Saturday, June 11, 2011

Slow / Easy Trails & Overdue Faith Post

I had the opportunity this week to run outside of my usual Small Town.  I love running out of town if I can find a good place! We were in Salem, OR to attend our Nephew's graduation (Yay, Erich!). 

After the Domestic Violence Awareness 5K I raced in October, I had been wanting a chance to get back to explore Minto-Brown park and its many trails.
(Photo from Google)

The park system is on an island in the Willamette River, with sloughs and wetlands, fields,  dog parks, and forested areas throughout the park. There are several parking areas and miles of paved and unpaved trails.
I took off on a paved trail and took a turn onto a soft dirt one. The first 4 miles were on dirt, bark and gravel. My average pace was well below my usual easy pace..But I think that is to be expected for trails, so I relaxed and just ran and enjoyed the sounds of birds, the new views and the excitement of what or who might be around the next turn.
After passing a lily pad pond, I thought I 'd circle back to my car to get my camera, but the batteries were dead. Oops! 
(photo from Google)

I ran through a moss-covered orchard, trying to guess what fruit the trees might bear- thinking it might be hazel nuts.  It turns out that they were cherry trees...with no fruit and badly needing a pruning job.

At mile nine I headed back to the car to stretch, with many more park-goers there to nod at. Lovely place. I can't wait to go again!

Faith stuff

If you read here regularly, you might have noticed that I haven't written much on my faith recently. If you don't read my blog for the faith posts, don't feel obligated today.

It's not that I haven't been thinking about my faith, just that I have been struggling a bit of late. Sometimes there is a lot I'd like to write, but either no time to write it, or I just feel like it might make me look like a hypocrite. The last thing I'd want to do is put shame on my savior, and by even writing this, I wonder if I am. But on the other hand, maybe if I can be honest, it might help someone else in their faith walk.

Satan is very tricky and he knows my weaknesses. Lately he has tried to convince me that I am worthless, and not really saved.  This should make me want to draw closer to the Lord, but really, I have just tried to hide, spending more time focusing on running (where I feel like I can succeed) and less on my spiritual and other personal growth.  But when I am running, He speaks to me and cuts away at the shell I'd like to keep my heart in. A few times in the last month, I have stopped mid run, due to a sudden outburst of sobbing- sometimes out of frustration, sometimes because I know he is telling me everything is going to be OK...and to just trust Him.

Thankfully God does not see me as worthless (nor does He see you that way- if you are reading this, and this is your situation too.). He still reaches down to pull me out of the cave I would hide in. Music draws me back to Him. A new song with great lyrics, or just an intense melody with simple words, says the right thing at the right time.

Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.


  1. Thank you for this song and message! Satan has a way of knowing just what it takes to break us down! I know the feeling of trying to run to what you feel successful in. I have been struggling lately with relocating and finding a church to worship in. Feeling like a bad mom since Em isn't in Sunday school. I know He doesn't see me as a failure! Praise the Lord that never gives up on us!!!

  2. Nice run.

    Glad to see the faith stuff back. Thanks

  3. Running on new trails sounds like an excellent way to spend the weekend!

  4. That run sounds great. And...there isn't a one of us that doesn't occasionally have doubts regarding our faith. As long as we continue to trust in His promises, the rest will fall into place.
    Isaiah 40:31
    but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

  5. That sounds like a fantastic place to run. Heck might even be worth going into Salem.

    When all else fails the runner in life, the run will clear our minds of the things that are troubling us. It lets us get back to our starting points.

  6. I missed this!! Yay on the run! When I travel so much for hockey I get opportunity to run in so many different places! I love seeing new things!

    Satan IS tricky and he has got the better of me MANY times. I hardly think you look like a hypocrite. Everyone struggles! No shame...Real honest reflection. You are so NOT worthless and so glad you can realize that. Music is amazing for me too. I literally had a complete meltdown after watching a Scheel's sporting goods store commercial on TV a few weeks ago. Completely secular commercial and it showed a girl running and the background music was "Be Still" by Kari Jobe. I hadn't heard the song before and I just ended up in a POOL of tears from a TV commercial. Hit me like a brick and even on my run later I blubbered through the whole thing listening to this song on repeat. Funny how He speaks.....

  7. I acutally KNOW where that Park is. I have only been to Eugene twice - once just to run there, the other was to see my Huskies beat the Ducks (which sadly never happens anymore).

    My faith is the center of my life. Without it - well - not much. I have enjoyed reading your Faith postings in the past.

    Keep Running!

  8. One of the things I love about your blog is your honesty and your faith. Through your running and your writing, we get to know the real you. And I can understand why you want to make part of your blog private too. Some things are just too personal to share with everyone (something my wife is constantly reminding me of). Faith is a beautiful thing. Through our faith, we are healed, and through our faith, we pass on His messages...

  9. Such a great post spiritually and running wise. I find it spiritual to explore new areas to run sans music alone with my thoughts. So glad you got to do that!!!!

    Your honesty is so admirable and Satan's evils are so difficult to avoid. You are amazing Raina!!

  10. Hoping everything is better soon. Sounds like a relaxing run in a pretty place is just what you needed.

  11. Thanks for sharing that park/trails. I have a friend that lives in Keizer who needs to start running. She will be joining me for the Vegas RnR 1/2 in December and um, well, she's starting at the very beginning again. Perhaps she and I could hit this together and get her loving running like the rest of us!

  12. I find it so easy to get swept up in the minutia of daily living that I lose faith in God's big picture. It takes that step back to see the whole.


  13. I too have been strugglign in my faith. and In the 14yrs since I was baptized and comitted my life to Him, I have never questioned my faith at all. I have been dealing with a family member who no longer knows where their faith stands and it has broken me down (after years and years). I felt like I was at the point of giving up but I just couldn't. I know God Lives and I know He loves me and would NEVER giveup on me, so how could I give up on Him? I also have found that it was easy to throw myself into running and not have to think about it. I have called out for Help many times lately and I think this is one reason I find myself injured. Perhaps there was no other way to get me to STOP and see what was happening. I see it now and I'm so thankful for this time to re-focus on what's most important.

  14. I understand about your push and pull with your thoughts in faith...I have the same torment at times. God does love us ... but sometimes it's hard to understand why we (at least me) suffers so much. I'm glad to see your faith post again!! :)

    It looks so pretty where you ran, I'm so glad you were able to get out and enjoy some new air on some new terraine....nothing revives the soul as much as a great trail run!!

  15. That looks like a real soul soothing run...the best! I suppose we all go through these ups and downs with our faith. In the end we just need to trust God with our lives and remember he knows what's best for us.

  16. sounds like a great place to run. Thanks for sharing that song and your thoughts

  17. I highly recommend Believing Christ by Stephen Robinson. He's LDS, so it's written with that POV, but it is very very uplifting for me to read when I feel down and hard on myself and separate myself from the Saviour. It's a loving, comforting book that is a breath of fresh air.

  18. Raina, thanks for this post. It's funny how we all struggle with the lies of Satan, but so many times we don't talk about it for fear of what people will think, etc. I find myself so many times saying to myself, "Julie, what is truth?" So easy to give Satan a foothold by entertaining those lies. Praise God that the Lord is victorious. You are full of WORTH, Raina. His precious child. that is truth.

    Love those trails! looks beautiful.

  19. beautiful! totally god's country. I hope you can cling on to Gods hand find that deep faith. It never left, we just sometimes push it aside, right?
    I can relate!

  20. Wonderful post, so glad I found your blog! It so helps to read other's thoughts on their own journey with God as it makes me realize that I am not the only one in this particular place ...

  21. I really enjoy your blog. Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful run it makes me miss the NW!

  22. I just saw this Raina. I want to comment more when I'm not pu at 1 a.m on the phone with the nurse about my kidneys..not feeling the best but this spoke to me as it did many! Looks like God was using your sharing to speak to many....beautiful. I think he wants us to share our struggles...this makes us stronger. Thank you for this. I'm still not quite sure what is going on in the pictures above...your son stepped on that?

  23. Thinking of you today. We ALL have times like this, I'm sure. I know I do.

    It seems when I give God the chance - take just a moment to openly share my struggles that He already knows - take a moment to give them a bit of voice of my own instead of squashing them down and not fully acknowledging my doubt or fears or questions, He always provides a relief.

    I'm glad you shared it - out loud to yourself and with us. If no one does this, then it's easier to think we are alone. And well...that is just no good.

  24. Beautiful!!! I am so glad to have found you and your blog! Thank you!!!!!


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