My Kids Are Spartans

Leah Dowdy getting a boost from her brother Carlton Gantz over the finish line

I cannot tell you how this picture makes me feel. This past Saturday somewhere in Indiana, two of my kids completed the Spartan obstacle course. After about 5 miles of mud pits, water, fire, barbed wire, rope, etc. Leah Dowdy and Carlton Gantz finished the grueling event with a few friends.

Externally their reward was the medal pictured on the right. Internally they experienced the thrill and joy of teaming up to push themselves and each other to overcome obstacles placed in their path to the finish line.

As their father this race is a picture of the relationship between brother and sister that has been forged through times of adversity and times of joy.

A little over 1 year ago, Leah learned that she had breast cancer. Like this obstacle course, she fought, clawed and battled her cancer and all that surrounds it with a grit and determination unlike any I have ever witnessed. In a Facebook post, her cousin Jamie Johnson expressed the sentiment of our entire family (when I first tried to read this out loud to Suzie, I choked up so much that Suzie had to take over the reading):

For Carlton (he’s the one in the muddy red shirt behind Leah) this picture portrays much about his character. He has had to run his own race. He works hard at being a good husband, father and general manager of a Chick-Fil-A. Yet he has been willing to come along beside his sister and fight with her by encouraging and pushing her. He has been there in the trenches even if his face is blocked from view by Leah. (Anyone who knows Leah knows that if she is around, the center of attention is going to be in her vicinity).

Oh, how I love my kids. Cameron and Bethany missed out on this event, but warm their father’s heart just like Leah and Carlton. I have laughed with these four. I have cried with them. I pray that the face of God will shine on them and bless them. They are my joy.

I hope you will be encouraged by this gang of Gantz kids, of which the oldest turned 35 years of age today. And don’t even get me started on the three grandkids that they’ve given to me.

For a better understanding of the race they endured on Saturday, check out this video.

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