My life has been far from easy. In fact, it’s been a challenge since my birth. I have a friend who often will comment about my life, either to me or to others, in how I could have given up, or used my circumstances to not even try in life. I never did though, give up, it’s just not who I am. Why am I who I am though? I grew up without a father, he was absent before I was born. My mom did her best to raise me and my two brothers, however there were a lot of challenges. Looking back I feel like somehow I was in a love bubble, or that’s how I have to try and explain it. I feel like for some reason I was protected from all the rejection and pain, or at least in part.
Truth is I have very little memory of my childhood. I never doubted my moms love, however, she was busy working to make ends meet. We moved every year (or more) meaning there was no consistency in our lives. Relationships with others, in school, in the neighbourhood, etc. didn’t happen, we were never there long enough. It’s hard to build memories I guess when life is always changing.
The longest we ever stayed anywhere was when my mom remarried. We moved into a house (my first) and I entered Grade 5. We stayed in that home through Grade 9, or part way through, until we moved again. So for just over 4 years I experienced a little bit of consistency in my life. I was part of groups at school, I was a cheerleading for the community football team and I made friends. Two of those friendships that I’m proud to say we are still in relationship today.
My “parents” had started going to church and dragged me along with them. It was around this time I met my future husband in Sunday school (we were teenagers). We didn’t date, but we noticed each other 😉 Unfortunately, my parents split up and with that came yet another move. I ended up moving out on my own when I was just 17 (or so). Life’s challenges did not stop there. In fact it was during one of those challenging times, I was re-introduced to my future husband, Kevin, but this time we started dating 🙂
After we were married and expecting our first child, we began questioning what we believed, what our role as parents were supposed to be. All of a sudden we were about to be responsible for another human life, what did this mean? I grew up with a very limited understanding of God or faith. Sure my mom made me go to church but I certainly did not embrace it. Was there really a God? If so, what did that mean? Why would He care about me? Where was He when I was growing up? These were questions I began to ask myself.
My husband and I have been on a faith-filled journey ever since. Thankfully, we do not need to have all the answers. We’ve overcome a lot together, through all of the difficult times I never wavered in my faith, not for long anyways.
So what was different three years ago? Was it all too much at one time? Was it the magnitude of the experience? Was it because the pain was so intense and great to the ones I loved the most? I really do not know why, but I broke. I still believed in God, I believed He loved me but that was it….the rest crumbled. My understanding of my faith shattered, I was lost.
This is when running really took on a whole new meaning for me. I began focusing on distance and training for marathons. It was extremely therapeutic for me. I met some wonderful people through running and was able to share my heart on some long runs. It was what I needed for that season in my life.
In 2015, I knew I needed to work on getting healed up. I needed to let God begin to heal some wounds. I began to make small steps to building that relationship back up. They were baby steps, sometimes forwards, and lots of times backwards, but I was moving again.
I have always loved to learn and am a student at heart. I had received my Ministerial Diploma probably 15 years ago (a 3 year program). I found out that the school was offering a fourth year starting in September, only available to graduates. I knew I needed to sign up, it was to be part of my journey, but I was extremely anxious about doing so. I was still very lost, my confidence in who God was and what the word really said was extremely low. I decided not to let fear stop me, but to allow myself to be vulnerable.
It was also around this time that I wanted to do more with my running. To inspire others to not give up. Little did I know it would lead me to the Grand to Grand Ultra, I’ll continue sharing about that journey in future posts.
It’s been less than a year of intentionally moving forward, I’m amazed at how much has changed and yet I’m still working through “issues”. The negative “feelings” (anguish, despair, loneliness, helplessness, etc.) are no longer at the forefront, instead I’m feeling stronger, hopeful, and encouraged again.
I was recently invited to join an online group called Faithful Finish Lines. It’s a 7 week program where you are encouraged to achieve a goal, whether it be physical or spiritual. I accepted the invitation more for the spiritual. I wanted to surround myself with others on a similar journey, and I
wanted needed accountability.
One of the members recently suggested a weekly prayer chain, we are invited to share a prayer request and each of us commit to pray for one another. I took each prayer request and wrote them on a posted-note.
When the weather is bad I hop on my treadmill for a run and pray for these precious needs. Just one week in and I’m already thrilled with my decision to join.
How about you? Are you on a faith journey? Life can be hard but we do not need to do it alone.