Monday, February 20, 2012

A Silent Auction, Running the Race & the Soli Deo Gloria Party

It's time to pull up your chair.  Do you know you have one here in this space we call Soli Deo Gloria?  You do.  It's reserved every week only for you.  This place would be different if you weren't here and we miss you when you are gone.  This is a place filled with women who seek to honor your words, you heart, your tears, and your laughter.  Scooch in close.  You won't want to miss a word.

Time is short these days, yes?  But an investment of time (even a small investment), serves to build the community.  When you arrive here, would you look over the faces of those who have already pulled up their chair?  Would you ask God to point to a few people to go visit?  Sometimes, He will lead you into those spaces because He has a gift for you there.  And sometimes, He tugs at your heart because He has given you just the right words to pour into someone else's heart.

To read more about the Soli Deo Gloria community, please click here.
SDG Silent Auction
click here to go to Emily's easy shop
You might recognize this beautiful style of painting with its bright bold colors because the talent behind this piece belongs to Emily Wierenga.  And this talented woman also has a heart of gold.  She has donated this 9x12 print to the cause of the Soli Deo Gloria retreat and it can be in your hot little hands with just a bid in the comments.  We are doing this silent auction-style.  If you want it (because you know you do), leave your bid in the comments section.  Keep checking back here to make sure you haven't been OUTBID, which in case, you will need to bid again, OUTBIDDING the previous bidder.  Won't this be fun?  Keep in mind, if you win, not only will you have a beautiful print from Emily in your home, but you'll also be building up the SDG community.  It is my heart to make the SDG retreat as affordable as possible and not let money be something that keeps someone who feels called to attend to come.
2012 Marathon:  Running the Race
I finished my second marathon yesterday (good thing that marathon does not tax the fingers, or else I would not be able to write this -- why hasn't anyone built a retractable toilet seat?) and it was awesome and hard and I had plenty of inner dialog, especially miles 23-26.

Throughout the entire run, I would say to myself, "You're just out for a Sunday jog."  This was especially helpful through mile 15.  I have a tendency to go out too fast -- I feel good and I just go.  I tend to forget that I have many, many, many more miles to come and I must conserve.  Miles 15-26, I would use this phrase to trick myself that this was easy, almost over, there was no pressure, etc.  It didn't quite have the effect I was hoping for...

The last 10K (6.2 miles), I would say "surefooted as a deer."  What???  Let me explain.  The  night before the marathon, my mother-in-law called my husband to tell him that she had asked God how she might pray for  me for the marathon and He came back with Habakkuk 3: 17-19 (pretty cool since this is the book that I've been teaching from for my class).  It says:
"Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD!  I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!  The Sovereign LORD is my strength!  He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights."  
My translation:  Even when life really stinks, I can rejoice in Him.  It's what brought me back to center every time I felt like this race was quickly becoming an unachievable goal.  Mile 23's inner dialog went something like this:

Why did I think this was ever a good idea?
When did 3.2 miles seem so far?
I am NEVER going to do this again.
Do I really need to meet my time goal?
I could just walk the rest of the way.
I am NEVER going to do this again.

And then, someone would see the disappointment/anger/frustration on my face from the sidelines and I would hear "Come on, Jen.  You can do this!"  And my inner dialog would change:

I am surefooted as a deer.
God, thank you for enabling me to be out here today.
You have gotten me this far, you will bring me home.
Even when life stinks, You are there and You are always worthy to be praised.  
Give me strength, God!
I can do this with You, running beside me.

No matter what life gives us, we have a promise:  The Sovereign LORD is our strength!  He makes us as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.  We may have an uphill battle that taxes our every last bit of tenacity, of strength, of endurance, but when our cups are empty, He is ready to refill.  When we surrender our own ability and allow Him to pour into us, our inner dialog starts to change, we can hear the supporters calling out to us on the streets, we can fix our eyes on the prize, and we can finish the race.

It's amazing how often physical feats and issues can have such illustrative analogies for our spiritual/mental lives as well.  The whole time I was running, I was amazed by the energizing and healing powers of the encouragers on the sidelines, thousands of people who didn't know me.  People who were basically house-bound because their streets were closed due to the race didn't pout indoors, but came out on their front lawns with their dogs and kids to cheer for us (or offer cocktails for quitters - this is Austin, you know).  Sometimes you never know the power your words have to spur someone on, but that does not take away their significance.  I think about this in relation to Soli Deo Gloria.  Our community is filled with such encouragement and love...let us not hold back.  Let us follow His lead to encourage those who pull on our hearts.  Let the words He gives us flow out of our hearts with ease.  Let us love with abandon.

"And let us consider how we may spur on towards love and good deeds..."  
Hebrews 10:24

SDG Community Builder:  1)  Go.  Encourage.  Love.  Especially someone who might be new.  2)  If you are new to this group, will you put as your caption "I'm new!"  We'd love to give you some extra love this week.  3)Bid, bid, bid on the lovely Emily's piece in the comments section (let's start the bid at $20 -- bidding will end when the link closes at 11:59 CST on Wednesday).

(There was no writing on Sunday, so I'm linking this post to Michelle @ Graceful (surely this is a good application of scripture? and to Laura for Playdates (because running a marathon is a playdate, right?) and to Shanda for On My Heart.


  1. Yes, I love the physical illustrations for our spiritual lives! It's so reflective, healing and powerful. I'm so proud of you! I know how those last 6 miles are...been there once. I'm starting to memorize the book of James presently and I thought about reciting it over and over during my 30k trail run in June. But, as with you, I'll be sure to have some life-giving words along the way!

  2. Congratulations on the marathon. I used to run 2-3 a year and had to quit because of migraines. It was so hard because I loved it!
    I'm definitely coming back to bid on Emily's beautiful painting!!!

  3. I cannot believe you did your second marathon. This puts me to shame with my measly two miles. But so proud of you! My husband wrote a song about the Habakkuk scripture (and I wrote a post about his song) because that is just how he felt in the midst of our infertility. We were barren and dry and yet we were able to rejoice in his goodness and his promises.

  4. LOVE the smile on your face in the photo. What a great accomplishment!

  5. Congratulations! I'm trying not to be envious. :-) I secretly have wanted to do a marathon but gave up on that dream when my legs would never stop hurting. ha.

    So I cheer you on! You are a brave and persevering woman and you inspire us.

  6. I walked 2 miles during lunch! LOL Congratulations on your stamina - and the beautiful conversations that spurred you on. It is an awesome parallel to this faith journey we are on - and I loved how your MIL reaches out to you and how you receive from her!

  7. Look at that joy on your face as your are running -- that makes me happy! Congratulations on your outstanding finish, dear friend -- I am proud of you!

  8. Congrats on finishing your second marathon! What an accomplishment. :) And, I love Em's paintings! I can recognize her style anywhere. :)

    p.s. I mentioned your blog on mine today :)

  9. Congrats on your marathon, and on the faith that spurred it! I guess my 2 mile walk on the treadmill each day doesn't exactly stretch my faith :) Oh, well, parenting 5 kids is marathon enough for me on most days. I'm in awe of your accomplishment. Love the way you shared it for all of us who run the race for Christ each day. Thank you.

  10. Congrats, Jen, on finishing and on how your faith grew as you were running! So inspiring and impressive :)

  11. That guy that they based the movie "Chariots of Fire" on (can't remember his name) said, "When I run, I feel God's pleasure." I can see that radiating on your face, Jen! Awesome!

  12. Whata great post! Yes, life is an uphill battle sometimes, and it can be the people at the sidelines that spur us on! Thank God for community of brothers and sisters in Christ! Patsy from

  13. Congratulations Jen!! I'd also like to give you credit for all those hours on the road while you were training - THAT for me is always one of the most difficult parts as well, staying motivated and getting out there day after day! I just love how the Lord becomes part of every facet of your life once you walk the walk and in your case, run the race! What a blessing your running partner is as well! Enjoy resting now!

  14. Oh girl HUGS!! So, so proud of you and inspired and reminded as I run my own kind of marathon!! So many lessons here and just so proud of you SISTER:}

  15. love this post. congrats! what a huge accomplishment!
    i also love how you're calling out the newbies here. that is so helpful, and hopefully will be an encouragement to them.
    i'm happy to start the bidding for emily's print at $20, as well. love her stuff!

  16. Way to go, Jen! I am not a runner, but my husband has done a few half marathons, and something about a race makes me so emotional. People standing on the sidelines, cheering for one another, and the runners giving it their all - it is a wonderful display of the way God wants us to love one another.

    Also, I love the phrase that entered your mind, "surefooted as a deer" - perfect.

  17. Congrats on the marathon...oh running...nothing like it...I always wanted to do a the time I was well enough...I thought at my age a 1/2 would be was such a gift to be able to do it...
    WEll Done!

  18. I have always admired folks who can run a marathon-well done!

    I laughed out loud when you wrote the conversation going on in your head. I have had that exact same conversation with myself! I really appreciate that you shared your response though, as that gives me a new and better conversation to hold with myself when I need a reminder I am not alone in this endeavor, and that I can be successful.

  19. Congratulations on the marathon!!! I read a little "sign" the other day that said something like " I can't sleep because my brain won't quit talking to itself"!!! ;-) Thanks for letting me join!!!

  20. Jen, first I have to say that I am so proud of you. What a feat! And what a beautiful story of endurance you tell here. I have those same conversations with myself too, but hearing you tell the story, it makes me feel like I am not alone.

  21. Jen...awesome story! What an accomplishment! This is the THIRD time in a week that Habakkuk 3 has shown up in my life. Yes, Lord, I am listening. :)

    I bid $45.00.

  22. I am so proud of you and of us, my friend. It was a pleasure and an honor to train with you these past 6 months for this awesome accomplishment. We did it! We did more than we thought we could do going into this thing. Yes, it was hard. That last 10K is always hard, and we knew it would be, and we persevered. We ran the race set before us. And though we still cannot walk normally 48 hours later, we are smiling at what we accomplished with God's help. It was truly an awesome experience!

    I want to address those of you who don't feel your 2 miles (or whatever) is anything compared to a marathon. Every little bit is something. Not everyone is made to run a marathon (in fact, I'm not sure I am! LOL). Everyone has their own "marathon" in their life that they must depend on God for. It doesn't have to be running. If you do aspire to run a marathon, though, just keep running. You will get there. I started "running" in August of 2006. I put that in quotes because I could only run for 1 minute at a time. I started the Couch-to-5K program then. Six months later, I ran a half marathon. I was never a runner before then. I hated running. My mother-in-law got me into running. She's the reason I ran that first half marathon. She ran her first marathon at the age of 58! She can no longer run long distance because she has arthritis in her knees, but she cycles now instead (many, many miles) along with my father-in-law. My husband also got into running at the same time, and he qualified to run the Boston marathon last year. We will all be going to watch him run that race this April.

    I just wanted to inspire any new runners to just keep at it and don't let your dream die. I never wanted to run a marathon. I just wanted to be able to run 3 miles. ;) Your goal may not be running, but whatever it is, go for it! If you put your faith in God, He will get you there.

  23. I just responded to your comment over at my place, about not being able to memorize huge chunks of scripture, by saying sometimes it's helpful just having an anchor verse. Sounds like you lived that reality during your marathon! I am overwhelmed by your commitment. Just the word "running" makes my knees hurt! But, I'm working out on the elliptical (or will be as soon as I get off the computer) to get in shape for a hike in the Alps this summer! Maybe I need to memorize that passage from Habbakuk!

    Yay emily! She does have a beautiful heart, and such a gift. I'll up the bid to $50.

  24. Jen, you are amazing. A marathon and you actually look well when you finished. I love how you instantly turned around the dialogue and glorified our Lord. He is glorified in all you do and I'm grateful I am here to see it. Blessings, Nona

  25. Is there anywhere out here in the blogging world that doesn't have Emily's fingerprint? I am so proud of you dear Jen for your completion of a goal! I am excited about seeing your reach your retreat goals!

  26. Congratulations on the marathon! To God be the glory! Praise God that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
    God bless you,

  27. wow congrats on the marathon and love the victory photos. That is so great!

    I will raise the bid to $60

  28. Congratulations Jen!
    I loved reading about your self talk - sometimes I enter that when I'm only 10 minutes into a run. :) And then I use the Scripture from Isaiah about "running and not growing weary" and picturing Jesus pulling me along. Amazing how God worked it to give you exactly the Scripture to pull you along!

  29. Jen,

    I am so glad that I stumbled upon your site today...such a blessing. I am a fairly new blogger and find blogs such as yours encouraging and a blessing. I would love to learn how to start receiving your newsletter as well. Thank you for hosting the link up. I can already tell that I will be spending quite a bit of time with these blogs and yours...such great content (and so encouraging)...thanks again!

  30. Congratulations to you, lady! Quite the accomplishment. So proud for you. And I agree with one other statement--you even looked great at the end :).

    I'll raise the bid to $65. It's one of my dreams to own an original by Em.

  31. WOW! A marathon is on my bucket list one day -- probably the year I turn 40. (like next year!) I never smile that big when I run!

    SO glad to have happened upon your site.

  32. How can you be that happy running a marathon...don't believe. I will need to see video footage.

    Emily's painting is amazing. No surprise, nope, nope, nope. That girl has mad skills. Thank you, E for helping out by sharing your talent.

  33. Four things:
    1. I love reading your inner thoughts.
    2. I love that Sandy gave you that verse - what an awesome verse!
    3. Cocktails for quitters - really? That's hysterical. I love my hometown.
    4. Kelli, thank you so much for your comments! LOVED reading them.

  34. love all you guys, Jenn, Em, and everyone else who makes this place so sweet. so wonderful to see you all bidding on this happy painting!

    i am a runner too, Jenn, and hope someday to do a marathon! wow! go girl! congrats to you. the encouragement here really spoke to my heart--i needed that so much--*thank you*. thank you for coming by my place earlier this week, even though i haven't linked up til now--it was so nice to see you pop up! i believe i have found a good friend in you--you have such a sweet spirit--just the kind of person i like to be around.

    blessings and love, sweet lady!


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