Tag Archives: Bible Study

Personal Best

I learned a new term this weekend, it’s a runner’s term so surely I had never heard it. A precious friend ran a full marathon in honor of Katie, image2 (1)after 26 miles she met up with Katie to push her across the finish line. It was truly one of the most amazing moments to watch. As we hugged afterwards one of her family members threw out the new term, they told her she had a PR. What? She made a personal record, this was her 6th marathon and the fastest she had ever run. She immediately said it was all Katie, our precious daughter had inspired her to perform better.

This made me think about how Katie has brought out PR’s in so many of us. I like to call it our Personal Best. Her life is a marathon every day. When watching her walk in her walker for just 10 minutes you see the struggle, you see the fight. When she cries out to us, trying to communicate I see the frustration and confusion. When we put food in her mouth and she sits there refusing to swallow I see the discomfort. All of these things and so much more are apart of Katie’s daily life, yet she seems so happy most of the time. I truly believe her bond with God helps her see past this life into what really matters.

Before Katie I never learned what it meant to truly push myself. I exercised pretty regularly and worked hard in my career, but looking back those were pretty basic. Today, I see that pushing toward my personal best involves a different way of thinking. It means taking my own wants and needs out of the equation. We all learn this in parenthood, but it is intensified in the special needs world.

Early on in Katie’s life I just didn’t get it, I felt so sorry for myself because I wanted her to be normal, I wanted her to be what I had always dreamed she would. Now I see so clearly that she is so much better than normal. She has taught me to push myself to live this life to the fullest, but not to rely on it for happiness because what comes after is so much better.

image3 (10)Katie brings out the best in those who take the time to know her. Family members are dedicating their careers to helping other kids like Katie. Complete strangers come up to us to tell us how just seeing Katie touches their hearts. So many people donated to our marathon fund to raise $2000 for a local Early Intervention agency. These are all beautiful examples of Katie pushing us to do more with our lives.

The most amazing transformation in my life has been my desire to be the best disciple for God I can be. If my life had gone according to my plan, I am not sure where I would be in my faith walk. My bible study group is just finishing up St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews and a recent verse spoke loudly to me. “Endure your trials as discipline, God treats you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are without discipline, in which all have shared, you are not sons but bastards.” (Hebrews 12:7-8) Trials are not punishments from God they are lessons that teach us to be our very best. Just as a parent disciplines out of love, God sends us trials because He adores us and wants us to dig deeper. I know this because Katie was once my trial, but I now know she is my greatest teacher in life.

I have so much admiration for my friend who ran for Katie. She loves to run and enjoys pushing hIMG_0757er body to achieve more, but this marathon was different for her. She said when her training got tough she thought of Katie and focused on running because Katie can’t. The 20th mile of the marathon is always her most difficult, but with Katie on her heart she pushed through it faster and stronger than ever before. Without my friend, Katie would never cross a finish line. God pushes us all to look outside of ourselves and to focus on how we can help others reach their personal best. I’m thankful for my friend and so many others in our lives who run this race with us, because very often we need a good push.

 

I Hope You Dance!!

My entire body filled with heat, my heart opened and the only thing that could fill it was God. It was October 2012, I was doing two faith based book studies. Both books changed me forever. It wasn’t so much the books, they were both really good, but it was simply the Holy Spirit using this moment to take over my life.

After this moment all I wanted to do was learn as much about God as I could. In my spare time I read, researched, prayed, wrote and simply learned how to give myself to the Lord. I no longer wanted to watch TV, or scroll down Facebook…I wanted more and more and more God. I really cannot explain the feeling, it was amazing and all consuming.

I was then blessed by a group of ladies that started meeting for a Bible study once a week, we still meet today. Before this study my knowledge of the Bible consisted of two phrases, Old Testament & New Testament. Our leader was sent to us by God, she goes through the books of the Bible sentence by sentence and explains what the Fathers of the Church say about that passage. If you’re not familiar with that term. The Fathers of the Church are the early Christians, like St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom, who were taught by the apostles. What better source? Jesus taught the apostles, the apostles taught the Church Fathers and they wrote it all down. If you have a question about what a certain passage or verse means, the Fathers of the Church hold the answers. We have finished the books of  John, Acts of the Apostles and are now studying Matthew. I finally feel like I know the stories of Jesus and what He wants from us.

“When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your hearth, you will find me with you, says the Lord, and I will change your lot…” Jeremiah 29:13-14

I can truly say this is when I began to feel true joy, joy that I had never known before. I finally knew my purpose on this earth was to do Gods will. Everything else was falling into place. Being a mommy to Katie, Lexi and Drew made more sense. photo shoot 2013 052My role as a wife took on new meaning. One struggle I’ve had writing this post is making sure that I don’t sound self righteous, I’m so far from perfect it’s not even funny, and I certainly don’t know it all, not even a quarter. I screw up every single day, but I’m just writing about what God has shown me and what I TRY to aspire to everyday.

image (17)God has revealed a beautiful message through Katie’s life. Katie was not blessed with legs that function, a brain that forms words to speak, hands that write or even eyes to see. But I got all that and more, so how dare I waste one single minute. A song that portrays my feelings is by Lee Ann Womack, I Hope You Dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance, Never settle for the path of least resistance, Living might mean taking chances but they’re worth taking, Loving might be a mistake but it’s worth making, Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter, When you come close to selling out reconsider, Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance, And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance. I HOPE YOU DANCE!!!! 

To me these lyrics mean to do everything you do with your whole heart and with all your effort. And since God is supposed to be the center of our lives. That means our relationship with God should have every ounce of our being. I am not going to even begin to say that I do this always. I struggle everyday because this world we live in has so much to take us away from God. Actually, I often feel this world is telling me God is not important. The world right now is so far from what God wants. I don’t think He wants us to modernize our values. He wants the single most important thing in our life, more important than our spouse, children, job, wardrobe, car and home; to be Him.

“Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

The special needs journey or any struggle for that matter can be long, lonely and isolating. It doesn’t always lead us down the right path. I’ve taken many a wrong turns. But what I know for sure is the wrong road, the one in which we try to escape our struggles, will only lead us in circles. It only leads to more disappointment. As I’ve re-routed my GPS many times I found the only path is the one God wants us on, doing His will everyday, following His commands as diligently as we can. To keep myself in check, I try to reflect on the 10 Commandments and ask, “am I doing what God wants?”.

image (16)Another lesson Katie has taught me is that nothing on this earth will fulfill the longing we have. Katie has true joy and does not know anything about the materialism of this world. Again, I’m no model Christian woman, but I know God is my only source of true joy. I love listening to Father Robert Barron, he gives weekly homilies on http://wordonfire.org/. He often talks about this and once he had a fabulous example. Think about some of the worlds greatest sports figures. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Alex Rodriguez, to name a few, were all the best of the best, they had home run records, world fame and all the money you can imagine, yet they chose to take steroids in hopes of getting more. When it comes to worldly things nothing is ever enough. Why?

photo (3)That longing that we try to fill, that yearning for more was given to us by God for one purpose, to bring us closer to Him. We try and try to fill it with success, money, friends, and so much more. I don’t know where you are on your faith walk, but if God is not on the tip of my tongue always, I ask, why am I not giving Him every single bit of me, making Him the leader in my life. Do I want to sit it out or DANCE??

In my next post I will talk about why I think we have to struggle while on this earth.