Thursday, January 20, 2011

Running with Purpose!

Labor Day, 2010, I ran in my second 5k race. It was a beautiful day and the route took us along scenic Storm Lake. My two daughters were there to cheer me on and I ended up taking 2nd place in my age group!  I'd say that was one of the best days of my life.  About three weeks later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and soon after underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy.  To say the least, I was forced to take a break from running. 

I have not been a runner all my life.  In fact, I was probably the anti-runner until about two years ago.  I had started walking to get some exercise and then thought, "Why don't I just jog a little?"  Something happened inside me back then and I become passionate about it.  Fast forward to's been a little over three months since my surgery and I have worked my way back to being able to run 3 + miles.  In fact, last night I timed a 5k and ran it in less than 30 minutes!  Wahoo!

Of course, it is January and very cold in Iowa so my running has been taking place on the treadmill.  It 's not ideal as boredom sets in very easily - even with music and tv.   Last night, as I ran, I began to picture all of the homes on my usual route and the people I know who live in them.  I started to pray for each of these people.  Before I knew it, I had run my whole route (in my mind) and had run over three miles (in reality).  My physical work-out turned out to be a spiritual work-out as well! 

I love this from Acts 20:24, "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace."

Running is my passion....but how much more wonderful could it be if I could use it to glorify God!  Running with purpose!  Prayer running!  The sport of the future! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Borrowing Troubles

On most days, I live for the day itself and do not concern myself about the far-off future.  Oh sure, I will worry about things that may or may not happen the next day or even the next week.  But, I don't spend a lot of time in thought about what my life will be like five, ten or even twenty years down the road.  Today was not one of those days, however.  Today, I was forced to think about the future of my daughter, Molly, and what her life will look like in just three and a half short years. 

Molly has autism and today was the day of her annual Individualized Education Plan (IEP) at her school.  Socially, Molly is very high-functioning and when you first meet her, you would never guess she has a developmental disability.  However, cognitively she is very far behind her peers.  She is not able to read more than a few words or do simple math.  Her IEP consists of a totally modified curriculum and most of her day is spent in a one-on-one setting learning the skills that will hopefully help her in life.  For example, she is learning how to count money and how to spend it in a real-life setting.  She is also learning the words you would see in public such as "Exit" or "Restrooms" or "Women."

A large part of the meeting today was spent looking at the services Molly will need after high school graduation.  A lot of hard questions were asked, "What kind of job would Molly like and for what kind of employment will she be qualified?"  "Will she live on her own or with a roommate?"  "Will she be able to receive transition services through the state to help her after high school?"  I calmly voice my questions, concerns and ideas on all of these subjects, but inside I am screaming, "Why can't she just live with us for the rest of her life, so I can make sure she is cared for and has everything that she needs?"  And, then the really scary thought occurs to me - we won't be around forever.  What happens when we are gone?  Aagh!  Can I just shove these thoughts aside and not think about them?  No, I have to think about them.  I have to make a plan!  What is that verse from the Psalms about making our plans but allowing God to guide our steps?  Okay, Lord, guide my steps - help me with a plan.

My dearest friend, Ann, recently sent me something she had read in one of her devotions.  It is speaking to me today as never before...
"You know this day will bring difficulties, and you are trying to think your way through these trials. As you anticipate what is ahead of you, you forget that I am with you - now and always. Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only once when they actually occur.  Do not multiply your suffering in this way!  Instead, come to me and relax in My Peace. I will strengthen you and prepare you for this day, transforming your fear into confident trust."

Amen, Dear Jesus....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Precious Life

Something I failed to mention in my profile is that I am a breast cancer survivor.  Last September, I discovered a lump on my left breast.  I was not entirely worried at the time since I have been called back for second mammographies and biopsies several times over the past eight years - each time it turned out to be just my dense, lumpy breasts!  I did, however, hear a voice that told me it was something more this time.  So, I called the breast care center that I had been going to and made myself an appointment.  On September 28, the doctor called me and confirmed by fears.  There were three areas of cancerous cells in my left breast and another suspicious spot on my right breast that they had not biopsied.  She recommended a bi-lateral mastectomy.  World. Crashing. Down. Around. Me.  How was I going to tell my girls, my parents, my co-workers, my best friend?  My husband had been making every step with me and knew what the voice was saying to me so he was as mentally prepared for the news as he could have been.

My surgery was on a Thursday - October 14, 2010.  I was completely surrounded by my family and friends before and after.  I felt truly loved and very much at peace as I went into the operating room and even during the two-day stay in the hospital.  The minute I was released, however, was a completely different story.  I am not quite sure how to explain it, but I know now that I was not at all emotionally prepared to handle this.  I was not prepared for what the operation was going to do to my body and to my mind.  Now, let me be clear, that in no way did I have a love affair with my breasts.  When the doctor told me she had found cancer, I wanted them gone!  No questions asked.  None-the-less, when they were gone, I felt empty and hollow.  On the way home from the hospital, my husband and I stopped at the pharmacy and he ran in to get my prescriptions.  I decided to call my mom and let her know I was on my way home.  The minute I heard her voice, I broke down.  I remember saying, "I don't know what is wrong with me" and through her tears, she said, "I do. You feel violated."  That was it.  I felt violated.  I felt wronged.  This was not fair.

Fortunately, I had a supportive family, caring friends and faith in God.  During those weeks after surgery, I bathed myself in His Word and it nourished me back to emotional health.  I was amazed each day by the comforting words He would lead me too.  Today, three months later, He still guides me to the words I need to hear.  Here is a passage He led me to this morning.  It is from Proverbs 8 and it is from The Message translation:
Mark a life of discipline and live wisely,
don't squander your precious life.
Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me,
awake and ready for me each morning,
alert and responsive as I start my day's work.
When you find me, you find life, real life
to say nothing of God's good pleasure.

Precious life - oh, how I know.  I never want to squander it!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


You are perhaps wondering about the name of this blog - Running with Robbie - thinking it is for those who participate in the sport of running.  Well, that is partially correct.  To be true, this blog is just for me.  But, if others wish to creep onto this page and see what I have to say, I am completely fine with that!  Running is an intentional act and if something is important to us, we should be intentional about it.  For me, that means:
- running with patience (seems like these two things might cancel each other out - but actually I need to be more intentional about being patient.)
- running to bring a sense of peace to my life (very much the same as "running with patience")
- running to spend time with my husband and girls
- running to be a good friend
- running to spend time in God's Word
- running to be actually running (as in - training for my half-marathon!)
- and finally, but most importantly, running with perseverance the race that God has marked out for us - fixing our eyes on Jesus.

In all of things, my wish is to be intentional. My writings will focus on what I am doing on a daily basis to be intentional about the things I am passionate about.  I hope to share my joys, my concerns, my successes and my struggles.  Through it, my wish is that this will be the record of my journey to find and maintain true happiness and peace.