Empowered through God

Melanie Sextro

I have strength for everything through him who empowers me. -Philippians 4:13

Strength.

In the last few months I started running again: training for a marathon.  Running is something I have always enjoyed, but it had been pushed to the sidelines for about a year — lost somewhere in the hustle and bustle of my family’s everyday routine (otherwise known as not taking enough time for myself).  The time had arrived, though, to get back into doing something I loved.

During the first month or two it was very challenging to get back into the swing of things.  My body ached, a good ache, but yet it still did and I was really tired.  I said, “God, please help me to keep going.  Help me to stick to this. I know it’s something I love, but it just seems so much more difficult as I get older to set aside the time and energy; to commit.”

Then, right around the end of the second month, I started to feel stronger and felt like I was finally finding my stride again.  Around that time, on a rainy Saturday, I was running on the treadmill with the two boys sitting on the floor beside me playing Legos. We had been chit-chatting back and forth about a whole bunch of things: fossils, honeybees, how to become a firefighter — the usual sorts of questions parents field. All of a sudden, our 5-year-old looked up at me with his big blue eyes and said, “Mommy, I’m so proud of you.  I just know you are going to win!” With joyful tears in my eyes all I could say back was, “Thank you sweetie!” It was just what I needed to hear.

Now, am I going to win the race? No. In that moment though, I had already won. The words “I’m proud of you” resonated throughout my entire body the rest of the run. I felt strong and empowered.  It was like God was using our son as a messenger saying, “You can do this. You are stronger than you think.  We are proud of you.” My body, heart and soul felt amazingly light and free. A fire was reignited inside.

Trying something new for the first time, or maybe jumping back into something familiar you haven’t done in a long time, can be exhausting, exhilarating, nerve-racking, heart pounding and even downright uncomfortable. It can be difficult and feel awkward to try something new. Reaching out of our comfort zone at times can be somewhat paralyzing or at times even thrilling. God gave us the ability to learn and experience new things and the option to try again when we fail. He promises to help us when we try and give our best effort.

In our time on this earth there are so many things to experience and isn’t that the purpose of life: to live it?  To live it to its fullest — to experience as much as we humanly can in order to spread our wings and enable flight. Maybe we will fail along the way or lose our footing. It’s during these times that God will carry us through. He will give us the strength to push onward and upward.

Sometimes this is when our best growth as a human soul occurs. We learn we are stronger than we ever thought possible and can accomplish things we may have only dreamt of doing. Try stepping out of your comfort zone this week just a little and jumping into something you have always wanted to do.  Keep your eyes out for something interesting to involve yourself in. If you need a push or are struggling to change things up a bit, ask God to help you. Doing so will quite possibly make you feel more alive. You may be amazed at what comes of your endeavor.

Melanie Sextro is a military wife and mother to two sweet boys. She is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City.

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