A few months ago my family and I realized that God was doing something new in our lives... again. I wonder if we can even call it new since nothing has felt the same or old or even familiar since the day we found out our sweet Eden was going to die nearly eight years ago.

Eight years? That hardly seems possible!

But here it was, a new new. A HUGE new. A new I sensed was coming for quite a while but finally was certain was here. Was upon us. It was exciting and terrifying all at once.

A few months ago, my husband and I sat with out pastor, the pastor of the church in which I met Jesus. the pastor of the church I'd dedicated four babies in, The church where we'd loved and hoped for, and ultimately said goodbye to our second daughter... we sat with our pastor and told him we were leaving.

We weren't angry. The church wasn't wrong or bad... but God was calling us away.

It was one of the most difficult conversations of my life.

My parents had died and my pastor and his wife had always loved me like I was one of their own... so now I was an orphan and leaving the safety, security, and familiarity of these two people as well.

As sad as I was, knowing this was what God wanted made it a little exciting too.

Until it was real.

Until Sunday morning came and we had to find seats in a new building, with nothing familiar... until I signed my children in as visitors and saw my daughter be nervous and timid upon entering class...where at home, at *our church* she'd always rushed right in.

Until the singing began and no one was clapping. I guess *they* don't clap here. They clapped at *our church*.

And then, just like that the familiar did stir... because Jesus was there... and all of the parts of me that felt so exposed and raw were just a little bit more comfortable, because the same God from *our church* was the same god at this church.

I wish that was the end. The "And then it was all better and we lived happily ever after. The End" end. But is wasn't and it isn't.

I'm learning that it can be incredibly difficult being new. Not knowing people and making new friends. I feel so far outside my comfort zone at ever event or woman's get together. Not because people are unfriendly, because people really are kind and sincere... but they aren't *my* friends... they are *their* friends. I'm still the new kid.

You know what I am learning in it though? God is still my friend. He still cares and he hasn't changed.

I'm learning that my little is full of really cool, really fun to be around people. I'm learning that God loves to meet us in our desperate places.

I've been thinking about you a lot lately... If I'm honest I've been thinking about you for two years.

I've been thinking about how hard we used to laugh. I've been thinking about how amazing it was to watch you find the heart of a God who adores you. I've been thinking about the things you always said you wanted... but mostly, I've been thinking how much I miss you.

How my heart literally aches at the thought of you. How, when I talk about you, I still start to cry. How I'm probably the only one who still hopes things will go back to the way they were.

I pray for you all the time... every time I think of you.

I don't know what to do with this ache, other than to pray.

Sometimes, I compose long emails to you. Sometimes full of love and hope... sometimes a little pointed and snarky... imagining that if I sent them the sting would snap you back into who you once were. I never send them, though sometimes I'm pretty close.

You don't know the kids anymore. You're missing so much. So much AMAZING stuff... and I just can't believe you're better for it. I can't imagine that the unconditional love of four incredible people isn't missed, either. What do you do with that? Do you even feel the loss? One of them still really feels the loss of you.

I do hope your life is good, but more than that, I pray that you'll be led back to a place of desperation, a place where God becomes *all* that you need and want. Even if *I* never see it. Even if I don't get to be a part of it... that is all I have ever wanted for you... God's perfect and amazing plan.
Waaaaaay back in August, when Stacee presented this crazy idea to run a half marathon to raise money for Team World Vision, I thought "Cool. 13.1 miles. That will be tough but fun."

Let me tell you, I had no idea at. all. what I was signing up for. None.

It wasn't just the 13.1 miles we ran on March 9th, but the 150-200 training miles we ran over the course of 6 was the new shoes, chiropractor visits, special was hours and hours of physical strain.

It was hard.

And it was life. changing.

It's taken me a long time to try and formulate words to put with my experience, mostly because I don't really understand a lot of it, not yet, maybe not ever.

I don't know why running = clean water. I don't know why someone says "Yes, I'll support this" when you put one foot in front of the other over and over again. Much like I don't know why Jesus spit in mud to heal a blind man. Most of all, I don't know how finishing a 13.1 mile run, and connecting to a cause that had never really been on my radar before, completely reworked who I am inside.

It's not the running. I still don't really love running, I like having run. I like doing a fun 5k with cool goodie bags are a silly theme, but it's not the running that changed me. It was doing something huge, something so far beyond myself, so in opposition to who I thought I was...God healed something deep inside me on the streets of LA on March 9th, in a sea of 25,000 God stretched out His hand and showed me a strength I never knew I had. Taught me that I can persevere, and that I don't always just give up. That, with His leading, I really can do hard things!

With Eden's diagnosis, my pregnancy with her, and her death...He showed me I could survive hard things. That I could still grow in the midst of trial... but this time, it was that I could *do* hard things. That I could step it faith and push on. I never knew that about myself, and have spent much of the last 39 years feeling like a quitter. Listing my failures and half finished projects as constant proof.

Not anymore. On March 9th I ran 13.1 miles for God's glory. He led me, and I pushed hard... and He blessed me with a chance to partner with Him to *change lives*. Not a few either... at last count the Team World Vision LA Marathon team had given clean water to just over 14,600 people!!!
Here's my most favorite part about running outside...because the reality is, running on a treadmill is easier and climate controlled. Running outside is so much harder. There is wind, and cold, and fun!

But my favorite part. My most absolute favorite part about running outside, and specifically in my neighborhood, comes after the run. Sometimes I'll be driving somewhere and think "I ran this! All the way from there to here and beyond. All the way from that street I just turned on to where I am now. Up those hills."

That's the *best* part. I'm still not loving to run. I'm still fairly certain I might just collapse in a puddle of tears and sweat around mile marker 10 on the marathon route in March. Truth is, I'm quite terrified of the actual half-marathon.

But in my car, on the streets I run, I feel like maybe I'll make it.

Please consider joining me by donating to Team World Vision. This is not something I can do're support means the world to me!
This past weekend was a group training run with Team World Vision. I was tired and it was very cold for this Southern California Girl...but I was feeling pretty good about things. I felt ready.

I stretched with our group, I started to warm up. I was inspired by the combined energy of 20 or so people united in this common cause to bring clean water to children in Africa and to eradicate the water crisis in my lifetime.

The course was a little different than I'd run before but I was excited to get out and push for those 50 minutes...maybe someday I *wouldn't* hate running.

Stacee and I started at a nice jog...up hill.

I'm not sure if it was the cold, my stuffy nose, the hill, or what but I soon found myself lagging behind on that uphill run. When we hit the straight away I evened out a bit and then, I just couldn't keep up anymore. I couldn't push. I lost Stacee and ended up totally solo. My lungs hurt and my Nike Run app was reminding me that I was a full minute behind my normal pace. Suddenly it just seemed too hard. I wanted to sit down in the middle of  the path and just cry.

Saturday was the day I looked at the Half Marathon and thought that maybe I really can't do this. That I failed, and would fail. That I would have to contact my supporters and tell them I couldn't actually run.

Maybe I could help my team fundraise.

I almost started crying on the path. The crazy non-runner...all by herself...lost from the pack because the path veers and I didn't get what they said and missed the sign to turn...almost had a break down right there.

Still I had to get back to the car, to get home, and quit. And the car was so I turned around and started running back.

Running, feeling like a failure, and still running.

Somewhere between get lost and the parking lot God met me in my failure. He reminded me that I wasn't running for *me*. That it wasn't just some crazy idea...but HIS crazy idea, that HE would strengthen and sustain me.

It was still really hard...and my body still wanted to give up. I'm still going to want to give up when my alarm goes off...but i will get up, and I will lace up my shoes, and I will ask God to meet me, mold me, teach me and use me while I am pushing my body beyond what *I* think it can do.

Please continue to pray with me; for the villages where clean water is so desperately needed, for my physically (and emotionally) to endure and be transformed...and most importantly for my fundraising efforts. Also, please consider joining with me to change lives by donating :)
If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen this post.

This is an actual water container that a little girl in The Congo started carrying 6 miles, 3 times a day, when she was just 5 years old. I could barely lift it and it wasn't even full. Partner with me and let's change lives and communities. #runningforwater

What you couldn't see in just a quick snapshot was that I was nearly in tears hearing the Leader from World Vision talk about his sponsored child carrying that very container, thinking about how my youngest son is a vibrant robust 8 year old who sometimes has a hard time carrying a milk jug. The idea of him being THREE years into his water fetching responsibilities broke my heart.

I knew when I, a dyed in the wool NON-Runner, signed up to run the LA Half Marathon with Team World Vision, that it would challenge and change me, but I had no idea how much.

I am so hopeful that you will want to join with me in this crazy and world changing endeavor. You might not be able to physically run with me on March 9th, but you can join me in prayer as World Vision aims to eradicate the water crisis in Africa in *my lifetime*...or, you can partner with me financially. I am only 7% to my goal but I know we can do this together!

I wasn't kidding when I said that God was pulling something out of the depths of my brokenness. That I could feel it stirring.

I jumped in with both feet when I was given the opportunity to have a team of people who were all working towards or Starting something. Chasing a dream. Taking big steps. I couldn't have been more excited...and then it was happening and so was my life...and it felt like everything just blew up. It was awful.

I feel like I have been in the middle of refinement forever...and truth be told, it's been really ugly.

I have wondered more in the last few years, than ever in my life, who I was and weather or not God was even listening. And wondering if the God I trusted with my whole heart was seeing me, was caring about my deep hurts and struggles, was a pain that I can't even put into words.

I fought Him. I railed at Him...I wept to my husband and closest friend. There was a whole lot of honest and ugly going on.

It's exhausting and every step forward has been met with what feels like two steps back. So I retreated into the The Truth that I couldn't feel and read these words:

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
 Isaiah 43:1-4

So here I am, kind of raw and unsteady...yet assured once again that God has a great and personal *love* for me that defies my understanding and confounds my emotions, but is real and eternal and everlasting.