Posted by: Emily Shemwell | February 22, 2010

Finishing the Race… Prayers Needed

“Do you have any more sugar?”

“I need a razor. What about socks? I need those too.”

“Are you making any more coffee?”

“You have a washer open. Where am I on the list?”

“Can I get a glass of ice water?”

“Give me a big towel and face towel.”

“Do you have a razor? I don’t like this one, do you have a double-blade?”

“Emily, you have a washer stopped, but someone’s clothes are still in there. Can you get them out?”

“I need a wet washcloth. I spilled my coffee.”

“One at a time please,” I calmly spoke, trying to not become frustrated with the quick demands and questions asked.

Then I hear, “Quit talking about my Mama!” Seriously? Two grown adults are arguing in the middle of the Day Shelter cafeteria over a comment made about someone’s Mama? Am I babysitting five-year olds? Yes, this was happening.

That was Wednesday. Tensions were high. Attitudes were fierce. Personalities were dynamic.

Thursday wasn’t much different. Two more guests were suspended for arguing. The reason for the argument: bad mouthing the other person’s Mama. The lady had taken so much of the verbal exchanges that she threw a chair toward the male guest. All over a comment made about her Mama.

As I left the shelter Thursday I found myself struggling to have any positive thoughts. Why am I here? What good am I doing? On top of the demands from the guests, a woman I was intentionally tying to build a relationship with left that day. She and her boyfriend, who recently beat her up when he became drunk, moved to Texas for work. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. I am glad she has a greater possibility of obtaining a job, but moving away from her children with her boyfriend wasn’t exactly encouraging words to my ears Thursday morning. Seriously God? Am I doing any good?

The last several days have lowered my spirits and weakened my faith. I’m struggling right now to see any fruit from my labor. I’m struggling to find the motivation to finish the race I’ve started. Dear friends, I need your prayers: prayers for endurance, prayers for strength, prayers for perseverance, and prayers for a joyful spirit and a loving and serving heart.

Lord, may I keep my eyes on you. Amen.

“…And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith… Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” —Hebrews 12:1-3

“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carrying out the ministry God has given you… I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me – the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” —2 Timothy 4:5-8


  1. Emily…you may not see the results of your labor a lot of the time, but I know for a fact that there are some out there that appreciate everything that you do. Some times it’s just a matter of doing what scripture says to do, “Shine starts in the heavens and do work with a joyful noise in your heart.” And know that while you may not see growth in others, the seeds you have planted the last 8 months will bear fruit. It can be frustrating. But it’s still well worth it.

  2. Keep faith and lean on your team. We are there with you and we can give you an extra encouragement when times are hard. Unfortunately, we don’t always know what’s on each other’s minds!

    Remember that you are not here to accomplish your own personal goals. Don’t be discouraged that things don’t go the way you plan. Simply have faith that things will always end up according to God’s plan.

    We love you lots Emily – and we are always praying for y’all.

  3. Emily you are in my prayers I just happened to come across your blog today that you wrote in Feb. but I know how it can become very frustrating when you are trying so hard and you don’t seem to see any fruit come out of it. You may never see that, but God is using you in so many ways and He is going to bless you back so much more.

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