Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I've been running for you a long time and I won't turn back.

There's this chic named Damita who sings these lyrics in a song I like.  Catchy tune...look it up.  It will get your rear end up a hill if you are a runner.

I always wanted to be a runner. People who run seem so determined. They are disciplined.  They persevere.  They have cute running clothes and nice shoes. They are thin.  I like all those things. I just couldn't muster up the stamina to do it until a few years ago.  

Always been a walker I have. You know that kind of walker...the kind that my kids are embarrassed of and my husband is annoyed with because he wonders where we are going in such a hurry.  

So picture it, Sicily, 1922...don't you just love Golden Girls? Ok really, Cub Stadium, 2010.  There I am walking laps around that sucker and all of a sudden I feel the urge to start running. Crazy.  So I did and I still am. 

How about that?

I realize that running was a gift that God had for me but He was holding onto it for a time that He knew I would need it.  It's amazing the things He shows me when I run. The parallels he draws in my life.  Jesus and I have been working through this perseverance thing.  It is not the most fun I have ever had in my life, but necessary.  There have been a lot of fits and crying and whining.

Part of the lesson of persevering is finishing strong. I wish I could tell you I run 5 miles every day.  But that would be a load of bull.  I run 2 miles...3 if I am feeling frisky.  Then, normally I walk a mile to cool down.  There are times that I am tempted to skip that cool down mile.  I may be in a hurry, ready to get on with my day. Or I maybe just don't feel like it.  But I know better. If I don't do that last mile, I get sicker than a dog.  Slammin' headache, want to puke, wheezing like an get it.  Funny how that last mile is really important for me.   

I just came out of a season where I felt like I was running uphill on a snowy day both ways with wind and a lion chasing me.  I made it.  It was hard, but I made myself keep on and then there was, and continues to be, victory.  When I made it through that wretched run, I was ready to call it good.  I made it and now it was time for me to move on.  But God told me ,"No ma' will finish strong.  If you quit now, you will miss the best part." 

You see, when I run, I am focused on MYSELF.  I normally have my earbuds in and have my head down...concentrating on breathing and putting one foot in front of the other. So the great thing about that last mile is I take my earbuds out and can focus on OTHER PEOPLE. My head is up.  I make eye contact with other runners/walkers.  I look around at the beauty that God made for me.  I have time to think.  Sometimes I see a friend and we talk or I offer an encouraging word to someone who looks like they need it.  

There is a good chance that my cool down lap may last longer than my run.  That would be amazing and a total picture of God's grace.  

Good chance there is a race of another kind ahead.  Bummer. But I know what to do.

Finish strong friends.   

Oh...and just so you are not deceived...this morning I wore 10 year old running  pants that I paid 97 cents for at Ross and a bleach-stained tshirt.  No cute running clothes for this girl.  Yet. ;)


Monday, August 15, 2011

Corporate Worship Soapbox : Part II

Yesterday morning I had this amazing vision as I started running: my brothers and sisters in Christ waking up all over this rain-starved land getting ready for worship. Paul Baloche's voice came rushing into my ears just then with these words:

Praise is rising, eyes are turning to you, we turn to you.
Hope is stirring, hearts are yearning for you, we long for you.

And you know, I could not just hear, but also see those praises being lifted up to our Daddy. I could just feel the anticipation and the hope stirring in our hearts as we all long for Jesus and what He was going to share with us that very day.

Hear the sound of hearts returning to you, we turn to you.
In your kingdom, broken lives are made new, you make us new.

To have a front row seat. To be able to hear those sounds, to be able to see those broken lives made new. This is what it is all about folks.

This is why we put up with each others' imperfections. This is why even when we want to throw things and just fall out and bawl, we persevere and do not give up on one another.

Cause when we see you, we find strength to face the day.
In your presence, all our fears are washed away, washed away.

Hosanna, Hosanna, you are the God who saves us, worthy of all our praises.
Hosanna, Hosanna, come have your way among us, we welcome you here Lord Jesus.

We sing praises to our God, we invite Him to have His way among us. We welcome Him here, in our lives, in our presence. We ask Him to bless us and to mess with us.

I don't know who Archippus is, but I sure like what Paul said to him when he wrote to his brothers in Colosse:
"See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord."

Colossians 4:17

Let's not be sissies and give up. Let's hang in there. Whatever that means in your life right now. Finish strong.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Meet my new BFF Mr. Blackaby

Maybe rivaling the number of Justin Beiber fans, is the growing number of Christ-followers that have said "No, thank you" to organized church. I am going to be real edgy and say that on one hand I get it, and on another, this deeply saddens me.

Why do I get it?

I was in a department store the other day trying to find as many shirts as I could for under $20 (I came away with two by the way) and overheard two ladies having a conversation about their worship experience the day before. I listened to them express their strong opinions about how communion was not served appropriately and leadership seemed to not know the correct way to do it. It was new leadership. Oh dear. Had I not already cried this week, I would have gone into the dressing room and bawled. All I could think of was, "I hope no one else hears this conversation. Especially the someone who has not surrendered their life to the Lord."I pictured a member of the "not going to church" church overhearing this conversation and thinking "Uh-huh! Case in point!"

I can recall another time recently as a group of us sat around and discussed how we dropped the ball in ministering to a sister in Christ. I wanted to throw a fit and whip my shoe across the room, but I looked down and saw I was wearing flip-flops and they would not do the damage I was looking for. Defeat is what I felt and giving up is what I longed to do.

There are times when I listen to people's concerns over details that it is difficult for me to not let my mind wander to earlier in the day when I was on the floor sobbing with another woman over her disintegrating marriage. I am tempted to say, "Really? Is that what is causing the hitch in your giddy-up today?" When popsicles are not the right snack, I grow weary and and want to go work at Starbuck's.

I could go on and on about how the "church" drops the ball. We fail, we mess up, we sin, we get too caught up in small details and do not get caught up enough in the big ones.

But then. . .

I recall driving up to a work site where a group of about 12 men gave up a Saturday to roof a widow's house that they didn't know. Persevering through falling hammers and a "too many cooks in the kitchen" atmosphere so they could be Jesus in the flesh to a woman.

I remember walking into the children's wing at the church to find one of the mom's embracing and praying over a child-care worker.

I remember lying on my kitchen floor holding my phone up to my ear as a dear friend prayed God's word of victory over me.

I watch grown men go to the altar on Sunday mornings and submit themselves to their Lord as they lead their families.

I see a sweet lady who is most likely one step closer to heaven at this point in her life, raise her weathered and experienced hand in worship to her Lord.

I hear my children repeat things back to me said by their Pastor.

And I say "Uh-huh! Case in point!"

We must not forsake the gathering of believers. We must endure through the imperfections of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must exercise church discipline and extend grace when needed and love even when it hurts. We must forgive as Christ forgave us. We must be willing to be held accountable.

Check out these statements that Henry Blackaby writes in Experiencing God:

A church is a body. It is the body of Christ.
Jesus Christ is present as Head of a local church.
Every member is placed in the body as it pleases God.
God made us mutually interdependent. We need each other.
Apart from the body, I cannot fully know God's will for my relationship to the body.
Every member needs to be listening to what the other members are saying.
As I function in relationship to the church, I depend on others in the church to help me understand God's will.

Wowsers. Go Henry. Get on with your bold self.

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
Ephesians 4:15-16

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Breakfast, Bargains and Boys

I hate blogs. I have always wondered who has time to sit around and read about what other people are doing? There is work to be done for Pete's sake. Why would the blog world think people care about what they had for breakfast, or the latest bargain they found or God-forbid. . . posting pictures of their children on the internet? My husband and I share this opinion. We would often scoff at bloggers. How silly they are. How full of themselves!

So now I am blogging. Isn't that funny?

You know what my biggest fear about writing a blog is? Good ole fashioned fear of man. Dadgummit it gets me every time. I guess I am afraid that someone will read something that I have written and think, "What a moron." Or question my salvation. Or stop bringing their children to church. I am afraid that I will go back and read something and be mortified that I actually put my thoughts into word form for the world to see. And now it makes no sense.

But I am saying "Stick It" to my fear.

Because maybe something I write someday will be a blessing to someone. Maybe someone will read something I have written and think, "I guess I am not so messed up after all. . . look at her!" Maybe God's power will be made perfect in my weakness.

Just for the record. . .

I had half grape-nuts/half granola for breakfast with blessed raw milk. The last bargain I found was a great pair of pink pants that were free. And here is a picture of my sweet boys. . .

Monday, May 2, 2011

Yes, ma'am.

"You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of confusion does not come from the one who calls you."
Galations 5:7,8

This portion of scripture ignites a feeling of fury in me. Have you ever run a race that you were fully confident God signed you up for? Have you ever wrestled and had victory in obedience and perseverance only to find someone cutting in on you. . . determined to see your failure and cease any momentum gained? This makes me good and ticked off. You need to know that our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour. Just as our Heavenly Father has a plan for our lives, so does the enemy of our soul.

Will you see this for what it is? Will you see your run with the Redeemer not as a playground, but as a battleground?

Will you get good and ticked off with me when our enemy cuts in on you?

When you feel that defeat is inevitable?

Yes, ma'am, you get good and ticked off when you see the world vying for the affections of your children.

Get downright angry when you see children trapped in harms way.

Will you show a little emotion and a little righteous anger when you sense yourself being lulled to sleep in the midst of all that God is doing?

When fear paralyzes you?

When doubts and faithlessness crowd your mind?

When helplessness and hopelessness team up to do their damage?

Yes, ma'am. Get a little feisty, will you?

Because you know what?

"The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself RESTORE you and make you STRONG, FIRM and STEADFAST."
1 Peter 5:10

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Life in Jeans and a T-Shirt

If you have happened upon this . . . I bet you think you have the wrong Debbie Forland. The Debbie Forland you know would not have a blog that looks like this. The design is called "Ridiculously Fabulous." The Debbie know would have a design named, "Basic Dots" or "Damask Don't" in the shade of blue, of course. Or maybe "Jeans and a T-shirt."

Yup, I settled on "Ridiculously Fabulous." I am not sure why. I bet we will find out in the days ahead. I do like the colors . . . love that purple. But it was the name that got me. Not because I think I am "Ridiculously Fabulous." Maybe just "Ridiculous." But guess what? God is doing a new thing in my life. And thank Him for that, will you?

Isaiah speaks it best: "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19

So let's get the "me" out of the way because we have more important things to talk about in the future . . .

I really like blue.
I love the smell of honeysuckle.
The only kind of snow I like is on a Christmas card or during the month of December.
I love the beach.
I drink my coffee with half and half.
I think my husband gets better looking with age.
I love the smell of my boys' heads and still kiss their cheeks every single day.
My favorite food is a sugar cookie with icing on it.
I love to be with people.
I love to be alone.
I love to smell the pages of books and magazines.
Nothing makes me more upset than to see children mistreated.
I hate manicures.
I love pedicures.
I am picky about what I read.
I will eat almost anything.
I love to laugh - the kind where your stomach hurts and you look real ugly while doing it.
I love the smell of pine trees.
I am afraid of getting rabies from a wild critter.
I hate running on a treadmill.
I love running outside.
I love construction paper.
The smell of open windows + the sound of J. Vernon McGee on a scratchy radio + the sight of my mom at the clothesline + the feel of my dad's rough hands + the taste of roast and potatoes with gravy = happy memories from my home.
If I had a little girl, I would call her "Susie," even if her name was not that.

I think that's good . . .

So you have met the "Ridiculous" part of this pair . . . I pray that in the days to follow, you will become better acquainted with the "Fabulous." He is my God and my Redeemer. "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:2-3