In the Same Boat

One of my favorite things to do in college had really nothing to do with college itself, but rather with one of the over 10,000 lakes in the state of Minnesota. To me, there was nothing more peaceful than walking the perimeter of my beloved Como Lake.  It didn’t matter the season….I simply found the presence of the water to have a calming effect on my very hectic life.  It was also a chance to escape the big city life and commune with nature.

It’s ironic then, I suppose, that I currently live in a desert, where walking by water either means being near a canal or passing by the neighbors’ yard when the sprinklers happen to be on. But today, I had a chance to walk around a lake in Sugarland, Texas – an opportunity I was not about to pass up. I enjoyed observing things I don’t get to see in the desert:  snowy-white herons posing like statues near the water’s edge, large blue dragonflies buzzing about the trail, and a scattering of ducks sunning themselves on the grassy bank. As I crossed over the bridge to the opposite side of the lake, my eyes caught sight of a small, lone turtle. I stopped and watched him for a few moments.  Poor turtle.  All alone and attempting to paddle against the natural current. Not really getting anywhere. He could use a buddy, I thought. “I feel your pain little guy,” I said aloud as I continued to walk over the bridge.

Being single is OK.  Sometimes.  But it’s not exactly where I thought I would be in my life at this point.  And truthfully, it’s not where I want to be permanently. I didn’t plan on being divorced or choose it, like most toilet-on-the-sidewalk moments.  But life has definitely taught me that you don’t always get to chose what happens to you.

I continued on the trail, thinking about that little turtle and hoping to find another turtle, this time with a companion. You know, as a sign of hope from God for the future?  I never did see what I was looking for. Only because God had something even better for me to see.

Out of the corner of my eye, they came into view: a pair of rowers, gliding silently through the water. Every perfectly synchronized motion looked effortless, but I could see quite a bit of strength and teamwork went into that scene.  And they were going against the current. Together. In the same boat.

I’m not going to lie. Part of me felt jealous watching that scene. Because that’s what I want. Not literally, of course.  Lord knows me rowing an actual boat would be rather disastrous. But I do want someone to choose to come alongside of me, climb in the boat and be my rowing partner through life.

I stared at those rowers for a bit, as they easily made a turn and gracefully went under the arches of the next bridge.  “I want someone in my boat, God,” I whispered under my breath.

And as God often does, He speaks truth into my life through music. Through my Pandora station. Right into the earbuds in my ears. Because this is what I heard so clearly God speaking to my heart:

“From the need to be understood, from the need to be accepted, from the fear of being lonely, deliver me, O God.  And I shall not want. When I taste your goodness, I shall not want.”

 

Oh, how I forget the goodness of God all too easily! There is nothing to want, because God provides all I need for this day. And the next. And the next.

There is no doubt in my mind that not I’m alone in this boat called life.  God is in the boat with me, guiding me around every bend. I have dear friends who row their boats beside mine to encourage me. And while that is a huge blessing, God knows my heart aches for something more. SomeONE more. Someone who will be my best friend. Someone who looks at my broken heart and still chooses to love me. Someone who is honest and faithful. Someone who is passionate about his relationship with Christ.  And someone who knows that Christ needs to be the center of our lives.  I can make all the lists I want, but God knows my heart more intimately than even I do. He knows who is best. His plan is always better than the ones I have for myself.

And I trust Him to find my boat companion.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” 

~ Psalm 37:4

Frosties, Fries, & Best Friends

Today was a Frosty and French fry kind of day.  Let me explain:

I grew up in one of those small Nebraska farming towns.  You know, the ones where there’s just a handful of stoplights and Friday and Saturday nights meant one thing to high schoolers: cruisin’ the strip in your beat-up car with a bunch of friends. Yep, those were the days.  My best friend Lori had a boat-sized olive green Buick which could have been a substitute for some type of military tank, I’m quite sure.  Me, on the other hand…I had a little rusty-orange ’81 Chevy Citation.

As you can guess, entertainment was hard to come by in our town.  Wal-Mart closed by 9 p.m. and the movie theater was out of business.  The bowling alley had league bowling on weekend nights, so cruising was about all there was to do.  (And there were most likely parties to go to and drink, but we weren’t cool enough to be invited to those. Which was ok with us.) Now, you might think that driving around in a big loop repeatedly was less-than-exciting, but let me tell you, the thrill of pulling up to a stoplight to see who would be in the car next to you, executing a Chinese fire drill at a red light, and blasting music from the car stereo was all the fun my friends and I needed.  Once things got monotonous and slowed down later, we’d head out towards the interstate for our favorite late night snack:  a chocolate Frosty and French fries.  Sometimes there would be a big group of us.  And sometimes it was just Lori and me.  But it didn’t matter…Wendy’s was just our hangout.

June 4th marks the eighth anniversary of the end of Lori’s battle with lupus.  But more significantly, it marks her entrance into Heaven.  And that’s why today was a Frosty and French fry day.

Because I refuse to forget.

I refuse to keep all those fun crazy memories inside we had.  Like how we used to rate people’s shoes during church when they went up for communion.  And how we used to try see how many letters of the alphabet we could say while we burped.  (Lori was the champion…she made it to P.)  And how we had code names from old movies for everyone in our class so we could write notes about them and no one would know who we were talking about.  I used to think that all those memories died when Lori did.  But I’m starting to realize that they only die if I stop telling them.  So I keep telling them.  I refuse to stop telling stories about her to her children and mine.  And anyone else who will listen.  I want them to know who she was.

Lori was FUNNY.  She was quick-witted.  She was intelligent.  She was wise.  She was kind-hearted. She was practical.  She was ambitious beyond anyone I’ve ever known. She was confident.  She was fearless.  She was generous.  She was beautiful.

Following Lori’s funeral and burial in our hometown, the church hosted a luncheon reception in the church basement.  Her nearly two-and-a-half-year-old daughter became restless and cranky after being around so many people.  For some reason, she chose me to hold her and take her to walk around and calm down.  We soon found ourselves inside the church itself.  The same church her mom and I sat through many chapel services as little girls in school.  The same church we were confirmed in.  Sang in the choir in.  Got married at.  And now here I was in a very surreal moment, holding her precious baby girl after her funeral.

I remember her daughter being particularly drawn to the statue of Jesus that stood front and center above the altar.  She pointed up with one of her chubby little fingers and looked at me quizzically with big blue eyes, as if she wanted to know who that was and I had the answer.  “Jesus.  That’s Jesus.”  She said nothing, but seemed content with my reply.  She listened as I told her how much Jesus loved her.  How much He loved her mama.  And how He would watch over her until they would see each other again.

Eight years later, I find that sometimes I’m as expectant as that little two-year-old pointing up at Jesus.  I’ve quietly listened as people have told me how much Jesus loves me.  How much He loved Joe.  And how we will see each other again.   Those words have become my anchor.  My peace.

Last year, as the kids and I sat at Wendy’s eating Frosties and fries, I told them stories I could remember about my best friend.  There was a pause in the conversation, until Joe smiled and said, “Man.  I can’t wait to see her in heaven.”

Nine months ago, his wait was over.

For those of us still waiting to see those we love and miss dearly, let me share the words that came on the radio the very day Lori died.

 

 

There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail.
There’s an anchor for my soul,
I can say “It is well”.
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed.
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead!
And I will rise when He calls my name.
No more sorrow, no more pain.
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God, fall on my knees
And rise.

By His power God raised the Lord from the dead, and He will raise us also.

~ 1 Corinthians 6:14

The Saving Power of Red Liquid

If you ask me the question, “Have you ever seen the movie….?” (fill in the blank), there’s a good 90% chance, I’d answer no.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy movies.  I’m just not sure I have the time or the patience to sit all the way through one.  It’s hard for me to sit still for more than an hour watching nearly anything.  But alas, summer vacation is now upon us teachers, which means having more time to do…well, really all the things we’ve put off for the last 10 months.  Including watching movies.

That said, I finally watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe a couple of days ago. (I know, I’m a bit behind the times…12 years to be exact.) I was familiar with the basic premise of the movie, but never quite fully realized the depth of parallelisms to Christianity.  (I’ll spare you the majority of my thoughts about this, as I’m sure it’s nothing new under the sun.)  I also didn’t realize that a part of the movie would trigger a very emotional response.  But for those who have walked and continue to walk through the daily battles of grief, you know these things can happen whenever and wherever, often without warning.  And that’s exactly what happened as I watched the movie’s epic battle scene.

In case you need a little background information about said battle, let me enlighten you. The evil White Witch, a.k.a. the self-proclaimed Queen of Narnia and her army stand ready to defeat the army of Aslan the lion (whom she had already killed).  The Queen’s army is made up of largely grotesque creatures (I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to look at yaks the same way again), who are poised to kill and destroy.  I knew both sides would endure casualties, but surely good would triumph and win over evil, right?  That it did, with the resurrected Aslan coming to the rescue at just the right moment to kill the White Witch.  But not before she had mercilessly stabbed the boy Edmund.  There was an innocent child lay on the ground, fighting for his life.  And while any regular mom would have been sad, in a detached sort of way, this grieving mom was transported back to seeing her own son on the ground, fighting for his life.

After the epic battle is finished, all of Edmund’s siblings rush to his side, knowing there is nothing they can do for their dying brother.  That is, until little Lucy remembers she possesses the gift of red cordial, which was given to her by Father Christmas “to heal any ailment or injury.” She drops a bit of the cordial into Edmund’s open mouth…and voila!  Edmund is healed and whole again and hugging his rejoicing siblings in a matter of seconds.  My heart broke all over again.  Oh, how I wish I had had a little vial of magic red liquid to drop into Joe’s mouth to save him! But there would be no reunion of hugs for me that day.

Watching that scene made me overwhelmingly sad in ways I cannot even describe.  But it also made me angry.  Angry that God didn’t bring my boy back to life, despite my desperate attempts. Angry that I now have to live on this earth without him.  Angry that I’ve already lost so much.  I know it was just a movie, but it seemed incredibly ridiculous to this grieving mom’s heart that someone’s life could be saved with some life-giving magic red liquid!  That’s not how life and death works.

Or is it?

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

~John 6:53-54

How easily I forget what has been done for ME.  For Joe.

As much as I wanted to stay paused in that moment of anger and injustice, my mind rewound to the scene just seconds before when Aslan, after killing the White Witch, says, “It is finished.” Powerful words that brought peace and comfort to every soldier fighting that battle.  The enemy had been defeated.  The victory won.

It is no different for us, dear friends. When Jesus said those words on the cross, it was the ultimate fulfillment of every prophecy in Scripture.  To be exact, 353 different prophecies of Scripture.  But here’s what it comes down to for us:   Sin was finished.  Satan was finished. Death was finished.  A life forever separated from God….also finished.  That brings such an incredible peace to my heart and sustains me on those days when everything about life seems unjust.  My separation from my child is temporary. And someday, even that separation will be finished.

Every day is a battle, not just for those of us grieving loss, but for every person battling the struggles and trials of this fallen world.  But take comfort in this:  we already know how the battle turns out.  The enemy has been defeated.  The victory won.  It means my son lives, not through the work of my own hands, but through the work of Christ’s outstretched hands.  It means I will see him again in a joyful reunion in paradise.

And it’s not because of some Hollywood-created magic red liquid, but because of the real life-saving red liquid of our Lamb.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.

~Revelation 1:5b-6

 

Letting Go

Every time I hear the song “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen, I can’t help but smile a little.  Not because of the song itself, but because of the memories associated with it. Memories of my daughter playing it on repeat in her room at loud volumes just to annoy her brother.  Hearing it on the car radio and belting it at the top of my lungs, just to drive Joe nuts.  Frequently breaking into chorus with Ella at any point in the day to watch my son run out of the room screaming.  Yes.  Those were some good times.

Perhaps then, it was rather fitting that for what would have been Joe’s 15th birthday, many family and friends gathered together at the cemetery to “let it go” – releasing blue balloons with Bible verses of hope.  It was a lovely scene, really, to watch all those balloons drift up and be carried away by the breeze. (Well, except for the dozen that flew into a nearby tree…but people need hope even at a cemetery, right???)  As they floated away, I turned my eyes to my 5-year-old nephew, still clutching the balloon he brought to release.  It was a beautiful birthday balloon, shiny with lots of colors and stars.  I’m sure he had picked it out himself.  He knew he had to let it go, yet you could see it in his face that he would have loved to keep it.  But after some gentle coaxing from his dad,  he opened his hand and let that beautiful, shiny balloon fly away.

I smiled to myself, watching that scene.  How often have I been holding on to what I thought was something so beautiful and perfect for me, when God was gently nudging me to let it go?  To release it to His care and divine plan?  There have been many things I have had to let go over the years…homes, jobs, churches I’ve attended, a marriage, friendships – and yes, even my own son.  And as much as I would like to shake my fist at God and remind Him of all that’s been taken from me, I can’t.  Because I’ve learned the simple truth that all of those things were never mine to begin with.  Not a single one.

I’ve been an expert at giving things to God over the years….and then taking them back when I feel I can handle them again.  However, walking through the grief of a child has changed my entire view of control.  The whole concept of “letting go” is actually a lot less scary than it used to be.  Perhaps because in death, you realize that you have absolutely zero control and that God is sovereign.  His plan and purposes won’t be stopped regardless of our best intentions or interference.  And maybe, it’s not so much about letting go as much as it is about surrendering.

Because when you surrender, you don’t just give up control. You hand it over to someone else.  

I’ve had to learn to hand it over.  It hasn’t come easily.  But with God’s gentle nudging, I’ve begun to surrender my hurt.  My relationships.  My finances. My future.  But most importantly, my heart.
I’ll be honest.  I had NO idea how much freedom there was in surrender!  Freedom to not worry about what others think of me. Freedom to not feel like I need to manipulate circumstances to work in my favor.  Freedom to trust that God has it all under control.  Freedom to live out HIS purposes for my life, whatever that looks like.

And all because God surrendered His own Son, so we could not only live in total freedom for Him, but one day, live in His eternal presence.

“It is for freedom, that Christ has set us free.”  ~ Galatians 5:1

And as Elsa so eloquently stated in that annoyingly beloved song, “The fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all.”

 

The Happiest Place

As a little girl growing up in Southern California in the late 70’s, I used to make frequent visits to Disneyland with my family.   The park was less than 15 miles away from our house and getting there was not nearly as complicated as it is today.  Not to mention, it was way before a day’s admission felt like you needed to take out a loan. Back in the day (now I’m really aging myself), one could simply park a car in the parking lot right in front of the entrance of Disneyland – no tram needed, walk into the park and purchase books of tickets for individual rides.  The “A” tickets were the cheapest at ten cents and were for rides like King Arthur’s Carousel and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.  An “E” ticket was for something far more thrilling, like the Matterhorn and Haunted Mansion.  So we would come after dinner, ride an “A” ride or two, a “B” ride if we were lucky, and then go home.  (Thus, the secret to how we could afford to go to Disneyland every so often.)

I had so many happy memories from my childhood of my trips to Disneyland that years later, I wanted to experience that same joy from the perspective as a parent.  Back in 2005, I spent months prepping my three-year-old son with Disney books, songs, and movies, so he’d know all the characters by sight.  I wanted him to be prepared for his trip to The Happiest Place on Earth.

The day came and Joseph took it all in stride.  He patiently waited in a long line for his beloved Peter Pan ride, sang along as we rode on the Pirates of the Caribbean (even though he belted out “Heigh-Hooooo”, instead of “Yo-Ho”), and had enough energy for eight hours of non-stop fun before he crashed in the Tiki Room.  It was a great day.

There were other trips to Disneyland over the years.  But perhaps none as significant as last year.  You see, Joe got to spend his final birthday on earth with his best friend at The Happiest Place on Earth.  He had talked about the annual junior high choir/handbell trip to California for months.  It was the highlight of his entire school year.  For his birthday, I wrapped up things he could take on the bus ride there:  Flaming Hot Cheetos, Coke, Kit-Kats, a puzzle book, and of course, spending money.  It was the first time I wouldn’t get to be with Joe on his actual birthday.  But how could I be sad knowing he was ecstatic to be going to his happiest place?  I remember him calling me on the phone that April 23 from Disneyland to check in with me – and so that I could sing Happy Birthday to him.  He was so happy.  And that made my heart happy, too.  And a little sad for not being there to share those birthday memories with him.

And now, a year later…life is so incredibly different in many ways.  Except one.

This year, my son isn’t just at The Happiest Place on Earth.  He’s in THE Happiest Place.  Period. And knowing he’s happier now than this world could ever make him does bring joy to this sad mama’s heart today.  I want to be there with him.  More than anything most days.  But I can’t.

What brings comfort to my heart, though, is this:  I know Joe was prepared for this trip he left for seven and a half months ago…not with food or movies, but with the things that mattered in this life.  The prayers we prayed together.  The devotions we would read at night snuggled up in his bed.  The many church services we went to together.  The tearful conversations we had about forgiveness and love.  The years of a Christian education and learning Scripture verses. The community of people who loved on my son and were models of Christian love.  But ultimately, with the grace of our loving Savior.

Today is one of those dichotomous days.  Celebrating and mourning.  Life and loss.  Happy and sad.  Laughter and tears.  The “year of firsts” continues.  Some days, like today,  are harder than others.  But each one brings me closer to being with my boy in The Happiest Place ever.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

~Revelation 21:1-4

Overwhelming Gratitude

Today is the day between Good Friday and Easter. Crucifixion and resurrection. It’s the in-between day when I don’t know whether I should be sad or happy.  Mournful or joyful. I’ve had several people ask me how I’m doing, sensitive to the fact that this is my first Easter without Joe.  And I honestly don’t know how I’m doing.  But it feels a lot like living in between the sadness of death and the waiting of resurrection.

Last week, our school had the amazing opportunity to attend chapel each day as the eighth graders presented the events of Holy Week.  As they led the Good Friday service, my heart was filled with a new sense of thankfulness that went beyond mere thanks for Jesus’ sacrifice.  It was an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that because of what Christ did for us, when He could have chosen to come down off the cross, I will get to see my son again.  Is there any greater gift a grieving mother could ask for?

But my heart was not prepared for the wave of emotion that overtook me as we all filed back in one final time on Thursday afternoon in silence and darkness to begin the Easter chapel.  As the organ dirge played on while we sat down, a lone voice from the back yelled out, “STOP! Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is risen!”  The lights came on, and the running of screaming eighth graders began as they held the altar items, paramounts, and white linen flowing cloth.  In that moment, my mind was transported back to just one year ago, as MY son ran into the church shouting joyfully, holding a golden candle stand, beyond excited to celebrate the Risen Savior.  And now? He now lives out the very reason for that same joy.  My heart was overcome again. Maybe with a little sadness.  Maybe with a little joy.  But….there it was, unmistakingly again:  overwhelming gratitude.  Gratitude that he had that opportunity to do what I had just witnessed moments before. Grateful for those who helped shaped my son’s faith life at this school.  Grateful that Joe joyfully lived out that faith with his peers each day.

Last December, I happened to be looking through Joe’s dresser drawers and came across a pile of journals he had saved from his eighth grade English class.  I remember being particularly surprised, because Joe never liked to save anything from school.  As I began to read through them, most were just mundane journal topics about school opinions or literature.  But towards the end, I found the final one, written in Joe’s own handwriting, instead of typed on the computer as the rest were.  It was titled, “I Am Loved.”

I Am Loved

For the past two years, I have felt God walk with me through the divorce of my parents.  I’m not sure how I would have turned out without seeing the love of Jesus in the teachers at Christ Lutheran, my friends, and God himself.

I can see the love of the teachers throughout both years.  Although I absolutely hate history notes, packets, and information-packed tests with Miss Weber, I can see how she changed my work ethic to become a hardworking student.  This is similar to the english and literature, lots of work is paying off for me to become a hardworking student.  Mr. Doyle has been a fun and interesting math teacher that has filled the role of teaching my favorite subject.  Science isn’t my favorite subject, but for the last two years, my three teachers have taught it in an interactive way.  Theology and advisory have been most valuable, teaching me how to spread God’s word and to show everyone how I love God.  

My education for the past two years has been priceless. 

So today, my heart is filled with overwhelming gratitude for the gift of my son.  For his life.  For his priceless education.  For those who showed and taught him the love of Christ.  For his faith.  But most of all, for the victory won on the cross, which was the most priceless gift of all. Because that gift will one day reunite me with my sweet son, with all the saints who have gone before, and with my precious Savior.

Forever.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
~1 Corinthians 15:57

Running Without a Finish Line

I have a lot of respect for people who run long distances.  Or short distances for that matter.  I decided to try to become one of those people a couple of years ago.  You know, a person who actually enjoys running and is good at it?  I didn’t really have any strategy, except to run every day or so and to try to run farther and longer than I did the previous time.  That didn’t work out so well.  Some days I couldn’t go as far as I could the day before and I’d end up feeling defeated.  Some days I had lots of energy to keep going and felt encouraged.  At one point, I’m fairly certain I ran nearly two and a half miles without stopping.  (A pretty amazing feat for someone who couldn’t even run the half-mile in high school PE class.)  But despite all my efforts, I never really figured out how people could run and not get that stitch in their side. (You know, the kind that feels like a sharp knife digging into your ribs every time you breathe?) Or how one maintains an energy level to run for such a long period of time.

I never did become a serious runner.  But I am a teacher and I think in some ways, teaching a school year is a lot like running a marathon.  It starts off at a moderate pace for those two weeks before the kids arrive.  And then….well, you’re off and running.  There’s a lot of energy at first, but by about Thanksgiving, you begin to get weary and are ready for a break.  The rest station of Christmas is just around the corner, which provides enough motivation to keep going.  You come back in January renewed, ready to run again.  You push through till Spring Break and then you’re in the homestretch, right?  Wrong.  The final few weeks can be the most exhausting.  And you’re not only tired.  The kids are too. Everybody is counting the days until that finish line of summer break (37 to be exact…but who’s counting?) when we can all take off our running shoes and sit it out for a while to catch our breath.

Life is full of finish lines.  We count down to the next paycheck, vacation, birthday, graduation, anniversary, retirement and think, “If I can just make it till then…”.   And perhaps life is wonderful for that brief shining moment, until the reality of daily life sets in again.

But I’ve been learning over these last few months that in grief, there is no end.  There is no day that I will ever wake up and say, “Well.  I made it.  Glad that’s over!”  Because it isn’t.  And it never will be.  And that is a most wearying reality.  It goes beyond physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.  It’s life exhaustion.

It’s like running without a finish line. 

Although “running” may not be the word I should use.  More like “limping” with a cramp in my side.  Multiple times I’ve googled how to get rid of those nasty side cramps when running.  According to womensrunning.com, the first thing is to NOT PANIC.  Focus on breathing, slow down, stop if you need too.  Put your hand and press on the part that hurts.  Ironic how one also has to do that in grief.

To not feel panicky and function in my day, I now have to take anxiety medication.  I have to hike and take long walks and breathe deeply to process all my thoughts.  I have to color in a coloring book with calm music just to settle my racing heart.  I have to take naps and rest, even when I know there’s work to be done.  Above all, I have to be patient with myself, because I can’t run at the pace I used to.  But putting my hand and pressing on the part that hurts?  No amount of medication or hiking trail or music or markers or breathing technique is going to do that.  That’s where God steps in, puts a gentle hand on my very weary and broken heart and presses in with the truth of His word.

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
~ Psalm 119:28
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
~Jeremiah 31:25
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
~Matthew 11:28
 “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.
~Psalm 62:1-2
 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from him.”
~Psalm 62:5
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint. 
~Psalm 40:29-31

 

Those words don’t automatically make all things better.  They don’t change the reality of my life.  But they do make it bearable by assuring me that God promises strength, rest, and hope for my exhausted heart.  I’m thankful He sends people run the race with me and to be my cheering section by encouraging me to keep running this race.

May God give us all the strength and perseverance to make it to the ultimate finish line of heaven!

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. ~ Hebrews 12:1-3

This song has been a huge encouragement to me in the weary moments…praying it will be a blessing to so many I know who are also tired from running this race of life.