Overcoming Obstacles

Faith goals Health

I started this blog from a love of writing, a need to process, and a desire to share. I have come to find that it is not natural. It is necessary in some form, but like every other good thing, takes time, dedication, and a certain level of vulnerability and faith.

I begin writing and stop…distracted by what needs to get done, finding excuses of chores, work, and other responsibilities that seem to consume my thoughts, time and efforts. But can I really not find time? …. or am I plagued by fear?

It’s all about finding that perfect balance, right? A balance of mind, body, and soul in a life that is consumed by constant requests and responsibilities.

So here I go, once again carving out intentional time to write and balance my life.

If there is one thing in my life that I have learned and continue to learn through each season, it is that nothing is guaranteed. Change is constant and inevitable. Life has constant obstacles to overcome and those obstacles are often accompanied by fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of what might or might not come, fear of what we cannot see.

But through these obstacles there are lessons of hope, faith, and true love. And after these obstacles are overcome we are left with a sense of accomplishment, awe, and joy….stronger than we were yesterday… and one more step along in this never ending journey.

Marathon

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A little over 2 weeks ago, I overcame the obstacle of running my first marathon The obstacle was not only in the 26.2 miles that I ran on June 20th but in the nearly 650 miles that I had run in the months leading up to it. It was in the days that I didn’t want to run but ran. It was in running through the literal and figurative storms in training. And it was in the years of running that started in college with ONE glorious mile that made me think that maybe I could run.

It’s amazing what setting a goal can do. I was able to prove to myself that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible. I can do all things through my God who gives me strength. And with Him, I am strong. I was inspired by this marathon. I was inspired by Aaron and Kelsey who ran it with their own personal obstacles that they overcame in the weeks leading up to and on race day.  There are more posts to come to recap my marathon, marathon training, running lessons, and gear! I promise!

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Half Dome – Yosemite

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This last week, Aaron and I went on our summer vacation with a couple from our church. No a vacation is not an obstacle to me! It was relaxing, rejuvenating and a time to refocus (hence this blog post). There are not many friends that you can go on a vacation with and come back better friends than when you started, but John and Autumn are a couple that we were able to do just that with. In talking, we related vacations with friends to rooming with friends. You can be friends with many but roommates with few. And if any trip was going to test friendships, this would be the one. Aaron and I calculated over 24 hours of travel by plane and car. And then we did Half Dome…the obstacle. Through the long travel, a grueling, wet, long hike, and plenty of quality time together, I was continually amazed by the genuine, fun, and servant oriented friends that we have. Talking to Autumn on the trip and on the way down from Half Dome reminded me that through these obstacles… whether they be a mountain to climb, a marathon to run, or changes ahead… we are never asked to face these mountains alone without the proper tools. Often the tools that we are given are the true friends in our lives and I felt continually blessed by this epiphany on our vacation.

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And then there was Half Dome. Half Dome is the most difficult hike in Yosemite (according to the park website). It is a 14 mile round trip day hike with a gain of 4800 feet from Yosemite Valley to the top. The last mile or so is….. defining. After we rose above the tree line, we came to what is rightfully named the Stairmaster of Hell. There was what seemed to be a thousand STEEP steps on the side of a mountain leading to the cables. If you know anything about Half Dome, you know what I am talking about when I say cables.

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This is the side of the mountain we went up. If you look closely you can see the cables that are at about a 45 degree angle

The first time I did this was on our John Muir hike in 2013. Since then I have referred to this section of our hike as the most mentally challenging thing I have ever done. I do not mean mentally challenging like a math problem or writing a theological paper in school; I mean mentally challenging like overcoming your greatest fears. After you walk over the “sub dome” you come to see the cables. Straight on, it looks as if you are going to be climbing straight up with nothing but your grip onto the cables. I almost cried the first time I did this… and I think I cried with relief and a sense of accomplishment when I finished. I thought it would be easier the second time but when I found myself facing the mountain, the same fears rose in me again with just a slight confidence in the fact that I knew I had done this before.

We started on the cables, I looked at nothing but my feet… not down, not up… and prayed God give me the strength to make it to the next point, God keep me safe.. and breathed…. and prayed again. We made it to the top and the view was worth it. There is nothing like the view from a mountain top…. especially after you have overcome the physical and mental demands that you faced to get there. As we hiked down, we were hit by a storm with lightning and a downpour that soaked us and all of our gear. When we finally made it back to the cabin we felt that sense of accomplishment, knowing that we had done what most will not do.

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Obstacles shape us. They define us. They have the power to change us if we let them. They can change us by beating us down so that we give in, or we can allow the change to be an opportunity for growth and progress. Aaron and I are in a season where change is inevitable. It brings on obstacles. It is hard and can be marked by fear. I am thankful for these changes and for the tools that we are given to overcome. And I am thankful that in the end we come out stronger than we were, in awe of our accomplishments, and empowered.

Recently I read the book Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss to my first group of students that I had through their Middle School years. Three years invested with many ups and downs but these kids stole my heart in a way that truly validated my call to teaching. One line in the book struck me and resonated with me. It is the desire that I have in my life and the desire that I have for those that I care about. It’s a call to balance, to be intentional, but to move. Without fear, without reservation, with true and great faith move…. and move mountains.

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A GREAT BALANCING ACT. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17: 20

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Stay Balance! <3 Kendra

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