God is not done with you yet

“All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised” – Hebrews 11:39

My soul has been stirring, it’s been restless in the moments that when I finally sit and respond to the swirling thoughts and emotions that seem to be my friend these last few weeks I am overwhelmed. I have learned in the few years that I have been writing this blog that when God is being persistent and pursuing me, in ways that keep pointing to writing, he is asking me to be obedient and I am disobeying the more I put it off. Someone reminded me last night, ” sometimes in our disobedience, God decides to change his plan and use someone else…”

I have been dragging my feet on this topic because it stills evokes so much deep sorrow, that gets laced with joy. The joy, it honestly can really upset me more then the sorrow, I want the right to be sad, mourn the unexpected, but God loves to promise “wipe away every tear”.

March 15, 2016 will mark the one year anniversary of Ken Teune’s death. There are times his absence is felt in such deep areas of the soul that you wonder how Faith still remains. Then there are days that it seems unreal, that he still isn’t gone, maybe it’s because the ripples of his kingdom work are consistent, or maybe it’s the subconscious trying to protect those tender moments that will only happen in memories now, no longer to be lived out with him.  Here is a card Ezzy wrote him shortly after he passed.

One of the most precious experiences I had shortly after his death was talking with another grieving soul. I was then told how a handful of us had received phone calls from Ken in the last week of his life here on earth. The commonality didn’t come in the fact we received the call, Ken spent a lot of time on the phone thanks to his many hats, it came in the form of the fact we ALL felt an urgency to answer his call. We all even in a brief moment, almost let it go to voice mail due to our busy schedules at the time, yet we all answered it, something drove us to push aside the current troubles and sit and talk…

I am going to be forever grateful for that Saturday afternoon chat. Standing in my room with the door closed in attempt to quiet my family’s noise. He requested prayer, he was nervous, maybe nervous isn’t a good word…he was all to aware of the real battlefield he was going into. I remember he sounded tired, his back had been bothering him, but he was ever determined to go and stand with other brothers and sisters for a cause dear to his heart.

One of the things he loved to tell me in the rare raw moments of standing or sitting across from him with warm hot tears gracing my face thanks to the weight of my current trial at the time was ” Sarah, God is not done with you yet”.
 Oh, that simple phrase could make me so upset at times, I wanted him to say “yeah, this is crappy, you have every right to be mad” yet he was always quick to bring me back to why God had called me to the battlefield. Ken had a great gift to be able to have long range view, he kept his eyes on the champion.

I had a few people come to me after he passed and either read his blog or attended his celebration of life. I was given testimonies of reconciliation or healing that came out of the tragedy of loosing him. The stark reality that he was gone and that today was all they had, no promise of tomorrow, ignited them to lean into the difficult.

When I look back on this last year without him, I still see people trying to navigate in the pain of loosing their friend, I see some have found healing and have moved on, I see some at times afraid to mention his name. Can I say one thing, don’t be afraid to say something, I believe his legacy is meant to be carried by us all. Even if our encounters weren’t at a soul shattering level, if you crossed paths with him, he impacted you. Don’t be afraid to talk about him, share memories, write a letter to his wife, daughter and son, telling them the impact he had on you.

His passing has made me step in or just lean lightly into hard things. If I was honest, he was a crutch for me at times. When I was in a hard spot, it was so much easier to go to him and talk it out rather then wait on the Lord to speak. I haven’t found a mentor with that responsibility, but I really believe I am not suppose to. This year of having to seek, wait, and know I have heard the sovereign Lord give direction is exactly where Ken wanted me. He stayed close by because the big stuff I was facing could have wounded me, leaving me with a heart unwilling to let grace and mercy in. In this year, crazy as it seems I have learned what a Good Father HE is, even if he took my friend/mentor/running coach/elder/brother in Christ/father figure.

When I think about the changes that have taken place on the worship team, something he was just as passionate about as me, I KNOW he would be rejoicing here with us. A group of people United in stepping up to the battlefield and choose to armor up joyfully is what he wanted. A team that saw one another as brothers and sisters was what he knew needed to happen if we were to make waves here on earth. Yes, there are times when certain songs are played that his signature bass line is missed and felt by those of us who played with him each week. Loosing Ken called forth a desire and necessity within our team to practice what we asked people to proclaim each service. Heaven has become tangible…what a gift to keep running the race set before us.

His celebration of life reflected who he was. It was packed, the church building he had served and helped many years before being asked to help plant a church on the south side of the island, held many grieving and yes rejoicing souls. Some heard the salvation message for the first time, might have been taken aback at the worship service that took place, but Ken was unashamed of his Heavenly Father, his citizenship to a home built on streets of Gold, with pearly gates was evident.

It makes my heart heavy that the memories are fading, it is inevitable, I realize, but the fear that his legacy is fading is driving me here, today as I write this. I have been blessed at times a conversation we had will hit me out of nowhere, when I am driving in the side ways rain and a song lyric brings it fresh to mind that it feels as thought it was yesterday.

There has been so much affirmation of his faith, his spiritual heritage as I have watched his family still serve, stay close to God through it all. It challenges me to the core, makes me question if I would be able to say “God you are enough”. His legacy is being carried through them, it’s beautiful, it’s in those moments that you see if God is asking you to walk through something he won’t leave you on your own, he stays with you, even carrying you if you need it.

If I were to go back to that little phrase that could at times get under my skin…”God isn’t done with you yet”, I am brought back to his promise “and I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” – Philippians 1:6.

Some of you are struggling with this truth, you might feel as though your time is done, you have no value on earth, some might be in complete denial that you too are a citizen of heaven, just a foreigner on earth. You are a prized possession of our Abba Father. If you were to have one more chance to talk to Ken, what would you have said? I think about this a lot, knowing the spectrum was always big, but always found its resting place, safely back into the fact that we have been called to “eagerly await Christ’s return”.

As we being to enter another year without our brother who HAS claimed his inheritance, who is resting in the garden of Eden, who is worshipping in the throne room that has flashes of lightening, who is sitting with the heroes of Faith, growing in the realization his faith has still room to grow, and who is there, watching and waiting for YOU to join him…how would you live your day? God isn’t done with him, Ken is living out his eternity, earth was just a few small chapters of his life, really. Just as that verse says in Hebrews, we won’t receive all that is promised until we stand face to face with our maker. Friend, I can call you friend, because if you are reading this we share something close to our hearts…so friend can you say this now “(your name) God is not done with me yet”

Can I encourage you to do something? I think it would be amazing to honor him, to keep that legacy alive and well. Will you take a moment to write a letter to his family, a memory, something, anything, send a picture if you have one. I will gladly gather them, I won’t open or read them. Just send them labeled this way and I will deliver them to his family hopefully in time for his one year anniversary of his passing.
Sarah Harney 

c/o Ken Teune

3827 Alaska Ave

Ketchikan, Alaska 99901

What are you training for next?

It’s been almost a month since I ran the Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon in Phoenix. Since returning from AZ, I have been trying my hardest to get back into the swing of things with very little success. To be honest, the trip flew by and I think that I fought a little of a funk coming back to dreary Ketchikan…

Our very first morning we woke to the sun shinning on our faces. Normally I would have been more then annoyed to be woken up early on my vacation. Yet I found myself almost hop out of bed and head to the shower to start my first day back in the place of the eternal sun. Cayden and I had stayed up way too late the night before. Hard to avoid when you arrive at 10:30 at night. We had family to hug, stories to tell, energy to expel after spending our entire day in the seatac airport.  

  We explored every inch of the airport during our 7 hour lay over. After a few hours of sinking in happened to the little man, I finally heard his heart.   

We had the biggest surprise planned for him. Kept it for months from him and successfully pulled it off. He found out the moment I was getting ready to board the ferry that an invite to join me was on the table. At first he just stood there, tears starting to form and a scowl on his face. Not the reaction we had hoped for. I later found out that he thought we were playing on his weakness. His little piggy bank has been claimed to hold the money it will take to one day buy a ticket to his birth place. He truly believed we were being mean and pulling his leg, knowing he would go in a heart beat. When he realized it was true, he was then crushed because he didn’t see a bag packed for him. Apparently the two big suitcases I had didn’t seem out of the norm. I found in the hours that went by that his gratitude could not be contained and he didn’t let much time pass throughout our day without saying thank you.

We started the first part of our trip at the phoenix zoo, walking in shorts and sunglasses. Every now and then I would get the scent of one of the indigenous plants and would immediately feel like I was home. 

  The next surprise entailed taking Cayden to the Nike store. My cousin is an employee there and we took him shopping!!! The kid had so much fun there, I loved watching him feel like the center of the world, something the oldest of 4 rarely feels, especially when you have a “sick” child. We ended our day having dinner with his Godfather Jonny and his family. Cayden loved on his son, Joe Jack and it was decided yet again, that our families need to live by one another soon! 

I was a ball of nerves the night before the 1/2 marathon race. I knew that how I trained for this race was going to impact my outcome. I was hesitant to sign up, knowing that I was going to be logging all my miles on a tredmill, something I had never done before. All my other 1/2s have been in the late spring and summer, allowing for outdoor miles to be my main option. I somehow found my rhythm during my training. I found that my body actually longed for the early morning runs, pounding out miles, and listening to music and surprising myself with the miles I achieved in what seemed like a short time. I never had felt stronger, I had found a balance in caloric intake too and could tell I was refueling the right way. 

  I laid out my gear the night before the race, with a happy heart seeing all the items that were given to me as I run for my daughter. Shoe tags, personalized clothing, water bottle, all given to me by friends who know why I run. I asked my aunt to say an extra prayer for me and re-read the messages some friends had sent me to assure me that I had it in me to run the race strong and well.
We woke in darkness, the 3 of us running the 1/2 were wide eyed and unable to stand in place. Our poor support group was still wiping crusties from their eyes and wrapped up in blankets and stumbled their way to the car. I will admit, we showed up a tad early, not really knowing how bad traffic would be. But we laughed and talked and watched all the other early runners in their costumes or lack of clothing! Mind you I was FREEZING. The desert is cold in the winter during the night and early morning hours. I was so grateful I had my northface fleece. When the time came, my aunt and I searched out the prayer group that was offered to the runners. It was just what my heart needed. The person leading the prayer reminded us there were people running, who had big trials and burdens heavy on their hearts. To not be afraid to reach out and help them, to remember that we don’t know their stories and they might need our help. Thank you Team 413. 

  Anyone of my fellow 1/2 marathon runners, check out their site and see if they are at one of your upcoming races! http://www.Team413.org

The moment came and we were soon smashed together with all the other 18,000 runners. The endorphins were flowing and I hugged my aunt and friend and thanked them for joining my cause and running for a little girl who doesn’t yet know the commitment it takes to train and compete in a 1/2. After looking through photos of the race I found one in competitors magazine of us at the startline, you get bonus points if you can find us! 

My aunt had told me the day before that the race was taking donations for the homeless population. Anything a runner decided to strip off, would be donated to a shelter. I had no problem shedding my running shirt knowing it was going to a good cause. 

The first few miles I focused on my breathing, my stride, I paid close attention to how I was feeling as I watched each mile pass. I was steady, the most steady I have ever been on a race. I didn’t fly off the start line like I have in the past and found that my splits were either spot on or just a few seconds different.

I had something on my heart that I knew I was going to be going to God on. I have approached each race with something to go to God with. Knowing he will have my full attention for 2 hours, makes these races more special. My first two races I needed to hear him speak in regards to Ezzy, especially when she was in the hospital unexpectedly for the 2nd race. The 3rd one I needed to hear him speak on my mentor’s death. This race I needed to hear him speak to what I am suppose to be training for next. Spiritually and physically. 

After every race, Ken, my mentor, would come to me and ask “what are you training for next?”. He believed that a runner without a plan would not stay in optimum health and shape. So he was always encouraging me to set goals, even if they were a few months away or far down the road, to have goals. I asked God to set my play list on pandora. Knowing that he has done this many times during long runs when my heart was heavy with burdens.

I soon started to quiet my heart, I had laid out what was on it and handed it over to God, trusting He would meet me on the desert road…

Songs came and went. Soon as I began to strip off every distracting thought and emotion I was pulled into the lyrics of the songs. He was guiding my heart.

The heat was a little intense and I had quickly regretted not training with a fuel belt. I found myself in need of veering to the side every 2 miles to grab a sip on the run. I was frustrated at the lack of planning on my part, but wouldn’t allow pride to stop me from refueling my body that was in need of hydration. Towards the end of mile 8, I saw the big hill coming up, I was feeling a little shaky and not clear headed. I caught a glimpse of the the refueling option they were handing out. I cringed and told myself I was not going to drink the glyukos shot. Then as if I didn’t have control of my body, I found myself veering to the side again and sipping the stuff I was certain would make me puke. Apparently my subconscious knew how badly I needed the sugar and it literally tasted like heaven! My speed began to pick back up to my normal pace and before I knew it I was at mile 11. I saw one last water station and decided, why not? I had stopped at all the other ones, either drinking or dumping water on my head. I soon found out after a quick sip that I had been handed warm freaking beer…

I was SO mad and told my stomach to calm down and hold it together. 

When I crossed the finish line I knew exactly what I was training for next. I had a smile from ear to ear and felt so much peace. I have never ran feeling like I was carried the whole way. This race, this day, it felt as though my feet never touched the ground. I was carried the whole way.
The song that spoke to my heart the most said “beautiful life, inside, living, moving, breathing. So let hope arise. God knew what He was doing when He gave beautiful, beautiful life” 

I didn’t know that when I signed up for the race I was going to find myself pregnant a few weeks before race day. I was still nursing Ya’el and felt like crap after each session, unaware two souls were fighting for nourishment from me on top of my training schedule. I quietly went to God over my fears and wondered if I should pull myself from the race. 
After seeing beautiful life, moving, living inside of me at the ultrasound and the doctor’s go ahead, I boarded the plane nervous to run a 1/2 marathon.
I had to go back to why I was running, it wasn’t for the Personal record that I had slaved to train for and achieved, just to find my time start to increase and no strength to fight the fatigue. Then as the sickness set in, I wondered if I was going to be able to handle it. I remembered how Ken told me and encouraged me to keep running during my pregnancy with Ya’el, reminding me that his partner in the T2T 1/2 marathon was 5 months pregnant. He helped me realize I didn’t have to give up my running when carrying life.

I held back on race day, gave myself a new time goal and told myself I would take it easy. Crossing the finish line knowing, feeling, and believing that God carried two souls across the finish line was all that I needed in the mass of people who had other feelings of accomplishment pulsing through their veins.

“what am I training for next?” I am training for the race that God has called me to run. I have found myself, yet again, a blessed recipient of beautiful life growing inside me. From the moment we found out about this baby, we have had so much PEACE. It does add more to our plates, especially as we have made plans and now need to readjust them. I am being humbled yet again, how the most important call in my life is being a mother. All the other stuff has to come after God and my family. He is asking me to put them in the forefront right now.

I spend my days tired and sick, no desire or will power to go and pound out miles in the early morning, zofran helps, but has annoying side effects. My overachieving womb is all to happy to show there is life growing and I can no longer hide it. I have even been approached and asked if I was pregnant, since my shape is yet again changing…at least I can take it as a compliment in a twisted way. Say hello to stretched abdomen muscles that have grown life 4 times…  

A fall down the stairs made for a very interesting night as I found myself already becoming clumsy. Thankfully the doctor checked me the next day and I saw the most precious little heart beating, with its chambers working hard at keeping life protected in my womb. Even though I have been labeled high risk due to my age, CF factor, # of births and pregnancies, I have found comfort in getting to see this little life change from a worm looking form to now arms legs and a profile with each ultrasound I have had! The night I fell, I spoke to God in the dead of night, I placed my hand on my belly and asked for his protection over the little soul that has already my unconditional love. Within seconds, the answer came in the form of the first time I felt beautiful life, inside, moving…praise God, who knows just what we need and meets us in ways we know it is Him answering our hearts cry.

The kids were for the most part excited when finding out they had to make room for another , one child expressed their true feelings, I shouldn’t have been surprised. As we tucked them into bed after telling them the secret, they all thanked God for the new baby and Cayden said “God, thank you for trusting me with another sibling, for thinking I am ready for a baby, even if I don’t think I am”. My belly was kissed that night and a tiny soul they never met was tethered to their hearts. 

In all this new change coming to the Harney family, we are looking forward to what God has in store for us. Knowing that He has and will equip us for the journey and that we have been growing and stretching our faith, to a point that endurance and perseverance will keep our eyes on Him as we look to Him even more as this year unfolds. As my aunt said, this baby has a story to tell, why else were there two souls crossing the finish line that day? We are excited to share this news with you all and appreciate prayers of health and strength for myself and baby #5

So Ken, I am training for my next adventure in motherhood. I already pictured in my mind telling you about this baby, remembering your reaction with Ya’el. I found comfort in telling your wife, knowing that I was going to get the same reaction. Most of all I know that in the moments that I might allow fear to creep in, you would have been quick to remind me that every life God has given our family has a purpose. You would have pointed out how much Ezzy has called me to a deeper faith, how being a mother is a massive ministry, how important it is to raise Kingdom kids, just like you and your wife successfully did. I wish we could have gotten that reality TV show of our family going for you, even more so now as life is beginning to get crazy around here.