With the birth of my new nephew and the blessing of having a relationship with my sister… I was on a mission to be a good example of a big sister… I set out to build that nutrition business! For me, I was so broken inside I was reaching out for any sign of hope. My friend who introduced me to the product truly meant well and in all honesty believes in her product. I, on the other hand, tried the vitamins and had seen it work for other people however, I didn’t thoroughly investigate it for myself…. Feeling strife, I continue to press forward raised the money and got started… However, in the background.. God was honestly telling me to just slow down. That internal reaction I’ve always had to press on,to work hard, to get it done… I had the very Martha syndrome that I accuse my mom of having!While all this is happening, I was helping my mom work Berkeley so that I could at least contribute in some way to the household and I had a better place to train and to get away from being stuck at home w nowhere to go… I continued pushing forward in this nutrition business that I really didn’t have the heart for. I kept feeling God tell me to pick back up where I left off…. Left off?… Okay, so A few years back the Lord had me sharing my testimony with school groups and youth groups… That along with hosting the race to break the chains to help raise money for teen challenge…. Deep in my heart I’ve continuously felt the Lord call me to run races, host races and do public speaking as a ministry… However, I was still barely getting any of the Word in. Though I had tossed all the New Age theories aside and returned to the Lord, I was still only nibbling on the happy verses! Still so preoccupied with the nutrition business and helping my mom work Berkeley that my heart really wasn’t focused on the Lord. Without the Lord, there’s no ministry. I completely surrendered the idea of ever doing another race again. Worries of finances came in again, living day to day, not knowing how mom and I were going to make ends meet, I started helping out my old landlord with the care of her husband, And while there I began to apply for jobs online. Still so distracted! I started reading all these books by random Christian authors, thinking I was getting enough spiritual food in. Kept trying to get God to be happy with me and my works. Nothing seemed to be working and my life kept going further downhill. I kept allowing the enemy to steal my joy and steal moments that should be incredibly happy with my sister and nephew. Deep inside those daddy wounds began to fester and pus. I kept selfishly pursuing the nutrition line, thinking it was my ticket out. Finally, as mom and I were finishing an account in Berkeley, I began to cry out to the Lord and ask him to do something….. Just like an Israelite in the wilderness! Not even a half hour later, I got a call from a local grocery store saying they would like to interview me. Mom agreed to help me get there, and we hopped right on it! that week I interviewed and I got the job! At this point I was desperate! I made a sacrifice and opened my schedule so that I could work Sunday afternoons and any hours that they would have me…. Not fully taking in the stressful atmosphere of this job as well as this stress in my surrounding circumstances, I plunged headfirst into another whirlwind! The morning of my orientation for my new job, I spent caring for my old landlord’s husband . that evening, I went to orientation and returned home to receive the call notifying me that he’d passed away…. Great, the death of a good friend …during my time of caring for him, I’d become good friends w he and his family. My heart broke…. The job started out wonderfully! Then, things began to change, and they started changing the shifts that I was working. They quickly changed me from the deli to the bakery, and had me working 4 AM shifts and then, would have me flip and do a few closing shifts. Now, opening a bakery is no joke! While I had done this before at Costco, this is on a much different scale. God kept prompting me that I was not where I was supposed to be. However, He did use it to weed some things out of me. Between working the bipolar shifts, the stressful atmosphere at work, the heavy lifting, quick movement, running around the bakery, Having to spend sometimes two or more hours waiting for my mom to come pick me up being that there was no clear bus rout that could get me there sooner, Training while I waited for her, inconsistency in sleep patterns, plus trying to build my nutrition business… What had I gotten myself into? My days off I spent either sleeping or with my mom in Berkeley, Completely drained. Any time spent with my family, I was over exhausted and grumpy…. My body begin to act up again and injury flared… Then, another wave, my Aunt posted a Notification on my Facebook timeline … It was a newscast about a woman named Wilma Barnhart …. That woman was my step-grandmother on my mom’s side. Apparently, she had been missing for several days…. And within a few days after that, we received notification that she was found and not alive. http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2013/08/06/missing-grass-valley-woman-kept-diary-of-days-leading-up-to-death/ Betweendealing with the things inside that it built up over the years and the stress of my circumstances, my emotions were everywhere! Still only nibbling on the Word…. I tried to grab as hold of any sign of a loving God that I could find. I ended up leaving the nutrition business, and focusing on my work at the grocery store which I tried so hard to hold onto… Pressing on through physical pain, emotional pain, stress…. My doctor quickly advised that I get a modified work order. I told them I wanted to wait and I would try to push through. So, I guess you’re wondering what lessons I learned here… Well, I began to have a bad attitude at work about everything. I caught myself complaining on numerous occasions. The Lord help me encourage other people to push through when they were weary… I began to look at every day is a challenge, some sort of a game… I asked The Lord to show me what challenges I needed to rise up to and how to conquer them in His power! As my attitude began to change, the pressure began to rise!… My body began to hurt even more! My moms car, was going downhill!… Without her car, neither of us had a way to get to either of our jobs! Finally, on our way to my 4AMmy mom’s car broke down… One of the managers allowed her to come inside and wait till she can find a way to get home. I continue to press on with a good attitude! Thank God! Friends from church Helped me get to and from my last couple of shifts for that week. Thankfully, they were mid shifts and closing shifts. The following Monday, I went to see my doctor, and he said I had to make a choice. I could either continue to do the job at the rate I was doing it and drive my body further into the hole, or I could give them a modified work order and have the hope of keeping my health in tact and the ability to run future races… I quickly called my manager and asked them for the fax number explaining the situation. They told me that I had another choice to make. Being that I had not gone to one of their doctors, they were not going to take that work order. So, I could choose to continue to do my job and put my health on the line, or I could set myself free and trust that God had a better way… With my moms car not working, my job not willing to take me off the opening shifts… I figured this final decision was a Godsend! I had my doctor write the note saying that I was not going to be returning to work….In the weeks that followed my departure from the store, God began to heal me emotionally and speak to my spirit. Finally, I was giving myself rest… I began to press into the Father… He began to peel back layers… The shame, guilt, resentments, self-hatred… All those things pussing and ready to explode inside… I went to an emotional state, slammed my head against a wall at one point… I still couldn’t understand how a God who love me so much could bring me to a place where I had nothing. Mom and I began to try to figure out what we were going to do next. My body continued to heal as my emotions continued to heal…. Funny as this may sound to some of you, however I truly feel that these two things had a direct connection. God slowly stripped each puss filled layer and filled it with his healing power…. Broken I came and soaked in His Word wallowed in worship to Him… Thanksgiving of this year came, and I had the blessing of having my sister and nephew together with my mom in our HOME for Thanksgiving as a family …. The only thing missing was my rockin brother Joe. Looking back, I can see the miracle was right in front of my face! That same time last year, we had to have Thanksgiving in a park to be able to accommodate her. What a blessing! Just a few days later, I packed up and headed out to do a housesit. PROVISION! Brothers and sisters from church continued to help me get to and from doctors appointments as well as the grocery store. All I can say, is I’m truly blessed to have my church family…. They’ve helped me not only get to and from places, but have also shown me that there are really trustworthy, good, caring people out there.After being approved by my doctor, I set out to get my first race. The outcome was favorable, and when I went to see my doctor again, he asked if I’d even been running at all… Simply put, the Lord is CONTINUING to heal my body! Though its been a process.. It’s worth every moment.I am currently at this house it and getting ready to leave, and just up until two weeks ago my mom still did not have a car. Thankfully, my aunt provided a way for her to get one, And she was off to work again!Christmas came, and my heart broke as I didn’t have much to give my mom and my sister. However, the Lord open the door for me to do another race and for my sister and nephew to be there this time! This is s moment I’ll cherish for a lifetime… the sound of my mom and sister (nephew in arms) cheering me to the finish line…. hmmmm We then went back to my house in Crockett, and enjoyed a time of opening presents… Another reflection… Last year, we spend in the rain at the same park as we did on thanksgiving . Now, let me tell you how precious my sister is… On Thanksgiving she had seen that I didn’t have any really warm blankets and knew I needed a new pillow… She went on a hunt for the perfect blanket, sheet set, and pillow… For me! I wasn’t able to get her much, I felt so bad that I wasn’t able to do more for her…. that afternoon, I found out that Johnny (Sharlet’s husban who has been like a dad to me) was in the hospital… my family quickly went to go see him…another moment I wouldn’t trade for the world. Seeing Sharlet and the family all together with … something just felt right. At this time, I’m seeing more and more that it doesn’t matter what job you work , or how far you can run, or who you impress in life, how much you own, where you travel to… What matters is that you loved God, lived people, and that you’ve loved well. Every moment that I spend with my sister, I desired to be a happy and memorable moment. I truly want my life song to sing for the Lord. Nothing else matters…. I truly believe I’ve been anointed to run… however, when, how, and where is up to the Lord. Ultramarathons… I believe they’ll happen… however, my priority is God, then family THEN ministry. As this house sit closes, mom and I face another challenge. Being that we were out both out of work for such a long time, we’ve been behind on rent… My landlord who is been continuously patient with us informed us that if we don’t have it by the 1st she will have to give us a notice….I continue to seek the Lord as to what to do next. With my mom having to cram to get her work done, she has no time to take me to and from interviews . The bus system in Crockett, doesn’t make it easy to get to and from a normal job. … So I continue to press into the word of God, worshiping, praising him and … one thing that goes to my mind is… “Let The Waters Rise” (mikeschair)Don’t know where to begin, it’s like my world’s cavin’ inAnd I try but I can’t control my fear, where do I go from here?Sometimes it’s so hard to pray when You feel so far awayBut I am willin’ to go where You want me to and God I trust YouThere’s a ragin’ sea right in front of meWants to pull me in, bring me to my kneesSo let the waters rise if You want them toI will follow You, I will follow You, I will follow YouI will swim in the deep ’cause You’ll bein’ next to meYou’re in the eye of the storm and the calm of the seaYou’re never out of reachGod, You know where I’ve been and You were there with me thenYou were faithful before, You’ll be faithful again, I’m holdin’ Your handThere’s a ragin’ sea right in front of meWants to pull me in, bring me to my kneesSo let the waters rise if You want them toI will follow You, I will follow You, I will follow YouGod Your love is enough, You will pull me through, I’m holdin’ onto YouGod Your love is enough, I will follow You, I will follow YouThere’s a ragin’ sea right in front of meWants to pull me in, bring me to my kneesSo let the waters rise if You want them toI will follow You, I will follow You, I will follow You
I’ll open today by saying..there are choices that I made…I take full responsibility for my actions. I don’t write this so people can feel sorry for me, I write this so that people can see how God can take a victim and turn into a victor.any details I’ve been closed are strictly for the sole purpose of showing how emotionally wounded I allowed myself to be.
So, I guess you’re wondering at this point… My dad… So this is a person that got the legal slap on the wrist for violating me as a child…. And yes, I wanted to forgive and try to move forward. After all… Isn’t that what Christ would do? Now, being that he lived in Hawaii, and I had a metro phone, I wasn’t able to call him directly. I had to use the kitty lady’s house phone to call him and have him call me back. So, he offered to get me theeee best present EVER!!! iPhone 4S! Dude, It was the most coveted phone on the market! Noooo way! I was so stoked! He arranged for me to go pick up my phone at Verizon in El Cerrito, And… We were able to contact each other freely. Meanwhile, stress started picking up at the coffee shop, I added a couple house sits to my already busy schedule, Along with doing general errands for my friend from the gym, PLUS train for the San Francisco Marathon, All while trying to heal a puss-filled wound with my dad. For me, keeping myself going was usually the way to heal, Or so I thought. As my dad & I continued to communicate, I thought I was ok… At this point, spiritually, I’d gone from being in the Word and reading books by Christian authors (ie: Joyce Meyer) to only glancing at the happy verses in the word and stuffing myself full of new age…. Ummmm great. Focus gone! It was all about me and visualizing success, focusing on making money, being the creator of my universe… Wow… Lord, I publicly repent for that!Between stress at work, the new relationship with my dad, house sits, training for a new marathon…I had my hands full! Then, news came that my mom had to move being that the company she worked for needed to have her unit remodeled as they’d told us to begin with, it was a temporary place for her. Amazing how events fall into place! The kitty lady also, no longer needed me! And in a short time I went to stay with my mom and help her move out… Right up until the last minute neither of us knew where we were going to move. I kept getting these visions of a sleeping in the car! Thankfully, that wasn’t the case! My mom had checked out a place in Crockett, and it just so happen to work out!Soon, I received news from both my grandmother and my dad that he decided to move to California due to his business crumbling and Hawaii. Hey, I was excited! I had this great vision of us reuniting and having a happy family again, And my dad at the finish line of my marathon! At the end of May a little less than a week before my birthday, I received a call at4 AM. It was my dad and he was at the Oakland airport! He said he been stranded there with his Scarlet macaw, and wasn’t sure if grandma or anyone was on their way to pick him up. I offered to roll out of bed and pick him up and he told me to go back to sleep. I’ve been offered again and asked if was was positive but he declined and told me to go back to bed. I went to sleep, and woke up the next day expecting him to call. I felt tension in the air as I went on my training run and ran errands for my friend… I went to work at the coffee house, kept checking my phone… No call. The next day I started a housesit, and still no call. Then, the day of my birthday I received a call from my aunt yelling at me and asking what I did to my dad. Apparently he was mad at me for not picking them up at the airport. He was threatening to move back to hawaii. This led to emails back-and-forth between him and me discussing why in the world he would want to leave. When finally I got them on the phone he said that he couldn’t stay because I should’ve gotten out of bed regardless of what he said, AND That people were accusing him of things that he did when I was a little girl. He then accused me of being only 15 mins away from the airport saying that he used the GPS to track my phone… What? First of, crocket is no where near 15 min away. second… I had no idea he could track my phone! He continued to her all accusations and scream at me. Fortunately my friend from the gym called on the other line, I told him what was going down, and he told me to hang up on my dad. I turned off the GPS on my phone, then… Turned off the phone all together. I was crushed! This is only beginning of another series of events. My friend from the gym had soon decided to employ me as his family manager for the household. This meant more responsibility, more pay, and a possible business that could lead it to my not having to work for the coffee house anymore. Meanwhile, I felt it best to transfer from the coffe house location that I was at in order to ensure he was no longer following me. Being that I had more responsibilities, and was overseeing my friends household …he offered to set me up with a new cell phone so I wouldn’t have to deal w the worry of the junk w my dad and it would be part of my pay. Just as I was at the Verizon wireless, I received a phone call from my dad on the iPhone. He sounded stressed out, and wanted to know where I was. Apparently, he had shown up at the coffee house that I had recently transferred from. They were instructed to tell him that they had no idea who I was. This infuriated him! Long story short my friend and I ended up at the coffee house, told him to either take the iPhone back or at least sign it over so my friend could put it on a different plan, but he refused. He made complete set seen outside of the coffee house and we parted our ways… I, went off to get a different cell phone…. Within a few weeks, I had received an email from my dad apologizing for everything. He wanted to meet up, and have a real birthday dinner and make up for everything. So, I took into consideration that he was in a lot of stress from the move, and I agreed. The meal went wonderfully and I got to learn a lot about him and what he been doing over the years. The things he said I had to be careful to sift between fact and fict… Regardless, I truly felt like this was a positive step forward! I agreed to take my iPhone and keep it on just so he could call me. Meanwhile, he was not allowed to have my work number, Let alone know it existed. I kept the GPS off, and learn something. The only way I could use my map my run device on my phone is if the GPS was on… So, on the days that I needed to do a long run and need my GPS I would turn it on… This led to another discovery.. He would call just after my runs, Or on the times that I’ve forgotten to turn my GPS off…. So, I decided to play a little game. If I didn’t hear from my dad for a few weeks, I turned the GPS on. When he’d call he dumped a boatload of stress and emotional garbage on me like a garbage dump. I was already dealing with things at home, working both jobs, worries if my sister, training, ect… I tried my best to listen, that was all I could do. Soon, my dad began to promise a car. I already had one so, I wasn’t too worried about it. The first week of July, I received an email … and then another one … and another one… each one displaying pictures of a brand new Honda fit… Then, an email with a question saying “which one do you like?” I freaked out! Within a matter of hours he finished the paperwork and send me an email giving me a visual tour of my new car. Almost a week later, I was on my way with him to Folsom lake to pick it up. What I did with my other car, is between me and Jesus. However, I had no idea what I was getting myself into in accepting this vehicle from him. I believe that part of him really did want to be a good father. I believe that he really wanted to make things work after all these years. However I do know that another part of him was being very manipulative in his actions.Soon, my family management business was picking up. I got hurt at the coffee house, and made the decision to leave. Hurt again, and training for yet another marathon. Meanwhile, dealing with stressed out phone calls from my dad…. The clock ticked down and marathon day came. Dad was a no-show. from that point on after that he would Call me when he was stressed out, or come out to see me when he needed to get away and needed me to be there for him. All that kept going through my mind was “what about you being there for me?”… I Started seeing my chiropractor again…. Begging God daily for my health to come back… Meanwhile, still stuffing my head full of new age. My family management Business picked up so much in fact that I was working off and on from 4 AM till almost10pm on Some days. Still training for random races, and constantly on the go… I think I wasted more money on doctor visits and grabbing food to go being that I lived nowhere near where I worked… So financial struggles raged… And, yet another wave… I received news that my sister was going to have a baby! I freaked out! I knew something was up, my mom had been awkwardly silent for over a week…As Thanksgiving drew near, my heart was so cold toward my sister… My mom wanted to spend turkey day w her, however, this meant not getting to have thanksgiving w a very good friend of mine… Amazing how God works!… I surrendered. I ran the turkey trot that Thanksgiving in Pinole and went back home to help mom prep dinner to bring to Refugio Park being that we still were not to have my sister at our house… She didn’t even know where we lived… This began a process of miraculous heart change in me… As we sat there and ate, I looked across the table, and all I could think is “my baby sister is going to have a baby… Lord, we need a miracle!” After dinner we walked around the park, and for the first time in a long time I enjoyed being in my sister’s company. God was melting my heart.As Christmas drew near, I continued to push myself to train, still battled with injury, Continued to overwork myself between family management, housesit and pet sits… All while diving deeper into New Age, meditation, and focusing on being successful. I was a “spiritual” Christian.The decision was soon made to invite my dad to Christmas dinner. This was to be set up just like Thanksgiving day, being that my sister still was not allowed to know where we lived and my mom requested that my dad never know where we live. Apparently, we didn’t think to check the weather report. It was pouring outside! As he sat in the park in our cars and waited for my dad to show up, I received a call from him asking where we were. Apparently he was right up the street from my house And needed to know exactly which one it was…. Ummm what? I had told him we were having dinner in the park. Also, I never told him where lived. The closest place he’d ever been was the dead fish. I shunted off and gave him directions to the park. He pulled up next to me and was seriously angry again! Completely outraged he drove off as any need you go to the bathroom as we sat in the rain and waited. Yet, another long story cut short he agreed to come back we ate dinner then, agreed to go to a Denny’s so we could dry off and warm-up. We all sat around the table, And I was so excited to finally just have some peace and family time… However, as we were talking he showed me on his iPhone that he had known what I was on numerous occasions. He proceeded to tell me that he’d known where was when I was living in San Diego Long before we’ve ever reunited. My gut sank. Late that night we all parted ways. Life went on.. And the new year came. While on a casual fun jog with my friend Katrina, we exchanged belated Christmas gifts. She gave me “Quantum Faith” and a book that set my course back on Christ’s track called “shadow boxing.” The Lord quickly showed me that the meditation I was doing in the morning was not from him. He continued to reveal to me that I was on a spiritual down spiral, And because of that my life was I’m down spiral.I started feeling more and more tension in the air. I received calls on numerous occasions from my dad who is incredibly stressed out from work and not getting paid. That plus all the things that he was dealing with that home. Apparently, there was a lot of family drama at my grandmas house… But what was I supposed to do? I tried to be compassionate and listen, however how could I when he Didn’t even take a second thought to what I might be going through!!! It was always all about him and what he needed and how hard his life was! Then, he kept complaining that he couldn’t be my cell phone bill and he couldn’t cover car payment. Back-and-forth with the car. A constant tug of war. I felt bad for taking the car in the first place being that he couldn’t afford it…. Some things started going on in my family management business, And after seeking out spiritual counsel from a leader at my church I was advised to step back from it… Not even two weeks, later I received a phone call from my dad… He needed to borrow the car so that he could sleep with and it because things at home had gotten really bad. I was still working and needed the car to drive from family to family at least until the end of that month. So, I asked him if he could kindly wait at least another week or two to let me finish work. This made him mad, and he insisted that I leave the car at an agreed location w the keys under the floor mat. He kept changing days, and I asked him to wait…. Finally, I was finished with work anyway…. I was also fed up with back-and-forth calls about the car. I took the car to the dealership and tried to return it to them…he told them I was his daughter and I took his car and wouldn’t give it back. They wouldn’t take it, Drama,drama,drama. At this point I just wanted to be done with it! I throughout the car drama I ended up calling the police because he was harassing me. During two of the phone calls he had the nerve to say we couldn’t have a relationship because people were accusing him of what he had done to me as a child…. I stopped him right there! I told him he was not going to make me feel bad for what he did to me! it was his choice to leave and he was not going to make me feel like it was my fault.I remember being outraged and screaming at him …telling him he had the opportunity have a second chance.I forgave(&still forgive) him however he had to make the choice to forgive himself, and he wasn’t allowed to manipulate me into pretending like it didn’t happen so he can have peace at home. This sent me into an emotional whirlwind. apparently he has a speaker phone and my grandma heard all of this…. what a mess!I felt as if my entire childhood had happened all over again…. Mentally and emotionally raped…. I made sure I gave him the car just as he requested by leaving it at the dead fish with the keys under the floor-mat… Then, he sent me an email saying how sorry he was and he wanted to give me my car back. I followed the advice given to me by if brother in the Lord who is a law enforcement officer… It was time to stop the harassment, manipulation, stocking, and mental abuse. I started the process of getting a restraining order and…. Once in place, I was no longer able to call my grandmother being that he lived there…. I wept for days… Out of work… Living in Crocket w no vehicle… I’d like to say that I got right back up and said “I can do all things through the one who empowers me within!” After all at this point I was in the word a lot more, I had returned fully to the Lord, and turned my ways from all the New Age and all the meditation…. But I was broken, wounded, devastated! I remember bashing my head against the wall and weeping asking God why! however, God showed me that for the first time in my life I had finally stood up to the first person to ever victimize me. instead of the court system not hearing my testimony, this time I got to stand up and say what has been done. funny, the lyrics to the song “I’m coming home” (my Greyhound benchmark song) go through my mind this time.my life I wanted to know my dad. as I grow older I kept wanting to heal the wounds….so, like the song says”be careful what you wish for because you just might get it all, and then some you don’t want.”
while still in the paperwork/ court process of getting the restraining order, a ray of hope shown… My sister made the decision to get into a program! This was a long process, yet it finally happened! I stood by my word to be there by her side every step of the way. Meanwhile, I was invited to start selling some healthcare products.. New business… Plus rebuilding of family…. My sister and I began to build a relationship… A real relationship… “Delight yourself in The Lord and He will give you the desires of you heart.” Psalm 37:4 and… A phone call came late one night… my sister… she was in labor. my old attitude flared up like i had a right to tell God that it was too late at night to be going to the hospital… then, I heart checked …. the moment I’d waited for since my sister was little… the momen I could be there when she needed me the most… I wasn’t going to miss this! mom and I raced to the hospital in Martinez where my sister was in labor… I tried to catch some z’s in the chair next to her… which ended up being only slightly successful… then, drama… the little guy’s heart beat was having a little struggle, so they had to do a cesarian…. May 10, 2013(just two days before Mother’s Day) My beautiful nephew and light of my life was born! I’ve never seen my mom so tired yet smiling so big…. all of the trials, chasing my sister, trying to rescue her, the prayers, the tears came to this one brilliant moment, in one beautiful baby boy! That same day, I started the process of getting my nutritional care business started…. there’s always blessings in the storm… That baby boy, my little miracle nephew is a God send to our family… My heart continues to melt like butter for my sister and that precious baby… Boo Bear and Little Dude… I never dreamed this could be possible. Yet, with Christ… You know it goes!… Thus, a new chapter full of hope began to unfold!
So, I continue this journey first by saying… In order to maintain respect for my sister, I will only share necessary details in order to preserve her testimony, as it is only her’s to tell. Now, while living with whoI’ll continue to call the “kitty lady”The restaurant I was working for informed my coworkers and me that they were going to close. Meanwhile, I had just received confirmation that I was hired as a nanny for a young girl. So, another change of job, attempting to continue my education by switching from CCC to DVC, Plus a change of church ha! As I continued to train for the California International Marathon… My body in pain, I began to see a chiropractor, And the waves kept coming. While studying one evening I couldn’t focus and my spirit kept stirring… Soon, I received a frantic phone call from my sister… She was on a bus using the bus driver’s phone, the people she was staying with prior to her bus ride had scared her… I couldn’t quite understand what was going on all I knew is she emphasized that she really needed help, And that she was ready to do what it took to go to Teen Challenge in Bakersfield. Knowing I couldn’t take her that evening she agreed to find a shelter to go to until the next day and I would take her to Teen Challenge (I had promised I’d be by her side the moment she decided to step into recovery). With tears in my eyes, I hopped in my car and sped to where she said the bus was taking her to. While driving she freaked out and called me and said she was getting off the bus. I called back the driver answered, And he told me that she had gotten off. I drove with a quickness to find her. As I pulled off the freeway, I called my mom to inform her of the good news (Thank you Lord for hands-free speakerphone). My car pulled over the overpass and I kept my eyes wide open for any sign of her… And…….. There she was! Skinny, Scared looking, tear smeared mascara streaming down her face as she was rushing down the street. I quickly made a U-turn and picked her up. “Thank you!” she said. “I made a promise to you… You’re serious about this right?” “Yes!”This, in all honesty, was the first time I had ever let her into my car. Long story short, after a series of events, she ended up being allowed to say at the mission. However, the next day another battle raged. Apparently, teen challenge had a paperwork process. This I can understand being that they want to make sure that people are serious about getting straight. As we waited, she could no longer stay at the mission. So, she was back out on the streets, back on the stuff, And my heart sank… About a week and a half later my mother called me to inform me that team challenge was ready to start the process! Having a bad attitude at first, I grumbled my way through it. The next day we headed to Bakersfield. More than halfway there my sister began to freak out. And……. We were forced to turn right back around and go all the way home. My heart grew cold, and I told her I would not help her until she was absolutely serious again.soon, with stresses that built up over time, I was completely unable focus on school, and dropped my classes… Pressure came in, with body in pain and the nanny job (which required a lot of driving) while still barely making ends meet…. I started driving, selfishly into training… It was no longer for the Kingdom nor as an example of a transformed life… It was a place of refuge when, instead, I should have been seeking God first. The kitty lady and I talked about the possibility of my becoming a personal trainer, and I agreed to clean the mold out of the walls of her bathroom, in exchange for her paying for my course… Seeing that I found a gym that would agree to hire me. 24 hour fitness agreed to hire me, and I was quickly signed up for the “training is fun” course. Meanwhile, the kitty lady was preparing to have her bathroom remodeled thus causing me to have to leave And stay with my mom off on throughout the rest my time living there. Within one week of receiving my course packet, I was off to Fairfield to take my test Which, thankfully, I passed with flying colors! Training, going back-and-forth from my house to my moms house, taking a crash course in personal training, and starting a new job Where I worked early mornings and had the stress of trying to gain new clients, plus getting ready to leave my nanny job,stress w the worries of my sister, and…. Then…. I get the call. As I was finishing a training run with my friend Katrina, I received a phone call from my grandmother. My grandfather’s condition had worsened, and the cancer gone to his brain. Was this whirlwind going to end? Within a few days my mom and I packed up a few things and headed out to see my grandfather. Wow… With a quickness, he went from rosey-cheeked & smiling at the sight of me to, lying in bed shriveled and almost lifeless. I wept, nooooo… After all these years! Why? I prayed and begged God to do a miracle! Having to work one of my final days as a nanny the following day, mom and I had to leave. Then… Just after work the next day… My grandmother called, weeping. Grandpa had passed. So,as I continue to train, in the back of my mind I kept “I’ll do this for you grandpa! I’ll do this for you!”And the whirlwind kept going… Like they say “first comes the promise, then comes the hurricane! ” I continued to press on…. emotional, broken, still going back-and-forth between my house and my mom’s house, dealing with the stress of not getting clients at work, I felt like a failure. I decided to add more onto my plate and joined the church choir! Niiiice!!! It was As if I was trying to earn some merit… It was as if I was trying to get someone’s approval…. Why all the stressing and striving to do all these things? When really, all God told me to do in the first place, was to love him, and to run the race physically and spiritually for Him. I had lost my site. I was so self consumed and so busy trying to please the world around me that I had fallen out of the Word of God. My foundation was crumbling, and so was my life. Clock ticked down , I finished my final long run for California international Marathon. Finished it surprisingly fast and… Sharlet was there!!!!! She and I were both exhilarated! We actually thought there was a possibility I could qualify for the trials! As the clock ticked down even further…. More back-and-forth between home, my moms house, and choir… And The night before it was time to leave for the event, While staying in my mom’s apartment my entire body was in pain. All through training for this marathon, I was fighting an internal battle with under eating. A few times my mom had actually prayed privately because of how skeletal I looked… The self-hatred, the stress, pushing through just to prove to who? I lost sight of God, I lost sight of the only reason I even take a single step let alone a single breath…. Finally, the event came. We stayed it in a hotel (Complements of the kitty lady) I Met up with someone who gave me confirmation of what I believe to be what God has called me to do (ultramarathons). I then went and ate my prerace dinner, And we headed to sleep so I could be up and at the start line. As I showed up at the start line… I was completely unprepared for how cold it was! I felt like I was swimming in a pool of freezing water my muscles couldn’t move! As a push through my body hurt… I crossed the finish line limping, to see Sharlet and the family and Bob McNair waiting to congratulate me for at least finishing… Yeah… I didn’t even qualify for Boston at this one… So focused on my failure that i missed the blessing of the very people that were there for me! Shortly after meeting them I was off to the medical tent, where I received ice, and talked to Bob on the phone about seeing another doctor.then, ahhhh mom to the rescue with a huge glass of White chocolate nonfat milk from Starbucks!!!! Recovery! Aunt Cheri came along with her and we all walked through Sacramento on a mission to find a steak house! Not finding anything by foot, we opted to get into the car and found a red lobster. As we ate, Cheri looked at me with deep concern. My dear Aunt, My main running inspiration… She asked me what was going on. Reluctantly, I let her know. Between her and my aunt Wendy…. All I can say, is I’m blessed to have such amazing aunts! We headed back to the parking lot of the hotel and soon parted ways… Then, it was back home to face the stress of a sinking job and again uncertainty in my living space. How could I go back home? I felt like such a fool telling everyone that I was trying to qualify for the Olympic trials only to come home broken empty-handed. As the end of the year came, my heart grew more and more cold. Stress at home, stress at work, trying to regain my health…. Meanwhile, I kept hearing God in the back of my mind… He kept calling me to pick that project up that I left a year before… The fundraiser race I had held with Katrina while everything was originally shaking down…. It was inspired by some events that happened in my family, And the money was given to a local charity to help women find freedom from human trafficking… I tucked in the back my mind again. As things continued to go downhill at 24 hour… I met a friend, who originally asked me to coffee, however I had declined being that he was not a believer. This began an awkwardly platonic friendship. My neediness for friendship at that point, Left me wandering to an older man without faith base that would have been wise me to stay away from. Though he and his family were incredibly Kind to me, I was still trying to fill that daddy void with a friend. In the midst of this I began getting into new age using the excuse that I was a “spiritual” Christian with an “open mind”…uhhh… i needed to open it back up to Jesus! Needing to find some financial stability, I applied to work for a local coffeehouse & got the job. At this point I was completely unwilling to spend all day working at 24 hour fitness and work at the coffee house all while taking care of day to day tasks for the kitty lady, so… Another change of job… The coffee house it was! As things continue to go on, a friend of mine offered to pay for the race fee for my next marathon… The San Francisco Marathon…. So training began again… in my will and my time :/Shortly after this I received a phone call from my grandmother… “Jamie,”She said…”You’ll never believe who called…” The only answer that came to mind, was…. “MY DAD!!!!!!!” “Yes,” she said… I I’ve been waiting for so long, prayed so many nights, just wanting to forget the past and have an opportunity to get to know my dad! Wow! Believe in miracles! Despite an undertone of warning in her voice I asked for his number, And I made the call. Ring…. Ring…. Ring… “hello?” “hi! Is this (I’ll call him Maui for the sake of not keeping his name private)” “Yes…. Who’s this?” “This is Jamie Barnhart, but you would have known me as Raven Frost… I’m your daughter!” A sudden pause… “Hello” “yeah…” He said with a cracked voice…” I’m here” that night, we talked about where he’d been living and how he was so happy I’d called! wow! My dad, after all this time… What a blessing! … And the roller coaster continued!
now, last blog I briefly explain how my recovery came about up until my first marathon. I’m going to briefly backtrack and give you a little more detail. I went through a 12 step program called Celebrate Recovery.there I found the bridge into my new life. I never really looked back at the world of meth as something that I would want to turn back to.that had to be the grace of God! Lord provided my best friend and mentor Sharlet Gilbert. she, her husband and mother have become pretty much like family to me. how our friendship came about is another story of its own. All I can say is they’re the best friends I’ve ever had.over time the Lord help me overcome cigarette smoking as well as a severe over eating habit that I had while working at Hometown Buffet.even today finding balance can be a challenge.however, I work daily with the Holy Spirit to help me through. Little did I know I still battled with shame that built up over the years.as my teeth began to suffer from the year and a half of drug use, I totally hated myself and watched as some of my teeth began to crumble, yet the Lord helped me push thru, and provided a temp plate. then,I went trying to find Mr Right again.though I remained celibate (even till now) part of my spirit kept longing for something that I was missing.I dated once or twice, and had one relationship that lasted one month …all I can say is it was all wrong. any guy I had a crush on, I would later find out was in a relationship. One guy that seemed to be a really good man, ended up with me chasing him around like a love sick puppy dog! anyone reading this who knows me and knows who I’m taking about can laugh! poor guy! there I went, making a fool of myself running around after that whole that “missing piece.”looking back now I see where all this had stemmed from… the daddy wounds…. they needed to heal…. but how? Well, a miraculous reunion w my dad’s parents was just the beginning. Though it got off to a rocky start, it was all worth it.Now, the week before the Oakland marathon, Sharlet kept in close contact and even did my final “shake out” run prior to the race! What a blessing! In the midst of everything, I’d gotten a job at a restaurant in Orinda… things seemed to be looking up! And… then…. I returned home to see the beginning of a hurricane. I hid out in the mobile home and prepared myself for the next day’s events… NOW, back to where the other blog left off… through out the race, I kept envisioning my sister at the finish… my passion, I found it…. I run to show that all captives can be set free. At the end of the race, my sister was nowhere to be found… I heard a man’s voice behind me say, “hey Romans!” (The bible verse I wore on my back!) I turned around and it was a guy that the Holy Spirit moved me to encourage to push through his pain and get to the finish! “Thank you for encouraging me to push through! I wouldn’t have made it!” “Wow, not a problem. It was Jesus though! Praise God you made it!” I replied. Isn’t that what life it’s about? Encourage others to push through, to reach that hotel, whatever goal our dream they have. We shook hands and went our separate ways. I went on to meet my family and have a victory meal! When we got home… it was time to face the hurricane recovery from a marathon is one thing, but recovering while dealing with a change of job, troubles at home along w an uncertain living arrangement, PLUS putting together a fundraiser race event AND getting ready to perform in a summer production at CCC… all I can say is…. every day was a struggle.I didn’t know what was going to happen from one day to the next.my new job proved to be not as promising as I thought… struggling from day to day, trying to make ends meet, my body also aching due to injury. I soon received word that my grandfather that I’d been reunited w was diagnosed with terminal cancer,.. I felt like job. I began to fall away from the Word.soon, things at home got worse. I was living in the mobile home while the traffic going on w my family member was bringing phone calls to police and a flow of destruction.I made a call to a lady that I went to church with. She let me stay on a temporary basis. While there,I began training to attempt to qualify for the 2012 olympic trials. Talk about walking in the flesh! My life was falling apart around me… I was still injured, just finished hosting a race, moved, still struggled financially… and now training for the California International Marathon as I was just finishing performing in a show at contra costa college… wow, what a roller coaster! People kept telling me to give up, not to run that event… however, press on I did! Soon, I was told it was time for me to leave, my car began having trouble… meanwhile, my mom had informed me that she had been evicted (our landlords had gone above and beyond out of their way, & drew the line)…she’d been living in a hotel room for a few days, then was sleeping in her car w my relative, until she found paraphernalia in her car and drew her own line and parted ways w them. I packed my things in my car, got into my mom’s car, went to my grandpa and ask for the one thing I never wanted to ask for…financial help.thankfully, he helped me out w enough to supply food and to help my mom out. As we returned to the Bay Area, we began to pray for the Lord’s direction in where to go. Thankfully, while I was and my grandparents’, I received a call from the woman I’d stayed w saying that there was another woman at church who needed someone to live in and take care of her cats while she was away on buisness for three to four days out of the week. Arrangements were made, for me to met up w her and… we headed to Berkeley to speek to my mom’s employer about getting a place for her through them. Thankfully, they had something temporary w insanely low rent. She signed the paperwork & we went off to meet the kitty woman! After meeting and speaking with her, we agreed to a temp live in situation, and… finally… some sort of certainty… praise God! Mom and I felt things were about to get so much better… or so it seemed…
So, I guess this is the big question… How did I end up here? was it a.) a single catastrophic event landing me in the middle of nowhere with no idea what to do next? B.) a series of events mixed with bad choices that landed me flat on my butt? OR was it c.) what we believers call a spiritual attack of my life?
well, to be honest I would have to say that it’s a mixture of both b&c! so, going back to the beginning I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version of how I landed here, and why in the world I would continue to pursue the passion of running for Christ…
I was born in South Lake Tahoe California to two very young individuals.that were not married and the relationship was hardcore struggling as it was.my mom soon made the choice to leave and then re dedicated her life to the Lord. that woman, she planet that amazing seed of Jesus in me! However, Satan comes to steal kill and destroy.starting at the age of 1 1/2, a certain family member begain to handle me in ways that they should never handle a child. this went on until I was about 4 years old. I l leaked it to a neighbor, that relative was given a legal slap on the wrist, my name was changed and the rest is history…or should I say it has only just begun. soon after the event, I was alienated from my dad’s side of the family.this still aches my grandmother to this day.all I can really remember as a child is that little boys didn’t treat me like they did the other girls.for some reason I was always the one to be talked to, tickled, and touch the wrong way.my mom, amazing woman….she did everything she could to teach me the right way in Christ.I remember singing to Jesus in my room when I’d play alone.I really loved my Jesus! Going on… Mom got married when I was 9, we move to Vegas, ended up having a whole house hold of kids which I like to call the “Vegas Brady Bunch!”3 boys 3 girls.in a nutshell all I can say that things got worse.for the first time in my life, I was getting teased at school. the bullying was unbearable.I remember one point I was so embarrassed I literally peed my pants. I continue to encounter men and young men who treated me like I was a rag doll to be toyed with.the problem with it was that at this time, I accepted that is reality.with the young boys that played around and thought that it was okay. I even went along with it at times.another relative begain to touch me…this adult was much more subtle about it, when I confronted him he blamed it on his childhood then tried to cover that by giving me a gift the next day.these incidents led to emotional walls and barriers I held inside.so muchself hatred, shame, guilt….I couldn’t stand looking myself in the mirror.I began over eating to keep my predator away.then, high school came.the school I went to was full of vanity and all about looking great, feeling great, being the best….my being slightly overweight and not getting the best grades, plus being from a lower income family built the wall of shame even higher.I soon began to skip meals…then anorexia bulimia….and so on.another vice was lying in the background is well.I tried smoking my first cigarette when I was 10 and it became an on-again off-again habit when I was 13.had my first drink when I was 10, had a few drunken rampages here and their in middle school, high school, and in my early 20’s (during one when I was 16, I was date raped.) I tried smoking pot for the first time when I was 13. (this, to me, was more of a means to fit in). I couldn’t stand it, but I did it because it was cool. I tried crystal meth for the first time at the end of my freshman year of high school.I tried it again when I was 15 and once more at 16.between chasing the wrong guys in messing around with illegal substances…I came to a point where I was living with the guy I was “supposed to marry”& ended up, soon after, finding out my mom and stepfather were divorcing. summer of 2001, me and “Mr Right” moved to Northern California, then soon after ended up moving to San Diego.all I would say about this is we were definitely not right for each other! I was cheated on manipulated and verbally abused by him.I ran around so upset and worried about the next person he going to cheat on me with that it only strained the relationship further.I tried so hard to make him love me. self hatred eating disorders…on and on and on and on one thing I will say…that Jesus seed kept calling my name.I started going to church with a friend of mine from work, and was soon convicted about the way I was living with this”Mr Right.” We’d break up, get back together, break up, get back together..then in one final, outrageous, snap…he decided it was over.however this wasn’t a clean split. it was a tear that left me a motional for years.I was quickly forced to leave my apartment and everything I knew, as he went on to date other women meanwhile saying that we were going to get back together. I woke up my first morning after I moved, &remember laying, looking up at the ceiling and it hurt to swallow! it was like someone had knocked the wind out of me!It hurt so bad to try to go to sleep because I feared I’d dream of him.I couldn’t stand staying awake because I couldn’t stand living without him. each breath was unbearable.I don’t think I’ve ever experienced any sort of pain like that in my life.so again, I sought after Jesus. however, soon after I found out that my ex had been flirting with my friend that was going to church with me. again Satan came to steal kill and destroy.his cousin who was a well known meth addict lived right around the corner.first night hanging out with him and friend, I was passed the pipe, and that began the journey I never thought I’d really take.within less than 2 weeks I was so hooked I already been pulled over and worned by a police officer to drop the stuff and never turn back. that one little situation did not teach me my lesson. within less than a month, I lost my job, car, ended up in jail for 3 days and soon after lost my home.for the better part of a year and a half, I was like a drifter going from place to place, lying, stealing, I was so obsessed with the hope of getting my ex back, that I thought I was doing my self a favor, by using meth to make me look skinny and beautiful.when, really, I was a total shipwreck.long story short, he ended up with the girl that I went to church with.I hated and resented God, and walk around the street homeless in the middle of the night, just trying to get my next fix. I remember sleeping on the floor the mobile station bathroom, crying out to God.why would He allow me to lose everything I thought I loved? all I could hear Him say is, “I love you.” I remember one night having a dream. I was climbing stairs with a friend of mine , and my aunt Cheri ran ahead of me! in my dream I w as still all messed up.I looked over at my friend and I told them, “oh I’ll catch up to her!” and never did…(you’ll understand the significance of this later).throughout this time there are several incidents that I should not have walked out of alive.yet, God’s sovereign hand of grace was on me. Yes…me, that person who lied, hurt, and even stole from some of the people that helped me…that amazing God kept me alive! finally, at the end of 2006 I came to the end myself. lost my last job and had nowhere to go. so, I made the call to my mom who graciously let me come home.sitting on the Greyhound…the bus driver turn the key and turn the radio on.no joke, Daughtry’s “I’m Comin Home”began to play and my gut sank! here I was, thinking that I was going for a visit to my moms.to me this is just a temporary move.yet, God had bigger plans! I got off the bus the next afternoon, smelling like homelessness, coming down from my last high.my mom welcomed me with a smile and open arms! That week, I rededicated my life to the Lord, and that first night my mom and I went on a walk to Kennedy Grove and back home. on this walk around about a half block, looked back at her and told her I wanted to run up and down each hill.she smiled.then, I talked about how I used ti want to run marathons when I lived in San Diego…she smiled again.that half block soon turned into one block, then 2 blocks, & a half mile, than a mile, then 2 miles and so on. one by one each one of those hills,with the power of God in and through me, was tackled. November 2008 I ran my first 4 mile race called “the turkey trot” at Pinole Valley high school and came in second place….the girl who wouldn’t get off the couch in middle school, was told all her life she never could…through one encounter with an amazing stranger named”Big Al”have just done what she thought she could never do.1 race turned into two races and so on…and I ran my first half marathon Easter of 2009…Wow….something just triggered….I fealt my spirit come to life! I knew then and there, that I was destined to be a runner. Big Al told me I was going to be a 40 and 50 mile trail runner…I laughed at him I didn’t think it was possible.I thought “yeah 26. 2 that sounds about right”….then I found out later that a certain Dean Karnazes does 40, 50 and beyond…so the significance of my dream was revealed.Cheri that I was trying to catch up to… it was the redeemed me! soon family life started to get hectic. as many of us believers know, soon after a promise come to trial. I never dreamed this trial would be anything like this. while continuing to do races and helping out in various Youth Programs, the lord megan opening the door for me to share my story with people. then, home life began to get even worse. a relative of mine who was extremely addicted drugs, moved in with my mom and me, and all hell broke loose! They ended up moving and then came back the day before my first marathon, forcing me to move into a vacant mobile home on the property. the funny thing is that runners say to find your passion, run for thqat cause and never turn back.well, this person sparked my passion! As I walked up to the start line of the 2011 Oakland marathon, my heart raced. I had no idea what a pace marker was. I just saw a bunch of signs with numbers on them above the crowds.I thought they were reserved the areas for elite runners.however, my gut told me to stand at the spot market 3:30.I remember people asking me as I was running why I chose to run a full marathon. along the way the Lord bless me with the opportunity to share my testimony with people.there was one man at mile 16 that heard my story and he asked me what was pushing me to get to the finish line.all I could say was that, my sister was at the finish line and I wanted to show her that she could be free from anything, and that through Christ all things are possible.he told me to push harder and keep going.he wouldn’t let me pace with him and I asked him why…he told me it was his long run for an ultramarathon!!!! so, I was to push on ahead of him, since he wasn’t worried about his time. pushing along I got to continue to encourage other people, hearing the crowds and the cheers and the bands… exhilarating!!!…and at the final six miles a woman came along side of me, she passed me gue, Gatorade water and help me push through to the finish line! this woman coached me like an angel all the way to the end! believe it or not the Lord cleared the way for me to finish at 3:32:03!!! Boston qualifier by the power of God!…. to be continued!
Here I am in the middle of a situation that seems to have no way out. at the end of this month, I leave this house to go back to my apartment in Crockett. With no vehicle and no steady job. Those of you who know what the bus system is like out there… well can laugh with me.even at this moment in time, I’m taking each step in faith.unsure of how I’ll buy food or even presents for my family let alone, get from 1 place to another….finally coming over some health issues that I’d battled for over 2 years (praise be to God and thank you to an amazing doctorwho’s had major Grace on me and seen me without sure way to pay him)….there’s still this huge sense of peace that I have.for the first time in my life I Know Who I am in Christ. I know that whatever happens today or tomorrow, HE holds my future.he has amazing plans for me! in the meantime, He has provided unexpected work, a couple of unexpected checks in the mail , people who have gone out of their way to be a blessing to me, new friends all of which I’ve been incredibly grateful for! what I learned in this season?
1.) God is a good and gracious father would go to the ends of the earth to give his children the best!
2.) if you don’t take care of yourself and don’t love yourself no one else will.
3.) nothing can replace a sense of family. The moment when my sister calls or a comment back and forth on Facebook with my little brother, when I hold my miracle baby nephew Tyler, the look at my moms face when she finally got another carand was able to work again, laughing, watching movies, praying with my mom and sister….these are moments we can’t ever get back! So, embrace them!
4.) the Word of God has the final say! it is I’m unshakeable, unchangeable while the physical world is everchanging, and is easily built and destroyed by a single breath of our mighty God!
5.) forgive! if someone is hurt you, its okay to talk about it(in a respectful manner) and heal. However, keep in mind that hurt people are the one to hurt people and praying not only for your healing but theirs is well… destroy the kingdom of darkness!
6.) you can be a Christian and still set boundaries gracefully! in other words, its okay to have a backbone!
7.) laugh! Life is not supposed to be so serious!
8.) be who you are! Love who you are! embrace who you are!don’t ever try to put yourself into a job, friendship, or relationship that would tell you you had to sacrifice any part of the beautiful you that you are!
9.) go out of your way to be kind to others! Period!
how did I get to this point? I’ll discuss that in small portions of future the blogs.I will say though… There are things that happened often that were out of my control.however, the choices I made and ways in which I reacted played 99 % of the role.I take full responsibility for my actions.the vision I have?…well, I pray that I’ll be able to run races(track events to ulramarathons) & share the story of what God can do do the seemingly unlikely individual. that being said… I’m starting this blog, hopefully inspire others to grab ahold of God, let HIM build you up,& show you who you are in HIM, let HIM fill your heart with hopes and dreams, and with him in the forefront… Chase down like they’re the last bus of the night!
Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.