As many of you know, we got back from Kenya last summer after being there for 3 1/2 years. Not a long time for some, but a really long time for others. I have to say, I felt a bit lost while trying to transition back into life in the states. It is almost too easy to live here. That brings a lot of emotions, including guilt. But, during that time, I knew I needed some way to work out as in every cross country move we do, I gain 10 lbs automatically! So, I started running. Not far, only 3 miles, but I did it every day. The dog came with me and I was really starting to enjoy it. Three miles turned into 3.5. And every day, I would go down and back (although Doodle the dog would cheat and wait for me at the known turn around spots)! I did this through the winter and my family thought I was crazy. I did cut if off though at -10 degrees F! Running in the dark and the snow was really a neat experience (when it was finished).
When March came, 2 things happened: 1. I got a newsletter from Oasis for Orphans (www.oasisfororphans.com) that asked for runners for their annual Chicago Marathon fundraiser, and 2. We acquired another dog that would go the distance. Seeing that call for runners, I got an inkling in my head that I should do this. I told Jim that I had a thought in the back of my head and he got a bit worried. By the end of the week I had committed to it. I had never run more than 4 miles in my life. A marathon is 26.2. How was this going to happen? I had no idea, I just knew I could not bear the thought of the Oasis team leaving the start gate without me.
It is amazing to me how slowly, slowly (pole, pole) God has enabled me to do this. He worked on my heart and then helped me work on my body. I know it is not by my strength but by Him who strengthens me that I am able to do this. It seemed like an impossible task just 6 short months ago, but now it doesn't scare me (too much). There have been quite a few "impossibilities" that Jim and I have encountered over the years. But, we have gotten through them all and not just gotten through but found the joy! That is the amazing part to me. God not only leads you there but lets you have joy in the midst of it all. It is not all that way, but usually, when you look back at something, you see the joyful parts and not the hard times (there were many of those too). This journey has not been easy all the time but it has been joyful most of the time (that first 13 mile run was NOT filled with joy between miles 12 and 13)! John 16:24 says:
"Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full."
He says right there that He wants you to have the joy. Love that part!
The race (I use that term loosely as I go slow) is next Sunday the 11th. If you have a minute, would you pray for me that I would complete it in under the 6hr 30 minute max time and that I would find the joy in it and also that I would not break - I am 51 after all!
I was telling a friend this week about this journey and the fact that I am not a runner. She said I think you can now safely say that you are a runner (I did a 20 mile run 2 weeks ago). That was an 'ah ha' moment for me! I can say that I am a runner? Wow! Never thought that would be a category that I would fall into.
I am so grateful to have been able to run for the last year. I am also grateful to the people that have supported me. And, I am also grateful to a God who gives me the strength and the joy in it all!
Remember that when you face something that seems utterly impossible, He is there to help you through it all and give you joy.
In His Hands,