Ruth Ayres invites us to celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.
My youngest daughter wrote a note to me in appreciation for me paying for her registration for the Girls on the Run 5 K Race and inspired me to persevere and be ready for the race last Saturday. She wanted to help me get rid of my diabetes so she took steps of childlike faith to help me and boy, were they huge! I had to have faith that I would be able to run the 5 K after still recovering from two weeks of congestion and a weak voice.
As we left the house around 8:00 a.m., I had a couple of pieces of bacon and one fourth of a cup of water. By the time we arrived after waiting in a long line to exit the interstate and get to our destination, it was time for the race began. I felt an urge to go to the bathroom but felt that I could make it. Soon, the runners took their places at the Start Line. My daughter and I began jogging and continued for half mile or so when I finally had to walk for a while. The more that I had run, the more my bladder had bounced around causing me to realize that I needed to find a Port-o-Potty quickly, but there were none to be found until the half way mark on the race track. When I laid eyes on the potty by the side of the road, I knew I would be okay. After my visit, we began to jog again while also walking at times.
An adult, probably a boy’s mom, had brought him to a sidewalk to cheer the participants on as they ran or walked the 5 K. When I saw the joy on his face, I gained a new energy. He was confined to a wheel chair so even though I was beginning to feel pain and weakness in muscles that I never usually feel in my legs, I knew that I had to keep going. I appreciated the cheering sections of the race way because not only did that little boy and his mom encourage me, but the others along the path told me that I could do it. I like how I kept thinking the same thoughts as the cheering section which kept me energized. A woman who was running behind me spoke up to her daughter and said, “I may not be fast, but I am steady.” Those words reverberated over and over in my head. “Of course,” I thought, “just keep a steady pace and you will get to the finish line.”
My daughter looked over at me during the race and said, “Mommy, do you think if you go back to the doctor this week and he rechecks you, that your diabetes will be gone?” I replied, “I wish it were so, honey, but we have to keep running and keep exercising to lower my blood sugar which will also help me to lose weight.” I realized at that moment, that she had such a hope that this 5 K would end my diabetes. It was hard for me to tell her that it would take more than one 5K to end diabetes. What I realized, through this encounter with her, was that every day, the steps I take do matter in my journey to a healthful lifestyle. I look forward to taking little walks with my family while also running more with them.
When I began to see people up ahead getting closer to the finish line, my child said, “Let’s go Mommy!” and we transitioned from walking to running. There is unspeakable joy when you see that you have made it over half way, then two thirds of the way and then you can make out the finish line. I kept my steady pace and crossed the finish line with my daughter ahead of me. She received a medal and we took pictures. It was my second 5 K but the first one that had a fancy Finish Line. The first 5 K that I had done in the Spring started and stopped at my school and there was no official Start and Finish Banner. Crossing under the Finish Banner boosted my confidence and created a sense of satisfaction that we had made our goal to not be the last ones across the line.
The steps that I took back in the Spring of 2015 had started my training phase to be in the first 5 K. In September, I began to run again and build my stamina. I had missed two weeks of running due to sickness before the Girls on the Run 5 K but hoped that I could take each step and have fun knowing that I was side by side with my child. I knew what it felt like to go too fast and not be able to continue running so I was determined to keep a steady pace and allow myself the grace to walk as needed. The steps that I took to prepare me for the two races that I did in 2015 were well worth the effort that it took. They were steps, baby steps in the right direction.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
The Return to Nazareth
19But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, 20“Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.”…
When I think about Joseph and the steps that he took to guide Mary on the donkey to Bethlehem, I realize that he too had to have faith that God would help them while Mary was very pregnant and traveling a far distance. I am always astonished to see the moving interpretation of this journey each year as my family watches “The Nativity Story”. I know that after this journey, God allowed Jesus to be born as His gift to the world to take away our sins. Herod, though, was looking for baby boys because He was threatened by one of them whom he had heard was a king. God spoke to Joseph in another dream and Joseph immediately took steps out of Bethlehem with the new baby and his wife. I have tried to imagine that this second journey at night was likely a difficult one as they made their way south down to Egypt. I love to celebrate the events like the shepherds and wise men coming to worship Him, the angels singing “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to those on whom God’s favor rests!” and the animals surrounding God made into a human in the stable. After this momentous occasion though, God used Joseph to keep Jesus safe. Joseph had walked to Bethlehem so I’m sure He had faith filled feet to take the next steps of faith.
After Mary, Joseph and Jesus had been in Egypt for a while, God spoke to Joseph in another dream to return to Israel. Even though the Bible does not say much about their time in Egypt, I can imagine that they had begun to get settled because they knew that King Herod would thrive for a while longer in Israel. When he passed away, though, God spoke to Joseph in another dream and Joseph again listened. In every instance of God speaking to Joseph, He required Him to use his feet and take a journey, a faith filled trek to the next place which He had in mind. I am so thrilled to read about how Joseph obeyed God and accomplished the purpose to accept Jesus as his earthly son, to keep him safe from an enemy and to raise Him in a loving home back in His home country.
I wonder how the return to Israel happened. Apparently, since the details are not recorded about their journey back home, we know that God took care of them. Again, it was their steps of faith to trust that God would take care of them even when they didn’t have all of the answers. They trusted and knew that their job was to be faith filled and faithful because God was trustworthy and would provide.
Could it be that God calls us to listen to Him and hear His plan for our lives? His Word is a road map which provides light. David in the book of Psalms tells us that His Word is a light to my path. He is speaking and waiting for us to obey. I sometimes feel like my world is too full and crowded with demands, but then I read His Word and I focus. His Holy Spirit comes near as I draw near to Him and places peace in my heart while giving me direction. I am amazed by Him and His willingness to guide me like He guided Joseph and Mary. They were chosen by Him like Christians are chosen to follow God. Jesus traveled with Mary and Joseph on all three legs of their journey in much the same way that His Spirit travels with us as we make our way through life. What a comfort to know that He is with me everywhere. I may be waiting in a doctor’s office like I was last week hoping for good news which I received, but wasn’t sure what the outcome would be for a while. Even there, I believe He sent a special angel to sit with me in the waiting room to tell me as we talked that, “It will be alright.” This precious angel was no longer there once I quickly changed my clothes, but know that her presence was God’s way of traveling with me as I embarked down an uncertain path.
He came alongside of me to encourage me during the 5 K with the people whom He placed in my path. I know that He helped my body as well especially when my right lung in my back began to burn and I coughed at times. As the maker of all things on the earth, He is more than able to handle my issues and I witnessed the strength that he gave to me during the race. Even in the midst of my busy day with the 5 K and speaking at a Christmas banquet that night, God came alongside of me on Sunday morning as I witnessed a beautiful children’s play at my parents’ church where we had visited. It was there as I listened to “Christmas in Egypt” that God spoke into my spirit about how small steps of faith is what accomplished His plan for His Son to arrive back in Israel where He would grow up and accomplish God the Father’s plan for Him. I am so glad that He is my Savior and that His Holy Spirit will help me to continue on my journey of faith.
I will keep taking steps of faith and making my way through each day. I must listen to Him as I pray and read His Word. I need His help as I make food choices and know that this diabetes diagnosis can be reversed with His help and my choices. Having His Spirit, family who love me and friends who cheer me on will hep me accomplish His perfect plan for my life.