the journey continues

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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!

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