The Power of Praise

The Power of Praise

Hi Campbell’s World visitors. Here we are with another fascinating portion
of Penny’s biking trip. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you concerning your
thoughts on her trip, so make certain to drop her a note either in the
comment section or on her blog.

The Power Of Praise

Penny Fleckenstein
This is a continuation of my series on Biking The Great Allegheny Passage.
Please enjoy!

Day no. 3: 60 miles behind us: 63 miles ahead. With almost half the trip over, Beth, Zachary and I were  in good spirits encouraging each other to keep pedalling. We still had plenty of gatorade and snacks courtesy of Beth. I was running low on bottled water. I have a very sensitive digestive system, so I refrain from drinking tap, well, or unfiltered water. Nevertheless, something did not agree with me, and my digestive system revolted for the next two days.

Beth had woken up earlier that day and had read a few chapters of a book about the trail at Confluence House. In one of the chapters, it warned her not to fill her water bottle no matter how good the filter with the waterfrom the mountain because of the waste from the coal industry. She had purchased Berkey water filters  which she periodically filled with water from a stream or a bathroom facility along the way. Both of us were praising God for her waking up early enough and taking the time to look at the book. How wonderful it feels to be saved from impending disaster.

Now, I love country music, but I’m not a country girl. For me, outhouses and camping belong in my past. Some think of it as fresh clean country air, but I smell waste and dirt in it. Somehow, while riding my bike, I was able to block out my chronic physical pain. It felt meditative, refreshing, and euphoric. A lot of my time on the bike, I felt like praising God over and over again.

Then, there was the negativity element. Beth’s children whining to go home–more Gabe and Hayden then Moriah. With Moriah experiencing her mouth pain, I really couldn’t blame Moriah for having momentary lapses of homesickness. I know when I’m in pain, home is the only place I want to be. But with the other two kids, an attitude of negativity hung over them–a storm cloud looming over the horizon. Beth, Moriah, Zachary, and I would combat it with praise, positivity, and encouragement. Shortly after lunch, Mark held a church service on the mountain. He talked about the principal of sowing and reaping. How, when we plant a seed, it comes up in abundance and then it is time for harvesting. A beautiful, sunny, breezy Saturday afternoon, and we were worshipping. To me, it felt natural–the way things are meant to be.

When we left that bench, our tummies full and Beth and I filled with praise for our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God The Father, I wondered why Our Creator needs so much praise. He must already know that His creation is fabulous, that we love Him, and all that is good is to His credit. He knows how we feel because we express it in everything we do and say. Then He revealed to me that He doesn’t demand praise from us because He is an egomaniac but because we need to praise each other, to encourage and build others up. Just as when my Isaac was small, he needed more physical holding and touching than my other children, so Gabe needs five times more encouragement and praise than my Zachary needs. With frequent exasperated cries from us of, “Why, Gabe, why!” He needed cheerleaders for when he was doing well. We’d yell, “Focus, Gabe, Focus!” Interspersed with, “You’re doing a great job pedalling, Gabe! Keep it up!” God wants us to praise Him so that everyone has their own cheering section.

When Beth and I returned from the bathroom in Ohiopyle and found out Gabe had dropped the IPad Mini on the ground and cracked the screen, and that was just after he threw my cherries in the garbage, we had to show him love and encouragement whenever we could. Mark said Gabe wasn’t pedalling consistently, so on day 3, we switched Gabe and Zachary putting Zachary on the tripplet behind Moriah and Gabe with Hayden on his tandem. It was a game changer. With Mark speeding ahead, Beth, Moriah, and I as Gabe’s cheering section, even Hayden’s spirits lifted. Hayden was encouraging Gabe and trying to make things fun for him. By the end of the trip, Mark, Beth and I could see and feel a change in Hayden’s spirit. Mark attributed it to “The Rockwood air.” I attribute it to a great Mom in Beth and the power of praise with us first praising our God and then taking that encouragement and being able to lift others up. So, really, praise isn’t for God, it’s a tool He gave us to teach us to love. What an awesome God we have!

Night no. 3 was spent in the hostel at 506 Main in Rockwood, PA right by the railroad tracks. Extremely saddened by the news that we had just missed Abba, one of Beth’s and my favorite groups, and despite the poor selection of nutritious already made food products at the Dollar Store, the children and Beth and I had a good night’s sleep to climb the rest of Big Savage Mountain. We gathered enough quarters for Beth to do our laundry at the hostel. With clean clothes, clean bodies, and refreshed spirits we were ready for day four. Twenty five miles up Big Savage mountain and 19 miles down hill into Cumberland, MD.

Thank you to the man who bought all of us breakfast in Connellsville at Ed’s diner. Thank you to all the bike riders who encouraged us on our way especially the ones who sped past proclaiming, “You guys are awesome!” Thank you to Challenged Athletes Foundation who made this all possible and to Mark from and my dear friend Beth and her children. I couldn’t have done this without you and God.

Finally, thank you to all who are reading this series on Biking The Great Allegheny Passage and any of my other blogposts. I’m a week late due to a sinus infection and problems with TMJ which caused me more pain than I ever experienced on the bike expedition. Honestly, I feel this expedition has helped me to prepare for my life ahead. This coming week, I will say “goodbye” to my son Isaac as he begins his journey at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He will be climbing his own Big Savage Mountain. To him, and to you, I say, “Stay focused. Praise God and keep doing a good job!”

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