Finish Your Story

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I read through the pages of your book

I get to know you and your every look

I’ve stumbled upon a terrible chapter

One that’s full of hurt and disasters

Some have chosen not to continue to read

They closed the book in your time of need

But I read each and every word

My eyes teared up and the pages blurred

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With each page I prayed you would make it through

Even at your darkest I knew there was a light in you

Another word, another sentence, another paragraph, another page

I couldn’t stop reading because I knew you would find your faith

I was at the end of the chapter and started the next

You made it through the worst but still weren’t at your best

But as I promised I continued to read

I will hold your hand when you are in need

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You are not alone and the next chapter could be amazing

Thanking God for the trials, his name we will be praising

Right now, I need you to keep writing

This world needs you to keep fighting

Don’t give up, don’t let the dark win

Through the wounds, let the light in

Because I know when I close your book after I read the last page

That after all the ups and downs you didn’t give up and you found your way

I know at the end of your story

We will give God all the glory

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Carry You by Ruelle – 

Beautifully Broken by Plumb – 

Turn It Around by Lincoln Brewster- 

Deep Down (Walk Through The Fire)  by Lincoln Brewster – 

Fighting For You by Tenth Avenue North – 

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The Room

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image credit: willomailley.com

 

For the last fifty nine days, every day has been the same for me. I didn’t expect day sixty to be any different.

I wake up, look in the mirror and tell myself today is the day. Today will be the day that I can do it. I am stronger than I think I am. I can do this.

I then walk out of my room and go exactly five feet three inches and stop in front of the room. I reach for the door knob then pull my hand away. I stare at the door for what seems like hours but it is only minutes, maybe seconds. I then take a deep breath and walk away.

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image credit: The Sabbath Recorder

 

I go about my day like a robot. Doing without thinking. Lost in my guilt. Lost in the what if’s. Everyone looks at me the same. Fake smiles. I fake smile back. They say everything will be alright. I want to scream at them that it will not be, but I don’t.  I only want to hit something. I have so much anger and hurt and it’s all my fault. They say it is not but I know it is.

I go home. I hesitate as I turn the key to unlock the door. Do I really want to go back inside? I don’t know what else to do so I turn the key.

I make dinner and set two plates out of habit. I know you won’t be joining me. I eat in silence.

I go upstairs to go to bed and I once again stop at the door. I reach for the door knob and pull my hand away. I take a deep breath and walk away. I go into my room and yell at myself in the mirror. Why are you so weak? Why can’t you turn the knob?

God help me! Where are you? I need you. She needs you. Why won’t you make her wake up? I need a miracle.

I fall asleep listening to the hissing and popping of the machines that keep her alive.

I have the same nightmare, but it’s not a nightmare. It’s a reality. You fell down the stairs and couldn’t move. Ten minutes. That’s what the doctor said. If I could’ve gotten you to the hospital ten minutes earlier you would’ve made it. If I would’ve came straight home that night you would’ve been okay.

But I didn’t.

We were fighting and I took the long way home to clear my head.

Ten minutes.

I wish I would’ve driven straight home. That’s why it’s all my fault. That’s why I can’t go in there. I know I did that to you.

I wake with a startle. The house is silent.

It shouldn’t be silent!

The machines have stopped. I jump out of bed and run to the door. I reach my hand out and pull it away. Maybe it’s for the best.

She needs you.

I look around. No one is there.

She needs you. She is still alive. Appreciate the living while they are here. One day she will be gone and you won’t be able to tell her anything.

Tears pour out of my eyes and before I know it my hand turns the door knob. I slowly walk to your bed and reach out to hold your hand. I am so sorry. Please wake up, please. I love you. I need you. I am sorry I haven’t been here. I will always be there for you from now. Wake up!  Please God, wake her up.

I feel her hand squeeze mine. It had to be my imagination. I look up through the tears and see her eyes open.

I didn’t expect day sixty to be any different. God knew it would be.

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He Still Does Miracles by Hawk Nelson – 

Miracles by Alisa Turner – 

God Of The Impossible by Lincoln Brewster – 

Faithful by Sarah Reeves – 

God Who Moves Mountains by Corey Voss –  

Mountain Of Sorrow by The Taylors – 

 

She Smiled

She was born into a home that didn’t want her. She was neglected and mistreated. She was told she wasn’t good enough. She wasn’t wanted. One day they proved that to be true and they  gave her away. Through it all she smiled.

She was adopted a short time later by parents that wanted her. Parents that loved her. She had nightmares. She was comforted by her new parents. She was told how much she was loved. She was taught about God. She was told how much she was wanted. Through it all she  smiled.

As she continued to grow and get older people would ask what is wrong with her. How can she always be smiling?  She must be hiding something. She would tell them all is good, nothing to hide. She just loves life and is so happy to be here. They would tease her but through it all she smiled.

She met a guy. She fell head over heels. Everything in her life was perfect. Until it wasn’t. He started to yell at her all the time. He started to abuse her. She tried to leave but he would convince her to stay. She would believe him when he said he would change. Slowly her smile started to fade.

She became pregnant. He didn’t change. She knew she had to leave him, not only for her but for the baby. She could remember how her biological parents treated her. She didn’t want her baby growing up the same. She moved back to her adopted parents, her real parents. Slowly her smile came back.

She read her bible and raised her little girl on her own. She knew who she was and why she was here. She taught her little girl about God. She was told she was loved and wanted. She told her about her dad and about her Father in Heaven. It wasn’t always easy but through  it all, they smiled.

On her last day here she thanked God for everything in her life. The good and the bad. She thanked Him for giving her a thankful heart. For giving her a smile through everything attitude. For giving her life lessons to teach her daughter. For giving her parents that didn’t want her, and for giving her parents that did. For giving her  a home to grow up in that taught her about Him.  She thanked Him for helping her forgive, her parents and her ex- husband. She took her last few breaths and as she left this world she smiled.

Think of these songs as a soundtrack to the reading.

Alyssa Lies by Jason Michael Carroll – 

When Love Takes You In by Steven Curtis Chapman – 

Orphan by John Waller – 

Everything To Me by Mark Schultz – 

You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile by Sia – 

Smile by Nat King Cole- 

Bubbly by Colbie Caillat – 

Face Down by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – 

That Don’t Sound Like You by Lee Brice – 

I Smile by Kirk Franklin –  

Like My Mother Does by Lauren Alaina –  

There Will Be A Day by Jeremy Camp- 

I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe – 

Steps of Faith

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Run For God- preparing people to be better witnesses for Christ physically, mentally and spiritually. Physically by creating a healthier you and make it possible to reach a new demographic of non-believers-potential believers. Mentally by learning the discipline and endurance it takes to run the race set before us. Spiritually by learning always to give God the glory for all that we accomplish.

Yesterday we finished our 12 weeks of running for God. My wife led her first Run For God class at our church. She stepped out of her box and did a wonderful job. I helped out with the children. I tried to teach them a lesson each week on preparing for the race and endurance of being a Christian. In the end I think they just ran around playing hide and seek in the life center more than anything.

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12 weeks of studying what it takes to run the race as Christians. 12 weeks of building endurance to run the race. 12 weeks of getting to know other members and become friends with them. 12 weeks of having struggles, doubts and fear. 12 weeks of overcoming every obstacle in the way and achieving more than we ever thought we could.

Almost all the members of the class were newbies to actually running. Some ran years ago but had given up. Some had never ran at all. The first week we started off by jogging 60 seconds and then walk for 90 seconds and repeat for 20 minutes. The homework was to do this 2 more times during the week. We slowly increased this week to week where week two was 90 seconds jog, 120 seconds run for 20 minutes to the last class where we jogged for 30 minutes straight. It is always amazing to see the people that struggled in week 1 to jog 60 seconds actually jog for 30 minutes and how much confidence they have gained in themselves through this process.

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Throughout the weeks we learned about different types of running gear, shoes – not one size fits all, stretching the proper way, injuries and injury prevention. We learned about nutrition, proper ways to lose weight, staying motivated, running your race and what to expect during the race.

We watched videos and read inspriring stories from the Hoyt family, Ryan Hall, Edwin Moses, Gary Basher and many others. These stories told us about overcoming obstacles, fears, and doubts.

We read about how Jesus is the one who enables us to run at all. The race of faith takes us to eternal life through God’s wondrous hand. Stick to God’s plan and let God keep you on the path that leads to life. We learned that to be a runner, and a Christian, you have to have the right equipment, be determined, diligent, and focused. The Bible makes an incredible number of references to the sport of running, paralleling it to the lives of believers and the journeys of exhaustion, pain, and dedication that all Christ-followers must experience.

Instead of always asking God for what you want, try asking for a better understanding of what He wants. Sometimes we get so busy doing what we think God wants us to do that we totally miss God. Make time every day for the Lord even if it means sacrificing something else that you love- it will be well worth the sacrifice. Don’t lose focus of your goal, whether it is physical, mental, or spiritual. Keep your eye on the goal and don’t complain about the obstacles you have to go through to achieve your goal.

Our 12 week ministry ended with the Steps Of Faith 5k run/walk that our friend, Ben Reed, started 4 years ago. All race proceeds will support The Heinzerling Foundation and Bradley’s House of Hope, two organizations (one local & one global) working to engage & develop individuals with disabilities in a loving & nurturing environment.  We had the largest turnout ever with over 400 people registering, I believe 8 different churches came together to run and share God together.

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Run For God does not end with the class. Many participants realize they can run and keep on going. Run For God is also a community outreach. I know several times have worn their Run For God shirts when running or shopping or … and people always are asking “what’s this Run For God thing?”.  We also volunteer at water stations for other races such as Cap City, Emerald City, Nationwide Children’s 1/2 and marathon, Ohio State 4 miler,  and many others.

Look for a church near you to join the next class. Can’t find one, start one. You will be amazed.

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God gave us a beautiful day and an amazing race. I can’t tell you enough how amazing it is to see people cross the finish line who, 12 weeks earlier, were struggling to run for 60 seconds. The smiles at the finish line from everyone were truly inspiring. Several people asked, “What’s next? Can we keep meeting to run?”

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Know that what you choose to believe is what will remain until we change our mind. If you believe that you are defeated then you are. While you are focused on tomorrow know that God is already there working it out for you, so live in the present. Live each day believing you are victorious in every area of your life. Run for God. Live it. Love it. Teach it.

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Thanks Ben Reed, thanks Mitchell Hollis for starting Run For God and,  most of all, thanks to God. With Him, anything is possible.

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*some excerpts from Run For God by Mitchell Hollis

Ben Reed, Just Say Yes     

Run For God, What’s It All About – 

Run For God, 5k Challenge – 

Run For God by Miriam and Sarah Burnette – Steps of Faith 5K Westerville Christian Church edition – 

Kings and Queens by Audio Adrenaline – 

Team Hoyt – 

Ryan Hall, How Does Running Glorify God? – 

Run For God Church of Messiah (where Ben Reed started it and where we learned about it) –