I ran across the finish line after 13.1 miles and couldn't believe it was me!!
The message in sum total that the Lord gave me began yesterday at the race tent where we picked up our bib with name and number on it. They had a bunch of stuff for sale and we browsed around for awhile. I came to a booth that had a book that a marathon runner had written. The poster board read 52 in 52. He had run 52 marathons in 52 weeks while holding down a full time job. In awe of his accomplishment I took note and mentioned what a gift he had been given. He took offense right away to this comment and told me that my statment really took away from all of his hard work. I struggled to explain myself and quickly realized his offense was at the idea that anything outside of himself aided him in accomplishing his goal. This stayed with me all day and the Lord began to use it to finish the story of my journey.
I began this morning from the time I awoke knowing full well that there was only one place that gifts come from and that I was going to be in need of one today. My sheer will would have never gotten me over that finish line, my flesh is too weak. I knew I could finish becasue I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But I also knew that it was going to be really HARD. My husband was a rock and every time my negative thougths would surface he would quickly and quietly discount them and replace them with the truth. Thank God for him he is my best cheerleader.
This idea of a gift just kept ringing in my mind. Gifts are given wihtout request sometimes but what you do with them is what determnines their value. Everything is a gift. From motivation to accomplishment it is all a gift. At about mile 8 the longest mile of the race ( I was sure they miscalculated) I began to realize that the stewarding of the gift counted as much if not more than the gift itself. I had some tough choices today and it was me alone that had to make them. I begged the Lord for more strength and it was there for me to have but he did not just place it on me, I had to choose to receive it. I had to "dig deeep" as they say and find it.
At mile 11 I really felt sick, tired, my toes hurt, my quads hurt, my right hip still hurt and I was overhwelmed with the idea that I couldn't make it. As I kept running I began to feel like I was going to throw up and had to reconcile that if I did I would take some water and move on. I could only look at the feet ahead of me each step one at a time. Jim had his eye on the prize and wanted to tell me how far was left but I needed to focus on just what was right in front of me, the Lord. I needed Him right there close not off a ways . Although He was out there too, waiting for me to finish at the same time that He ran next to me as I was finishing.
My thoughts were turned toward the idea I had written about earlier, was labor or a half marathon harder? It was clear then that the two were so different. Labor comes no choice involved at all. The pain will stop but you won't have any control over when. There is something about continuing to run when you know it will hurt and if you stop so will the pain. It hit me hard when I felt my lowest that I did not want to look back and have any regret that I didn't push my hardest but that I gave in to my flesh at the last mile. I began to command my flesh to submit to my spirit and prayed hard. I kept thinking Lord give me what I want , I NEED you and He reminded me that He gives the gift but I am the steward of that gift. So I had to choose what to do with that strength, I could leave it on the side of the road where I stopped or I could dig and find it and use it to the best of my ability.
Don't misunderstand it was all the Lord but He loves us so much that He desires for us to partner with Him and that is a beautiful gift. I never want to take for granted the fact that the Creator of the universe wants me to work with Him.
As I crossed the finish line with my husband beside me and my hands raised to the Lord, it was a moment in time that no one can take from me, he ordained it , He gave it and I took it in as an act of worship to My King!!