Endurance: The Race of Life

At a meager five foot two inches and built more like a stocky softball player than a runner, I’m sure I stuck out at my first half marathon training run. As I looked around at all the Garmin watches, hydration belts, compression socks, and dry-tech t-shirts I knew I was out of my league. These people were bona fide runners and I was a naïve stay-at-home mom with twenty pounds of extra body fat and a motivation to rise above the monotony of my life. As beads of salty sweat poured from my face and stung my eyes I mentally berated my girlfriend for talking me into this hellish endeavor. Who in their right mind would train for a half marathon in the heat of a Florida summer? Not to mention I was NOT a runner! Two grueling miles later I concluded my first training with the surprising realization that my boobs, my crotch, my butt, and even my ankles were capable of leaving substantial sweat marks. Could I really do this? Four short months later I found out that YES, I COULD DO IT! Overnight I became a metal wearing, bumper sticker sporting–half marathon racer! During the race, the Lord began to show to me a striking resemblance between physical endurance and spiritual endurance. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” I desired to run my race with endurance and finish strong…but how? Using the visual of a race here are seven ways to help fulfill a calling and move closer to a goal. Each of these areas will be a chapter in Endurance: The Race of Life. 1.  TRAINING I marvel at hardcore runners, they are always tweaking and altering things to improve their personal record. As Christians we must do similar things to strengthen our relationship with the Lord. Try increasing the frequency or duration of these spiritual endurance building activities. Pray……….Read the Bible…….. Fast……….Give……….. Bless others (including your enemies)   2. STARTING LINE We have all toed an arbitrary starting line at one time in our life. As we reflect on the events that have led to that moment our minds instinctively begin to calculate our readiness. Tony Robbins was spot-on when he said, “I’ve come to believe that all my past failures and frustrations were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.” The starting line induces thrill and fear. Check back on September 9th to learn more about the starting line!   3. REFUELING STATIONS This one is not that complicated. Runners need food and water to complete a long distance endurance race. Christians need the Bible and prayer to sustain their spiritual pace. It is a horrific sight to witness a marathon runner collapse a few feet before the finish line because of dehydration. Christ is our “living water,” we should drink of him daily! Near the refueling stations you will typically find a restroom. When necessary get some much-needed relief. A refreshed mind and soul  handles stress and adversity better. Are you properly refueling your spirit? When is the last time you rested? Learn more on September 16th!   4. BOUNDARIES Simply stated…Boundaries keep us on track! Join the conversation on September 23rd as we discuss the importance of setting healthy boundaries.   5. RUNNING BUDDIES There comes a time in everyone’s training when you decide to push harder and go further then you have ever gone before.  It is in these moments that you need someone to come along side of you and encourage you to keep going.   You need a buddy run! Pick your buddy wisely! I have found during my training’s (and throughout my life) there have been a variety of people who have come alongside of me.  Some of these people will push and challenge you in unexpected ways.  Whereas others slow you down and psych you out mentally.  September 30th will be Buddy Run day! 6. OBSTACLES Obstacles are precisely why so many people stop short of personal goals. Think back on your last few New Year resolutions.  Did the price of a gym membership derail your weight loss goals? Was your daily devotional time permanently postponed due to illness? What caused you to throw in the towel on your resolution? Was it because of an obstacle or trial? Romans 5:3 tells us to, “rejoice when we run into...

I’ve Been Nesting…

I’ve Been Nesting…

My delightful, spunky friend Cynda Harris from Grow Life Inc. calls herself a spiritual midwife. She helps women give “birth” to the dreams and visions the Lord has placed in their heart. Last week… I had the uncontrollable urge to nest. I needed a place for my creativity and passion to live. I longed for a sanctuary within the four walls of my home. As any good mother would do, I evicted a child from her room to create a nursery (some may call it a home office) for a dream the Lord was ready to birth!   Rewind 18 months… My restless mind could not shake the feeling that I needed to use my gift of teaching. As I searched the Lord for direction an unexpected idea began to take shape in my soul. …I could write a book… The thought was exciting and terrifying at the same time! Before I knew it confirmations rolled in at an alarming rate. As my insecurities grappled with my calling, the conversations I had with God went something like this… But [Jayde] pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled [and my fingers won’t type the words].” Then the Lord asked [Jayde], “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say and [write].”    –  Exodus 4:10-12   The ideas for the book began to percolate in my mind. For a solid year the Lord flooded my soul with content and ideas for the book. I took copious notes. After a year of God speaking to me on a daily basis I ended up with 38 pages of a book and PILES of notes. I wasted tons of valuable time explaining to God why I was not cut out for the job. Career changes put my writing on hold for months but the dream never died.   Last May, I decided to take a bold move and sign up for She Speaks, a writer’s and speaker’s conference held in North Caroline.  For one solid hour, I was BRAVE enough to say yes to my calling! During that hour I paid for my conference, signed up to meet with a publisher, bought a plane ticket, and reserved a rental car!   Two hours later…I was researching cancellation policies. After thorough review of the fine print it was decided…the only way of getting out of this one would be the death of an immediate family member and you better believe I wasn’t praying for that! I spent the next six weeks kicking myself for spending all that money.   Two weeks before the conference I had a “come to Jesus moment.” God began to reshape my thinking. I turned my focus towards the women that will be blessed because of this book. I prayed for them, I cried for them and I began to write for them. I spent the next ten days piecing together a book proposal to present to the publishers at the conference.   Fast forward to Saturday, July 27th…   First Publisher Meeting – 10 AM: As I sat outside the publisher’s office I felt a piece and rested assurance that this book was going to get written with or without a publisher. I was not walking into the room alone…the Lord placed me there.   I passionately presented my idea.   I articulately answered all her questions.   She REALLY liked the idea!   Then came the “but”…The readership on my blog was not big enough. I needed a national audience.   I was rejected!   Can you believe that the rejection didn’t even faze me?! In that moment, I was brave enough to fail and that in and of itself was a monumental accomplishment! I proudly walked away knowing a person’s opinion cannot strip me of my calling. Second publisher meeting – 11:45 AM: Again I felt complete peace while I sat waiting. Scripture raced through my mind “…he is made strong in my weakness…” (2 Corinthians 12:9) and “…he who began a good work in you will see it through to completion…,” (Philippians 1:6).   Again…   I passionately presented my idea.   I articulately answered all her questions.   She REALLY liked the idea!   Then came the… “Here is my business card. I am...

A Heartbroken Five Year-Old

A Heartbroken Five Year-Old

The late afternoon thunderheads were beginning to build outside my car window while a hail storm of tears ranged on inside. For a solid hour my heartbroken five year-old daughter hysterically wept. Her best friend moved to Oregon two days ago and the reality of the situation was finally setting in. Lela was swimming in the heaviness of her first broken heart. I felt helpless because there was so little I could do to ease her pain. As a mom, I knew this would be the first of many heart breaks to follow. I did not want to patronize her tender emotions with false hope. I was searching for a way to help my little one work through this hurt. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a beautiful rainbow appearing across the sky. Thank you Lord for that rainbow! We pulled over and for ten minutes watched as this magnificent arch filled the sky with hope! God was renewing Lela’s hope. He was promising her new friendships. Just as the rainbow was drifting out of sight Lela joyfully declared, “Mom, I feel love shooting out of that rainbow straight into my heart! My tummy is a little sad but my heart is happy!” Change and heartbreak can produce a storm of emotions in anyone’s life. At times these sorrows can feel like a hurricane, downpour, or light shower. Seeing heartbreak through the eyes of a five year-old has taught me a few things… Allow yourself sometime to grieve. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us there is a time for everything including morning (Ecc. 3:4). Here is the important part…remind yourself about the promises of God! Dive into the word, pray and reread old journals. Take a moment to stare into the “sky.” You will see the rainbow beginning to appear as you surround yourself in His Word and His presence! Here are a few scripture references to get you started.  Philippians 1:6, Matthew 5:4, Revelation 3:20, John 14:27, and 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Lela said it best, “My tummy is a little sad but my heart is happy.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says it like this, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The following morning Lela’s first question out of her mouth was, “Do I start my new school today?” I laughed when I realized even five year-olds try to rush God’s timing! Lela will only have to wait a few weeks before she sees the promises of God being fulfilled in her life. For others of us it may take years before we see the fulfillment. Rejoice in Him because, “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6). Share...

Embracing Imperfection by Tracey Metzger

Embracing Imperfection by Tracey Metzger

Tracey Metzger, from For the Girls International wrote an inspirational blog that spoke to my heart today. Click here to read more about “Embracing Imperfection.” Share...

Grappling with Grace

Grappling with Grace

Do you want to know one of my secrets? I don’t understand the grace of God. Sure I have head knowledge about it and I could quote a few scriptures but in all honesty I don’t get it down deep in my soul. I know how to show grace to others (most of the time) but I don’t know how to give myself grace. Moreover, I struggle with receiving God’s grace and the grace of others. A few months ago I began to pray that the Lord would teach me about grace. I knew that this prayer could be risky (Its kinda like praying for patience) but I went for it. A few weeks later a friend gave me a book called “Grace for the Good Girl.” SCORE! God was totally going to teach me about grace through a book! Sweet…no trail or difficult transition to learn from. God finally let me off easy…or so I thought. I was very wrong. He wanted me to learn, grow and apply grace to my life. How was he going to do this? My “hands-on grace training” has come in the form of a new job. I wasn’t looking for a job but He placed one in my lap. It was one of those glorious moments were you look up into the heavens, throw your hands in the air and say with exhilaration… “UMMM DO I GET A SAY IN ALL OF THIS?!?!” God perfectly orchestrated every aspect of this job (I’ll share more about that soon) I had no other choice than to say yes. Four weeks into the new job and I am knee-deep in mommy guilt. I’m pretty sure I’ve become a horrible wife/sister/friend/daughter. To top it all off my house is gross. My daughter told me yesterday, “Mommy you need to do laundry the pile is getting REALLY high!” My condemnation is running high…I spent the last hour (or three…who’s counting) ruminating old failures. I mentally berated myself for messing up so many friendships lately and lectured myself about my parenting weaknesses. Please tell me I’m not alone…have any of you had these ridiculous conversations in your head too? I wish my brain came with a pause button! God is doing a work in me…I have no answers tonight but…Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds me that… “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” As I head off to bed tonight I take comfort in the fact that God has freely given me grace. If I keep seeking, grace will be my guide!   The grace tree image was found at http://thomasg1971.blogspot.com/2011/11/what-does-grace-of-god-mean.html   Share...

The Journey from Stay at Home Mom to Working Mom

The Journey from Stay at Home Mom to Working Mom

The craziest thing happened Monday morning. I woke up, got dress, left the house without my kids and became a working mom! At five years old I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up…A Mom! This direction has never really changed. In high school I use to pretend like I had huge career plans and lofty dreams. My friends wanted to be doctors and lawyers. I wanted to be a wife and a mom! For the last six years I have been “Living My Dream” as my husband likes to say. My “dream” has involved tantrums and triumphs, messes and milestones, sleeplessness and sweet surprises. I have loved (almost) every minute of mommyhood. Over the last few months, little by little, the Lord has prepared me for a new chapter in life. I am on a journey from stay at home mom to working mom! The next few months will be speckled with highs and lows as I settle into this new rhythm of life. God’s Grace will be my guide as I traverse this new territory. Grace is my theme for the coming months. I have a lot to learn in this area and I welcome your comments as I grapple with grace.   Share...

The Ups and Downs of Hills

My early memories revolve around countless hilltop adventures! My childhood house was perched upon a hill. I would spend the summer rolling down it’s soft, green grass and the winter sledding down it’s slick, snowy slopes. My grandparents owned 80 acres of property in Northern Michigan. The land was full of rolling hills. Each hill had its own unique qualities. There was Strawberry Hill which was perfect for picnicking. The front hill was the best for sledding because it was the steepest. The old stone cabin hill held a piece of our family heritage. On that hill sat my great grandfather’s house. It was also the perfect hill for hunting. To this day, my favorite thing to do on steep high hills is to drive up them as fast as possible. Speed coupled with a downward decent produces a butterfly effect in the pit of my stomach. That is one of the best feelings in the world! For the past 23 years I have lived at sea level. I miss my hilltop adventures but I don’t miss the climb to the top! Before the fun could begin there was always the grueling journey uphill. My tiny legs would ache, my shoulders would slump forward, and my breath would become labored. My endurance was tested with each climb. Here is what I have discovered about the journey uphill. It hurts! Muscles you didn’t even know you had      will ache. No hill is just alike. The incline, terrain, and height      of every hill is different. You will get winded and want to give up. Going      back down will be tempting but the reward at the top will be well worth      the effort. Gravity will be against you. (But GOD is for you!) The joy of a hill is that there is always a top. Once you reach that summit the view, the beauty, and the majesty make the pain worthwhile. Very rarely does life resemble the flat smooth, beach front landscape of Florida. Life is more like my grandparents 80 acres. It is full of hills and valleys, forests and clearings, creeks and rivers. Each landscape comes with its own share of joy and hardship. Where are you in your spiritual journey? In the valley Traveling uphill On the hilltop On a slippery slope downhill Gracefully descending down one hilltop and moving on to another? Or you could be in a totally different place…those are just all the creative hill analogies I could think of : ) I found this quote this morning, “Be a hill seeker! Most of us try to avoid hills, but what’s so good about flat? Think about it: flat tires, flat hair, flat returns and – the ultimate – flatlining. Life happens on the hills. They’re opportunities to prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you ever imagined. If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.” With Christ by your side you can conquer any hill! Share...