Tag Archives: mark 12

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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What is Love?

  • Numbers 4:1-5:31
  • Mark 12:18-37
  • Psalm 48:1-14
  • Proverbs 10:26

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:30-31

Recently, I was asked to pray with and for a friend who is going through something terrible in her family. One of her close family members had a tough decision to make. My friend did all the right things, she supported and counselled her family member. She got some professional help for the family. She set up a Facebook prayer message with her church family, and included me in that group. A few of us fasted and prayed, others prayed. Some of the women put up the praying hands, some said words of affirmations to my friend and her family. Some prayed for a specific decision. And most agreed, “Thy will be done, Father.” I don’t know who these other women are, but some of them had the most exquisite prayers. I sat in awe at their raw-ness and humility. For several days we’ve been keeping Facebook Messenger vigil over this decision.

My friend had asked some of her family to be praying too, so there was also a completely separate prayer message going on during this time. All of us praying for the “good” outcome. Its really beautiful knowing that so many people pulled together to pray for this family, I felt honored and blessed to virtually meet with these souls and pour blessings over my friend and her family.

Finally, the day arrived for the decision to get made. Unfortunately, the choice was not what we had all hoped for. Human Free Will, given by God prevailed and the outcome wasn’t what we had thought or hoped would happen.

I found myself a little jarred by this. Like being in a car accident really, driving along thinking its a beautiful sunny day, what could go wrong with all these virtual friends by my side, and then WHAM! I get sideswiped by free will decision making gone awry. My friend was devastated. This decision made will alter the path of her family forever, and my friend has no control over it. She did all she could and has to live with the choice of another forever.

What do we do with that? What do we do when bad choices get made and they fundamentally change the way things are “supposed to be”? What do we do when someone close to us abandons the faith that they have been taught and raised in? Because essentially that’s what happened, the family member made a decision to do something that seems to be the opposite of “What Jesus Would Do”? What do we do especially when these decisions are made by our adult children, and you just want to grab their shoulders and shake them saying, “What are you thinking?!?! I taught you better than this!!”

Many of the women in my virtual prayer meeting said, “You love her unconditionally like Jesus loves us.” This is so true, absolutely, we’ve all done things and made choices that Jesus Wouldn’t Do or Make. (there should be a book like that) I totally agree. But if I’m honest, and I usually am, that’s not what my instinct says. My instinct is to put up my hand and walk away, saying you made your choice, now deal with it. Talk to the hand sis.

Love the Lord your God

with all your heart and

with all your soul and

with all your mind and

with all your strength.

Mark 12:30

Sometimes, friends, we have to break down the Words of Jesus in to baby steps. This is one of those times, because I my Enneagram 4-ness has a difficult time navigating feelings and thoughts in my daily.

Love is an action word. Its just that simple. We make a decision to love every time we cook dinner after work even though we’d rather just plop down on the couch with a cup of tea. Love is getting up early on Saturday morning for little league and staying gone till after dark because your kid is pretty good this year. Love is wiping snotty noses that are gross and slimy. Love is cleaning up the vomit of a loved one whose chemotherapy treatments are tough this week. That’s LOVE, ya’ll. Its not ALWAYS that mushy gushy feeling when we first meet the person we “fell in love” with, or the look on that sweet baby’s face when they’re asleep. LOVE friends, is an action word.

In scripture the Heart is talking about the very center of a human. A person’s will, intention, character are the Heart. Some of the reference on biblehub.com state that Heart refers to “the understanding, the faculty and seat of intelligence”. This again, isn’t that sparkle in the eye heart, this Heart is where decisions get made at. My husband and I of 29 years, talk often of how we have made the DECISION to love each other for all these numbers of years. That doesn’t mean we don’t have intimate mushy gushy times, but certainly there have been days where, my Heart was the seat of intelligence to Love him and while I think I’m pretty cool, I’m sure its been the same for him.

Soul is translated to greek as Psuche. Psuche is also described as the Breath of Life. The Bible tells us that when God created man he breathed life in to him, every creature on earth that God made, He breathed life it to. This is Psuche. The place where God lives. Our Soul. THAT is where we love from…we allow God to breathe in to us so that we are able to love when bad choices and decisions get made that make it really difficult for my humanness to love with.

With all your Mind. So this is the part where I have to take off my emotional cap and put on my thinking cap. Not really a strong suit, to be honest. This work in Greek is dianioa, it means intellect, thought, understanding. When I was thinking about all this situation yesterday and was madder than a wet hen about the choice that got made I remembered Matthew 5:

You have heard that it was said to people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Matthew 5:21-22

Well, alrighty then! I guess my Mind better take over this Love I need to put in to action, right? This is the part where I repeat over and over and over and over in my Mind that Jesus came to this earth to die for me even before I was born to save me from the stupid decisions I made too. Don’t feel, just think.

Now let’s talk about what the decision to Love DOESN’T mean. This kind of Love DOESN’T mean sticking around for abuse or condoning bad behavior. When people we love do things that we don’t understand, are hurtful to ourselves or others, when we aren’t protected, sometimes requires Strength to let go. This decision to love takes Strength during times when life just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it means sitting in a pile of tears watching them walk away in to their destiny with nothing but the clothes on their back. Sometimes people have to experience the consequences of their poor choices so that they can hopefully turn back to God, when those consequences get tough. And they will get tough. To Love someone enough to watch them walk away takes the Strength of an army. Loving someone sometimes means letting them go, even though the very cell of our being wants to hold on to them. This kind of Strength can only come through prayer and with the help of friends and family and perhaps even a support group.

So Lord, this is a long journal entry, and I didn’t even know where to begin when I started. But as always you walked me through it and I feel stronger than before. Thank you. Lord, teach me to love like this. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Thank you that you loved me, before I was even lovable. I pray for the person reading this that you would guide them closer to you through this writing, thank you that you brought them here today.

Have you ever had to let go of someone you love because of their bad decisions?

What do you do when your prayers seem unanswered?

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