Making Headway Painfully

We finished our last race of 2018. We did it together because it’s always better together.

I thought of this verse over and over during the race: And he saw they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. Mark 6:48 ESV

The wind wasn’t against us but the mud and obstacles were. We made headway but it was long and at times, slow and painful. This race was a visual metaphor of my life, of any life really. I’m reusing a post from earlier in the year. Originally it wasn’t a Monday School post but I think it’s quite appropriate for it.

I’ve been running for over three years now. I went from believing I could never run to…….well……running. I’m not sure I’m any good at it. I’ve never experienced the “runner’s high” I hear about unless you count how I feel when I’m finished with a run. I’m elated after a run. Because it’s over.

And on my last runs, I felt as if I’ve never ran in my life. It was awful the entire time. Maybe it was because I woke up late and skipped parts of my routine. I rushed out the door before I finished my first cup of coffee because I was determined to get the run in before I had to be in the office. Within the first quarter mile I knew. My legs ached and my lungs burned more than usual, so I slowed my pace. The slower pace only prolonged the misery. The run never got better. I almost quit halfway through my goal, then I thought about quitting the rest of the time. But I finished.

When I read what Jesus thought when he saw his disciples in a boat on the sea it reminded me of my run and our lives.

“And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them.”  Mark 6:48

I can think of no better words to describe the hard parts of my journey. My running journey, the married one, the parenting one, my working and writing ones and the most important journey – the following Jesus one.

Making headway painfully.

Of course, it’s not always like that. There are days when it’s easy. Or easier. Good run days happen. I don’t let the bad run days stop me from working to get better at it.

It’s the same way on the other journeys. I can’t let the hard days of my marriage make me forget the good days. I don’t let the days when I feel uninspired to write any words prevent me from continuing my blog or steal my dream of publishing a book. On the days my parental decision making is less than wise I try to remember all the times it wasn’t.

And on the journey that matters the most…the one that affects all my other ones, I’m learning as I go. There are days I’ve let pride rule my heart, or acted selfishly. I’ve ignored what Jesus said about loving my neighbor or failed to do something good I know I should have done. But it happens less than it used to. I’m learning. Slowly at times. Painfully sometimes. But I’m moving forward and I’m never alone.

Jesus said, “Take heart, it is I”.  Mark 6:50

He sees. He knows when it’s painful and slow. And He’s there giving me the courage to keep at it.

I stumble…..but I’m making headway.


Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

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  1. Joy Martin on November 20, 2018 at 9:56 am

    “…making headway painfully” … what a great description of life right now. But the “making headway” is at least hope that we’re moving forward in some way. Thanks for the encouraging word here!! Love you. Praying for your journey, my friend.

    • marieg on November 20, 2018 at 11:00 am

      Thank you Joy. I’m so comforted that Jesus sees our headway. He sees us and our journey. Love you.

  2. Mabel Rudo Nyazika on November 22, 2018 at 5:59 am

    With numbers in congregations decreasing and those who are there mostly senior citizens it can be very painful to make headway. I am claiming Jesus’words you quoted Marie from Mark 6 : 50 and hear him say to me “take heart, it is I” to be able to carry on even if the winds and everything is blowing against us. Thank you Marie for your reflection.

    • marieg on November 22, 2018 at 7:17 am

      Mabel, I will pray for you as you claim those words. It is so good to hear from you. How are you?

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