Running a good race

 Every day, Janie runs a marathon. From the crack of dawn until the sun goes to sleep, Janie is going up and down flights of stairs, walking through school hallways, sprinting across parking lots, speed-walking through grocery store aisles, making lunches and reading bedtime stories. All along the way, she’s comforting broken spirits. But what about her broken spirit?

To many in her small Mississippi town, Janie is a superwoman, but in reality, she feels far from it. What the world doesn’t know is that she is terrified her blended family will fall apart, her stepchildren–whom she loves as her own–will grow up to dislike her and her marriage will not survive the hurdles that life throws its way. While trying to get her children ready and out the door to catch the school bus, her phone plays a chime melody to let her know a message has come through. As she waves goodbye to her little ones, she checks her phone and notices a message from her new Online Missionary, Marie, waiting for her.

With feelings of care flooding her soul, Janie opens her email and Proverbs 2:1-9 appears on her screen, “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.” Janie’s whole world stops. As the hint of autumn teases the air around her, she closes her eyes, and for the first time in her thirty-something years, she surrenders her life to the Lord.

From that moment, Janie begins a new kind of race – one she doesn’t have to run on her own. With tears of excitement, she shares her decision with Marie and takes her advice about finding a local church to join. So many things about going to a church grated against Janie’s comfort zone, but at the same time, she felt the Lord pulling her closer and closer. Almost three years after that first message from Marie, Janie and her family’s life has radically changed. Though motherhood and marriage still bring moments of frustration and discouragement, Janie sees God’s goodness and faithfulness in the midst of it all. 

“Your guidance, prayers, and friendship have been one of the first stones laid within my foundation of faith,” Janie said. “Before I had an entire church of brothers and sisters beside me, I had you! My very first testimony was made to you. Not only did you listen, but you also praised the Lord with me. When I thought that I could no longer endure the huge storm that we have had to go through, you were there to share my struggles with and to offer scriptures that helped me to realize that no matter how bad the storm gets, Jesus has total control over it all and He will not fail me. Additionally, due to my faith becoming solid and my teachings to my children, our youngest son (8 years old) recently gave his life to Jesus, and we were both baptized. Also, two of my other kids have been asking questions about being saved and baptized, so prayers going up that God sends the Holy Spirit to stir their souls! I am very blessed and honored to be the mother to these six amazing kids. Thank you for just being yourself and for all that you have done for me!” 

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