Threads of GRACE

After collecting an excessive amount of running tee-shirts from years of races, I finally put some of them to good use!

Sorting through my unique collection, I chose some that stood out to me  and had them turned into a beautiful tee-shirt quilt.

It turned out better than I expected!

Each piece of fabric brought back memories from a particular race. Some had happy memories attached to them while others emitted feelings of misery and disgust.

This shirt represents my first 5K. The race I thought was on flat pavement turned out to be a difficult trail run through the woods. I really felt like quitting! 

This one was a half-marathon through pouring rain the entire time. The kind of rain where you’re literally soaked to the bone and you can hardly see in front of you through the water gushing down your face.

This race was actually an obstacle course–A TOUGH MUDDER– I vowed years before I would NEVER do. After some prompting from my brother, I decided to do it anyway. Muddy from head to toe, I truly did not recognize myself in pictures from this insane mud run.

But other shirts on this same quilt have happier, more positive feelings attached to them.

This was my first half marathon! I can still conjure up those feelings of elation from crossing the finish line.

This race was a fun 5K my family did together. No pressure. Just a fun race where lots of unexpected prizes were given out at the finish line party.

Ah yes! This one represents the best time I ever had for a half marathon. Perfect conditions. Best pace ever. (And no injuries!)

I looked at each shirt, traveling back in time to relive each of these races. The good, the bad and the ugly. But then I stepped back and looked at the quilt as a whole.

Yes, when all these shirts were weaved together, it symbolized my entire running journey. It was beautiful!

But as I continued looking at the quilt, I saw something much more powerful….

This quilt is a beautiful picture of what God does with US!

Hang with me here, and please don’t miss this!

God is a master at weaving the seasons of our lives together–the good, the bad and the ugly–and He knits them together with threads of grace. And over time, He takes these individual moments of our lives and turns them into a beautiful tapestry of glory!

The 5K I ran where I wanted to quit? That’s like the seasons of life when we are ready to give up because we’re disappointed or our expectations weren’t met.

Running a race in pouring rain? It paints a picture of those times we’re trying to survive the storms of life.

Ha! And the Tough Mudder where I was a crazy-muddy-mess? Don’t we all have seasons like that? Where we are such an absolute mess we don’t even recognize ourselves. Life knocks us to the ground and we wonder how we’ll ever get up to keep going.

But we also have those seasons of happiness. The times we are living in our sweet spot, using our gifts and talents for God’s glory.

And we have those moments when life is just good. Our families are thriving. We have unexpected blessings heaped upon us when we least expect it.

And I’ll bet you can think back to moments in your life when you felt so successful. You accomplished something you’d dreamed about. Something you worked really hard for.

So just like this quilt represents the good and not-so-good moments of my running journey, in the same way,

God is continually weaving the moments of your life together for a greater purpose of displaying His glory.

So we have to be patient and we have to trust Him. Maybe you feel stuck in a season of wanting to quit and you can’t see beyond the difficulties.

Maybe you’re stuck in a muddy mess and you don’t see a way out. But I can assure you there is a clear path up ahead if you’ll just hang on. Because God is already taking the fragile threads you’re grasping on and is weaving them into something strong and beautiful.

It’s easy to get hung up on the current set of circumstances we’re in if that’s all we’re focusing on.

But when we take a step back and look at the big picture, we can see how God is weaving everything together for our good and His glory.

Which seasons of your life stand out to you–the good, bad and even the ugly–where God held you together with His threads of grace?

Blessings to you today!

Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

Embracing The Race: Join My Launch Team!

There is much excitement around my household as I anticipate the official release of my book:

Embracing The Race:40 Devotions for the Runner’s Soul

The book will be released on November 14th. So between now and then, I am gathering support from those who are able to help. I’m so thankful for some of you who have already said YES and are walking alongside me during this exciting journey.

Here are some things that will help make a successful book launch:

*Spread the word on social media. (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email)

On the day the book officially releases, just sharing a link would be huge! I will provide information to make it simple to do this.

*Write a Review on Amazon. 

Reviews on Amazon are like gold to new authors! I would love for reviews to be posted on Amazon during the week it releases. Although the book won’t be available to everyone else until November 14th, I have copies that are available now directly from me. If you’d be interested in getting a signed copy right away, click HERE.

*If you’ve already preordered the book, thanks for your support! You can write a review on Amazon later, after you’ve had a chance to dig in and soak it up. 🙂

*If you have a blog, you could review the book or allow me to guest post during release week.

*Pray! Please pray for God to keep opening up the doors for others to be encouraged in their faith through the book.

I’ve had several people ask me, “Do I have to be a runner to get your book?”

The parallels between running and our Christian walk will certainly speak loud and clear if you’re in the runner’s world. But even if you’re not a runner and don’t want to be, that’s fine too! The apostle Paul used the metaphor of a running a race in the New Testament to reach all the Greeks. He knew they would be familiar with the popular foot races that everyone flocked to in that time.

Powerful scriptures referring to running have spoken clearly to followers of Christ whether they are runners or not.

Here is what Kyle Idleman, best-selling author of Not a Fan, has to say about the book:

Honest and fun to read, you’ll find encouragement and challenge that come from Bible passages and the language of a runner. If you’re a runner, you’ll love this book. If you’re not a runner, there is plenty here for you, too.

If you’d like to preview the book on Amazon just to get a feel for how it’s written, you can check it out HERE. You will be able to read about 20% of the book (or about 10 of the 40 devotions).

As exciting as it is to be living the dream of having my first book published, I must emphasize that this book is not about me. God is the one who has opened my eyes to the powerful parallels between running and our walk with Him.

He truly is the author and I am just the scribe!

If you would like to be a part of my book launch team at any level, please let me know and I will keep you updated with more details as it gets closer to the release date. You can contact me HERE. Just let me know how involved you’d like to be or if you have any questions.

I truly appreciate my blog subscribers! Thanks for allowing me to enter your world through your email inbox.

May God bless you in the days ahead as you continue to run your race of faith!

Blessings to you,

Lisa Preuett

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In All Conditions

Philippians 4:11-13 “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

 

What are the perfect conditions when pounding the pavement? Ideal weather. No aches and pains. Fastest pace ever. When we’re fortunate enough to run in ultimate conditions, we soak it up—adoring every moment. This is what we call the runner’s high. This is when we tell anyone who’ll listen, “Running is the best thing ever!” Our best-case-scenario runs make us feel on top of the world, like nothing could ever steal our passion.

But what if it’s below freezing? Frigid wind blowing in your face. How about rain?  Not just scattered showers, but a torrential downpour—sloshing through puddles, water streaming down your face. Does your passion begin to melt when running in blistering heat? Maybe you run your slowest pace ever in a race, knees throbbing at the finish line. How do you survive your worst-case-scenario kind of runs?

We can’t control extreme weather. But we adjust our wardrobe—acclimating to the outside temps. The temps remain the same, but our attitude changes our perception. Our bodies won’t always function the way we want. But we recover, and keep going.

As Christians, we can apply these same strategies in our difficult seasons of life. We can’t control the circumstances swirling around us, but we can choose to be content in every situation. Is that really possible? According to the apostle Paul, it is.

His journey led him down a path of extreme persecution. He was flogged, beaten with rods, stoned and thrown into prison multiple times. He plunged through other worst-case-scenario seasons, too! He was shipwrecked three times, spent an entire night and day in the open sea, faced danger from robbers and frequently experienced thirst, hunger and sleepless nights. (Imagine showing up to a race start line completely dehydrated, famished and exhausted!)

He couldn’t control the extreme persecution he faced. Yet he chose to be content—even in prison, where he penned many pages of the New Testament epistles. Even in horrendous circumstances, he accepted where he was. How in the world could he possibly do that?

The key is found in today’s scripture: He could do all things through Christ. The power of the Holy Spirit ignited a supernatural strength within him, allowing his soul to acclimate to his surroundings.

Although we long for perfect living conditions, that’s not reality. We don’t always get to live life in our sweet spot. Just as our physical bodies acclimate to extreme temps, Jesus pours his strength and peace on our weary souls. When we embrace the Holy Spirit, he leads us in every situation, no matter how extreme it feels. As strength ignites within us, it changes our perception of what lies ahead.

We must embrace Paul’s words and trust that we can do all things through Christ. When life’s bitter-cold winds blow fiercely in our face, we keep moving. When the journey feels like a desert, we seek the streams of living water.  When hard times slow us down, we don’t give up. We keep on trusting and stay as close to Jesus as possible. No matter what kind of season we’re facing, we resolve to keep running the race.

READY? Identify a time when life’s conditions were not so good for you. How did you get through it? Where in your life are you struggling to be content right now? Like Paul, are you willing to surrender, claiming the strength of Jesus?

GET SET.  2 Corinthians 12:10 “For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

GO!  Lord Jesus, I thank you for the reminder today of your powerful strength. When I feel like drowning in difficult circumstances, help me cling to your truth. Instead of focusing on the stuff I can’t control, please help me focus on who you are. Amen.

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If you enjoyed this post check out my book,

 Embracing The Race: 40 Devotions for the Runner’s Soul

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett