Category Archives: Running the Race

C25K Day 1, Week 1 (alternately titled ‘pretending to be athletic’)

Know what the best thing is about the first post-baby workout?  Me neither!

I’m blaming my age, the crazy, hectic schedule we’re maintaining, the hot/cold/rainy/muggy/dry weather…I’m assigning blame to anything I can think of for my nearly 2 year hiatus from physical actvity.  I can’t even remember why I stopped exercising.  But I did.  Hubs has registered to participate in this insane race at the end of the month and listening to him talk about how much better he is feeling made me realize how bad I’ve been feeling.  I tried this crazy hard workout DVD and discovered 2 things:  1) I can’t move that fast anymore, and 2) I have become crazy uncoordinated.  My sister-in-law has been following this regimen for a year and looks fabulous…I’m so proud of her!  But, it isn’t really my thing.  Yet.

So, I’m making running my thing.  It’s cheap (just a pair of good shoes and some pavement.)  You can do it anywhere.  It’s time-effective (you can burn twice the calories in half the time, and I’m all about being efficient.)  I’m following the “Couch to 5K” program since, basically, I’ve been sitting on my duff for the last couple of years.  The program is set up to take the basic out-of-shape couch potato and turn them into a runner.  I watch people run past our house every day and have always been intrigued by them.  Especially the serious ones…you know, the ones in spandex pants, dripping with sweat, running 10 times faster than I can imagine…and no iPod.  The lack of entertainment always impresses me.  I mean, that’s some serious running when you can do it without music or podcasts or anything:)

I did my first “run” yesterday.  Three comments on that:  1) I actually fantasized about wearing a burqua.  Something to hide my identity and save myself the embarassment of trying to maneuver around the neighborhood without breaking my neck.  Also, to hide the insane amount of sweat pouring off me.  2) I spent half my workout time obsessing over whether or not people were watching me run. I spent the other half of my workout repenting of conceit and pride.  3) You cannot underestimate the usefulness of ibuprofen.

I don’t plan to turn my blog into a play by play of my running exploits, but an occasional check-in is nice.  Everyone I know who is even remotely physically fit promises that it will get easier.  I’m counting on that…and a full bottle of Advil.


I Am The Dog

Taking a little bloggy break to vacation with my family.  Re-running some of my favorites from the past three years.  Enjoy!  Be back with memories and photos to share soon!

(Originally posted December 10, 2007)

This afternoon was my first foray into outdoor running. Yes, it’s December. Yes, it gets dark at 5:00 PM here. And, yes, it’s hovering around 35 degrees. But, I was cooped up all day and thought I would give it a try. Actually, I was planning to just take a brisk walk to give my legs a bit of a rest. As we rounded the corner at the end of the block, though, clear, even sidewalks beckoned me to give them a good lashing with my feet. My lungs were practically begging me to force the cold, crisp air deeper into them. So, off we went. We? Oh, yeah. Me and the dog.

We have a mutt for a dog, Elvis. His talents include barking, eating, pooping, and scaring anyone and everyone who dares to cast a sideways glance in his general direction. He’s actually pretty tame with our family, but the yard is his turf and he protects it with vengeance. When I decided to go for what I thought would be a walk, I knew it would be hard to just jet past him. He knows what it means when he sees us take off down the alley—we’re going somewhere and he’s not. I took pity on him and grabbed his leash as I cranked up my music. Upon site of the beloved leash, he broke out into his doggy smile. He started prancing around the yard, running back and forth between me and the gate. I was going somewhere and he was going with me.

Elvis is a strong, muscular dog. He weighs close to 55 pounds, so he can be a handful. He knows the leash means he gets to go somewhere, but getting him to mind the leash…well, that’s a life long battle for him. It’s a love-hate relationship: he loves to walk; hates to be told where to walk. As soon as I started running, I knew bringing Elvis might cause some problems. He was all over the place; sniffing this bush, licking that snow drift, running back and for across the sidewalk in front of me. He “did his business” several times along the way, forcing me to break my rhythm each time and wait for him. At one point, I jerked on his leash and got down in his face and said, “Listen, dog! We need to come to an understanding. You are running with me. I am not chasing after you. Pick a side and stick to it!” He just gave me that doggy grin again and licked my face.

I ran to a nearby cemetery, thinking it might be easier to run the paths that wind through there. At least we wouldn’t be contending with other people, or “walking, talking snacks,” as Elvis thinks of them. Every headstone needed a good sniff and some were “baptized,” I’m sorry to say! As we turned to head for home, I found myself getting more and more frustrated. How was I supposed to pay attention to what I was doing while wrangling this beast all over the place? As we approached the street that leads to home, Elvis started to slow down. Apparently, he was getting over the newness of being outside his regular domain and was settling down next to me. “Great.” I thought, “Just as I’m ready to quit, he decides to behave.” That’s the exact moment I heard this in my head:

You are the dog.

What? I am the dog? What does that mean? I started thinking about the past half hour and how my dog had been behaving. If it hadn’t been for some strong discipline, we would have surely ended up in the freezing creek or down a muddy embankment or crashing through the woods after some poor little rabbit. I am the dog?

Oh. I AM the dog.

I’m all over the place, spiritually speaking. If it weren’t for the leash of His Word and the Holy Spirit, as well as other believers placed strategically in my life, I too would be crashing through the woods, chasing after anything that looked enticing. I would be constantly wandering too close to the edge, slipping off into certain spiritual danger.

I’d like to think that I’m a bit more disciplined than my dog. I mean, sure, I still need a leash. I’m still tempted to go places I shouldn’t in my mind; to chase after goals that aren’t His; to wander around with people who won’t lead me any closer to Him. Hopefully, though, it only takes a gentle check of the leash to rein me back to the path. Hopefully, I’m growing to a place where He can trust me to just walk beside Him; always glancing to see where He is leading, striving to please Him. I’m not there, yet, but I hope that’s where I’m headed.

One more thing about my dog…and me, I think. When we got within sight of the house, his ears perked up and he gave me a longing look. I knew what he wanted. “Let’s go, boy,” I said and we raced up the street to the house. We both wanted the same thing: home. He wanted a drink. I wanted to wipe the sweat off my forehead and warm up my legs, but there was no need for me to tell him where we were going. He knew. The same is true for me. When my day comes, when heaven is within site, Jesus and I will be running together, racing towards the goal—eternity together.

Until then, though…I am the dog.

Encouraged Racing

 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2

Hubs is home today, courtesy of the federal government’s observance of President’s Day, and I indulged myself this afternoon by sitting in our bedroom recliner, half dozing, half watching the Olympics, half knitting a dishcloth.  Okay, that’s three halves and doesn’t make mathematical sense, but math was never my strong suit.  Anyway, I was watching the men’s cross-country skiing competitions.  Apparently, there were something like 94 competitors from 50 countries represented in this one race.  The racers take off in 30 second increments with the top 30 or so favorites taking off somewhere in the first 50.  It’s interesting to watch because each man was basically racing against the clock, not against the other racers.  The tenth racer has no way of knowing how the first or 94th competitor has done, so he is skiing somewhat blindly.  Of course, the commentators made sure that we, the viewers, were clued into the international favorites and totally ignored the poor skier from Nepal who was something like 40 years old and had next to zero chance of winning any sort of medal.  They definitely didn’t cover the skier who came in dead last.

At certain points along the course, men and women would run alongside certain skiers and yell out information to them, telling them their times, shouting out encouragement.  I’m guessing the athletes had a mental formula they could plug those numbers into to help them gauge how they were doing and when to apply more exertion or make their move.  This particular race was between 6-7 miles and lasted less than 20 minutes, but the skiers were covering difficult terrain and were at times completely isolated on the trail.  It must have been a welcome sight and sound to see their coaches running and shouting out helpful, encouraging words.

I think about this leg of the race I’m in right now.  The leg where I have small children everywhere and am utterly exhausted most of the time.  This leg where their hands still fit so nicely in mine and I can still pick them all up.  I think about how all the days and nights can run into each other and I can feel like Bill Murray in “Groundhog’s Day.”  I think about how it feels like I’m just trekking along without any real clear evidence that we’re making any progress. In fact, there are days that it seems we are actually going backwards!  Suddenly though, my Coach appears from out of nowhere shouting words of encouragement to me.  His Word is so faithful to me and ministers to this tired mama in ways I didn’t even know I needed.  And someone offers to bring us dinner.  Or watch the children.  Or sends an encouraging card.  Or calls just to say “hello,” and wants to listen and pray.  Or my children show some clear, sure sign that they are growing spiritually. 

And I can keep going.  The race goes on.  I can use that encouragement as fuel. 

I wish they would have shown the skier from Nepal.  I wanted to see him finish.  I wanted to cheer him on, just for finishing, just for staying the course.  I wanted to see the very last competitor collapse in a heap right over the finish line.  Because you just know each of those men did their very, very best and pushed themselves to their physical limits.  They deserved congratulations.

I’m so glad God has promised us words of encouragement:  

21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Matthew 25:21

Thank You, Lord for Your encouragement, for Your Word, for Your faithfulness to me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Finding the Time

To say that it is a struggle for a mom of four under the age of eight to find “quiet” time to study the Word is a little like saying it’s hard to stay dry in a hurricane.  It’s just plain hard.  I can tell you from experience.  I’ve tried all sorts of systems and methods over the years.  Some worked, some were a flop.  But, the important thing was to just keep trying.  In that trying have come some of my sweetest moments of fellowship with the Lord!  Not to say it’s been perfect…far from it!  There have been days, weeks and even (during a very difficult time) a month when reading the Word wasn’t on my radar.  There are reasons, and now is not the time to talk about those, but the reasons don’t seem as important now.  What is important is finding the time to be in the Bible.  Consistently, purposefully and with the intention of allowing God to have greater access to my heart and change me.

I was hunting for some free Bible coloring pages online when I stumbled across a site and had a real “duh” moment.  One of my prayer requests lately has been to find some way of fitting in my Bible reading alongside my children’s learning.  For a lot of reasons (again, not the time to go into those) I need to be studying at specific times and points in our day and week.  I re-discovered Calvary Chapel’s great website for children’s curriculum.  It has 325 individualized Bible lessons and each lesson is centered around a key passage of scripture (listed in chronological order) and contains several worksheets.  The one we printed today to complement our morning devotions was titled “Bread of Heaven” and had a coloring page, passage look-up worksheets, crossword puzzles and word searches.  Basically enough activities for our entire week!  What works great is that Ruthie and I can read the passage together and work through some of the activities and because it is Calvary Chapel, the study is extremely accurate and detailed.  (We happen to attend a Calvary Chapel and I can attest that I have personally received excellent instruction over the past nine years:) )

Anyway, it was such a “duh” moment!  I’ve seen that curriculum numerous times, but never thought to do it with my kids.  It’s been so fun!  We’re all learning–me, probably the most–and we’re learning together.  The Lord has provided the time, and not just time, quality time with my kids in the Word. 

Here’s the link:

Happy studying!

Lord, thank You for answering my prayers.  I know that You hear me and see me and Your desire is to be at work in our family.  Help us to learn.  Help us to grow.  Help us to be all that You have intended.  In Your name, Amen.

The Music of His Promises

It was the perfect temperature. Sunshine, cool autumn breeze. Leaves crunching under my beat-up tennis shoes, I started off walking briskly away from the house, waving to the tow-headed wonders I left reveling in the wonders of our backyard. I turned on my mP3 player. I’d had to dig it out of a junk dresser drawer and make sure it still had batteries. It’s suffered a long nine months of neglect.

As soon as the first song began to play, my plan to walk changed immediately. After a few quick stretches, my stride began to lengthen and my arms began to pump. I couldn’t resist the urge to run. It may as well have been flying. I felt as if I was soaring down the bumpy, bruised sidewalk; gliding through the neighborhood. Freedom… Not that I was trying to escape anyone or anything, but the knowledge that my body was no longer responsible for the tenancy of another person was so liberating.

A block later, though, those late night bowls of ice cream and extra cookies started to make their presence known. My legs were already making complaints and my lungs were not excited about working so hard. But, I pressed on. The music kept me going and I forced my mind to think about something else. Before long, I was somewhere else altogether.

I was standing next to my son’s NICU bed, tears silently streaming down my face, trying not to be angry. Angry that I had not yet seen his face. Angry that I couldn’t hold him. Angry that I was too weak to stand for very long next to him. Angry that I had no child to hold or snuggle or caress. Angry. And then, the music of God’s promises began and my walk of despair turned into running a race of faith.
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
My hands found my sons and I began to pray in those early morning hours, praising God for the way He had fashioned him. Fearfully. Wonderfully.

My memories were interrupted by a friend’s horn honking as she drove past. I turned and headed out a little further from home. I was feeling good and wanted to go a bit farther. In between songs, I could hear the my rhythmic breathing matching the sound of my feet hitting pavement. Thump, thump. Swish, swish.

The sounds my son first heard were not quiet reassurances of his mama, but dinging bells and alarms and the constant rhythmns of life in the NICU. Those same sounds were present the day we had to go home. Without him. I told my husband we had to leave the same way you take off a band aid. Quickly and without lot of thought. As we laid our hands on him to pray once more, my heart was beating too loud and too fast for me to hear anything my husband was saying. My slipper covered, swollen feet made strange shuffling noises as we walked away from his little bed. It was a quick departure, but I was overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions. In my head, I could reason that we needed to go home. I needed to rest and heal. I needed to let my husband take care of me. But my heart kept screaming, “Please, God, no! I can’t leave him here alone! Not my little one. Not my son!” I managed to maintain some composure until we reached the safety of the car and then I broke down. My husband held my hand and kept saying, “It’s okay to cry. Just go ahead and cry.”

Halfway home, the music began again.
“…I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b
“I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4b
I began to silently thank God for His fellowship in our struggle. Grateful that my God understands the deep pain of separation from a child.

I looked up in time to notice I was passing by the house of dear friends. I thought of their own upcoming joy and paused to pray for each of them, asking God to make us a blessing to them as they have been to us.

Loneliness is written on the faces of many parents moving like zombies through the NICU ward. Fear lives close to the surface, covered by a layer of courage. It’s exhausting to sit and watch your child fight. Fight for life. For breath. For warmth. Fight. And the parents fight, too. Fight fear. Fight exhaustion. Fight despair. Fight depression. Fight. Each time I felt as if I had no fight left, that I was about to tumble over the edge, the Lord would send another believer to grab me by the shirt tails and pull me back to safety. Sometimes it was a phone call or e-mail Other times it was a visit to our son’s bedside. Those believers fought, too. They lifted us in prayer. They filled our fridge and our gas tanks. They held our hands and our hearts. They fought for us when we were too tired to fight. And each time they did, the music would crescendo.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2


I was close to home now, my legs and lungs screaming for me to stop, but I had to finish.  I knew I had enough will power to make it just a few more blocks. 

The last few days at the hospital with Samuel were excruciating.  We had been separated from our children for nearly a month.  A long month of no peanut butter breath kisses, no sticky fingers intertwined in mine, no sweaty heads to kiss in the middle of the night, no little bodies snuggled up with me on the couch.  I was a mom in suspension.  My heart ached to hold my babies—all of them together for as long as they would let me.  The hours of each day ticked slowly by, one after the other.  Each day I would wait expectantly for the doctors to tell me he was strong enough to come home and then cry half the hour-long car ride home.  It was agony.  I could console myself that my boy was alive and thriving and would indeed be coming home, but it was torture waiting for that day to come.  God carried me through those days.  And the music soared the day we finally took him home.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice!”  Philippians 4:4

 As I slowed to a walk in front of my house, I could see Charlie and all the children romping in the back yard.  What a beautiful sight!  A wonderful man of God, four healthy, beautiful children.  Tears welled and spilled onto my sweaty cheeks as I’m certain the Holy Spirit interceded for my inward groans of joy.  Words can’t capture the fullness my heart felt.  The sweet melody of His Word can:

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.

Serve the Lord with gladness.

Come before Him with joyful singing.

Know that the Lord Himself is God;

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving

And His courts with praise.

Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

For the Lord is good;

His lovingkindness is everlasting

And His faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

The Dog Jogger–Learning to Follow A Lead

We’ve been enjoying unseasonably warm weather here; so warm in fact, that I chose to run outside the other day. I “suited up” in my favorite sweats, comfy socks, shoes, and my trusty mP3 player. I knew I couldn’t escape the house without the dog, as he seemed to recognize my running gear. He pranced around as usual as I wrestled his leash around his neck and we headed out into the spring-like, January air.

As usual, Elvis was all over the place. First he tried running at full speed. At 50+ pounds, I had to use my body as a counter-weight as he practically pulled me down the sidewalk. Then, as I began to slowly jog, he began running from one side of the walk to the other, criss-crossing in front of me. Every few feet I had to dodge him or the leash or some giant mud puddle he was traipsing through. After my last few experiences with dog jogging (read about one of them here), I figured Elvis would settle down after 10-15 minutes. Not so on this day. After 20 minutes, 2 tripping episodes, a close encounter with another unleashed dog, and several bruises to my body, I decided it was time to take the dog home.

As we walked home, this time with the leash wrapped around my waist and the dog forced to walk beside me instead of in front, I thought about how undisciplined he seemed. It’s like each time we go out, it’s his very first leashed walk; the very first time he’s ever been around other human beings; the very first time he’s seen the world. It seems that each time I run with my dog, the Lord uses that experience to show me something about Himself and about me. Okay, show me, Lord. I know there’s something You want me to see.

As we reached home, I turned Elvis loose in the yard and then hung his leash on the gate. I sensed that the Lord wanted more time with me. Trying to ignore my dog’s sad eyes, I turned and headed back out for another attempt at a good run. I kept thinking about how crazy my dog acts whenever we leave the yard. He’s so out of control. I definitely need to spend more time with him and teach him how to behave! It’s either that, or I’m just not going to run with him anymore.

Yes, daughter, you need to spend more time with Me. You are out of control. If I’m ever going to be able to use you, you will have to learn how to follow My lead. You aren’t going to learn how to follow by watching someone else do it, reading a book, watching a video, thinking about it, or any other way you can come up with. You have to spend time with Me.

Ouch. That stings. Don’t I already spend time with You, Lord? What do You mean by saying I’m out of control?

Do you really want Me to bring up all the ways in which you are not fully allowing me to take care of you? You can’t run long enough for Me to list them.

Good point. Sorry.
It’s just that I thought we were good.

We are. I love You. I love the time we’ve been spending together. But, I have more for you. There are places I want to show you and things I have planned for you that require much greater discipline. You enjoy running with Me, but you still like to pull at the leash and wander around the path. I need you to learn to run right beside Me. I need you to become sensitive to the slightest tug of the leash. You aren’t there yet.

That sounds like a lot of work. I’m not so good at following directions and being patient.

I know.

So, what do I do?

Nothing. Let Me do the work. Just come hang out with Me. Meet Me in the Word. Talk to Me before you open your eyes in the morning. Look for Me to show up through the day. Let Me have all of you and I’ll take care of the rest.

I don’t like change.

I know that, too.

What if I’m too afraid to let You change me?

I will still love you if you never learn to follow My lead better. My love for you will never change. But, I won’t be able to take you with Me to some amazing places because it would be too dangerous and difficult for you.

I don’t like missing out on things.

I know.


Okay, what?

You know what I’m going to say.

I do.

I’m ready to be made ready.

I know. And, now you do, too.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Thank You, God, for speaking to my heart. Thank You for working into me increased sensitivity to what You want to do with me. I do want to be ready for You. Discipline me…I know that is a sign of Your great love for me and evidence that You have not forsaken me. Make me an instrument of Your peace and love and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Running With Endurance

Last week, I ran three days in a row. I know, I know, I learned the hard way that this is not the most effective (or wise) way to begin a running pattern. Thankfully (I think), I came down with a cold Thursday evening that kept me in bed for a few days, so I was off the treadmill for four days. When I got back on last night, I wondered if I would have the will power to actually run or if I would just do a brisk walk and call it quits. I have this history with running, you know. As I let my legs warm up and turned on my mP3 player, I actually started feeling excited about my run. I was so curious to see how my body would respond. It was fun! When I first started running, I was averaging–now bear in mind that I’m in my 30’s and am completely out of shape. No smirks, please–a 15 minute mile and I could barely run that one mile. Last night, I ran 1.6 miles! And, my first mile took 14 minutes and my last .6 mi. only took 6 minutes! As a bonus, I cranked up the treadmill the last 2 minutes just to see if I could run faster, and I could! I actually enjoyed my run tremendously. My legs were still like jelly and I was sweating like, well, like someone who just ran a mile and a half, but I enjoyed the run. It got me thinking…

We’re in this spiritual race. Hebrews says,
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1
While I was nursing my cold, my body was actually building and repairing its tissues and muscles, making me stronger. What appeared to be a time of physical inactivity was in reality a time of great improvement. When I returned to the dreaded treadmill, my body was capable of running faster, further and with more endurance. More endurance…hmmm.

Are you feeling, today, right now, in this moment, like you are not even in the race? Not because you choose not to be (that’s another issue all together), but because the Lord has side-lined you? Do you feel like He has asked you to sit next to the foot path and wait? That can be so frustrating. Especially as you watch other runners sprinting ahead, getting so far ahead they seem to disappear.

Take heart! Jesus knows you and has prepared this race for you, so you can reach the goal, the finish line. It takes endurance, though. Running at full speed day in and day out may seem like the best way to accomplish the goal, but this often leads to spiritual burn-out. Instead, scheduled down time, to build and repair your spiritual muscles, will help increase your endurance. God is so loving and wise. He only lets us see a little bit of the path. If He showed us the deep, lonely valleys or the long stretches of desert or the rocky mountain paths, we would lose heart. He stops us along the way to give us rest, to let our spiritual muscles build, to increase our endurance so we will reach the goal. So we can travel the road ahead. He knows the way. He knows you. He knows what is best. Trust in that.

Thank You, Lord, for giving me strength to run physically and spiritually. Help me to appreciate the times you cause rest for me. Help me to truly rest, instead of railing against Your will. Help me to trust You more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Run The Race…

I’m not a runner. You know that old Biology theory that all creatures have a fight or flight instinct? I’m a fighter, not because I enjoy the fight, but because it requires less movement! Of all the P.E. activities in school and sports I participated in as a youth, whenever running was involved, my legs became heavy and I would groan in my spirit. I’m not a runner.

My 35th birthday is in a few weeks and I’ve started noticing more grey hairs, more mood swings, tighter pants, less energy…generally less overall healthfulness. It wasn’t always like this. I used to enjoy working out and being fit, eating well and feeling better. Somewhere between gaining 55 lbs while pregnant with my first baby and chasing after 3 little ones 5 years later, I realized I had stopped taking care of myself, physically speaking. I retained an average of 6 pounds after each pregnancy times 3 kids…well, you can do the math! The weight isn’t the biggest thing that bothers me; it’s the lack of energy. Some days, I’m tired by 3:00 PM and I’ve got a good 8 hours of the day left!

With a history of high blood pressure and weight gain in my family, I decided this birthday was just the impetus I needed to kick things back into high gear. We own a treadmill so that has been the easiest place to start. I don’t have a lot of time to spend on it, so running (shudder!) is the efficient use of my time. I think I can hear my high school gym teacher snickering around the corner…

As I was huffing and puffing through my 15 minute run today, I was thinking about how good it actually felt to get sweaty and feel my heart pounding. My legs were aching and my hips were begging to know why they were being treated so harshly, but overall, it felt pretty good. I know this new-found interest in being fit was born of the Lord, so I started asking Him about it. He began to show me so many spiritual analogies to the running I’ve been doing in. I don’t have my thoughts collected yet, so I’ll write about those when they are clearer…

When I jumped–no, crawled–off the treadmill, legs like jelly, dripping with sweat, Emma said,
“Mom, why are you running all the time?”
“Well, honey, I just want to be in better shape.”
“What shape do you want to be?”
“No, not that kind of shape. I mean I want to be healthier and take care of the body God gave to me. He wants me to do the best I can with it and use it for Him.”
“Oh.” thinking…. “Does God want you to run a race with your body?”
“Well, in a way. He wants me to keep my muscles and heart and lungs strong and healthy so I can accomplish all that He wants me to. The Bible says we are supposed to “run the good race” which means we are supposed to stay strong in the Lord. Part of running God’s good race and being strong in Jesus is taking care of my body and exercising.”
“Mom, it’s a good thing you started running ’cause I don’t think you were in the race before!”

Oh, brother!

Thank You, Lord, for my body. Forgive me for taking it for granted and not taking care of the gift that it is to me. Thank You for each new breath. Thank You also, for Emma’s words. If there are ways that I haven’t been in the race and been strong for You, strengthen me and GET ME IN THE RACE! I’d rather be hurt running alongside You than comfortable in the grandstands. I choose You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.