Thursday, May 8, 2014

the marathon.

Tomorrow is the marathon.
What. the. heck.

I'm so thankful for all the people praying for me…
But even if no one else was, YOU are with us.

This is a door YOU are opening.
What will we encounter?
What will YOU do?

Who knows… but we'll be participating.


That was the prayer.
That was the challenge.
To show up.
To step in.
To try.

I wasn't guaranteed to finish.
I wasn't certain I'd get the medal.
I had no idea what to expect.
But HE had been clear that success would not be found in the "winning" but in the stepping.
So that's what we planned to do.
Step after step after step after step.
For 26.2 miles.
Faithfully trusting HIS faithfulness.
Confident that what HE set into motion, HE would bring to completion, whether it looked like all I hoped or not.

I know people thought we were crazy.
I know people were genuinely concerned for our well-being.
But I knew we'd be okay.
I wasn't afraid.

I remember a conversation I'd had with GOD a couple of days after Rachel and I bought our plane tickets and registered for the marathon.  I had started telling people about this awesome adventure I was undertaking, and the resistance from very well-meaning individuals had defused the momentum of my excitement, planting seeds of doubt and hesitancy.  Was GOD really the one opening this door for me, or was I being reckless and overambitious?

So I asked HIM.
And I listed every reason why I shouldn't follow through.

There's not enough time to train.  The race is in three months, and I've never run more than a little over three miles at one time.  And people get hurt trying to push themselves with stuff like this!  I'm not equipped!!!  There is absolutely no reason why I should believe I can do this!


(HE quickly stopped my escalating rant of fear.)

You have absolutely no reason to believe you can do this.
And that's the point.
I can.  
And I know you believe that.
I didn't ask if you were capable. 
I asked if you were willing.
So go.

You are free from the fear of failing.

And I was free.
That was the very word HE had given me as I entered into this new year, before I even knew of a Hawaii trip and a marathon.

And I wasn't making this up.
The Truth I heard lined up with every Truth HE speaks in Scripture.

Just as I had been praying all year, HE was calling me out upon the waters, expanding the reach of my trust so that it was growing to be without borders.

Even this.
HE was capable of even this.
And if this?
What more might HE have in store if I choose to follow?


3am came early, but with all the excitement and anxiety (plus an unexpected encounter with a mega-huge cockroach), I was wide awake.  And giddy.

Rachel and I were ready.
Well, as ready as we could be.
At this point, I had never run more than five miles at one time.*
And because of an injury, Rachel hadn't been allowed to run for the four weeks prior.
Even though the odds were ever so against us, we knew GOD was for us!


The marathon was incredible.
For the entire first half, we felt so alive!
It was exhilarating to participate in something so big!!
(Especially after my conversation with GOD in the water the day before!)

As good as it felt and as strong as we were, we knew the pain would come.
We knew it would feel more like death before it was all over.

Around mile 18, the pain hit hard.
But we continued forward.
Step after step after step after step.
We held to HIS Truths, speaking them aloud.

Pain will not define us, joy will reignite us!
(Thank you, Rend Collective, for that jewel from your latest album.)
The joy of the LORD is our strength!
YOU can, so we will!

Over and over.
In desperate breaths and bold, loud proclamation.
HIS Truth propelled us forward.

Yes, it felt like death.
But we knew the Truth:

We knew that would could choose death, because HE is a GOD who takes our deaths and gives us life.  The life we knew before would pale in comparison to the new life, the resurrected life, that we would find ahead!

Resurrection is more than a pretty analogy or a far-away promise.
It is living.
HE is in all things.
And HE was with us, so we would not give up.

There were some really beautiful moments along the way.
And a lot of life lessons.

Karl, Valerie, Mitaso…
Each name represents a story.
A sacred moment.
HIS goodness at work around us.


The last 2 miles.

We were going to finish.
We were going to even get a metal!

The extravagance of HIS Love for us was overwhelming to me in that moment.
Tears welled up in my eyes as we continued fighting.
Continued pushing.
Forcing our legs to continue moving our aching bodies forward.

The closer we got to the end, the louder the lies got.
The louder the voice in my head shouting:
This hurts!
Give up!
You can't do it!

Oh how the enemy hated this gift we were receiving.

We wouldn't listen.

Instead I spoke over and over again:

I choose YOU even when it's hard.
I choose YOU even when it hurts.
I choose YOU in all things.
Yes, LORD.
I say yes to YOU.

Over and over and over again.
Step after step after step after step.

SPIRIT lead me where my trust is without borders.  Let me walk upon the waters, wherever YOU would call me.  And take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the Presence of my SAVIOR.

HE did it.
We finished.

And I promise you, it was about so much more than a race and a medal.

"You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race.  Everyone runs; one wins.  Run to win.  All good athletes train hard.  They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades.  You're after one that's gold eternally.  I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line.  I'm giving it everything I've got.  No sloppy living for me!  I'm staying alert and in top condition.  I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself."
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

* My marathon training was advised by experienced runners who were able to give me counsel for where I was and what I planned to do.  I am forever grateful specifically for Terri Keller and Dana DeBardelaben from the Heart of the Valley YMCA.  They encouraged me, challenged me, trained me, helped me avoid injuries, and never once made me feel foolish for my faith.  I am blessed to have these women, and many others, as another branch of the beautiful community GOD has provided me in Huntsville.

No comments:

Post a Comment