Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I had this great idea the other day to strap on my shoes with my orthopedic inserts for my bad feet and run a couple miles outside.

I actually didn't feel too bad while I was running, but as soon as I stopped the pain started. My muscles began to yell at me- loudly. I'm pretty sure they said some bad words.

I've never been really good at stretching after exercise because, well, once I'm done exercising, then I'm done. I'm ready to move on. But, this day, I opted to try it.

So, I started doing this hamstring stretch:


(This is SO not me.  Imagine her plus about thirty more pound, a dozen rogue gray hairs and a grimace on her face.  That would be me.)

When I first leaned over I could only reach my ankles. And it hurt. I didn't like it. But, I was told that a stretch isn't a good stretch until you hold it for 30 seconds. So I did. And it still hurt.

Until something amazing happened.

At about 20 seconds into the stretch, I felt the strangest sensation of relief in my hamstrings, and it didn't hurt as much. Great! But weird.

With this new sense of relief, I attempted to reach over a little farther and touched my shoe laces. And it hurt. But, I held it.

Then something amazing happened.

At about 20 seconds into the stretch, I felt the same sense of relief in my hamstrings, and it didn't hurt as much.

Intrigued, I leaned in further- as far as I could go- and barely touched the edge of my toes. And it hurt. But, I held it.

Then something amazing happened.

At about 20 seconds into the stretch, I felt the same sense of relief in my hamstrings, and it didn't hurt as much.

Can you see the pattern?

After about five minutes of doing this, I could reach my fingers past my feet and wrap the around the sole of my shoe.

 Pretty cool, huh?!

My husband pops his head into the room. He's a much better athlete then me.I proudly show him my fingers touching the dirty soles of my shoes.

Me: Did you know that if I hold the stretch like this for a while it doesn't hurt as bad?

Him: Yes.

Me: Well, did you know that when I hold it long enough, then I feel this sense of release and I can stretch farther?

Him:  Yes.

Me (thinking I've tapped into some great physical anomaly): Is there a name for this?

Him. Yeah. Stretching.

Me: No, I mean, is there a name for the sensation you feel when your muscles are stretched to the limit, and you hold it, then you feel relief, the you can stretch even farther?!

Him: Stretchy stretch?

His answer made me chuckle, but it also made me think life.

Sometimes in life we go through trials that hurt. They really do.

Some hurt so bad that we just want to quit. And sometimes we do.

But, here is the great spiritual anomaly I tapped into, that really isn't an anomaly at all:

When we hang on during those times - through our faith, prayers, study, the help of others, and maybe even some tears - God can give us a sense of release, or relief during our trials.

We can find relief from our pain through Him in the middle of our trials.

Oh wait. It gets better.

Along we don't only feel a sense of relief and maybe even peace amidst our trials, but as we hold steady in our stretch- in our faith and testimony - we can gain strength and the flexibility to do more.

We can stretch more. We can fight more. We can run more. We can survive more. We can do more.

We can be more that we imagined when the trial (spiritual stretching)  first began!

It is a spiritual stretchy-stretch!

I think sometimes we get tired under the burdens of our afflictions. Many people ask Why? Why must we go through difficult times like this? Why did this happen to me? I don't want this trial. I don't want to hurt.

The truth of it is this:

  Trials can hurt. But they stretch us. And it is only through stretching our spiritual muscles (enduring in faith and hope) that we can achieve greater things

The key is to trust in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They knew we are going to hurt. They know it can be for our benefit. And they are there to help assuage any unnecessary pain.

Joel 2:32: "...whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered..."

11:28 the Savior Himself says: "Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy lade, and I will give you rest..."

If any man was stretched- it was Paul, and yet, he said this:

Phillippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me."

He understood what the Savior was saying.

Now, I'm not as strong as Paul yet. I don't "glory in tribulations" (Romans 5:3), but what I do know what it feels like to be stretched so thin you can see through yourself to the other side. It's a scary place to be.

But I can tell you that it is not a permanent place, either. It is part of the stretchy-stretch that will make us like Paul, if we just hang in there.

In  Acts 14:22 Paul speaks of his great mission, where he taught this principle. He went about "...exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."

Much tribulation = major stretchy stretch.

But, in the end (and even in the middle) it will be worth it.

God is aware. He knows our pain. He also knows stretching is the only way. Have faith in Him that relief, strength, growth, and even blessings will come. Because they will.


  1. You sound like my husband and me. He's the athletic one and I try to keep up. And I like your analogy. I'm happiest when I know God's stretching me--but probably not at first, and it takes me a while, but soon I see how his trials change me for the better.

    1. Thanks Mary. You're more like Paul then I am. I'm really happy during the reprieve! But, like you, I know my trials can be consecrated for my good. So, at least I've got that going for me :)