Posted on December 10, 2015
The battle of reflection is won in Jesus.
My daughters are obsessed with the bathroom mirror, especially when the clock is racing at opposite ends of the day. Apparently, that appears to be the perfect time to substitute a toothbrush for a microphone, and a step-stool for a stage.
If you need a little bit of sunshine to belly laugh your way through the morning routine, try creeping up on your kid while they’re in the middle of a ballad. … Better yet, try catching a bit on film …
“MOM!!!” my daughter screamed as she fell off of the stool wide-eyed and landed in a panic half-way across the bathroom.
My legs buckled in laughter, and mind flooded with reflections of my own lip sync grandeur.
“Oh-my-goodness!” I replied. “Are you OK?”
“Mom,” she whinnied, red-faced, “erase that video right now.”
Their obsession with the mirror has resulted in a lot of early morning laps run around the yard (their punishment for breaking a house rule) from territorial struggles over air-time on the bathroom stage. It’s going to make them late for school one day … I just hope it doesn’t distract them from pursuing their purpose.
Mirrors resemble bullets shot, and childhood wounds turned scars … collaborating in the dusty corners of my mind.
“Look at her elbows!” Before I was laughed out of cheer-leading tryouts at my Catholic grade school, I didn’t even realize my elbows hyper-extended.
“You’re fat.” Every woman faces it, mocked or not, and the age at which we risk becoming slave to it gets younger and younger…
“You’re flat!” And with that, this small-chested girl’s self-esteem took a defeating nose dive. I was twelve.
Thankfully, Jesus grabbed my heart at an early age, and turned me into a product of prayer enabled to overcome the pain of reflection with laughter and silliness. Jesus gave me a crash course in His creative vision for my reflection.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
The scars slowly became sentiments I learned to disregard, rather than lose precious minutes to a mirror haunted by comparison. Exercising a heart of encouragement, I stick motivational quotes, pictures, stickers, and necklaces my daughters have made in the spaces that surround my reflection. A recent discovery illuminated the humor within my inspirations to distract me from a self-destructing glance.
I believe with all of my heart that God gifted us sarcasm because He has mastered it, possessing a gut breaking sense of humor.
When my daughter gave me a pat on the belly (after I’d just been training for a marathon) and told me it looked like I had another baby in there, I purposefully pushed back the lump in my throat and responded by making my belly talk in a high pitched voice until we were all rolling on the ground laughing.
A powerful rendering I can gift my daughters is the vagueness of reflection. To have them grow up without purposefully picking a part their appearance would answer a ginormous prayer. I’m raising them to be active beings and healthy eaters … and to love dessert.
I try not to let my weight control my reflection, by leaving it out of conversation. I don’t own a scale, but I’m aware of how my pants fit … that’s enough. I’m a runner because it’s a passion God lent to me…but it’s not driven by the result of how it affects my physical appearance.
Why… and HOW? No, I’m not superhuman. But I know someone who is.
I give it up, and I lift it up everyday in prayer…and God is faithful.
In down times when injury halts my strides, the challenge to embrace the obvious scoop of Ben and Jerry’s Late Night Dough that overflows from the top of my skinnies heightens exponentially. But I remain faithful in prayer, and I repeat what I know to be true. It takes this girl a conscious effort to embrace the reflection. To be able to balance taking care of the body God gave me less becoming so obsessed with the bullets whirring past the echoes of my mind’s ears.
The hope I ascertain for my daughters is that the mirror won’t represent suffering and wasted minutes drowned in vanity …hours lost in worthless lament … days forgone in self-torture projected by another soul’s insecurities. I pray they quarantine the precious minutes of life to achieve God’s purpose- and laugh…
“You need to be reminded of the power of imagination,” graced the words of Steven Furtick a midst my morning inbox devotions. “Your imagination is the incubation place for every great thing you’ll ever think,” he continued.
That same morning I flipped over to First 5, and Whitney Capps had written, “Can we accept Jesus’ authority even if it doesn’t look like we though it would?”
The cycle stops with me, in hopes that my daughters’ imaginations won’t be suffocated by perceived reflection; but rather, led by the dreams they harvest there. It’s an impossible task that I am not built to achieve alone. I know that Jesus will grab my hand whether I’m running a marathon or buried in my books…and I in return will aim to honor Him and His sacrifice with every shred of my being, no matter which I’m blessed to be in midst of.
“Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:12
AND REMEMBER… “Be joyful always.” 1Thes. 5:16
Category: Christian Living, Parenting Tagged: christian, home, mirrors, motherhood, raising daughters, self-help
Posted on November 15, 2015
Evil will riddle anxious sorrow unless smacked with deep, healing love.
My daughters woke up one Saturday morning ending my journal time and proudly proclaiming a pajama day. Both in their Christmas footie jammies, they vowed to eat chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and begged to watch “White Christmas.” A touch early by some standards, but hard to say “no” to adorable little girls in Christmas footie pajamas.
“Mom,” my oldest pleaded, “can you PLEASE get the Christmas stuffed animals out?”
Yes, they have such an obscene number of stuffed animals that we pack a portion away in an attempt to make room for them to sleep on their own beds. The “Christmas” stuffed animals remain out of sight…and out of mind…for the most part. However, the longer my darling Brianne spends a part from her coveted Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the more anxiety she has about needing it immediately. Call me a Saturday morning pushover; because I made them their pancakes and headed down to the crawlspace to dig out the reindeer.
Sweating, and muscles cramping from being curled up to reach far away small spaces in search of Holiday craziness… I stopped mid-search to ponder the sad reality that Paris was waking up to that same Saturday morning.
The same agony felt by countless souls scattered around the globe blindsided by the same unfathomable realms of evil. It seems to overwhelm every place once treasured safe.
I needed Christmas cheer that Saturday morning. I needed that reindeer.
“Here it is!” I proudly proclaimed as I carried a giant red tote up the basement stairs and let it land in front of my girls.
“They’re all here!” they screeched. “Rudolph!” my Brianne sighed as she hugged her old friend.
“The Grinch!!!” her little sister gasped, as she ran up to find an appropriate outfit for her furry green buddy.
The last request filled with “White Christmas” playing in the background, my daughters snuggled up and checked out into the winter wonderland of yesteryear.
The nostalgia of Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney singing “Snow” on a train ride stirred up feelings of joy as I pictured my Grams singing in her kitchen at Christmastime. The beginning of the movie is set in wartime, with a scene of soldiers overseas.
It’s a different kind of war we’re fighting today.
It’s hard to picture what kind of scene we’ll be looking back upon generations from now. Each one worse than the next. The more unthinkable the conflict we deem unimaginable, coming to pass nonetheless.
In a world where my seven year old fears a “lock down” more than her school catching on fire.
I need a “White Christmas.”
Yes, it’s old fashioned. I’m the annoying one who could listen to Christmas carols all year long, and cannot wait to sing them at a very high volume dancing in the kitchen or on the way to school with my kids. There’s a note of hope and kindness in those songs….an unashamed proclamation of the hope that Jesus brought when he was born. Visions of Santa Claus landing on the rooftop, the Grinch stealing presents, and a boy being left home alone. I love it all. Nonsensical as some of the holiday rush can be, there is always a lesson of truth hidden within yet we dare to unwrap it.
“What if I couldn’t find my sissy,” my daughters asked me after lock down drill day, tears streaming down their faces.
I can’t find the words to describe that moment.
My oldest daughter gets “belly aches” just thinking about it. Their teachers eyes fill up with tears at the thought. It’s a gut-punch as a mother. A hopeless sense of innocence lost too soon.
I feel it, too, that ache for Jesus. For Him to come down and replace everything that evil has crushed and tried to stomp out.
I need Christmas. Yes, it’s important to give thanks in honor of our founding fathers. But maybe, in this rapidly deteriorating world, it’s most important to give thanks to the God who inspired their trip across the ocean in the first place. The one who’s very namesake appears in the name of the holiday.
The good I glean from the over-commercialism of Christmas is celebrating the gift of Christ to the world a little sooner.
More time for cheer.
More time to think of others.
More time to pack a shoe box.
More time for more people to hear about His birth.
Pass me a red cup.
If children are no longer encouraged to believe in magic, how will they ever know what God means to “have faith like a child?” (Matthew 18:3, Luke 18:17) What sorrow to think many still do not realize they can cling to Him…
Jesus IS stronger.
I’m WITH Him.
“Hearts will be harder,” stated Beth Moore in referring to the natural direction our hearts will lend to if we don’t specifically aim otherwise.
Especially after lock down drill day.
Especially after Paris.
Some days I just want to cling to my children over sending them off to school. I realize that clinging to Christ is the only way I am able to drive away after they jump out of the car…“strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10
Clinging to Jesus as the aches and sobs well up as I drive away.
Clinging to the dream my daughter and I crafted when she was two….to share a trip to Paris someday.
We’ll keep dreaming that dream…yes, we will. And though I ache for Him some days in sorrow and in fear, I have the hope that He left on the cross to cling to.
I choose to keep a death grip on love. I’m positive on purpose. I study His Word for encouragement.
He is joy.
And it can’t be stolen.
Not by another…not by terror.
Oh, Come, all ye faithful…
Happy Holidays…no wait…Merry Christmas.
Category: Christian Living, Christmas, Encouragement Tagged: christian, christmas, christmas carols, france, holdays, hope, inspirational, joy, paris, reindeer, rudolph, white christmas
Posted on September 28, 2015
When I fear there is no way and no room, God squeezes encouragement into the treasured places of my heart.
Boy do I love to shop in bulk. Less trips to the store equals fewer times that I’m required to take two children with me that think they need everything that can be given a bar code and stocked on a shelf. I cherished the last stock-up so much that I couldn’t see over my cart. At the sight of me drenched in sweat from hauling it to the front of the store, the cashier asked,
“You fit this all in one cart?”
“Yep, but I can push two out…it’s OK,” I replied, laughing.
“Oh, good,” she laughed, “I’m glad you’re not opposed to the idea.”
The sense of achievement I felt as I drifted through the aisles checking things off of my grocery list faded to black when I opened up my freezer to assess the situation.
“Blast,” I said to myself…”one more box of waffles.”
Can I just spray some pixie dust in there and toss the waffles in, and just trust it’ll all work out? That’s what Lo would do. But she’s five. And I’m not a fairy.
My eyes drifted over to the ice cube bin.
“I’ll just have to use the ice maker until we eat all of these waffles….” I self-comprised.
Life is full to the brim with these significant badges of motherhood. I’ve always been encouraged by the fact that each mother is picked specifically for the children she is tasked to raise. For this mom called to “stay home,” the struggle to remain content in God’s promise came under fire the day I dropped my last my baby girl off at all-day Kindergarten. I became restless, and started to let the door of the comparison trap creak to a close.
My daughters witness every reaction. They ask loads of questions and demand explanations. They increase in beauty and brilliance with every passing day, and my overwhelming and impossible responsibility to lead them follows suit.
“Will they value their ability to inflict change upon the world if they only see me affect these four walls we live within?”
In these moments I rush to fill my cart up to the brim in panic, and attempt to shove extra waffles in the freezer…when instead I should be reminding myself of God’s promise. The tendency to add things to my life and my schedule in absence of my focus becomes tantalizing and tempting…
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
God is a God of encouragement, and He will interrupt my meddling to nudge my heart in subtle situations. Like when my daughter grabbed a paint brush and wrote “love” on a rain barrel…
“Doesn’t that make you proud?” Came the encouragement delivered from a friend. Messaged received. I’m not failing.
Those God-sent seeds of encouragement run a variable risk of floating to the bottom of my Tervis full of ice water no mater how proficient I become at extracting them with my lemon juice squeezer thingy. But all is not lost, I end up sucking up a lemon seed up through the straw at least once every day. And as I spit it into the sink, I think,
“Why on earth don’t they make the lemon squeezy thing big enough to catch all the seeds?!”
It drives me nuts, and I’m pretty sure I’ve swallowed enough seeds to have a lemony fresh forest growing in my abdomen somewhere. My daughters are constantly spitting lemon seeds at me, but theirs are the kind that crunch between my teeth before I notice them swishing around a midst my swig of water.
“How do babies get in your belly… Why do people move… Why does it take so long to get ready for school in the morning (OK, that’s my question)… I miss kitty … Do we come back as angels after we die… It’s too hard … Mom, you know that you are the one who is in charge of losing your temper, right?”
The seeds I allow to grow into lemony freshness are determined by the truth I align them with.
Paul encouraged Timothy to ” …hold to the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced, known from whom you learned [them]” -2Timothy 3:14. Timothy learned his faith from observing his mother, Eunice…who in turn learned her faith from observing her mother, Lois. (2Timothy 1:5).
I am already doing a better job than I think.
In 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul reminds Timothy of his salvation in Jesus Christ, and the knowledge and treasures of the Word that have been stored in his heart since childhood.
God reverted my mind from spitting seeds to find room for the box of frozen waffles…in the ice cube bin.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (NIV), So that the man of God may e complete an proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” -2Timoty 3:16-17 (AMP)
It was there all along…I just didn’t see it. Seeing the space doesn’t always eliminate the frustration of wanting to live up to something that requires more than I feel built to deliver…but it’s a comfort. Life’s going to spit lemon seeds at me at a rapid rate until my time here expires. I can’t prevent that from happening to me or my children. And through the tears that are simply a product of the journey, I keep moving. I keep praying. I keep looking for more space. I look to God’s Word. I pray for His help.
To grow. To learn. To love.
To be the best mom than I can humanly manage to be on this day, and trust in the journey He has set up to be mine alone. Did you know that a monarch chrysalis has a shimmer of gold on it? I didn’t either, until I took a hike with my kids in the woods. What an amazing fight that butterfly has to go through just to become a butterfly…and one of the most beautiful at that, if you ask me. Kids have a way of stopping us mid-battle to reflect back on a beautiful moment.
I wonder on lots of day if I’ve done it right…tried hard enough…been smart enough…set the right example…but I realize even if I reached the bar I’d then, in turn, reach for a higher rung. Being content in the journey is anything but easy, but having faith in my Lord is.
It’s a joyful struggle. It’s a worthy fight. It’s a purpose I’ll fully understand one day beyond the stars.
“Point your kids in the right direction- when they’re old they won’t be lost.” -Proverbs 22:6 (MSG)
Category: Christian Living, Encouragement, Parenting Tagged: christian, feezer, food, groceries, kids, lemons, mom, Parenting, shopping
Posted on September 17, 2015
Not a huge event, I realize. With both of my kids in school all day for the first time, I fully admit I’ve been on the edge of a full-scale meltdown since they skipped happily down the hallway together that first day. Knowing myself well and prepared for the meltdown to ensue, I made a list of things to occupy the first few months without them around all day.
Even though it feels good to check things off of the list and get around to projects that I’ve put off, nothing will replace Lo Lo’s toddler giggle ringing out throughout the house. Afternoons spent at Cedar Point eating lunch on what Brianne still calls “our bench” by the waterfall; trips to the park in the jog stroller where I met so many wonderful friends; XC practice in the afternoons chasing the high schoolers around. All are now replaced by the exhausted “Lo-nado”,big sister in tow, bursting into the van in the car pick-up line each afternoon at 3:20. Afternoon bike rides, jogs, and trips to the Pied Piper for ice cream are now occupied with homework, dance class, gymnastics, dinner, and bedtime. The toddler years have drifted by, and from the attitude wafting off of my second grader, I know I have to embrace every last bit of innocence I can squeeze out of them each day. Oh, their cute, aren’t they? They are SO beautiful and SO cute…and that keeps them alive. The elementary attitude has arrived, my babies are growing up, I don’t know how to handle it, and to keep from melting into a puddle of tears one afternoon, I decided to cut the lawn.
It’s not that I never had the time to cut the lawn, it’s just that my lines are never straight enough. Our lawn looks like carpet, because my husband has been able to nurture it from the time it was planted shortly after we moved in. He makes sure it’s fertilized, watered, mowed and edged…even though he’s at work no less than 60 hours a week. Now, I personally do not care and cannot keep track of which way the lines are supposed to go each week. Apparently it makes a huge difference in the overall health of the grass or something, but I learned from the old lawn that no matter how happily I sat on the front step like a puppy waiting for a treat for cutting the lawn, if the lines were crooked I was going to hear about it.
Needless to say, I haven’t cut the lawn in years…7 years.
Before I realized I couldn’t make straight lines with a lawn mower, I used to really enjoy it! It’s good exercise, and an excuse to let my favorite music fill my ears at an obnoxiously loud volume without bothering anybody…unless dancing behind the lawn mower counts…then I apologize. One of my favorite memories from my childhood is my Grams, who lived with us a while towards the end of her life, came out to interrupt me cutting the lawn one day. “You’re crazy,” she said, with her trademark smile and giggle. And I laughed. I loved her so much, and have never had another person like her in my life since she passed. I doubt my lines were perfect back then, with No Doubt, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana as my soundtrack.
No matter how hard I concentrate, the lines have never been, and will never be perfect. And I was struck by something while out there cutting the lawn with an Elevation sermon blasting in my headphones. Why am I all of the sudden not OK with that? What changed?
My daughter Brianne plays the ukulele. As a first born, she has the joy of experiencing the overreaction to every new situation she lives through. I was overjoyed that she wanted to play the uke, and dreams of her being on stage and a part of every praise band and musical opportunity rushed to the front of my mind right away. Instrument in hand and a month full of lessons paid for, she was set up for success…until I got in her way. Making her practice, nagging her…wincing when she hit a wrong chord… because of my overcritical approach she stopped wanting to practice. Then, when I threatened to stop paying for lessons if she didn’t practice a little every day, she stopped playing all together.
It’s a tough pill to swallow as a parent. A hard lesson for me to learn. In wanting to force her to follow the lines I considered straight, I smothered her passion to play and opportunity to learn from her mistakes. She listened to the wrong voice. My voice. I was just trying to be a good parent and teach her responsibility, but I clearly got the wires crossed somewhere. I”m supposed to have the encouragement of the Lord in my voice as her mother. Instead, she now thinks she’s terrible at something she once loved to do. #fail.
A church member I look up to in faith shared that her mother has always been her teacher, as she introduced herself as the leader of our women’s Bible study recently. It inspired me to be that for my daughters.
I know all too well the sting of the “not good enough.”
In the spring, I planted Mexican Sunflowers in my backyard. I watered them and waiting patiently for them to grow, and recently learned that they attract Monarch butterflies. In order to attract pretty butterflies….I have to plant the right seeds.I spent way too long listening to the wrong voices. “Send those thoughts back. If they don’t come from God, Mark them return to sender and send them back,” preached Pastor Steven as I swerved around the volleyball net with the lawnmower. #lightbulb. So how do empower my children to do that? Apply that to my parenting?
I bought a uke, and the three of us sit around and play nonsensical stuff sometimes and joke and Brianne teaches us the chords. So, she plays again. And when she wanted to try out for the dance team with a dream in tow to be on pointe shoes some day, I jumped behind her in support and kept my critical opinion to myself. When she asked me to stretch with her, I did. When she asked if I could still do the splits, I did…and then we both erupted in laughter as we heard a giant pop come from somewhere around my hip bones. Clearly too old for that.
The time I spend following my 7 year old zombie daughter around while I nag her to brush her teeth in the morning tests every bit of patience I possess. Kindergarten homework, I now know, is really part Mom’s homework, part test of how long I can keep the lid on my temper. So as I follow my daughter around in the morning, taking deep breaths, making sure she’s ready for school…what voice am I listening to? What boundaries do I set with her and with myself? When my Kindergartner forgets what “if” looks like after she just said it three times, how do I encourage her to recall what was there 30 seconds earlier but has now “left her brain” without having a “reaction” myself? She’s clearly playing a game with me…what are the boundaries? What should the discipline be?
I’m in a full stage meltdown not only due to the amount of time I have to fill now that my girls are at school all day, but because of the different set of boundaries that are encroaching on my system of raising and discipline my girls. How do I discipline them effectively without crushing their confidence? When do I let them make mistakes and which decisions do I still need to be a part of?
I’ve nurtured them since they they were tiny specks in my belly…since their first little cries into this world. I’ve followed the lines, made sure they were as straight as they could be. But now, it’s shifting. Now, they have a mind of their own. They spend a lot of time off in the world without me right there to explain, protect, and catch. And that’s hard. I don’t want to let go of my precious babies. I don’t want them to be exposed to things I don’t want them to be exposed to. I want them to have manners and be disciplined for the lack thereof when necessary.
So I decided pray. A lot. And go to the Word. And thankfully, through the power of bribery in the form of gumballs, we had a moment to discuss our faith as a family after church one Sunday. Hopefully the first of many…
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5
“Brianne, no one is perfect,” I spoke after another morning meltdown, “Nor do I expect you to be. I love you the same no matter what.”
And then I continued to talk…because no matter how “over their head” the topic may be…somewhere in the middle of “I”m going to ship you off to boarding school so that you can learn some manners!” and “you are really hurting my feelings right now with your behavior,” I hope a hope through the mindless chatter that I let come out of my mouth something will prove useful.
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15
“Grounding you doesn’t change your behavior, so I’m not going to do that anymore,” I explained. “Taking things away from you doesn’t work. Making you write 100 times you won’t do it again still doesn’t keep you from doing it again. Now, I will come up with a punishment, and it will be severe. But, if you are going to fix your behavior, you are going to have to pray about it. You have to let God help you learn and grow, because none of us is equipped to do it on our own. That’s why he left the Bible for us to read.”
“Let anyone who is thirsty, come to me and drink.” John 7:37
In trying not to yell I hope I didn’t church her to death. But it’s the truth. And as I think about the punishment I promised I would deliver to her after school in consequence for her behavior, I’m left truly stumped and humbled. I love my daughters so much, and think the absolute world of them. They are beautiful, talented, and smart. They make my day, every day. I do not want the way in which I discipline them take anything away from the spectacular children of God that they are, chip away at their self-confidence that they, too “Can do all things through Christ who gives them strength,”(Phil 4:13) or the loving relationship we have formed as “best buds” and “best friends” over the years.
I don’t know how to do this. My lines are never straight.
I need God’s help.
Which is exactly where He wants me to be.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of prayer.” Ephesians 4:23
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and Word.” 2 Thes. 2:16-17
Category: Christian Living, Encouragement, Faith Tagged: christian, how to keep the lines straight, Imperfect, loved by God, mow the lawn
Posted on May 6, 2015
This morning, I made breakfast and lunches to the sound of a unicorn galloping throughout the house. I can’t make this stuff up. With sound effects, she made laps around the first floor for a good hour… in full character. She stopped only to hug Daddy goodbye as he left for work, and to eat “unicorn’s” favorite breakfast…a Pop Tart. This is why she is the most difficult child to discipline.
I appreciated her funny little antics, and let her buckle up and walk up to pre-school as “Lo the Unicorn.” I didn’t want her to be distracting to her class…but man…I had to seize the opportunity to spread the laughter on this cold, foggy, spring morning in Northern Ohio.
In the midst of dealing with dashed marathon hopes due to injury, and going through withdrawel on my fourth day off of running, little Lo rescued my day before it even began.
“As runners we understand the importance of our bodies,
because without them we would lose a piece of who we are.”
-Jolee Paden, “Spiritual Runner.”
That’s a truth packed statement, and a photo full of a swollen achilles. Goodbye, piece. It sure looks likes, it, right? I sure looks like the end of my marathon goal…12 days before the race. It looks like failure, heartbreak, lack of discipline, and lost hope.
I had made it through the training…celebrated my 20 mile long run, and was looking forward to taper…but I failed to rest, and launched a minor injury into a possible major. Out for an 8-miler a few days ago, I could sense it was over. Amidst the pain, anguish, and heartbreak lumping up in my throat, echoing in my ears was the Elevation Church sermon “It’s Yours for the Taking” I had chosen for my long run. As the inevitible began to confront me, I heard something about holding on your life verse. Mine is 1Thes5:16, “Be joyful always,” but I didn’t feel very joyful. In fact, I remember exactly what I was thinking…”That’s too hard right now.”
A few moments later I made it down to the end of my old street to enjoy what I knew could be my last run to the sunrise. Comforted by the sound of His word and the sight of his presence, I took a deep breath…and ran the half mile back home. Tears streamed down my cheeks and sobs overcame me as I walked up my sidewalk and into my house. It was over. I could feel it. I believe no one but other runners knows how that feels, so I was thankful to find comfort in these words Jolee Paden’s devotional.
“As runners we understand the importance of our bodies,
because without them we would lose a piece of who we are.”
“Be joyful always. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances.” 1Thes. 5:16-18 It was super easy for me to be joyful and thankful when I finished my 20 mile run. For the first time, I felt confident I could race the marathon. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could run 20 miles at 8:29 average pace. But God knew it. And I felt Him every stride out there that day, running along the lakeshore at sunrise. Felt His presence every step…even smiled up the hills.
It’s not so easy to be joyful right now. But I will be… and I will keep praying. I will be thankful in all circumstances. Turn my focus towards my funny Lo who always makes me laugh, and my sweet Brianne who has such a compassionate little soul.
When I told my her that I might not make it to my big race, she replied immediately.
“You just can’t focus on that. Instead, focus on how far you’ve come.”
Remarkable words coming from a 7 year old.
“Thank you so much, Brianne! You’re right. Where did you hear that?” I asked.
“From my sweet Momma,” she replied.
“Be joyful always. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances.”
God has healed me before, and I have complete faith He will again. Exodus 14:14 assures me, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
I can’t control God’s timing, but I will not lose hope. After all, miracles do happen. Little ones, and big…fat…ginormous..huge ones that change your life forever. Keep facing the sunshine, and lift your head high.
“For those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31
Category: Encouragement, Faith Tagged: Achilles, christian, discouragement, God, injury, running