2009 Country Music Half-Marathon—Completed
On Saturday I completed the Country Music Half-Marathon in Nashville, Tenn. Did any of you run it? I figure there's a good chance, considering there were some 35,000 runners between the marathon and half-marathon. I got almost exactly the same time as on my last half-marathon (2:36 if you must know). But considering the 80 degree temperatures (and one truly evil hill near the end), I'm not disappointed. Not to mention, I got to run with my good friends Krishana and Terah.
There was a wonderful moment near the end of the race. After running up the final hill, I noticed a group of people. They stood at the corner cheering, waving signs and ringing cowbells. "You're looking strong," they shouted. "You're almost there." "Around the corner is all downhill." "Keep going!"
It reminded me of the cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (12:1). The writers of Scripture knew what it was like to be in a race. At that point--when the heat and fatigue and pain are conspiring against you--you really want to give up (at least I do!). You're hot and tired and the effort begins to feel like it's not worth it. But that is when the witnesses remind you: "You're almost there. Don't give up. A prize is waiting for you!"
Completing the race was an accomplishment. (You know this if you read my previous running blog post.) And, for me, it was more remarkable than for some. In 2000, due to a debilitating illness, I could barely stand from a sitting position, let alone run. I wrote about it in "Giving My Dreams." At that time, I may not have dreamed of running a half-marathon, but I dreamed of being independent, finishing school, moving out of my parents' house, getting a good job, being healthy enough to be a wife and mom someday. Those were dreams that God asked me to relinquish:
That night as I lay in bed feeling so helpless, I prayed. I realized I had been ignoring God because I believed He might ask me to do the unthinkable—drop out of school. I didn't believe that God could possibly have anything better for me than what I desired for myself.
That night as my roommate lay sleeping across the room, I agonized before the Lord. I cried out to Him in anguish. This time the solution was not in my pocket. In fact, it seemed far beyond my reach.
As tears rushed down my face, I told my Abba, Daddy, that I would drop out of college if that was His will. This was my Isaac. I knew God wanted me to give Him my future, my hopes and my dreams.
I don't know what your dreams are. Right now you may be ready to quit the race, feeling it's not worth it. Maybe you're at the bottom of that hill, and can't see an end in sight. Keep running! The witnesses are cheering you on. They have been where you are and are waiting to see what God will do in your life as you run faithfully. My witnesses were right: It was all downhill to the finish line, and it felt good to cross it.