Another Marathon

Every year for about the last 15 years, my sister Peggy ("Pooh") and I have taken a fall weekend trip together. We now have eight kids between us, ranging from ages 2o down to 9, which means we have both traveled the marathon of diaper-changing, nose-wiping, potty-training, attitude-checking, sibling-correcting, laundry-folding, home-schooling miles.

Last Sunday, however, Peggy and I participated in a marathon of another kind. On our fall weekend get-away in Maine, we set out to conquer our 2nd 26.2 mile walk/jog together. I will briefly share the "highs" and the "lows" with you, beginning with the "lows".

Lows: we woke up at 4:30; we started the race in the pelting rain; we continued to jog in this cold rain for hours upon hours; my soggy fingers were so cold I felt like I had ten thumbs which means I couldn't get to my sport's jelly beans in my zipper pouch (biggest low); we almost got hit by a bus; port-a-johns were our only option (not); we were directed off-course around mile 17 which means I think we did a 26.3 mile marathon; and finally, we mis-communicated with our shuttle driver with the pick-up location so we stood with frigid aching muscles in the drizzling rain waiting for what seemed like forever. Was it worth it? YES...

HIGHS: walking/jogging with my sister, observing the wet beauty of Maine, finally getting my zipper pouch open, eating my jellybeans, and PRAYING for many of YOU! One of the biggest reasons that Peggy and I are doing marathons has to do with our Walking with Hope Ministry. The connection is that while we are doing each marathon, we take our list of the women who have come to our Hope gatherings, which is now over 100 names long, and we pray and pray and pray. So mile after mile in Maine, we called out your names and asked the Lord to bless you, keep you, help you, guide you, comfort you, and make Himself real to you. This committed time was my highest of highs! It bonded me with my sister and took my mind off myself, and all my lows.

I wonder, are you in a "marathon", or should I say another marathon, of your own right now? Maybe you are in the diaper-changing years, or an attitude-checking season with your children. Or maybe you're on the other end of life of parental-caring or marriage-repairing. From this literal marathon experience I just had in Maine, might I make a couple of suggestions?

One, find a friend to walk through this long haul with you. Life is too hard to walk alone. Encourage one another and build each other up (I Thessalonians 5:11). I would not have made this endurance trek without my sister by my side.

And two, pray. Praying helps divert our attention outside our own struggles; quite frankly, it even helps us to endure our troubles. In the midst of your mess, cry out for another; it will bless both of you! Remember, the power of prayer travels through time and space. What Peggy and I prayed on the trail in Maine, I know God heard and I know God answers. The Lord has heard my supplication, the Lord receives my prayer (Psalm 6:9).

So, another marathon down, and Lord willing, many more to go--bonding with my sis, and praying for you.


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