This past Saturday my son was among thousands of runners competing at the Forest Park Cross Country Festival in St. Louis, MO. Due to the torrential rains the previous 24 hours I renamed the 5k race The Tough Mudder. The competitors achieved rugged status as they ran on the course turned mud and muck. Many ended the race covered from head to toe in said muck. Others crossed the finish line shoeless ( shoes to be found somewhere back in mile #3 mudpit.) Witnessing this Tough Mudder brought back running memories of my younger days which included achievements in the rough and rugged arena. I ran my share of muddy miles, heartbreak hills, snow-covered courses, wind-whipped workouts, and trails of tears. To build leg strength and mental toughness, my dad (and coach) had me train in waist deep snow drifts. (I felt like I was flying on the indoor track in comparison!) I was a tough and tumble teenager! So as an adult, I hate feeling weak! I highly value feeling strong and in control. This summer I’ve had to relinquish this tough mudder mentality and face some harsh reality. Many of you know that I had a heart attack in mid-June. Just hand over the wimpy prize, thank you very much – NOT! After I posted my heart attack reality on facebook I hated the thought of people thinking I was weak, frail, and well, not measuring up. I’ve dealt with the yucky emotions of feeling like I don’t measure up and needing to achieve to be somebody my whole life. I dealt with it as a competitive runner who found herself sidelined with a career ending injury in college. I dealt with it as I sunk into deep depression after the birth of my fourth son. During each of these low times of my life, God met me in my place of despair and inadequacy and spoke into my heart through His Word, reaffirming His love and purpose for me. Scriptures I had memorized in the past became the lifelines God used to pull me out of the slippery, muddy pit of depression. In high school, facing injury and disappointment, I memorized Isaiah 40:28-31. It reads: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired and weary and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men (and women) stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” In each of my difficult times, God brought these truths to my mind and heart. He wanted me to sink my trust into Him. He gave me fresh strength and hope every time. Another scripture God has used to sustain me is 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 in which Paul says, “But he (Jesus) 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 difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Fast forward to today. God is once again telling me that I do not have to be tough and tumble! That, in Christ, I am enough! I am secure, significant, and strong. Even after a heart attack. Even on days when all I accomplish is grocery shopping and watching my son run like a gazelle through Forest Park!