Categories
courage Perseverance

She Had No Quit

“But I want you to keep your head no matter what happens. Don’t give up when times are hard. Work to spread the good news. Do everything God has given you to do.” 2 Timothy 4:5

Industrious. Positive. Determined. These are words that describe my grandmother. A farmer’s daughter who became a farmer’s wife, she did not lead an easy life. But it was a fruitful one.

The Sandy community, where both my grandparents lived most of their lives, is in the southwest corner of Oklahoma. The gritty soil is basically good for growing one cash crop–cotton. Beyond that (especially back in the day) it was simply a good place to get your car, or even tractor, stuck.

Sometimes when I’m out for a long run and I think I can’t go any farther, I picture my grandmother—headed out to the hen house in the middle of the night with her favorite hoe—because something was after her chickens.

She HAD NO QUIT. It just wasn’t in her nature.

This is what the Apostle Paul wanted to impress upon his young protege, Timothy: whatever happens, don’t quit. Fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12); fan into flame the gift of God which is in you (2 Timothy 1:6); endure hardship like a good soldier of Christ (2 Timothy 2:3).

Isn’t it amazing when someone’s name describes their character? This was certainly true for Timothy. His name means, “honoring God” or “honored by God.” My grandmother’s first name was Eunice, which means “good victory.”

I can honestly say she “fought the good fight of faith” and completed everything the Lord gave her to do. And she did it with a positive attitude.

It’s understandable to worry a little, but you must remain positive—even if you don’t feel like it.

Eunice Estes

Grandmother died in 2012 at the age of 100, after spending the last 30 years of her life legally blind. Yet she rarely complained about anything.

Still today, I hear her cheerful voice saying something like, “Everything’s gonna be alright.” And I believe it.

So, please stay strong, my friends. Don’t. Give. Up.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Photo by Hưng Nguyễn Việt on Unsplash

Categories
Perseverance Perspective

Sparkle!

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” Dr. Seuss

One of my colleagues has this sign hanging just outside her classroom door:

Frankly, every time I walk past and read it I have conflicting thoughts. Thought #1: “Right on!” Thought #2: “That’s easier said than done.”

If you’re like me, your sparkle has been dulled before. And needless to say, it’s a “Once bitten, twice shy” experience. In fact “sparkle snuffers” seem to have an unfair advantage in this fallen world. The lopsided power of negativity, as seen on social media, is a prime example.

Question: how do you do that—not let anyone dull your sparkle?

That’s right, I’m asking you, because I’m not sure I know. I do have a pretty good idea, though, so please read on.

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Everything that glitters may not be gold, but REAL sparkle only comes from God. And whatever God gives you, can’t NOBODY take away!

That’s my idea: ✨God-Sparkle ✨. It doesn’t come from the world, so the world can’t dull it—at least not for long.

But the first order of the day is to make sure our glitter (yours and mine) comes from God.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

This is one of my favorite scriptures in the whole Bible. God has an AGENDA for each of His children, AND it’s a GOOD one! All we have to do is make sure we’re holding the right bottle of glitter.

We are His workmanship, so keep sprinkling your God-Sparkle (good works)!

If you need a pick-me-up from a Christian blogger who has sparkle to spare, please check out Caralyn at Beauty Beyond Bones. She’s an eating disorder survivor who’s as effervescent as a glass of Alka-Seltzer!

Again, how do YOU not let anyone dull YOUR sparkle?

Categories
Comfort grace Hope Perseverance

Turning Mirrors Into Windows

monochrome photography of people jogging through the woods
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

“As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” Proverbs 27:19 NIV

“Are you a runner?”

This simple question came to me from an avid runner and former track coach. At the time, I was an absolute newbie–training for my first quarter marathon (6.55 miles)–and hadn’t seriously considered continuing beyond that. However, the instant my friend expressed these four simple words, I heard myself say, “I AM a runner!”

Five years earlier, I’d lost my mother to cancer, only four years after losing my father to the same disease. When my dad died, it was like the mantle of caring for my mother passed to me. But when my mom passed away, it felt like the earth stopped turning; a part of me died too.

A local cancer treatment center hosts a road race every October to raise money for research. It’s called “The Spirit of Survival.” Friends encouraged me to participate, but I wouldn’t  buy it. I was stuck brooding over thoughts like, “Why did this happen?” and, “What’s the use?” After all,” I protested, “nothing could have saved my mom and dad; it’s too late for them anyway.” Not exactly uplifting, huh?

Fast forward to the summer of 2016, when I finally decided to give the upcoming Spirit of  Survival a try.  “Maybe it will help me deal with losing mom and dad,” I thought–not quite believing it.

I began training in July.  Surprisingly, almost as soon as I took to the roads, I felt a reconnection with my parents! The fog of grief surrounding me began to break, leaving light where there had been only shadows.

Running soon became my all-purpose balm for the soul, and it still is to this day. That first quarter marathon became a half marathon (13.1 miles) a year later. And when I turned 50 in 2018, I ran my first marathon (26.2 miles)!

But this perpetual adventure in healing and self discovery could have been cut short, had someone not recognized my potential and cared enough to bring it to my attention. The world needs more reliable narrators, like my friend coach Breeze, who turn mirrors into windows.

I aspire to be such a faithful guide. While you join me?