God’s Kindness through Disappointment Leads to Repentance

kindness-of-god

by Heather Bock

I was absent-mindedly skimming through my Twitter feed when I came across a tweet about an event called Lit by Living Proof Ministries for women with a passion for writing, speaking, and/or teaching in their 20s and 30s. I clicked on the link and disbelief took over as I saw that Continue reading

Threads, Part Five

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that after having been inspired by a Jennie Allen workshop, I’ve been writing about three of the best moments and three of the worst moments in my life, discovering how the threads from these moments have been woven by God through my life from that time until now. As I’ve mentioned before, I hope that anyone who reads this will do the same and see how God has used moments in his/her life, that He may be glorified. As far as I know, the Bible doesn’t directly use the language of God being a weaver, but it does talk about Him being our potter in Isaiah 64:8: “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” He created us and shaped us, and who we are today is a result of His hand.

I covered two of my darkest moments in my last post, Threads, Part Four, so I’m heading into my last. This one isn’t exactly what Jennie Allen asked for, as the first moment itself didn’t feel very dark–more just disappointing. It started with me planning to run in the Orange County Marathon in 2004 with my dear friend, a marathon for which I had started to prepare but had been injured about a month before the actual race date. I can’t remember what the injury was–I think it was a knee injury–but I wasn’t feeling it anymore as of the time of the race, and so I did the first not so smart action in light of my personality: I decided to run the race despite not having run for a month. My friend had prepared well for the race, she had come all the way down from Seattle to run it with me, so I thought I should at least run a few miles with her.

DSC00171Unfortunately, that was like someone struggling with a diet going in a chocolate shop. My intended three miles stretched to thirteen. By that point, I was going much slower, and I had told my friend to go ahead long before that point, but I was still running. I was at about thirteen and a half miles when I realized I needed to stop–what turned out to be my iliotibial band, or IT band, was injured, and I found out later that it was injured badly. That’s the moment I remember so well–realizing: I have to leave this race, I am injured, it is cold, and I am all alone in the farthest out point of a very long race.

This was the start of a very long injury, one that went on for several years, particularly because I kept re-injuring it when I thought it had healed. I was able to run a little bit, such as when I would run from one part of a course to another to cheer on my athletes when I was a cross country coach, but I couldn’t race anymore.

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Here I am in yellow (on the far left) as a coach in 2006, still dealing with my IT band injury.

I remember when I was young, I hated when people would introduce me as Heather, the runner. I didn’t want running to be my identity. There was more to me than that, I thought. However, by the time I was dealing with my injury, running had become part of my identity, and I wasn’t ready to give up that part. I put this time in the category of one of my darkest times because it was very hard for me to surrender my running to God. I couldn’t understand at the time why He wouldn’t just heal me. Later, I realized that through it, God had wanted me to surrender this part of myself to Him.

Soon after my IT band finally healed, I became pregnant for the first time. Nine weeks later, I lost the baby to miscarriage, which was devastating. After finding out what was happening, I remember sitting on my couch trying to call my mom, my husband, and my friends to help me through the pain, but not one was able to answer the phone. I realized I was supposed to go to God first, and after I did, and He gave me comfort, one by one family and friends began to return my calls.

After the miscarriage, God dealt with me about surrender again–this time about having children. I started running again, even joining a local running club as a gesture to myself to let go of the desire to get pregnant. It wasn’t long before I was pregnant again, however, and God took me through an even deeper journey of surrender, as I struggled with the thought that I might lose this one, too. Through advice from wise friends, He finally brought me to a place of thankfulness for each day I was pregnant, a place of surrender.

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Here I am on the right in yellow, five months pregnant and cheering on one of my athletes in 2007.

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This second pregnancy was successful–I did give birth to a healthy baby boy!

In the years following, it seemed every time God was teaching me something big, it was about surrender. I’m still amazed at how many areas I was holding out for myself, of which I was not letting God take control. He challenged me about my tight hold on how my husband should think and act (exactly like me, of course), my daughter, the way I thought God should be using me, etc.

Whenever I deal with surrender, the words of one of Switchfoot’s songs, “Daisy” are powerful to me:

“Daisy give yourself away
Look up at the rain, the beautiful display of power and surrender
Giving us today when she gives herself away…
Let it go, daisy let it go
Open up your fist this fallen world
Doesn’t hold your interest, it doesn’t hold your soul
Daisy let it go…
Giving isn’t easy, neither is the rain and she gives herself away
Daisy why another day, why another sunrise, who will take the blame
For all redemptive motion and every rainy day
He gives himself away
Let it go, daisy let it go
Let it go”

Daisy in the RainI printed and hung the above picture of daisies in the rain with verses over it to remind me of my lessons, verses about waiting in surrender before the Lord: James 5:7-9, 17-18; Hosea 6:3, and Deuteronomy 11:13-14.

God is still dealing with me in this area, a subject about which I’ve recently posted. He’s challenging me anew with surrender: of what I own, how I want to educate my kids, where I want to live, and much more.

He really does want ALL of me. He really does want ALL of all of us.

Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).

Threads, Part Three

God is the master weaver, the one who makes sense of all the seemingly random and chaotic moments that fly by in our lives. In Threads, Part One and Part Two, I started an assignment that Jennie Allen gave me and a large group of women at a mom’s conference to remember three of the best moments in our lives and figure out why those moments were so important and how threads from those moments have been woven throughout our lives from then until now. As I mentioned before, I’m writing in hopes that those who read this will do the same with moments in their own lives.

My third best moment (not in order of importance) happened in college. I had many similar moments throughout my college career, but I can picture one very clearly. It was spring semester of my freshman year. I was sitting, leaning forward, in the front row of my Old Testament Introduction class, gazing up at my professor, Dr. Frank Spina, listening to his words with everything I had. I can remember exactly in which room in Demaray Hall we were. Dr. Spina was no lightweight professor. In fact, although I was a pretty good student normally, I was a little shocked just now to discover from my transcripts that I only earned a B in that class. His students either loved or hated him because he challenged us to work hard, and worse, he challenged our preconceived notions about Scripture, making us think for ourselves. I think you can see that I was one of the ones who loved him.

This is me at the beginning of my freshman year with my first roommate in front of Demaray Hall.

This is me on the left with my first roommate in front of Demaray Hall at the beginning of my freshman year.

I went on to take as many classes as I could from him, and I even chose him as my advisor. I remember loving one class in particular in which we studied the book of Genesis. One of our assignments each week was to make fifty observations about each chapter we read, even if the chapter was Genesis 10, entirely made up of a genealogy list. Some students were angry about that assignment, but through it, I was introduced to a Bible concordance, where I learned a lot just through looking up the meanings of names.

I fell in love with Scripture like I had never done before, despite the fact that I had read it all the way through year after year through my growing up years. I was amazed by the complexity of it, the beauty of God’s authorship. Don’t get me wrong: I advocate repeatedly reading through the entire Bible, but after I had done it so many times, I needed to study it at a deeper level. Dr. Spina’s classes fulfilled that need. I also was at a point when I needed my faith challenged. I grew up in a very conservative, legalistic church, and I needed someone to make me figure out what I believed for myself and what I had just accepted because my church and parents told me it was true. He pushed me to the point of doubt, but I came through with a much stronger faith, a faith that was fully my own.

Because of Spina’s classes, I decided to major in Religious Studies (basically a Theology major), and I did most of my Bible work in the Old Testament, an area in which I was quite weak–my church at home tended to stay in the New Testament. I didn’t know how I would use it for a job–in fact, I didn’t believe I would ever use it in that way–but I was at a Christian school, and I wanted to take advantage of these amazing classes that would deepen my understanding of the Bible and theology. I minored in Literature and French, and hoped one of those would help me with an occupation in the future.

Here I am with Dr. Spina on my graduation day.

Here I am with Dr. Spina on my graduation day.

Nine years went by before God picked up that thread again. I had moved pretty far east in our country, and I had forgotten some of my love of the Bible, although I was still reading it. I took my first Beth Moore Bible study with video, and through her infectious enthusiasm, my love for Scripture came flooding back to me. After that, it was like I was back in college–I took every class that she taught, semester after semester, until I had done about thirteen of her studies, all in a row.

Near the end of those studies, God moved His needle some more, prompting me to start writing my own Bible study, starting with the jewels He had already given me. He’s helped me finish it and sent me to a Christian writer’s conference, and whether the study ever gets published or not, two groups of women were kind enough to take a chance on it and are going through it together right now.

God took a passion of mine, a passion that He Himself placed in my heart, and in a way I never could have predicted, has used it for His glory.

What are your passions? Has God used them in your life? Is He asking to use one of them even now?