Encouragement for Fellow "Weary" Runners

Thoughts on Hebrews 12:1-13 By Kara Ranck Every four years, the world watches as the best athletes in their field gather to compete in the summer Olympics. While large crowds fill the stands, even more people fill their living room couches to watch the world’s fastest runners clock times on the track. Our hearts pound with them, we hold our breath and sit on the edge of our seats as their arms swing and feet fly towards the finish line. As they race, they are running towards a goal—the podium, a medal, a new record, world recognition. With the current change of season—winter to spring—and the changing weather, it struck me that we don’t watch or compete in running races in the winter. That may seem obvious, but take a minute to picture the Olympians barreling down the track in cold weather gear—hats, parkas, ski pants, and snow boots. Maybe even carrying a sled. Now just think, how many of us are running the race of life burdened with the weight of selfishness, greed, idolatry, and a

What We Can Agree Upon About COVID-19

 By Kara Ranck There are many words surrounding COVID-19 that trigger disagreement—or worse. We are all tuned to this crisis at different frequencies—even those who thought we were on the same channel. We communicate and all the other person hears is static. We walk away frustrated, sad, angry, confused. Will we ever be on the same wave length again? As I continue to process what is going on in our world, I realize there is one word that we all can agree on and one shared human experience perpetrated by COVID-19— loss . The one question that may bridge the gap between humans with different perspectives right now is, “What have you lost since COVID-19 hit?” And then we just listen. Here’s what you might hear: Lost jobs, businesses, income. Dreams. Moments and milestones. Minds. Lives. Friendship, fellowship, family. Faith. Trust. Hope. Health. Freedom. Safety. Routine. These losses might be involuntary or voluntary, perceived as big or small, but they are losses just the same an

Summer Family Fruit Challenge

You are invited to join me & my family for: Who:   Families with children ages 4-10 What:  * A short, weekly devotional about one of the fruits of the Spirit, contributed by 9 different guest writers (10 weeks total, including intro) * Printable memory verse cards about the fruit of the week. * Printable “Fruit” cards to display in your home.   * Links to activities, songs, games, and crafts that will help your children learn about the fruit of the week. * Ideas to help motivate your kids to put into practice what they’ve learned. * Oh, and by the way, it’s totally  FREE ! Where & When:   Sent to your inbox weekly Starting next Monday, June 14th SIGN UP HERE!

V Day: When roses are dead, and Romance is too...

By Kara Ranck PC: Unsplash My mind wandered back this week to the days before I had a Valentine. My thoughts also turned to friends who are facing this holiday alone and some who are celebrating for the first time after many years of waiting. I haven't forgotten how challenging it was to face a holiday about romantic love when I had yet to share romantic love with another. It's not that I wanted to be in a relationship just so I'd have someone to celebrate the holiday with, but Valentine's highlighted what was missing in my life leading to feelings of sadness, hurt, and isolation. Then in 2011, I finally had a Valentine, and he was worth the wait. This week on our Valentine's date, we remarked how the holiday day has become less romantic over the last nine and a half years of our relationship. If we are looking for romantic love to become more outwardly extravagant with time, my guess is 99.9% of the time we'll reap disappointment. Why? The most important thing

When You Don't Measure Up

 By Kara Ranck PC: Unsplash The shutdown in March provided the opportunity to tackle an extensive home renovation in our 1889 farmhouse. From March through June, you could find me removing wallpaper that my husband’s great-grandmother hung, scraping chipped paint off ceilings and spindles, spackling, sanding, scraping again, sanding again, and priming. By July, I was ready to paint. It’s mid-September, and we are finally done—with that project, that is. As I look around my home, I can make a long list of jobs that still remain. That’s the nature of home ownership, especially owning an old house. There is always something to improve and maintain. An update to satisfy the standard of living we desire. The list never ends; the paint keeps chipping. Our lives are a lot like our homes. We keep improving, trying to update ourselves to maintain or satisfy who we desire to be. I have spent most of my almost 34 years attempting to measure up on my own strength. Even as a professing Christ fo

Surgery of Body, and Heart: A Testimony

By Meghan DeWalt On December 7, 2015, I came home from work in immense physical pain. My right hip was coming up out of its socket with multiple pins in it from the July surgery. A surgery meant to give me some quality of life back from 11 years living with chronic pain from hip dysplasia. I didn’t know that hip was coming undone. I didn’t know my life and faith were coming undone, only to be mended and healed again. I didn’t know that the last eleven years between diagnosis and surgery, that God was good for me . I knew in a vague sense that he was good—but that I had to trust him in the pain and not question, not doubt. And so I kept him at arms length with a shallow, tentative faith where I knew where my hope for eternity came from—but not for the present. What I did know was fear. A lot of fear in those eleven years of chronic pain. Fear that no man would ever want to marry me with such a disability. Fear of being a burden. Then with this December where my hip came apart

We Never Walk Alone

By Guest Writer Fall of 1997 was no different than any other. I was a perfectly happy 9 year old, the oldest of three, and only girl. My dad farmed with his brother. Late nights in the field harvesting corn and milking a barn full of cows twice a day was a normal part of dairy farming. When a seemingly healthy 34 year old dairy farmer goes to see the family doctor that time of year saying he’s been having some headaches, and has been tired it’s not exactly alarming. More likely than not it’s due to pulling long hours and not enough sleep. In our small town of mostly Amish a fundraising meal at the local fire company was common, and something to look forward to—the food is amazing! My grandparents would often help serve, and because my dad volunteered with the ambulance, we would go for supper and left overs were sure to make their way into our fridge. One particular night we came home from a meal and some of my dad’s family had stopped in to eat more and just hang out. Dad a