I don’t even know what to say. The Marathon is over. Really, I am at a loss for sufficient words. Every emotion involved. Every emotion from total elation to the feeling of severe defeat. Here is an excerpt from my journal…
March 29, 2010
Oh Lord, we did it. Thank you so much for such an incredible day. What an emotional day. Thank you for all of the encouragement. The whole day was made up of it. I believe the whole reason I ran was to see the body of Christ rise up – to support – to love.
Jody pointed out Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a to me. “Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” This defines my race.
Brent asked me, “Other than the finish, what was the best part?” Without hesitation, I said, “seeing you all out there – no doubt. Seeing my family and friends.” Let me tell you, we don’t know how badly we need each other until we need each other.
My dad ran little parts of it with me. Holding my hand up State Street in his khaki pants and leather shoes. I think at one point my entire weight rested on him. Tracie Ancelet made a complete fool of herself for me. Screaming and running with that big, honkin’ camera of hers, yelling, “Here she comes!” Beth Boggs carrying her sweet baby boy around trying to find me with her big signs. My sister making it happen to come out and be encourage me. Then, my precious Brent and the boys. Showing up at exactly the right time. It is hard to drag little ones all over Knoxville for 4 1/2 hours. But there was Ethan ringing that little bell and Grant with his shaker. Brent put so much thought into making this day even more special. I love you so much, Brent.
Yes, two (or more) are better than one. I could not have done it without them. We ALL ran that race yesterday.
I can’t talk about the marathon without talking about the rain. The darn rain. At first, I welcomed it. SO refreshing. I thought, Living Water rain down on me! But then…mile 21. Torrential. Downpour. I hurt so badly at this point, but now my clothes, feeling ten pounds heavy with water. Shoes sloshing. Rain rolling off of my visor. I remember praying, “Really, God? Is this what we’re doing?”
Hindsight, the rain may have been my biggest blessing. #1) I met Stephanie. Sweet Stephanie. I had to stop a lot once the rain came, but this allowed our paths to cross. She mine as well fell from Heaven. I swear, look back at my journal the morning of the marathon. I wrote, “Lord, please give me a friend to run with on the back leg.” Now, let me say we were not cutting up and skipping to the finish. We were both so miserable. But as the old adage goes, “Misery loves company.” So true. We were miserable, but we were together. That made all the difference in the world. #2) As the rain fell, the temperature dropped. I was SO cold, and wet and distracted by the rain…that the pain in my body practically left me. Heaven’s ibuprofen. Glory.
Then the finish. It speaks for itself. A Hallelujah moment. Oh victory in Jesus! I was SO happy to finish. So glad it was over. I looked at my dad once I crossed the line and said, “Daddy, what was I thinking?” It was so hard. So hard. But I am so stinkin’ glad I did it. The blessings are too many to tell. I would trade it for nothing.
I didn’t meet my time goal. But I don’t care. It wasn’t about that. It was about the story. Each step tells a story of God’s goodness to me. The power of the body of Christ. His provision. His sovereignty. His great love. I ran that race, not on my own strength. But in His.
Hardship is a training ground for growth. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace” Hebrews 12:11.
I am different today. Disciplined. Stronger. Thankful.
Saying “thank you” does no justice to my appreciation for all of your encouragement. You’ll just never know.