Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Are You Ready To Run Your Race?

As he approached the starting line, his heart began to race, taking big deep breathes, he forced himself to stay calm and focused; refusing to allow the nerves to overtake all he'd worked for. He was ready. His coach had been preparing him for this moment for months; hours of stretching and drills to work on the mechanics of his movement. He practiced quick starts off the block, working on the drive phase to maximize his speed in the beginning of the race. He lifted weights daily and ran the same routine over and over again...while his coach continued to instruct, encourage and correct him.

In his mind he'd run this race a thousand times. As the starting official said, "On your marks," he crouched down, getting into position, eyes looking at the finish line with razor like focus. "SET!"  the official shouted. He placed his hands behind the line, up on his finger tips; feet securely pressed against the starting block, hips raised slightly above his shoulders, muscles relaxed as he held his breath. The official raised the gun over his head..."B A N G!" the gun signaling the start. He shot out with one smooth movement, releasing his breath as he pushed with each muscle, each touch of his spikes plunging into the track, propelling him toward victory.  
Life is often like a track meet. God has been helping us, coaching us, training and preparing us daily for the life's big race. We often struggle through the difficulty of our training. There are painful times, moments of fear, failure, rejection, loss, loneliness and darkness. But your trainer, Jesus Christ, is always with you...instructing, encouraging and correcting. Then as you continue to push through, keeping your eyes on the Lord, (your strength) you realize he's prepared you to run this race that is before you. It's not always easy, remember that you're never alone in life's race, the Lord is always with you. He will be with you until its completion. When you're tired, go to a quiet place, sit alone with the Lord, your life coach (in prayer.) Open up His perfect training manual (the Bible), as He reminds you that you are more than equipped for what's ahead of He guides you toward victory!

"Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience"Colossians 1:11

"He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber" Psalm 121:3

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

"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." 1 Corinthians 9:24

Monday, February 20, 2012


I'd been crying as I pulled into the CVS parking lot. I took a moment to collect myself, wiped off the streaking mascara and headed toward the door. Sitting directly to the side was Marie, an African-American lady in her mid to late 50's. She had a bandana tied low on her forehead and a colorful crocheted hat over it. She had long, waste length multicolored braids. She'd been hired to collect money for a homeless shelter & sat with her wooden box and sign. As I approached, she grinned, a sparsely toothed smile, and said, "Oh, I love your hair!" I smiled and said, "Thank you. I'll be donating on my way out." She wasn't going to let me off that easy. She asked, "Who does your hair?" "I do," I replied, "I went to cosmetology school when I was younger so I don't ever like to pay anyone else when I know how cheap I can do it myself."

"OH GIRL, you do good work," she shouted. "Now let me show you something," she leaned towards me and whispered, "I aint never showed anybody."  Lifting the corner of her hat, her hair was only an inch long, with the braids woven into a few spots to give the appearance of long hair. "It's all broken off & I'm so ashamed. When I get some money, I'm gonna get it all fixed up nice, ya know. I don't know why I just showed ya and told ya that," she smiled, adding, "My name's Marie, what's yours?" "Lisa and it's nice to meet you Marie." I said as I smiled. "Lisa, can I ask ya for a favor...would you be so kind as to get me a couple of Advil when you go into the store?" Marie said. "Of course," I said. "God, bless ya sista, I have a terrible headache and have been sick," she gratefully replied. "No problem, we're sister's in Christ and glad I can help you," I told her as I headed inside.

I immediately scanned my discount card & surprisingly received a coupon for Advil, half off! I decided to get her some snacks, a Gatorade and a bottle of Omega 3 vitamins (knowing how much they help your health.) I paid and went out and handed her the bag. She said, "I was thinking about what ya said when ya went in the store, and it's true, we are sista's in Christ and you just blessed me. Where ya headed today?" The tears began to well up as I told her I was on my way to drive straight through to Utah to see my dad who was very sick with lung & brain cancer, and didn't have long to live. With true concern she said, "You're driving all that way by yourself? Let me give ya a hug sista."

As I leaned in to be hugged and comforted by Marie, she began to pray for me. She prayed for a safe journey, for the Lord's protection, for peace and that I'd make it in time. She prayed that Christ's Love would overflow in my life and for my dad. There we were, two people from completely different walks of life, Marie had obviously dealt with homelessness, and drug or alcohol addictions, and yet, she cared for me. She reached out to me in my hurt and brokenness. I asked if I could then pray for her. We stood hugging & praying right in front of CVS. People passed by but for me time stood still. I was given a comforting gift, the loving kindness of a stranger. I in turn was able to be used to bless her also. Two sisters in Christ, being filled with the Holy Spirit as we ministered to each others hurt and brokenness. We were brought together through the Love of Jesus Christ; a Love that penetrates all boundaries, and fills the emptiness with comfort.

As I headed toward my car, Marie shouted and waved, "I love ya sista and I'll see ya soon!"

"For the son of man came to seek and save what was lost." 
Luke 19:10 

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
John 3:8 

Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."
John 5:17

"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."
Lamentations 3:19-26