Faith and Endurance: Running the Race

Creating Dreams. Achieving Goals. Trusting God

Being Exactly Where I’m Supposed to Be. Answering My Calling. February 25, 2014

Filed under: Off Topic Thoughts,Trusting God — jenniferburton @ 9:17 am
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I have been doing a lot of reflecting and contemplating in my mind, and some praying, as far as what the next step is for me lately. Part of me has felt maybe I’m giving up too soon, and the other part maybe I just need to be content and continue where I am now. When I lost my teaching position in 2011, after 3 years of teaching, due to budget cuts, I was angry, bitter, upset, and wondered what in the world I did wrong, or felt I wasn’t good enough, even though my bosses tried to instill in me that I was a good teacher and would do well in other schools, especially magnet type schools (which surprised me). But it stuck back in my mind for the longest time (and even sometimes to this day) that I wasn’t good enough. And to top it off it happened right before I miscarried my first baby and right after I entered graduate school to earn my M.Ed. (which I graduated with a 4.0, an accomplishment I was able to achieve for myself). I knew, or I had weighed in, that I would love to be a stay at home mom when we were financially able to do so. Teaching was my dream career since the age of 4. I wanted the decision to be a stay at home mom to be mine when I felt was the right time to make it. In 2011 I felt I was stripped of my dream job prematurely. I wasn’t ready, and we weren’t financially able to do it well. My entire world turned upside down, leading me into a depression, in which graduate school was about the only thing that kept me going. I was withdrawn from everyone, even my family. I gained a lot of weight that summer. It was one of the darkest periods of my life. 

During that time we were fortunate to have the support of the friends, family and church which surrounded us to help us survive that remaining year and beyond. It was difficult to get past my pride and accept donations when we needed it because losing my job caused a $33, 000 deficit to us for the year, plus cheaper insurance. That August we found out I was pregnant again. It was bittersweet. It brought a lot of fear and joy at the same time. It forced us to be even more courageous and have faith that God was going to take care of us in our situation, and He did. 

Now pregnant and still no job, we had to reformulate and cut our expenses as much as possible until something came along. We moved into a smaller place closer to my husband’s job to help cut cost of rent and gas. It did help quite a bit. In April we had a healthy baby boy. I was determined to nurse, but that did not go as planned, and we ended up with the drastic expense of formula. But we managed to survive because God took care of us. In that time I have since decided to start working from home with a company that specializes in helping other families, which I enjoy. The income has helped, even though I’m not quite where I want to be just yet. But I have enjoyed making my own hours and making that job work around my family. Off and on I have continued to search for a teaching position, determined that that was my ultimate calling. That I was meant to be in the classroom. When I would see my teacher friends post stuff about school and their little blessings they receive from their students I would become envious, even though I was happy for them, but that bitterness would return with the thought that “It should be me. I should still be in that classroom making a difference.”

Now that it’s been almost 3 years, and I have yet to find a teaching position, I have slowly begun to embrace and being content with the role of being a stay at home mom in this time. Things are beginning to come together, as my husband continues to advance in his job. My son is now almost 2 years old, and  I realize that being at home with him, even though stressful at times, has allowed me to capture so many more moments with him than I would ever dream of if I was working full time and he was in child care. I enjoy that I can capture some of those moments and send them to my husband at work, hoping it will help brighten his day.

I have been weighing heavily on whether or not to sell my classroom supplies. I believe I have decided to take the plunge and get rid of it, or most of it, to have that as the next step of accepting my role as a stay at home mom. I have been reluctant due to the thought of “what if I find a job soon”, but now I’m not sure I even want to search anymore. Part of me feels like that I wasted money on my college and graduate degrees with that decision, but the other part tries to remind myself that everything happens for a reason, and maybe I am right where I am supposed to be, according to God’s will, and even though I’m no longer using my degrees, I did not waste money.  I was able to develop friendships and life lessons, as well as legitimate salvation during and at college. I probably wouldn’t have met my husband if I wasn’t in college. It wasn’t my timing to lose my job, but maybe it was God’s. I am now enjoying the freedom to do things with my son and go places when I want and enjoy the time with him. I’m making my own schedule without worrying about working around holidays, testing, and breaks. I can almost do what I want when I want, and the thought is rather liberating. I also need to remind myself that being a mom to this boy is the most important job, more important than teaching, and I can still make a difference…with him. He’s 22 months tomorrow, and he can count to 10, knows his alphabet, and most of his colors and a few shapes. He even has some books memorized (mainly Dr. Seuss). He’s healthy and thriving and quite happy and well mannered. I must be doing something right. The bitterness and frustration have been slowly waning over the years, but now I am in a period of beginning to be more accepting and have more confidence of the circumstances which have been given to us.  We will be moving again soon to help further cut expenses and continue to get our feet back on the ground. I am doing my best to trust God in that things will happen when and how they are supposed to.

 

From the Valley, to the Mountain Top January 16, 2012

Filed under: Trusting God — jenniferburton @ 5:08 pm

As most of you know, the past few months have been quite a journey for my husband and myself. It seems as though one thing after another has been happening, yet I am not letting it hinder my faith. In August, Jon and I found out that we were adding a new member to our family. In September, I resigned from my position at the school I was at for good reason. In October, I was sick most days and had difficulty getting anything done. In November, we were in a car accident, costing us all kinds of money we didn’t have, due to car rental, Insurance deficiencies, and getting the car fixed. 

I was not sure how we were going to survive December or recover from everything that had happened. It’s been difficult enough to go down to one income and unexpected expenses surfacing through various happenings. Not to mention, we have a child on the way, so there are medical expenses. With my lack of activity from sickness and trying to eat cheap, I have put on more weight than I should with this pregnancy. But one thing I knew I needed to do was to keep praying..for guidance and wisdom throughout this mess. I knew that God knew exactly what we needed in His time. He has never left us stranded, and had faith that He still wouldn’t.

In December, we were gifted with many surprises. Jon was given a raise and a bonus, which helped us be put in a better place. We had family members, along with friends, who were there for us for transportation purposes. My aunt let us “shop” in her pantry. We have had people, such as our landlord and others we have been acquainted with in the business realm whom have shown great understanding with our situation and have been patient with us. We found out we are having a precious boy! Then, little did we know, our dear friends took it upon themselves to help us with groceries in just the right time, when we absolutely could not afford to buy any. We didn’t have a penny that could cover that or gas. It was just enough to get us by. Then, my best friend gave me her maternity clothes because nothing in my closet fits me right now. This helped me realize even more how blessed we truly are. Everything is in God’s timing, and the best friends and family a person could ask for.

We are still continuing to be blessed. Times are still difficult, but we are climbing out of this valley we have been stuck in. We are making our way to the mountain top. I have to keep reminding myself to keep the faith, and pray without ceasing. God’s timing is always perfect. He never lets us down. I am not sure of the purpose of all this hardship we have been through, but I know that Jon and I will be stronger because of it. Importantly, our baby boy is still growing and healthy. I am also trying to work my way back to a healthier lifestyle, especially as directed by my doctor.

The only thing I worry about now is where we will end up when our lease expires the 1st of April. I will be 9 months pregnant, but we question if we can still be able to live here. But we are not sure if we are able to live any place else. This uncertainty does have me worried, but I know I need to keep Philippians 4:6 in mind. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” 

Another verse that has stuck out to me, I wrote on some art I created and gave as gifts for family and an amazing choir director in thanks. It was Psalm 18:28. “For You will light my lamp; the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.” God’s light will always shine through, no matter how dark it becomes. The darkness trembles in His presence. I must keep the faith and continue to run the race, with endurance.

 

God is in Control June 7, 2011

Filed under: Trusting God — jenniferburton @ 8:39 am

This past week has been a sad week, as most of you already know that Jon and I lost our first child recently. I was supposed to be 7-8 weeks along, and the baby stopped developing at almost 6 weeks. This has been a painful experience. We’ve been blessed with supportive and loving family and friends to help us get through this. 

Something very interesting came across to me in my daily devotional (Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free”). I was catching up because I managed to get behind. This devotion was dated on June 2, which was the day Jon and I lost our precious baby. Here it is…

“I will certainly bring health and healing to it and will indeed heal them.” -Jeremiah 33:6.

Beth Moore goes on to say:

“Nothing could be more natural than a mother grieving the loss of a child. If ten years later, however, the mother is completely consumed with the loss and bitterness that have eclipsed all comfort and healing, she has wedged a stronghold between appropriate grief and gradual restoration.

“The enemy will capitalize on normal emotions of love or loss to swell them out of healthy proportion. They can consume our lives if we’re not aware of his schemes. No, grieving is never sin. But disallowing God to minister comfort and healing to you over the passage of time is.”

I just thought this was crazy that this verse and this topic was administered on the very same day we lost our child. God has spoken to me through these words. I love it when He does that, when I actually sit and listen quietly, what He will tell me. I hope you all take the time to do the same…to sit and just listen quietly.

Thank you Jesus for giving us confirmation that You have complete control and reassuring us that Your plan is perfect. It is difficult to go through something like this, but I know You are the Great Healer and our King. You know what is best. Your plan is always perfect. Thank you for comfort and affirmation. Amen.

 

Biggest Loser Week 1 February 9, 2011

Filed under: Achieving Goals,Trusting God — jenniferburton @ 3:51 pm

Well…it’s been a full week since we’ve started the Biggest Loser contest. I have lost 4 pounds total. I started off with 6, but then dad’s birthday and Superbowl weekend happened. Oops. I tried to be careful, but there wasn’t many better options. I guess the up side is I still had a good time. It’s been hard to try to find a workout routine. I only worked out once last week, unfortunately, but I have worked out twice this week. Last night, Jon and I competed in Kinect Sports. We didn’t last as long as I would have liked because we were so tired and it was late, but we got something in. This afternoon I FINALLY did the Your Shape Fitness Evolved that we rented through GameFly. We wanted to give it a trial run to see how we liked it. It’s pretty good. Unfortunately my fitness test didn’t do too well…and I am wore out from it. I know I will be feeling it tomorrow. I could feel myself struggling and working hard…only come to find out I burned only 140 calories. Wow. What a disappointment. But I guess I just have to look at it as a start.

I think back and reminisce on the endurance I had built up from running last summer. I was doing so well. I could push myself and push myself. I was awesome. But now since it’s been a while, I’m having to start all over again. I wish we were able to pick up where we left off. Like hitting the pause button because life happens.

But I also need to keep reminding myself that God is in control. I need to pray for His guidance and ask Him to get me through and help me become stronger. That was one of the best things I remember about running. I would be praying and talking to God during my run and reciting Scripture to help me persevere. Instead of the “I don’t think I can make it” attitude, I was in the “God give me strength because I HAVE to do this, and I will” attitude. I need to get myself back into that mindset. I found myself thinking more positively in general and feeling great about myself when I did that. And sometimes it really felt like He was right there running alongside of me. It was the most amazing experience. It’s all about the attitude and having faith!

This week I am going to work on my attitude and my faith. I’m going to work on my prayer life…not just for working out, but other things in my life as well, including praying for my family and friends. They’re so important me and must be included. I am also working on reading Scripture more and doing a daily devotional. I am also going to try to work out at least 3 days, and try to build up to 5 days a week. So please keep me in your prayers that I stay focused. This is a start toward a better me…spiritually and physically.

 

A New Journey September 30, 2010

Filed under: Trusting God — jenniferburton @ 7:33 am

I was recently at the orthopedic surgeon, getting a check-up on my ankle. My ankle has been about the same since my physical therapy sessions. In other words, no more improvements. The doctor decided to give me a steroid shot to see how it would do. However, I am scheduled this Friday for an MRI and CT scan. It looks like we’re going to do surgery to get rid of the impingement that is preventing full range of motion in my foot.

To be honest, the news of this seems bittersweet. I have been trying to train for a 5K all summer. I have struggled to stay consistent with the program since school started, but was running at least 1 or 2 times a week, along with continuing to work out at Curves.  I haven’t been able to run a solid 20 minutes yet. I had built up so much endurance over the last few months, but didn’t understand why I can’t run solid yet. The problem with my running is with my ankle, because I don’t have full range of motion, I don’t have enough spring in my step…it doesn’t give as much when I land on it. I have wondered if I did have full range it would make a difference. I know it wouldn’t feel as stiff while running. No, it doesn’t hurt, but I can tell I’m limited.

I hate the thought of needing surgery because it means I will have to go through a recovery period and more physical therapy. However, when I have the surgery, and have been fully recovered, I won’t be as limited. I wanted this year to be the year.  The year where I will lose weight and reach my goal. I am several weeks behind, and I won’t get there at the time I wanted to. But, I guess this is just another necessary step I need to take.

Another disappointing factor was that the doctor told me that I may not be able to run 5K’s fully. That kinda hurt hearing that. However, he did suggest possibly taking up biking. I love to bike, and it has been something I’ve wanted to get in to. My husband wants to do that as well. I know that there would be no impact on my ankle, and I could have something that my husband and I can do together that is active. We’ll have to invest in some bikes first, however.In the mean time, I decided I wanted to join a pilates class that will take place after school 2 days a week. I think I will increase my attendance at Curves, and maybe back off on the running for now, due to all of this.I am excited about pilates. It’s been a long time and always has been one of my favorite work outs. I still want to run some. I know there are many ways of getting fit. I just want to reach a goal that I have not been able to do before. I want to be healthy and active. God is guiding me through this journey. I just don’t know what the destination is just yet. I’m placing my faith and trust in Him, to see where He leads me. Am I meant to be a runner or not?