Friday, August 28, 2009


A couple of months ago, Eric competed in a half iron man. This triathlon consists of swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and running 13.1 miles. Only one triathlon surpasses this one--the full Iron Man. Yes, that would be twice this distance--swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles. A full iron man on average takes at least twelve hours to complete. Thus, Eric hoped to complete the half in six hours. This triathlon was the first one of such magnitude for him ever to attempt. He was ready, though. He had put in the hours and trained hard. Now it was time to perform.

As the race approached, it appeared that all the odds were stacked against him. First of all, he was out of town for work most of the week beforehand. Secondly, he caught a flu virus that had affected some of our children in the prior week. Traveling in and of itself can be exhausting, but traveling while you are sick is just plain miserable. As he left for Boston on Monday, he had chills and body aches. As the week progressed, his fever broke but he began coughing and hacking up phlegm. "At least the fever is gone," I thought optimistically. The fever came back, though, on Thursday night as he traveled home. On Friday, the day before the triathlon, Eric's temperature was 101. He had chills. He was hacking left and right. He was miserable.

Not only did Eric have the sickness to contend with, he also had to contend with the naysayers--his wife being one of them! Myself and a few other female family members :) , while having the best intentions, weren't encouraging. We threw questions and comments out there like: 'Are you sure this is a good idea?' 'You're going to go ahead and go through with this?' 'You're going to wind up in the hospital!' Mind you, our questions and comments came from concern and love for him--we didn't want him to suffer more and wind up even sicker. Looking back, though, I realize now that all it did was cast doubt and discouragement on the already grim situation.

By Friday evening, as I realized that this guy was going to compete in this race, come hell or high water, I wholeheartedly got behind him and determined that he was going to need our prayer support every step of the way. As I left him a note to read prior to running the next morning, I asked God for just the right words. God impressed upon me to remind him that it was going to be God's supernatural strength--not his own--that would get him through the race. Philippians 4:13 never seemed more tangible as I wrote the words on his card 'You CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you!' and 'He is your strength in your weakness!'

The next day, the kids and I spent the day going to different spots along the race route to cheer Eric on. Once again, I was reminded of the excitement of watching a race of sheer endurance. There is nothing quite like cheering on people who have put in hours and hours of preparation. We yelled and cheered until our voices were hoarse. Watching Eric come across the finish line was exhilarating, to say the least. He finished in 5:52, beating his goal of six hours. I can't imagine the amount of satisfaction he must have felt.

Can you believe that Eric did not cough one single time throughout that race? No, not one time. God definitely was His strength and sustained him during that race. I thought about whether or not I would have stuck it out if I had been that sick. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have. I would have thrown in the towel and then missed out on what God wanted to do. My husband really etched a picture in my mind that day of what true perseverance looks like. True perseverance happens when all odds are stacked against you. True perseverance happens when you dig down deep and muster it up when it feels like you've got nothing left to give. True perseverance is staying the course no matter what is thrown your way. It's keeping the faith. It's standing strong until the end.

My husband's steadfastness conquered a triathlon that day. My prayer is that these lessons learned physically will transfer over into our spiritual lives. I yearn for us to live our lives intentionally for the Lord. I yearn to do the hard things--whatever those things might be. I yearn to not shrink back and bow out due to fear. I yearn to give it our all and never throw in the towel. I yearn to face suffering head on without complaint or whine. I yearn to rely on the Lord's strength through and through. I keep writing, but my time's up. The dishes are calling my name.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Living it Out

The Lord is speaking directly into my life this morning. I would go as far as to say that He is shouting it. It is pretty elementary, really. He is telling me, basically, 'Don't just read about the Christian life, but DO IT! Don't just talk the talk, WALK THE WALK!'

This morning He spoke it through my devotional: 'The moment you forsake the matter of sanctification or neglect anything else on which God has given you His light, your spiritual life begins to disintegrate within you. Continually bring the truth out into your real life, working it out into every area, or else even the light that you possess will itself prove to be a curse....If you say you are sanctified, show it....your theology must work itself out, exhibiting itself in our most common everyday relationships. Our Lord, "...unless your righteousness exceeds the righteous ness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20).'

Am I living out God's Word practically? Is it coming out in the nitty grittiness of every day life? What comes out of me when I am squeezed--lemon or lemonade? Am I patient when my children push or try me? Do I speak out of anger or out of love? Such questions could go on and on and on and the answers wouldn't be adequate. ...Ugh...ugh...ouch...

I groan in my the fullness of my humanity. I am sick in the pit of my stomach over my sin. My answers are inadequate but you Lord are more than adequate. I may fall and fail, but you never do. I rest in the fact that your love covers a multitude of sins. I rest in the fact that you cover me! That you pick me up and save me! Please, please, please--I beg you--sanctify me through and through.. I love you, sweet Jesus.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I hurt somebody's feelings yesterday. Until I could resolve it, I spent two hours sick to my stomach and my thoughts going everywhere. The situation became huge in my head and I couldn't get it out of my mind until it got made right. It made me so sick to my stomach that I wanted to throw up. It was the worst feeling ever. I never want to go through that again. I am so thankful that it was resolved quickly; I couldn't have lived that way for very long!

This morning, my devotional hit me right between the eyes:
'Repentance does not cause a sense of sin--it causes a sense of inexpressible unworthiness. When I repent, I realize that I am absolutely helpless, and I know that through and through I am not worthy even to carry His sandals. Have I repented like that, or do I have a lingering thought of possibly trying to defend my actions? The reason God cannot come into my life is that I am not at the point of complete repentance.' Oswald Chambers

Even though I am so unworthy, I am thankful to serve a God who is completely worthy. And I am thankful to have family and friends who love me even when I say or do something stupid. Mostly, I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for taking on my sins (and all of mankind's, for that matter) so that I never have to bear them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Quotes this week that have got me thinking....

  • "Under conviction of worldliness, many well meaning persons have simply transferred their huge egos from the world to the church. BEWARE OF SPIRITUAL AMBITION. We are most useful to God when poured free of self and full of Christ." --Beth Moore
  • "The true character of the loveliness that speaks for God is always unnoticed by the one possessing that quality. Conscious influence is prideful and unchristian. If i wonder if I am being of any use to God, I instantly lose the beauty and the freshness of the touch of the the Christian life, godly influence is never conscious of itself. If we are conscious of our influence, it ceases to thave the genuine loveliness which is characteristic of the touch of Jesus." "Blesses are the poor in Spirit..." Matthew 5:3 (prior quote--Oswald Chambers)
  • "Must life be considered a failure for someone compelled to stand still, forced into inaction and required to watch the great, roaring tides of life from shore? No--victory is then to be won by standing still and quietly waiting. Yet this is a thousand times harder to do than in the past, when you rushed headlong into the busyness of life. It requires much more courage to stand and wait and still not lose heart or lose hope, to submit to the will of God, to give up opportunities for work and leave honors to others, and to be quiet, confident and rejoicing while the busy multitiude goes happily along their way. The greatest life is: "after you have done everything, to stand" " (Eph. 6:13) --J.R. Miller
  • "I am learning that if I am having trouble submitting to my husband, it actually comes down to the fact that I am having trouble submitting to my Lord." --my friend, Kathy Franklin
  • "For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved." --Richard E. Stearns version of Matthew 25:42-43