Tag Archives: bible in a year

Give it all ya’ got!

But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:42-44

I didn’t start running until I was 42 years old. Prior to that I had been a smoker “only” about 1/2 pack a day smoker, but a smoker nonetheless. I received a flyer in the mail for Team in Training that said that they could teach me to run a half or full marathon. Pfft….yea right….but my interest sure got sparked. I had played around with jogging prior to receiving this flyer, but I was out of shape and overweight and my lungs, I’m sure, were damaged, so running was hard, so I never really kept with it.

Team In Training raises funds in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). The mission of LLS is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. To learn more visit https://www.teamintraining.org/ I am not advertising this program, its just a program I chose to train with and have made lifetime friends with and forever changed my life.

SO ANYWAY…to say I was out of shape is putting it mildly. For those of us training for the half-marathon, the first Saturday of practice was to “run” 3 miles. MY goal was to make it back to where we started. Somehow. 3 miles??? Seriously? The trainees were of all different athletic abilities. Some had been running for YEARS, some were athletic but hadn’t ran before, some were novice runners. Me, I was a beginner. The very slowest of all the athlete participants. I was the most out of shape. But mostly, I couldn’t breathe. The years of smoking had REALLY caught up with me.

I set out, and got about a half mile down the trail and “Coach Jeff” caught up with me….I say caught up, it was actually that he slowed down for me. Coach Jeff is a beast. He probably ran 2 marathons every Saturday catching up with and going back to the participants to guide them and, in my case, listen to them. He truly is an amazing athlete and coach. That first day, when Coach Jeff asked, “How are you doing?” I stopped “running” and started to cry. I just said, I can’t breathe!! Shared with him that I quit smoking recently, and I want to do this, but how am I supposed to run 13.1 miles when I can’t even BREATHE through this Saturday 3 miler?!?!”

Coach just said, to only run until I couldn’t count to three with my steps and breathing….like count 1, 2, 3 steps and if I couldn’t inhale that long, to walk. Catch my breath, and then start again. Which is really great advise, right? But then I looked at people like “Beth” who was already at the 1.5 mile turn around and not even breaking a sweat. Her arms in that tank top looked amazing, and here I was choking.

Both of these athletes gave out of their “Wealth”. It didn’t physically cost them at all to run that dreadful 3 miles that day. For me though, I brought the only two very small copper coins I had. All I was able to give that day didn’t add up to but a few cents, but I truly did give all I had to the trail.

I felt very small that day. Not because of Jeff and Beth, they are two of the most encouraging people I know, they truly did help me across the Nike Women’s Half Marathon that year. I’ll be forever grateful for their mentorship. No, I felt very small because I was always comparing myself to “real runners”, and I continued comparing my abilities for YEARS. I was afraid of running with people, because of how slow I was, so I isolated myself. My friends and family encouraged me and were respectful of my running, but I always felt like I wasn’t as good as….(fill in the blank)

Do you do that too? Do you compare your beginning to other people’s middle? Do you sometimes feel embarrassed by your entry-level abilities? If so, can I just encourage you to stop that? Please stop that. In retrospect I see that this caused me to look down on myself.

I ran several events after that season, and usually with a group of people. One season I trained with a group and had worked my way up to running 10/1s. That means I ran for 10 minutes, and walked for 1. I was pretty proud of myself. Well, in the pre-dawn hours of the Houston Half Marathon, I was lined up with a group in my pace “corral” and twisted my ankle in a small chughole in the downtown street. I tumbled, and twisted my ankle, tore my leggings and banged up my knee.

Then the gun went off. My group asked if I was ok, and I said yea, but because of a swollen ankle and skinned up knee, I fell behind. I did end up finishing the event, but WAYYYY behind my usual pace. At the end of the event, my group took pictures and celebrated, but I held back. I was ashamed of being in any of the pictures. I felt like a failure because “I wasn’t as fast as them”.

I had just finished 13.1 miles with a swollen ankle and skinned up knee with torn leggings. I felt ashamed!!

Can I just encourage you today…..STOP FEELING ASHAMED of your inabilities or noviceness (is that a word?) Here’s the plan:

Give out of your poverty, put in everything – all you have to live on

translation of Mark 12:44

Dear Lord, thank you for the experiences of my past that have helped me grow closer to You. I pray for the needs and abilities of the person reading this right now. Lord you know what it is that they need and you see them perfectly. Help both of us to see ourselves in the light in which you see us as we both grow closer to you.

Do you need prayer today?

In what way are you comparing your beginning to other people’s middle?

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Very Early in the Morning

  • Leviticus 1:1-3:17
  • Mark 1:29-2:12
  • Psalm 35:17-28
  • Proverbs 9:13-18

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Mark 1:35

It is my belief that Mark wrote this verse to show each of us that if Jesus needed alone time, so do I. So do you, my friend. But its hard to find that time isn’t it? Between the chaos of raising kids, work and other activities we may be involved in, taking a time out, SEEMS selfish.

OH but wait, This is starting of to sound like a 2019 journal! That’s right……we’re in 2021 and just survived 2020. You may have had quite a bit of alone time over the past 12 months….in the form of shut-downs and or quarantine. Maybe more than you thought you needed or wanted. How are you doing? Someone who followed me the other day, is in the middle of a shut-down….my guess is that this is day 4? How are you holding up?

Either decade, this post is for you, my friend, because we’re going to talk about Jesus! Jesus had to go off to pray to gather himself together, lets meet with him here, while it is still dark. Jesus had been in Capernaum with his friends at the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick, they told Jesus about it, and Jesus healed her. Well, word spread and…..

32That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed. 33The whole town gathered at the door 34and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.

Mark 1:32-34

It must have been quite a party right? Jesus became very popular, very fast. He had cast out demons and cured diseases. That’s what we want right? The miracle? The answer? The fix to our problem? I know I do.

I have had family members who fought addiction. Two members of my family have struggled with drugs and gambling but now seem to be in remission. My mom was an alcoholic and smoked cigarettes her whole life until she died an early death due to a massive stroke that came after many small warning strokes. I “32brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed“. So, why were two healed and one wasn’t? It just doesn’t seem fair. Being present when “34Jesus healed (my) many who had various diseases” was like a miracle! A miracle that I thought would never come! The gratitude and joy that I still feel to this day, is overwhelming!

So you can imagine the celebration going as the “33whole town gathered at the door,” The miracle maker was here! Aunt Lucy is cured! Cousin Susie is her old self again! Uncle John came home! The crowds gathered because they wanted more and more healings and miracles! Simon and Andrew, James and John were now local heroes for bringing Jesus to town. These outcast fisherman had finally made something of themselves by bringing in Jesus!

But then, Jesus snuck away, in the early morning. Our local heroes became panicked and went looking for Jesus saying, “Everyone is looking for you!” Where are you?

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.

Mark 1:38

Jesus (and his friends also) had become extraordinarily popular in Capernaum, but he wasn’t interested in popularity. He came to proclaim the Kingdom of God to all of Israel. He came to preach and teach first, the miracles come as a result of the teaching. Think about it like this, God placed a God shaped hole in each of us, and the only thing that will make us whole is God in the form of Jesus. When we turn our lives over to him, seek his face through his word on a daily basis, he WILL fill that spot and miracles will happen. Until we do that, we will keep seeking to fill it with food, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, work, exercise, relationships with people…something to make us feel complete. I promise you, from the experience of my own addictions, the only thing that will fill that spot is God. That’s it.

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!

Mark 1:40-41

Dear Lord, I come to you today to thank you for healing me of my own afflictions which separate me from those I love. I pray that you continue to fill that God shaped hole in my heart every day with you, so that I can be loved and love others like only you can. I pray for those struggling with illness and demons that are separating them from you and their community. Help all of us to know that we can come to you , JUST AS WE ARE, and that you will reach out your hand and touch us. Teach me Lord, preach to me, Lord, show me the way. In Jesus name. Amen.

Do you have a special place that you go to pray every day? Share with me where that place is.

Are you filling the God shaped hole in your heart with something other than God?

Are you afraid of going to God in “your current situation”? Trust him today, he already sees and wants you to come to him just as you are.

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