Category Archives: Gratitude

begin.

A really special book launches tomorrow, and the fact that I’m part of it is a dream come true in more ways than one.

Just six months ago, I had been thinking and praying about our generation’s need for more voices to speak life and truth and practical spiritual application into the hearts of women. More voices pointing women straight back to the voice of the One who knows us most and loves us best.

And then Elizabeth called.

She described a project she was working on — which happened to be EXACTLY WHAT I HAD BEEN TALKING TO GOD ABOUT. And she invited me to join her and a few others in writing it.

You guys. Sometimes, God lets YOU be part of the answer to your prayer. I could cry every time I think about it. This book is so important, so timely, and so beautiful.

If your soul is weary, and you know you need something - but you can't quite put your finger on what - it may be time to simply... begin.

Friends, if your soul is weary, and you know you need something – but you can’t quite put your finger on what – it may be time to simply… begin. It’s true for so much in life, and especially in our relationship with Jesus: begin. Period. It doesn’t even need a fancy uppercase letter.

Begin where? Great question.

As Elizabeth describes, begin. will give you the basics of spiritual disciplines and then get you quickly on your way to actually practicing them.  Following a few non-bossy suggestions, you will be provided with 40 days’ worth of readings to help you tend to your soul – that inner life that so often goes unnoticed and neglected, and yet is the most important part of you.

So, what are you waiting for!? Jump in with both feet or stick your little toe in — it’s your call, but whatever you do: begin.

If your soul is weary, and you know you need something - but you can't quite put your finger on what - it may be time to simply... begin.

Click image to purchase your copy today.

The Marathon: HIGH FIVES FOR EVERYONE!

I recently ran my second marathon, and, considering my Top Three Love Languages are 1. Words of Affirmation, 2. Words of Affirmation, and 3. High Fives, it’s no surprise that Marathon Day was the best. day. ever.

Consequently, the only suitable way to recall said marathon is with an outpouring of thanks and gratitude to some of the unsung heroes of the day:

Thank you, Marriott employees, for re-labeling the men’s restroom to become a 2nd ladies’ room. Because ladies stop being ladies when it’s 10 minutes to the starting gun and the bathroom line is 73 deep.

Thank you, kind people collecting discarded clothing at the starting line. Hoodies were flying left and right in those first steps, and it was nice to know it would all be cleaned and donated.

Thank you, ringers of cowbells and makers of signs. Thank you, in particular, to the makers of the following signs:

motivational sign

 

Enough said, really.

 

 

 

free banana

 

Not entirely inaccurate.

 

 

 

your mom

 

(I know you don’t get it, Mom.)

(Yes, it’s inappropriate.)

(And really funny.)

 

Thank you, tall skinny man running in front of me on the bridge. Though he be skinny, he be blocking some wind.

Thank you, o husband of mine, for handing me a bottle of flat Coke (a.k.a. Sweet Nectar From Heaven) at mile 17. Also, thank you, kind woman who took the bottle from me a block later and promised to dispose of it properly so as to keep me from being a total litterbug.

Thank you, little girl handing out Krispy Kreme donuts at mile 18. May the Lord richly bless you and your household tenfold for generations to come.

Thank you, every. single. child. who reached out for a high five. YOU’RE ALL MY FAVORITES.

Thank you, people who yelled, “You’re almost there!” at mile 19. You’re a bunch of well-meaning liars. You are not my favorites.

marathon bib

 

Thank you, person responsible for printing my name on my bib, and thank you, every single blessed person who cheered for me by name. I know you didn’t actually know me, but at mile 20, who gives a rip?

 

Thank you, two girls who simply yelled in high-pitched voices, “You’re SOOOO PRETTY!” to each and every runner. Although your sobriety was questionable at best, let’s be honest: who DOESN’T like to be called pretty at mile 21?

Thank you, feet, for faithfully carrying my body, mile after mile. After mile. Even though I distinctly remember thinking at mile 23: “I can’t feel my feet…. Suck it up. WHO NEEDS FEET!?” (I take it back. I need you, feet. I do.)

Thank you, finish line volunteers who placed a medal around my neck, a drink in my hand, and a blanket over my shoulders. And thank you, kind veteran runner standing nearby who reminded me to STRETCH and KEEP MOVING as my hips and quads locked the heck up.

Thank you, nice lady who let me borrow your cell phone to call my husband when I couldn’t find him after I finished. You were undeterred by my sweaty, salty state, and I am grateful.

marathon pic square

 

 

Thank you, photographer who got this shot of me somewhere around mile 25.

 

 

 

See that joy on my face? That is the face of a woman who is close enough to the finish to know she is not only going to reach her goal and qualify for the Boston Marathon, but she is also going to NOT POOP HER PANTS. And THAT, my friends, is a victory we can all be thankful for.

To run with patience.

Is there a phrase or a Bible verse you’ve heard so many times you go on auto-pilot when you hear it repeated?

As a runner, I’ve long had a bit of Scripture tucked away with special affection: let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us...  I grasp for it when I push for the finish line in an actual race or need a swell of courage in the face of adversity.

That being said, I haven’t felt pressed to call upon “perseverance” lately. Perseverance calls to mind overcoming something difficult or momentous — a fight or a battle. But I haven’t felt like the world is coming against me. I don’t feel like I have a big finish line on the near horizon.

I’m just kind of… in the middle.

And then I saw it. The same familiar verse, translated nearly identically, but one word jumped off the page and shoved me right out of auto-pilot:

“And let us run with PATIENCE the race that is set before us…” (Heb 12:1, KJV)

Life doesn't always feel momentous. Sometimes you're just... in the middle. Here are 3 important keys to living well on the long road.

Patience.

It’s not so different from perseverance, really. But the word stirs something different in me. Patience calls to mind the miles nobody asks about. The middle 15 of the marathon. The flat road that isn’t necessarily hard but it’s there, and it’s just kind of… in the middle.

Sometimes the Lord gives me a “theme word” for a season of my life. Last year, hands down, the word was courage. So far this year, it looks like PATIENCE may be the word. (Gulp.)

What does it mean to run with patience?

Well, to run WITHOUT patience means two things. Either:

1. You speed up because you’re excited or nervous, and you blow up your pace, compromising your ability to make it up the next hill, let alone to the finish line.

2. You drop out because you’re bored or distracted, and you can’t really remember why you ever thought this was important to begin with.

So, how do we run with patience and avoid blowing up or dropping out?

We must:

1. Embrace the process.  Whatever you’re doing, there’s always going to be a “middle” in there somewhere. And if you’re staring down at your feet, or just an arms-length ahead, the middle can look pointless, confusing, or just plain boring. Keep your head up — looking around and ahead doesn’t have to be a sign of distraction. It can be an act of gratitude. The Bible says to fix our eyes on Jesus. Where do you see Jesus?

2. Identify priorities. The “middle” is an easy place to check out and just go through the motions — and some important things can be missed. It’s crucial to fuel well during this time — if you wait until you’re thirsty or woozy from dehydration, you’ve waited too long to fuel. What re-fueling stations do you need in place to keep you on pace for the long haul?

3. Silence perfectionism. “I’m not going to do it unless I can do it right.” This sounds like a solid mantra – until it paralyzes you in perfectionism and procrastination. There are some things you’d love to do, but perhaps you can’t do them “all the way” in this season of life. Stop crippling yourself with a misguided assessment of what matters and what doesn’t. Instead of shelving your dreams until you can pursue them “all the way,” declare this your training ground. How can you log miles in this season?

Let’s encourage one another to run with patience – and live well on the long road. Share your thoughts in the comments!