September 19, 2011

Poser? Or One of Us?

I used to be a cyclist.

Twelve years ago, after a short but scary battle with cancer, I valued my health as a gift and wanted to do something with it to help others.

I joined the local chapter of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training—a group that uses marathons, biking and triathlons to raise money for cancer research. I’d long wondered if I had it in me to do a long-distance event.

In the cold of winter we started training for the Santa Fe Century, a 100-mile bike ride. I resisted buying all that ridiculous looking bike attire and an expensive road bike. Seriously, does anyone look good in that stuff?

Months passed and the miles added up. Eventually vanity gave way to practicality. I gave in and bought the jerseys, the shoes and even the road bike. I finally looked—and felt—like a cyclist.

May came and our team flew to New Mexico for the big event. The Santa Fe Century was a difficult, incredible and exhilarating life experience. As a result I continued with Team in Training and did lots more bike riding in the subsequent years—on my own, with my team, at local events, with local clubs.

Besides discovering that I really don’t enjoy biking more than 50 miles at a time, I found that cyclists are a pretty exclusive bunch. In cycling circles, you are without a doubt judged by your gear, your attire, your bike’s fancy extras and your street cred—especially when you’re a woman. The more advanced the group, the more they seemed to say:

“Are you one of us … or are you a poser?” || KEEP READING...||

September 11, 2011

You Are Our Hope

Devastation. Terror. Horror.
We sit in the ashes.
Where is our hope?

 The father of lies sneers,
“Look. I have taken away your security and confidence and innocence.
I have taken away your family and possessions.
I have destroyed your foundations.
You cannot overcome the darkness.
All is lost.”

Shock. Anger. Grief.
We stare in disbelief.
Where is our hope?
Death overtakes the light.
But for a moment.
Amid the fires of hell.
We lift our eyes.
Where does our help come from?

Even now.
Especially now—our hope is in You.
In the midst of hell.
We feel the nearness of heaven. 
You are our rock.
Our fortress and our strong tower.
In this storm, and every storm.
You lift us out of the muck.
And set us on solid ground.

You give and take away.
Blessed be your name.
Praise you oh Lord.
You are faithful.
And steadfast.
And true to your promises.

Out of the rubble and the chaos.
Your make beautiful things out of the dust.
You are making us new.
Day by day.
We are broken, but not destroyed.

No one.
No action.
Nothing can take away what You give.
In You, we are victorious.
Praise be to You O God.
Our savior and redeemer.

On 9/11.
In Haiti.
In death, disasters and destruction.
You are our hope.
Today and always.

This song wrecked me when I first heard it in a slide show on Haiti. It's become a favorite. Today a special choir at church sang this song. It was comfort from heaven.
Beautiful Things by Gungor