Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just trying to love a little better...

So life here has got it's routine, but the people are always changing. Myself included. I have spent more time in a pool this summer than I have my entire life...just kidding, i was a fish as a kid. But seriously, i have my own part of the swim team, i teach the oldest and youngest groups of swim classes, and help teeny tiny little kids learn how to put their faces in the water and kick with some decency. And last weekend i competed in a swim meet. WHAT!?! We got 3rd!! I got 2 bronze medals myself in breaststroke and freestyle...who knew? And it made all my work at the pool pay off. The girls on the swim team took me out for coffee ice cream this week cuz they wanted to hang out with their cool coach. THere is also this lady named Enedina who has a nerve degenerative disease that is slowly eating away her muscle control. She is so wonderful though, and yesterday she came to the bible study that we have. Yesterday in my quiet time i asked God to help me be a part and witness a spiritual transformation, and guess what happened!!...Enedina accepted Christ on the poolside!! So incredible!! So things are definitely still challenging here, but my energy levels have skyrocketed and i'm loving it...and trying to prepare myself to come home, which we graduate in less than a month now. There is a family here, with 4 girls who are always at our house. And they are way too mature for the ages they are, and we just try to love them and give them all the attention they need because i don't think they get very much from their parents. I made cookies with the youngest, Noemi, and went on a bike ride with the other 3, Linda, Geraldine, and Naly. Their father came to know Christ aobut 15 years ago when he was training women to be he teaches dance classes here just for the joy of using your body for God's glory (appropriately).
And i just finished reading the Shack, and picked up Irresistible Revolution...which I highly recommend. I am remembering all the things I want to do with my life, starting by stepping across the poverty line and just loving better. It's the hardest yet most important thing we can ever do...that is the purpose of our be loved by God and to love other people.
And now i'm hoping and striving to live a holy and blameless 1 thessalonians...this is a letter of encouragement, for them to live this life, not a letter of condemnation for not living that way. God gave us his Holy Spirit to love others, and living holy and blameless alllows us to be near God and to love others the way he calls us to.
I love it here, and am excited to DO more of this, instead of just talking and learning about it. is your love? How well are you loving others around you? It's not a feeling, it's a sacrifice..
and for those of you who don't know...Ashley Ruder is engaged!
and i really love my family...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So lots has happened this week, and it's only wednesday...poop. I am being so challenged with everything. One of our team is leaving today for good. He doesn't feel that he can fulfill what God is calling him to do in his time in the DTS, so he's off to work in a food shelter for street kids in a Mapuche town. The Mapuche are the indigenous of chile. VERY interesting.
But he's leaving in about 2 hours. Two nights ago we threw him in the pool as a last hurrah, and the WHOLE DTS and the surfers from Cali are here for a mission trip. We were up till midnight just jumping in and out of the pool, slowly getting everyone thrown in.
Then last night something very sad came to us. One of the guys in our group is very close to turning his back on God. He's never really been loved, nor does he have an accurate representative of a father, so it's hard for him in everything related to Jesus and God. So pray for him. Don't let him turn to the ways of the world. We prayed for a while last night, everyone crying. There are events that have happened in our group that have divided us, but with this, and surprisingly Exequiel's departure, we are being brought back together. Half the dts is in santiago for CONOSUR...which is a gathering of all the YWAM's in chile, argentina, peru and bolivia. Lucky five of us are still here because we can't afford to be away from the activities here at the sports center and lose ministry opportunities.
SO pray for us all. For unity, perserverance and strength as this week lots is changing and so man y are coming and going.
In spite of all this i still managed to get to the beach to go horseback wonderful!!!
Full gallop canter whatever down the beach. And my horse loved the water so I was in the waves practically. I did get a little nervous and now have a blister on my finger from holding so tight. But it was well worth it. The sun,waves, and horse, and the laughter of everyone was a perfect reminder that God is in control. He loves us all and wants peace in our hearts.
Miss you all so much and wish i could get a bucketload of hugs!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A brief of the last weeks of class

I'm too busy to go into such detail...but here's the general idea...

Fuego de Dios...As you draw closwer to God, the fire gets hot. He refines you. It's hard. Don't seek easy and comfortable, it's not as incredible. As you draw closer to God, you find out he is and ALL CONSUMING FIRE. The only reason to exist is to glorify God and to have communion with Him forever. God is giving gems and jewels to live the best life that I can in my own unique and wonderful way.

Discipling the Nations through the New Generation
This class focused on learning that there are so many areas of society right in our own cities that need to be reached. We can cross social barriers, bringing Christ to them. Urban Tribes were the most interesting to me. The kids seek identity and acceptance, which is something that they can only find fully in the Lord. And this was a class focused on getting to know kids, relating to them, gaining their trust, and just reaffirming who they are. The very things that people all over the world are doing in and out of ministry.

We had a class called Levels of Development and Strategy that talked about Child development and at what ages things happen, what affects them for life, and how to best affirm who they are at every stage of their life. Very enlightening.

Sexual Restoration: Reaffirming and healing wounds of sexually abused people of all ages.

ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (finally, someone came and actually talked about attributes of God, not just the need to get to know God and that it's found in the Bible (DUH) and guess what, he was from Boulder Colorado, baby).
1. Identity of God:
God is living
God is personal
God is spirit
2. Transcendence of God:
God is infinite
God is eternal
God is unchanging
3. Character of God
God is holy
God is love
God is truth
4. The Perfections of God
God is omnipresent
God is omnipotent
God is omniscient
We incorporate all of this into our lives, and our relationship with Him becomes a journey beyond our understanding.

Shame and Dishonor vs. Glory and Honor
Brought to light all the things in our lives that made us ashamed of who we are, lack of value, or what we do, lots having to do with the way we were raised and the rules our parents had and the friends you had. I have WONDERFUL parents, but i already knew that. This class was taught by the same guy who taught about child development. Parents need to reaffirm their children, show their faults, show their children that they are accepted and valuable, never compare to anyone. The value that parents place on their kids can determine their child's destiny!

A guy from argentina came to talk about missions and how missions can be done anywhere...Missionaries are people who cross barriers...cultural, linguistic, social, economic, geographic. We looked at other religions and their foundations. We looked at ways to impact cultures and the power of world views. If Christians are still holding on to world views then they have not yet been transformed by the Truth of Jesus Christ. We are to lift up the principles of God. Don't be preoccupied with things that don't go against God's Absolute Truths. Be agents of change, show Jesus to everyone in all places in all settings. This is hard, but these nations and communities live in far greater blessing than those that go against principles of God.

Spiritual Warfare: recognizing anything that is your enemy. The church can use the power that raised Christ from the dead!! Make decisions after consulting God. Eve bit the apple because satan told her not to talk to God about it. And the most important thing to remember is....This is a battle that has already been won! Satan keeps trying to take lives from God, and he is succeeding, but Christ won this battle for us, we have to use that power to gain those lives back and to increase the Kingdom of God. There are 3 battle grounds: The Mind, The Mouth, The Heart...And all need to be protected. God gives us full armor for all of those things! We can't win this battle on our own, we need God's power. Eph 6:10-20 speaks of the armor of God: Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, Footgear of spreading the Good News, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation, Sword of the Word of God. Go! Fight! Win!

Living in the Truth-What you say has power
Words cause wound, and bring out old what you say.
Also, it is important to SAY the truth, and it will surprise people.
No lying...our culture accepts it. That's BAD.
We reflect God's character in what we say and how we say it.

And our last motivation class was FAITH AND FINANCES...Also known as GIVING.
You won't be able to pay for life with your own strength, you have to use God's power and have faith in that power. What is your character when you have money? when you don't? Does it change when you do? Our security needs to be in God, not in our bank account. Money effects our emotions, attitudes, and our relationships with God. Materialism is strong battle. And the best way to fight it is to give things away. It increases our intimacy with God. And tithing is important. THE most important thing we do with what we earn. It's not "i have to give 10% away of what I earn" but "God is letting me keep 90% of what I made!! how nice of him! it' snot even mine in the first place! And she gave us a long list of symptoms of materialism. The class then had a half hour break where we were to pray about giving something, blessing our classmates. Man was this incredible. The first guy to go felt that God was telling him to give away the only thing he had that he considered valuable....a ski jacket. SO, this gets deep. almost everyone felt that they were to give to him. Even me! He always borrowed my favorite scarf, purple and black checkers, so I gave it to him. Someone else gave him a soccer jersey, a book, a cell phone for his soccer school he's starting, and SOMEONE PAID FOR HIS ENTIRE OUTREACH!! THINK...if he hadn't obeyed God, God may have no blessed him with so much more!! I recieved about book about women in the missions field and the battle fought there, as well as mascara!! Don't know if i told you, but mine fell down the toilet. And it's like $10 here, yuck. Someone gave a video camera, perfume, headphones. It was interesting to see what God has us give, and all had to do with things that were a great part of who we are! To top of this story, we had a secret santa christmas party. I was sad that I had given away my purple scarf. Guess what i get from a girl i don't even know! a purple scarf AND purple earrings!! God is so good! This story is just exciting me so much sitting here. He is so good.

Our last class, which was followed by one of the best barbecue's ever, was on how to do an inductive bible study. Thanks to the navigators I have been doing that for 2 and half years! love it!

And class was done. the being poured into part ended and the time to see it all applied, to let it all manifest itself in me has arrived. Week one and I see the importance of everything I have learned. I see the importance of washing my hands before the Lord DAILY so today's dust doesn't just pile up on top of yesterdays. And once again, the theme, the humbling theme of CHOOSING it all, of making God more important than me, of getting up everymorning for my quiet time (which has now been moved to BEFORE breakfast...gag), of focusing on how to lift up others, when you pray for someone it's hard to criticize their character. You want to stir them up as Joseph put it. And it HAS been hard. The fire is hot here by God. He is refining me. But i cannot even express the ways he has changed me, the habits I have wanted to break for years are now being broken (slowly, but it's happening). Of being filled with energy from the waking moment because the first thing I get to do is spend time in the light of the Lord.

And this week was especially hard and it made me SO homesick. It made me realize so much about my fellow students and urging them to do their best. It's hard to see much of the positive side when everyone is negative and it seems that my journal is full of venting fuming and bitterness relief, followed by quiet time notes, and then the revelations that the holy spirit brings to me to get my eyes off of my surroundings back onto God. It's hard. It's so hard. But I'm glad i'm here. Satan still gets to my same struggles, but i'm learning to battle that and live in my identity of who GOD says I am, not who I think I am. Pride is hard to see, you know. Even low self-esteem is pride. Live one day at a time.

Group unity has been a big problem. We have no time to sit down and talk to each other. And the guys just struggle with their mosquitos and respect.

I did flowers for a wedding...Maia and Beto...thanks Ash for your inspiration, there are pics on facebook if anyone wants to see. I got up at 6 in the morning and did it all. The wedding was a dream...on the beach, no chairs, just sand in the toes.

God has been challenging me to increase my faith. Faith eliminates the pride of human effort because faith is not a deed that we do. Faith exalts what God has done, not what people do. It admits that we can't keep the law or measure up to God's standards. It is based on our relationship with God, not on our performance for God.

My wet suit got stolen too...stealing is the game the Chile plays with itself. I pray it will turn up.

Never decorate cookies for Christmas with 3 year olds, they don't get it. But chocolate no bakes are an international hit!

Question: Will you stumble over the rock? or build your house on it? Jesus is the rock.
Jesus allows us to know God. He is wants makes God understandable, otherwise He is beyond our tiny minds.

2009 was a pivotal year....I graduate from college and life is no longer planned out for me. I stepped out in faith and am finding a new direction.
2010. What do I want to do with this year? It's actually a really long time.

And i'm learning to play guitar. The callous thing is hard because i spend so much time in the pool I have to place twice as long to not undo everything I worked so hard for.

And TRULY love people. Jesus would never fake love anyone. Take genuine interest, dont just be polite. Love them because they too were created in God's image. Love and forgive as Christ does.

Faith and Love are my push right now.

Did you know that 3 is a special number for homesickness? 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months. This week is the 3 month mark. It's been hard, i just want to say that again. One bad moment for me sent half the week spiraling out of control. But i regained my footing in the end of Romans where it talks about Love. God can guard your life, bring joy. You need his help for you to be able to love Him to your greatest extent! Ask Him to increase your awareness of Him, improve your obedience. psalm 86. Let the spiritual realm of your Holy Spirit be known in my heart andmind. And give me an undivided heart! He can be your strength and your attitude, your words, your love, your example, sustainer, and guiding light. romans 15:2-Please my neighbor for his or her good, not mine; 15:5-seek commin ground. 15:13 As God is giving me encouragement I must also bring the Spirit of Unity that I am looking for. 15:14-Then i'll get the joy and peace because I am trusting in Him. God knows I am capable, complete in knowledge and competent. Then i glory in Jesus Christ. Be refreshed with other believers. AND desire for the peace of God go be with you. Thank God for the grace given to the people around you. And be so glad that it is not with Human words that the gospel is spread.

And i rode a ride last night that is a law suit waiting to happen in the USA. It spins you around, no seat belts, and then kinds shakes when you're at the top of the circle. there'll be a video on facebook for that too I think. And it'll be here all summer ( my summer...yes, I'm sunburned as we speak).

And as I continue my outreach I remind myself that the kingdom of God is POWER, not talk. It has to be lived, not just talked about.

So it's been a while....

AND there is so much to share. God has done SO much in my life and the lives of the people around me. So much has happened since the Nov 24th post, i should have been updating more but i have SO much to share i never found ENOUGH time to write it all out!! i may start doing shorter posts,and some may be incomplete because i may get called away from the computer at any moment. Since november, we finished our classes on Dec 22, i'll share a lot about what i learned in the last month of the theoretical phase. I celebrated Christmas here with an awesome family on the base. Then on Christmas night 9 of us started a long treck to argentina to renew our tourist visas. We stayed for 2 days in San Rafael hanging out in the great outdoors, walked for miles looking for some water to swim in and finally found a beautiful river flowing down from the Andes. And a girl named Becca from England and I rented cruiser bikes and biked all over one morning and found ourselved picnicking in a cute park with big fountains. Then I came back and we all started planning the 1st Annual Pura Vida Surf Competition that was last saturday. This was the kickoff, as we call it, of our 2 months of outreach and evangelism that we'll be doing here in Pichilemu. We are the first in 17 years to stay here for the summer. This week I spend countless hours in the freezing pool teaching kids to swim, and I even get to coach my own part of a swim team. (In spanish!! yikes!!!!) I will also be helping with volleyball classes, English classes, and a few other things. But we basically are starting what people in the US would easily and typically find in every recreation center. But sports programs, and non-corrupt ones at that are VERY hard to come by in Chile, especially in small town Pichilemu. SO you can all get a perspective of this wouldn't even have a Wal-mart. It's not tiny, but it's not even Wal-Mart worthy, so it needs a lot of work. and as a bonus, most of the classes are free or very cheap. VERY. And that doesn't really matter much to us because it's all about the relationships we build with the people walking through those doors, living in integrity before them, and making sure that they know that everyone is special in God's eyes. Schedules are still a struggle, initiative is still lacking in our leadership, so i'm growing in patience and just going with the flow. And we're all having a blast, which is good. We're tired, and the girls are blessed with a cute little pink house (beach house on the outside, log cabin on the inside) while the boys are sleeping in the classroom we used and it's infested with mosquitos. Poor guys. But they're working it out. And four days of quiet times got stuck on the same 4 chapters at the end of Roman's and God lead me through those verses very intentionally in accordance with what i was struggling with, learning, and needing to hear to be encouraged. My focus should always be on Him. Filled with marvelous thoughts of Him. Not focused on what I need to be doing to solve the problems that I feel I have, but on Him and His destiny for me, that He's already put inside of me.
Speaking of Destiny.....I have wanted to share this with you since I had the class at the end of November. I guy named Joseph came from Tennessee. He doesn't have a home there, but that's where he calls home. He spends more time speaking all over the world than he does at home. And before I begin I have to note that my notes from him are 9 pages, front and back, so this no way will equal what he taught us the week he was here. But he was a man sprinting straight into the arms of God. Our destiny is the preplan that God has made in our lives. It's already in you, you just have to take it, believe that God is truly big enough to make it ALL happen. You don't have to go anywhere to find it, it's already there with you. You have to stir it out of yourself, and stir up other people's destiny's that are within them. God has put all of His glory in your clay jar, but God wants that jar to break. And until it's broken, God's glory won't come out. And when you need encouragement, the best thing to do is to be an encourager yourself. PLUS, when you're so focused on encouraging other people you don't have time to get distracted with yourself, to get bitter, to be tempted by sin. Satan has a mold he wants to fit you in, and he gets you in that box by lying. He first lies about who God is, and if you believe that, then he lies to you about yourself. Cuz if you believe a lie about GOD, who never changes and is verywonderful, you will easily believe a lie about yourself, which in turn separates you from God. The lies are lies that prevent you from walking in who you are in God. Stirring you up creates dreams and taps into your destiny. God WILL change you. He will rip your heart out, show you your lies, take the liesout, puts it in with truth, and then puts your heart back. Your identity is WHO GOD thinks you are. He lifts our heads from our paths to His face. We seek Him, and our destiny unfolds before us. Some boxes that satan puts us in: Intelligence, Appearance, Money, and what you do. The last box is the biggest box. Our world tells us that it's what you do that makes you who you are....that is a LIE!! Your destiny is never ever ever ever ever ever what you do!! It's who you are becoming!!!
It's important to remember that we are predestined to looking like Jesus. The bible says, away from me you evildoers, for I never knew you. He wants to know you, to know what you bring. He created you, but do you share with Him? have loud times with him? He wants you to open your heart and tell Him who you are. Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered. He didn't come to earth knowing everything. He had to wrestle with God, with who he was. Remember, Satan challenged him and his identity too. Romans 12:2...THEN. Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. THEN you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, His good, pleasing, perfect will. Your life is broad, His holiness is narrow; not the other way around. He sees us like a baby, we can't do anything without his help. The baby isn't thinking about what next. The baby isn't worried about anything! it is a SIN to worry about your life or anything. Worry is an external manifestation of an internal fear. Fear comes from not having something that you need or won't get, or something that I have will be taken away. Faith and Fear CANNOT coexist. it shows that we don't have faith. it's puts us in boxes. Daniel 11:32b: Satan is lying to us, blocking us from seeing who we really are, because if we even get a glimpse of that he knows we will change the world! When you get an accurate picture of who you are IN GOD you can change the world. YOU + GOD= The Majority. And like what is happening with the boys...Anyone who believes that one life cannot change a life has never spent the night with a mosquito. And when your identity lines up with who you are in God, you begin to do the works that God has for you. If you keep getting your identity from the world, you'll always be lacking and you won't get to go onall those adventure's God has for you.
It's also important to remember that we are God's KIDS, not servants. Servants don't inherit the house, the children do. Children have rights that servants don't. God wants children who are willing to serve, not to be servants.
There are 5 gospels...Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and YOU. What God do people see on your pages? You cannot hate yourself and love your neighbor. You can't be self-conscious and turn around and be Mother Theresa. I am beautifully and wonderfully made...David believed that was his identity in God and so God made him a KING!! God has so many thoughts of us, of who He knows we are. God IS love, he doesn't DO love. And the more that your self-concept looks like the self-concept of God's, the mroe of the world you will change.
How often do we ask for God's help? as daughters and sons? Begging God to provide for your needs is the prayer of the orphan. But we are His children. Even Christ had to ask for help carrying his cross. He wants to give us everything we ask for! that's why we can't just simply ask Him to provide for us, cuz clearly he already is or we wouldn't be breathing and eating. God wants so badly to give us everything we ask for! and He CAN provide and HE loves us so much He will provide it if our faith lines up with it. The size of our faith is how big we think God is. Orphans look for survival, they are not thinking about their father who provides everything!
Have you ever asked God what he thinks of you? Ask Him, you'll be surprised.
Remember, your value is not in what you do, it's in who you are in God.
And as you walk as a child, you don't worry about a thing. God has a picture of you on His fridge! How are you going to show the world that your God is trustable if you go around worrying , just like they worry. Their worry wouldn't change in coming to know your God. We have to walk in faith FOR THE WORLD TO SEE, that is our gospel that the world sees. Let God love you, that is all He wants, and in that kind of love you can conquer the world. You have to LET God love you. When you find yourself worrying, you need to ask God for a fresh revelation of His love for you. I did this, and He showed me. It was incredible. And I believed it was from God.
So I want to ask all my readers, are you dreaming? Sons and Daughters dream. Workers just look for survival. God doesn't want you to do that, He wants you to let him in and love you, to fulfill your dreams. If God were in a board meeting and you knocked on the door, have no doubt that He would adjourn the meeting because you are there and YOU ARE WHAT HE LIVES FOR! God will answer your dream and then ask you...WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT!!! IT"S YOURS!!! When you start dreaming you wake up God. He gets so excited taht you are dreaming. you can't slow Him down once you start dreaming. So will ignite you walk with God so you can start dreaming WITH God. He loves it!
A lie that satan tells us is that our sins are the deepest part of us. But they are not!! You have to go through them to get to your dreams. God wants to heal you of all that so He can bring out what is strongest in you...your destiny. Staying away from your wounds is safe, you can get religious without having to get real with God. So how big are your dreams? How big is your God?
Joseph pointed out that it's sad that we're trying to get people into churches instead of trying to get God's kingdom into the people. Show people you have something deeper than all your junk, you have the power of God working with you to fulfill your destiny. He related the light of God to the facets of a diamond. This reminded me much of my grandfather who used to facet stones. when we listen to the lies of Satan, it's like we are diamonds covered with mud. God's light can't shine out (or in!) to reflect His holiness.
There is so much about me that I can't change...and God made me that way on purpose, with a deep purpose i'll never fully understand. My family, nationality, birth order, gender, race, age, body, etc. And all of these things have specifics of why we are that way, and GOD USES THAT! The enemy wants us to compare ourselves to others instead of glorying in His creativity and power, something unique in every culture that only they have, that is very descriptive of WHO GOD IS! That's why EVERYONE is so different because God is so many things, He expresses who He is in His people so we may know Him better and to be assured that He exists. Everything about your destiny is about Him, your place in Him.
The biggest insult to God is comparing yourself to other people because you are telling God that He messed up when He made you. That He made someone else better than you. And He DOES NOT see you that way! Walk up to a nation, look past their junk, stir them up and ask for what they ahve that ou can get only from them. When Christ sends us to the nations, it is to share your Jesus with them. To spread your gifts around the nations AND collect what they have.
Satan somehow knows your calling since your birth. He tries to make you regret decisions you made in Christ. When you try to rationalize sin, it brings out the idea that we get to decide what is and isn't sin, once again making what we do define who we are. When we do good things God loves us, when we don't, He doesn' a lie. God ALWAYS loves us. We are to worship God in's not something we do, it's who we are that worships Him. We have been put into various boxes by satan. There are 8 to be specific: Linguistic, Math-logical, Spatial, Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, and Naturalistic. In our school systems, we use 2 of these, and only 30% of the worlds population best learns in these 2 Satan has made it look like 70% of the world's population is stupid! SO they can't dream because they are stupid according to the world's standard. Universities are full of math and language people who raise up more math and language people so they can look down on the 70% of the world that is not math and language. So don't be put in a box by the world!
There are many types of Spiritual Gifts that people have. Everyone has all, but some are more prominent than others. Motivational: Perceiver, server, teacher, encourager, giver, administrator, mercy/compassion. Ministry: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers. Manifestational: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, discernment of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. And Joseph goes on for about 6 pages describing all of those...too much for this space and time.
So he asks....Why am I here?
What do you do? what jesus did. What are my hours? 24/7. What's my pay? Eternity in heaven. It is your destiny to look like Jesus, so what you do is what he did. The more you do what he does the more you'll llook like him. Make your own testimony! your own gospel! don't rely on others! Show others God in you, what they don't have and what they need. Luke 12:49 says we are called to bring a raging fire to the earth, burning with the love of Jesus. So where ever we go we catch people on fire. A nation is discipled when you can see the lordship of Christ in every area of society that influences the world view of the people living there. Those areas are: Arts/entertainment, Business, Church, Distribution of information/communications, Education, Families, Government, Healthcare/medicine. And anywhere you can do the work that Christ did is spiritual.
With tears in his eyes, Joseph finished his week here with a story of Greta in the 1984 Olympics. Miles ahead in the marathon, it took her an hour to go the last mile. She said, if you don't want to have pain, then don't enter the race. She was supposed to win. And She was hurting BADLY. But she kept going. Why? Because of her Coach at the finish line, standing there with his arms wide open, ready to say good job. Satan is counting how many times we fall down, but God is counting how many times we get up. Your race is your own race, and you have to allow God to finish what He started in us.
Christ did not come to enprison you, but to SET YOU FREE! Let the whole earth flood with His kingdom by finding His fill for you here. Keep your eyes on your coach and Keep. Moving. Forward.
Don't let your past keep you form running into the future.
And remember... You are God's child and your picture is on His fridge.