Tag Archive: God


First Cross-Country Meet

First Cross Country Meet

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a runner. And when I say I’m a runner, I don’t mean I like to go for an occasional run or I just really love my team (even though I do). Nope. That’s not it at all. When I say I’m a runner, I am implying that I have a deep love for the activity itself and everything that comes with it; even the aches and pains. Running is hard. As in when you finish practices or races, you want to drop to the ground and vomit. That kind of hard. The thing is, running brings me joy like few other things can do. I’m willing to fight through injuries, exhaustion, and 100+ degree weather to continue pursuing that passion.
Why the display running love (verging on obsession) today? I’m glad you asked. My team’s first meet was today, and it was terrific! Personally, I ran a time I was more than happy with. My goal was to run a time of about twenty-four minutes, but I ended up finishing at 22:58. That is a little more than a minute more than my personal best, and for a first meet, I could not be happier! Not to mention the small fact that I am fighting not one but two injuries right now (hips and one of my calves). In other words, once I heal, I am going to be able to do even better. All that in the beginning of my cross-country season.
But onto the larger picture: our team result. The goal of my girl’s team this year is to improve at phenomenal rates, and, hopefully, take down the team that has dominated the state championship for over ten years. I am glad to say that we are off to a good start. The meet we ran at today wasn’t big, but we placed incredibly well, and easily took first place. I am so proud of all of my teammates, especially our new runners who ran competitively for the very first time–honestly, they were more impressive than our top runners! More importantly, we ran for the glory of God. The race itself, for me, was beautiful. The song lyrics going through my head throughout the beginning of the race were simple: “all for the glory of you”, and the words were perfect. There is no better way to run a race than when your focus is on praising God. However, after the race was amazing too. As we were warming down, my friends and I took turns praying and thanking God for the blessings he has given us, and even thinking about it now brings a smile to my face!
I will leave you all with this: my first cross-country meet was great!
End of book quote: “Then he turned into Lee avenue and was gone.” —The Chosen by Chaim Potok

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Faith Without Works

“This faith is not like a deed to a house in which one may live with full rights of possession. It is more like a kit of tools with which a man may build a house. The tools will be worth just what he does with them. When he lays them down, they will have no value until he takes them up again.” –The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas

Faith in God is not the easy way to get to Heaven. It never has been, and it never will be. In fact, we are promised that we will suffer just as Christ himself did, but it is all worth it. Philippians 3:8 says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

That verse is beautiful to me because there is an all-powerful God who loves us enough to give his own son up to die for us. Nothing can ever separate us from that love if we should choose to accept it; not sin, not pain, not hardship, not our faults, or even all the mistakes we have ever made. It’s crazy to think anyone could love so selflessly, yet God proves us wrong time and time again.

There are so many pictures of his endless love painted in the Bible. The entire book of Hosea is a representation of God’s love for us. For any who does not know the story, God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer, and stay faithful to her even when she did not stay faithful to him. Symbolically, the relationship between Gomer and Hosea represents the relationship between God and his people; with the Lord constantly bringing his children home after they continuously stray back to their sin. The book of Hosea still applies to us today. We will never be perfect, but Christ pursues us anyway.

When we discover our love for God, it is easy to understand why James 2:14-17 is so true. [“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”] Faith prompts us to act in ways we never would otherwise. When a person dedicates their life to Christ, it is no small commitment because following God is not a simple task.

God does not hesitate to call us out of our comfort zones, but it is up to us to decide whether to obey or not. Lloyd C. Douglas put this idea into words excellently in the quote I used above. If we choose not to act upon our belief in God, then how can we claim to be wholly devoted to him? That being said, we will fail to act through faith over and over and over again, but God does not abandon us even though we can never measure up.

I am dwelling on these things tonight because of my baptism yesterday. It was an incredible time for me. My family and a few friends were able to attend, and their attendance meant the world to me. But more importantly, God proved to me once again that he is working in my life.

A few days ago, I blogged about my concerns for my upcoming baptism. I was stressed about not fully understanding what baptism meant, and went through an anxious period over the last week, but God did not leave me in that state of mind. He answered my prayers two days ago with only a short time left to spare before I was actually baptized.

I spoke with one of my good friends while we were on a run, and realized that God did not require me to fully understand what baptism meant. Instead, I firmly believe that he desired me to act on faith, and obey him no matter what my comfort level was. After I got home from Cross Country practice that morning, I felt at peace with my decision to go through with getting baptized. As I explained to my mom, I don’t think Abraham quite understood what he was doing when God commanded him to be circumcised [Genesis 17], and he didn’t need to. God worked through him even though his comprehension was limited, and I figured that God could easily do the same with me.

While I am still unclear about baptism in its entirety, I am overjoyed that I was baptized last night. It was the absolute perfect time, and God knew that and prepared me for it. I am immensely grateful to God for blessing me with such an incredible night with him and my friends and family, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

End of book quote: “And when the colt, nothing but a bundle of legs and wet fur as black as Enna’s hair, fell into her arms, Ani might hear a name.” —The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Baptism

Baptism

One of the hardest things for me to do in life is to trust God completely. There’s always a part of me that wants to hold back; that isn’t sure trusting God is the best option available even though I’ve been told a countless number of times that God will never let me down. I believe that is true, but there are so many times when I forget about it.
Right now I am experiencing one of those times of forgetfulness. I am getting baptized in a few days, but I’m not at all excited about it. In my mind, baptism has never stood out as something incredibly important for me to do. I’ve grown up in a Christian home with a Christian family at a Christian school, so making a public declaration of faith never seemed like a practical use of time. The only reason I am getting baptized at all is because I feel that, as a believer, I am supposed to as baptism is something God wants us to do. After all, even Jesus himself was baptized.
When I spoke with my mom about my concerns, she told me that she thought my concerns showed I was living out my faith. As Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” I’m not sure if she’s correct or not, but I do know one thing for sure: my hope is in God, and I want to have confidence in him and what he tells me to do. However, even with all this in mind, I can’t bring myself to relax.
Colossians 2:11-13 makes it clear that baptism is a symbol of us dying with Christ and being resurrected with him [“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses”]. That passage shows how important baptism is in general, but I can’t wrap my mind around what that means specifically for me. I really want my baptism to mean more than just proclaiming my faith to my Christian associates. It seems like baptism is supposed to be an important step in maturing in faith, but I can’t convince myself that it makes any difference at all.
I am trying to trust that God will give me wisdom to understand the importance of baptism if that’s what I need, but I can’t help worrying about what I don’t comprehend while I wait for understanding. For all I know, I’ll never be taught why baptism is so important to Christianity, but I hope to figure it out someday soon (preferably before I actually get baptized).
End of book quote: “There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler’s mind.” —So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish by Douglas Adams

Mountains

Mountains

A lot of people out there love the ocean. They love to go to any place that has a beach, nice waves, and plenty of sunshine. After all, what isn’t there to like? God created some gorgeous places.

However, I happen to not fall into that category. For me, the ocean has always been a place that I’m not terribly excited to go to. It doesn’t really make sense. I can swim perfectly well so I don’t bother to fear drowning. As I already mentioned, oceans are breathtaking and I love to look at them, but I don’t enjoy being in them (though I endure it when I’m kite boarding). You see, I’m not a huge fan of swimming or wearing bathing suits for long periods of time or getting salt water in my mouth and eyes.

So there you have it, I don’t really like going to the beach.

What I do love is ocean’s opposite: mountains. Every moment of my childhood that I can remember was surrounded by mountains. Mountains, like oceans, are enormous, breathtaking, and incredibly scenic. But in my eyes, mountains are far superior. I’d take a hike over sitting around on a beach any day. My love for the mountains goes so deep that I’ve never been a huge fan of areas where mountains are practically nonexistent. When I can’t see peaks in the distance, there’s a part of me that feels exposed. So when I go to places like South Dakota and North Carolina, I always feel homesick for my Arizona mountains. What can I say? I’m a mountain girl and always will be!

Last line book quote: “Some day it may seem worth while to take up the story of the younger ones again and see what sort of men and women they turned out to be; therefore it will be wisest not to reveal any of that part of their lives at the present.” —Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

All It Takes Is One

All It Takes Is One

I’m an introvert. I have been all my life, and I can’t say I would change it even though sometimes not being an introvert would make my days a whole lot easier.

As far back as I can remember, I’d rather sit at home and read a book or write than go hang out with large groups of people. See, I’ve always been uncomfortable around people. The church I go to now is the same one I’ve been going to since my family moved to Tucson when I was two or three years old, but I didn’t really have any friends until I reached high school. The reason for that friendlessness is quite simple: I didn’t know how to talk to strangers. I was too afraid to walk up to a group of people I didn’t really know and introduce myself, so I didn’t. I’d just pray that my one or two friends would be at church that Sunday, and when they weren’t, I’d sit by myself and want to cry because I felt so alone.
The first time I went to church camp in sixth grade, I didn’t have anyone to sit by on the bus driving up (don’t worry, someone ended up sitting next to me). I distinctly remember looking out the window of the Greyhound bus, fighting tears, and mentally begging God to let me get off that bus and go back home.
Like I said, I’m an introvert. That’s just my personality. I feel things deeply, and I’m harder on myself than anyone else could be. My mom has been telling me horror stories from my younger years. Apparently, some family friends or something came over for dinner one night and I refused to come out from underneath a chair in my parent’s room because I was terrified that they wouldn’t like me.
Looking back on awful moments like that, I can’t say I regret any of them. Not having friends at church in middle school not only worked into the trials I had to face that shaped me into who I am today, but I am now able to realize how blessed I am to have the friends I’ve made now. That camp I went to in sixth grade that started out so poorly ended up being the place where I personally experienced God’s presence for the first time. I am happy to say my life has not been the same since. And even though I can’t remember refusing to meet those family friends when I was little, it was similar catastrophes that prodded me to strive towards being a little more extroverted so that I ever so slowly learned to be a more healthy introvert.
I’m glad to know that I can relate to the picture I posted above. I’m not saying that I have never been mad, depressed, or antisocial, but I can say that I am content to be an introvert because that’s how God created me to be.
End of book quote: “Do your ears hang high!” —Do Your Ears Hand Low? by Caroline Jayne Church
P.S. In case anyone is interested in seeing another perspective on being an introvert, check out the post “It’s Okay to Be an Introvert: A Review of Susan Cain’s Quiet” on the blog The Bookshelf of Emily J. Let’s see if this link works: http://emilyjanuary.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/its-okay-to-be-an-introvert-a-review-of-susan-cains-quiet/