You’ve Got A New Story To Write

“You’re slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter.”

Note to self: As broken as you feel, you are still strong. Maybe not physically, and the reality of that situation is taking its toll – the shattered dreams of returning to the distance running I love and all my stage and fitness adventures, now treasured memories, probably never to be repeated.

After two years, hope to slowly return to the road in a small way, but it will look very different, and that has to be okay.

The journey is often not pretty or graceful. I remain grateful and positive, but will also allow myself days to grieve. We all have to learn to embrace the messy bits of life, hold ourselves together and keep moving. I’m looking forward to the future, even though right now things are not great, I believe what is yet to come will be amazing.

Good thing I love peanut butter!

DARE TO SHARE

“The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness – even our wholeheartedness – actually depends on the integration of all our experiences, including the falls.” – Brene Brown

Your story matters.

I received a surprise last year when my friend sent me a draft copy of a page from the book she was working on and was humbled to see she had used my story as the illustration for the devotion on 19 June. When she asked me if I was happy for her to go ahead I replied with an excited yes please! What an honour.   

The book has since been published and ‘Walk out on the Water’ 365 daily devotionals for Women by Caitlyn de Beer is a book I highly recommend.

It is incredible that this year 19 June 2021 falls on the day before Father’s Day and ties together some of the most painful pieces of my journey, which God has used to work in my life. I am now able to share these experiences and encourage others to overcome their fears and barriers and give them hope. When you have gone through a similar situation someone else is facing, it reassures them that God will get them through too. Courage is contagious.

What are you doing here Debbie? God has used this question recently with me, which has required soul-searching to examine issues of my heart that I have not recognized or simply ignored.  It is often hard to own our story but it is even harder if we keep running from it our whole life. Your story can be someone else’s guide and their own fears are lessened when they hear you share how you overcame similar circumstances and hope is restored because they realize it isn’t impossible.

Nothing goes to waste if we share our experiences and use them to encourage others and give them hope.

LIVING HOPE

It has been 100 years since the running of the first Comrades Marathon and today, many athletes get to run their own race, the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge, along their chosen route anywhere in the world.

The Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge comprises 5 distances, being a 5km, 10km, 21.1km, 45km and 90km which are all being run virtually. I am out there with you all in spirit, as I am still unable to return to my favourite sport, but I would definitely be participating if I could.

Although I may do nothing physically right now, spiritually I am enthusiastic and excited as I follow my friends’ journeys and am eagerly waiting at home, with refreshments and treats, for my husband to return from his 21km run too!

The vision and heart behind today’s event is for runners to lace up to run for hope. Hope for a better and brighter tomorrow beyond Covid-19.

I was going to write a down all the thoughts swirling through my head right now, but instead I am going to post this message and keep it short and sweet and simply encourage everyone, myself included, to keep hope alive. Whatever situation you find yourself in, know that God is there and while you are waiting for your breakthrough, wait for active expectancy and believe that God is working in your life, even when you don’t feel it.

Your most effective ministry to others can come out of your deepest hurts and on days when you are feeling weak, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. We all need each other. I have always believed that pain is never wasted when we are able to use it to encourage others and let them find healing in our wounds.

Our circumstances and what is happening in the world is overwhelming but let’s choose to find joy daily, instead of wasting our lives waiting for everything to be perfect. Let us remain addicted to hope.  

Liquid Prayers

I am going to sing, in the middle of the storm.

I went to the doctor this week for a belated follow-up appointment to plan the way forward for my continued recovery journey. After being so sick last year, and reminded once again by yet another medical professional how lucky I am to have pulled through, I wept. I have done a lot of that during the last year and God has seen it all. He values our tears so much, He even keeps them in a bottle (Psalm 56:8).

Every day is a gift. This has become so real to me and I am determined not to waste time in self-pity (but I have my moments!) The road ahead is still a long one but I choose to celebrate the small improvements and am grateful that I am not where I used to be, despite being a long way from where I need to be. It is hard to stay motivated at times, when it feels nobody understands what I am going through, and instead judge only by what they see. But I am not alone. God is aware of it all and this comforts me.    

God cares more than anyone else does.

When you are feeling overwhelmed and tears are pouring down your face, when you are anxious, when you feel alone and abandoned, there is someone who is always available. God. He has been with you since the beginning and will be with you until you enter eternity. He will never leave you.

He doesn’t always answer prayers the way we think He should and I know how hard this is to understand, but it doesn’t mean God doesn’t care. Please don’t stop trusting Him, praying and believing that He loves you very much.

Cry out to God. He hears you. There is not a tear that has fallen from your eyes that God has not seen. Ever. Let this reminder have you crying tears of joy! You are not alone.

Your tears may fall but your strength can continue to rise.

Cracked Eggs

This weekend we celebrated our first Easter, in our new home province, Gauteng.

Autumn is here, with the falling leaves and brown trees symbolizing not only letting things go but also renewal and rebirth. One of the many lessons I have learnt during this transition season is it is possible to be scared, brave, strong and frail all in one and more importantly, things don’t have to be completely fixed for us to be completely fine.

Another lesson I have learnt is that when we struggle and hurt, it is easy to doubt God’s love and become guarded with others. We also judge ourselves and believe the lies the enemy tells us. Swop those negative thoughts for what you know to be true about God. He loves you. He is good. He died for you. You are forgiven.

Hold on to hope that whatever is hurting you in this moment will not last forever.

Whatever is breaking your heart right now, know that the ache is proof of a beautiful remaking in progress.

Don’t give up.

Instead, look up. Believe God is at work behind the scenes, even when it doesn’t feel like it. God is good at being God. Trust Him. Trust Him with it ALL.

Telelestai – “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

Patience

The only ‘running’ I have done in the last 5 months, is running out of patience. Not being well and being disciplined to rest has been hard.

Things often go in a different order to what we had in mind for our lives. I know this well as it has happened to me several times. I am still learning to be patient and wait on God, even if it seems He is taking me on a roundabout way to get to my destination yet again.

“Lord, grant me patience, but please hurry!”

Patience is not your ability to wait, but your ability to keep a good attitude while you wait. Often trials bring out the other traits first like anger, self-pity and complaining before patience can come forth. What happens within us while we wait is as important as what it is we are waiting for.

Let’s do our best to wait well.

“God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for them to wait.” C.S. Lewis

Monday Motivation

There is never a better time to be kind. Be kind to others but also yourself.

Remember how far you have come, not only how far you have to go.

Create a love for yourself that does not rely on the words or actions of others.

The past is not a failure but teaches us to get back up for the things that matter.

Remember there is always so much to be grateful for, especially the little things.

December Doodles

A few snippets of thoughts from the past two weeks. #gratitudeattitude

Don’t take any day, anything or any one for granted.

Packing boxes and sorting stuff for our move, reminds me to find contentment in the things I have and makes me realize there is no joy in scanning the lives of others and comparing them to my own. From material possessions to physical abilities, never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.

Countdown until husband and wife are back together again. This tough season is almost behind us.
My precious mongoose made it into our local paper this week.
Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

Growing old is a privilege. I had a quiet birthday, reflecting on the past year. On my 40th I never would have imagined what lay ahead for 2020: Covid, a severe health diagnosis, retrenchment and now moving … But we are still here, with hearts full of gratitude, doing our best to make each day a celebration of life, as we navigate this crazy journey.

I have enjoyed being a temporary dog-mom to this adorable Scottie. Going to miss him. We will have to arrange play dates and keep in touch.

All things bright and beautiful. It is starting to feel like Christmas.

‘Life happens. Chocolate helps.’

My husband would agree with this quote. We do our best to always see the good in every trial we face. But you don’t have to be positive all the time and it is okay to feel anxious, annoyed, sad or scared. This doesn’t mean you are a ‘negative’ person. When things get rather chaotic, especially at this time of year, take it day by day, be kind to yourself and remember that finding the courage to be grateful, especially during the hard times, is a powerful weapon against your daily battles.

Kindness Matters

Keep going. Don’t give up. Your story doesn’t end here.

Let your mess be your message.

Like this hair in the wind, sometimes we think we have it all under control (or at least half way there!) but truly at times, you have to let go, let it get really messy and simply laugh, get back up, and try again.

Having an ulcer for company is no fun and the last week has been a true test, causing a horrible setback in my journey and making me question everything. So much is changing but perhaps, when our lives are shaken up, it relocates us to the place we are meant to be.

When everything is uncertain, anything is possible!

Replace judgement with curiosity. I think this applies to ourselves (we are often our worst critics) and how we treat others. Don’t doubt your worth or the beauty of your truth, no matter what others say. We are all evolving. Let’s help each other heal, not add to the hurt.

People have a lot to say about lives they have never lived. Let’s treat everyone with more love, patience, tolerance and care.

A little more kindness. A little less judgement.

Wrestling With Rest

I’m still tired from yesterday’s tired.

The little energy I have I feel I need to save for breathing and blinking.

An unexpected wave of symptoms hit recently, and no amount of positive thinking could override them. I am always torn between not letting my anemia control my life and listening to my body and resting. This weekend, being home alone, makes it easier to rest and I am learning it is not wasting the day and instead it is what I need to do to recover. Doctor’s orders.

But you don’t need a script or health scare to say yes to rest.

We often feel tired and our endless to-do list has us wishing for simpler days, and it can be suffocating. You are not alone and this is a part of life. However, sometimes we need to realize that life, circumstances and other people may not change, so the only person who can change is me, is you. We have to stop killing our joy with complication and take a simpler approach to life. I have had to learn that progress, not perfection, is what I need to aim for and unless I make a determined effort in this quest, I will keep getting sucked into the frustration of another day, rushing around. It is a ongoing journey and I am not there yet!

Another reason people feel tired all the time is because if they are still and let themselves feel and sit with their emotions, they’ll have to face them. Being busy is a crutch. It takes discipline and courage, in a culture that celebrates exhaustion as a status symbol, to embrace rest and put down the ‘crazy-busy’ armour. Who are you without that title? What are you perhaps trying to numb?

We also risk missing out on the joy of ordinary moments if we are too busy. As exciting as it is to chase the extraordinary thrills and have big dreams and goals, don’t neglect to find blessings in your every day life. Remain grateful for what you have and you will be content.

Give yourself permission to rest and make time for fun and play. Starting today. Don’t worry about tomorrow, that complicates life too. Set personal boundaries, even at the risk of disappointing others. Get your priorities right and keep adjusting them as things change. You will make time for things that are a priority in your life. I would suggest your first priority should be to keep God first and work everything else around Him.

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)