I woke this morning with a heavy heart given all that has gone on in our country and here in Seattle over the weekend.

I feel heartsick and discouraged yet I also remained determined to move forward knowing how important it is, now more than ever, for us to support one another through conversation, encouragement and prayer.

Having spent so much time at home lately, I have done more organizing around the house and in the process, have discovered some forgotten treasures that have brought me joy and inspiration. Last week, I decided to tackle some boxes that I had tucked away which contained some of my daughter Karina’s things (Karina passed away ten years ago).

I usually have to gear myself up before looking at specific things that belonged to her in order to hold back the waves of grief that inevitably engulf me; but recently I have been filled with the courage and desire to revisit one of her boxes of stored treasures. To my surprise, I found a project from her senior year of high school that I had completely forgotten about. I was so delighted to rediscover it and remember that specific and significant time in her life.

Karina had made a 2-minute video of her senior project that detailed her walk/running the Seattle half marathon in 2008 to raise money for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She titled it “One Step At A Time”. It was a huge accomplishment and that video brought back such wonderful memories and brought to mind one of the biggest reasons I had for launching The Anchor Gathering.

Watching Karina’s video filled me with inspiration as I saw her surrounded by her best friends on the half marathon course.

WATCH KARINA’S VIDEO HERE

After losing Karina, I was overwhelmed with a desperate need for togetherness. I found I couldn’t face this “race” of life alone. I wanted to be able to bring women together to be encouraged in hope and anchored in faith and friendship and to be there for each other. Watching Karina’s video filled me with inspiration as I saw her surrounded by her best friends on the half marathon course. These were the friends who walked the entire cancer journey with her and I found it to be such an awesome analogy for our lives. We need community and companionship to walk this race course called life and all that it entails. We need hope and encouragement to persevere through the challenging times and ups and downs of life.

This running analogy brings to mind something that happened to me that emphasizes our need to come together and support one another.

I have a love of running and one of my life goals was to run the Boston Marathon. (Sadly, they announced last week that the 2020 Boston Marathon would be canceled for the first time in its history.) I entered the Port Angeles marathon in June 2007 in hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon later that year. My identical twin sister Sara had already qualified. Our dream was to run the marathon together in April 2008 so the pressure was on! I had a qualifying time that I needed to reach and I set out (so I thought) at the perfect pace to stay on the mark to make that goal.

My family was so excited for me (especially my son Erik). He thought a trip to Boston sounded amazing and he truly was my biggest fan. I realized at mile 13 that I had gone out too fast and was a little concerned what the next half of the race held for me. I was very surprised when a runner came alongside me at just the right moment and I noticed some uplifting words on the back of his T-shirt. Those words were: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) This verse was Karina’s favorite and I held onto it as I continued on what felt like an endless race to the finish line.

Me and my sister running the Boston Marathon

At mile marker 20, I reached what they call “the wall” which is not a good term for runners. I had been running alone for several miles and upon seeing the mile marker, I also saw my family watching for me. I burst into tears and said under my breath, “I don’t think I can make it.” I was so tired and I felt like I wasn’t even moving forward. Just as I muttered those words, my son pointed to his watch and yelled: “You’ve got to make it, Mom!” I didn’t want to let him down but I was losing hope.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, came another runner.

He asked how I was doing and, in my exhaustion, I told him I was trying to qualify for Boston and he said he had the same goal but he had already missed his qualifying time. However, to my surprise, he was determined to help me reach my goal and he brought me so much hope. He continued to run along beside me, matching my stride, one step at a time. A mile from the finish line, the crowds were lining the final straightaway and this man began to encourage the spectators to cheer me on. He said, “Cheer for Katie; she’s got to make it to Boston!” All I could hear were the voices from the crowd, yelling my name, as I was cheered on to the finish line with a qualifying time and four minutes to spare! After catching my breath, I turned to thank this special stranger but I could not find him anywhere; I never saw him again.

As I recall that day, I am inspired in a different, but equally determined, way to encourage each of you during the “racecourse of life” as we try in new ways to be there for each other to encourage, help, and share hope especially in difficult times. That is what The Anchor Gathering is all about: bringing hope, strength and encouragement to each other to keep going through life one step at a time. I’ve included Karina’s video for you to enjoy and be inspired. I am so thankful that we can meet virtually for now and will look forward to when we can all be together again!

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

With love and light,

Sharing Strength & Hope

Now that our blog has officially launched (wow!) we’ll be sharing more content with you each week. Check your inbox on Tuesday mornings for content that will inspire you and grow your hope in Jesus, such as:

  • Articles from founder and director Katie Robertson
  • Posts featuring the Anchor Truths (with free phone backgrounds and art prints!)
  • Guest articles and videos from women anchored in their faith
  • Content to uplift you, encourage you, and help you anchor yourself in the hope of Jesus

We can’t wait to make the vision of The Anchor Blog a reality!