Saturday, June 16, 2012

Forward Motion

I've been talking in my head for weeks about spiritual gifts, raising little girls, being a young wife, and increasing my milk supply/cup size by drinking Mother's Milk tea on the regular (the illusion of perkiness is what matters here, folk) but instead, I bring to you this little nugget of my life:


Back up to last Saturday.
I quit my fast, decide I'm special enough to back out of my promises to God. And I'm antsy.
Monday comes along and I tell Eamon "I just need to sweat" (which I follow up with a stern reminder that certain sweaty activities need to wait 'less we end up with Burke Baby number 3).
So while the girls nap I pop in 30 Day Shred and get after it. Strange thing though...I don't die. True story. I lived to tell the tale. As a matter of fact, I hardly broke a sweat. The sad, sad truth of it all, is that it's so much easier for me to work out with 40 pounds off of me that I was working with this time last year. (From post-partum weight until now, I've lost a total of 60 pounds. And I would gain it all back if I could have pizza once a week again. Bet.)
The next morning I woke up sore, but not the dibilating soreness that I'm used to. Sure, I played it up and made Eamon get all the groceries off of the bottom shelves for me, but it really wasn't that bad.
Then, one of my friends posted on facebook that she needs a running buddy. I live like 5 seconds from her so it was kind of a no brainer. The catch- H is flipping super woman. Homegirl runs like 10+ miles a week which is exactly 10+ more miles than I've ran in about 5 years. So there's that.
All week I stay active, stare at Jillian's flexi-Barbie Doll abdomen, make sure I sweat a little (which, by the way is harder than it used to be. Why didn't you skinny people tell me you're freezing ALL THE TIME?!) and kinda dread Friday morning. The morning I said I'd "run" with Hannah. It finally occurs to me, I've never ever ever in my whole life ran without an inhaler. I used to have acute asthma and use 3 different inhalers a day, at least. My body has never ran without steroids in it's lungs. Yes they help, and man did they take away the pain, but I have no idea what my body is actually capable of.

This morning comes, and I'm pretty sure I'm in the clear, it's raining. YESSSSS. Time to stay in bed.
But lo and behold...7:30 rolls around and the rain has subsided. That takes care of that. Let's do this.
I stretch and decide to take a "warm up run" to the farmers market where we are supposed to meet. The first few blocks are up hill, then it's all downhill. Halfway up the hill I start having a hard time. We're talking a few blocks people. But I decide to just go, just push, let's see what I can do today.
I make it to the top of the hill, then feel the freeing, exhilarating feeling of running down hill on a misty morning. I've never actually experienced that. I realize then that I've been keeping my pace with my favorite praise song in my head (couldn't find my ipod) and take the few minutes to enjoy the morning and invite God into my run. And just like that, I was at the Farmer's Market.

By the time my sweaty, still somehow gorgeous at 8 in the morning friend gets there she says "Oh, I've already run 3 miles, but I could do another if you want."

Oh. right. You already did three. I did...what, 5 blocks...that's least five miles. Psh. Easy.

As to not look like a wimp, I take her up. My run there was great. I felt good. And just like any great 90s sitcom, I all of a sudden can't run. My calf starts seizing up on me and this spritely gazelle in front of me sees past the gorgeous, ambiguously mixed race goddess, and sees the frizzy headed 7th grader complaining to her basketball coach that "It Hurts." Thanks calves. Traitors.

So I go around the block with her and take the walk of shame limping home.

Oh, but don't worry, once I got on my street I made sure to sprint the last few blocks home,  I also laid out in my front yard, did some of my best yoga cool down moves, and some bicycle crunches so, you know, everyone would think I was doing that the whole time. Chumps.

Rewind again to Thursday. Eamon is trying his hardest to sweetly tell me how foolish I am for quitting my fast because it was hard. The fasting part wasn't hard, but the not getting any business, not being able to stay in touch with my friends, not feeling supported (read, not having someone cheer for me every time I didn't log on to facebook and tell me how awesome I am). Forget the fact that instead of wasting time I've been digging deep into my photography craft. Instead of scrolling through friends that I've hid on fb because I am jealous of their lives, stirring up bitterness in my heart, I am more familiar with the map of my Bible. Forget the fact that instead of thinking in status updates and concerning myself with why I didn't get more "likes" for the clearly hilarious comment I left on someone's picture, I have actually caught myself praying, or worshiping our Savior without knowing it.

As I sat down to write this, I realized that this fast has been like my first run without an inhaler.
I'd never done something like that before. I was so excited to see how far I could push my body, to defy what I thought my lungs were capable of, and fool myself into thinking I wasn't going to smack myself in my face with my boobs. I was eager to see what my body could do without those helpful steroids. But my soul I've kept more guarded. Instead of nurturing an eagerness to push my spiritual limits, I was content with the help of those steroids. I wanted that '"feel good fast." The one where, since your fasting, you and all of your friends become closer, you get a raise, and you never have a bad hair day. You're encouraged by all of these good things that forward motion is easy. Your lungs never burn, your calves never seize up.

A few hours ago I checked my "Map My Run" website, knowing that I didn't actually finish the route that I'd planned for that morning. Mapping what I ran and walked back [not including the block that I totally failed at being impressive with my friend] and it was a mile and a half! Not bad, right?! Then I mapped just what I ran... Three quarters of a mile! Half of that was uphill! I can't remember when I ran .75 miles consecutively, let alone without my inhaler.

Needless to say, I am continuing [possibly starting over] my fast.

Here's something else I've been "digging into" (boooo! ;] )

Hopefully this fall we will have sweet potatoes!
Hope you all have a great Father's Day weekend.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

"With Wisdom, Power, & Love"

*All that is discussed in this post is not to bring attention to us. No pity is being requested, only reverence for our Soveriegn Lord.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going on a fast.
As we loaded up the car to go to Rockport, I told Eamon we should pray about what things in our lives we should be giving up in order to spend more time with Jesus. I knew immediately that facebook had once again started to cloud up my mind, consuming more of my thoughts than prayers, and carrying weight in my heart that should be Jesus'.
The night before my fast I sat with my bible, journal and a cup of tea meditating on what this fast would look like. I decided to give up sugar for 40 days as well since fasting from food is so biblical [and selfishly because after a year of not eating dairy [of absolutely any kind], eggs, and wheat, giving up sugar for 40 days shouldn't really be a big deal.] As I sat on the porch thinking about all of this, one thing kept popping in my mind "Satan will make this hard for you, but I will be there." I had visions of Eamon and I fighting, of empty wallets, of an ER trip, and of me writing in my journal. It seemed very...small, looking back on it. Like I had an attitude of arrogance that *I* can overcome it, that *I* was going to be strong enough to get through it. To stick through my fast without wavering seemed to be the real goal in my head.
The first day of my fast Eamon and I fought like we never have before. And the second day. And the third day. On the third day, being completely sick of the emotional turmoil in our home, I spent time with Jesus in the morning to bring clarity and favor into mine and Eamon's communication. It was going well, until my genius toddler stuck a bobby pin up her nose and got it stuck. So off to the ER I went. An xray and hour and a half later, the doctors decided a) she swallowed it or b) we're full of crap and it was never up there. So home we went.
By the end of the first week I was very weary. And then financial distress sent me into an extreme bought of worry. All that week and the next we had less than $10 to our name with rent coming just around the corner. Eamon and I hustled and did everything we could to bring in some money, and by God's grace he found enough costumers for the both of us to pay for rent and a week's worth of food in about 4 days. Nothing is too big for him.
*As a side note- When we moved into our new home Eamon and I were making more than enough money to cover the expenses of a home and the bills that go along with it, we wouldn't have moved otherwise. We expected Eamon to get busier as his job was terminated allowing him to work at home, which he has. So it would seem as though we are being irresponsible with our money, but that just isn't the case. What we didn't expect is that my job, which was bringing in twice as much as Eamon on my slowest of month, would come to a screeching halt making me less money per month than I was a year ago when I was half as busy. I only say this because I have been shamed about our financial planning in the past and don't wish to make this post about that.
So week one was spent tearing my family to bits, Week two [and the majority of week three] was spent sulking in the stress of finance. So last night, I was just over it. With my phone being disconnected, and having no way to keep in touch with my friends [and lets face it, if you aren't on facebook, not many people, myself included, go out of their way to see how you are] and still being hungry after dinner, I sent Eamon to the store to get me something to eat for dessert. So there I sat, eating half package of Fig Newman's after binging on facebook, jumping from friend to friend's profile in silent. Catching up on all that I had missed, and not feeling great about it. Eventually I put the cookies down and logged off of facebook and spent the rest of my evening present for my husband.
Not really expecting or wanting anything in particular from this morning's service, I sat through my Care group and had a good time honing my spiritual gift, more so than most weeks, got through the stress of getting Norah to stay in Children's Church, and listened carefully to the sermon. I was hoping that God would interrupt Michael's sermon and give me a word that would be specifically uplifting and encouraging, but didn't get anything.
Our current series is on Worship, so as usual, we end the sermon with a mash up of two worship songs. When the words to "How Great is Our God" came up on the screen I felt conflicted. On one hand I was glad to know the words, on the other it was just that one song that we all know that lost it's meaning a long time ago. So I sang loud as they were playing it in just my key and I didn't have a baby on me to tame. The Lord had my attention. Then they went into "Our God." However you practice your faith, shoot, even if you don't believe, I'm sure you've hear it.
The refrain goes like this:

"Our God(our God) is an awesome God
He reigns(He reigns) from heaven above
With wisdom(with wisdom) pow'r and love
our God is an awesome God"

As soon as the words "He Reigns" came out of my mouth I was overcome with shame and immediate repentance. I couldn't stand on my own knowing how faithless I have been with more Lord. I have acted as if there are limits and boundaries and expectations on where/how/when God can work. I have not given Him credit for sending me to bed each night with a full belly, for clean, growing, healthy children, for a roof over my head that is in every way shape, and form EXACTLY what I prayed for. For loving me deeply in a way that I take for granted daily. I tried my hardest to make the words come out, but Jesus met me where I was and I felt the Holy Spirit with me so intimately, like it hasn't been in a very long time. As I came out of my fog, I was singing "With wisdom, pow'r and love, our God is an awesome God." and though my words may have been indiscernible to the ears around me, they resonated deep within my soul.

While this isn't the most eloquent post I've ever written, I share this with you just because this is my life right now. This is how God, once again, shows me how he will never let me down. I will not cease singing His praises of His sovereignty and divinity over shame and a financial slump. I'm praying you will look past your circumstances to find what Jesus is doing for you.