A New Chapter

As many of you know, I experienced an incredible miracle on November 3,2019. After not being able to speak without the assistance of a voice amplifier and being on a feeding tube for several years, I experienced healing at a Prayer & Healing Encounter. I have not had to use my feeding tube or voice amplifier since that night. God is good!

I have shared before, that I used to be a long distance runner before getting sick again in 2009. I ran my last official race in March 2009. I literally have not run since that day. I have always had a desire to run again. I even buy new running shoes once a year, in anticipation of running again. Yesterday, I officially signed up for my first race in ten years. On March 21, 2020, I will be running a 5k. I guess I better buy those gold running shoes and start training. See you at the finish line. ~OC

My Prayers and Thoughts

Good morning! So as I sit in this hospital room, here are some of my prayers and thoughts.

I pray my beautiful bride is resting and wakes up feeling great.

I pray that some dear family and friends who are sick, will experience complete healing.

I pray for all the Caregivers taking care of a loved one.

I pray The Holy Spirit will take over South Florida. Revival come!

I pray I will be the best husband, friend and disciple of Jesus that I can be through Him.

I pray for everyone in the military and all First Responders. And their families.

I pray for peace.

I pray for all the leaders. I pray their hearts and minds would be changed by God.

I pray for the victims of human trafficking. I pray they will be rescued and their lives will be completely restored. I pray for all the organizations fighting this horrible crime. I pray their needs will be met. Most importantly, I pray their hearts and motives are pure.

I pray for all churches, pastors, missionaries and ministries. May they truly be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I pray God will allow me to do more for everyone I come in contact with during the day.

I pray for all the patients, nurses, doctors and staff at Good Sam. Give each the strength they need today.

I pray for our schools, students, teachers, staff and administrators. I pray God would bless and protect each.

I pray I will not get in the way of what God wants to do in my life.

Here are some of the thoughts going through my crazy beautiful mind this morning:

What races will I run in 2020, if God allows me to run again? It has been almost 11 years since I last ran.

If God blesses me with the ability to run again, that means I could return to the workforce. Where would I work? Who would hire a 50 something guy who has not worked in almost 11 years, but has an incredible crazy beautiful story? Would I go on the speaking circuit? Would I look at working at a church or ministry of some kind? Would I work at a school or university? Would I be a Greeter at Walmart?

Yes, those are some of the crazy thoughts that go through my mind a lot of morning’s. I just want to be ready for whatever God has prepared for me. Even if that means never running another race or never being able to return to work, I will be obedient and thankful.

Have a wonderful and blessed day. ~OC

Thriving

I often hear people say how sorry they are for me. I know they mean well. Heck, if my crazy beautiful journey belonged to someone else I might feel sorry for them. But that is because people are looking at my journey from the outside. If you take a closer look, this journey really is beautiful. This journey has brought me great insight to what is important in life. Let me say this, I was very happy before this health journey started. But this almost 18 year health journey has been more than just living. More than just surviving. It has been about thriving. Choosing to thrive after every bad medical report. Choosing to to thrive after every setback. Choosing to embrace every breath. Choosing to embrace and overcome the pain. Choosing to embrace every lesson learned. You see,I am not just surviving this crazy beautiful journey. I am finally getting life right. I’m thriving. ~OC

The Blessed Overcomer Meets The Tech Guy

Good morning! I had the honor of being on my friend Marvin Bee’s podcast last night. Marvin and I attended college together at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Thanks for having me Marvin. ~OC

***During the podcast I mistakenly said I completed my first marathon 4 months after surgery. I meant to say I started running 4 months after surgery. I actually completed my first marathon a year after open heart surgery. Sorry for any confusion.

http://podnutz.com/ppro235/

Running With Endurance

As some of you know, I am a former long distance runner. I would still be running today, if not for my failing health. I still miss running and competing in marathons.

We marathon runners are a rare breed. That’s putting it mildly. Not many people wake up before dawn to go run 26.2 miles. People often joke with me that they get tired just driving 26.2 miles. I used to run multiple marathons a week. Yes, you read that correctly. I just loved running. Did you know that only half of one percent of the population in the United States has completed a full marathon.

Can we be honest? Completing a full marathon is hard. There is the training. The diet. The miles. The cost. The time and effort. For what? A t-shirt and a finishers medal. The t-shirts and medals are great, but there is more to running marathons than all the things I listed above. But I really did love the medals.

So, it is not surprising that not many people actually complete a full marathon. It takes a lot of effort and commitment.

As Christians, we are running a race that requires proper training if we want to finish well. It takes a commitment. It takes some work. It’s not always pretty. Here are just a few tips for running this race called life.

Prayer and God’s Word. Marathon runners do not head to Krispy Kreme or a buffet before a race. No, we full up on food that will give us the proper energy needed to cross the finish line. We also stay properly hydrated.

God’s word is our fuel. It fills us up. The Word prepares us for the long race ahead. God’s word draws us closer to Him. The Word helps us stay on course. God’s word and prayer strengthens us when we fill like saying No Mas. The scriptures and being in prayer sustains us for the journey.

Watch Your Pace. Every runner has their own pace. Some runners are just naturally gifted as runners. They have perfect stride and can cover more miles at a quicker pace. That was not me. I definitely did not have perfect stride. Thank goodness God blessed me with the ability to run for hours.

As a runner, I had to be realistic about my finishing time. I definitely was never going to be an elite runner. But that did not stop me from training and striving to be an elite runner.

In life, we will be tempted to run someone else’s pace. Their pace is so much better than ours we tell ourselves. Look at their stride. If only I could run like that we tell ourselves. But God did not design us to run someone else’s pace. We were not created to run someone else’s race. God designed a beautiful race just for you and me. Maybe it’s not at the pace we want, but it is the perfect pace for us

Never Stop Training. I was not your average runner. I never took a day off from running. Probably not recommended by the experts, but it worked for me. I believe God knew my running days would be short, so He gave me the extra energy to run everyday. Oh the memories. Wait a second, get back on track OC.

I did not wake up one morning and run a marathon. No, I trained and worked my way up to completing 26.2 miles. As my endurance increased so did my miles.

I love what James says in James 1:2-3, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

Just as a runner needs to train for a marathon, we have to continue exercising and developing our spiritual muscles. During this marathon called life, we will face many obstacles and trials. Something or someone will try to knock us off course. Our spiritual training will help us overcome those trials. Can I get a amen?

I love 1 Corinthians 9:24, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

Thankfully when this marathon called life weighs us down, God is there to shower us with His amazing love, patience, understanding, grace and mercy.

Maintain Your Vision. Finish Strong. During my running days, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish. I had my eyes on the prize. Having goals helped me to keep running towards the finish line. To finish strong.

Knowing that our hope is in God, encourages us to keep running forward even when life gets hard. God has given us everything we need to run the race. To strive for the prize. To finish strong.

I love Philippians 3:14, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

We all have a race to run. I pray these tips help you to run the race God designed specifically for you. ~OC

Purpose In The Suffering

Who wants to go through life without any pain or suffering? I think most of us would sign up for that life. Nobody wants to suffer or see a loved one suffer. Unfortunately, as long as we have breath in our lungs we are going to deal with some type of suffering. Thanks for that reminder Todd. Sorry. Just sharing some real truth. Since suffering is part of life, can we find purpose in the suffering?

I do not believe our suffering is random. I believe every storm we face in life has purpose. Sometimes that purpose takes time to reveal itself. But as a Christian, it brings me comfort that even Jesus suffered. He suffered for us. The purpose behind Jesus suffering was to take our sins. Think about that for a moment. Jesus came to earth knowing His purpose was to die for our sins. That wrecks me every time I take the time to truly reflect on that ultimate sacrifice.

At the beginning of my crazy beautiful health journey almost 18 years ago, I did not see the purpose for my pain. All I saw and felt was the pain. The uncertainty. I definitely did not see any purpose. How could God take my pain and turn it into a crazy beautiful journey? I was about to find out.

As some of you know,  I spend a lot of time at medical appointments and plenty of time in the hospital. When my crazy beautiful health journey started almost eighteen years ago, those appointments and hospital stays were an annoyance. I definitely did not see the purpose early on. But as I started talking with fellow patients and listening to their stories, I began to see the purpose behind all those appointments. When people are scared and dealing with a life changing diagnosis, they just want to talk with someone who can relate to their story. Enter Todd “OC” Shoemaker. I know a little about dealing with life changing diagnosis. I do not say that to put the spotlight on me. Believe me, I never wanted to be in this position. I was happy with my life before I started walking this health journey. But here I am almost eighteen years later and I would not change a thing. It has been my honor to walk beside countless individuals as they started their own crazy beautiful health journey. Some were already friends before they started their journey, but so many strangers have become friends during the journey. I have rejoiced with friends as they celebrated a positive report from their doctor. I have held the hands of many as they faced the end of their journey.

I continue to be overwhelmed that God has allowed me to walk this journey for almost eighteen years and counting. I am humbled that God gave me purpose in my crazy beautiful journey. I am thankful that I listened to God and decided to embrace the purpose for my pain.

I do not know what pain you are dealing with today. Maybe the storm you are facing seems overwhelming. You wonder how there could be any purpose in your current circumstances. I get it. I have been right where your standing. Confused. Angry. Overwhelmed. Lost.  I have walked through everyone of those emotions. But please believe me, there is purpose in the pain. It might take time to find it, but if you will hold on and seek God’s direction you will find the purpose for your suffering. And when you find that purpose, life will never be the same. I promise. ~OC

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