On Your Mark, Get Set…


With cramping muscles and raspy breath, the girl’s stride broke. The race was coming to a close. This mom in her forties, wearing heels and business casual, ran to the end of the race beside her daughter. Giving no thought to how crazy she might look, she yelled, “Run Tammy, run!” There were hundreds of people shouting and screaming, but this enthusiastic mother was determined to be heard. She yelled, “Run. You can do this!” The girl had no chance to win. Her mother wasn’t even urging her to win.

She wanted her to finish!

She was just before collapsing when she heard her mom’s voice. Then a miracle happened. It was an amazing transformation. She straightened and found her balance. Before she knew it, she crossed the finish line, turned, and collapsed into her momma’s arms.

Falling down together on the grass, they cried, then laughed uncontrollably. It was as if time stood still. They relished the moment as if there were no other souls on the planet.

When I heard this story, I couldn’t help but think of the power of a mom’s words. We can make or break our children. Our words can change the outcome of the whole event, or the trajectory of a life. Then, there are those times, our children just need to know we’re there. Our presence can make the difference. I remember, at his birth, my son cried inconsolably.  When he heard me say, “It’s ok. Momma’s here,” he stopped crying. I had not even held him yet, but he knew my voice and rested at the sound of it.

There have been times in relationships, ministry, or even my walk with God when I’ve felt like giving up. It never fails, one of my closest friends or family will come along and speak truth over my situation at just the perfect time. Sometimes, that’s all we need, a little boost.

Then I thought of God and how the mere sound of His voice is really all I need. Right now, I’m in the process of doing something way out of my comfort zone or expertise.  It feels almost impossible, with one HUGE exception. God said do it!  He runs alongside me urging, “Run Rivera. Don’t stop. Keep going. You can do this. I’m right here with you. I’m pleased with you. I love you.” It’s miraculous what happens. Those words just feel so good and spur me on. It’s as if He picks me up and carries me the rest of the way. His presence gives me supernatural strength to keep running, to do what I can only do with Him.

I imagine myself falling into His arms at the end, as if there’s no one else around. That thought just speaks volumes to my soul. It’s intimacy with Jesus. I’m the only one in the world, at least that’s how He makes me feel. He cares about my outcome and the races I’m running. He wants me to finish them well.

The crazy, mind-boggling thing is He has the capacity to be that for all of us. Your race and your outcome matter to God. YOU matter! He wants YOU to finish, and He wants to roll with you in laughter in the grass.

“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.” Hebrews 12:1-2a


* The story of Tammy’s race credited to Dr. James and Shirley Dobson.

4 thoughts on “On Your Mark, Get Set…

  1. Pamela Healy Nogueira says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time for me to read. It was a VERY difficult day. I want to be Tammy’s mom. I tried to really hard today. At times I was, but at other times, I felt like ugly, terrible Mommy. I have to cling to Jesus more. I wish I would immediately think about Him when I’m going through stressful times. Thanks, as always, for your words of enlightment, Lovely Rivera! Hugs to you!

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Pamela, so sorry it took me this long to respond to your comment:) A whole day later is late for me. I’ve prayed for your situation since we private messaged last night. I hope you’re feeling some relief and hope today. Love you my friend:)

  2. Joanna says:

    Yes!!! How sweet a story of a mom’s voice!! Both your newborn son and the mom urging her daughter to finish. What truth about how God’s words can take us so far beyond what we could do on our own!!! Thanks for writing this!!

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Joanna, thank you. You have no idea how God has used you to spur me on. His specific words for me through you have been so special! Also, just knowing your praying for me is such a huge blessing! xo

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