Devotional, Prayer Runs, Running

Just hold on…

About a mile into my morning run yesterday, I stopped to wait for a car to pass at an intersection and noticed this little guy (or lady) hanging out on my running shorts.

You can imagine my surprise when I arrived home four MILES later, to find him still clinging to the bright blue cotton. I can only guess what that ride must have been like for him.  At times the wind was almost too hard for me to run into; it had to seem like a tornado to that little guy.  Not to mention that each time I took a step my shorts would fly into the air and land back on my leg, an earthquake to the tiny bug.  Yet, no matter what it looked or felt like from his perspective, in reality, I was the one doing most of the work.  I haven’t researched ladybugs much (and don’t intend to) but I’m guessing that a 4 mile journey might take them a little longer than it did me.  In the midst of that journey I did most of the work, his only job was to hold on.

This all, of course, makes me think of the hard times we face as humans.  At times, the circumstances around us are of earthshaking proportions and we find ourselves asking, “WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?!?”  And he says, “I’m right here, doing all the hard work, taking the brunt of the situation.”  One mile for me is like a million for God.  I move a tiny rock while God moves mountains.  My only job is to hold on.   In the midst of the wind and the rain and the situations that shake us to the core, we must just hold on, trusting that God’s got it planned out.  We don’t even have to know which way to go, because He knows the path and exactly where He’s taking us.  From our limited perspective the journey seems as if it will never end and may not make sense, but we don’t have to “figure it out”, we’re just called to cling to our God who’s running the race for us.

It’s upon returning home that this analogy breaks down a bit.  You see, at the end of my run, I got a glass of cool water and took a refreshing shower.  At the end of God’s race was a sponge of vinegar, 3 nails, and a cross.  Those last moments didn’t just involve sweat, they were so intense that He sweat blood.  As we cling to Him and He brings us to that cross, He doesn’t ask us to then keep going with him, he says, “Fly free, my beautiful creation” as he steps up and takes the punishment that we deserve.  He did all of that so that some day, when He’s run with us through our time on earth He can invite us into His Home, offer us the most glorious refreshing glass of living water, and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant… Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Mt 25:21).

Until then, we just hold on…

Hold on to His love.
Grasp desperately for His grace.
Cling to His peace.

Bekah's Heart, Devotional, Prayer Runs, Running

On Hand-Holding…

I see it as the preschool students walk through the halls of church, delighting in the fact that it’s their turn to slip their tiny fingers into the slightly larger ones of the teacher.  Or as my “Little Sister” (through Big Brothers Big Sisters) finds a way to juggle the stuff she’s carrying just so she can have an open hand to reach over and grab mine.

There’s just something comforting about hand-holding.  It’s such a simple touch, yet powerful.  As I headed out to run and pray for Sam this morning, I had some Scripture playing through my headphones.  I realized Saturday that 4-miles is along time to stay focused on praying and thought maybe some music or Scripture would help me focus my prayers for beautiful Samantha Love.  Just steps into my run, God started blowing me away with His Word and even now, and hour after returning, His Words are still echoing, bouncing off the walls of my  heart.

Isaiah 43 has especially been on my heart a lot lately, but as I ran this morning, praying for Sam, the words of verse 13 sunk even deeper into my soul:

For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”

As those words played through my headphones, I could just picture God, the One whose hand only verses before was describe as being able to mark off the heavens with its span and hold all the water of the world in the hallow of it (Isaiah 40:12), that same hand was, in that moment reaching down and taking hold of Sam’s hand, of Grace’s hand, reminding them: I’m right here.  I can only imagine the heartache Grace must have felt days ago as she had to let go of that little girl’s hands and fly 5,577 miles away. So as I ran, I prayed for Grace’s heart to be comforted knowing that God is holding her little girl’s hand and will never let her go.

As my feet ran the distance, God’s truth ran deeper in my heart: He holds MY hand, too. 

Right now, in moments when a little comfort would be nice, He’s there saying “Don’t fear, my child, I’m walking with you.”  He’s holding the hand of my brother-in-law who will soon leave the comfort of his home and the joy of holding his daughter and wife’s hands to go to fight for our freedom in this country.  He’s with Elizabeth and Karlie, holding their hands as Kevin is away.  He’s holding the hand of a beautiful friend of mine facing a series of struggles that just don’t ever seem to end.  His fingers interlock with my teammates and the volunteers at church constantly guiding and directing us into His vision and plan.  He holds the hands of the high school students and young adults I interact with each week in these moments of transition and decision in their lives.  He holds the family and friends far away from me whose hands I wish I could hold right now as they walk through trials and joyful celebration and everything in between.

He hold’s our hands.

And there is comfort in His grasp despite anything going on around us.

Bekah's Heart, Prayer Runs, Running

100 miles… for Sam

For a few months I was doing really well with the whole “exercise” thing in life, but recently I shifted things in my morning routine and am finding it difficult to carve out a new time (and more importantly, motivation) to workout.  As I pondered this issue this morning and wondered what might re-motivate me to get up and get active, I considered signing up for a half-marathon.  The last time I ran one it provided great motivation because I knew that if I didn’t get out and run, I would never survive the race.  There’s one problem with this… nearly all half-marathons take place on Sunday mornings which doesn’t work so well for this church worker.

In deciding to train for the same distance without being a part of an organized race, I recalled this beautiful blog post I read a few days ago.  While I do not personally know Grace, the author of this blog, many people dear to me call her “friend”.  Grace is in the process of adopting a beautiful little girl named Samantha from Bulgaria.  Grace just got to meet Sam for the first time in April and recently returned to the United States to await the completion of the adoption and the day she can bring her beautiful daughter home.

In the waiting process, Grace is asking people to pray… a lot… 5,577 miles to be exact.  This is the current distance between Sam and Grace.  And so here I am with a perfect opportunity to run with a purpose… to motivated by something so much greater than “I should exercise.”  Like the prayer runs around the high schools that I began last fall (and am excited to start up again this coming week) I will now also be running/praying for Sam.

My plan?  Train for a half marathon… for Sam.

100 miles by July 15th, the day the Bulgarian Court takes its recess.

100 miles of prayer to bring a little girl home.

Want to walk or run for Sam as well?  Even just one mile?  Be sure to check out the details here and join in praying for “Love’s Ransom”.

Crossroads, Prayer Runs, Running

CCA and Williamsville South

After a week off, I was back prayer-running yesterday morning.  I think I’m about halfway through the schools, though it’s hard to tell since some of them are close enough to double up… like I did yesterday with Central Christian Academy and Williamsville South High.

Below are some of the things I prayed for/experienced while out running:

  • It was cold. So cold I had to clear ice off of my car before I could drive to the area near the schools. I was tempted to go back inside and crawl back into my bed, but thankfully, my purpose prevailed and off I went.
  • The high school students at these two schools: Jon, Abby, Lian, Abbie, and Morgan, and their families.
  • Other First Trinity students who attend CCA since it’s not just a high school.
  • The teachers, staff and administration at these schools.
  • The South marching band heading out to practice.
  • All the school buses from all over WNY dropping off students at CCA… kind of neat to see all of them and be able to pray for all those school districts and our students at those schools as they went by.
  • I think my favorite part about these prayer runs is being near the schools as students are walking in for the day.  I was able to be at both schools during this time yesterday.  I’m not sure what it is about it, but being there and actually seeing the students as I’m praying for them, makes it a little more real.  I can wonder about their names, what their story is, what they want to be when they grow up… and while I know none of this information about the students I pass, God knows it all.  It’s just cool to me.

I’m not sure if I’ll get to all the schools before it gets too cold to run outside, but I’m gunna try.  Schools I have left to run at:

  • Alden
  • Nardin, Canisus, Catholic Academy West
  • Niagara Wheatfield
  • Maritime
  • Sacred Heart, Amherst Central
  • Starpoint
Crossroads, Prayer Runs, Running

More prayer than running, but a prayer run none the less…

I received the following post from a high school parent on Facebook:

Bekah I think that Williamsville North needs a prayer run

Somewhat “excited” (not the right word) that I had a clear answer of where my next prayer run should take place, I replied asking her to let me know if she had specific requests.


I soon found myself with the news that a North students had decided to take his own life that day.  After talking with the mom a little more, I was determined to do a prayer run near Williamsville North in the morning and I did.  It was kind of surreal to think that the very situation that prompted the idea for the prayer runs in the first place was now leading me to another high school in the morning only 3 weeks later.

I got to the school about 45 minutes before school and began running.  I ran over by the middle school behind the high school too.  After about a mile I made my way back to the school.  I wanted to just stand/sit and pray as students walked in for the day.  I also thought I might see some of our FT students and be able to see how they were doing with the news.  I think I saw two of them coming off the bus but I was still a little ways off and couldn’t catch them.

I’m not sure what I was expecting to see as I watched students file into the building today but it wasn’t what I saw.  It kind of just seemed like another day at a high school.  I wondered how many knew.  I saw tears forming in one girl’s eyes as she got out of a car… whether it was due to Jamey’s death or something else, I’ll never know.  But for the most part things seemed pretty normal.

The humbling part came a few minutes later when I was near the entrance when the morning announcements were made.  After the pledge the student giving the announcments simply said, “I’ll now turn it over to our homeroom teachers who have an announcement for you.”  It still sends chills through my body as I type this… right at that moment, the students were hearing the news.

If they didn’t know before, the would now…

there was no escaping it.

As I sat outside, only silence coming from the PA system, the students in classrooms all over the building were receiving the news.

No doubt many of them had probably heard it from each other before they got to the classrooms, but this was confirmation… it was real.  And if that wasn’t enough, a voice, most likely an administrator came  back on the PA system, “By now you’ve all heard about Jamey’s death…”

As I sat outside covering those students, teachers, and administrators in prayer I could almost sense the air get a little heavy.  “We know this is going to be a difficult day…”


I lingered a little longer…


… again, trying to wrap my own mind around the news the students just heard and imagining how they may be reacting.  Getting up to leave I passed a few classrooms.  Glancing in I could tell they were still talking about it… students facing forward, likely a more captive audience than the teachers had experienced all year.


A humbling way to start the day, “on-site” at the very moment the announcement was made.  There may have been less running and more praying on this specific prayer run, but what a privilege to be right there, on my knees asking God, our Father, to hold his children…. pleading that God would use this situation for good somehow, that people would come to know Him and the hope he has to offer… lifting up students who also may be reaching a point of hopelessness… praying …. and still praying… and inviting you to pray…


Emily, Justin, Josh, Jordan, Kaira, and Rotimi… you’re all in my prayers along with your entire school!

Prayer Runs, Running

Kenmore West and St. Joseph’s Prayer Run

NOTE BEFORE I GET INTO TODAY’S RUN: If I continue kind of taking you through step by step of each journey, we’d be here (me writing/you reading) all day. So I’m just going to share bits and pieces or highlights. However, if you ever want to know more, I love talking about these runs!

Before I start writing about today’s run, I wanted to just share the names of the students for which I prayed today as I ran near Kenmore West and St. Joseph’s High Schools. Please pray for them too as the school year begins.

KenWest Students: Annie, Jennie, Tim, Jaclyn, Jen, Nick, and Meghan
St. Joseph’s Students: Zach and Josh


Today’s run gave me so many great examples of how often we take things for granted. Here are a few examples:

  • The ways in which God keeps us safe and provides for us. – As I stood on a corner waiting to cross a street, I had a short conversation with a lady serving as a crossing guard. This lady, and other crossing guards I saw near many of the elementary schools I ran past this morning, probably get taken for granted everyday, but God uses them to keep children safe. I began to wonder what ways God keeps us safe or provides for us and maybe we don’t even know it. We take for granted God’s protection and provision.
  • Rain– Just this last week alone in Texas 181 fires have burned 16,000 acres of land. People in East Africa are experiencing the worst drought in 60 years and this morning as I began my run, I found myself hoping it wouldn’t rain. We take rain for granted sometimes.
  • Education – I happened to be near both high schools right as students were getting there for the day. As I ran past a set of students approaching Kenmore West, the only part I heard of their conversation were these two words, “School Sucks.” I immediately thought about Pastor Edriss who was visiting us at First Trinity recently and talking about the intense struggle to provide education for students in the Dominican and Haiti and how eager the student are to learn… about how tirelessly he is working to make it possible for students to get an education beyond 5th grade (or at all). We take for granted our education.
  • God’s plan, timing, and guiding hand. – “Somehow” I managed not only to end up by each of the high schools exactly as they were beginning their days, but I passed by one of the First Trinity family’s home right AS they were pulling out of the driveway. This happened despite:
    – getting out of the house later than I wanted to
    – having to stop on the way to check my tire pressure because the light had come on
    – having to circle the block twice to find a parking spot
    – wasting time trying to decide whether or not to take my phone due to the possible rain
    – making a split second decision to NOT go by one of the student’s homes I was originally planning on AND
    – making a wrong turn and adding nearly a mile to my run
    I was reminded again of the verse in Proverbs 16 that says, “In his heart a man plans, his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” If God was faithful to get me where I needed to be when I needed to be just in this prayer run which in the grand scheme of things isn’t really a big deal, I hope I learn to trust his plan, his timing, and his guiding in the bigger things. We take for granted God’s guidance in our lives.
  • Breath. – A couple weeks ago, God was teaching me a lot through the concept of breathing. In one of my posts, I talked about an aspect of faith in a way that mentioned it was “as simple as breathing.” My friend Adrian, who deals with many lung, breathing, and health issues politely pointed out that yes, we take for granted breathing, but he does not… because it is so difficult for him right now to do that very “simple” thing. Yes, many days I take for granted breathing. Today, I did not.
  • Life itself. – While for the most part I’ve had no particular reasons for picking which schools I’ve run near on any particular day, today that was not the case. Exactly one year ago, the community of Kenmore West was shaken when one of their beloved teachers was hit by a car and killed… while out running. Today, as they remember Mr. Brian Dugan, a day likely filled with reminders of death, I got to spend time running around the neighborhood, asking God to breathe life into the community. Mr. Dugan left one evening to just simply go for a jog. We take life for granted.
    A few prayer runs ago, a friend left a comment on my blog post summary suggesting that maybe this could be one of the most important things God ever has me do. I pray that WHATEVER we’re doing, we would live EACH day and EVERY day doing the most important things. Let’s not take life for granted!
Prayer Runs, Running, Uncategorized

NT Prayer Run – This World Has Nothing For Me

As I pulled into the parking lot at Payne Park to begin my run this morning, I knew I must be close to the high school simply by the large number of high school aged youth walking, riding bikes, and getting out of carpool vans all heading in the same general direction.  In my prayers these students may have simply been “the girl in the pink” or the “boy in yellow”, but I can trust that through the Spirit’s intercession (Rom. 8:26-27), by the time my prayers reached God’s ears, He heard their names.  (It’s kind of a cool thought that not only does God know how many hairs are on our heads (Mt. 10:30), he knows what color shirt you’re wearing… just in case someone prays for you as “that guy in red” :).)

Anyway, back to my running and praying… I decided to simply follow the stream of students rather than go up a block and over to the front of the building.  Recalling a quick glance at a map last night, it seemed I could come up on the back of the school and then run along the side to get to the front.  This might normally have been the case, but due to construction, my “shortcut” ended up adding to my run as I now had to go around the football stadium, the softball diamond, and Meadow Elementary School just to get to the front of North Tonawanda Senior High School.  But, I just took that as prompt to pray for those spaces, the athletes that would practice and compete there, the children and teachers who would fill those classrooms.

By the time I was out in front of the school, the first class of the day was just starting.  Right at the moment I was standing in the parking lot, students and teachers were beginning their day together.  If it’s anything like my high school, they were probably reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and hearing all the announcements for the day outlining the activities probably coming up.  I prayed for those activities.

Leaving the school, I set out to find the homes of a few First Trinity students before heading back to my car.  In the process I passed even more schools, churches, and (earlier in the run) a Christian Outreach Center.  I prayed that the schools would provide quality education and that God would give the teachers and administrators (including NT Principal Fisher) wisdom to carry out their tasks today.  I prayed for the churches and their leaders… that God’s Word would be proclaimed clearly… that any divisions would be reconciled… that God would challenge the church leaders to depend fully on Him, following His lead in every move they make, every interaction with congregation members, in every opportunity to be a light, that by God’s grace they would be able to shine brightly in a dark world.

I made it past three First Trinity families’ homes… including the home of one hosting a North Tonawanda High School foreign exchange student.  At one point in finding a home, I turned down an incorrect street, but then I was able to lift up the construction workers that happened to be building a house on that road along with the family who would one day live there.

One of my favorite moments from this morning was watching a father walk his young son out to the school bus, mom standing by the door, both telling him they loved him.  I wondered if they knew the unfailing Love of Christ and prayed that if they didn’t someone would be able to share it with them.

Whenever I found my mind wandering, I came back to the list of names on my hand:


In addition to these students and their families, I kept finding myself with the following song lyrics in my head:

This world has nothing for me.

I will follow You.

This song, Rescue by Newsboys had been on the radio as I drove to North Tonawanda this morning.  As it appeared in my head again and again and again, I found myself turning it into a prayer for each of the students:

This world has nothing for you, Becca.

I pray you follow Christ.

Placing each student’s name in the phrase, singing it again and again, thinking about the things that we often THINK the world has for us that can take God’s place.  I wondered what each of those students might think this world has for them.

This world has nothing for you, Sean.

I pray you follow Christ.

Maybe for some of them, they try to find acceptance and love in the people around them rather than the unfailing Savior…

This world has nothing for you, Meghan,

I pray you follow Christ.

For others, maybe they strive to look their best, to be skinny or strong or beautiful, with the right clothes, the right shoes, the right hairdo…

This world has nothing for you, Katie.

I pray you follow Christ.

Or maybe, like me in high school, some of them just put all their effort into doing it right, getting good grades, striving for perfection, not realizing that it’s not about what we do but what Christ has already done.

This world has nothing for you, Jaime.

I pray you follow Christ.

Just last night I had been challenged by someone with a similar question/thought: “What is keeping you from trusting God?  What is keeping you from walking with Him day by day, moment by moment?  Whatever it is… GIVE IT UP!  Let it go!  Trust God and say:

“This world has nothing for me.

I will follow you!”

Psalm 73:25 “Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”

Crossroads, Prayer Runs, Running

Kenmore East Prayer Run

So I started this “prayer run” idea thinking that I’d be running with purpose.  However, I discovered that the opposite was true as well… having a purpose got me to run.  Nothing about this morning said, “looks like a great morning for a run!”  I had played volleyball for a few hours last night, which I love but, after not playing for a few months, my body used muscles it didn’t know existed and I felt them this morning.  Not to mention I was up later last night in order to play VB topped off with the cool, drizzly weather.

Yet, it was no problem for me to get out of bed this morning and drive over to my route… because I had a purpose…. I was on a mission and even if it started raining, it wasn’t going to stop me. 🙂  And I’m glad it didn’t.

Since church is less than a mile from Kenmore East High, I figured I’d park there.  Here are some of the things I passed and/or had the privilege of talking with God about this morning while I ran:

  • Kenmore East High School in general as they started their school year this week
  • Green Acres school
  • All of our FT students who attend Kenmore East and their families
    I was even able to include two of their homes on my route to/around the school.
    Even as I lifted up some of these students that I may not know as well, I found myself in awe of the fact that God knows every detail of their lives.
  • School buses and carpools making their routes.  I prayed for safety on the buses and for friendships that may be formed this year on the way to and from school.
  • Students saying goodbye to their parents as they left their home and began walking to school.  I prayed for them and whatever may be going on in their lives… that they would have  good day and would somehow see Jesus in this day.
  • Sports fields and prayed for safety in their practices and games.
  • I prayed for Principal Dunnigan, Assistant Principal Ginestre and all the teachers and staff at Kenmore East that they would have the strength and energy they need for each day of this school year.  I prayed that the Christian staff members would find ways to live out their faith as they interact with students and other even if they can’t boldly speak of Christ.  I prayed for wisdom among the administration.
  • I prayed for the family and friends of Julian, a KenEast student who died of cancer this summer.
  • I prayed for God to work mightily in Kenmore East this year; that Christian students would shine the light of Christ into a dark confusing world.  As I ran back through the neighborhood I saw students standing on corners waiting for buses and prayed for them.  I thought about all the people living in the homes I was running by and how many of them probably were getting up and getting ready for the day.
  • I prayed for high school ministry in general and specifically ministry to, with, and for our Kenmore East Students… that while I look at ministry on a large scale, that God would use things like these prayer runs to bring it back to each individual student and what we can do to encourage them in their relationship with God and challenge them to live out their faith.
  • I passed Jason and Jaime’s home and prayed for them while they’re away on vacation, that they’re having a great time with their family and that they make it home safely.
  • Back at my car, I wrapped up my prayer run lifting up the First Trinity Preschool … the students that will be entering this building soon to learn and grow… for the teachers as they finish preparing… for the parents/families.

I am excited about this opportunity before me and can’t wait to get into other neighborhoods.  I realized today that I was praying for things I would have never even THOUGHT of lifting up in prayer if I hadn’t been running right past it with open eyes.  Things I frequently pass were seen in a new light when I was on a mission to be watching for things I could pray about.  For example, I see school buses or the First Trinity Church Building constantly, but today when I saw these things, my first instinct was to pray.

Anyway, thanks for coming along on my journey.  I invite you to lift up the above things in prayer.

Lastly, here are some pictures from my run this morning:

My prayer list (or well, what survived the nearly 3-mile journey)

Green Acres School

Kenmore East Senior High School

KenEast Sports Fields