Getting Ready to Receive, Day 13

Okay, y’all, this post is from my mom, Jane Brown. To say she’s amazing doesn’t cut it, but we can start there. This is the woman who taught me (and showed me) that it’s never okay to simply say you’ll pray for someone – you do it. And you don’t do it later, you do it right in the moment, you do it out loud, and you do it with the absolute conviction that God is listening. Whenever I am scared or stressed, I take comfort in the fact that my mom is praying, which is usually what I need to remember that I ought to pray as well. My mom is an all-star encourager and I’m thrilled to share with you today her thoughts and wisdom on the encouragement we need and the encouragement we give to each other. Enjoy!


“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No dear, brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing. Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” ~Philippians 3:12-14

This year I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon. I did not do it alone. In fact it started last Christmas.  Our daughter Jenn gave a gift to her sister, Laura. It was an opportunity to meet in Nashville on her birthday and run the race together.  In time the gift included me. Our training schedule was posted on the refrigerator and the training began. We trained individually and at times together like at the beach on vacation.  I would jog, Laura could walk faster than my jogging and Jenn would just run around us as we talked and laughed together. Often they would take off and move more quickly which was fine with me.  My goal was to finish and it didn’t matter if they got there first.

The gift was being in Nashville with my daughters for the weekend but the joy was crossing the line and seeing both daughters waiting and cheering me on. But as is often the case, the time spent on the journey, the preparation made the gift more meaningful. Months of jogging through the neighborhood where neighbors began to encourage me and cheer me on.  Each day I trained I would have the satisfaction of crossing another day off the chart and see myself getting closer to the goal. My husband Bradley would help me plan new and longer routes and then meet me with water and encouragement along the way. The day of the race I will never forget one particular lady along the way.  She was not running but stood along the way to cheer us all on.  I was struggling a bit when I caught her eye.  She looked at me directly and reading the name on my bib said,” Jane, you can do it.” I needed her personal encouragement at that point and was blessed to have an angel on the way.

Maybe it’s the story of Advent or even life. We prepare and wait. What joy when we cross the finish line and receive the gift of Jesus. I wonder who I am encouraging along this journey with Christ.  How am I preparing other hearts to receive this most special gift? The finish line is not the end but the beginning. I pray that as I get ready to receive the gift once again this Christmas I might also share the gift to someone else in need of a Savior.

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