For my black son and for my white son

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Our powerful, almighty God is ushering the Body of Christ into a new season characterized by love, honor, gentleness, and power. He is transforming His people into beautiful leaders who observe carefully, speak wisely, and act bravely in defense of the defenseless. The young will long for freedom for those in physical captivity, spiritual bondage, and under societal persecution. The old will see the dreams of their youth resurrected, their hearts broken for the suffering, and their courage increased tenfold.

Those who love the Heavenly Father, follow after Jesus, and continually invite the empowering of the Holy Spirit into their lives will be a part of a great banquet feast. And as we feast on the goodness of God we will usher others to the banqueting table. Those who had been excluded because of class or color or culture will be embraced with open arms and given seats of honor and abounding love.

Those who have enslaving ideas, thinking about others in ways God never would, their minds will be renewed. Their hearts will be restored. Their spirit will be transformed by life-giving truth. That divine truth will literally set free those who have been slaves for centuries. They shall know the freedom of the Father and shower others with such freedom.

We will have eyes to see injustice. No longer will anyone yoked with Christ be able to turn a blind eye to the suffering of our spiritual brothers and sisters. Not only will we see with open eyes, but also our words, full of grace, will lead others out of their spiritual blindness. We will carry the power to transform the oppressors into liberators. Even the hardest of hearts will be softened. Even those bound up in religion and pride will be set free and propelled into a life of love and humility. Our actions, full of courage, will protect the oppressed. We will co-labor with Christ in a movement to defend the defenseless.

This will also be a season of beautiful reconciliation. Those who have carried hurts for years and years will trade their mourning for joy, their pain for healing, and their anger for a righteous thirst for justice and compassion. The powers of hell and darkness will tremble when we seek to forgive those who have done great injustices against us. God is releasing in us the power to forgive those who have caused the most terrible of hurts, and we will then lead a movement that will break the chains of unforgiveness in our generation. By radically loving those who persecute us, we will bring a Kingdom revival and culture of peace and honor to our children and our children’s children.

We will be a people who worship the Lord in unity. As one body, every tribe and every tongue, every clan and every culture shall love and honor one another. We will respect our differences, love our uniqueness, and treasure the power of collaborating together to bring others into the light, the truth of the Gospel. We will be a loving family. We will be a mighty army.  This calling will not be fulfilled by the indifferent or the lazy or the weak. This is the path for the passionate disciple, the courageous warrior, and the surrendered servant. Only the transformational work of Holy Spirit can ready us. And we cannot be prepared without giving up our emotional baggage, our past hurts, the lessons not learned from Christ; all these things must be laid down. And He who is faithful and powerful and loving will take this baggage and replace it with riches and gifts. Instead of insecurity we will know perfect love. Instead of pride and religion we will possess a gentle humility and total freedom. Instead of hate we will carry compassion. When we surrender to the will of God, we will be changed, and our families, our churches, our communities, even our world will experience beloved unity.

May we all surrender to the transformational power of our living God, creator of all mankind. May we invite Him every day to cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so we might perfectly love Him and worship Him by loving all His beautiful children.

This is an excerpt from Adventure Available: Discovering life with an extravagantly loving God.

To purchase the paperback edition, please visit https://www.createspace.com/6338171

To purchase the eBook, visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FUZLCVK

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Measuring Success

Two weeks ago I published my very first book. I gathered with friends at one of me and Rick’s favorite neighborhood spots, Brew’s Craft Beer and Espresso Bar, and celebrated what felt like an enormous accomplishment. The evening was perfect. My friend Brenda read aloud an excerpt from chapter one, a story about my friend Brittani, to whom the book is dedicated. My friend Megan got the book cover art framed for me and had all those attending the launch party sign it. My friend Nora presented me with a painting with an image the Lord gave her about this upcoming season in my life. My friend and pastor, Stephen, asked me pray over everyone in attendance that the Holy Spirit would encourage creativity in all our hearts. My phone continuously beeped with notifications, letting me know friends that were too far to be there for the party were tagging me in really sweet posts about the availability of the book on Amazon. I have the best friends in the world.

Obviously I have not yet achieved any real success with this project. I’m not getting asked to speak on any talk shows, I have not made it on any kind of best-seller list, and I haven’t even generated $100 in book sales. But that night made me realize that little victories celebrated with many companions are far more valuable than huge success without the love and support of those closest to you. And if I totally fall on my face and fail to achieve any of the goals I’ve set for Adventure Available, they’ll be there, loving and supporting me like they always have.

A week before launch I started freaking out about the book release, experiencing what I imagine is like an author’s version of stage fright.  I called AJ, my most literary friend, and asked if he would read the whole thing in just a couple of days for one last round of proofing. It was his graduation weekend and he was celebrating the accomplishment of earning his master’s degree in English. Still, he graciously agreed. In moments like these, you can only hope you are being the kind of friend your friends are being to you. For the sake of those I love, I hope I can sacrifice my time, give thoughtful gifts, and speak powerful words of encouragement. And I hope I will always rejoice in the celebratory moments of others as I would my own.

That might just be the best measure of success.

Preparing for Launch

It’s happening. FINALLY. I wrote a book and next Tuesday, one week from today, it will be launched into the universe.

And honestly, that is a bit terrifying.

Writing and publishing a book feels kind of like what I imagine posting naked pictures of yourself on the internet might feel like. It’s scary. You’re exposed. The vulnerability is a bit overwhelming. My thoughts, my feelings, and my personal experiences are just out there for the world to critique.

But it is exciting too. This endeavor is more than just publishing my first book. It is a crazy step into a new season. My trip to India last November totally rocked my world. God spoke a lot of things to my heart on that trip about my calling and future. As a result, I’m leaving my position at Southern Wesleyan University at the end of the month so I can promote the book and start working on the next one. For the first time in eight years I won’t have set office hours, a steady paycheck, or a fancy name plate with a title.

I believe the most beautiful things in our lives also come with the most risk. The safe life is rarely the satisfying life. So I’m making the jump. I’m driving into this new endeavor, not without fear, but with confidence that our stories are the most beautiful when we follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings.

I wrote this book, Adventure Available: Discovering life with an extravagantly loving God, because I believe early adulthood is a precious gift, a powerful season of life. It is not an extended adolescence, nor is it time to kill before a more important era begins. The twenties are a defining decade, the foundation for a life of adventure. I hope this work will inspire young adults, college students, and even those beyond their twenties to embrace the adventures available in life with God. I hope it will defeat any ideas that life in the Kingdom is boring or religious or limited. Mostly I hope my story will confirm the truth that our God is good, and ready and able to transform us into agents of love, hope, peace, and joy.

Here’s to the adventure!

 

Adventure Available: Discovering life with an extravagantly loving God will be available in ebook form through Amazon on May 24.

 

 

Judah’s Birth Story

Last May Rick and I celebrated our 7th year anniversary out in kayaks on beautiful Lake Jocassee. And it was out there on the water that we decided we did still want four kids and that we wanted them to be close in age. We had already begun searching for an adoption agency to help us adopt again from Ethiopia, but due to many programs being temporarily closed, we decided we would start “trying” for the next bio baby.

Fast forward to the fourth of July. Let’s just say sparks did not just fly in the sky that night, and little baby Judah was made *wink* *wink*

This go around I elected to receive prenatal care from the midwives at GHS and have an un-medicated water-birth at the hospital. I had done a lot of research about water-birth and had a lot of friends who had really positive experiences with this group of midwives, including my good friend and best doula ever, Lindsay.

In preparing for birth I read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and finally watched The Business of Being Born, but the most helpful piece of preparation came from an online class called A Heavenly Welcome by Kierra Blaser. Regardless of what kind of birth you are planning, I highly recommend this class to any expectant mommy and daddy (Rick really liked it too). It really helped me get over any anxiety about my upcoming birth and reminded me that Holy Spirit is very present at all times and would certainly be there for Judah’s arrival.

On Tuesday of last week, I led some of my students from Southern Wesleyan University in a service project at our church. We were all on our hands and knees most of the morning and early afternoon painting old shutters and doors for part of kid’s department redesign. Later that evening around 5 PM I started having some Braxton Hicks just as Rick and I were about to leave for a date.

My contractions came quite mildly all evening about every 15 to 30 minutes. I ate a good meal thinking real labor could begin at any moment and Rick and I walked around Abernathy Park excited with anticipation. When we got home I called Lindsay to give her the heads up, and then immediately went to bed to rest while the contractions were mild. Just after midnight I woke up with a contraction just strong enough not to sleep through. I slept off and on till about 2 PM when I decided I should time my contractions. I got on the birthing ball and realized they were still over 10 minutes apart so I slept off and on a bit more.

At 5 AM I got out of bed and watched the movie Juno while I timed the contractions. They were getting closer together, but still about 7 to 10 minutes apart.

Rick texted our friend Megan about watching the boys because we were still a bit unsure if Aunt Meredith would be able to come up in time. When she found out I was in labor, the Spirit immediately brought Isaiah 54 to her mind, which made me laugh because I’ve been reading Isaiah 54 ever day in 2016.

Our family is on the brink of a major transition currently. I’m not renewing my contract with Southern Wesleyan next school year. Ever since my trip to India I’ve felt Heavenly Father leading me into a new season of ministry that mostly includes proclaiming His good news through spoken and written word. I’ll be writing and speaking professionally, as well as investing more time in ministry at United and spending more time with my sweet kiddos. Rick too has felt a shift in his ministry, desiring to be focused more on outreach and liberating the oppressed. Holy Spirit reminded me that our family is stretching our tent pegs this year, and Judah is a beautiful part of us resettling desolate cities for the Kingdom of God.

I got in the shower to help ease the growing discomfort of the contractions and Lindsay helped me time them. Then suddenly my water broke with a huge gush and I had a much stronger contraction which scared me so bad I thought the baby’s head might just pop out.

Rick got on the phone with the midwife and she instructed us to come to the hospital right away since my water was not clear.

Once at the hospital they checked me and there was meconium in my fluid which meant baby Judah had already pooped. Then came the bad news. No tub birth. I could not even labor in the water. All my plans and expectations for this birth went out the window. Goodbye, carefully written out birth plan.

The midwife Shannon and the midwifery intern Cheryl checked me and I was four centimeters dilated. Another bummer. I thought with how strong my contractions were I would be at least at 6 or 7.

I got on the birthing ball so I could keep swiveling my hips in hopes that would help me progress faster. Some contractions I was able to just moan and breathe through. Others I cried through. My support team was super comforting in those tough moments. Cherly would softly rub my head and tell me to relax my eye-brows. Rick and Lindsay switched back and forth putting counter pressure on my hips and speaking sweet encouragements to me.

After about an hour on the birthing ball I decided I wanted back in the shower. At this point there were not many contractions I was not crying through they were so intense. I did little mini squats through each one and kept saying “I’m going to get huge” (another Ina May mantra) with the thought that I had enough authority to tell my body what I wanted to do. I told everyone I was starting to feel the urge to push so they got me out of the shower to check my progression. I was at 7 centimeters and about to go through transition, when things got super intense.

I got back on the birthing ball but my legs were shaking so bad I decided to move to the bed for some side-lying. At this point I had a bit of a freak out. The pain and pressure was so great I felt I could not resist the urge to push. I remember crying, “I can’t not push!” Rick got close to my face and gently ushered me to calm down. Within about 20 minutes, I had progressed fully and was ready for the pushing.

Prior to Judah’s birth I watched a lot of videos of really beautiful, calm natural births. I read stories of women actually experiencing immense pleasure during birth. In one video, the mom actually exclaims, “That was easy!” after delivering. The final 45 minutes of Judah’s birth were not calm or painless. They definitely were not orgasmic. They were the most painful, most crazy intense moments of my entire life. I am so grateful for my team that helped me through, especially Rick and Lindsay. They were amazing and I could not have made it without their help!

But then finally, at 1:09 PM, just 3 hours after arriving at the hospital, she was here. Shannon immediately placed Judah Ellie on my chest and I said hello to the most beautiful little girl I’d ever laid eyes on.

Though I was initially very disappointed I did not get to deliver in the water, looking back I’m really thankful for the way everything happened. I could never have imagined that she would come that quickly (since Han took 37 hours!). If my water had been clear I think I might have accidentally had her at home. I’m so thankful that Heavenly Father granted me a little Judah a safe delivery.

I still can’t help but tell miss Judah out loud every time I scoop her up how beautiful and precious she is. Her name means “praised light” and I know her life will bring a beautiful light to all those around her. She is a wonderful gift from Heavenly Father and Rick and I are honored to love, care, protect, and lead her in the ways of truth, justice, and humility. Her birth begins our family’s Springtime and we look forward to what Holy Spirit makes blossom in this season.

“Enlarge the place of your tent,
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes.
 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
    your descendants will dispossess nations
    and settle in their desolate cities.”

Isaiah 54:2-3

Adventure Available

I believe that young adults will change the world. I do not simply think they have potential. I know that their passion enables them to see solutions. I know that their enthusiasm empowers them to hope for the incredible, maybe even the impossible. I know that their fearlessness fuels courageous action. They are not just a group who talks of wanting to produce solutions to the tough issues going on in our world. They are a group that will transform communities as they pursue justice, peace, and bravery.

For the past seven years of my life, I’ve worked with college students in the context of Christian higher education. My observations over the years confirm the fact that early adulthood is a precious gift, a powerful season of life. It is not an extended adolescents, nor is it time to kill before a more important era begins. The twenties are a defining decade, the foundation for a life of adventure.

I also believe that the greatest adventure available to us is one in deep, intimate relationship with Heavenly Father, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and yoked with Christ in the ministry of reconciliation. Entering into community with the Triune God jump starts a life full of beauty, purpose, and fulfillment. Our effectiveness in living an adventurous life is so closely tied to our being intimate with the Giver of Life.

The months leading up to my thirtieth birthday, I sensed our extravagantly loving God prompting me to write a book. I hope this work will inspire young adults, college students, and even those beyond their twenties to embrace the adventures available in life with God. I hope it will defeat any ideas that life in the Kingdom is boring or religious or limited. Mostly I hope my story will confirm the truth that our God is good, and ready and able to transform us into agents of love, hope, peace, and joy.

On March 28 Adventure Available: Discovering Life With an Extravagantly Loving God will be available in e-book form on Amazon. If you do not have a Kindle, simply download the free Kindle app to read on your galaxy tablet, iPad, or other electronic device. I would love for you guys to be a part of the launch of my first book! If you would like to receive a notification the day the book becomes available, please write us at adventureavailablebook@gmail.com to be put on our anticipating fans list.

 

Author Margaret Grady Turner is a pastor, student affairs professional, and adventure enthusiast. She lives in beautiful Seneca, South Carolina with her husband and two sons.

Back on the Horse (Or Pavement)

So it’s been a while since I blogged.

Since my marathon I’ve run two 5ks. I paced my good friend Lindsay in the TR Earth Day 5k back in April and despite the cold rain, she did awesome. In May I was supposed to face off against my friend Shavoyae in the Hartwell Dam 5k but the race sold out before he could register so I had to go it alone (but he did come to cheer me on and still bought me breakfast afterwards).

Honest confession: I have not run over 3.1 miles since my marathon. I’ve been taking a much needed break. I actually tried Zoomba because I thought my love for distance running might have left me completely. It has not, but I’ve enjoyed the sabbatical. Life has just been super busy. I’ve preached at our Sunday morning service twice this month, I’m trying to read every legit parenting book ever before I teach Sociology of the Family this Fall, and I’ve been on a de-cluttering kick for several weeks now, managing to clean out 5 out of 8 closets in my home so far. With not too much effort on our part, Grady has conquered potty training completely, staying dry all night, even once for an 11 hour stretch! We’re still trying to convince Han that walking is far superior to crawling, but he has a strong will like his mom mixed with the conviction to never be in a hurry like his dad, not to mention he is a professional speed crawler! In a nut shell this is what it looks like to be a pastor’s wife, professional mother, and full-time college administrator. Never a dull moment, but extremely awesome…most days.

But I’m starting to feel the need for speed once again and so I am 5k training. My goal for the month of June is to log 15 miles each week until my 4th of July race. Maybe I’ll even get a 4-miler in on my lunch break 🙂

Publix Georgia Marathon Report

Sunday I finished my second full marathon and I had a ton of fun! The hills were somewhat brutal, especially miles 17-23, as the course entailed an elevation change of just over 3,000 feet. But conditions were quite nice. It lightly rained on us the entire race, and despite the fact that our socks were totally soaked at 6 miles in, the temps stayed in the upper 50s so we stayed nice and cool, never getting too cold or too hot. The course still had a descent amount of spectators despite the conditions, and they kept the atmosphere lively.

publix 2015 crew

My faithful running partner Becki stuck beside me, even when my run became a shuffle at mile 23. She could have easily finished at least 30 minutes before me, but she is such an encourager. I think she got more satisfaction from helping me get across the finish line than she would have from finishing more quickly, and I’d like to be more like her in that respect. She entertained me with stories about her collegiate soccer days, and when I was really dragging, she just busted out praying out loud for me and my family. Why yes, I do have the best running partner IN THE WORLD! Our official time was 4:51:16, three minutes slower than my first marathon on the pancake flat course in Charleston, South Carolina.

becks and maggie moo

Becki certainly helped me get to the finish line, but it was Rick who helped me get to the starting line. He took on extra daddy duty to help me get those long training runs in, and I am so grateful that he so selflessly lets me be crazy me. And I think my craziness might be rubbing off on him because as we were having lunch after the race he confessed he wanted to do a full marathon at some point! I am beyond blessed to be married to man who so greatly values friendship, partnership and mutuality, and respects individuality the way he does. He made sacrifices to get me to Atlanta yesterday, a true reflection of both his love for me and the way he values Kingdom. Sorry to be such a cheese ball, but I could not ask for a better husband and best friend.

rick and maggie publix

Rick and I sat on our porch last night and talked through the events that have transpired recently. Four months ago I went into an operating room worried about infertility and the very real possibility that I could have cancer. Yesterday I finished a marathon, an athletic event that less than 1% of the US population can boost about. God’s blessing are so abundant. I’m so thankful for my healing, renewed strength, and my continued health. He’s a good, good Father. In the toughest miles of yesterday’s race, in the cool breeze while relaxing on my  porch, I feel His abounding love for me.

maggie moo publix 2015

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Surprising News At The Doctor

Last weekend I ran my fastest half marathon race ever,and was (and still am) feeling like I’m in better physical shape than I’ve ever been in my entire life. During pregnancy I worried it would take years to regain a high level fitness, but in just 9 months I’ve become faster and stronger than I ever was before I had a baby. For this reason, among many others, I got news at the doctor last Monday that seems strange.

I had made an appointment with my doctor because I had a period that lasted longer than usual. She thought the issue might be my birth control, but ordered an ultrasound to check everything out. In her words, the results were “surprising.”

My doctor discovered a mass on my right ovary, which was not there when I was pregnant with Han. It has to come out, which means I’m having surgery for the first time in my life on December 5. Though the plan is to remove the mass, my doctor said she is 90% sure she’ll have to remove the entire right ovary.

When my doctor started telling me this, tears started rolling down my cheeks.

I asked my first question. “Will it be hard to get pregnant again with just one ovary?” Rick and I want four children, so we hope to adopt once more and get pregnant once more.

My doctor assured me that having one ovary removed will not hinder the possibility of reproduction.

Then I asked my second question. “Can I still run a marathon in March?” My first race ever was the 2010 ING Georgia Marathon in Atlanta (Publix is now the title sponsor). The 2015 event is me and my favorite running buddy’s five year “runiversary.” We have been planning to do the full marathon together to celebrate.

My doctor laughed and said, “Yes, Maggie. You’ll be fine to run your marathon.”

I had originally planned to take the rest of the month of November off from any kind of training, but because of recovery time, I’m starting my 16 week marathon plan this week. Three weeks in, I will be taking a 2 to 3 week break to recover from the procedure.

This week’s training looks like 3 x 1600 on Tuesday, 30 minute spin on Wednesday, 6 mile tempo on Thursday, and 8 miles at goal marathon pace on Saturday.

I’m also making an effort to relax and rest in God’s peace these next three weeks. My natural tendency is to make lots of to-do lists of things I should get done before surgery and stress about my self-inflicted work load. But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to read and meditate on the Gospel of John. I’m going to enjoy my birthday by shopping and seeing Mockingjay with Rick. I’m singing new songs of love and adoration to my heavenly Father. Sing with me. God is good. He’s got this.

You chased me when I was running.

You walked with me when I was walking.

You catch me when I am falling.

You’re faithful. You’re faithful.

There will be a song that’s on my lips, and I will sing it every day.

You are power, Protector, you are Father.

There will be a song that’s on my lips, and I will sing it every day.

You are mercy, Comforter, you are Mother.

There will be a song that’s on my lips, and I will sing it everyday.

You are triumphant, Savior, you are Jesus.

You chased me when I was running.

You walked with me when I was walking.

You catch me when I am falling.

You’re faithful. You’re faithful.

You are the living God.

You are the Great I Am.

You are the loving Savior.

You are the precious Lamb.

We Run So We Can Be Together

My family and college buddies recently traveled to Savannah for the Rock ‘n’ Roll race series.

My training leading up to the race was somewhat sporadic. I had high hopes of finishing under 2 hours, something I had never accomplished before. I was very faithful with my mid-week millage, which typically looked like a 3 mile trail run on Tuesdays, a 10k tempo effort at 9:09 pace on Wednesdays, and an easy 3 miles on Thursdays. I did not do so hot with my weekend long runs. I did manage to do a 9 mile and 11 mile run at 5 and 4 weeks out, but most weekends I only did I 6 miles, or did not run at all. What can I say? Weekends are crazy for pastors!

Two weeks prior to the half marathon, I ran the Spinx Run Fest 10k sponsored by the Greenville Track Club, one of my favorite running events. Last year, I ran the race at 27 weeks pregnant in 1:10:06. This year, at 9 months postpartum, I ran in 53:27. It felt pretty crazy to see such progress in one year.

Spinx 10k 2014Spinx 10k 2013

Here I am after the 2014 (left) and 2013 (right) Spinx Run Fest 10k sponsored by the GTC.

For our long weekend in Savannah, we rented a BEAUTIFUL house instead of staying in a hotel so that we could all enjoy common space, cook meals together, and maximize our time together.

sav amberly and me

My college roommate and dear friend Amberly and I exploring River Street. We’ve been friends 10 years now, and the fun continues!

Race day was great. I really was not sure what I would be capable of at the onset. I told myself I needed to maintain a 9:09 pace until mile 9, and then I could reassess if need be. At mile 9 I told myself I would take a walking break at mile 10, but at mile 10 I was still holding onto 9:09 so I decided if I finished the mile strong, I would let myself take a quick port-a-potty break at mile 11, because I had need to pee since the start. I paused my Garmin for this quick pee break and then continued on. I knew I needed to speed up in the last two miles to make up for the break, but as much as I tried, my legs felt stuck in 9:09 gear. On the last mile I knew I had to kick it up a notch, but I started feeling like my tank was completely empty. With less than a quarter mile to go, I thought I might vomit. I slowed down and took deep breaths out of my nose. When I crossed the finish line, my Garmin said 1:59:16, and I could not have been happier. It actually felt really good not to be able to speed up in the final mile, because I knew I had paced myself correctly, giving it everything I had from the start. I hoped my pee break had taken less than 44 seconds, but unfortunately it took longer, making my official time 2:00:51.

When Rick finished, we took some photos and went back to the house. I took a hot shower and made myself a sizable turkey sandwich before heading back to the finish line to see my sister finish the FULL MARATHON! It was awesome to see her accomplish that amazing, bucket-list feat.

sav rick and maggie

My partner in all adventures.

Later that night we went to River Street and enjoyed the final evening of our run-vacation. The best part of distance running is not setting new personal records, it is the fun community that accompanies the sport. We run so we can be together, and I have a lot of awesome people to run with.

sav group

We are a very serious bunch, as you can see.

Labor Day Funk Run 5k Race Report

funk start

Three weeks ago, I was privileged to be a part of a really special opportunity to serve my community by putting on the Labor Day Funk Run 5k. This was the 4th annual event, and my third consecutive year as race director. We had our largest, most competitive crowd yet. High energy, strategic organization, and our awesome volunteers made for a smooth and successful day.

bryan funk finish

In the 1980 Oscar winning film Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell proclaims, “I feel God’s pleasure when I run.” That really resonates with me. I love to run for a lot of reasons. Fitness, competition, and fun are just some of the reasons I lace up my sneakers and pin on running bibs. But running for me is also spiritual. It is a chance for me to get away from the chaos of real life, and get in touch with the divine. The main goal of any race I put on is that space is created for runners to have a safe and fun time, and even feel the love and peace our soul’s often crave.

funk awards

Of course we also want to leave our community better than we found it. I’m proud to say we are certainly doing that! We work with non-profits like United Way to get shoes for those without proper footwear. Last week, we got our first request for shoes. A family with several children lost all they had, and we were able to buy them each two pairs- one for every day wear, and one for gym and athletic activities. Our rep at United Way told us these children had never owned name brand, new shoes. I believe God loves all of us from the top of our heads to the tips of our toes. On days when I deliver shoes, someone’s feet just get a little extra love. We raised just over $2,000 so we will be able to buy approximately 50 more pairs of shoes this year. I have this crazy dream of tripling our proceeds in 2015, and you can help make that dream a reality!

shoes

Now is the part where I thank a whole lot of people.

First, I want to thank United Assembly, our biggest supporter and sponsor. They make the race happen by proving generous funding and a wonderful volunteer base. We could not do this event without them, and I’m so blessed by the out-of-the-box ministry they encourage.

I want to thank Southern Wesleyan University for their substantial sponsorship, and their commitment to provide a quality education for so many.

I want to thank Issaqueena Pediatric Dentistry. They have partnered with us from the very beginning, and their loyal and generous support has helped us get to year four with the race.

I want to thank Pace Running Magazine for their partnership. I attribute our growing field to their outstanding publication. They are connecting runners with quality running events, and building community and comradery in the process.

I want to thank Randi Owen’s and Red Art Photography for allowing all the runners the option to download ALL the event photos for free!

I want to also thank Life Springs Media, Advanced Electrical Services, The Mordecai Project, Blue Ridge Pediatrics, Gotta Run Clemson, and Sole Grill and Sushi Bar for their impactful support.

I want to thank the City of Seneca, our city police, Go Green Events, and T&R Graphics for helping all the important details come together.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank all the runners who participated. I hope you enjoyed your running experience, and that you will run with us again on September 7, 2015 for the fifth annual Labor Day Funk Run 5k. 

Grady funk finish

Until then, may the funk be with you.