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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One Step at a Time

My upcoming book, Embracing The Race: 40 Devotions for the Runner’s Soul, is closer to the finish line of finally being published. This process hasn’t been a quick sprint by any means, but more like a grueling long distance race with many twists and turns.

What started out as an exciting dream with determination, gradually turned to many moments filled with doubt and discouragement along the way.

Can I really do this?

What if it isn’t good enough?

What if they reject me?

Just as a race is completed one step at a time, the process of writing a book is also completed one step at a time.

And with each step, we keep going. We persevere!

My goal was to write 40 devotions that highlighted the parallels between running and our journey with God. But sometimes when I was writing the first five, I worried if I’d be able to finish the last five. God reminded me over and over again:

One step at a time. I’ll give you grace for today. Stop worrying about tomorrow.

I’m excited that God has opened the door for me to write this book! He’s showed me so much truth, wisdom and insight that I wouldn’t trade for anything. When I first started running, I truly thought I was checking a box on my bucket list to run one 5K.

But God had other plans.

When my feet pounded the pavement, He spoke truth into my soul.

With every step of my slow pace, He soothed me with His peace.

What I thought was just a race, were hidden lessons of His grace.

Whether you consider yourself a runner or not, Embracing The Race will encourage and challenge you in your race of life. You’ll be inspired to go deeper in your walk with Jesus. The apostle Paul writes multiple times throughout scripture how our lives are like a race.

And he urges us to run in such a way as to win!

My book won’t officially release until November 14th, but it’s available on Amazon now if you’d like to preorder it. Click HERE to check out the details.

Until then, I’d appreciate your prayers as I take the next steps of building the momentum through marketing and spreading the word. I’ll keep you posted in the weeks to come. The ultimate goal is to encourage others in their faith journey!

I don’t know where you are in your race of faith. Maybe you’re at the start line and you’ve barely taken a few steps. Maybe you’ve been in the race for a while, but you’re wearing out and feel like you want to quit. No matter where you are, I encourage you to simply take the next step. Keep going!

One step at a time.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa

 

 

 

When You Run Your Race Alone

Matthew 14:23 “After he had dismissed them, Jesus went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.”

 

Many runners prefer running with a group. Some won’t budge without their best running buddy. Don’t misunderstand. We all need the accountability and motivation other runners contribute. And there’s nothing better in the world than having a best friend who runs your exact pace and rises early with you, encouraging you from start to finish. Experts recommend it.

But sometimes you’ll have to run alone.

Yikes! But I can’t. It’s boring. I can’t do it without someone beside me.

Ever hear yourself spouting off these words? Sometimes life brings uncontrollable circumstances. Sometimes our perfectly laid out buddy-running plan goes awry. Others will let us down when we least expect it.

Snow and ice prevent us from meeting our group at the park. Your running buddy hates rain and doesn’t show up. Your running group leaves you behind while you attend to a sick child at home. Whatever the circumstances, you’re left with a decision. Either run alone or don’t run at all. Running alone might mean wiping the dust off your treadmill in the basement. It might mean running at the park solo in the rain. Maybe you run in the blazing heat instead of the cool morning.

This is where the rubber hits the road. Just how serious are you to stay on track? How far will you go to be prepared? Yes. Sometimes you simply have to run alone. Without the chatter of others around you. Without the listening ear of your best friend.

Christ followers must sometimes make a similar decision. Sometimes we have to walk part of the journey alone. Now of course we aren’t really alone. We know Jesus never leaves us. The Holy Spirit continually guides us. But sometimes we don’t have other people walking with us. Maybe you’ve said the following: I’m not going to church unless she goes with me. I’m not going to that Bible study unless my friends go with me. I can’t do that by myself.

But the reality is that sometimes things happen beyond our control. Your friend drops out of church for a while. Your work schedule is changed, keeping you from continuing your small group bible study. You get seriously sick for a season and can’t physically get to church. Whatever the case may be, you have to decide.

Will you keep embracing Jesus even if you have to walk some steps alone?

Walking alone might mean opening up your Bible by yourself at the coffee shop. Perhaps you embrace solitude for a season until you find another small group. It might mean you have an extended season of quiet searching while you heal from a sickness.

God called Moses on a solo journey for 40 days—away from the crowd. Daniel knew what it felt like to walk alone. When he resolved to keep praying no matter what the law said, he ended up in the lion’s den by himself. David faced Goliath alone while the entire Israelite army cowered in fear. Old Testament prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah would’ve made great running buddies, but God called each to walk alone, proclaiming the truth.

Jesus modeled for us what it means to walk alone. Crowds traveled with him. The twelve disciples followed him. John remained faithful to him. But multiple times he got up early while it was still dark and went out alone to pray. Even when he pleaded with his closest friends to pray with him, they let him down. Yet he still showed up and fulfilled his purpose!

READY? Can you identify a season in your life when you had to walk alone? How did this affect your faith? What are some blessings in disguise that come from sometimes walking alone? If you’re in one of those seasons now, admit your fears and worries and lay them at the feet of Jesus.

GET SET. Exodus 24:2 “Moses alone is to approach the Lord; the others must not come near.”

GO! Heavenly Father, I thank you for the promise that you’ll never leave me or forsake me. Help my faith to grow strong and go deep when I must walk parts of my life journey alone. I trust you to bring others into my life for support and encouragement at the right time. Amen

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If you enjoyed this post, check out my devotional book!

 

Blessings to You!

Lisa Preuett

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

 

He Knows Your Stats

Psalm 139:3-4 “You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.” (NLT)

 

In our ever-developing world of technology, various devices are available for tracking and recording our fitness stats. Garmin® watches track distance, pace and exactly how many seconds, minutes and hours have ticked by. (In my pre-Garmin® days, I drove my car around the block, using the odometer to figure out the distance I needed to run!)

Many have embraced the latest Fitbit® craze. A proud owner of one of these, I’m enthralled with this powerful tracking device. It monitors my daily steps, calorie consumption, flights climbed, heart rate, distance traveled and how many hours I slept. I can even sync all these stats with my phone or laptop, analyzing in detail just how active—or inactive—I was on any given day. All of this information is displayed right at my finger tips.

To take it a step further, it blows me away that I’m not the only person Fitbit® tracks. I’m one of thousands of people—each with their own unique stats. How in the world can technology operate like this? How does it absorb all this information, keeping it specific for each and every person?

As impressive as our technology is with all its bells and whistles, there’s something much more powerful than this. It’s not a device. It’s not something man has created.

God in all his infinite power and knowledge knows everything about each and every person in the whole wide world. Let that sink in for a moment. It’s mind boggling, trying to wrap our human minds around this truth.

He knows the steps we’ve traveled (Proverbs 20:24), the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7), when we lie down, and our words before we speak them (Psalm 139:3-4).

In Matthew 10:29 Jesus tells us, “But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” So if God notices all these birds, how much more does he know about us—people created in his own image?

Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

It’s one thing for him to know our spoken words, but according to Jeremiah 12:3, he examines the attitudes of our heart.

Yikes! Even the stuff—good and bad—nobody else knows?

Yes, He knows the stats of our soul. Let this bring comfort and not condemnation.

He knows our fears and dreams.

He understands our disappointments and desires.

He comprehends our strengths and weaknesses.

He even recognizes intimate things about us we don’t understand ourselves.

Now that’s more complex than any manmade device that has been or ever will be developed!

If it’s possible for the human mind to develop such powerful, complex technology, then how much more believable is it to grasp the fact that our sovereign God—the creator of the universe—is all-knowing and all-powerful?

But let’s take it one step further. Not only does God know everything about us, but he loves us anyway. Our ugly messes are displayed before his eyes. But instead of condemning us, He syncs our sin-stained souls with the blood of Jesus, lavishing his forgiveness all over us.

READY? Take a moment and embrace the fact that God knows everything about your life. Is there an area of your life you’ve tried to hide from him? Reflect on today’s scriptures and allow God’s powerful presence to penetrate every area of your heart. The next time you charge your favorite device, let it be a reminder to you of God’s power.

GET SET. Proverbs 5:21 “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.” (Also read Proverbs 20:24 and Luke 12:7)

GO! Heavenly Father, my mind simply can’t fathom your all-knowing, all-powerful presence. Help me accept by faith that you know every single detail of my life. May this truth comfort me when I doubt your involvement in my life. Amen.

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