Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Have courage, daughter"

"Stir these stagnant waters of my soul, 
Merge me with Your river which springs life, 
I don’t have all the right words to say 
That will provoke You to want me 
Anymore than you already do”
~Amber Brooks

I struggle in my faith. 

I struggle with doubts--wondering if there is a God and if He can hear me--in the craziness of our world. There are days and nights when it doesn’t make sense to believe. Times when the pain and suffering is overwhelming, causing me to question a Father up in heaven who says he loves me. 

It’s hard to understand faith. It’s hard to grasp hold of something I cannot see. 

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, 
the evidence of things not seen.” 
~Hebrews 11:1

Especially now, in this day and age, when the days are filled with stuff--things I have to get done in order to keep my own little world going. Work, socialize, eat, exercise, sleep, blog...

It’s amazing the things that take the place of my faith--of my relationship with God--things that I could survive without. Things that I probably don’t need--like watching repeated episodes of Man vs. Food or the cookies that are baked at 4 a.m--but I seem to find a way to fit it all in. 

Then the end of the day comes, void of any time spent in the word and prayer, and I wonder why my faith is struggling. I wonder why my heart is empty, dry, and aching. 

Some days, I wake up longing for quiet time spent with God. I dive into the bible, excited about reading the words of the One who created me. Other days, I’m rushed, claiming to be too busy. I open up my devotional and try to cram it all in out of the guilt. I do it because I believe I have to, not because I desire to. Then there are the heavy days (and most nights) when I’m hurting so bad that I cannot see the words on the page or open my mouth to say a prayer. All I can do is cry to believe. 

My blog is filled with countless questions to the Lord. Many days, I write right after spending time in the word or in prayer. I used to keep a notebook with all my thoughts after reading my devotionals, but it was too hard for me to sit up and write after surgery--so I began to type it all out and post it. I like to look back and see all that God has taken me through. It helps me to believe. 

I pray a lot when I run too. Faith hits a whole new level when I’m on mile 8 and desperately seeking some strength to endure. Or even when I’m on mile 0.5 and fighting fatigue. I find that the thing that helps me the most when I am struggling on my runs is praise. 

If I am able to take my focus off of my pain--the achy bones, the nausea, my black toes (gross, but the pounding has given me some bruises and blisters)--and begin to praise God for His hand on my life, then I conquer my runs. 

My faith gets me through my most difficult runs. I don’t understand it. I can’t comprehend it. I can’t describe it. But I know that the Lord is there with me, cheering me on, telling me to have courage and believe. 

“Just then, a woman who had suffered from bleeding for 12 years approached behind and touched the tassel of His robe, for she said to herself, ‘If I can just touch His robe, I’ll be made well!’ But Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Have courage, daughter,’ He said. ‘Your faith has made you well.’ And the woman was made well from that moment.” ~Matthew 9:20-22

I’ve got a 10 mile run ahead of me today as I train for the Little Rock Marathon in March. I’ll be running on faith, prayer, and the hope 2 endure

My faith may struggle, but the Lord’s love for me is constant. I might find it hard to believe, but He never, ever leaves me. I might fill my days with needless stuff, but God still thinks of me, wants me, desires me all the same. 

And He’s cheering me on. 

Have courage...His love never fails. 

Update: I forgot that I already did my 10 mile run this week. Today was only 8 miles. I’m blaming the forgetfulness on Mr. Lou-Pron!

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