Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Boot Camp

I haven't posted to this blog in at least 3 months, because I have been posting to a private blog.  My husband and I are in the process of adopting two children through the foster care system.  Since we got the kids, our personal life has had to be documented a little more personally.  :)  We are blessed to have a strong support system who loved our two new ones even before we knew them and are still praying for them, so the private blog has enabled us to keep them informed of what and how things are going here.  :)  Until all four of my children are legally mine, I want to be very careful to protect them.

So, our family has grown by two...that makes four kids, two adults, one dog, and a turtle.  :)  Doubling the amount of kids in the house has doubled the amount of activity.  But strangely, the added activity has been a positive change.  Once our adoption is finalized I'm not sure if I will move back to blogging regularly here or keep up the new blog and perhaps make it public.  But for now and I am going to keep them separate.

Which brings me today.  I had things to say and things to record that honestly are just about me.  It isn't about what our family is doing.  It isn't about how all the kids are doing.  It's just about what is going on inside my head (scary, believe me) and I wanted a place to put those thoughts and experiences down.  That is why I created this blog in the first place, so I came back to visit my old friend today.  Perhaps this will be a new trend.  All the self-reflection will happen here and my family "scrapbook" will happen on our private blog.  (By the way, if you are someone that I know in "real" life and you would like to be invited to my private blog, just shoot me an email.  I would love to invite you.)

I started boot camp this morning at my local gym.  The class that I am taking is for one month on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 5:15-6:16.  I have only sigend up for one month.  It will be a huge accomplishment if I stick with this and make it through one month.  Then we will consider any repeats.  In fact, a friend commented that she started the boot camp a few months ago and when she fell off the bandwagon about 1/2 way through the month, her husband got mad and told her that she was wasting money and she really needed to get herself out of bed and follow through...."we are not quitters" I believe was his motto!  :)  That made me laugh.  "Oh," I told her, "my husband doesn't even expect that I'll get up the first morning.  He'll be shocked if I actually make it a month!!!"  I guess low expectations have their perks! 

To be honest, I was scared last night as I thought about what I was going to face this morning.  I have never been to a boot camp and I have not been exercising/training/preparing myself for this at all.  I spontaneously signed up for this on Monday after another friend suggested it while eating lunch on Sunday.  Would I be so embarrassed that I will want to disappear?!  Will I be able to finish the workout?  I had no idea.

The same friend that told me about her husband, explained to me that boot camp reminded her of 7th grade Basketball practice all over again...line drills, push ups, running, weight training, sit-ups, etc.  I actually remember 7th grade Basketball practice and what I remember most about it is that when I couldn't do something, I would stop trying.  Whenever I wanted to quit, I would start making jokes, try to be funny, and try to entertain.  I have a smart whit when I put my mind to it, so it would come to save me from humiliation.  I was not a serious athlete and I would rather save-face then really dig down and try hard.  You run the risk of looking really stupid if you try and fail, I thought.  I'd rather not try at all.

My body was about to be put to the test...will my coping mechanism kick in and will I feel the urge to giggle and make jokes at my own expense.  I did not know.  Coming in a few minutes late resulted in me not getting in the beginner's group.  I had to step up to the group that had completed at least one month of training.  As we started out a sweet girl took me under her wing and showed me the exercises in each station.  You move quickly from station to station...only staying 2 minutes (I think) in each station.  The farther I got, the more I realized that no matter how hard it got, I wasn't going to quit.  Sure my body might stop for a moment to rest, but it always knew that it would start up again.  The weird thing is it never even wanted to stop.  As I was stepping up on the bleachers and alternating kicking my legs, I realized something.  I am no longer that girl in the 7th grade who only cares about saving-face.  Life has happened between then and now.....and luckily, I am the better for it. 

Where my body lacks in stamina and ability, my will power and determination have made up for it.  Stamina will come, you just have to give it time.  Inward strength is built out of circumstances in our life that are, most often, beyond our control.  These are the moments that I find myself on my face before my God.  These are the moments that I realize that since I apparantly have no control over this world, I am clinging to the faith, hope, and truth that in fact, my God does.  It is in these moments that my Bible reading becomes more than a ritual...it becomes a lifeline to God where I feel His presence and experience His comfort.  So, I thought about the recent events in my life that have caused my spiritual heart to exercise, grow, even break, all the while building stamina.  My physical exertion today was allowing me to compare my physical strengh to my inward strength, and it made me realize that inwardly, I am stronger than I think.  And if I am willing to stick with this program, I just might give my body the chance to try and catch up, at least a little, with my spirit.

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character, hope.   Romans 5:3-4

These verses have come to mean so much to me lately as I cling to God's promises and I can almost feel these things being formed inside of me.  So, this morning I kept on kicking.  I kicked for all the hard work we have done lately in grafting the two amazing children that God gave us into our family, I kicked for the personal health issues that I have faced lately, I kicked for my 84 year old grandfather (who was my last grandparent) who took his own life in order to move on to the next, I kicked because through it all I know that my God has never left me.  My strength comes from a place inside and from a hope that no hour of physical exertion can squash.

Was I the only one walking iinstead of running at times?  Yes.  May I still quit?  Yeh, maybe.  But today I realized something...although my physical heart is currently lacking in strength and stamina, my spiritual heart is stronger than it has ever been.  And isn't that the heart that really matters anyway?  God works in mysterious ways.