March for Mental Health 5K; we’re all broken

“Don’t judge my path if you haven’t walked my journey.”

This year one of the things on my bucket list was walking a 5k. Even though I haven’t been walking consistently lately and haven’t walked a 5k in several years, it was still a goal.

And this Saturday I walked and jogged a 5k, the March for Mental Health, and finished it! I felt so happy and proud of myself!

NAMI
NAMI

 

me before 5k
me before 5k

Created by the volunteer-based, non-profit organization, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and several sponsors, this 5k walk/run was for the support of:

1) advancing the research and treatment of mental illness;
2) establishing family and peer support groups;
3) suicide prevention;
4) providing support to the health care professionals who treat mental illness, spreading overall mental health awareness.

balloons
balloons

The woman who started this 5k for NAMI, Heidi, was the mom of Adam, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He nearly died after taking 100 morphine pills, but to his doctors’ shock he came back to life. With his mother’s, counselor’s, and others’ support, he started college classes and helped his mom with founding this 5k Walk/Run. With his well-known humor, he suggested they call it, “Runs Like Crazy.”

Although she finally decided on the name, “March for Mental Health,” since Adam was born in March, he used his own name, “Runs Like Crazy,” for his team name.

In the end, Adam gave up the fight and took his own life. Heidi continues this 5k in memory of her precious son and others who have mental health issues. Below is a picture of Heidi speaking at the 5k, thanking all the sponsors and participants and her son Adam, who inspired it. 

Heidi, mom of Adam and the founder of March for Mental Health 5K walk/run
Heidi, mom of Adam and the founder of March for Mental Health 5K walk/run

Before the walk started, I also spoke with a beautiful brunette-haired woman named Annette, who was serving at the NAMI table. Her son, Clayton J. Hugill, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in his teens. She said he was such a kind, loving, and funny boy.

He lost the fight to mental illness, too, and tragically, he committed suicide when he was just 22 years old. She said it was two years ago, but understandably, it is still hard for her. Here is the pin and bracelet she gave me at the 5k. My heart aches for her and Heidi.

Pin & bracelet honoring Clayton J. Hugill at 5K
Pin & bracelet honoring Clayton J. Hugill at 5K

A young woman dressed up in a costume as her “alter ego” shared her story about having borderline personality disorder, a disorder that one of our own family members has been diagnosed with recently. This woman said several profound things:

  • “I’m broken because of everything I’ve been through. Why do we run from the broken? We’re all a little broken.”
  • “Just because I’m broken doesn’t mean I can’t be fixed.”
  • “We need to be present for one another.”
woman with borderline disorder
woman with borderline disorder

I so agree with these words. We’re all broken; we all need Jesus. 

This police officer who works in the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) at the Kansas City police department also spoke. I talked with him before the walk, and he explained a little more about CIT training, which helps and prepares police officers for coming into contact with people who have mental illness and to respond appropriately to them. He thanked me for participating in the 5k walk/run. I thanked him for being there and his help.

CIT police officer
CIT police officer

There was a spirit of excitement and joy at the 5k before we began. To my surprise they were playing Christian music, which really encouraged me! One was Chain Breaker by Zach Williams, a song I love.

walkers/runners
walkers/runners

 

woman runner
woman runner

 

young girls runners
young girls runners

This kind black man prayed for everyone before the walk and I thanked him afterward for doing this. He smiled big at me and said, “We can’t forget our God!” and I said, “That’s right!”

man who prayed at 5k walk/run
man who prayed at 5k walk/run

The 5k was in Kansas City by the Missouri River. The area and the day were just beautiful, perfect for the walk! Several people brought their dogs to walk, too.

Missouri River
Missouri River

 

Man with his dogs at 5K
Man with his dogs at 5K

Along the 5k walk/run path, the NAMI staff had created boards with stats on mental health, which I found interesting.

Depression in young adults
Depression in young adults

 

Suicide in young adults
Suicide in young adults

 

teens with mental illness
teens with mental illness

 

coping skills
coping skills

This sounds silly, but I was afraid I’d get lost along the way on the walk, since I wasn’t familiar with the area in Kansas City! Thankfully, they had drawn chalk-colored arrows on the sidewalk to guide and help you.

Whatever you’re facing right now, the Holy Spirit will guide and help you, too.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

arrows
arrows

At the half-way point, the NAMI volunteer staff supplied water to the participants. You could choose to walk or run a shorter route straight ahead, or go back the way you came, which would enable you to complete the full 5k. I opted for the longer 5k route!

“Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.” (John 4:13-14, The Message)

water at 5k
water at 5k

I walked and jogged, finishing the 5k. Afterward, I asked one of the staff to take my picture at the finish line. I was so happy and excited!

me after I finished the 5K--so happy & excited!
me after I finished the 5K–so happy & excited!

The staff and the sponsors had fresh fruit like oranges, bananas, granola bars, and water to hand out to the participants. Another table had pumpkin-flavored scones. 

The ready snacks for the walkers and runners are typical at 5k’s, half-marathons, and marathons walks/runs, and is one of the funnest parts–your reward! I grabbed a banana (ate half after the walk for potassium), an orange (ate the next day), a pumpkin scone (ate most of it), and some brochures on mental health, too.

fresh fruit and granola bars
fresh fruit and granola bars

 

pumpkin scone & brochures
pumpkin scone & brochures

Pray for those with mental health issues and the people who try to help them each day. You might even have a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, or someone you know who is struggling and feels all alone.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline if you or someone you love needs help is 1-800-273-8255.

We will never give up hope!

hope
hope

One of the reasons this 5k walk/run was a cause close to my heart is because of my own mental health background, when I was struggling with suicidal depression, nightmares, anger, anxiety/fears, and hopelessness, in a time of a 5-year crisis as a young adult in my 20’s. I was diagnosed with major depressive episode, anxiety disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I attempted suicide three different times during those five years, including an overdose of pills, but God spared my life. Jesus is my Healer and I give Him all the praise and glory for His healing, miraculous power in my life. He sets the captives free and gives us beauty for ashes. 

You can read this amazing story in my memoir at Amazon, Promises In The Dark, One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love, by clicking here

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I run

I run
I run

Today is National Running Day. I want to celebrate together with you. It’s held each year on the first Wednesday in June, when runners everywhere declare their passion for running. 

I’m definitely not a fast runner, but I walk daily and jog (slowly), slowly building my endurance and stamina in hopes one day I can run fast! (Hey, don’t laugh!)

My goal is to walk/jog at least one 5K this year, hopefully more. Several years ago, I walked my first 5K’s and would love to do it again!

In January this year I radically changed my lifestyle, eating healthier, exercising, and drinking water instead of Coke. Weather permitting, I walk daily at the track in town, and recently our daughter Leah joined me.

The Bible says in Philippians 3:13-14, The Message: “I’m not saying that I have all this together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wonderously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong. By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back.”

I love that, don’t you?

While I’m certainly no expert, either, I do have goals and today I want to share some tips for personal and business success, using the topic of running:

1. Who or what are you running from? God? Your past? Sins you’ve committed? If you are under shame and condemnation for something you’ve done wrong, bring it to the Cross. God will forgive you if you ask Him. (1 John 1:9)

The Bible says that God’s mercy is new every morning. Jesus died for your sins and if you have a relationship with Him as your savior, His forgiveness is complete.

Are you running from a relationship with your spouse, a child, a friend, or someone at work? Pray and ask God to help you love that person with His love and for His grace in dealing with him or her. You may not have the answer for how to resolve the problem, but God does. 

2. Who or what are you running to? God? Are you running to your spouse-or someone who is not your spouse when you’re hurting? (which is dangerous) Your child? A friend? Sometimes we may go to a friend talking about all our problems, when instead we need to go to God or our spouse. 

Are you running to drugs or alcohol? Food? Shopping? Money/wealth as your god? God is the only one who can fill up that black hole inside of you. 

3. What are you running for? What is your purpose? When I began exercising in January 2015, it was for one purpose: for fitness and health. I can’t fulfill the purpose for which God created me (speaking, writing books, traveling/missions) if I don’t feel well or if I become sick.

Losing weight was a side benefit to my new routine. I now have an additional goal, which is to reach my idea weight (I have 20 pounds to go!). 

I want to run this race of life well so that when I meet God face to face, I will hear from Him, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)  I want to accomplish the purpose for which God made me. What about you?

4. When will you start running? When will you do what God has called you to do? It’s time! Even though I knew I needed to eat healthy, drink water, and exercise regularly, I had so many excuses for why I didn’t. My extra weight was “baby fat.” Our daughter Leah is 20 years old now, so that was no longer an excuse!

I was “too tired” to exercise. Now that I eat healthy, drink water, and exercise, I have much more energy!

What hindrances or obstacles are keeping you from your purpose and calling? For years, I was too scared to speak in front of people. God had to drag me into it, and now I LOVE it, especially speaking at live events (if you are an event planner or know someone who needs a speaker, contact me here!). 

I didn’t know how to do webinars or to create videos, but I learned. Maybe it’s time for you to do them, too. (I’m very tech challenged, so if I can learn, you can!)

I had never written a book before, but that didn’t stop me. I’ve now written eight books and am writing three more. The one I’m working on now is my first fiction book. Maybe God has told you to write a book, too. Now is the time; this is the year!

What are your excuses? What hindrances or obstacles are in the way of your personal and business success? As Nike says, just do it!

5. Why are you running – from God, from relationships, from problems, from yourself, from your calling and purpose? Identify the root issue. Most likely, it’s fear. Fears keep you and me in a prison and from fulfilling our purpose. God doesn’t want you afraid but to “be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:9)

Perfectionism will trip you up. Sometimes it’s a self-worth issue. Or you may be trying to compete with others, comparing yourself with others and feeling jealous, envious, and “less than.” God doesn’t want you to feel this way. He made you unique, wonderfully and fearfully. (Psalm 139:14)

When I started walking/jogging in January this year, my reason was for fitness/health. A side (wonderful) benefit was losing weight.

Now I’ve set a new goal, to lose 20 more pounds to reach my ideal weight, and to walk/jog at least one 5K this year.

It’s important to have dreams and goals in your life and to achieve them. My motto is, “Dream big because we serve a big God.” More than anything, my desire is to do God’s will. 

British athelete/runner Eric Liddell said in the movie Chariots of Fire, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.”

That’s why I want to run in this race of life, too–to feel God’s pleasure. To glorify Jesus Christ. Are you feeling God’s pleasure in what you’re doing right now? You can start today.

6. How are you running? Are you a tortoise or a hare? Are you running slow, lagging behind God–procrastinating, putting things off, blaming, being a perfectionist? Procrastination and perfectionism will trip you up and will keep you from fulfilling your purpose.

Or maybe like me, you’re like a racehorse, rarin’ to get out of the starting gate. You were BORN TO RUN FAST, like Secretariat the race horse. You are serious about the calling of God on your life and you know you have no time to waste. But sometimes, you run out ahead of God! 

Maybe you’re busy, busy, busy. You stay busy, trying to fill up that empty hole inside of you.  But staying busy doesn’t always mean being productive. Jesus said apart from Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5)

We have to make sure that we’re in sync with God, flowing in rhythm with His heartbeat, as my friend Doreen Penner says.

When you first start walking or running, you have to pace yourself, not going too slow or too fast. You have to listen to your body. It will give you signals. 

God does this, too. He speaks to you in His still, small voice. In prayer. Through His eternal word. From a spouse, child, or friend. 

Little nudges and whispers. Dreams. Signs. Confirmations. Learn to listen carefully and obey God’s still, small voice and you’ll experience His blessings.

7. Finally, to walk and run, you need the right equipment. When I first started walking this year, I started out just with what I already had: t-shirts, yoga pants, and my aerobic shoes that I’d bought for walking and for our daughter Heather’s Zumba class.

My goal is to buy some really good running shoes to walk/jog at least one 5K this year. A good pair starts at about $75 and up. The best stores help you with fitting, including watching you walk/jog.

I did buy some walking/running clothes earlier this year–a black, short sleeved walking shirt and some black running pants that are a little “stretchy” and very comfortable (both light weight, so I won’t get too hot). Changing into this outfit and my walking/running shoes gets me into the “mindset” of discipline for walking/jogging.

You don’t want to be uncomfortable while walking/running, and I highly recommend getting some good walking/running shoes. You can’t walk or run in boots or stilettos!

What “equipment” do you need to fulfill God’s calling and purpose for your life? Maybe you want to be a paid speaker. Try Toastmaster’s or other professional training. You might get coaching to learn how to write a book. (I offer coaching for beginner speakers, writers, and entrepreneurs.) Getting a college degree may help you advance in your field of study. If you aren’t sure about college, dip your little toe in the water and just enroll in one class. Attend webinars and telecalls. Continually read good books. I believe we are to be life-long learners. This will help you to become “equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17)

God has unique shoes Divinely-designed just for you!  Just as no one else’s foot could fit in
Cinderella’s slipper, no one else can walk in your unique purpose

Today, let’s celebrate National Running Day together. Use the hashtag #nationalrunningday on Twitter and social media. Get out there and walk, jog or run. (Or if you don’t enjoy that, swim, ride a bike, skate, dance, or do an exercise video).

You can download an app to track your miles to contribute to the charity you want. There’s resources and deals at the website, National Running Day

Let’s also run this race of life well, reaching for the high prize of Jesus Christ. No more holding back. God and I are cheering you onto the finish line. You can do it! 

I created a video blog (called a vlog) covering the same tips in this blog post with my web cam today. You can view it by clicking here

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Heather’s 5K Glow Run: Run the race God has called you to

Heather’s 5K Glow Run: Run the race God has called you to
Heather Denney with her cute stars face paint at the Kansas City Glow Run 5K
Heather Denney with her cute stars face paint at KC Glow Run 5K

Our beautiful daughter Heather loves running. She really enjoys the accomplishment of running a 5K.

This weekend she did another one, the Kansas City Glow Run.* She had 17 people join her team ~ even a few random people she didn’t know, who signed up to be on her team!

The way to tell if you are a leader is if you have followers. Are you leading others?

Heather & team members
Heather & team members at KC Glow Run

Heather and her friends came up with the silly name, Running With Scissors, for their team name. I’m really not sure how they came up with this!

Their team members wore neon-colored clothes and tutus for fun.  You can see the plastic scissors necklace Heather was wearing in this pic below with her friend Tiffany Deboe.

Heather Denney & Tiffany Deboe
Heather Denney & Tiffany Deboe

To Heather’s chagrin, it began raining before the 5K. She was dressed in a pink tank top and shorts, so she got cold.

But there was an amazing double rainbow. God’s promises are yes and amen. (2 Corinthians 1: 20) I also remembered God’s double portion anointing on Elisha when I saw this pic. (2 Kings 2: 9-12)

Double rainbow before KC Glow Run 5K
Double rainbow before KC Glow Run 5K

Originally, Heather intended to walk with Matt and her friends, but decided she needed to just run. And she did, finishing the race in good time.

She said things didn’t happen as she planned.

I felt this was prophetic for Heather and a powerful message for all of us as Christians.

Things in our lives may not happen as we plan, but will be as God plans. And they are God’s plans for good. (Jeremiah 29: 11)

Each one of us needs to run the race God has prepared for us, not allowing anyone or anything to hinder us or distract us from His purpose and calling for us. We need to press on toward the goal to win the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14, ASV).

Everyone on Heather’s team finished the 5K, including those who hadn’t ever walked a 5K before! Whoo hoo! I’m so proud of her and all of them!

Below is a pic of Heather and Matt before the 5K began. Isn’t Heather adorable in her neon clothing and tutu? LOL.  She bought some cool, neon-colored, Nike shoes for the race, too.  Luv her Nike’s!

Heather & friend Matt
Heather & friend Matt

Everyone who participated in the run received a glow in the dark finisher’s medal. Below are Matt and Heather with their medal. One day we as believers will receive our reward from God. (Matthew 16:27, Colossians 3: 23-24, 1 Peter 5:4)

Matt & Heather
Matt & Heather

There was also an “after party” outside after the 5K – a glow party with thousands of glowing runners and walkers dancing the night away. I can’t wait for the “after party” with Jesus! What about you? 🙂 (Revelation 19: 7-9)

Glow Run 5K After Party
Glow Run 5K After Party

Here I am with Heather, the next day, when she, Leah, and I ate Chinese lunch together. She wore her Glow Run 5K shirt and still had on her face paint. 🙂 I was wearing a cute summer dress that I found on sale for just $5 at Walmart when I was shopping for saline solution and other household items. Love deals like that!

Me & Heather after Chinese lunch
Me & Heather after Chinese lunch

*The Glow Run’s charity partner was the Love Fund For Children, which works to ensure children in KC and surrounding areas have necessities for growing, learning, and living.

 

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