Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Tuesday 17th November 2015

what we all need to know when we want to give up – #TellHisStory

We waited, with hearts pumping in anticipation at the starting line. Then, the sound of a cannon boomed through the cloudless sky. It was our signal to start.

And we were off, feet pounding across the grass as music blasted through the speakers.  Anna and I joined hundreds of other girls in GirlsOnTheRun.org, a nonprofit girls empowerment program and running club.

For many of the girls on the course, this was their first 5K. The air was electric with excitement as we shot onto the course. Our stride was steady, swift and hopeful.

The course made a giant loop around the city park, past tall stands of trees hanging onto their last leaves. Spectators cheered along the route, holding up signs and applauding the girls who had worked so hard all season for this moment.

After we neared the end of the loop, the people on the sidelines began encouraging us with words like, “You’re halfway there!” “Only one lap to go!”

All around me, I heard the surprised voices of crestfallen girls who thought that the 5K ended after one loop. In that moment, they found out that they still had another loop to go.

Suddenly, girls began to lose their stride. Some began to walk. The idea of having to make a second loop seemed like too much.

You’ve felt it, too, haven’t you?

At the starting line of marriage, your “I do” carries all of your best hopes. But months or years later, marriage isn’t all that you thought it would be. It’s hard work. 

You started a new job with great anticipation, but you are suddenly overwhelmed by the responsibility.  It’s hard work. 

You begin the process of writing a book, starting a mission, heading back to school to get that degree, but when you think you’re close to a breakthrough, you see a giant hill up ahead.  It’s hard work. 

Sometimes, you want to quit because it’s too hard.

But God has an answer for us. When our arms feel so weak to carry the load, He says he can carry it for us.

“The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you” (Isaiah 59:1).

What’s too hard for us, is not too hard for God.


God is saying to us: “Don’t give up just because it’s hard.” His Word tells us that He specializes in the impossible.

When hard times comes, I am tempted to quit. I almost always ask Him to take the hardest parts away. But deeper inside of my soul, where Jesus resides, I want more than an easier life: I want Him to prove Himself bigger than the struggle.

Ann Voskamp said it like this, the other day: “We will be The Strong & Courageous & pray not only for the hard to go away — but we too will pray for a Brave Faith far Bigger than any hard that could ever come.”

During our 5K, we refused to give into the temptation to give up. We took the next step, and the one after that, while a great crowd of witnesses cheered us on. IMG_8395

We can do the same this week. We can take the next step.

Take the next step. God’s arm is not too weak to save you.

Take the next step. A great crowd of witnesses is cheering you on.

Take the next step. When you step out with bravery you strengthen others who are struggling to take their next step. You’re showing them that it’s possible to do hard things.

Take the next step. Because Jesus will meet you in the middle of your hardest battles.

When I’m tempted to give up on the second loops of life, I remember that Jesus already did the Hardest Thing of all. He forfeited heaven and put skin onHe literally had skin in the game. He put skin on, because He wanted to make you strong, in Him. Even when it was hard, Jesus never once gave up. That same power? Lives in you.




Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Our featured writer this week is Lisa Murray. She shares, “Gratitude doesn’t need life to get perfect. Gratitude is thankful right in the middle of the imperfect, the unreasonable, the tortuous.” Find Lisa here. To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. 🙂 xo Jennifer


  • What an encouraging post, Jennifer! Thank you (and congratulations on completing that 5K.) 🙂

  • karen

    GREAT visual! And YOU GO…cheering you on even though this 5K is over!!!

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  • love the images and the cheering! (I hate to run…) did a walking half-marathon in SF no less. Didn’t intend to win (smart) but it was great to finish. Thanks for your encouragement – I always prefer less-hard – I learn more about God when He doesn’t answer that prayer. Just finished a book project I started 7 years ago – as in, it arrived yesterday. I decided that was the perfect number and now it’s completed. Not sure I’ll do another, however… (: thanks, jennifer.

  • Oh, I needed to hear these words today! I love thinking about God specializing i the impossible! It’s true! I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other!
    A 5K! That’s something to cheer! Good for you. 🙂

  • Congrats on the run, and love the wisdom of this post, Jennifer. Your quote “Because Jesus will meet you in the middle of your hardest battles.” reminds me to keep leaning on Him, to invite Him into the hard things I’m facing this week… I’m suddenly reminded of the scripture in Job that says that God “sat down beside Job” in his suffering… God reminding even in the old testament that you could have access to the Great I Am… that He longs to get into the mess with us.

  • Yay, y’all. 🙂 I always like the reminder that — each “next step” makes much progress when you look back. It’s so easy to be daunted by the whole picture, but we aren’t called to the whole picture, we’re called to one scene at a time. ((blessings)) Thanks for sharing.

  • “…and the crowds of witnesses cheered us on.” We have support and cheerleaders even when we don’t realize it…on earth and in Heaven.

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  • Mary

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing the hard race that is life. It is always made easier with God by our side. Blessings upon your week!

  • Kristi Woods

    Earlier today I was reminded to keep it (writing) eternally focused. This gift is not mine to hoard, it’s His to give. Your post is more encouragement. Timely…once again. Thank you, Jennifer.

  • Anna Smit

    Jennifer, thank you for this encouragement, especially for:
    ‘God is saying to us: “Don’t give up just because it’s hard.” His Word tells us that He specializes in the impossible.’
    I’ve felt hemmed in on every side, but rather than take the next step forward by telling Him just how hard it is and how angry I am, I’ve been numbing it away…re-reading the post I’ve uploaded today to TellHisStory also reminds me of this: of the need to be real before God.

  • This is speaking some much needed truth to me, Jennifer. I’ve had quite a few “give-up” chats with the Lord lately. The kind where I want to curl up in the corner of the couch and stay there for a week–because it feels easier than staring up at the big hill. But yes, God hasn’t asked me to figure out what is at the top (even though it’s likely more hill), He’s only asked me to take the next step. So…I’m climbing. Thanks for the encouragement to keep at it.

  • I love that our risks empower others. My favorite quote: “Take the next step. When you step out with bravery you strengthen others who are struggling to take their next step. You’re showing them that it’s possible to do hard things.”

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  • Tara Ulrich

    Thank You! I needed to read these words today: “Ann Voskamp said it like this, the other day: “We will be The Strong & Courageous & pray not only for the hard to go away — but we too will pray for a Brave Faith far Bigger than any hard that could ever come.” A seminary classmate and friend is now on hospice care from cancer. My heart is breaking but these words touched my heart today.

  • Hmmm…I do believe I could claim that “giving-up” kind of conversation quite often lately. That second lap is wearing me out! Thanks, Jennifer, for this encouragement. It is always such a blessing to stop here.

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  • Crystal Hall

    Such encouraging words, thank you Jennifer.

  • I love this post so much. We’ve all been there..at end of that first loop. Thanks for the encouragement to keep on keeping on.

  • Patricia Holbrook

    Thank you, Jennifer, for the opportunity to join your community today! Linking up for the first time! Blessings!!

  • Encouraged by your words today to persevere in a difficult relationship. Keep showing up, keep giving, keep loving = part of taking that difficult next step. Blessings!

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  • Mary Flaherty

    Oh my gosh, my post is about the same thing…kind of…except for the not giving up part…which is pretty much what yours is about…anyway, I needed that today. I’m in the middle of a project and I’m stuck. I know where I want it to go, and I heard that voice yesterday, “Maybe you’re just not cut out for this. Just give up and write what you know.” Sneaky-trying to make me think that yes, I’m a writer, but no I’m really not a very good one. So, yes, it is hard, but no, I’m not giving up. God has called me to write this other thing…even if no one else ever reads it…and I’m pushing through. Just like the 5K I ran the other day.

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  • Starting is so much easier than finishing sometimes. Someone once said to pray not for lighter burdens but for bigger shoulders to carry them. Thankfully we can put those burdens on our Savior’s shoulders, the most able of all.

  • Jennifer,
    Thanks for the reminder that what is too hard for us is not too hard for God and what God has called us to do, He will empower us to finish…Great photo of you and the girls…funny, but my hubby and daughter ran their first 5K this past weekend, too, for a charity 🙂

  • Susan

    I am a determined person – it’s in my genes, sometimes stubborn but most often, just persevering. Jesus knew His entire lifetime how hard it was going to get and yet He set His face like a flint and for the joy set before Him (us, the redeemed) He endured the shame. Oh, how I love Him. Always a blessing to linkup here on Wednesday. xo

  • Janet

    “That same power? Lives in you.” Gives me chills! Thank you for putting the real life on the message – one more loop, just one more loop. Great pic of you and your girls – you’re such a good cheerleader (in every good way!) I’m glad I could join y’all this week.

  • Jennifer, thank you for these words today. So going to share them with a family member who just started something hard. God is in the hard things. It is truly where He shines best. Bless you for sharing these words today!

  • Amen! As a runner,I appreciate this in so many ways, yet we are all on this proverbial race of life that needs to be run the same way…one foot in front of the other. Sometimes we need to walk through the days, others we jog and still others we kick up our stride and we push through on a full out run.
    Such a great lesson, Jennifer. Thank you! And congrats on the race.

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  • Inspiring post – you’re a great example of “step three,” Jennifer. Have a blessed week!

  • I needed this encouragement today! Thank you, friend!

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  • Nancy Ruegg

    “I want more than an easier life; I want Him to prove Himself bigger than the struggle.” AMEN, Jennifer. Shame on me for wanting problems solved in a POOF. For God to demonstrate His glorious, sovereign power, there has to be an impossible situation. In order to experience the miracle, I have to be willing to participate in the struggle. Thank you for an enlightened perspective, Jennifer!

  • Constance Ann Morrison

    Your post is the amplified version of good advice I received years ago: difficult is not impossible. Thanks for running the race, literally and figuratively.

  • Kristina

    I have done girls on the run! The illustration brought home your point to me so much more. It is easy to want to give up but we can’t because I know He is there with me. Thank you for the encouragement.

Tonight, hear Jesus speak these words over you: "It is finished." In whatever difficult situation you found yourself in today, pause and remember this: Jesus has the final say. If you felt shamed or rejected today, remember: Jesus has the final say. Yo… ift.tt/2DusT48 pic.twitter.com/NluYYphMuk