Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Okay to Seek Him with Desperation

Jeremiah 29:11-13
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

According to a commentary on this text, implied in these passages is a quest for God that includes a level of intensity beyond what might be termed ordinary prayer. "Search" and "with all your heart" suggests an earnestness of desperation. It's a close pursuit of a desired objective. It also implies diligence in the searching process - "seek" after Him - God's emphasis on intensity and diligence in prayer.

We're told that we're selfish if we pray a whole lot for ourselves. Which I think is true, to a line. This text seems to say something else. Here it says God has PLANS to give us a future and a hope. Then right after that he says, seek me, you will find me, pray, I will listen. You don't seek something you already have, right? So I think this is saying that if I don't know what God's PLANS are, it's okay to seek him out about it. And apparently, it's okay to desperately seek him out. Like, hey God, I know you said you have good plans, but I don't really know what they are yet, and I really need some direction here. It's okay to cry out to him, to ask in earnest, and then expect him to answer! He says he will listen to you, and you will find what you're searching for.

Are you in need of God's direction for your life? Desperately cry out to him, pray to him, seek him. It's okay, don't feel guilty. He wants you to come to him, and he desires that you know the good plans he has for your life.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Psalm 21:1-7, the New Stephanie Version

(Stephanie) shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall (she) rejoice!
You have given (Stephanie) (her) heart's desire, and have not withheld the request of (her) lips.
For You meet (her) with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon (her) head.
(She) asked life from You, and You gave it to (her) - length of days forever and ever.
(Her) glory is great in Your salvation; honor and majesty You have placed upon (her).
For You have made (her) most blessed forever; You have made (her) exceedingly glad with Your presence.
For (Stephanie) trusts in the Lord. And through the mercy of the Most High (she) shall not be moved.
Lately I've found myself doing a TON of journaling. It's probably because I have 3 hours to sit in the teacher's lounge at Jessica's school while she is there (yes, that's my job by the way...I'm a contract worker for a 13 year old foster girl). Side note - last year, or well, all of my time at Teen Mania I never felt like I had enough time in my day to devote just to spending with God. Now I have 3 hours every morning. It's awesome!

Anyways, so there have been MANY things God has been teaching and showing me (and Rob!) here recently. Shandi Bradley, my Graduate Intern year, always told me to speak up more often about what God was showing me, so here I am to share some things :-)

The past few weeks I've been in a situation that caused true and raw desperation for God. There were things going on that I didn't understand, were far out of my control, and it was, well, quite difficult. This situation made me SO eager for God's word, to know what He said, to know His heart, to search out His promises. I like that place of desperation, of knowing how much I need God. I think I get too comfortable too quickly, forget too soon, become unthankful. Or it's not necessarily that I'm unthankful, but I take things for granted and forget to thank God. For example, I was sick after we got back from our honeymoon. But I got better (and gosh, don't we all know that we are so thankful for good health after we've been sick!)...then it's like, after that I forgot all about it, I took my good health for granted. Pride set in, I said "I'm not sick, I've already been sick so it won't happen again." (I think I said that yesterday to myself actually). Haha and WHAM! I woke up this morning sick with some kind of awful sinus thing. Funny isn't it? But thank you God, for reminding me once again that I need you, that all goodness comes from you. Thank you for good health, for being everything that I need. Thank you for Your good plans and Your faithfulness. Blessed is he who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, for he shall be filled.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And nearly 4 months later...

1. I moved to Canada 3 months ago. The canadian border people didn't like me, denied me entry, I believed it was God's will for me to be in Canada, I tried again, and made it safely across. Hurray!

2. I got married nearly 3 weeks ago. Best. Thing. Ever. I am so unbelievably happy and blessed!

3. Some friends of our got married 2 months ago.

4. Another friend is getting married in 1 month.

5. Canada is cold, there are dirt roads everywhere, temperatures in celsius, distance in kilometers, gasoline in liters (or spelled the canadian way, kilometres and litres) at the equivalent of $4 per gallon.

6. AKA life is very different.

7. I have a kitchen to myself for the first time ever. I really enjoy cooking now that I don't have to share a kitchen with 15 other people.

8. I'm addicted to Criminal Minds.

9. Rob and I are addicted to The Amazing Race and Survivor...and each other :-)

10. I'm overwhelmed by God's grace, His goodness and His kindness. I'm blessed beyond anything I could imagine and I deserve none of it. I'm 21 years old, passionately following Jesus Christ, had my life changed in podunk east Texas, and I'm married to the most wonderful man I've ever known.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Was It Really A Year Ago?

<---This pic was taken at graduation last year - can you see the lack of enthusiasm in our faces?!

This time a year ago I was counting down the days until Rob would leave, and thus would begin a year of long distance in our relationship. Now, I'm less than a month away from moving to Canada to be with him, and I'm bittersweetly counting down the days to this year's graduation.

This year has certainly had some hardships, but it's been full of many blessings as well. Our relationship has grown stronger and more beautiful than we ever could have imagined, and we see now that God definitely had us in these two separate places for a purpose. I'm going to miss Teen Mania a great deal - my life has changed in such a dramatic way and I've been blessed beyond anything I ever deserved.

Soon, this blog will be full with the adventures that lay ahead - the transition out of Teen Mania, the move to Canada, getting maaarrrried, and all the stuff in between. I'm excited to see what God has in store :-)

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Modern Parable of the Sower

About a year ago a young servant girl was entrusted with many little seeds that, if well-tended, would turn into succulent, juicy fruit. She couldn’t wait to share this precious gift with the other servant girls she was surrounded by. She couldn’t give them all the seeds at once because they grew at different times, so over the course of a year she slowly offered the girls different seeds.

Some of them, after seeds were offered, left them sitting on the kitchen counter and immediately the cleaning crew came along and threw them away.

Others immediately received the seeds, but when the seeds didn’t grow right away, they threw them back at the girl and accused her of offering bad seeds.

Then others who received the seeds went quickly and planted them. Yet stress, worry, distractions, and desires for other things became their focus and the seeds never got watered. They assumed that someone else would water it, or that the rain would be enough. At the end of the year they went to collect their fruit and what was there was blackened and rotten, and could not be eaten.

But yet the others took every seed offered and took great care of them. At the end of the year they collected a basketful of the most colorful, large, beautiful, and exotic fruit the eye had ever seen.


I am that young servant girl, who, almost a year ago was so excited to become a house director for MA women. It's hard to believe it's been that long and my time is almost over with them. Leading those women is one of the most beautiful gifts I've been given and I love each of them dearly. Even while there have been tough seasons, I'm going to miss them a great deal. And I can only trust God that the seeds He's given me, that I have in turn given them, will turn into good fruit at the end.

They have grown to love God deeply this year, and they know that they are loved deeply by God. Those girls have changed me and they have blessed me, and I pray that they would continue on this lifelong journey of Selflessness, of surrendering and loving deeply, of walking in the fullness of God's grace.

~Your "Fearless House Director"

Friday, July 2, 2010

One Year Ago Today

Today is July 2nd. A milestone date. It was one year ago today that Rob and I started dating! It was a big deal leading up to it. I had turned him down twice already - I wasn't interested in dating anyone, at all, and I wasn't quick to make an exception. Then after seeking the Lord, asking for peace and clear direction, the Lord spoke very clearly to my heart, and simply gave me the word, "ready." So I began to allow a deeper friendship with Rob to develop. Then on July 2, 2009, he planned a scavenger hunt for me that evening. He gave me one little paper clue, then off I went finding more clues, taking pictures along the way, the last clue leading me back to his house where he had dinner waiting for me. That night he asked me if I was ready to begin a courtship...and I said yes! Guess third time is a charm, eh?

There are so many things I'm thankful for when I think about this season that began a year ago. First off - I'm so thankful Rob didn't just give up on me when I said no the first two times! He believed he had clear direction from the Lord, and Rob trusted in Him the entire time. He was patient, but he didn't just quit on me. That says a lot about his character, his faithfulness, that he's not just gonna quit on me when things get tough in the future.

Second - I'm SOOOOO glad I sought God, and allowed Him to interrupt my plans for my life. He had something far better for me, but I had to trust Him. My life would be dramatically different had I not trusted Him about this.

I'd always wondered what it would be like to be with someone for an entire year. This may sound terrible, but I always wondered how people didn't get bored with each other after that long. Haha gosh, the naiveté. Well, I'm definitely not bored with him, that's for sure! In fact, last night I was reading through some early journal entries and began to weep and just thank God for His grace and mercy. I know I don't deserve what I've been given, and I am simply overwhelmed at God's love for me.

I am so thankful for this past year, and for God's sustaining grace during this year long separation. It's truly amazing to look back on it all, and I'm looking forward to the time that lies ahead.

-The future Mrs. Griffioen

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Proposal

Well, after nearly 1 year of dating, the day I arrived for my vacation, Rob proposed! We are officially engaged, and here is the story of the perfect proposal.

After I landed in Buffalo, Rob and his parents were waiting for me at the airport. I was a bit surprised as I didn't expect his parents to be there. We went out for lunch, then when we got back in the car Kim (his mom) was like Well, Steph, I know you are tired, but we went to Niagara Falls back in April and there was a ton of ice and snow, and we really want to see what it looks like now. Okay, now I didn't sleep the night before because I was up celebrating my birthday with the girls in my house. But I was actually quite excited to go back to Niagara Falls, so I happily obliged.

When we get there, Kim mentioned that it's pretty chilly at the falls and we should bring jackets...it was hot, and humid, and sticky, so I was thinking, how cold could it possibly be? But I chalked it up to her being a thoughtful Mom, so no big deal (little did I know Rob was actually using his jacket to hide the ring box because he obviously couldn't fit it in his jeans pocket!)

So we were just walking around the falls on the American side, then they said there was a bridge we should walk to because you could get a really good few of the American falls and the horseshoe falls (on the Canadian side). So we had to get our passports for this bridge, because it actually crosses the border in the middle. So we are on the bridge, and his parents are way behind us, which I thought a bit odd, but I guessed they just wanted alone time. At the same time, Rob is walking way ahead of me, and by now I'm just so exhausted! I was like gosh Rob why are you walking so fast?? Guess he was getting a little anxious :-)

Then, we get to the middle of the bridge, and Rob points to a plaque there on the bridge. It's the exact dividing line between the US and Canada. So I get all excited and I'm taking pictures, perfect view of the falls in the background. And Rob is like yeah, look I'm standing in Canada, and you are in the United States! Which I thought was the neatest thing. And then, I'm looking over the bridge at the falls and Rob goes Well, Stephanie...and my heart just stopped! I KNEW he was about to do it, and I begin to freak out realizing this is really about to happen. So I turn, and there he is down on one knee, in Canada, while I'm standing in the US, and he pulls out the most beautiful ring (c'mon now, this is the moment every girls wonders and dreams of...what is the ring going to look like?! :-)), and asks me to marry him...and of course, I said YES! Well, actually, I think I said "Yes, yes, yes, oh my gosh, yeeeesssss!!!!!" Then commenced much jumping and screaming on my end :-) I was shaking, and didn't really know what to do with myself, and all of these people are walking by on the bridge and congratulating us, and I'm just laughing and smiling and saying Oh my gosh we're engaged, we're engaged!!

It was THE most romantic, perfect moment, and I could not have dreamed of a better way to do it. In all honesty, I did not see it coming at that moment! I kind of felt like he probably would propose while I was here for vacation, but I was seriously so surprised! He definitely did very good, as my dad said, very classy.

I am so thankful for God bringing this man into my life. He is everything and more that I've ever dreamed of, and I can't get over how blessed I am. I can't wait to begin my life with him November 13, 2010!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Through the Seasons with Nancy Delgadillo

My old roommate/housemate/friend, Nancy Delgadillo is in town right now before she head's off to Panama for a mission's trip. What a perfectly timed divine encounter from God! I'm just going to share a bit of encouragement from this wonderful woman.

Nancy, since graduating the Honor Academy in December, has been able to remain fervent and steadfast in her relationship with God. One of the biggest things is this: at the HA, we are constantly going, going, doing, doing, being spiritually developed, praised by leadership, and while in leadership we are looked up to and encouraged - all the time! When you leave the HA, people don't care about your accomplishments and success here - most of them don't even know where in the world Tyler Texas is. So when we leave, all of what we were used to at the HA virtually disappears. But my identity cannot be found in the praise of man, but only in Jesus Christ. Though there is almost guaranteed a lonely season after leaving, God wants to fill us and satisfy us in the deepest possible ways during that season. We are most desperate for him when we are stripped of everything else this world can offer. And this season is just that - a season! What an encouragement to me, to know that despite the initial loneliness of leaving, that I can be satisfied in God!

Another point that Nancy reminded me of, is the complacency of the world, and how many after leaving the HA can easily slip back into that. What a waste to forget The Plan, to forget that this life is more than making money, getting married, having babies, and living comfortably. What a waste to just be satisfied with going to church once or twice a week. Life is so much more! I never, ever, ever want to fall back into the complacent Christianity that I lived before the HA. I have been given SO MUCH, therefore much is required of me. Any abundance in my life is meant to be shared, meant to be given, meant to bring glory to God. May I never grow stale, nor selfish, nor forget that this life is not my own.

So in my current season of questioning the foggy and unknown, this was a timely treasure from the Lord to see Nancy. He truly knows and cares about the longings of our hearts.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mountain LTE? Nope - Bus LTE

Well after every bus but mine suffering a total breakdown, days without showering, and climbing thousands of feet above the earth's surface, I am back, I am showered, I smell good again, and as you can see, I survived the Bus, er, Mountain LTE. Seeing the Rockies for the first time was quite remarkable, and worth the endless bus trip to get there. The climb up the mountain was quite treacherous. Most of the trails were packed with snow, which at this point was actually like solid ice making it a slow and difficult climb. I've got many bruises from multiple falls. But here are a few highlights to show you from the weekend~

This was the view from our campsite just outside of Estes Park

This is Bierstadt Lake...we got lost on the trail and accidentally stumbled upon it. I'm glad we got lost, because this was my favorite part of the entire hike :-)

This is Bear Lake, it's totally frozen! This shows you just how stinkin cold it was on that mountain!!

Standing in front of Alberta Falls - it cascaded down into a rapid river that ran through the mountains. Gorgeous!

This is the view from the top of Alberta Falls. Look how close we are to the clouds! It was hard to breath up there!

It was beautiful, it was hard, it was breathtaking, it was worth it. I look forward to doing adventurous stuff like this with Rob in the future.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Outdoor Camping for Girlie Girls

Tonight I head to Colorado where I'll embark on an outdoor camping experience and endeavor to climb Hallet's peak. I think this is going to be a much more challenging experience than running a half marathon, mostly due to the opportunity to brave the outdoors without showering for 5 days. Yuck! (Glad Rob won't have to see me like that!) While I love adventure, I love being a woman, and being clean, and showering every day.

I'm excited to spend a few days in Estes Park and see the Rockies for the first time. I don't want to miss out on such a cool opportunity because I'm so focused on staying clean. I'm trying to understand the mind of a man, and think like one would, in regards to enjoying this whole camping thing.

I'll be back Monday, hopefully with some incredible updates on the weekend :-)

Monday, May 24, 2010

I Didn't Cry Saying Goodbye

Well, here it is the Monday after a visit (black Monday as we like to call it). Strangely though, I've not been in too sour of a mood. Usually after a visit, the following day or two is extremely difficult, not wanting to get back into the routine of things. Even though our time together was short (he arrived Friday afternoon and left Sunday evening), it was quite sweet. This little life interruption mixed with knowing I'll be there again in less than 3 weeks has made this particular black Monday the most bearable one I've experienced.

Just a few things that made this weekend sweet ~ my wonderful, loving, and kind Canadian boyfriend isn't too particularly fond of "tex-mex" food. Unfortunately that's what I grew up eating living in the south, and unfortunately for him, that's what I know how to cook best. But much to my surprise, he rather enjoyed my homemade chicken enchilada casserole! We also ventured into the creative world of making homemade spanish flan. And again, much to my surprise, turned out quite well for a first try. You ought to look up a recipe just to see how tedious it is to make :-)

Saturday we spent the morning hitting up garage sales where I found a treasure of a cookbook. That afternoon we picnicked at Hideaway Lake and enjoyed some good ole' Texas sun. No worries, sunscreen was purchased for Rob and he was spared from the lobster effect that tends to happen in Texas. Me? Ahh, I was blessed with a greeeaaat tan!

That evening we tried out Villa Montez in Tyler - I highly recommend the place! It's in an old beautiful home and they serve Latin food - different but extremely good.

Sunday we went to Gateway Church together once again. Goodness we love that church - Pastor Robert's teaching and his personal testimony has greatly effected both of our lives, and it's such a blessing to worship God together. Afterwards I took him shopping for some summer clothes, then we spent some time at Starbucks, and ended the day at the airport.

Sounds like a short time, and though it was, we prayed it would draaaag on. And hey, God is faithful even in the small things, and we definitely felt like it was much longer than it actually was. It was a wonderful gift, the perfect little life interruption. I must say though, I seriously can't wait until June 12th - it will be a glorious 8 days together :-)

*the picture is us being cute at the airport before saying goodbye*

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Countdown

The day before Rob and I reunite is always pretty odd. Today has proved nothing less. Work seems to be unusually hectic, which is problematic when you don't feel like working because you know he'll be here in a matter of hours. And actually, here it is almost 8 pm and I'm considering going back to the office soon...yikes! After work I nearly forgot that I needed to go feed Mr. Hasz's cat, so ensued an interesting dilemma. Couldn't figure out the garage door, the little rascal kept running all over the place and couldn't catch him, tried shutting the garage door so he wouldn't escape, couldn't figure out how to shut the garage door (lame I know). Then I head inside to feed the fish, and I was mesmerized by the motion censor lights on the stairs, so I kid you not I maybe ran up and down the stairs three times because I thought it was so cool. Fish fed, cat fed, mission accomplished...now to get the garage door shut. It took me almost 5 minutes - I almost called Mr. Hasz while he was on vacation. Yeah, pretty sure it doesn't get much sadder than that!

Alright, mission accomplished. So I drive to Lindale and I'm sitting at the stoplight by Walmart and a man dressed in a gorilla suit is standing on the street corner advertising for pizza. Lucky me would get to be stuck right there next to him as he pranced around waving a pizza sign in my face...as I'm on my way to the gym. That's inspiring. I ignored his pleas and resisted the desire, and braved the testosterone zone of Anytime Fitness. The men seemed to be acting especially...manly...today. I could hear men grunting quite loudly as they lifted weights clearly too difficult for them to lift, and the manager grunting back at him from his office. All the while I'm wondering where in the world the other women are at!

Alas, now I am home, peacefully eating my dinner and chopping away at my frozen smoothie. Some of my girls are watching a rather loud movie in the background and popping popcorn. I'm downloading the sounds of Randy Travis's "Forever and Ever, Amen" to my iTunes and dreaming of the future like a giddy little girl. Though a more quiet evening would be my preference, I know I'm going to miss this. I'm reminded of parents who wish they would have enjoyed the hectic days of their children being toddlers and how they just grow up so fast. Yeah, it's kinda like that. I'm so incredibly thankful for the time God has given me here in east Texas, in this house, with these women..."they grow up so fast."


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Learning to be a Mary in a Martha World

Luke 10:38-42, the story of Mary and Martha. Check it out, though you are most likely already familiar with the story.

~As women, it's a natural inclination for us to see a need and want to meet it. We see a need, we find ways to help. In this story, Martha is much the same way. Jesus came into the home where Mary and Martha were, and Martha saw Jesus, tired and worn from his journey. She wanted to help him, feed him, serve him, etc. A key verse in this passage says, however, that she was distracted with much serving. The problem was, she was so distracted with serving that she couldn't see Jesus for who He was. This was the Christ, the Son of God, in her very home. HE was the one who had much to offer her. Mary saw this. She looked beyond the outward appearance of a tired man, and KNEW Him. She took the time to sit at her Savior's feet in expectation.

My house vision this year, and life vision for that matter really, is Selfless. It's all about laying down our lives, serving one another in love, surrendering our will and desires to meet the needs of others. I've not realized until now that one facet of being selfless is laying down our will and desires so that we may just sit at the feet of Jesus. So today, I pause from all of my serving, I breathe, and I rest at the feet of Jesus. I pray for a Mary spirit to replace my Martha mindset. Jesus is never too tired or too busy to fill me and sustain me.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's only, scratch that, already May 14th!

I don't know what it is about this week, but all I can seem to think about...is change. Nine months ago I can still vividly picture in my mind saying goodbye to Rob in the airport. I can still feel the knot, the despair, the blankness in my mind as I pressed my hand against the glass barrier separating us. Then he walked down the terminal, and I felt like my whole world was crashing down. The change I'd been dreading was now there in my lap as I collapsed on a chair, head buried in my hands.
*the picture above was our last one together before he left...we were driving to the airport on August 10th*

I look back at that now, and truly can't believe it's been 9 months since we said "see you later." We knew that going into this, we didn't want to just merely survive this year apart, but we wanted to thrive in the things God had called us to. And I can surely say, we have thrived! Though this year has been difficult, God has been so incredibly faithful to us! I love being a house director for seven beautiful, selfless women. I am so privileged to be David Hasz's assistant - I can't even describe the blessing it has been to work for him! I will never have another job like this one, I will never have a better boss, and I will treasure this year with him for a lifetime. My friendship with Emmie (Megan White) has grown so strong during this time. She has been a ROCK for me in hard times, my laughter when I've needed it most, and I will certainly miss going to Gateway Church with her and Chris every weekend.

I could continue on naming the blessings that have come out of this year. It truly has been incredible. And so, now I think about the new changes that are ahead. Nine months ago I was afraid and insecure about what the future held. Now, I'm just sad to know this season of my life is ending, but at the same time INCREDIBLY excited for the new season that's approaching. If I know one thing about my Heavenly Father, it's that He is faithful. He was faithful to me in this year, and His faithfulness never ends! I can trust that my heart is in His hands, and He has the best in mind for me.

Here's to making the most of the next three months, and a toast to what lies beyond.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Running a Half Marathon is Like Being in a Long-Distance Relationship

Recently, I was able to accomplish a goal/dream I've had for several years. On April 11 I ran in the Dallas Half Marathon, then on April 25th I also completed the Oklahoma City Half Marathon. Not only was it an incredible feeling to run across that finish line, but God had a lot to show me along the course. With that said, this is why running a half marathon is like being in a long distance relationship :-)

13 months - the approximate amount of time Rob and I will have to spend being apart.
13.1 miles - the distance to run in a half marathon

Mile 1 to 4 wasn't so bad. It was new, it was exciting, I couldn't hardly believe I was actually in the race, running, and on my way to accomplishing something great. I was fresh on the course, I was strong, and for the most part I was really just excited to be doing it. Months 1-4 of our relationship were about the same. Our relationship was fresh, it was new, it was exciting. It was thrilling to actually be in a relationship, and even though we were far apart, we were still just getting to know each other.

About mile 5 I began to realize that I still had 8 more miles left to go. I wasn't tired yet, but just felt overwhelmed knowing how far I still had left to go. Month 5, December, I had the same overwhelming feeling. Still 8 more months of being apart. But in both situations I never felt hopeless, I was willing to do it.

At 6.55 miles, the halfway point in the race, I was overjoyed! This was totally possible; I was halfway done!! Back in February, halfway point of the long-distance thing, was this incredible, euphoric joy in knowing we'd been through six months already.

Then, just after mile 9, despair. I couldn't hardly make my legs move anymore. I actually started to walk, and did so for a few minutes as I contemplated the impossibility of making it 4 more miles. It was a tough spot, and it wasn't that I ever wanted to give up, but I really didn't know how in the world I would make it to the finish. But, I realized how far I'd already come, how many weeks I had spent training, not to mention the money spent to run the race, and I kept running, not stopping again after that. Month 9, well let's just say our relationship hit a few bumps. Realized we are human, we aren't perfect, we mess up, we do and say stupid things. We definitely weren't in that daydreamy land of lala relationship world anymore. I didn't want to think about 4 more months of a stinkin long distance relationship. It was getting more than a little frustrating! But alas, I realized how far we'd come, all that God had done in us and close we had become. Not that I EVER had the thought of quitting, but I knew I needed the strength and grace of God to make it to August.

When I saw the mileage marker for mile 11, there was absolutely no stopping me! I was almost done, I could just see myself crossing that finish line! Mile 12, I began to soar. It was the Holy Spirit empowered me and helped me to give it every last bit of strength I could muster. And then, I crossed that finish line, victorious! I had done it, I had seriously just run 13.1 miles! Words cannot describe the joy of that moment! June will be month 11 for us - I'll be up there for 8 days with him in the middle of June, and I just know there is absolutely no stopping us! I feel refreshed and strengthened, and can comprehend that August finish line. What victory that graduation day will be! And gosh, don't take this as cliche, but it is truly by the grace and strength of God that our relationship has endured this far, and that we have been able to grow so close despite our distance.

How cool is it that this thing I've dreamed of doing turned out to be so parallel to my relationship with Rob?! God is so faithful and good, full of grace and mercy. He cares about the details of our lives, and He deserves the glory. So for now, I continue to run ~both races~, and live this life to the fullest, looking forward to that finish line on August 7, 2010.