I was trying to hashtag some photos the other day, but I quickly realized that #kissthewave is full of photos of ocean stuff. It made sense to me, but also, not really. I was going for something totally different – a different story that the ones I saw portrayed there. And since I don’t know how hashtags work, I’m just giving the title to this blog entry as is.
I ran a half marathon yesterday. My brain is always scattered as I don’t have too much time to write; I need to start cooking dinner. So let’s this finish this ASAP. I read a quote some time ago that’s attributed to Charles Spurgeon. It reads:
Those who know me (and those who have read the last blog entries) know I had a miscarriage, well, almost two years ago. Time does fly by. Grieving was hard; dealing with the sadness of losing a pregnancy, and also experiencing kind of a second loss since we haven’t been able to conceive since then. Doctor said it was not impossible, but my numbers indicated it was going to be very difficult. I think I took a long time in the last post to deal with all the details of what I’ve been going through – the dark parts of my heart and all. If you’d like to read it, you might need like three days off of work, but you can do it here.
God has been so very faithful to me. So kind and gracious. I read so many books, and listened to so many resources (the list is on that last post, too). I think by far the most eye-opening was a book by Jeremiah Burroughs called The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. I think that book had me crying every day, and not because of the loss of my child, but because it showed me my sin raw.
LISTEN. I’m not saying I didn’t suffer, or that it didn’t hurt, but I deserve hell. If I’m still alive and walking and writing here, it’s only because I have a merciful Savior who went to the cross and died for me. He loved me and gave Himself for me. He did ordained my suffering for His glory and my good, but my loss has been so very good to me. It has humbled me. It has grown me. It has changed me in ways I wouldn’t be able to explain in a few sentences. It has shown me my pride and the idols of my heart. Of course, I have two years to look back. I was not able to see all this as I was going through the pain, but the pain today is less that the pain a year ago.
As a Christian, God’s will for me is not to make me happy, but to make me like His Son, and He chastises His people. He doesn’t afflict from the heart, but He does afflict. Suffering is never for nothing, and all things work together for the good of those who love Him – those who have been called according to His purpose. He has worked my loss for my good. I am His child. My life belongs to Him. And I have learned to trust Him in the difficult times. And these words might sound harsh to the unbeliever, or even to the believer who doesn’t have the view that I hold onto when it comes to the Sovereignty of God, but this is what the Bible plainly teaches.
I think death has changed me forever. I still remember the miscarriage, not everyday, but I still get sad every now and then. I haven’t gone to any Baby Showers at my church – I don’t think I’m ready, and there’s been like five showers. I still need to work on that. Sadness hits me sometimes when I least expect it, and I just… it’s not okay to break at a Baby Shower. I’m hoping I’ll be ready for the next round of babies.
So I’m happy. I never thought I was going to feel “happy” again, but life goes on, which is exactly the point of the blog.
As I was dealing with my feelings, I got into triathlon. I had to do something to keep me sane, specially after the first year anniversary of the miscarriage. I think I explained in the other post that it took me a long time to realize that I was grieving, so I was sad all the time. So long story short I did a Duathlon, then a Sprint Triathlon and I’m about to start training for my first Half Iron Man.
Swimming has really helped my cardiovascular endurance, and it showed yesterday because I was struggling during the last 4 miles of the race, but I was breathing fine. So follow this: I have a friend who has shared with me she struggles with ADHD, and I’ve never been diagnosed, but every time I read about it, I’m like, “That’s me.”
I reached out to her because the last two weeks had been really hard for me. This has always happened; I have seasons in which I’m happy, but then I get super sad. I am always very distracted. Maybe this is just me – I don’t know whether or not it can be a clinical thing. I also don’t sleep very well. Point is I reached out to her, and while we were discussing the fact that we are a body linked to a soul, she was encouraging me and giving me resources for counseling, etc. She then says, as in passing, “The Lord has used my struggle to refine me and help others, so it’s a wave I will kiss as it pushes me onto the Rock.”
I was like,
I knew what she was talking about. I knew the quote. It was clear – very clear. That has been my story since the last time I wrote in this blog on April, 2022. I know about that wave. The wave sometimes seems to threaten you as it pushes you, but it pushes you to lean on Christ – the Rock of Ages. The wave, the suffering ordained by the Father to refine you and make you like Christ, only serves a holy purpose. The wave is not meant to destroy you. Th wave is actually fulfilling its purpose – conformity to the image of His Son.
One of my favorite hymns explains it so well. There’s a part where it says,
“Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?”
For years I’ve prayed for God to make me like His Son. And it seems so backwards that suffering has been the way by which God has made me a little bit more like Jesus, but it is true. My desires have been granted in the things He has allowed to happen in my life – even the bad things. I don’t expect everyone to agree or understand, but this is a plain teaching of Scripture. There’s a wonderful book on suffering that helped me deal with loss from a biblical perspective in case you’re interested (Trusting God – Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges).
Anyway, so this year He has helped me and taught me how to lean on Him and only Him. When my life seems to get out of control, or the world seems like going crazy, He is stable. And I’m so thankful because I know the darkness in my heart. I know my sins, and my temptations, my ugly thoughts on a regular basis. I need a Savior.
This last year God has taught me to endure, and today it was a physical, tangible way to see that endurance in my body. I ran 13.1 miles on my own. My husband is always coaching me and giving me advice, and my best time running a half marathon under two hours was because he paced me. It was last year. But yesterday, he wasn’t there. I was a bunch of nerves because I hadn’t been running consistently or as intensely as I was last year. I just signed up to the race two days before out of impulse LOL!
So I started the first three miles at a steady pace. Then the next four, I picked it up a little. Then I saw my friends and I got so excited I ran the next three too fast, and I had to “slow down” for two miles to recover, but I gave it my all on the last two miles. I endured. I felt like I was about to quit with 1.5 miles to go. I remember the burning feeling on my legs, they were aching. I had eaten my gels and drank my liquids, it was not a fuel issue (plus it was only two hours of exercise) – it was just my muscles. I guess I was tired.
After seeing my friends, I remember I ran past a lady and she told me I was awesome. It’s always so good when people shout, “Go, Mom!’ or “Go, Danny!” I mostly cringe when people say I’m awesome cause I know I’m not. I know they mean well, and what they really mean is, “Great job for pushing a stroller at a good pace.”
So I usually just smile, but I wish I could stop and tell them about how awesome I am not. I yell at my kids everyday. I roll my eyes at my husband every day. I get angry. I am envious. I don’t do the right thing all the time, and I wish I could tell them how a holy God will not settle for, “I did my best, plus I was better than…”
A holy God requires righteousness – perfection – and I am unrighteous. I deserve His wrath. And more importantly, I wish I could stop and tell them that the holy, just God I serve is also very kind and merciful. He is so kind He sent His Son to live the righteous life I could never live, and to die the death that I deserve. I would ask them to trust Him, to repent and turn away from their sins. I would ask them to look up and see Christ and how beautiful and awesome He really is 🙂
But there is not enough time on every race to do that, so yesterday as I was passing a lady who told me I was awesome, I replied, “I’m not, but thank you. You know who’s awesome though? The Lord Jesus for allowing me to run with my baby. And look at this perfect weather!! Isn’t it amazing?”
I meant EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. She obviously looked at me like I was from another planet. That was my cue to smile again and I took off. After that, I was able to catch up with the 2:05 pacers. That’s when I got super excited because I had three more miles to go, and I knew I could finish faster than what I was expecting.
I so really wanted to stop with one mile to go. I mean, the last four miles were my mental struggle. The race was in my neighborhood, and when I saw the last mile marker, I began pushing as hard as I could. I remember yelling. I was also looking at my hand (I had written the quote and also the line of a hymn), thanking the Lord for His goodness over my life. I told myself, “You’re not quitting with one mile to go. Let’s gooo! The 2:05 people CAN NOT pass you.”
I really was trying to catch up to the 2:00 pacers, but I couldn’t. That would have been awesome, but I am so proud of myself. It is very hard to say those words because I never believe them, but I am so very proud of myself – for the effort I made with little training, and for just not quitting even though I wanted to.
I was so happy when I finished. I asked my husband how to know if this actually a race effort cause I’m using this data to train for Galveston 70.3 – he asked me if I had another mile in me. I obviously didn’t, and I finished in 2:01:27 – pushing 30 lb. of stroller and 30 lb. of Danny 🙂
This has been a year of growth for me, a time in which God has helped me learn to kiss the wave that throws me onto Christ. That is actually why I signed up for the half ironman distance: a way to tangibly acknowledge the endurance the Lord has worked in my faith. It hasn’t been easy, but I have kept the faith. I don’t hate God, I am not bitter – I actually love Him more. He has become my only Portion. He is better to me than ten sons.
And God willing, I will rock a kit with that quote during Galveston 70.3 🙂