Archive for June, 2012

Running the Race of Life

This is a blog about my journey in running and the many trials I have gone through to gladly say “I am a runner.”

But today I want to talk about another race we run and that is the race of life.

I want to honor my mom, Barbara Phelps, who completed her race in this life here on earth and went to be with the Lord on June 1st.

Mom on Mother’s Day 2012

Firstly, I am honored to have had the privilege of calling her ‘Mom‘ for 57ish years.

I saw her life through a child, then a teen, then a young adult, to now and older-somewhat person’s eyes.  She ran an amazing race here on earth.  She raised four children, one with special needs, all born within five years of each other – yikes!!!

There are many stories to be told of the things we all got into such as children’s aspirin and ant poison and the many trips to get our stomachs pumped, as kids.  Within those stories are times of Mom gently loving us when we were sick, going on adventure walks, ice cream walks, beach trips, camping trips, fun family times.

She raised us four in the midst of coming alongside her husband, our father, who had problems with alcohol. She was a good supportive wife and mom, who in the midst of difficulties looked to a great God and found her rest and peace in Him.  In looking back, I have not had to walk in the shoes that she was called to walk in – but what a great example she was of just keeping on keeping on – putting one foot in front of the next in her race.

She loved people and she loved parties!!! At holiday meals or other parties that she planned we really never knew who might be there.  Often people we didn’t know arrived whom she included because they would have been alone with no place to go.  She loved bringing people together.  Such a wonderful gift she had.

She was the one who got me more interested in lifting weights and building stronger bones.  While she worked she would come home and exercise with weights and ride a  stationary bike and when she retired she joined exercise classes.  I was proud of her determination and strength.  She was one strong woman and set a great example.

She loved her church family, St. John’s, and one of her all time favorite things to do was go on their silent retreats every year down by the ocean at Inverness.  She tried every year to get me to go with her, but the thought of not talking for the weekend … well … 🙂

She filled her retirement days with Bible studies, serving at her church, playing Bunco, neighborhood gatherings – often at her house, working in her garden, caring for my sister with special needs, and exercise.

Her race changed about 5 years ago with the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.  it was still her race and she ran it as graciously as the disease would allow.  I feel fortunate and gifted that I was able to be here these last few years.  I got to see my ‘real’ mom poke her head out of her disease and have a few moments here and there where she was very present. One thing she never lost in her race was her beautiful smile!!! Yes, there were times she didn’t have it and those were times that her mind just couldn’t figure out where she was or what she should be doing.  During those last hard weeks of her race here, it was amazing how much bigger her smile was.  She smiled at everyone. God gifted each family member and friend that went to see her with that smile and a special moment of recognition from her.  What a gift!! For that I am thankful!!!

I was reading in Mom’s Spiritual Renewal Bible – the New Living Translation:

Hebrews 12:1:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.  And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.”

A side note in the Bible says:

“The author of Hebrews understood this and likened the Christian life to a race.  Our faith in Christ gives us the motivation to run the race; His power gives us the strength to finish, in spite of the many things we stumble along the way.”

Mom, you ran a hard race.  You endured in the midst of great ups and downs in your life.  You prevailed to the end.  I believe that God would say to you, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

We all have a race we are running – called life.  There are obstacles; hills and valleys, good times and bad times, unbearably hard times, uplifting and encouraging good times in the midst of it.

My question to you is, “How are you running your race here on earth? Are you running with endurance the race that has been set before you? Are you running with the creator of the universe, of this earth, of you – a great God?  He says his yoke is easy.  All we need to do is walk with Him, trust Him, let Him be Lord of our lives – it’s only then we find rest and peace in the midst of our race here on earth, as Mom did.  Trust Jesus today.  He alone is the great comforter.  The One who gives us the strength and endurance we need  The One who runs with us and leads us through this race.

“Thanks, Mom, you are missed greatly, but you are once again whole physically and mentally in the presence of a great and always faithful God.”

Trusting in a great God,

Patty 🙂


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