Thursday, March 17, 2011

Excercise Is Good For You (but it isn't easy)

Another title came to mind: No Pain No Gain.

On Friday afternoon (the 11th...yes, the day I applied for my passport), I decided to go outside and exercise by running/jogging (with some walking thrown in).  That shouldn't be anything out of the ordinary.  But it was.  For me.  I haven't done that...since...um, who's keeping track?  I tend to be an indoors girl.  The work I do is done at a keyboard and computer and my schoolwork is also done inside.  I'm often busy and if the thought even occurs to me to go outside, it doesn't seem worth the effort.  However, people tell me it's not healthy to stay inside all the time.  They're probably right.  So I went outside with my mp3 player.  This is my new strategy.  Normally, I would've been surprised if I lasted 15 minutes.  I thought music would help.  It did.  I stayed out for around an hour.  After approx. 45 minutes, my knee started hurting.  But I wanted to be tough so I continued.  By the time I came inside, I was babying it :).  I thought my knee was totally healed from the sledding incident.  No, I didn't mention my knee in the post.  It has to do with me throwing myself repeatedly onto the sled, hitting my knee hard (more than once), and bruising it.  The days after that my knee was very sore.

Back to Friday.  My knee wasn't as sore as before and I was eating lunch when my youngest brother asked me to go biking with him.  At first, I tried to resist (I haven't biked in months) but he was so sweet that I couldn't help it.  I agreed.  I was worried that it'd make my knee worse but after my brother ate lunch and I did a school subject, it didn't hurt anymore.  We had fun biking.  Then we did nature scavenger hunts (including a cool twist I made up :))...this included a lot of running around.  Before I knew it, it was dark outside.  I can't remember a time in the recent past that I've spent that many hours outdoors. (Sad, I know.)We went grocery shopping that evening which included--you guessed it--a lot of walking. Suffice it to say, I overdid it.

My dad said I should wait a couple days before exercising anymore.  I did.  Then I exercised a little on Monday (the 14th).  The next morning I wasn't that sore (in comparison to Saturday morning...).  By the way, my knee is fine now (as far as I know). 

I'm hoping this exercise stuff will pay off in me being able to do hard physical work without being totally sore the next day.  I also need to strengthen my cardiovascular system.  In other words, after a few minutes of running, my breathing should not sound like a locomotive and my heart should not be beating like an out-of-control drum on wheels (I don't know why on wheels...it just sounded interesting...besides I had to make up for the earlier cliche). 

Enough about me.  What about you?  Do you exercise?  How often?  What type of exercise?  Running? Soccer?  Hiking?  Badminton?  I want to hear all about it!  Any tips on exercise?  I could really use 'em!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Passports, Appointments, and Phone Calls…oh, my!

This could have also been entitled human frailty. Or my frailty. In making appointments.
An appointment needed to be set so my parents and I could get our passports made. My parents were simply renewing but I needed mine. (Why I need a passport is incredibly exciting but must wait for a post all its own. You’ll have to be patient. That is, if anyone is even reading this.) The task fell to me since they felt I needed experience in these things especially if I’d be traveling overseas. Alone. (Yeah, that’s kind of a hint about why I need a passport…)

At this point I should mention that I’d never made an appointment before. Ever. There was no need. If a doctor or dentist appointment had to be made, my parents took care of it. I should also mention that I’ve never liked talking on the phone except with my aunt and closest friend…and immediate family. Not that I can’t do it. I have spent a total of half an hour or so calling customer service and talking to someone in India-twice!-because of a certain product that shall remain nameless.

Anyway…all this to say, it may not thrill me but I thought I’d handle it just fine. I called the post office and said that I was calling to make an appointment for the next day (Friday) to get passports made. I asked if 9 a.m. was available since that was the time slot my dad wanted me to aim for. She said it was. I said that was great. I mentioned that three of us would be coming in--two adults renewing and one first time applicant. How long would it take? 20 minutes. Do they have the forms to fill out there? Yes. In that case, give it at least 30 minutes. I thanked her and hung up.

Do you notice anything missing? I didn’t. I thought I’d done a good job and I called dad to let him know that we had an appointment for 9 a.m. the next day. He thanked me and that was that.

Fast forward to the evening. I was talking with mom and she asked me if I’d given the lady my name. Uh…no. I never mentioned my name. Mom pointed out that the lady might’ve thought I was simply asking for information. I said that I mentioned I was calling to make an appointment.

But you didn’t give her your name? How are they going to know if it’s you or not?

"She didn’t ask for my name!" I protested.

Turns out, that doesn’t matter. If you set an appointment, you are supposed to let the person know who you are so they’ll reserve a spot for you. Dad had already taken a few hours off work to go to the appointment. By now, I wasn’t happy with myself. The website said By Appointments Only. This was a mess. What if she’d misunderstood me? She didn’t even know who "I" was! Business hours were over so I couldn’t call again. After this, I didn’t want to call again. At first, I insisted that Dad take care of it so I wouldn’t mess up a second time. In the end, the desire to redeem myself (and prove I could do it) won out and I said I’d do it as soon as they opened.

8:30 a.m. Friday. I called again. The same lady picked up.

"I called yesterday to make an appointment to get passports made at 9 a.m. and then realized that I forgot to give you my name."

What would she say??

"Oh, that’s okay. There’s no one else coming in at nine."

Thank You, Lord! She still didn’t ask my name and seemed very laid-back but I wasn’t making the same mistake twice. I gave her my name and told her we’d be there in half an hour.

We were there at the post office and another lady came in to get her passport made. But the lady who worked there said that she’d have to wait. We had an appointment. :)
That is the long story on how I ended up getting my passport made today. (Though it takes 4-6 weeks to process so it will be a while before it’s in my hands.)
 
And it’s a story about how once again, God’s purpose can prevail against any human weakness, no matter how big or small. I’m so thankful that His strength is made perfect in my weakness!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sometimes

Sometimes my heart fills and I wonder how I could possibly put what I'm feeling into words.  Can I even decipher my own feelings?

Sometimes I read something that takes my breath away and I want to share it with others.

Sometimes I think I must be the only 17 year old with such a burden for reaching the unreached with the Gospel and orphans...and I find that I'm not.  I don't even know this girl but I'm blown away by her love for Jesus.  And I'm amazed at how God draws people to Himself.  (In case you're wondering, I just found her blog today and did not copy her title :)...the similarity is pretty neat, though, isn't it?)

Sometimes I dream big dreams and wonder how they will ever come to fruition.  Yes, God can do anything...but will He do it for me?  And I must remind myself that if He has planted a desire in my heart, He will fulfill it. 

Sometimes I'm just totally overwhelmed by the grace of God.  That He would love and save a sinner like me.  That He would choose to use me for His kingdom.  Not because I'm strong.  I'm weak.  Not because He needs me to accomplish His purposes.  He doesn't.  But because He wants to use me for His glory.  What an amazing privilege! 

Sometimes my heart aches as I look at pictures of children waiting for adoption.  And I wonder...why me, God?  Why now?  Why my heavy heart?  Why this longing?  I'm in no position to adopt.  Since I was around 14...why?  And then conviction.  Am I praying for them?  Am I spreading the word?  Am I doing what I can where I'm at now?  Yes, it hurts.  When I take the time to think, it hurts.  Perhaps it would be easier to think about video games, the latest gadget, or cute clothes.  But would I get the chance to feel this LOVE?  Love for kids I've never met and will not meet.  Love that they can't return in any way, shape, or form.  Is God giving me a glimpse of what He feels for orphans?  Love.  Unexplainable.  Incomprehensible.  Love.  That makes my throat ache.  That makes my eyes blink rapidly.  And you may think but you've never even met them.  I haven't.  But God formed them in the womb just like He did you and me.  God knows every hair on their heads.  God sees them when they cry themselves to sleep while I fuss about trivial problems.  God sees the ones who die long before they should have. 

And it enters my mind: how do I ever let myself forget?  Because I do.  I get caught up in the busyness of life.  I make mistakes.  I sin.  I stress out over silly, insignificant things.  Meanwhile people suffer.  Children lose parents.  Families starve.  People go into a Christless eternity.  And it hurts to remember.

The solution?  Jesus.  My mind struggles.  Could it really be that simple?  Run to Jesus?  Really?  Find satisfaction and fulfillment in Jesus?  Really? What about a book on the subject?  That might help.  What about if I just stay really busy?  Will that help?  What if I focus on raising money for orphans and missions?  Isn't that good?  Yes.  But it still isn't the answer.  It isn't?

Jesus is enough. 

Really?

Yes. 

You mean I don't have to handle all this by myself?  Wait.  I can't make it happen?  I can't change lives?  Only God can?  That's right!  How could I have tried to rely on myself?  How foolish.

Jesus is the answer for unreached people groups.  And Jesus is the answer for you and me.  Not as a cherry on top or a nice addition to our life or a recipe for happiness or fire insurance.  As our LIFE.  Period.  I want to be able to say with Paul "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

You know what?  It still hurts.  I need to daily trust God who is a Father to the fatherless.  He can comfort and protect orphans far better than I ever could.  Does that excuse us from trying to help?  Of course not.  But let's not try to do it in our power, okay?  It won't work. 

And when I forget?  When I blow it?  God still loves me.  Such incomprehensible love!  I love You, Lord!

There's more I could say...but I'll end with what I'll need to remind myself of time and time again:

Jesus is enough.  He is good.  All. The. Time.