Nothing like waking up at 6:00 am on a Saturday to go “pound the pavement” for 2 1/2 hours! If you would have asked me this 2 years ago, “Heather, wanna join me for a run?” I would have answered, “You have fun with that, call me when you’re done.” Many times people ask me why in the world I train for marathons, and I simply answer, “Because I think it’s cool watching toe nails fall off. ” No, not really. I first started running because He asked me to, I’m still running today because I simply can’t get enough of my time with him.
Now in case you think I have it all figured out, let me reassure you that I’m far from it. In case you think that I have this journey and the joy of running thing all figured out, let me tell you that I don’t. Just this morning, I was dragging my feet. Every excuse in the book was rattling through my mind. My amazing running friend, Amanda, had a wonderful opportunity to visit a friend this weekend, so that bit of accountability made “shushing” the voices that much more difficult. But, I did get up, I did lace up, and without another thought of the excuses, off I went.
Now there have been many times along this journey where my Jesus saw fit to share some amazing things with me, and other times where he just listened to my mind race along from one topic to another. (I always say that years of life-guarding have taught me to hone my skill of “talking to myself” for hours). At times, I’ve seen some things about his creation I’ve never “seen” before, at times he’s spoken to me through a song, and other times, I’ve simply appreciated the breeze just when I needed it. Today, I just spent time with his presence. Ever have those times with a close friend, or maybe you’re spouse where you can be in the presence of each other, no words needed. I just ran in his joy this morning. Least you think running in joy means running pain free, let me tell you the pain is real and the pain is there, but somehow it’s not in the forefront of your mind. It’s almost as though a separation occurs. If asked, are you in pain, your body will say yes, yet there I am with a smile that cannot be wiped off.
Know what I’m talking about? Ever found yourself in a time, situation, or circumstance in your life that should have given you the “right” to hole up in your room, licking your wounds, when in fact, you are living and breathing in ways beyond your own self, your own strength. Reminds me of a favorite verse from Psalm 121,
I lift my eyes up to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
We have a dear friend who is in the hospital at the moment, withstanding an amazing amount of physical pain. As I ran this morning, asking the Lord to help me finish the course that we had planned, my thoughts ran directly to him. My pain is short-term, can be resolved with a bit of Advil. His pain is daily, minute after minute. He is running his marathon, one that the Lord is asking of Him. Lord, may he know that he inspires and encourages our faith daily. May he cry out to you for help Lord, may he feel your presence so strongly that he may claim like James,
“Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Stef, we love you brother! Sandi, may He give you His almighty strength to endure! It’s a privilege and an honor for all of us to walk this road with you. For more of Stef’s story, please click on the link to the right. Have a joy-filled day in Him.