The other day I was featured on the Tiny Prints Blog! I shared a fun wrapping paper DIY that I used for my friend Kalli! Check it out and let me know if you decide to do something similar; I'd love to check it out!
I took these photos in San Antonio in my parents' backyard; their view is unbelievable. I couldn't help but be completely moved by God's creation. All too often I take these small things for granted. I've tried to be more intentional as of late. Intentional with my time and energy, intentional with my thoughts and expression of love and appreciation, and intentional in my words and actions. My goal this year is to create a meaningful presence, and so far I have seen the powerful effects of words of kindness; not only for those I speak them to, but in my own life. It's difficult to feel sad, stressed, overwhelmed or insecure when you're speaking life into someone. It'll do a world of good, for you to shift your focus off of yourself and to start blessing people for no other reason, than simply because people deserve kindness.
Three years ago, Elisha got really into health and fitness. He signed up for his first race and the name alone made me nervous - it was called the Spartan Race. He explained to me all that the race entailed and having never been a part of this "world", I was nervous to say the least. I went out and took photos of him, supporting him and cheering him on at the finish line. He did great! He explained all that he had to do and how much fun he had and said "you should do it". I said "maybe someday", but in my heart I was fairly certain that was not going to happen.
Elisha would go on to complete numerous races, triathlons, and six other Spartan races, getting his Trifecta medal in his second year. I was, and still am, so proud of his accomplishments. He is healthy and strong. When I look at myself, I can't necessarily use those words to describe myself. In fact, while I was running this race, this thought came to mind - "when did 'weak' become a term I use to describe myself?". As a child and young adult I was fairly active, an athlete even, but at some point, I wasn't. I don't know when it happened, but I no longer saw myself as strong (physically), and that was pretty sad.
So, I wrote out my goals on January 1st, of this year and I decided that I was going to complete a Spartan Race. I didn't make this a goal because I really wanted to do it, but more because I felt like I needed to. I needed to prove that I could. I needed to know that I could. And so, on May 16th, I ran my first Spartan Race, and I finished! Elisha was by my side the whole way, and honestly I could write a whole separate post about his support, encouragement and inspiration to me. He is great!
During the race I had many thoughts, "I can't believe I'm doing this!", "I feel great!", "I'm sorry, you expect me to do what now??", "But what if I fall??", "I could legitimately die right now", "Why did I not train for this?!", "I hate life. I just hate it.", *crying*, "As much as I hurt right now, I am actually going to hurt even more tomorrow", *crying*, "I'm still alive! I am running this race and I can do this!", "I can literally see the finish line. Why does it seem so far away now??", "All I have to do is jump over this fire into this pool of mudwater and then I'm done!" *jumps in pool and crosses finish line*
Guys, I wish I could say that I had a really great attitude the whole way through, that I was really confident and that I had felt really great afterward. The truth is I had a mixture of good and bad moments where my thoughts, fears and insecurities got the best of me. There were times where I would literally cry - not necessarily because of how hard it was, but because I was embarassed that I couldn't do better, or because I felt so incapable and that frustrated the mess out of me. There was one obstacle that had a rope on an inclined wall, that you had to pull yourself up and over. I started and did surprisingly well. Then I lost my footing and slid down halfway. I heard the voices of my husband and another runner cheering me on - I kicked my legs back underneath me and tried again. I got to the top when a hand shot down to help pull me up and over. As I let my hand go of the rope to reach, I slid down again, this time it was painful, as the rope burned through my hands and my body hit the wood, my back shot with my pain - I fell to the bottom and felt so defeated. Like really defeated guys. I felt like this should've been my moment, the one I look back on and think "I thought I couldn't, but then I did!".
I think about that moment and I kind of want to cry again (sorry for all the emotions). For the last few weeks I've been thinking about this moment and asking God what I could learn from this. This isn't a message I always share and to be honest it probably isn't that uplifting, but I felt like it was right for me in this season - you're not always going to be able to do it all. Sometimes you're going to fail. Sometimes it's going to hurt. Sometimes the very thing you think should work out, just doesn't. But at the end of it all, you'll still cross the finish line and you're still going to feel pretty great that you endured the pain. Now, if I do this race again, which likely I will, I'm going to conquer that freaking wall and I'm going to write about that and we can rejoice together. But for now, this message is good for me.
I know this is a lengthy post and if you've stuck with me, then thank you! I'll close with this final thought; I think that there is something really powerful and strong inside of us and it's this will - the will to fight, the will to endure, the will to be better versions of ourselves. I'm not going to become super athletic now, or at least I don't plan to be, but I know that this race has changed me for the better. I learned a lot about myself and what I'm made of. I'd like to push myself a little more, because I think there's still room enough for me to grow. All of this to say, that there's a will inside of you - whatever situation that may be for you - there is something inside of you that can stretch you further and take you places you never thought you could go. If I can finish a Spartan Race, you can most definitely conquer your "cant's" and "wont's". xo. mel