Happy first anniversary, With Open Hands! It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since everything on here kicked into full gear. What a year it’s been. I’m checking in again to share some stuff that’s happened lately . . . some endings and some small beginnings.

Our track season has been over for a day, but for me it’s been over since Wednesday the 27th. My hip has continued to worsen since my first meet three weeks ago. At my second meet, I, along with the counsel of my coach and my dad, decided to only race the half-mile (800) instead of the mile, just because it’s shorter and probably easier for me to handle.

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(One of my friends hugging a very tired me after the 800. Photo by Mr. Stanhope.)

That worked out, and my hip felt okay. I thought things were looking up. But at my third meet, over a week ago, I raced the mile again and was having a lot of trouble walking afterwards on my hip. 🙁 Thankfully, I still had a good race as far as the mile, it was just afterwards that my hip started yelling at me.

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(Midair once more! This was taken towards the end of the mile. Photo by Mr. Stanhope.)

It hurt worse than it ever had, and when I told my coach and my dad this, they agreed that it was probably wise to stop now. This was the ending of my track season, and it was disappointing. It really stank that my season had to end in pain rather than in “sweet victory”, as Lauren would say.

Now, nine days later, I haven’t run except in tiny portions, which still make me sore. Walking still isn’t pain-free. I’m learning to accept this ending for what it is: an opportunity for God to teach me. And teach me He has. At the beginning of the season, I had everything planned out. I wanted my mileage to be a certain amount, I wanted to be running five days a week, I wanted to be strong and race well. They were all good plans, and they succeeded, for a time. God was gracious and truly gave me a successful season, in spite of all the difficulties. Even though I was pretty set on having my way succeed, He guided my plans down a different path. His path.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

In a lot of ways, this verse embodies the lesson God is teaching me through my hip problems. I’m glad He’s choosing to show me these things now, revealing how His plan is best, and preparing me for things to come. I want my cross-country season to be something that is built on trust in the Lord. These lessons are slowly being ingrained into my heart. Somehow, I’m trusting that they’re the small beginnings of something beautiful to come.

Some more small beginnings have been taking place in my life lately, along the lines of design. 🙂 I did a few watercolor projects over the weekend . . .

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. . . and I’m going to be doing a big 20″ by 20″ painting for a church soon! The idea is to give a visual of the verse “see, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.” Here is the sketch/rough idea I have of one of the hands:

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Even the rough sketch was hard, especially the thumb (as you can probably tell haha). I’m excited about this painting and will definitely post finished pics on here soon. 🙂 I also designed a bridal shower invite thing this week, and threw together some stuff for a friend as well. Things are starting to change, and I’m learning to take what God gives. Lord willing, I’ll be back here soon. 🙂

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” (Zechariah 4:10)

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