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Bread for the Journey

I’ve been reading off and on a devotional by John Piper called Taste and See -Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life - 140 Meditations. I’m sharing part of Meditation 50 (How Can Elsie Run? How to Run and Box when You are over 80) I’ve highlighted in bold green parts that really spoke to me…

…”Are running and boxing only for the fit and hardy?
The answer is that we all must run, whether old or young, whether sick or healthy. And this is possible for the sick and senile because the race is run with the heart, not the legs, and the fight is fought with the heart, not the fists. It is a race and a fight not against other athletes, but against unbelief. It is possible for the aged and weak to win this fight because the fight is a fight against lost hope, not against lost health.
Here’s the biblical evidence for this. In 1 Timothy 6:12 Paul says to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession” The fight is a “fight of faith.” It is not a fight to get out of bed, but to rest in God.

It is not a fight to keep all the powers of youth, but to trust in the power of God. The race is run against temptations that would make us doubt God’s goodness. It is a fight to stay satisfied in God through broken hips and lost sight and failed memory. The race can and may be run flat on your back. In fact, it may be run and fought better by the paralyzed than by the able and seemingly self-sufficient.

…Finishing the race means not giving up the hope of the gospel. It is a race against hopelessness, not against flawlessness.

When we cheer on the diseased or aging runners who run their final laps in hospital beds, what we are really saying is, “Do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35) The finish line is crossed in the end, not by a burst of human energy, but by collapsing into the arms of God. And let us not forget: In the Christian race, we do not finish alone. We finish together. It is part of the rules. “Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called Today, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13)”

My mother finished her race and "collapsed into the arms of God at the age of 89 on September 13th, 2013. This happened to be her and my pop's 70th wedding anniversary. Her family came around her in her last days and she did not finish her race alone. I wanted to share this short excerpt from my mom's eulogy that my youngest brother gave at my mom's funeral services on the 27th of September.

"Thank you for coming today to help us honor and celebrate the life of our Mother,
Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Aunt and friend, to support her Husband, our Pop –
but most of all to thank the Lord for a life redeemed and well lived and to be reminded
that eternal life means that there is more life to come after we die, a life characterized
by the resurrection life and body of Jesus Christ. God has not abandoned Mom, but He
promises because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that she will be made like Him,
forever experiencing the fullness of life that is called eternal life and is available to all of
us through faith in Christ. Our Mom is in the hands of God and there is no better place
for her to be.

 Until we see her again, we mourn our great loss but celebrate her GREAT gain. As
Proverbs 31:31 says “Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her
praise at the city gates.”

 I hope this will encourage someone out there who is having a hard time running. Keep the faith. Keep looking ahead to the Hope we have in Christ. Keep acknowledging God’s goodness to you every day. Blessings on you…


  1. I've read the wonderful legacy in your posts of your parents. These are appropriate words for me today as I struggle with an ailing mother. She and I need to make some decisions today as to whether she should go ahead with blood transfusions to make her quality of life better or let her suffer a little longer until she meets her Creator. She is 92. Please pray for her/us.

    1. Marla, I will pray for you and your dear mother. May God comfort and lead you both as you make these decisions...

  2. This just gave me a glimpse into why your Mom was able to finish as she did. Your dear Pop and you and others ran alongside her her to encourage. In the end when she did collapse into the arms of Jesus.. Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom from John Piper and also your own experience.

  3. Thank you for sharing. Lost my Mom 16 yrs ago this week. Longing for the hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness....

  4. your mom is beautiful in this pic. wishing you peace and the love of family during your mourning. ty for sharing, beautiful post...

  5. Ellen, reading your words gave me goosebumps. It also reminded me of a friend whose 20 year old nephew was completely paralyzed this summer. I will direct her (and the young man and his family) to this post, as I think it will encourage them as well, something they all need as they face this reality. Thank you for sharing this. Dairymary

  6. What a beautiful & timely message this is; thank you for sharing this. Wise & comforting words to help us along the way dealing with an aging/ailing dear mother who is immobile & suffering from dementia, as well as encourage her with these scripture verses.

  7. Thanks for that encouragement for a heart that is saved but feels so broken in my situation.

  8. Ellen, this was so beautiful...thank you for sharing your journey about your mother as we all cheered you on....she is now with Jesus and is sharing eternity with many others. I wonder if your mom and mine have met....I think they would have lots in common and I bet they are introducing themselves to each other and their connections. So well written. Thank You!!!!

  9. Ellen, this was so beautiful...thank you for sharing your journey about your mother as we all cheered you on....she is now with Jesus and is sharing eternity with many others. I wonder if your mom and mine have met....I think they would have lots in common and I bet they are introducing themselves to each other and their connections. So well written. Thank You!!!!

  10. Thank you for this timely devotional. We buried our mother on Sunday, October 27.

    1. Anonymous, May God comfort you in the loss of your mother...

  11. A beauti"full" life, faithful to the end...well finished. A testament and encouragement to everyone.

  12. Thank you for this entry in your blog. You don't know how much I needed to read has been a rough one. While I am on my feet and meeting life's daily joys and needs, the future holds much doubt for me.

    I was married at 18 and widowed at 39. He was my best friend, my knight in white armor and my soul mate. There has never been anyone else for me. I continued on, found work that would support my daughters and myself and found joy at times when I least expected it. Now retired, I am living on a small income, and doing OK. One daughter is happily married and has two grown children; my youngest is going through a nasty divorce complete with a restraining order, she has two young children.

    My physical problems come from a auto accident where a young woman ran a red light and hit my car in the drivers side. I had to be cut out of my car. Blessed with no broken bones, there were still internal injuries and my legs suffered crush injuries that have resulted in non diabetic neuropathy in both legs. This all happening in February of 2004.

    After spending 4 months in the hospital and in rehab, I returned to work, retiring in 2009. I now walk with a cane and have balance problems...and lots of aches. Today was rainy, dark and gray with a definite taste of winter in the air. Even spending time at the local food bank where I volunteer didn't remove the cloud I was under... So here I am. Tired, gray and depressed reading my email to clean it down and there was your gift to me.

    I read it once, and then twice, and then saved it to have and come back race may be slow and awkward now, it may not be the race that I would want for myself or my children, but we do not race alone. My dear one was a runner, he had run in his first marathon shortly before he died. I know that he and my Lord Jesus will be there when I finish my race, and we will run through heaven's gate together.

    Thank you for your writing, your warm and lovely recipes and for sharing this part of your race with us. Your mother will be there to cheer your crossing the finish line.

    Again thank you, your writing is always a delight for me.

    1. Anonymous, God bless you dearly as you wait on Him for your strength and comfort through your pain and the suffering your youngest is going through. May you know that God loves you dearly...

  13. Thank you for your article, and for sharing the picture of your beautiful mom. What wonderful insight that the race is more about our resting and trusting God than struggling to do "our" best. Thank you.


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