"For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you'."
My sister and I started a tradition a few years ago that we always look forward to doing. We started participating in my local gym's 5k race on Thanksgiving morning called the "Turkey Trot". This is a very fun event and a great way to start our Thanksgiving day.
The past couple of years, my niece, Eden, has asked to run with me. I've said yes each time. She is such a joy to be around and running with her has drawn us closer together.
This particular race, the course we had to run included a pretty steep hill. I had run the course before to get a feel for it and knew that it might be a challenge for Eden; it was a challenge for me! I informed my sister of this hill before hand so they would be as prepared as one could be.
Well the day arrived and sure enough Eden was going to be my running partner. Eden is a very active and pretty healthy little girl. There was no doubt in mind that she could complete the race.
Everyone gathered at the start line. A prayer was said and then the gun went off. It was time to run!
As we took off running, Eden grabbed my hand, which is becoming our thing at the beginning of races. It was a cold morning, and she had worn a scarf to keep her warm. Not long into the race, she realized that she wasn't sure she should have worn that big scarf. I told her that I could put it around my neck so she didn't have to bother with it. This aunt ended up wearing that scarf the whole race, but that's ok. Whatever I could do to help her along her journey I would do.
She was doing great. We ran along the Ohio river and she chatted along about different things; questions about the race and such. I listened and enjoyed the time together. These are moments that I will forever cherish within my heart.
Time went on and we began to approach the area of the big hill. I reminded Eden that it may be pretty tough. She just kept on going, not allowing the knowledge of the hill to stop her. We came upon the corner and turned towards the hill when she looked up at the hill and gave a little laugh. (She really couldn't have known how steep the hill was without seeing it.) We continued to run and began the climb up the big hill. After a few steps she said in her sweet, soft voice "Aunt Brandy, I can't do it." I took her hand, and replied, "It's ok, you can do this. We don't have to run." We stopped running and began the walk up that big hill. I encouraged her to not look up but to take one step at a time and focus only on the next step.
Finally, we had made it to the top of the hill! We continued to walk as I was going to let her call the shots on when she was ready to run again. We noticed not far from the top of the hill, a table with a nice gentleman handing out hot chocolate to runners/walkers. If you only could have seen the smile on Eden's face! What a reward for climbing that hill!! We stopped and got some hot chocolate. After having a few drinks, we thanked the gentleman and continued on our way. It didn't take long for Eden to tell me she was ready to run again. So off we went!
Life can be like that hill. We go about our lives "running" and think all is good when all of a sudden we look up and somehow we've come upon a "steep hill". And just like my niece, we think to ourselves that we can't do it. We say "Lord, I can't do it. That hill (our problem) is way too difficult for me to climb." We feel like giving up. We convince ourselves that we can't do it. However, if we call on our Heavenly Father, He will take our hand, tell us to slow down, and take it one step at a time. Just like I told Eden to not look up that big hill, God tells us to not worry about tomorrow and our problems. In the book of Matthew, this is what we are told: "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it's own things." (6:34 NKJV) When you're facing that "steep Hill", don't focus on how far it is to the top. Just take one step at a time.
Before we knew it, we were nearing the finish line. Eden had really picked up her pace now! We crossed it holding hands. Eden had finished the race; steep hill and all! But the story doesn't end there.
We left and my sister went on home to get everything ready for our families thanksgiving dinner to be held later that day. As she was driving home, she received a call from the gym. Eden had placed 2nd in her age group and had earned a medal!! Talk about excited; she was beyond excited. And she had every right to be.
You see, when Eden saw that hill, her immediate response was, "I can't do it". She didn't think she could overcome that obstacle. But I knew she could. All she had to do was slow down and take it one step at a time. If Eden had given up in that moment, she wouldn't have gotten that medal. (Or the yummy hot chocolate waiting for her at the top of the hill!)
Life is like that. Sometimes we come upon a steep hill that we have to climb. We feel defeated before we even take the first step towards it because we know it will be hard. I encourage you that if you're facing a steep hill and you don't think you can climb it, take hold of your heavenly Father's hand and take it one step at a time. Matthew 19:26 says that with God all things are possible and Philippians 4:13 tells us that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. My friend, don't give up no matter how hard, how slow, or how long it will take you. Don't give up; you have no idea what is waiting for you at the top of your hill.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!