What an amazing day! After days of rain, and an evening of thunder and lightening, we awoke this morning to blue skies. Such a gift. Thanks to my amazing sister-in-law, we loaded up two vans full of kids (4 of hers, 3 of ours), and backed out the driveway around 6:30 am. Weeks of training (several runs in mounds of snow), a few lost toenails, several blisters, and too many aches and pains to list, we headed for the start line near Nationwide Arena.
Aaron is a newer participant to the running scene (or the craziness as some label it), and though I’ve been able to shed a bit of light on some aspects, nothing really prepares you for the reality of the shoulder to shoulder start line and the countdown to what lays ahead. My amazing and ever faithful friend Amanda was running the race as well. Such a privilege and a blessing to be able to understand each other, no words needed at times, with one who “walked the road(s)” alongside you. For us, another day for a morning run, another chance to run a “leg” of the journey together. As with each day, each race in my journey thus far has had it’s unique qualities, lessons, and actual purpose. Today was no different.
In the training runs I participated in prior to this morning, I chatted with the Lord as to the plans he had for me. Before the sound of the “bell”, I would have told you that he intended for me to run with my husband, the whole way, that he would guide us along together in whichever way he intended. I have no expectations for us to share in this experience together, and I am just blessed beyond words to be able to grow closer together in this way. This truly has taken our marriage to another level. Up until this morning, Aaron has mentioned on several occasions that he wanted me to run my own race, and each time I would tell him in complete peace, my race is with you. After the sound of the bell, I looked over, and I just knew I was supposed to run with Amanda. Somehow, the I just knew, I was to “go”, and in a sense, get out of the way to allow Aaron to run with God.
And so, I did (though I do admit that I glanced back once with the intention to encourage him to join, but the “locked and loaded” lock on Aaron’s face was my confirmation). And so, Amanda and I “went”. We both together commented on this being the best beginning of any race thus far. There was no pushing, no dodging, no scrambling – plenty of room, and a comfortable very comrade–ish feeling to the crowd. The sun was comfortable, the breeze was cooling, the scenery was perfect. We were able to keep the exact same pace together for the first 5 miles, pretty unbelievable.
Around mile 5, I just knew it was my time to settle into a pace that my body was comfortable with (struggling IT-band issue with my left leg), and I began my next leg of the race just the Lord and I. My mind was at peace, my breathing not labored, my desire to simply keep pursuing. Some of my favorite memories along the way are the people I see. I could give you several examples, yet one will stick with me the longest. Around mile 8 I remember a feeling of sheer thankfulness just wash over me like the sun’s rays. Thankful simply to be able to participate in this event, thankful for the amazing weather, thankful for just this sense of being in his presence in the most tangible way. I heard his thoughts aloud as I was able to thank the policemen who gave of their time to be our protectors, thanks for the hundreds of people who gave of their time to cheer and encourage, thanks for every single “little” hand that was extended out to be “hi-fived” by those who passed by. I’m not kidding,only a few seconds after I had these thoughts, a lady passed by and said, “Thanks for what your shirts says.” As in anything I “checked in” when choosing my shirt today. It reads,
“I can do all things through God who strengthens me.” Team 413 (Philippians 4:13)
He is THAT personal of a God.
Aaron, thank you for joining me toady. Thank you for your desire above all to be a man of God. Thank you for doing business with Him today. Thank you for loving me in ways I never thought were possible. I couldn’t be more proud of you today. I am blessed to carry the name Conrad. I love you.