Thursday, March 1, 2012

What scares you?

"Do something every day that scares you"
 Eleanor Roosevelt

This quote alone makes me think she (Eleanor) and I would have gotten along well. Eleanor's story has always fascinated me. She was orphaned at the age of 10 and sent away to school to help her "come out of her shell". She endured an ill husband, the death of her parents, and the death of a child, yet was still strong enough to change the role of the first lady. She was feisty, and wanted to make a difference.

As I have read more about her, I can't help but come to the conclusion that a desire to be challenged and constantly be learning helped make her who she was.

I desire this kind of momentum. The hunger to constantly be learning and moving forward while being in the safe walls of God's will. It's that funky balance of things flying by, life moving fast, but being able to see things through the eyes of Christ. Like snorkeling! You know, the waves are crashing, wind blowing, but when you are all in the water it's a calm beautiful picture. Nothing changed, other than your view.

Three years ago I injured my neck to the point that use of my right arm became questionable. I was a wife, young mother of two, very active, and a children's director. I allowed this injury to knock me down, both physically and spiritually. I was unable to sit in my desk without pain and couldn't hold any of my ministry babies since my right hand was useless. I started to question just about everything I knew about myself and at one point, even my calling. Craig Jutila has said "sometimes God puts us on our back, so we have to look up". This was definitely a flat on my back moment. Over the course of the next 18 months of physical therapy, and every other kind of neuro treatment, (there is some weird stuff out there! let's just say electricity was involved) I was able to slowly regain use, and most of the strength of my right arm and hand. Giving this to God was the only way I can explain the healing I received for what I was told only surgery could fix.

I have a new appreciation for this body God has given me to do His work. And a new commitment to make sure it's taken care of so I can do just that!

2011 CPC
The next March, sitting in the courtyard at C.P.C. (Children's Pastor's Conference, it's fierce! You should go!) I was reading my Bible desperately trying to discover where God wanted me. I remember sitting there and asking, like I had for months, where I needed to be. I assumed that God wanted my attention and I must be in the wrong place. Well I wasn't, actually I was in the right place all along. However just like that snorkeling bit from earlier, I had my head up in the crashing waves, trying to control it all myself. I wasn't until I gave it all to God that I could see clearly. I remember sitting there and having this moment of clarity and relief. I love ministering to kids, to families and to the adults I serve with. I couldn't imagine being moved from that, even though I would if He said go. Just like losing access to my hand for a bit gave me a new appreciation for the physical, the idea of not ministering like I do gave me a new passion for the spiritual. I went home from that conference with a renewed passion for what God has called me to do, and more excitement than ever to do it with.

So the picture above, what does lifting have to do with this blog? Well, I am a creature of comfort and habit, but also a lover of challenge. Once my doctor said "okay, you may exercise" my husband and I looked for a new plan. I had gained 80 pounds with said injury, and I needed it gone! We decided to try a new workout and recently took on the terrifying experience of actually participating in a crossfit competition. I learned to lift properly, something totally out of my element, but it made me stronger and showed me how mentally strong I could be. Jason and I have both dropped about 80 pounds each and are getting hands on with developing an active family ministry.

2012 at CPC
Stealing unattended VBS supplies of course
Lifting weights is one of my daily "something terrifying" activities. It makes me stronger, keeps me physically in shape to keep up with ministry, and it is a huge release of stress. It also has become something we do as a family and is strengthening our marriage.

So exactly one year later, as I sit here at the end of C.P.C., again thrilled and recharged for ministry. I encourage you to learn something new every day, find a physical form of release and try something out of your element. God has big plans for us, and we need to be able to keep up!

I would love to hear about your journey sometime,

Heidi M. Hensley

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