Friday, November 14, 2008


Perseverance--this is the word I feel that the Lord has given me this year as He has whispered to me over and over:

'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.'

This is what I felt He said to me when He led me to run a marathon. This is what I heard whispered to me as I pounded the pavement through my training. This is what I heard Him say to me on that scorching hot, excruciating day in Chicago.

As I ran the last six miles of the marathon, I was not prepared for the agony that my body would experience. I was not prepared for the pain that I could not get away from, no matter if I was running, walking or stopping and stretching. It was 100% torture. The pain was in full force and there was no getting around it--I had to move through it. I had to keep going.

Post marathon, I realize the mistake I made through that last painful hour. I took my eyes off of Jesus and focused completely on the pain. And as I focused more and more on how awful it was it became worse and worse and bigger and bigger. Remember the scripture cards I was determinedly going to carry and pray through as I ran? Did I pray through them once during those last six miles? Nope! In fact, they felt so heavy in my hands I almost through them down.

'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.'

He whispered it to me--but I chose to focus instead on the circumstances of the moment.

Perseverance. The Lord has opened my eyes to a deeper appreciation and meaning of this word and what it looks like to actually do it. Running a marathon gave me a real, tangible definition to associate with this word. It has given me a little glimpse of the agony and torture that Jesus endured for us on the cross. It has given me a backdrop against which to lay the difficulties and troubles that arise in everyday life:

I am going through my homeschooling day and coming up against all kinds of obstacles...I am about to throw my hands up in the air. Suddenly, I hear that gentle whisper: 'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.' I am reminded of what it took to make it through those last six miles. I see Jesus up on the cross. My obstacles don't seem so difficult anymore.

Eric goes out of town for several days. On day four, loneliness starts to set in and one of the children get sick. I begin to let it defeat me and the whisper is so faint I almost miss it: 'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.' I am reminded of the marathon. I see Jesus up on the cross. Once again, I get perspective on this momentary trouble and fight through it.

We came with Eric on a business trip and arrived last night. I geared up for staying in a hotel room with our five children. What I hadn't gearup up for was a stomach bug that hit me and one of our children, keeping us up most of the night. Today, I felt lousy. The last place I wanted to be was in a hotel. The last thing I felt like doing was all of the activities we had planned the night before. But I had no choice. I had five little ones counting on me. I felt the way I felt after the marathon--achey and flu like. It took me back to that day and again, I thought about that race. I heard the words of my Lord: 'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.' As I forced myself through each step today I kept picturing those last miles. I kept picturing Jesus and the agony He endured. Everytime I pictured it, my current circumstance seemed a little bit smaller.

During my training, I heard so many people bewilderly say, 'that is so crazy--I just don't understand why you would want to put yourself through that.' They thought running a marathon was looney. But, I wouldn't trade anything for what I've learned through it. I have learned how to buck up and endure through chaotic days with my children. I have learned how to keep going when I am really tired in the middle of our school day. I have learned how to reach inside of me and pull more out when needed. I have learned more about relying on Jesus when there is nothing left in me to keep going. I have learned a little bit more about persevering.

We are told in God's Word that in this world we will have pain and suffering. Suffering is an invitation to know Jesus better. I am glad I took the challenge and ran the race. I am glad that I learned a little more about suffering. Today, I feel closer to Jesus. I leave you with the words of Paul:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They doi it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 cor. 9:24-2

'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.'

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