Posts in Team Journal
Running the Race Before Us {Team Journal}

Today’s team journal is written by our Communications Director, Tiffani Decker.

public.jpeg

Growing up, most things I tried came easily to me. Things that wouldn’t, or I thought wouldn’t  come easy, I avoided. One of the things I tended to avoid was sports. Yeah, I tried softball for a few years -  until I grew tall enough that I had enough of a strike zone to be struck out a lot. Then I quit.

I played soccer for a few years, but when I felt like I wasn’t very good at that, I quit, too. I don’t like pain. I don’t like the prospect of failing. That’s why I didn’t try for many scholarships. I am a decent essay writer and had a lot of good qualifications on paper that would qualify me for those scholarships, yet I stayed away because what if I tried and didn’t get it. How would I look then? 

That’s me - I go for what I know I can get - but usually keep the limit there because I don’t like to fail. 

Last October, I decided to try for a goal that had floated around in my head as some admirable to do. Running a half marathon. Now, I am not a runner. At that point, running two miles or so was a good goal for me. I knew I needed something to push me physically or else I wouldn’t exercise consistently. It was around this time I began to realize how often I back down when the going gets tough. Combining this realization with desiring a goal that would motivate me, I decided to sign up for the Indy Mini. It was six months away. From what I heard, it was relatively flat and pretty fun as there were typically lots of people and acts out on the path cheering you along. 

I trained, and I trained. Then, I trained some more. My athletic trainer of a sister held me accountable - writing my training plans and frequently asking me when I was going to run. She endured my complaining, whining, and adjusting of her plans. And yet, she kept encouraging me. Then the day came. May 4th. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize the date early enough to adapt my wardrobe like a good Star Wars fan might. I ate a small breakfast like I typically would before a long run. My sister tapped my knees, and we headed off to my starting point. 

Eventually, the race started and right as I was about to cross the start line it started to rain. It rained the entire time! I never trained in the rain. I planned my long runs around the rain. By mile 3, there was water in my phone case, so my music wouldn’t play loud enough for me to hear. I always listened to music when I ran! Now, I had no voice coming on my ears to tune into, to encourage me, to help me forget what I was doing. At the end of mile 5, I looked at my watch, and it did not say I ran 5 miles. No, it said I ran 5.86 miles. I had used the watch the ENTIRE time I trained to track my distance and time. That meant my long runs were not as long as I had thought, and my pace was slower than I thought. 

During the Indy Mini, around mile 6, the course enters the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I thought it would be awesome - you know, this famous race track. No, I was one of the hardest parts for me. Why? First, they have this amazing stretch they called the Golden Mile to honor fallen soldiers. As a military wife who was tired and wet, I couldn’t look at the posters for the first half because I knew I would start crying,and I was NOT going to cry when I was running because I needed to breath. Second, you were not allowed to eat any supplements while on the race track. When I had trained, around mile 7, I would usually eat one to get the burst of energy I needed at that point. There I was - tired, wet, emotional, and I couldn’t consume what was in my little fanny pack that I knew would give me energy. So I moved to the right side. It’s where the cheerleaders were - out there in the rain, sometimes giving out high fives, sometimes shouting out encouraging words, sometimes calling each runner by name (our names were on our bibs.) I positioned myself to receive words of life. 

There was something about those girls cheering me on by name that gave me life for the speedway. 

“Way to go, Tiffani.”

“You are strong, Tiffani.” 

“Tiffani, you’ve got this. You’ve already won.”

They (and the thought of my kids) literally are the reason I kept running. They believed in me. They saw it wasn’t easy for me, yet I wanted it so bad. They knew I needed someone in my corner cheering me on to persevere - when I was tired, wet, discouraged, disappointed, and wanting to quit. This is what our Heavenly Father does. He sees us as we run this race. He sees us when we are down. He sees us when we don’t think we have much left. He sees us when we aren’t sure if we can persevere. He sees us when we want to take the easier route. But if we pay close attention, He is ever cheering us on. 

“You are strong through my power, daughter.” 

Our races may not look how we thought they would,or hoped they would be, yet may we still run for the finish line - encouraging fellow racers as we go. 

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever’.” Psalm 73:26 (NIV)

“Daughter, you’ve got this. Hang on. The end is near. You are already a victor.”

“I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.” 1 John 5:4 (ESV)

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (NIV)

So sister, hang on - keep running your race. He is cheering you on. Let His voice be louder than the voice in your head!  Let His strength and energy catapult you into the next part of your journey. Turn His words into your words for you to pass onto another sister running this race who may need to hear them. Our races may not look how we thought they would,or hoped they would be, yet may we still run for the finish line - encouraging fellow racers as we go. 


Tiffani Decker wants to live in a world where she can find the perfect planner, read all day in a hammock, and stay up late playing board games. When she's not chasing her two rambunctious children, you can find her trying to figure out the next home project.

Her favorite Scripture is always changing, but is currently Isaiah 55.

Jesus is Lord of Every Miracle {Team Journal}

 Today's team journal was written by our Team Lead, Natalie Herr.

IMG_0155.JPG

For the last month or so, I’ve been looking for Jesus in the gospels. I’ve been asking myself two questions: “Who is Jesus?” and “What does it look like to follow Him?” I’ve taken note of many answers to these two questions, and one thing the gospel accounts make clear is that Jesus is Lord, and that following Him requires us to come under his lordship.

At the very end of the book of John, after Jesus has resurrected and appeared to the disciples a few times, John tells us the story of one more appearance on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias (John 21). John is the only gospel author to include this story, and it seems to me it’s because it had special significance to him.

John sets the scene: it was early in the morning, and Jesus (unrecognizable to them) was standing on the shore while several disciples were fishing in the sea. They had been at it all night and hadn’t caught a thing. Jesus called out to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” Spoiler alert: they didn’t. So, Jesus told them to throw a net out on the right side of the boat - they’d find some there.

Can you imagine being one of them? You’re out on the sea, fishing all night, pulling up empty net after empty net - and some stranger (who’s probably not even a fisherman!) is calling you a child and telling you what to do. This whole scene could have been a recipe for disaster. But for some reason, the disciples obey, and are suddenly unable to haul in the insane amount of fish that appeared out of nowhere. Things just went from 0 to 100. Empty to abundant.

He is at work; always at work.
The morning will come and He
will show up on the shore.

Now here’s my favorite part: The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved (most likely John himself) saw this and immediately said, “It is the Lord.” It is the Lord! What a declaration to make! He could have said, “Look at all those fish!” or “Wow, we are eating good tonight!” or something else. But, no. John knew instinctively that only Jesus could produce such a miracle. Only Jesus could make something out of nothing. John recognized the wild and wonderful work of Jesus and immediately gave Him credit. He knew then that the man on the shore was the Lord, and because of his proclamation, so did the others.

So the question in my heart is this: do I respond to the work of Jesus like John did? Do I recognize that he is responsible for the wild and wonderful things happening in my life? Do I immediately point that out to others and help them to see the Lord?

Now, I’m no fisherman. (The last time I caught a fish was probably 20 years ago in the backwoods of Pennsylvania.) It’s not likely I’ll see any miracles on the deck of a fishing boat anytime soon. But when I think about witnessing miracles in my own life, I think about my youngest daughter, who struggles with delayed development. Months and months of physical therapy with little progress has felt a lot like a long night of fishing with empty nets. But whenever she has a breakthrough, even a small one, I have the opportunity to proclaim like John, “It is the Lord.”

It is the Lord!

He is the miracle maker. He is the change agent. It’s not my daughter, it’s not me, it’s not her therapists. It’s not time, or coincidence, or the accumulation of a lot of hard work. It’s the Lord.

The Psalms tell us more than once to ascribe glory to God. To pay Him what he is due. To recognize Him and praise Him for His work and to tell others about it.

 

“Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
 ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
 worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. (Psalm 29:1-2)

 

My friends, when you see Jesus do a miracle in your life, tell someone as soon as you can. Tell your neighbor. Text a friend. Put it on Instagram Stories. Yell it out loud! Throw up some confetti! Tell the world that it is the Lord.

And if you aren’t seeing any miracles and life feels like an empty net, look a little closer. He is at work; always at work. The morning will come and He will show up on the shore. There are miracles happening every day and we get the opportunity to use them to proclaim his goodness.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21


Natalie Herr is the founder and team leader of Dayton Women in the Word. She is a servant of God, a wife, a mom of four and a God-sized dreamer. She loves teaching and equipping women with God's Word.