Last January, I set out to get in shape. Like a lot of working moms, a stressful career and busy family led me to some minor
health issues; which eventually led to a desire to take better care of myself. Though I spent my teenage years staying in
shape from various activities, my 20's and 30's were different. The time has certainly not been wasted. Iíve spent the last
14 years partnering with my husband to start our family, take care of our home, raise our toddlers through to adolescents
and make the most of our careers. They have been good and blessed years. However, I found little time and even less
motivation for exercise.
As a resolution, I set out to change all of that. It was time to get myself healthy. In addition to eating a healthier diet
(the Rolo diet just wasn't working anymore) it was indeed time to get these legs moving. Equipped with a new pair of running shoes and my iPod, I set out on a light jog.
IF A BODY COULD TALK
I found out quickly that my body was nowhere near ready for this kind of treatment. I could almost hear it crying out....
Why are we running?
Are we in danger?
Are the children in danger?
Who are we running from?
What are we running to?
What logical explanation do you have for putting this kind of strain on me?"
I looked ahead as far as I could see and became overwhelmed with the distance I had left to run in order to meet my goal.
After a half mile, I gave in to my body's cry and started walking. When I made it home, I found myself discouraged,
verbally condemning myself for giving in.
"Come on, Desiree, you use to do this all of the time. You are stronger than this. At this rate, youíll never get back in
I was sorely tempted to despair and give up right then.
Yet the next day, with determination to push myself (while managing my expectations) I set out again. I slowed my pace and
looked ahead 10 steps at a time. I was still tired, and my body was still screaming at me, but I kept going. After a
short period of time I could see that I had passed my stopping point from the previous day. I kept going ... a few more
steps ... a few more steps.... I eventually stopped running and walked the remainder of my route.
Each day, I set out with the same idea of pushing myself a little further each time. Eventually I made it all the way home
without stopping. I ran my route for a while and then added a little more every week. After three months, I could run two
and a half miles, four days a week.
Now as I walk my last block to cool down, I look back and take stock of the journey Iíve completed. I remember last January
when I first hit the pavement. I feel strong now, encouraged and accomplished.
Have you ever noticed when up against an obstacle, that you can only see the "bigness" of that obstacle? When you look out
at the distance you must travel, mountains you must climb and the rivers you must cross, you feel overwhelmed, discouraged
and exhausted. Is it at that point that you turn to the God who is bigger than all obstacles, mountains and rivers? When
you realize that it's not possible to travel such distance without Him?
Thatís when the Holy Spirit nudges my soul...... "Desiree, just take a few steps forward, I am with you." It is with that
"still-small-voice" that I begin any journey forward. Itís not long before my perspective changes.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
Could it be that these mountains, valleys and rivers are part of Godís plan? Why would God allow such obstacles? ó
No, not at all. But sometimes it feels that way. Realistically, if God were punishing us for our every wrong doing, the
punishment be constant and severe. Plus Godís Word teaches us about His love and mercy. The theory that all pain and
obstacles are punishment would go against His very Word. That is something God would never do. In fact, His word teaches
us that because of his love, He allows character-building or faith building trials to come our way.
"Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to
prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands." Deuteronomy 8:2 (NLT)
"And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation."
Romans 5:4 (NLT)
Upon realizing that obstacles will eventually grow my character as a Christ Follower, I can then face my trials with a
"Lord, if this storm will draw me closer to you, bring the wind and the rain. In fact, do not allow it to pass until I am
completely dependent on you."
We were created to worship God. Ultimate fulfillment is forever dwelling with Him in His kingdom. But until that day,
anything that will bring us closer to Him here on earth should be welcomed. Believe me; I donít always do this! In fact,
I usually struggle and fight my way through a challenge for some time before realizing that I havenít allowed the Lord to
enter in. I usually ask Him to remove my obstacle, and it takes a while before I remember to ask Him to take me through it.
WHAT I REALLY NEED
Just imagine the physical dilemma I experienced when I started running again. I didnít need the obstacle of running to be
removed; I needed the strength and energy to get through it! What good would have come from the removal of my obstacle?
I would not have had the opportunity to grow stronger. Today I run with confidence. I know that I will be able to achieve
my goal because my body is strong enough. I take a few steps at a time, over and over through to completion. I am
thrilled to be where I am at today.
When you are facing a trial in your life, as so many of us are right now, lean hard on the Lord and keep pressing on. Just
a few steps at a time with the finish line in mind. When you are on the other side, take the time to look upon Godís
accomplishment in you, your new and improved character in Christ Jesus.
"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his might power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might
ask or think." Ephesians 3:20.
This recent journey has taught me to endure. Continue pressing forward. Lean on the Lord through the distance you must
travel, mountains you must climb and rivers you must cross. Thank him for caring enough about you to take you through the
trials of life. Remember to look back at the distance you have come and boast only in Jesus Christ for all that you have
accomplished comes from him and him alone.
"Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you." Isaiah 26:12
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