Sugar Water

I love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Its crazy how two so different products, come together in such peaceful and beautiful harmony. I haven’t gotten to eat a whole lot of them though, being out here on the road. You would think that would be just the opposite. It’s funny what people assume about us. Some hosts think we have been having pasta every night, so we never eat pasta. Some think we drink Gatorade every day, but I’ve only had it once on this trip. And on the other spectrum of things, some people we come across think we are incredibly holly or spiritual, and can only be communicated to through scripture. Treating us as if we were a We have definitely had our share of assumptions about us.

The other day I was making myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But there was a major problem. The peanut butter was almost gone. Don’t you hate that? Well, I guess it depends on what type of PB and J person you are. Light PB, heavy jelly. Heavy PB, and heavy jelly. Light and light. Which type of jelly? Crunchy or smooth PB? The possibilities seem endless. I remember as a teenager a friends mom asked me what type of PBJ person I was before making my sandwich. My reply, dazed and intrigued, was “I didn’t know I had a choice. This opens so many new doors and opportunities to me!”

So obviously the best option for my predicament was to spread the PB on the entire face of the bread, leaving no lumps or hills. It was spread so thin. And I’m a heavy PB type of person. Then you have to obviouslycompensate with the jelly, cause then you wouldn’t want too much. Don’t let that jelly take over the sandwich. But I got through it. Wishing I had more PB.

In the last week, my amount of energy has been that of the PB. Scraping around the sides and edges of the jar, its been a challenge to find enough. And still, knowing you have searched everywhere for just enough, you fall short and are spread thin. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, there have been records being shattered all week. Records you don’t particularly like seeing broken, especially if you are running 30 miles a day. From around Corvallis, Oregon to Rochester, Washington (about a week long amount of time), Paul and I have been in very hot weather. Highs have been around 106 degrees, and seem to get hotter. Evidently a heat wave has been coming through the region, and taking a huge toll on us physically. More importantly, it then affects us mentally, and spiritually. Drains our energy and is discouraging.

Just when we were rounding the corner, almost able to see the finish line in sight, we have been tripped up and wondering what to do. Now, I know back in Phoenix, its about 10 degrees hotter, and some of you may be thinking “Come on guys, you are from Phoenix and know this type of weather”. But this heat is very different from the dry heat we experience. It is humid, muggy, the air is still, it clings to you like saran wrap, and looms overhead like a pesky fly. Also, you have to remember that we have been on the coast for the past 2 months, becoming accustomed to the breezy cool weather, where it never rose above 70 degrees. Being outside for 5+ hours while running 30 miles in this weather is down right dangerous.

It may have faltered our steps for a few yards, but it has not made us fall. We have changed our last 11 days and deviated from our schedule. Instead of taking two more scheduled rest days, we have chosen to run on these days so it lowers the average miles for each day. We have also shortened the first 6 runs because of the heat. Hopefully by the time the weather changes, we will then have a little longer runs on the last 5 days to finish out our journey. (As I write this, we have already completed 3 of these runs, and have 8 left). The average will now be 25 miles, and we will have to run the next 11 days in a row to arrive on August 7th. The logistics of this trip are daunting but very crucial. It is going to be a challenge all the way up to the finish line. The most important thing is that we get replenished in more ways than one.

I think all of us have three containers deep within our being that hold the drive and passion that ignites our soul and life. One is cardboard, the other Tupperware, and lastly a glass pitcher. The cardboard box contains tea bags, sugar in the Tupperware, and iced water fills the pitcher. To make refreshing tea (I’m not talking southern sweet tea, cause if I were, we would just add a little tea and water to that sugar), you have to know the right amounts of each to add together. Too much or too littler of one can throw off the entire drink. Not to mention you have to have enough of each as well. If you run out, then it’s off to the store or over to your neighbors for some sugar. The same is true for us.

Deep within we need to be replenished. For us on this trip, Paul and I have to be spiritually, emotionally, and physically strengthened. Without all of these being built up and restored, we cannot go on another day. We must be concious also of how much we pour ourselves out into others. Like serving iced tea to a group of people, you can quickly run out, thus depleting the ingredients and relying on other sources to substitute in to make the drink. Again, the same is true for ourselves. If we are not getting poured into, in these areas, we quickly become tired and worn out. Looking to other areas and ways to meet the demands and needs of others and ourselves. But it doesn’t always mix well. We can see this played out in missionaries, pastors, and even us. If we are constantly serving and pouring into others, who will pour into us?

Physically, I have done everything in my power to get rest each day and let my muscles recover and repair. It has worked good so far. Emotionally I have been really encouraged and loved on by others. Which has also been an amazing thing. Lifting my spirits and giving me joy. But honestly, it hasn’t been all that easy to keep going even with these areas fulfilled. If we rely too heavily on what the world can give us, we will fail. Spiritually it has been a struggle. Somehow, people we stay with and meet seem certain that we are brimming to the top withoverwhelming faith and spiritual joy. Umm… I wish. Don’t we all wish, that at every moment we could just obtain that. We can though, it’s just a matter of how much we actually want it. I’ve too heavily relied on what comes easy to obtain. Sugar and water come easy to produce and get (just like my emotional and physical needs), but tea is precious. It takes time and effort to produce correctly. From the growing, cultivating, collecting, drying, and so on. Like tea, our spirits need care and time. Afterall, without tea, its just sugar water.

Z

P.S. We are almost half way up Washington. Booya!

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11 thoughts on “Sugar Water

  1. Hey guys!

    I know saying you’re soooo close is not the same as being there. But as with our spiritual journey, we keep moving forward knowing what’s at the end and knowing what’s at the end is just shy of being there. We’ve got a promise from God of what to expect, and you too know that when your 1755 mile journey is over, you will be rewarded with rest (ah!) hugs, kisses, a ton of people who can’t believe you made it, and a Heavenly Father who will say…”Well done good and faithful servants.” Right know you’re suffering from total overload. The way I count it you have 8 days left…under 200 miles. The weather is breaking and I believe God is going to extend an extra measure of grace to you from here on in. Hang tight, pray hard, keep the faith!

    Luv you tons, Mom Bell

  2. All I know is God is faithful. He will see you through to the end. Only focus on the task at hand for each day. We are so proud of all you have accomplished. God has gotten you this far, He will not abandon you. We think of you and pray for you often. Can’t wait to see you both when you come home.

    May the Lord bless you and protect you.
    May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
    May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.

  3. I’m praying right now that the Lord would meet you in radical and tangible ways these next few days, showing you his presence and filling you with all the spiritual “tea” you need!! I pray He OVERFLOWS it to last you the rest of this journey and more. I can imagine it being so much harder for you guys when you’re not completely feeling all that poured into spiritually, that’s tough. But gosh, what a journey you’ve accomplished so far! And how awesome God is to have gotten you all this way. I know the Lord works in mysterious ways and it seems like He may be doing just that for you guys right now. Working and stirring up something that He’s got planned for you because of where He’s put you in this very moment!

    So proud of you guys for all you are doing, all you’ve done, and who you have become on this trip.

    Psalm 23 popped up in my head as I was thinking of these last days for you and so I wanted to share that. May that be an encouragement to you, knowing that God is faithful and he is carrying you through more than ever to the finish line!

  4. Dittoes Coley, Dittoes – you say it so much better than I can. This heat has been brutal, I’m praying with Mom Bell for a break in the weather soon. I’m glad that you are “adjusting your stride” and are still moving forward. Enjoy the run, find the “tea” along the way.

    I like the new pictures, especially the one from Z’s birthday at the tunnel (3010), I about fell out of my chair, it is exactly how I pictured it. You guys are the best, see ya soon!! Eric

  5. Thanks for the morning devotional. Excellent stuff. You guys are inspiring and fun! Thanks for the opportunity to meet, hang out, and feed you guys.

  6. now is the time when the enemy will do everything in his power to discourage and halt your journey, you’re worn out in every way and his voice will speak to you to quit,to question your goals… press on. God will meet you at your lowest point. this is also the time where God grants you power, strength and glory.

  7. As I read your update one of my favorite verses came to mind.
    Isaiah 40: 31
    Yet those who wait for theLord
    Will gain new strength;
    They will mount up with wings like eagles,
    They will run and not get tired,
    They will walk and not become weary.

    This is always refreshing to me spiritually and emotionally even in the mist of being exhausted physically. Praying for you on your last push to the final goal. Blanche Burnham

  8. Your trip is an inspiration. Thank you for giving to the Lord and allowing us to share this experience with you through your writing.

  9. Wow! u guys have basically done it! the finish line is so so close and i am still so amazed by this whole adventure!! I was in a bus 2 mornings ago driving between forests and plantations in uganda, in awe of all the Lords beautiful creation and thought of you two. and how awesome it is that you have gotten to see so much this summer..things most people will never see. and sitting there thinking, i wasnt sure what to pray about for you guys..i hadnt been able to check the blog in awhile so i asked God for the words and prayed that through your extreme physical and spiritual fatigue you are most likely experiencing, you would make it a priority to communicate. For His strength to stay together talking through whats going on in the run ofcourse and inside you. and after reading this i am so impressed and thankful for an answered prayer that you are so in tuned to your own feelings and how the Lord is working! GOD is so blessed by you guys, because you are constantly pointing your fingers to Him, bringing Him the glory!..
    True example of Heb. 13:20-21
    ~Now may the God of peace, who through the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.. Amen! i will continue to pray for that balance and refreshed spirits!
    Cheerin you on, WOOT WOOOT!

  10. I put myself in your shoes today. I ran in the PM heat rather than the “cool” 90’s of the morning so I could identify with you more. People will know we are Christians by our love; our love for each other and our willingness to bear one another’s burdens.

  11. You guys rock! So proud of you for staying the course… running the race… all the while fixing your eyes on the Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.
    I imagine myself on the sidelines… cheering you on… standing in the gap… praying like crazy! We all are. Go guys!

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