She talks like a poet or writer and she runs like a dancer, and she definitely has a warm and encouraging and sensitive spirit. But, as is true of all of us, Elizabeth is more than meets the eye. We first met Elizabeth a year ago when she began training for her first half marathon with Up and Running Again. Currently she is training for her first full marathon, under the guidance of Coach Greg Clarke. She will be running the LA Marathon this Sunday.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. We would love for you to get to know this person we have had the pleasure of becoming friends with. Let’s go back to the beginning, where Elizabeth started her recovery journey. Through her time at the Orange County Rescue Mission, she has reflected on her life and Christ’s work in her life. Here we share a glimpse into her soul as she includes an excerpt from an essay she wrote at OCRM.
“When I first arrived at the mission, I came in stoned and hungover from the night before. I was disheveled, unhappy, overweight, hopeless, lost, and worst of all, I was afraid. I was afraid of what I had become and afraid of whom I might never be able to be. I was afraid of me. I was cloaked in regret and self-pity for all the “what if’s, should haves, and the what could never be’s.” But thanks to God, somewhere in my desperation, the Lord had His way with me. He hinted to my heart and faintly whispered to my soul, patiently residing in the back of my mind, waiting for me to hear him in my train of thoughts. After a series of catastrophic events, it finally became clear that The Village of Hope [OC Rescue Mission] should be my home…at least for a little while. It was the Christian aspect of this place that kept me curious and so I came and my heart is glad for it.
I’ve learned so much and yet have barely scratched the surface of all the things to come. I know this is just the beginning but what a beautiful start to a life of value and godliness and goodness for the glory of God. I learned basic fundamentals to start. I have learned time management and orderliness. I’ve learned the value of rising early, being consistent, industrious, and disciplined. I have strengthened my determination to tap into my full potential. I have used the time gifted to me by taking better care of my body, feeding my mind, nourishing my heart and igniting my soul.
I originally walked through the gates with my eyes down as if walking through a prison yard keeping only to myself. I was 50lbs overweight on my body, 100 lbs. overweight on my mind and totally uninterested in everyone. I came here jaded, bitter, and feeling 500 years old. I am certain that had it not been for the unshakable inkling of God, I would still be that person.
I started running to lose weight but in the process I discovered all of these precious pieces of myself that I’d totally forgotten about. I tapped into the athletic inborn prism of my soul that I had left for dead after having my son. I learned the value of discipline and not being ruled nor fooled by my emotions simply by dedicating myself to showing up at the crack of dawn no matter what. Most of all, I learned to talk to the Lord and see His beautiful face and all His glory in the rising sun and in the crispy freshness of the air. I felt Him in my lungs and heard Him in the rhythm of my thumping heart. I also rediscovered the childhood splendor of a natural high fueled by the once depleted serotonin that now buzzes through my brain on a regular basis. I learned how having a baby doesn’t have to stop me from self-discovery or being me while being a mom simultaneously. And that’s just running. I meant to just lose weight and in the process, I dumped a bunch of useless baggage, which left me free with plenty of room to pick up some diamonds along the way. Thank you “Up and Running Again.”
In the end I found the Holy Spirit who is filling me up and breaking the chains that once bound me to a generational curse of drugs, alcohol, violence, and rebellion. That freedom I am happy to say I will be taking with me for the rest of my life and for all eternity God willing. My son will have a good future. He is and will be loved and raised in the way of the Lord. I am certain I would fall on my face otherwise. I was called to raise a human being. Yikes! Nothing has ever made me fear the Lord more. Thank you to OCRM for helping me pick up the pieces of my broken life and get it together just enough so that the Lord could do some work on me. Thank you for helping me to invite Him into my life. I was dead. I would’ve never come had it not been for my son. I also would’ve never been the mom I am now had it not been for this place.
Please take 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 to heart. “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My Strength is made perfect in weakness’ Therefore most gladly I would rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” And that is what keeps me sober.
As far as mistakes, I make them and pray to grow from them and do all I can to not repeat them. But perhaps I had to go through this to realize that I’ve been shortchanging myself. I discovered a tendency I have in me to low ball my potential. It is my hope that my relationship with Christ will build on that. I’d like to broaden my horizons farther than what I think I am capable of achieving. After all, I trust in the Lord and I know that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
And at Up and Running Again, we have literally watched as Elizabeth is broadening her horizons. God has given her the blessing and strength to begin a new job a couple weeks ago as a childcare provider at a Montessori School. The marathon training has definitely stretched her and we are so proud to walk along her on this journey!