Sunday, August 7, 2016

On choosing to be fearless and strong

That night I hardly slept. I tossed and turned and dozed and dreamt. Most of my dreams consisted of being late or forgetting something. I had the same kind of jitters I have before the very first day of school every year. Only this time- it was before my very first triathlon.

I had prepared as much as possible. I printed the course maps and drove them in advance. I bought some needed tri gear. I watched youtube videos galore about transitions and swimming techniques. I made this fancy training plan with pretty fonts and didn't stick to it a single day. But six out of seven days of the week this summer, you would find me running, biking, or swimming- simply not on the day it was scheduled though.

There's something humorous about this that would make you tilt your head in a "huh... really?" kind of way if you've known me for over ten years. After posting the I-crossed-the-finish-line pictures on social media, one of my dear high school friends captured it when she commented "Whoa!!!! Sporty Kim??? (insert party hat emojis) When did this start!?!!"

Yes, I ask myself that sometimes. When did this start? 

- - - - -

I'm 27 years old and I am still finding myself. I thought I was supposed to be 27 years old and have things figured out, but I am still learning things about myself all the time, discovering new passions and dreams, sometimes grieving over lost passions and dreams. I suppose that's exciting though- I hope to be 67 and still learning new things about myself.

Once upon a time I was a lot more artsy and a little more free-spirited. I had a closet full of jewelry supplies, acrylic paints, canvases, scrapbooks, photography stuff, oil pastels, knitting needles, and stamps. I secretly had a small Hobby Lobby in my room. I also played guitar and would climb out of the window to play on our porch roof- singing and strumming for any neighbor to hear. My senior year of high school, a few girls and I made a "girl band" we affectionally named So It Goes (quick- who can match that reference to it's book?). For our churches' Battle of the Bands, I straightened my curly copper hair and wore a trendy, black hat and green converses. We won too.  

- - - - -

This summer, in between training and hanging out with friends and other odds and ends, I cleaned out most of our closets. When we married, I had boxed up things from one closet and simply brought them to another address. Sometimes getting rid of things is hard because of what they represent. But this past year has been a year of letting things go and surrendering- and most of this I am realizing in hindsight. As I went through the art closet, I either trashed or gave away about 60% of the stuff in there: dried up paint bottles, knitting needles with half finished projects, scrapbook pages for only half of a vacation, sketchbooks from my high school art class. On one hand I was a little sad and nostalgic, on the other hand, I felt finally free to release it because I have felt God remaking me and giving me new ways to be creative and feel alive over the past year.

Enter the triathlon this summer. Enter "sporty Kim" (except for that I still don't feel sporty!) When did this start?

I suppose it started 27 years ago when I was birthed into the world and God breathed into me a Spirit of all or nothing. A spirit that would choose something and throw myself at it happily and wholeheartedly with gusto and passion. I wouldn't have thought that about myself until I got married and I had someone there to point out all these things about myself I didn't knew (some of these things have been enlightening, some have made me want to clobber my sweet husband). But it's true in this case. Whether it was crafting or playing guitar or rock climbing in my earlier years or teaching, kid's ministry, house church, or remodeling our kitchen in more recent years, I was going all out. So Aaron just smiled lovingly and said, "Of course you can," when I said that I wasn't just going to bike for fun or try out a 5K- I was going to try a triathlon.

The spirit has been there- it's just been how it manifests itself. The medium for creativity and art has  simply changed from season to season. 

That aside- the story of venturing into a triathlon begins with a little pain- plantar fasciitis. This foot pain developed four years ago during my first year of teaching. After years of no healing and fears mounting, I finally stepped into a physical therapy office and stayed for seven months. I learned about my body and my mind and my spirit. I started healing little by little. I became amazed at how God made us to heal and be strong and be flexible. 

I heard about a women's only triathlon last summer while in PT and thought how cool it would be to do one. But of course that dream seemed so dim and far away because well- people with plantar fasciitis don't to triathlons. But at the same time I thought- people with plantar fasciitis don't do triathlons. So, if I did this one day... would that mean I don't have plantar fasciitis? After months of physical therapy, healing was starting to seem possible and I wondered.

One day last summer, I dusted off my college bike and rode around town. I had forgotten the joy of feeling the wind in your hair. Or the thrill of traveling somewhere knowing you are making this contraption go with only the muscles in your legs. Aaron bought my a pretty (because that's the important part of this purchase of course) white road bike for Christmas and I was hooked.

Towards the end of this school year with a new summer on the horizon, I realized I could maybe, possibly, sorta, kinda try to train for the triathlon because my feet were in much better shape. Now, this is simply laughable given that when I started I couldn't swim one lap in the pool or run even 3/4 of a mile. But I was learning that I am way more capable that I think I am so I made that pretty training plan and decided that if I felt good about things by the end of June, I would sign up.

June came to a close and I felt good about things. When I registered and hit that submit button, I wept. People with plantar fasciitis can't do triathlons. This was a test. Could I do it? I had just paid and signed my name on the dotted line so to speak. Pain or no pain- here I was doing this thing.

250 meter swim. 10 mile bike. 2.5 mile run.

Knowing I could already bike far past 10 miles, I focused more on the other sports. Soon, I could swim 100 M, 200 M, 500 M. I could run 1 mile, 1.25 miles, 2.5 miles. The day I ran 2.5 miles I also cried tears of joy. People with plantar fasciitis can't run, but I was running. I could still feel slight pain in my left foot every once in a while, but the craziest thing happened, the more I trained the less my feet hurt. I was getting stronger, stretching thoroughly, and resting weekly.

- - - - -

It was race day. I rolled out of bed at 4:20 am- five minutes before my alarm was set to go off.  My bags were packed, we cooked up a breakfast of champions, and then we were off flying down the dark, foggy highway to Greenville listening to "pump up" music.

Jitters. Nerves. Excitement. The sun was rising. Anticipation building.  

The clock struck 7:00 and the first ranked swimmer stepped over the timing mat, jumped into the pool, and was off. I was ranked 73 according to the swim time I submitted for the my average 100 M. With every ten seconds another person jumped in and I took another small step toward the start line. I adjusted my goggles and watched the man directing swim starts. I was so nervous, but I felt so ready. 

"Go." I jumped in and pushed off from the wall. The cool blue water enveloped me in a familiar and yet startling way and in the first lap I struggled to find a rhythm in my breathing. I know success in swimming lies in breathing steadily, but my fear and nervous mounted and I felt like I couldn't do it.  In the middle of the second lap I switched from free style to breast stroke and I cursed under my breath. I reached the end of the lane and stopped to take a few deep breaths. Can I do it? I steadied myself and looked up at my husband's face in the window. We locked eyes and he nodded and gave a thumbs up. It was only a few seconds, but it was monumental. Looking to the end of the lane, I whispered to myself "You can do it." Plunging forward I reached and kicked and breathed and refused to stop. While it was not the smoothest freestyle swimming I've ever done, I did it. I reached the wall and pushed off again. One lane after another. I can do it. Just keep swimming. I was channeling my inner Dori. I hopped out of the pool and even though I had the entire biking and run portion left, it felt like I'd made it over the biggest obstacle. Once you mentally conquer something, the rest seems so much easier. 

My adrenaline kicked in big time and I biked and ran (well... ran/ walked), faster than any of my training sessions. I didn't win any awards or get any medals, but I didn't care at all. I did it. I did what I once thought was impossible. I did what I once thought was reserved for sporty people. For people who ran track in high school and have been doing swim team since they were ten years old. For people with all the fancy gear and fitbits and clip in pedals. For all the people who are fearless and strong.

And then again- maybe no one is really fearless and strong. Or... is everyone actually fearless and strong, we only have to believe it to live it?  Maybe I have plantar fasciitis, but maybe I don't. Because people with plantar fasciitis don't do a triathlons. 

Maybe it's not about what we think or feel in the moment, but what we choose to believe about the future. Maybe it's not that I'm fearless, but I choose to show up despite my fear. Maybe it's not that I'm all that strong, but I choose to give it my all and that makes me strong. Maybe it's not that I'm 100% healed, but that I choose to believe that I will be and that makes way for true healing. 

God made us this way. He is a God who calls things that are not as if they were. Who says to darkness, "let there be light." Who says to the sinner "you are a saint." Who says to the rejected, "you belong." Who says to the orphaned, "you are a son." 

That is the work of an artist. To see something that is not, and make it so. Maybe fifteen years ago that meant strumming a guitar and humming new melodies or painting landscapes onto canvases. Maybe now it means jumping in a pool, hopping on a bike, or lacing up my running shoes. Maybe I am fearless and strong. Maybe I can do it.

So my friend, here's to many more I-thought-I-couldn't-but-I-did adventures. You can do it too.

My transition area ready to go!

The man who encouraged me all along! (this is an after picture!)

Look ma, I'm doing it!

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Celebration meal at Tupelo Honey after!

My training plan- everyday is scratched out and something new written.... (insert I'm-laughing-so-hard-I'm-crying emoji)

Friday, June 3, 2016

On laughable things

  1. so ludicrous as to be amusing

    - - - - -

Five years.

I drove away from school with our school sign in my review mirror and just like that, this girl has five years of teaching under her belt. It's almost laughable when I remember my very first day of school five years ago driving home with that same school sign behind sobbing and deciding how I would tell my principal I was quitting. I simply couldn't do it. Simply didn't have it in me. That's especially laughable when I consider that two years ago, I was chosen for District Teacher of the Year.

Five years.

We drove away from the mountains this past weekend with the Lilley's cabin in our review mirror and just like that, this boy and girl have five years of marriage under their belt. Aaron's parents bought that cabin shortly after we started dating and I remember my first time there hauling rocks to line the driveway. Secretly, I hoped that I would become part of their family one day and be able to tell our children that I helped set this cabin up. That's laughable considering we started dating our senior year of high school when Mr. Smooth asked me to be his girlfriend while attaching the bikes on his mom's mini van after our biking date. We were just two kids in love, looking up at the stars, and dreaming about life with not a clue what we were doing. We weathered four years at different schools by the grace of God. And I still marvel at getting to wake up next to him each day.

Five years.

I pull into our carport piled high with woodworking equipment, with the dogs barking at my arrival, with the vegetable vines spilling over our cedar boxes, and just like that, we have turned from college students into townies. Five years ago, we packed up a U-haul and drove away from my parent's gray stucco house that I had called home for 22 years in our review mirror. We pulled into a tiny house in this tiny college town and stayed. Even though some of our dearest friends would come and go. Even though we would be the ones to help pack up their U-hauls and watch as they pulled out of our driveway while we stood waving in their review mirror growing smaller by the mile. But we stuck around. We bought a foreclosed, very-in-need-of-love house and put down roots. The house projects we have attempted and completed are laughable. Just two do-it-yourselfers grateful for youtube, the internet, and other crazies like us.

Five years.

I pull out of my friend's driveway after a girl's night of wine, appetizers, and stories, with her little blue house in my review mirror,  and just like that, I have found myself as part of a family. Five years ago, I joined this group of mismatched, Spirit-filled, Jesus-loving people and have come to call them family. The fig trees, narrow hidden pathway, and the leaky, musty basement church building that I entered five years ago are now demolished, fenced off, and ready for new high rise apartments. Instead, we now join together in a different building outside of Clemson, knowing it's not the building, but the people that make a church. It's laughable that we are still there given that we have had our share of tears, frustrations, and exhaustion, but what family doesn't have all those things? I have been challenged, humbled, encouraged, and strengthened by these brothers and sisters in Christ. I have seen real grief and sorrow. Real prayers and faith. Real joy and laughter. Real healing and wholeness. Real reconciliation and forgiveness. Real generosity and community.

Five years.

- - - - -

I wonder what the next five years hold for us. I wonder what mountains and valleys await. I know what mountains I am praying to be moved. I have a few hopes for our family. But mostly, I know that in five years when I look in the rearview mirror, what I see will be more beautiful, colorful, and transforming than I can imagine.

May the next five years be as laughable. Because in attempting the laughable, we find God breathing life, healing wounds, overcoming circumstances.

I've heard it said, "We make plans and God laughs," but sometimes I think the opposite is just as true.

God makes plans and we laugh. 

But that's a good place to be. To have God ask you to do something so silly, so ludicrous, so outside of your element, so humbling, so bold, to tiring, so challenging, so small and seemingly insignificant or so grand, so terrifying or so exhilarating that success can only fill us with amazement.

Over and over in the Bible, we see this as a response to God's work: being filled with amazement.

When the three men King Nebuchadnezzar tied up and threw into a fire start dancing wildly untouched by the flames with a fourth person (assumed to be Jesus), the King is filled with amazement.

Before Joshua went with the Israelites to demolish an enormous wall around a city by merely walking around it seven times and then shouting (a very laughable plan on God's part), Joshua told them to consecrate themselves for he Lord was going to do amazing things tomorrow.

Jesus heals the blind and the deaf by mixing spit and mud and rubbing it on their eyes. He calms the raging storms with only a word. And over and over the people are filled with amazement.

The Holy Spirit descends upon the believers and they start speaking in different languages. Some people watching were filled with amazement as they each heard the believers speaking in their own native language. Others thought it was so ludicrous that they must have had too much wine.

The very things God calls us to in this broken, drying world seem laughable- peace, joy, grace, hospitality, fellowship, hope, prayer, faith. It's in those places, where God moves and shapes and shines.

Our very response is casting off every preconceived notion, every misunderstanding of ourselves and of God, every limitation our eyes can see, and simply throwing our arms to heaven and our heads back in deep, genuine, holy laughter at the working of God.

In Genesis, Sarah, who way past her child-bearing days, laughs when God tells her that she will have one day give birth to a son. Of course though, she bears a son exactly when God said she would and she names him Issac meaning he laughs. She says, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me."

What laughable things God surely does.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Niagara Falls, limping, and the love of God

Do you ever want to really explain something so significant in your life, but you come up short with words? Are there really words to describe the greatest joys and deepest sorrows of life?

In Brennan Manning's book, The Ragamuffin Gospel (which I can't recommend enough), he writes that trying to comprehend God's love is like trying to contain Niagara Falls in a tea cup.

I feel overwhelmed by the sheer love and mercy of the Lord looking at these pictures my good friend Mary Ashley took of my feet. My little tea cup has shattered because His grace just can't be contained. So in feeble words- I will at least tell my story in hopes that you will hear His story of love and mercy which is intended to be the theme of all our stories.

  - - - - 

Five years ago, during my first year teaching, I started coming home from school with terrible pain in my feet. I developed plantar fasciitis. Your plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that runs along the sole of your foot and your arch. It helps absorb the impact of your steps. Excessive strain on on your feet (like being on your feet all day teaching) can lead to breakdown of that tissue that leaves it inflamed and very painful. For me, it was also a result of not having a strong enough core to be able to have correct posture all day while standing and teaching. Slowly different muscles in my lower body were essentially put on overdrive and so shutdown. When the muscles don't fire properly, other parts of your body compensate and strain.

For three years I tried different things- special shoes, rolling a tennis ball under my foot, stretches, special inserts, night splints, even cortisone shots in my feet. All of these things had minimal impact.

A few years of this chronic pain strained not only my body, but my soul. Fear become my natural response to all things related to standing and wearing shoes which, unfortunately for the average person, takes up a significant amount of time. Then, add that as a teacher I stand more than the average person. Then, add that as a special ed teacher I chase kids down, lift kids onto changing tables, and kneel and bend all day long to be at eye level with these beautiful children.

Choosing shoes would create a complex mix of emotions. Before church on Sunday, I would sometimes be in total tears trying to figure out what to wear on my feet. When I would stand and talk to people, my main thoughts would surround thinking of kind ways to ask if we could sit and talk instead of stand.

I asked people to pray for healing. I asked God for healing. And it seemed it just might not come. I was thinking that I may live the rest of my life with significant foot pain. I would never play tennis again. I would never ride a bike a again. I would never wear cute shoes again. And the list went on.

Two Christmases ago, Dan, my brother-in-law who is studying to be a physical therapist, recommended I try dry needling. I was hesitant and skeptical. I hate spending money on doctors and had never been to a physical therapist. Plus, I am terrified of needles.

Two months later, I still hadn't looked into it, but slick ice, a run away dog, and a broken finger on the first day of Lent forced me to the doctor. During that same visit, I asked for a referral to PT. One broken bone led to the healing of a whole lot more.

I thought drying needling and PT would be a one and done deal. But it was not so. Week after week I went back. I was given stretches and strengthening exercises. I bought running shoes that gave me the stability I needed and wore good orthotics. The pain would improve and then I'd have a set back. The cycles of physical pain cycled right along my cycles of fear and doubt that I would ever get better.

My PT brought me to the point where most all my muscles were back to working properly. I was probably the most faithful of all patients in that I actually did my stretches daily at home and still do to this day (there should be an award for that!). I was getting stronger each day. I had signed up for a summer membership to our local rec center and was absolutely loving the group fitness classes. Being someone who was once terrified to even enter a gym, I overcame that fear and learned how to use all the weighted machines. I got back to riding my bike for short periods of time. I tried swimming (and failed miserably).

Towards the end of summer, I saw that my PT had done everything possible to physically get me to  a very healthy place and yet I was still having setbacks and could tell I was baffling him. I began to realize, and I know he did too, that mentally and spiritually I was going to also have to heal.

Through conversations with Aaron, lots of tears, prayer, and self-examination, I confessed how the pain had psychologically become a part of me. While I didn't know how to undo all that, realizing how intertwined my body and spirit were seemed like a good first step to letting Jehovah Jireh (the God who heals) heal my heart.

Then there was Job- this book of the bible that I was simultaneously reading. This book that I had previously read, mostly been uncomfortable with and confused by and so therefore, would jump over without pausing to ask hard questions and sit until I found answers.

This time, I started sitting and asking and receiving some answers. But mostly, I started seeing Jesus in Job. I started seeing God's love and mercy in a book that I thought had little of it in the first place. I started to understand how one could say Blessed be the name of the Lord no matter what. I started understanding how I could ask for healing on earth and also accept that maybe my only full healing would come in heaven, but somehow that would be ok. Blessed be the name of the Lord. I started seeing God in this fig tree that was planted next to our house. I started seeing the seasons change and hope arise. Blessed be the name of the Lord. I started to tell people the story of healing even though it wasn't over. That may have been the hardest step. It's easy to tell about triumphs. It's not easy to tell about the limb to the finish line- let alone the limb you have and the finish line you can't see. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Summer turned to fall and the leaves stopped being green and I stopped going to PT. My feet were significantly better. If I stayed the course of stretching, exercising, and wearing good shoes, I finally believed that I should eventually see complete healing.

Since then I have still been fighting fear a good portion of the time. I have had some relapses. I still get anxious when I buy shoes. I still get anxious when I where non- running shoes to church. And yet- it's different. I am able to fight that fear with praise and be at peace in the midst of it. I recognize patterns of thought that make me spiral downward and can speak truth instead. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

The leaves turned golden and must have tuned a switch in my brain as this crazy thought popped into my head. I saw an image of Blessed be the name of the Lord on my foot. So I stored that image in the back of my mind and thought that if I ever reached complete healing I would get it tattooed on my foot as a stone (like the stone piles the Israelites set up after crossing the Red Sea) to remember the healing of God. Not just physical, but spiritual healing- the sweetest kind. While I am terrified of needles, there was the reminder that I had to be dry needled to start the physical healing process so maybe I could muster up the courage to do it.

The golden leaves fell off the trees, snowflakes covered our yard, February rolled around and my feet still weren't completely healed. Ash Wednesday came and I remembered that it was one year ago that I had broken my finger which propelled me into PT. Suddenly, I was weeping. I wept at the mercy of God for making my feet so much better (even though they weren't 100% better). And I wept at the mercy of God to set me free from fear and anxiety. Which, even though I'm not 100% better, I am confined by flesh and blood and I know that until I reach heaven I will still wrestle and triumph and fall and get back up. That's exactly why I need a Savior. My only hope in this life is Jesus. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

So I did it. A year and two days after breaking my finger which started this journey, I overcame another fear and got a tattoo of that verse on my foot. Before the complete healing. Before knowing the end of the story. Which after all, is exactly what Job did and the very reason this proclaimation is both inspiring and baffling. It's what Brennan Manning called the victorious limp. Maybe it will be fully healed one day, maybe not. All I know is I have Jesus and that is enough. I praise him for the healing that has taken place and continue to ask in faith for full healing.

I stand and praise Him and when my feet hurt from standing, I will kneel and I will fall on my face because I know that He walks with us through the valleys. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

- - - -

While there is so much more I could say about this and all the small moments God spoke to me and all the wonderful things he's done, there's just not space here to write it all. So I will have to save that for a cup of tea or a good glass of wine with you.

Thanks to Mary Ashley for the pictures and Jimbo at Boulevard Tattoo for the "stone."

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Stage 8: Cook in the kitchen... but first take pretty pictures

So we've been cooking in the kitchen for a while now, but I haven't posted pictures because I have been waiting for the counters to be clean and the light to be right which equals letting weeks go by before I take pretty pictures.

So let's revisit the old kitchen first....

And now for the kitchen reveal.....
(If you want more info about stages of the project, visit my home projects page.)

The big question: Would I do this again?

YES! Actually- it only took about 2 and half months of our life on weekends and some week nights and it was SO worth it. We saved a ton of money doing it ourselves and learned a lot along the way. I love every aspect of and we LOVE cooking. 

We see God is making, creating, and redeeming. Restoring and fixing up our house is one of the many ways we do this together. We want our home to be a safe place and a refuge for people and although I know it's the love and the people that make the place, I believe God also loves beautiful things and art and creation. This is all of that combined.

Stage 7: Trim and moulding

I made up a new song "All I do is trim, trim, trim no matter what. I got moulding on my mind I can't ever get enough."

This post is long overdue and I didn't take as many pictures as I should, but I will come back and add details about it soon. I mainly wanted to get the "finished" pictures up, but still have my blog posts in chronological order. More to come soon.....

Friday, August 21, 2015

On sabbathing and first Fridays

The sun is streaming in the windows. The dogs are playing next to me. I am drinking a delicious strawberry ale. I've got my new trendy glasses on. It is Friday afternoon of my first week of school and I, by miracle of miracles, have energy to spare.

And yet, it is both a miracle and the product of a string of conscious decisions.

We have grandly titled this year our "Year of Sabbath." We have purposely said no to things, stepped down from things, and thankfully finished some things- like being Teacher of the Year and Aaron's grad school. Some weights feel lifted.

So I went to work each day and  I came home each day and I loved loved each day. Wednesday, we filled our house with about 22 people and we ate around a table, laughed, shared stories, and prayed to our good, good Father. Thursday, a dear friend who has moved away came over for dessert and we shared about life. We say "yes" to people, to rest, to a peace filled home, to abundant room for time with God.

Usually the first week of school is filled with stress and long days and by Friday I can barely stand up and I just want to watch tv and go to bed at 7:00. I am amazed that I have energy to spare. So while Aaron is mountain biking away on his Friday evening, I will type away to remember why we are sabbathing.

It is good for the soul.

I don't feel like too much has changed and yet, many things have. They seem subtle, but they were hard decisions. But suddenly today I saw a piece of the puzzle and how giving things up purposely has led us to this spacious place.

My body is also happier. I went to physical therapy today and had a fairly good report. I am now going to go every two weeks and take it slow. I have given up worrying too much about my feet. I can't control it. I also don't have the emotional capacity to stress about it. Whatever happens, happens. At least- that is how I feel right now. Check back tomorrow to see if I still feel that way though :)

Peace and rest to you! Happy Friday!

Just get in the pool.

So I wrote this two weeks ago, but it didn't publish on my other computer and I thought it had. I wanted to post it though because it is an interesting follow up to my excited post about swimming.... Real life man.


Sometimes it feels like for every step forward you take, you take two steps back.

I had high dreams and hopes last week. My feet were feeling better and I could picture myself swimming- confident and maybe not great- but decent?! I spent way to much time watching pros swim on youtube who make it look easy.

So Tuesday rolls around and my friend Dana comes to the pool with me to teach me how better techniques and I am surprised. Surprised at how hard it is. It does not come naturally at all to me. The breathing part. Then I psych myself all out in my mind because other people are around and I have to stop at the end of every lap and catch my breath. She taught me how to do the flip turn, but I can't even do two laps back to back right now... so flip turn- you will have to wait. But I still had a lot of fun with her at the pool and was positive.

Somehow the next two days all of a sudden I felt like I couldn't do it. Didn't want to do it. How could I now go by myself and be slow and stop to breath after every lap?

I woke up this morning tired and anxious about going, but I wanted to exercise in the pool. So I mustered up a tiny bit of courage and went. I swam in a lane next to a pro. I watched her after every lap that I stopped to catch my breath. After literally 5 minutes there, I thought that I could not do anymore. I was embarrassed, tired, and frustrated with myself. I watched the other people and decided I could try backstroke because you don't have to worry too much about breathing. It was much better. I did a few laps of that, then a few laps of freestyle.

Finally, I decided to ask this pro next to me about breathing. She was so kind and gave me a few tips for my swimming. I stayed for 30 minutes and at the end my body was so tired. From only 30 minutes. Shoot- I used to be able to play tennis for 2 hours. I have a new appreciation for people who swim.

Anyhow- some of my dreams of a triathlon came crashing down with reality. But on my way home I thought- I got in the pool.

I could have not gotten in the pool. Been too afraid. But I did. I mean I was afraid, but I just got in a tried my best. And sometimes that is all God asks for us.

I have so much trouble trusting him. My feet started hurting a lot more this week after a week that felt like I was making lots of progress. So much of it is related to my mind and it is discouraging. But God is not asking me to be an Olympic athlete in my prayers or my walk with him. I forget that. There will always be someone in the lane next to me in life that I think it better than me.

But God just looks in my lane at me. He cheers me on. He carries me when I am tried. He give me strength.

I came home from swimming and opened Jesus Calling while I ate breakfast. I thought it was August 5th so i read that one first (which it's August 6th) and the second sentence says, "Make your mind like a still pool of water, ready to receive whatever thoughts I drop into it." A pool of water.

Then I realized it was the 6th (teacher summer brain), and it is dead on:
"I make your feet like the feet of a deer. I enable you to walk and make progress upon you high places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility." Then it sites Habakkuk 3:17-19 which is THE verse I have been repeating over and over to myself as I try to believe that God will heal my feet.

So today is the last PT appointment of the summer- the one where I was really hoping to be healed before school started. But it's not there, but it's almost there. Hopefully.

I will just keep getting in the water so to speak. Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep swimming. Even thought I am awful at all three. Praise Jesus that he doesn't love me based that.

I will just keep channeling some Dori soul: