My Goal Race

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Most of my life, I have dreamed a little bigger than my reality, usually resulting in disappointment and heartbreak. About 16 months ago, after not having run even a mile in 20 years, I discovered that I loved trail running. It didn’t come easily to me. I was slow. But, I loved it. It brought me peace, it connected me in a deeper way to God, and it challenged me. I love a challenge!

After adding a few miles here and there to my runs, I decided that I really wanted to run an Ultra (50k or more). I really don’t know why. I always told myself that I couldn’t run and that I didn’t like running. For whatever reason, the challenge of being on a mountain trail for so many miles and the opportunity to push myself physically while out in nature greatly appealed to me. So, I found a race that I wanted to do and that became my goal. Training for it was not easy. Six kids, homeschooling, a husband and a part-time job made it pretty difficult to squeeze in long runs. Hubby and the kids were amazingly supportive, though!

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This past Saturday was my goal race. Stump Jump, in Chattanooga. It was a beautiful day! I had been pretty under the weather the whole week leading up to Stump Jump, which was stressing me out a little. But, come Saturday I felt mostly better. The race was amazing. Amazing people, amazing trail. Challenging trail! Running has become a very spiritual thing for me. God meets me every time. It is a precious gift He has given me. He was there on that trail. I felt Him in the cool breeze that blew across the top of the mountain and in the warm sun that shone through the trees. I heard Him in the trickling water and the singing birds. And all of the smells of the forest–the flowers, the wet rocks, the earthy ground–He was there. The feel and textures of the different barks on the trees.


“I just ran in awe of all that He has done for me.”


The things I saw with my eyes–so many kinds of flowers, fungus, rivers running between the mountains, moss-covered rocks, knobby tree trunks, little green lizards, huge rock walls, little creeks running down the mountain–all amazing wonders of His creation. I just ran in awe of all that He has done for me. The beauty that He surrounds me with. Not just in the mountains, but in my everyday life. I felt so loved and I felt so known by Him. He created all of this for me. He created all of this and more for everyone! He’s such a good God. I’m so grateful I get to experience Him this way.

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I didn’t finish my 50k. I made it to mile 28.6 and didn’t make the time cut. I was disappointed. I was so close! I was emotional. But I was so thankful! It was an incredible day! I learned so much about myself, about my strengths and weaknesses (both physically and mentally). And I just really enjoyed being out there and experiencing everything I got to experience. I am a little sad that I didn’t achieve my goal, but I will try again. I don’t quit very easily and I’ve got a lot of people on my side.

Walks With My Grandfather

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When I was younger I would walk and the pain in my feet would make me have to stop. I would make it less than a block and have to sit on the side of the road and wait for the throbbing to cease. My grandfather would sit next to me and wait for me to feel better, and then we would walk along. It was him on the outside and me on the balance beam of the curb as he caught me when I slipped. I was happy when I walked with him. The pain was worth it to walk and talk to my grandfather and I always knew that when I needed to sit down, he would always sit with me.

There are days I wish I could walk that neighborhood loop, sit down on that curb and look on the smiling face of my grandfather as he waits for me, but those days are gone now. I’m far from that neighborhood loop and the road I walk now is unfamiliar. It is much harder and filled with trip-ups, snares, and traps, and the number of people I’m walking with dwindles daily. There’s no curb on this road, and it goes against the flow of the majority making it far less popular than the nicely-paved, easy road of the majority.

This way is the way of God. He called me off the paved road and onto the rough path while I was still walking with my grandfather. Some days I try to walk in the right way, but it feels more like I’m in the way. God has tried to call me to walk with Him on His path, but I want to stay where I’m comfortable. I want to stay where I am; in the loop that I know in my neighborhood. I know what the snares look like and I am pretty good at overcoming them. I know the people who are walking here with me, but I cannot move forward because I am in the way and not on the way.

The paved road looks good and feels nice to walk on every now and then. The paths are smooth and the grade is easy. I can walk in any direction I want and there are a lot of people on it. No one tells you what to do or where to go. The more I walk on these paths, the more I want to stay on them. Something inside me feels wrong about this though. The knot in my stomach grows and the voice in my head telling me to move off this road gets louder and louder. Something is wrong about this path and I am told where it leads.


God walks alongside me through His Holy Spirit, living and active with me.


Today, I am walking on a new path. One that is unfamiliar. One that leads in and out of the wilderness, leading me to a small oasis to fill up when I’m running dry. There are new snares,  but on this road, I do not walk alone. The road is narrow and cliffs rest on either side. When my feet begin to hurt, my body breaks down and I need to sit on the ledge, my God sits next to me and smiles as He waits for me to feel better and then we walk along. It’s Him on the outside and me on the balance beam of the narrow way as He catches me when I slip. He is happy when I walk with Him. The pain is worth it to walk and talk with my God, as I see less and less of the paved road, and more and more of the adventure that happens on the narrow road.

This is the way God has called me and I know where this road goes. The more I walk on it, the more I desire to walk with God. The more I walk on it the more I desire to be more like Him and bring others with me, helping them see the dangers of the paved and easy path. I slip and fall but God graciously catches me and puts me back on the right way. God walks alongside me through His Holy Spirit, living and active with me. This is the road Jesus calls us to walk on and He has shown us it is worth it.

Thanking Jesus For Tiny Hands

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Motherhood is quite different than I imagined. It’s tiring and fulfilling. It’s snuggles and screams. It’s sleepless nights and long days. It’s lonely and beautiful. And it’s everything you hoped and more. Truth is, motherhood has taught me that life is meant to be lived raw. To give of yourself and sacrifice when you just want to do something other than nurse and be at home. To take the beautiful things and thank Jesus for them and embrace the hard and thank Jesus for them.

These little lives are gifts given to us for only a short time. And right now I’m just thankful for these tiny hands that hold my whole heart and that have brought joy to our whole family. Because I know – though the days are long…the years are short. And I don’t want to miss a thing in either of the sweet gifts in my life.

Cultivating The Mind Of Jesus

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C. S. Lewis said, “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.” This truth has been reinforced to me in recent days. During a battle with my 11-year-old son, I wondered what Jesus would do in my situation. The words of Philippians 2:5-8 came to mind: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who…humbled Himself.”

The mind of Christ is not a natural fit for me, and each time I embrace meekness, my flesh exalts itself with thoughts of what I “deserve.” In my quest for humility, I am finding out just how prideful I really am. Discouraging as that can be, the lessons I am learning through these
struggles are rich. Thankfully, changed thinking is the first step toward changed behavior! Here are five things I am learning that help me let go of my “rights” and meet my son where he is: Continue reading “Cultivating The Mind Of Jesus”

Momma Prayers

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“The fear of the Lord leads to life and he who has it will abide in satisfaction.” – Proverbs 19:23


It was that “something else” in others that first drew me to a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Although in church all my life, I had been a slave to up and down emotions; falling apart over trivial things, while I watched others stand strong through tragedies. In the midst of really hard stuff, they had peace that made no sense to me. I wanted that. I finally found lasting peace when Jesus became more than a story to me – when I asked Him to be Lord of my life, and when I stepped out in faith to obey Him, even when my emotions said do something else. In fact, I learned to walk in real relationship with Jesus in the midst of intense trial and tragedy in my life. It was through those hard days that God taught me to trust Him for all of my days and where He became my everything – more than enough for whatever life may bring.


Some trials come not because of sin but so Biblical truth can get in us, become forever part of us, and strengthen us for the rest of our lives.


I want this same satisfaction for my kids, yet as much as I want to do so I know I cannot simply tell them about it. Faith is a personal thing to possess. It lives deep inside of us and is part of us. Strong faith can’t be told, it must be lived and grown. I know it must grow in my kids just as it grows in me. Some trials come not because of sin but so Biblical truth can get in us, become forever part of us, and strengthen us for the rest of our lives. And though the flesh in me and my mother’s heart wish it were different, I know the hardest trials cause faith to grow much deeper and stronger than the easy days. I know very few who fell deeply in love with the Savior over their blessings but many, who instead, found Jesus to be their faithful everything during real, gut-wrenching hurt and tragedy. Deep down I know this will be the way for my kids as well. The reality is, if I want my babies, who I love with all my heart, to grow in life-giving, hope-giving real faith, then I know my job is not to rescue my kids from every trial they face. No, my job is to do all I can to point them to the Rock who will be their stand-on-strength and direction all the days of their life, and long after I am gone.

This hard truth has changed my prayers for my kids. I used to pray “momma prayers” – “keep them safe, help them to do well in school, help them to get along with others” and on and on. Yet, my Holy-Spirit-inspired desire for them to love God more than anything, and be blessed by all that brings, has prompted me to ask Him to take them through whatever it takes to know He is enough when all else seems to fail them. That is a hard prayer to pray and especially hard when I see God answering it. Yet, I know if my kids learn at an early age that He is their rock; they will have a steadfast faith that is not easily shaken by life’s ups and downs, sorrows and pain. They will have peace, hope and joy that is not dependent on their circumstances. They will rest in the freedom that comes from living their lives to please God, rather than chasing all the empty things this life has to offer.

Saying all that is one thing. Living it is entirely another. Every fiber of my momma heart wants to rescue my kids from pain. Sometimes I am to do just that, yet other times my job is to stand back and pray and the only way I ever know the difference is by staying at the feet of my Savior who loves my children much more than I ever could. I trust Him so much more than I trust me, not only for my life, but for theirs.

Prayer: Oh Jesus, You are the Rock. Your Word is true. Your presence is peace. I want more than anything for my kids to love You above all else. I pray they will give You glory all the days of their lives. I know You can sustain them when all else seems to fail them. I know You alone can give them real hope, real joy and real peace. May I stay so connected to You that I know moment by moment how to best point them to truth. And give me the courage to ask You to take my children through whatever it takes to love you first…because You love them most. Your plans for them are exceedingly and abundantly more than (even their momma) could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Please be their abiding satisfaction. Thank you Lord. Amen.


Jesus, give me the courage to ask You to take my children through whatever it takes to love you first…because You love them most.


Future Joy

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“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5


Jesus spoke to His followers of both abundant life and of trouble. These two things may seem contradictory, but my experience verifies that God’s children will have both. As I have dealt with the ups and downs of life, particularly of parenting five sons, I have experienced joyful seasons as well as darker times. I learned, with one son’s heart transplant, that a single situation can bring great heartache as well as immense joy. Despite this knowledge, I am sometimes overwhelmed by new difficulties, forgetting that they, too, will culminate with days of rejoicing. When difficult days turn into difficult seasons, it is easy to forget past victories and the promise of future joy. Continue reading “Future Joy”

I’m Not SuperMom

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Recently, I was catching up with a friend, sharing all of the changes to my life (I had several in a few short weeks). She looked at me and said, “Wow, you’re like SuperMom.”

I laughed and casually dismissed the remark.

You see, I have this awesome friend. She has more kids than I can even comprehend caring for on a daily basis. She cooks, she homeschools, she runs them to the various appointments they have throughout the week. She is #momgoals. If anyone is SuperMom, she is. She will of course deny it, saying something along the lines of, “I’m actually just crazy.” But you see, she isn’t SuperMom either. Not really. Because for SuperMom everything is easy. What an incredibly impossible standard to live up to. I’m so glad I don’t have to be SuperMom, and I’m sure she is too. Just being Mom is hard enough, saying ‘yes’ again and again when asked to stretch beyond yourself.

So the next time you see a mom (or anyone for that matter) handling life in a way you can’t imagine, encourage her, but don’t brush it off as being “super”. Know that she’s probably exhausted. She has days that she’s not sure she’ll make it through. And sometimes she just cries because life is HARD. Instead, ask her how you can pray for her and what she needs. Offer to bring her dinner, watch her kids or run an errand. Because I promise you, she’s not “super” on her own.

To The Invisible Moms

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Mother’s Day is still a couple weeks away, but I’ve been contemplating the concept of motherhood. Between a few thoughtless comments made by other mothers and my two boys being moved to more permanent homes, I was feeling less than confident in my identity as a mother. Continue reading “To The Invisible Moms”

The Way Jesus Treats Women

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I was inspired by one of my childhood favorite singers, Brooke Fraser. I was reminded from a post of hers, on International Women’s Day in early March, of the way Jesus treated women, which is the same way He does today and every day. With mercy when our choices fail Him, with grace when we don’t have any left for ourselves, with humility to invite us to Him, and love to pursue us beyond the pits we find ourselves trapped in. Continue reading “The Way Jesus Treats Women”

When Healing Doesn’t Come

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Laying in my bed alone at 3am, I found myself questioning God. This is not something I typically do. I actually have a plaque in my home that says, “Let God Be God!” But on this occasion, I was at the end of my rope, wondering why God would allow my husband’s colon to burst, requiring emergency surgery and a long road to recovery.  This happened just seven months after a tumor was found on his adrenal gland, which required surgery to remove both the gland and tumor.  Continue reading “When Healing Doesn’t Come”