Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Run...

Loyal Blog Readers,
I know for the longest time you have all been waiting in anticipation for Part 2, 3 and 4 of my "revelations" and I would so love to give them to you, but I feel as though it is not quite yet time for those particular stories to be shared. In other words, I hesitate to post something on the internet that I am not completely and entirely convinced of. And in this case, I cannot say quite yet that I feel that God is done teaching me the lessons in the coming parts. So, instead I will impart upon you what God has been doing in my life over the last while. He has been busy, even if I haven't seen it. And for that I am so grateful.

As I write this, I am on day 4 of being stuck in the house with one of the worst bronchial cough's I have had in my life. For the first little while I was unable to sleep more than 2 or 3 hours at night because I would wake up coughing and would be unable to either A) stop coughing long enough to go back to sleep or B) become comfortable enough to fall back asleep due to the muscular pain the cough was causing me. (I never knew how much strain coughing put on your body until now...which gives me a greater respect for the body alltogether!)

In anycase, this problem seems like a paradox because my body is and has literally exhausted itself from coughing, and yet I could not sleep. I tried to keep going, to push through, because that is what I do - I run and run and run and then only when I physically cannot run anymore do I think about stopping. However, this time, my body decided for me that I was going to take a break, and it just, shut off. Thursday, Friday and Saturday I did not have the energy to move myself from off of my top bunk, and when I did find the energy, it was spent completely in short trips to and from the bathroom or the kitchen. I am so blessed to have a wonderful team of girls who have surrounded me in love and have taken care of me since minute one, researching various medications and their uses, discussing ways to take over my responsibilities within the church, sitting with me for hours on end as I cough and then sleep for 4 hours, setting alarms every 4 hours for my medication reminders and calling me while evangelising to make certain that although they aren't with me, I have remembered to take my medication. Melanie, my dear dear roommate has set her alarm for 12:00am, 4:00am, and 8:00am in order to wake me up and give me my medication. I am so absolutely blessed to be with these three wonderful girls who I consider my family here in Spain. To those parents who are reading this - please know that you have done well raising these girls, and I applaud you all!! :-)

Their acts of love have caused me to contemplate one thing in particular - what happens when I am not only physically exhausted but become spiritually exhausted? Is this even allowed?!

The answer is a resounding "YES", because today in my quiet time, I was drawn to Matthew 11:28 where it reads "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." It seems as though God actually understands that in this race that we call life, He knows we will become weary. We will become worn out and tired. The verse goes on to read: "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." As I read this verse, I had to pause for a moment, to really take in all that it was saying. Jesus, the man who literally laid his life down, was nailed to a cross and left to die, is saying, He is going to carry my load. He wants to take on my troubles, my worries, my fears, my insecurities. All I have to do, is pause for a moment, recognize that I am not able to carry my load any more and then lay it at his feet and rest.

There it is - that 4 letter word that I seem to find so difficult. REST. I roll it around on my tongue, test it out...R-E-S-T. I question why it is, that I find this so difficult. Why is it that I can't just be calm and quiet and sit in silence with Him. Why I can't lay down my burdens for a few moments and take a break. Why is it so difficult to understand that God is so much more capable to carry my burdens for me than I am?

And then: BAM! I am hit with a realization. What on earth am I being forced to do right now, at this very moment but REST?! I physically cannot do it anymore. My body has decided that it is going to stop and take care of itself because I haven't been paying enough attention to the warning signs. (It seems to know me better than I know myself...) So maybe this is God's timing. I may not enjoy the fact that I have been bed ridden and house bound for 4 days, but it sure has given me time to pray and read my Bible a lot more than I probably would had I been following my every day schedule. I choose to think that maybe this was God's way of putting his hand on my shoulder and in His own "God sense of humor" way, pushing me into my bed and saying - "Take a break Beth - You are weary." Gee, thanks God! :-)

And so, I have rested. I have slept hours upon hours - the numbers are scary for how many hours I have slept. I have taken 4 various medications (and still am) and have inhaled ridiculous amounts of Vicks...but through it all, I have had my eyes opened. I have witnessed kindness and love and sacrifice. I have learned to lean and not always to stand. I have learned that it is okay to be weak, and it is also okay to not always have all the answers. And although there may come a time when I don't remember all of these lessons, God will be gracious enough to remind me.

I also have been reminded of the ways that God speaks to me - through songs. My life is a continual playlist - song upon song, layer upon layer, rhythm upon rhythm. My life flows to a constant soundtrack - sometimes it is choppy like Beethoven and other times it flows smoothly like Enya...either way I have learned that God speaks in song to me. And so I have chosen to listen more intently. I have posted below some of the lyrics that have spoken to me recently. I have not posted every lyric because this post would be 27.5 pages long (or longer) so I have just chosen the most prominent lines from 3 specific songs...I hope that in some way these songs can speak to you as well.

I thank God for His continual revelations in my life - I see that He is working in me, and teaching me. I just need to take the time to rest in it.

God Bless,

"I run from hate, I run from prejudice, I run from pessimists. But I run too late.
I run my life, or is it running me?
Run from my past, I run too fast or too slow it seems...

This world keeps spinning faster, into a new disaster so I run to You...
And when it all starts coming undone, You’re the only one I run to.

We run on fumes, your life and mine.
Like the sands of time slippin’ right on through.
And our love’s the only truth - that’s why I run to You."
~I Run To You, Lady Antebellum

"I've been marked, set apart. But I'm cut so deep and afraid of the dark.
One drop of blood from the hole in Your hand
Is enough to heal me and make me stand.

'Cause I'm clean, He is listening to me
I don't have to scream for Him to hear me
Don't have to bleed for Him to see me
'Cause I'm clean, He is listening to me"
~ Scream, ZOEGirl

"I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from?
My help comes from You
Maker of heaven, creator of the earth."
~I Lift My Eyes Up (Psalm 121), Kutless

"There's always gonna be another mountain, I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle that sometimes I'm gonna have to lose.
Ain't about how fast I get there,
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
Its the climb."

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