You’re an OVERCOMER……

96808-396-007fI was driving home from work yesterday and Mandisa’s new song “Overcomer” came on the radio and it got to the following chorus:

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

And the tears began to flow…..I have found sometimes when I am by myself, as my mind floods with memories and images of Lizz and the boys, a song can evoke a strong emotion to those images and memories.  Yesterday was one of those days………You see I was thinking about Elizabeth’s running and how very difficult some days are for me to function on this grief journey even 14 months later just the normal day to day activities……my job, cooking, cleaning, very normal tasks that become very burdensome and you can become so weary on this race called life.

I have also been trying to locate all of Elizabeth’s photographs from her races, her finish times, etc.  And so, these two thoughts merged on my 30 minute commute home.

Elizabeth competed in three races before her home going on July 30th.  She became inspired from her sister Lauren’s running.  The first race was February 2011 for the Disneyworld Princess Half-Marathon.  The race was on her birthday!  She would run this event with Lauren (who you will see with her in the pictures).  Jennifer and I ran the 5K together the same weekend.  This weekend would be the last time just the four of us were together.  A Mom and her 3 adult daughters.  That weekend are some of my fondest memories that I hold in my heart in a very special place.  The Princess Half-Marathon was her longest race at this point.  She was so energized after her half- marathon finish that when she got home she registered for her first marathon……the Dallas Marathon in December 2011.  That day in December was rainy, and cold.  She would run 26.2 miles by herself.  Her first marathon.  No one running with her to encourage her.  Her clothing and shoes wet….and yet when you see many of these pictures, there is that smile, that dimple.  She would then run her last race here on earth at the Austin Marathon in February 2012 almost a year later from her first distance race when she ran the half marathon in Orlando.  Some of the pictures from that race you can see the focus, her determination….I can imagine her saying to herself:  “I got this….I can do this……don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer!”

As I was letting the memories play in my mind the last chorus of the song began to play:

The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling You 

And I was comforted to know that the Great I am, who has calmed the sea, was in the lion’s den, parted the red sea and was raised from the dead was living inside of me!  The God that rose from the grave lives inside his children which include me!

So, be encouraged my dear friends……..in the words of Mandisa…..”hold tight, fix your eyes on the one who holds your life”!

So, I put together Elizabeth’s half-marathon/marathon pictures to Mandisa’s new song “Overcomer”…..and as I watch this video, I too am encouraged.  On my baby girl’s face I see her telling me:  “Be strong Mom!  The finish line is near!  You can do this!  I’m proud of you!”  So, whatever you may be dealing with on your journey of life……may Elizabeth’s pictures of her running encourage you .

To my dear Elizabeth:  I know you lace up those running shoes and run on streets of gold and never grow weary.  One day when we are together again, I will look forward to running a marathon with you.  I can hardly imagine what a marathon in heaven is like!

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Don’t Quit!  Don’t Give in!  You’re an OVERCOMER!

 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:14

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

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8

Julie

“No longer”…….Beth Moore

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My reminder in my home that Grace is a way of life!

I had the blessing of attending a Living Proof Ministries, Beth Moore Simulcast on Saturday, September 14, 2013 with my dear sister in Christ, Karen Hoffmeister at Riverbend Church in Austin, Texas.  Her message was titled  “no longer” based on the following verse:

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14, NIV

Beth spent the day teaching us about what it means to live under grace.  And let me say that God has been teaching me a lot about grace on this grief journey……and Beth was a great vessel to share some important concepts.  One of the most powerful things that was shared was Beth reading the following before the lunch break.   I wanted to share in this blog posting:

 

At the end of the simulcast we did a responsive reading devotional.  I have included the link here.  I would encourage you to do this.  Please read your part out loud and let God’s promises sink in.

The scriptures and promises included this reading showed me that I will “no longer” live under the law but GRACE!

 Beth Moore Response Reading

As the great hymn says:  Grace, grace, God’s grace……..

“One day we will see the face of grace and when we do we will need grace to bear the beauty of His face.” – Beth Moore

Thank you Lord Jesus……

Julie

Keeper of her legacy…….The Christi Center

Christicenter tree groveThe Christi Center is an Austin organization that began 25 years ago.  The story of the Christi Center is also a story of bereaved parents and the loss of a child.  According to the website www.fortheloveofchristi.org  they share the following:

“When 20-year old Christi Lanahan was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 1985, life was permanently altered in an instant for her mom and stepdad, Susan and Don Cox.  In a state of shock and consumed with grief, they found few community resources to support grieving families. Drowning in grief and facing great personal and marital challenges, the Coxes (along with Christi’s brother, Sean) decided to reach out to others instead of retreating.

On the two-year anniversary of Christi’s death, they founded nonprofit “For the Love of Christi”, with a mission to provide free, ongoing grief support to Central Texans who have experienced a loss of a loved one, regardless of circumstances.  Recently re-branded as The Christi Center, the organization provides peer-based support groups information/referral, outreach and education on grief issues, and limited individual counseling.

At the heart of the organization is the Center’s peer-based grief support group model, which “normalizes” the grief experience by connecting the bereaved with others who have experienced losses of a similar nature, showing them that a “new normal” is possible after loss.  The Center serves children, teens, and adults, and is constantly conducting outreach to better meet the needs of grieving people.

In 1993, we began partnering with Austin Independent School District (AISD) schools to serve children on site-at schools.  In 2010, we opened a satellite office in Williamson County at the Georgetown Community Resource Center. We offer groups for children (ages 5-12), teens (13-18), loss of a child, loss of a spouse, adult general loss, men’s/women’s groups, loss to suicide, and loss to violent crime.

We have a 25-year legacy of providing love, hope, comfort and support to people of all ages in a warm and welcoming environment. Many who come here say that we saved their lives, and stay with us for years as volunteers and donors, becoming part of our Christi Center “family”.  Although we come together out of sadness, the Center breeds friendship and hope for a new life after loss.  We’re always here for you.”

One of the activities that The Christi Center does to remember loved ones is the Memorial Tree Grove Dedication. The Christi Center has planted a total of 954 memorial trees at Lady Bird Lake  in Austin from 1991-2000 and Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock from 2001-present. The tree groves are a living memorial to loved ones, and many families gather there to reflect, picnic, and enjoy the restorative powers of nature.  The next tree grove planting is scheduled for October 19, 2013 at Old Settler’s Park.

I am excited to announce that as a memorial to Elizabeth, Fischer, Benjamin and Hayes, I am having a tree planted in their honor.  I wanted to do something in Round Rock for the time that Lizz lived with me and the two years that she spent at Stony Point High School.    The Round Rock forestry department will plant the trees at Old Settler’s Park and will maintain them in perpetuity.  They will place a plaque with their names:  “ELIZABETH A., FISCHER P., BENJAMIN S., & HAYES W. DOWDY”.  Once I know the location of where their tree is planted I will let you know in case you are in the area.  There will be a dedication ceremony on October 19th, and I am looking forward to sitting under their tree on special days (i.e. birthdays) or a wonderful Texas sunrise/sunset and will watch for butterflies, lizards or perhaps a rainbow sometime?  I will be sure and update the blog post with pictures of their tree after the 19th!

Beautiful park

Until next time!

Julie