It’s been a while since I have been home for a visit. This past weekend my husband and I made our way up the road to a very picturesque small town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As we got off the interstate I found myself putting down the window and breathing in the mountain air. Mountain air has a freshness all it’s own and if you grew up there, there is none other like it and you never forget how it smells.

We were going to celebrate Mother’s Day a little early with my mother and to get together with family.  I was too sick at the time to make the trek home for Christmas and my entire family got together for my visit. It was Christmas in May, and what a blessing it was! There was twenty of us around the table, laughing, crying, sharing, catching up and celebrating. 

My Mom and my family surprised me with this gift of gathering, and I could so clearly hear my since passed “Pawpaw” saying something he told me many years ago, “family is family and you stick together for family”. He would have been proud of them, dropping their plans and coming together for me.  Since my illness, traveling is very difficult and I had been concerned that I might not make many family gatherings again.

This trip also took me to another place I have not been in a while, and that was the “start line”. As you know, I am a runner and the fact that I cannot run does not change that. So off we went to watch my best friend and my eleven year old nephew run a 10K on the New River Trail. 

It was my nephews first 10K race, and I was both honored and humbled that he was looking to me for “race wisdom”. I whispered into his ear to always run for fun, to start slow and to save some gas for the finish and then I shared my favorite pre-race scripture with him: Isaiah 40:31 “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” He smiled and took off with the exuberance and energy of an eleven year old. I was so proud of him!  

My husband set up camp for me somewhere between the start line and the finish line so I could see them going out and coming in. It was fun and somewhat nostalgic to be at a race again, to eavesdrop on the camaraderie, the strategies, the nerves and the excitement. I witnessed their smiles as they started and the determination and grit as they worked for the finish line. And I, well I got to relive the glory days of my running. It was a gift from above, just  as my “Christmas in May” was.

Running, like faith is about endurance and I am reminded of Paul’s words in Romans 5:4 “And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation”. I’m thankful for the years I was able to run and I believe God used that endurance and the character I developed to help me through this race with P.O.T.S. Many times through out the course of my day I call on the same scriptures I used to call on when I was running a long run or a particularly hard one, and I am thankful for “laying those scriptures” up in my heart as treasures from God.

Are you laying up treasures, God’s treasures, in your heart? Proverbs 2:2-5 says “Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them like hidden TREASURES. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.”

Graced by God

Tammy Mashburn