He Will Restore

Listen to this blog post on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

I have been stuck in the book of 2 Kings with the Shunammite woman for months now. I suppose “stuck” is not the best choice of words. Stuck has a negative connotation and implies that someone is in a place they’d rather not be. So I’ll say that I’ve been “stationed” in the book of 2 Kings. There is a purpose, a responsibility assumed when someone is stationed, like in the palace guard or in the army. I feel like I can’t move on from this story because God keeps showing me more things the longer I stay there. (That’s a whole different message!)

As I get ready to leave the land of Shunem, I wonder where God will take me next. The final installment of this series ends with the last event recorded from the Shunammite woman’s life. In 2 Kings 8:1-6, the Shunammite finds herself in need of one last miracle from God. 

The Shunimmate woman was instructed by Elisha to go and find somewhere to live because there was going to be a famine lasting seven years. So the woman listened, went with her family and they stayed in the land of the Philistines for seven years.

When the seven years were over she came back to her home and land and found that it had been seized. We don’t know a lot about why her land was taken but theologians think that during times of famine, when many houses and land were abandoned the king would often seize land and use it for whatever he needed. 

Also, in the book the 1 Samuel when Israel first asked for a king, Samuel warned them against it because a king could do whatever he wanted. He could take their children, their animals, and their land so this was also just one of the consequences of having a king rule over Israel instead of allowing God to be their king. 

When the Shunammite returns to find her land has been taken, she decides to go to the king to beg for her house and land to be returned to her.

Have you ever listened to God’s instructions and things got worse? Don’t kick me out of the church yet? I have. And if you’re honest, you probably have experienced this too. But let me assure you, obedience to God is always the best option, no matter the outcome.

God will not ask us to obey in an area where he does not already have a plan. We sometimes think that everything is always linear but regardless of the ups and downs, God is always working things out for our good. We don’t obey God simply to get blessed even though that is a reward for obedience.

1 John 5:3 says,In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.” We obey God because we love him. When I ask my kids to do something for me, they don’t wait to see what I will do for them first. They just do it. I may not reward them for days or weeks! I may even have to fuss at them later that day, but their obedience is not based on what they expect to receive but on their love and respect for me.

The Shunammite woman could have been upset that her land was taken from her but she had an experience of God always meeting her needs so I have to think she knew he could do it again.

As the woman is making her way to the king, the king is watching TV. Not really. He was having Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, tell him about all the things that Elisha had done. So he was listening to a podcast. Gehazi was telling him about the time that Elisha raised the Shunammite’s son back to life, when in the middle of the story, she walks in the door.

Unbeknownst to Gehazi, he was acting as an intercessor for the Shunammite. He was opening a door for her to receive favor from the king. Doors are being opened that you know nothing about.

The Shunammite didn’t know that she had an intercessor. She had someone that was already preparing the groundwork for her to come in and make her request. And we have someone interceding for us. 

“Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34)

Jesus is always already putting things in motion for us. He’s moving some people out of the way and putting others where they need to be.

I think about the story of Daniel when he was fasting and praying for 21 days. In Daniel 10:12, the angel tells Daniel “Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.”

The answer to your prayers are already on the way. You may not see them, you may not know them, you may not know where they’re coming from. But they are already on the way. God has great things in store for you and he wants to bless you in ways that you haven’t even imagined.

When the Shunammite finished telling her story, the king assigned an official to her case and told him to give her back everything that belonged to her. She didn’t have to beg or plead or cry. All she had to do was show up. 

The things you are begging for God wants to bless you with (and more). Not only did the king return her home and her land to her, he gave her all the income made from the land for the last seven years. She got more than she was planning to beg for! God knows how to bless his children. He knows what we need and how to get it to us.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20)

Everything is Alright

Listen to this blog post on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

A few years ago, my husband and I were getting ready to close on our home is Southeast Wisconsin. We had moved from Houston, Texas to be closer to his family and after months of living in an apartment so small that I could see everyone no matter what room they were in, we were excited to get a bit more space. The day of the closing, we were sitting in the car when he got a call from the lender that they were unable to verify his employment and needed a contact to do so before we closed.

No problem, right? Well, he was set to resign in 5 days. And he didn’t have another job! I could see his demeanor change. At the time, I didn’t know what was going on. I asked him if everything was alright and he said, “Yes. Let’s go in the bank.” To make a long story short, his employer verified he worked there, we closed on the home, and despite resigning 3 times, he now works remotely for the same company.

There has been a lot of resistant towards positive confessions or affirmations. Many people think declaring positive statements are naive or just wishful thinking. I’m not here to argue as to whether or not they work, but I do know that the Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21 that “the tongue has the power of life and death.” The Bible also says in Proverbs 15:4 “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

I read an amazing book last year by Jon Acuff called Soundracks. He talks about replacing negative patterns of thinking with helpful, positive ones, or as he calls them new soundtracks. This idea is not new. Philippians 4:8 encourages us to think positively as well. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

In 2 Kings 4, there is an account of someone who did just that. Instead of focusing on what was going wrong, the Shunammite woman (I talked about her in my blog Make Room) confesses boldly “Everything is alright!” when literally everything was falling apart. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about her story and the incredible testimony of God’s provision, healing, and restoration in her life.

But until then, I want to encourage you to start confessing God’s promises over your life. Here are a few I rehearse regularly. you can borrow them!

  • Jesus is with me, and he is enough (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • I am well able (Numbers 13:30)
  • His joy is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
  • He carries my cares (1 Peter 5:7)
  • I am the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Saying Yes to God

Listen to this blog post on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10

We’ve declared this a Year of Yes for God. We’ve identified the distractions and how to overcome them. So how do we actually say yes? Thankfully the answers are found in the book of James.

Yield – We have to yield to God. This is the first directive we’re given in James 4. Yielding is another way to say submit. Submission is the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person. I’ve heard it described as coming under the mission of another. To be sub/under another’s mission. 

When we drive, there are yield signs. Yield doesn’t mean to slow down. The yield sign is telling us that there is something else already happening. There are cars already moving at high speeds and if you are entering, you need to join in with what’s already happening.

When we submit to God, we are agreeing to join in with what he has going on. We agree to do what he wants us to do. Micah 6:8 is one place in the word that tells us what God requires of us. God requires that we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

When you walk with someone you get to know them. One of my closest friends I have is because we ran together. We started to train for a race together and during that time, we got to know each other on a deeper level. 

Enter His Presence– James encourages us to come near to God. When we come near to God, we enter his presence.God’s presence is not some mystical place or weird room with candles and soft music.God’s presence is wherever you prepare for it. His presence can be at your dining room table as you read your devotional. His presence can be in your car while you praise on your way to work.

When we come near to God, we are showing him that not only do we trust him, but he can trust us. 

Sacrifice– And here comes the hard part. Look at James 4:9 “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.” None of that stuff is fun! But honestly, saying yes to God often requires sacrifice.

Saying yes to something requires saying no to something else. Saying yes to attending worship service consistently requires saying no to staying up all night on Saturday. Saying yes to making time to read your Bible requires saying no to binge watching your favorite show. Saying yes to managing your finances requires saying no to overspending and accumulating debt.

Saying yes is not always easy either, but saying yes to God, whatever he asks is always most beneficial. God has asked me to do a lot of things outside of my comfort zone, but every time I’ve said yes, I’ve never regretted it.

Whether God has asked you to start a ministry, focus on getting out of debt, serve as a foster parent, or minister to single mothers, I can assure you that your yes will not be in vain.

Distractions in the Year of Yes

Listen to this blog post on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

We were riding to church on a cold morning recently and my son asked me what my last name was before his dad and I got married. I was deep into explaining the importance of keeping my maiden name in my new married name when he interrupted, “I just saw a dog’s breath in the air!”

In a moment’s notice, he went from caring to hear about our family history to watching a dog breathe in the cold air. I was shattered!

But aren’t we all like this? Especially this time of the year if you’re reading this in January. We can be so focused on our New Year’s Resolutions. We’re hitting the gym, reading our Bible, eating better. Until we get distracted.

This is one of Satan’s favorite tools to use against God’s people: distraction. He may not get us to curse someone out or lie to your spouse, but he can get us distracted. His first recorded deception is of him distracting Eve from what God said.

When we get to heaven, I think Eve is going to go off on everyone who’s used her as an example of distraction. But we’re the same. God instructed them not to eat from one tree. God has given us instructions that we gloss over all of the time. Instructions regarding our finances, health, children, we take as optional suggestions.

I have a few ways that often distract us from giving God our best yes. And you know how I roll; they all start with S! Remember, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes???) so The enemy just revamps things as times change.

Social Distractions – You had to know it was coming! Never in the history of man have we actually been able to carry distractions everywhere we go. When I’m talking about social distractions, I’m referring specifically to social media.

YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and whatever else is out there or coming has stolen so much time from people. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been sitting at a table with people and instead of engaging in conversation, they are scrolling.

We are so concerned with what everyone is doing when as people of Faith, we should be worried about what God is doing. Paul tells us in “to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,” (1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬). But social media encourages us to do the exact opposite. We are in other people’s business and not working with our hands. I guess swiping could be considered work by the scientific definition but I’m not going there!

Aaron, the first priest of Israel and brother of Moses, had a major social distraction. In Exodus 32, he was so concerned with what the people wanted that he helped create a golden calf for them to worship. When Moses was taking too long on the mountain talking to God, Aaron collected their gold jewelry and melted it to form a calf to serve as their god.

When Moses came down from the mountain, he said to his brother “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?””
(‭‭Exodus‬ ‭32:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬) I love Aaron’s response in the next verses! He blamed the people and then lied. Really, you should read the Bible. It can be hilarious!

But isn’t that what Eve did? Isn’t that what we do? We rarely take responsibility for our distractions. We try to justify them or make excuses. My pastor from my previous church would say an excuse is a dressed lie with a hat on.

I’m currently practicing a time of fasting and prayer and one thing I cut out in addition to coffee, meat, sweets and intimate relations is social media and TV. I’m already not a huge consumer of either but I can get sucked in rather quickly if I allow myself. But by putting those things aside for a period, I’ve found myself talking to God more and in his word.

Schedule Distractions – Here is a sample of an average day for me in November 2019:

  • 7am- Kids to school
  • 8am husband to work (we had one car for 4 months!)
  • 8:30-11:30 Work at coffee shop
  • 11:45-12:45pm School Organization meeting
  • 1-2pm work out
  • 2pm pick up kids
  • 3pm Cook dinner and clean
  • 5pm Showers for church or rehearsal
  • 6pm Church or rehearsal
  • 7pm Church or rehearsal
  • 9pm Veg on couch until I can get upstairs

I was busy and overwhelmed and this didn’t include gymnastics and birthday parties and my stuff! But I recognized it. I began to trim back my schedule until I wasn’t busy and overwhelmed anymore. I cut out extra things I was involved in that didn’t fulfill me or add value to where I was going until all that was left was what was essential.

Busyness isn’t a new problem. When Jesus was visiting his friends in Luke 10, one sat at his feet listening to him while the other bustled around in busyness. She was so busy serving the Lord that she didn’t have time to sit with him. She was so busy preparing that she didn’t stop to praise the one she was preparing for.

I don’t know what your schedule is like but I can almost bet there are things in it that are not benefiting you. I’ve learned I don’t have to go to every party and I don’t need a reason why. Our schedules should work for us, not us for them.

Take a look at your current schedule. If you don’t have time to do things for God and for yourself, it’s too full. I heard this quote “If you are too busy to pray, you are busier than God wants you to be.” -Wanda Brunstetter.

Satisfaction Distraction – We all want to feel comfortable and satisfied but when our satisfaction distracts us from saying yes to God, something is wrong. I live in Green Bay Packer country in Wisconsin. I’m not lying when I say that our church has less attendees on the Sundays the Packers play. Some people are just more interested in being entertained than coming to worship. Its mean but it’s true.

We satisfy our desire for more sleep by skipping our morning prayer time. We satisfy our desire for sugary snacks by choosing a cupcake over an apple. We satisfy our desire for worldly materials by going into debt for things we don’t need rather than managing our money well. Every day we make choices based on what will satisfy us, not on what will sustain us.

But the Bible tells us these things will never satisfy us, only God can. “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”
(‭‭Psalms‬ ‭145:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

But don’t feel bad. I’m certainly not trying to make you feel that way. I just want us to be aware of the traps we can easily fall into when we take our eyes off of Jesus. Paul had to correct the church at Corinth for the same things. But they were really going crazy!

The Corinthian church was full of new believers who were leaving an old way of life for a new life in Christ. But they were struggling! They were suing each other, people were creating divides based on spiritual positioning, and they had some major sexual immorality going on!

Paul corrected this church and let them know that while being satisfied is not necessarily a sin, not everything we do to satisfy ourselves is helpful.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23

I ran across a wonderful acronym just this week. Think before you speak. And for our use, I’ll say think before you speak or do.

  • TRUE- Is it true?
  • HELPFUL- Is it helpful?
  • INSPIRING- Is it inspiring?
  • NECESSARY- Is it necessary?
  • KIND- Is it kind?

Let’s agree to not let distraction rule over us in 2022. Examine your life to see what area you struggle most in and ask God to help you set boundaries so you can give him your best yes.

A Year of Yes

Listen to this blog post on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

I recently watched the movie “Yes Day” with my kids. I was hesitant to watch it because I didn’t want them getting any ideas! The premise of the movie is that for one day the parents agree to say yes to everything their children ask. The parents set a few rules about how much money could be spent and a distance they could travel, but other than that the answer had to be yes.

The morning of the Yes Day, the kids enter the room with a poster board containing their 5 Big Asks that were to be revealed later. And the movie continues with a lot of foolishness and falls and family fun ending with a good lesson and maybe a tear or two shed. As I was watching this movie, I began to wonder if this is how we sometimes approach God.

We want a YES DAY from Him. And not just a YES DAY, but a YES LIFE. We want every request answered the way we want it and within our timeframe. I have a very active imagination so I imagine myself entering heaven with a bright green poster board, approaching God’s throne: “Here are my Big Asks for you, Lord. I want more money than I know what to do with. I want my kids to be smart and talented and get into a good college. I want my business to be booming! I want my marriage to be picture perfect. And can you please keep me healthy despite the trash I continue to consume everyday? Oh and I ask this in Jesus’ name, so now you have to do it.”

I don’t think any of us would really approach God like this. At least I hope not! But I wonder if he ever feels like we do? As a parent, there are times when I do. I have actually told my kids “Do not ask me for anything for the rest of the night!”. I don’t think God would say that; he’s far more patient than I am!

But as I thought more about this, I began to wonder what would happen if we gave a YES DAY to God? What if whatever Big Asks God had for us, we did them. What if when we saw the homeless person and felt the pull to buy them dinner, we did it? What if we prayed for the cashier at Walmart that is clearly having a bad day?

In September 2015, I was at a conference hosted by my church called “Say Yes”. If you haven’t been to a Women’s Conference, I highly recommend you try one out. It’s on my to do list for this year. But during the praise and worship, I clearly heard the voice of God tell me, specifically, He needed me to say yes. I can’t explain it but I could feel that whatever I would be saying yes to was going to be big.

Three months later, my husband asked if I would be interested in moving across the country to his hometown. I already knew the answer. I knew this was what God was telling me to say yes to. A few months after moving, my father in law/pastor asked me to start a Women’s Ministry at the church. I was terrified but I said yes.

I’m reminded of another woman in the Bible who knew what it was like to say yes. Mary, the mother of our Savior, was approached by an angel of the Lord at a very inconvenient time. She was preparing for her wedding to a carpenter and I’m sure she wasn’t expecting this interruption. But what began as an interruption became a life changing invitation.

Mary had questions. Oftentimes when we’re asked to do something for God we will have questions. Google has spoiled us! We can get the answer to any question in a matter of seconds. How tall is Jennifer Aniston? (She’s 5’5″, I know you wanted to know!) Thankfully, God is gracious and doesn’t want us in the dark. We don’t always get the full details but there are times when God tells us exactly what to do.

In the first chapter of Luke, Mary asks the angel how could she become the mother of the Messiah since she is a virgin. The angel tells her “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35).

Then Mary gave the answer I believe God desires from all of his children. “I am the Lord’s servant” (Luke 1:38). Now I don’t know anyone with a servant nor have I met a servant, but I do know that servants serve. Servants respond to the call of their master with yes.

One of our greatest examples in scriptures, the apostle Paul, who wrote almost half of the New Testament, opened many of his letters introducing himself as a “servant of Jesus Christ” (See Romans, Philippians, and Titus). And Paul was next level! He started churches, taught people how to live a God-centered life, proclaimed the gospel to the Gentiles, all this while being imprisoned, shipwrecked and victim to an occasional beating for doing these things to further the kingdom!

But like Mary, Paul knew the benefit of being a servant of God. They both knew that obedience was better than sacrifice. Servants say yes. Servants seek to please their master. Jesus himself came to serve. Matthew 20:28 says, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

We don’t even have to give our lives for many, only to one. But I won’t lie to you. It’s becoming increasingly harder to say yes to the things of God. There are so many distractions that even 25 years ago weren’t an issue. We have to be even more deliberate about how we spend our time so we can give God our best yes.

Next week, I’ll continue this line of thinking with “Being Distracted from a Year of Yes”. There are things that the enemy uses, and not all of them are bad, that can cause us to miss out on the opportunity to give God a Year of Yes.

Building the Temple: Pt 3 Take Care to Prepare

Listen to this blog post on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

My mom just flew in to visit the kids after Christmas. I had to buy some new sheets for the room she sleeps in because the old ones were well, old. Aside from this, I didn’t do much to prepare for her visit. Now, if I’m honest, I don’t ever take a lot of time preparing for her to come. She visits sooo much! And I’m glad.. she’s my kids’ best friend. She comes so much that she has a library card here!

But typically when someone comes to visit my home, I take some time preparing for them. Washing sheets and towels and probably doing extra cleaning that I don’t normally do, as if they’re going to under the shelf in my pantry! I stock up on groceries and coffee and try to have an idea of what to do for entertainment. If you’re like me, you make a list of everything that needs to get done before guests arrive. It becomes a part time job!

If we do all of this preparing for guests to stay in our homes for 3 or 4 days, how much more preparation should we make for the 365 days that each year brings? Now that the holiday season is winding down, we have a great opportunity to prepare our lives for the new year. Whether you have gigantic, almost impossible goals or smaller, more practical ones, I guarantee you will be more likely to succeed if you take some time to prepare.

It’s easy to make a list of what you’d like to see in your life, but the preparation comes in when you figure out HOW you will accomplish this list. “I want to read the Bible more” is a great goal for the new year, but it’s not enough? What time of day do you want to read? What books of the Bible will you read? How many verses will you read? How many chapters? I know it seems like a lot but if you don’t prepare for how you will carry out your plans, you are leaving your success up for chance.

When Solomon started building the temple, he not only followed the plans given to him by his father, David, he made other preparations. He gathered the people of Israel to seek God and gathered horses and chariots and all of the supplies necessary to complete the temple (2 Chronicles 1).

He wasn’t leaving the building of the temple of God up to chance. Look at what he said in 2 Chronicles 2:5. “The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods.”

The temple that God has given us (our bodies) should be great. Our families should be great. Our finances should be great. Our relationships should be great. Our churches should be great. Why? Because our God is great! You don’t have to have all of the answers, because you can seek the God who has them. But you can take some time to prepare as best as you can and leave the rest to Him.

Happy New Year!

Trust in the Lord

“I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.””
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬


In today’s world, it’s hard to know who to trust. One day, coffee is good for you. The next day, it causes cancer. One channel says it’s the end of the world. The other channel says everything is great.

I don’t know about you but this can get exhausting. I decided a long time ago that no matter what was going on, in the world, in politics, in my personal life, I was going to trust God. When our faith and trust is in God, it will put your mind at ease. You won’t be easily shaken by what you see or hear because you know God is in control and he is who you trust.

Find more inspiration and hopefully a few laughs on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

My First Marathon

Listen to this week’s blog on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

It is the day after my first marathon. I hobbled down the stairs, made a cup of coffee and grabbed my laptop. While I doubt I will ever forget the events that transpired yesterday, I decided I wanted to get them down while they were fresh.

They say finishing a marathon will change your and they, whoever they are, were not wrong. While I am not even a full day removed from the marathon, the experience definitely changed me.

I got to the race at about 6:15am and found the team I was running with, Team World Vision. It was nice to not be alone and I got to meet all of the online people I’d been interacting with for the past several months.

After a quick prayer and gathering, we headed to the start line. Oddly, I didn’t feel nervous at all. I was ready to run and pretty excited.

The gun went off and we ran. I felt fresh and ready. My training went ok considering all of the interruptions I had during it. Three funerals, an injury, and three colds (one of which I was still shaking). But I felt good!

The first few miles were quite pleasant. The weather seemed to be holding up well and the expected snow seemed to be a possible wrong prediction. But around mile 8, the heavens opened.

Despite the snow/sleet and the brutal winds, I was still feeling ok and was on pace. Miles 1-13 flew by and before I knew it I was at mile 18, which was the longest run I’d done in training. With a wet face and feet, I kept pushing forward.

I could tell that these 18 miles were much more difficult than my training run of the same distance. The snow lasted from about mile 8-17 and was accompanied by some very intense wind gusts. By 18 miles, I felt physically drained. The snow and wind beat at my body for almost 10 miles and I was feeling it.

Luckily, a wonderful man named Mohammed, whom I will NEVER EVER forget was running close by and we began talking and encouraging each other.

I stopped at about 18.5 miles to take some pebbles out of my shoe, but when I slid my ankle back into my shoe, my left calf seized up as tight as a rock! I had never gotten a cramp during running so this was new territory.

With tears forming in my eyes, I began to message my calf and told it “Loosen up, right now!”. I used my mom voice to tell it who was in charge. I stood up and continued to remind my leg of its responsibility to keep me moving.

The cramp left, but the exhaustion stayed. My legs felt decent but my feet felt like lead. I knew as long as I could keep my mind strong, I’d be ok.

My family called to find me and as I approached about 19 miles, they drove by. I smiled and yelled at the kids from the road and it really brightened up the atmosphere. It’s amazing what being around the right people can do! (Another blog for another time!)

I pressed on and a bit before the 20 mile mark, my family had parked and were waiting for me. I stopped to hug my kids and to tell my husband that I was struggling. To this point I was still on my target pace, but I could see the crew removing the 20 mile tracking strip that’s used to update spectators of where there runner is. I literally had to run around the person removing it!

When I got to mile 21, the proverbial wheels fell off. I stopped to use the bathroom, hoping the change would bring on a second wind. It did not.

At this point, it crossed my mind to quit. I’d seen a lot of people drop out back when the weather got rough. It would be understandable. These running conditions were not ideal. I’d like to say that I fought hard the whole way through. I was mentally tough and nothing was going to break me down. But truthfully, I considered it.

As I sat in the port-a-potty, I had a decision to make. I can keep going or I can give up. But truthfully, I had already decided I was going to finish. I decided when I signed up for the marathon. I decided when I did the training. I decided when I pre-purchased the 26.2 sticker for my car!

I came out of the bathroom and kept going. I was doing ok, walking/running with my new friend. We talked about our running, families and got excited as we could see the capitol building in the near distance, which was the finish.

Feeling confident, I kept moving. Around mile 23, disaster knocked on my door again. And I let it in. The race crew was beginning to pick up the cones. One of the guys came to us to let us know that they needed to pick up the cones and mile markers so we needed to stay on the sidewalk to finish.

I’d been using the cones to guide me to the finish, and as a directionally challenged person, I knew if I had to read a map to get pack, I was toast. I burst into tears. Like, my dog just died tears.

Mohammed immediately checked on me. He thought I was hurt or something bad had happened. through my sobs I explained that I was scared I wouldn’t know the way to finish. He reassured me that we would follow the map and finish the last few miles together.

I wiped my tears and thanked God for sending me someone to help me when I was struggling. I apologized to Mohammed for falling apart and let him know I was ok!

My family called me at around 25 miles because the race was no longer tracking me since I would not make the cut off. I assured them I was doing fine and was on my way. The race crew had radioed in that we were coming so they left the finish line up.

At this point, I knew it was a good time to open the letter my daughter gave me days before the race. “See you at the finish line!”

I picked up my pace a bit and as I turned the corner onto the street where the finish line was, I could see my family. Tears welled up in my eyes. I knew I was almost done.

The workers who were still there cheered me on like I was running for gold! As my feet crossed the finish line, the floodgates opened and I couldn’t contain my emotions. I’d finished a marathon!

It was harder than I thought and I’d ran slower than I’d hoped, but I finished. I didn’t quit. I didn’t give up.

At the beginning of this year, I couldn’t run a mile and a when I finally could, it took me 15 minutes. I’d come so far and felt so proud. Since I didn’t finish the course by the cutoff time, I got a DQ by my name in the results. It stands for Disqualified. But for me, it means Didn’t Quit.

I felt like the psalmist in Psalm 27. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.” ‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭27:13‬)

I learned so much from running 26.2 miles about me, life and what I hope to give in the time I have on this earth. I’m excited to see what’s next!

Joy in the Lord

“Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

‬It’s the Christmas season. I know we haven’t gotten to Thanksgiving yet but ads, commercials and stores are definitely telling us it’s time. The loud, colorful commercials want us to believe that we will find joy this season by getting or giving the right gift.

But we will only truly be joyful when we set our hearts to obey God’s word and seek him. He is the source of our joy and contentment.

Find more inspiration and hopefully a few laughs on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

Run YOUR Race

Head over to my podcast for 5 ways to RUN YOUR RACE!! Seeking God, Loving Others.

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In 48 hours, I’ll be running my first marathon. I can’t believe that after almost 8 months of training it’s time. It’s time to run my race. My training has been interrupted more times than I care to remember but I’ve made it through.

I’ve learned so much over the past few months about both running and life. Many of the blog posts I’ve written were worked out during a run on the trails.

As I’ve been preparing for this race, I’ve come across Hebrews 12:1 quite a bit. In fact, the planner I use has a monthly verse and this month’s verse was Hebrews 12:1! Coincidence? I don’t think so.

This verse is such a powerful reminder that each of us has our own race to run that God has marked out for us. But many of us are too busy looking at other people’s races and envying their results.

I’ve found it so freeing actually running my own race. Both physically and spiritually. I use a running app that is basically like Facebook but for runners. We can see our friends’ runs and comment and like but I’ve heard many people say they feel bad about their own run after seeing others’ stats.

When we compare ourselves to others, it actually slows us down in our own race. We end up doing too much too soon or losing focus on what God wants us to do.

If I look at and envy the free time my friend has while her kids are at school, I won’t be content in homeschooling my children even though it’s the race God has marked for me.

If I envy the lavish vacation someone on Facebook posts, I won’t be content with sticking to the financial goals God has marked out for my family.

When we run the race that God has marked out for us in our homes, business, career or family, we can trust that he has everything figured out.

I know a few people who have a running coach. If ever I win the lottery, that will be one of my splurges. A running coach can create a plan tailored specific to your goals. You don’t have to think about what workout you need to do or how far you need to run; you just look at your plan. And if something comes up that interferes with your training, your running coach adjusts things and moves them around.

Now, a running coach is not in my budget (yet) but I do have access to someone who has created a tailored plan for my life. I don’t have to worry about what city to live in or what job to take, I can just look at his plan. I don’t have to know how long it will take for my blog to get noticed or my book to get published. I can look at his plan and know that “he who began a good work will carry it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

When something interferes with my race, he can move things around so that “all things are working together for my good” (Romana 8:28). If you haven’t caught on, I’m talking about God! God has every detail of my life, and yours, mapped out and when we stay in our lane, stay in his word and stay in his presence, we WILL run our race and run it well.