About the Author

Annie F. Downs is a bestselling author and nationally known speaker based in Nashville, Tennessee. Her most recent books include 100 Days to Brave, Looking for Lovely and Let’s All Be Brave. Read more at anniefdowns.com and follow her at @anniefdowns.

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    • Doesn’t God bless us when we see HIS SON in our encouragers–
      I finished a half in april 2010 in Nashville & I am twice your age–but I finished
      and my sweet precious daughter-in-law was the one to say
      “Just Keep Moving”!! Isn’t that our journey with God to
      “just keep moving!!! thanks so much for your “(in) courage.

  1. Wow. That just made me cry. Why do we, as a Christian people, think it is the ‘big’ things that make people see Jesus in us? It IS the little things, isn’t it. So touched by your friend and you seeing Jesus in her.

  2. Such a lovely real life story that reflects true friendship, determination and the difference someone alongside you running the race, encouraging you can make. Just like life when things are hard going and we feel we are at a snails pace having someone beside us showing us Jesus is what helps us through. I laughed so much because I once tried running and I was hopeless plus in the end I couldn’t run for laughing at myself. Thank you for sharing this today.

  3. Good for you Annie! It doesn’t matter how slow we are, in time we *will* finish the race, esp with Jesus at our side. Perseverance, girl, will get you there. You did it and I’m proud of you!

  4. You are my hero Annie Downs. You can make me laugh, cry and rejoice in my faith all at the same time. I was in Nashville a couple weeks ago and I hoped to run into you in some coffee shop during my trip. You are a blessing to so many lives! Make it a great day.

  5. I love it, Annie! I know I just commented over at your place, but had to comment on this, too. Thanks for being you – open, real, inspiring…and funny. πŸ™‚ You make me laugh, yes, but you also help me want to keep going for Jesus. That’s powerful stuff.

  6. Awesome! I’m one of the people with tears in my eyes right now! I hope you realize how blessed you are to have such a friend…

    And, congrats on the half marathon! It’s a secret dream of mine, although I’ve gotten off track with some craziness in my life lately.

  7. I am running my first half in 2 weeks. I feel the same way about running as you described it, and hopefully I see Jesus’ love somewhere along those 13.1 miles! What a sweet friend you have!

  8. What a beautiful demonstration of God’s love for us. He cheers us on and gives us the strength to keep going when everything within us wishes to give up.

  9. There’s a Kathy Mattea song that I listen to while I’m running called Standing Knee Deep in a River. There’s is a line in there that goes, “friends I can count on, I can count on one hand, with a leftover finger or two.” I think, as I age, I am realizing how true this song is and how we should cherish those “friends we can count on”. Sounds like you got one there that’s a keeper! Congrats on your half marathon. Regardless of whether you run or walk…you did it! But more congrats that you have found a friend like that. God is good.

  10. LOVE this! I’m a slow runner, and I have definitely seen Jesus in my friends many times as they’ve come running after they finished to encourage me to the end. Beautiful picture of our Savior!!!

  11. I know exactly where you are coming from. I started “running” at age 61. It was more walk than run, but I have gotten better. On my 65th birthday I was finishing the final race in a 3 race Mud in Your Eye Event. Temperature was around 48 degrees, we were in the middle of a nor’easter in February. Of course, I was, as usual the last one out in the middle of the woods. I knew Jesus knew where I was, but I wasn’t sure anyone else even throught about me still being out there. After sloshing through frigid water up to my waist, I finally made it to the openening in the woods so I could at least see where I should be going. With about a half mile left, I was jogging and sloshing and in the distance I see a figure. I kept on going and I finally realized the figure coming my way was my “senior girl friend” coming back to meet me. My heart leaped. What an act of love. I will never forget it. At that moment, I felt like the prodigal son going back home and seeing his father running out to meet him. What a lesson is love.

  12. Your story is inspiring and just the message I need right now. I have been thinking about running a 5k and grow into a half marathon. The verse about running the race and finishing the race keeps going through my mind. I keep thinking it’s the scripture that I’m suppose to live out. So I always like to let people know when God has used them as a vessel to speak to my heart. You have encouraged me to get in the race – like actually put on the tennis shoes and get out there to run. Like you I don’t like running but I feel like God wants to foster the runner in me. Again thank you for sharing your post and allowing God to use me.

  13. I agree with all the comments above. I’m probably twice your age as well (I’m 51) and started running last December. I’ve always wanted to run, never been able to and I LOVE it! I’m not fast, in fact some people would even argue the fact that I run because they can walk faster (but hey, their legs are longer too :)). Anyway, I will be running my first half on September 30th and am super excited because I will finish. I have been blessed by the most encouraging group of women who do check on me, encourage me and bless me in soooo many ways. You see the love of Jesus in them every time we run. Thank you for sharing your story.

  14. What a great friend!

    I’m like you– slowwwww…. hehe. That’s alright though. He uses us where we’re at. God is good!

  15. Congratulations on finishing your half-marathon!

    I was never a runner. Late last year I got on our treadmill and started running/jogging and I kinda enjoy it. I almost always have some kind of music in my ears–usually Christian. This year I did my first ever 5K race in 42 minutes, yes I was near the end. For me it was a personal best and I did walk, run & jog the whole way–no quitting for this gal!

    I will run in more races as time passes. None will be as important as running to Jesus and showing Him to everyone. Loved the story!

  16. oh geez. i was THERE and i just got all teary reading about it again. friends showing us love & encouragement like jesus? gets. me. every .time.

  17. Thank you, Annie, for a beautiful story of those who are there when we need them the most. My husband and I went through Marriage Mentors 3 years ago (seems like many more!) at the brink of divorce. The wife of the couple who mentored us meant so much to me as she listened thru my tearful phone calls, gave me encouragement and helped me make tough decisions that went against who I had become but brought me closer to who I wanted to be.

    And then it became my turn to walk beside some dear friends who were where I had been (at least a mile or more from the finish) and needed to hear, “I totally understand because I was there, but it can and will become so different. So let’s walk together to a better place.”

    “so encourage one another, as long as it is called Today, for the days are evil.”

  18. That happened to me on a 5k once. It was 20 years ago, but I’ll never forget it. Thanks for the reminder, I really needed it today.

    Blessings to you,

    SHeila

  19. Thank you for writing so honestly, authentically and beautifully. Your spirit really shines through your writing. I could really relate to seeing Jesus in your friends. I have a couple that make me feel truly blessed and loved. You are blessed with wonderful friendships too. Keep sharing.

  20. In life friends, sisters, brothers, they keep you from quitting and saying forget it. What would we do without them? I experienced that yesterday, someone coming along beside me and loving me enough to force me to see a place in me that needs changing. What grace God showed me through her.

  21. Wow, did I ever need to hear this today! I am feeling very discouraged about the half-marathon that I signed up for, wondering why in the world did I ever have this crazy idea in the first place. But, I know I can do it. I will finish the race, even if it takes me longer than I hope. Thanks for sharing your story.

  22. wow that just brought unexpected tears to my eyes. isn’t that what we are longing for as single women….someone to be beside us, someone to come back for us……heres to continued praying for that friend or lover to stand beside in this life.