Coming up this June will mark one of the most defining moments in my life. The 5 year reunion of the death of my cousin Alex. I remember it like it was yesterday because as a Kansas girl, I was doing missions work in Fresno, CA with World Impact from May-August. We had been doing a Vacation Bible School in a particular area as well as some cleaning up. The day was filled with yard work, running around playing games with children, and sharing the Christ's love with each family. It was so hot that we ate dinner, showered, and I went to bed as everyone else stayed up playing cards. I had my phone laying beside me and I heard it ringing. I hit ignore and quickly fell back asleep. It rang again two more times. On the 3rd time I realized it was my bother. When I finally woke up & I tried to call back but received no answer. As I tried to call him back a second time, I had an incoming call from my cousin. She asked if my mom had gotten a hold of me and I told her no. She said something bad had happened and I needed to call her. I yelled at her through the phone to tell me what happened and hesitantly explained what details she knew of my cousin Alex who had been in a tragic car accident. They took him to the hospital, but he didn't make it. I begged her asking for it to be a joke and as her voice cracked, I knew she wasn't. I slid down the wall collapsing my head into my lap crying. I got it together then picked up the phone to call my mom. As she answered it trying to sound like nothing was wrong I said, "Please tell me it's not true"! She gulped through the phone and informed me he didn't make it. I cried hysterically on the phone and so my mom put my dad on the phone. I eventually calmed myself down as they told me to get ahold of the airlines so I could find the quickest trip back to Kansas. Twenty four hours later I landed back in Kansas and spent time with my family mourning the loss of my cousin who we lost at such a young age. We had gone to school together and even celebrated birthdays, holidays, homecomings, proms, & graduation, together. To think about my cousin who would be 25 today still breaks my heart, but I know God has a bigger plan and so I trust in Him. Alex is with the Lord and is definitely in a better place.
So why do I share this with you!?! We all have pain and moments in our lives that define who we are or who we want to be. I used to be the person who had a bitter and angry attitude. If someone made me mad, I wouldn't hold my mouth. I would spout off and then later regret words I had said. I used to care less about other people and their feelings- it was always about me and what I could gain. I guess you could say I was one of the most selfish people I knew. I was fake to people, but after this event, I had an awakening where I realized how short life is. After the funeral, I returned back to California to continue doing missions for the summer & I returned with having had an awakening moment. I have no idea how effective I was the rest of the summer in my work i did, but I do know I have never prayed so hard in my entire life. I prayed for God to heal my bitter and angry heart and after time He has! That's how I found fitness. I used to eat my feelings, but this pain was so deep, I had to find another way. That's when I started running with purpose, working out with purpose, and eating to FUEL my body.
All the time I get the question, "how do you workout so much and why are you able to stay dedicated"? Easy, I realized I have to take care of myself in a HEALTHY way and when I do, I can then effectively help others on their journey whatever they're facing. No, I haven't been through ever painful moment, but I do understand pain. And I refuse to allow the devil to define who I am. I refuse to allow him to steel my joy and happiness. I'm free in Christ and because I'm filled with Him, I share that love and try to be an encouragement to others I come in contact with.
This weeks success: taking time each day for The Lord, myself, and then giving my time to others.
I challenge you, to take a look at what changes do you need to make to fully love God, yourself and then others...