthy way to live. When I see that my drive for control has taken over my heart and my mind I pray for God to take it away. I pray that I can trust Him alone with my anxiety, my worries, my disappointments and that I can learn from things going wrong.

This summer so far has been tumultuous, to say the least. It is true to state that almost every area of my life- my home, my relationships, my job, thoughts and hopes for the future have changed or become more complicated in one way or another. The peace of having “everything together” is no longer present in my heart. Is this hard? Yes. Is it devastating? No. These life changes have allowed my heart to be challenged and changed. I have seen the need for relying completely on my faith in God and on nothing else. I continually look to Jeremiah 29:11, " For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Training with Team World Vision over these last weeks have given me perspective in more ways than one. Running has been a tangible outlet for the stress and anxiety that naturally comes from significant life changes. I have also had time to reflect on the lives of these children that I am running for. No matter what I am going through here, how blessed I am! Who am I to spend time complaining and worrying about my own life? I have a beautiful place to live, an incredible community of family and friends, and a fiancé who is such a blessing of support and perspective in my life. Many of the children who we are running and raising support for are in the midst of the most serious and severe drought in Africa. Their lives are truly tumultuous and full of uncertainty. Their main concern is to have enough food and water to live each day.

I am so blessed. I am so grateful that uncertainty and unexpected change has been a part of my summer; God has and is continuing to teach me how to let go and rely on Him. It is my hope and prayer that He will be present to these communities in Africa who are in dire need of assistance.

Please consider sponsoring a child in Africa through Team World Vision.