The two women on either side of me are moms that inspire me greatly. It was a privilege to run the St. Jude 10K in December of 2018 with them.
I love the STRONG shirts that Jennifer (left) and Suzanne (right) chose for this race because the are truly strong mothers.
I believe that many women are strong and I heartily applaud them!
But, you know, there’s a limit to that strength.
In life there are times when our strength is just not enough.
I’ve known many women who are strong in my lifetime; these two are some of the strongest.
I know the real source of this strength.
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2a
These verses are favorites among runners.
The person in whom they place their faith is the real source of their strength.
Suzanne said, “That is one of my favorite verses. Running helps so much to relieve stress and just clear my mind.”
Me too. I love to listen to praise music while running but there are times when I just pour my heart out to the Lord as my feet pound the pavement.
I told them after the race that the Lord put it on my heart to share some of our struggles and they agreed to let me do it.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about sitting down to write this but put it off. It was something I felt led to do but I didn’t really want to start it.
It’s tough to open a wound and talk about hard places in life but I pray God will use it to help someone else. I’ve prayed and prayed for the Lord to guide me in sharing their struggles and mine.
Then that verse came up in my devotional so I knew it was time.
In the mid-eighties we decided to try and start a family and found out that I was pregnant in early September the same way many women find out – morning sickness.
I went to the doctor and he confirmed that I was indeed expecting a baby and estimated my due date to be April 28th!
As many women do, I had so many hopes and dreams for this child and started trying out names.
Like many expectant moms-to-be I was excited but miserable at the same time. My sinus issues really added to my morning sickness but I suffered through it the best I could for a couple of months. One night I was I was so congested I was not able to sleep. I took an over-the-counter sinus pill. I was 3 months along at this time and I thought it was probably safe to take the medicine at this point. We were at the point of telling our families; some of our close friends knew.
A few days later as I was helping my preschool children that I taught load up for a Halloween program we were doing at the nursing home. When I picked up one little boy to help him into the vehicle I had a sharp pain in my abdomen. Not long after that I began spotting.
My doctor confirmed that I had experienced a miscarriage telling me that it was God’s way of taking care of a baby that is not viable. I was devastated and blamed myself for the miscarriage because I had taken the medicine and picked up the little boy.
I had a D & C on October 31st. JT brought me home from the hospital and went to work at the store. I sat at home with the outside lights off as Trick-or-Treaters paraded down our street. Some came to the door wanting candy. My hormones were all over the place and I was in tears.
Word was just beginning to get out about our “news” and people would come up to congratulate me. I had to tell them about the miscarriage.
I questioned God; I was a mess inside.
I put on a brave face when I went out but I cried at home at the sight of a baby on television or when I heard that someone was expecting. It took several years for me to accept God’s will, forgive myself, and find the courage to try again…
On December 13, 2006 Suzanne, her husband, Brad, and daughter, Brayleigh, welcomed a happy, healthy baby boy into their family!
Quinn was a quiet and laid- back little boy who was having trouble with ear infections. He had two sets of tubes in his ears but at two years old, he had not yet said “Mommy” or any other words. They were concerned.
In 2009 they learned that Quinn had moderate hearing loss and he got hearing aids. They were thinking that was the answer.
In October of that year they learned that Quinn had Sanfilippo Syndrome. MPS III is a disease with no cure at the present time. It’s a progressive disease that involves neurologic deterioration, including the loss of language and mobility.
Suzanne and her family have struggled daily with this diagnosis and the loss Quinn’s language and motor skills.
Only their faith in God has given them the strength to walk this road that no parent should have to walk.
Their witness has touched the lives of many people in our community and beyond including those who are struggling with Sanfilippo.
Suzanne recently posted this quote on her social media:
She believed she couldn’t.
And she was right.
She gave Him every bit of her broken self and He used it for His glory.
Jennifer began running again after losing her soulmate, Scott.
Scott was a fun guy with a big personality who loved to kid around and make people laugh.
He was a friend, a Christian man who was the spiritual leader of his family, a Sunday school teacher to the college kids, and a deacon in our church.
Scott was in the prime of life, only 41 years old, when he passed away from a massive heart attack in July of 2011.
Jennifer was left to parent two young children, Emma Rae and Max, by herself.
As you can imagine she misses him immensely and has struggled greatly with her family’s loss.
She has poured herself into her children, friends, and clients in her beauty shop. That’s the kind of woman she is.
Even as she’s struggling, she’s helping others in their trials.
Early in her return to running she participated in a 5K fundraiser for a friend with breast cancer.
This very friend was attempting to run the race that was being held in her honor.
Jennifer and her friend turned the corner just before crossing the finish line.
I snapped a picture of Jennifer holding her friend’s hand and urging her along, helping her across the finish line.
It’s a beautiful picture of what God intends for us to do.
We will never fully understand why God’s children suffer the losses we do other than it’s a consequence of living in a world that is broken because of that sin that entangles us.
Christ told us that in this world we will have troubles.
Each of us has a different race that has been marked out for us.
For some Mother’s Day is a difficult day.
It may be illness.
It may be infertility.
It may be miscarriages.
It may be a prodigal child.
It may be the loss of a child.
It may be the loss of a mother.
It may be a difficult relationship with a child or mother.
You may be a single parent.
Each of these makes for a hard road to travel.
These verses encourage us to throw off anything that hinders us.
These verses encourage us to run that race with perseverance looking to Jesus, the champion and perfecter of our faith.
And I believe that we, like Jennifer, are called to come alongside others who are hurting and run with them.
We see you but, more importantly, God sees you.