As of today, I have just slightly over 30 days left to train for my first big race! At the end of October, I am registered to run (with my husband, Richard) the Army Ten Miler in Washington, D.C. I’m not going to beat around the bush here. This is a big deal to me. I’ve always loved to run, but I’ve never been a runner. In fact, until I started training for this race, I hadn’t even really exercised regularly since, are you ready, 2001! My husband has been assigned to Fort Bragg twice. It was there that I first heard of the Army Ten Miler, and instantly had the dream of running it with Richard before he retired.
I started running somewhat regularly last summer. We were still relatively new to our current residence in GA, Richard was deployed and my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. I was isolated with a lot on my plate. I needed an escape. So, I started running. Seven months later I found myself in my first 5K race. God blessed me with a great race which left me on cloud nine. A couple of months after that, a friend of mine posted on her FB status that registration for the Army Ten Miler was open. I remembered my dream and Richard signed us up.
Since then we have run in early morning 20 degree weather, we have run in mid afternoon 88 degree weather. We have run up hills that have resulted in me bursting into tears once at the top. We have run short distances. We have run long distances. We have run for fun. We have run to support a cause and encourage a wounded warrior. We have not always been that motivated, but we have run and we haven’t grown weary.
I am not a star athlete. I will never be and I am okay with that. Being number one is not and never was my goal. So how have I avoided the weariness? Honestly, running has just been an outlet for me lately. I don’t run daily. I don’t have that opportunity. I’m not willing to let all my other “duties” as a wife, mother, teacher, daughter and friend fall to the side. There is a balance there, and it’s never easy for me, but it is worth it and I am getting stronger in my running and stronger in my faith. When I run I don’t quite feel God’s pleasure the way I understand Eric Liddell to describe it, but I am amazed at how far I’ve come. God has provided me with amazing strength and endurance. I see this in both my pace and distance. But the running has only opened my eyes more to the strength and endurance in my life.
If I had to run the race tomorrow, I am fully confident I could finish. However, these last few days leading up to the race will have me manning my post here solo, and only time will tell what God’s plans are for me in regards to making it to the race and finishing (or not). I’m okay with whatever the outcome. A bigger race is soon to have my name on the roster. Like many of your spouses, my husband has been tagged for yet another tour in Afghanistan. I’ll be honest, when Richard first told me of the deployment, I really had an initial bad case of the “why me’s.” I think at this point in the War on Terror, it is so easy for even the strongest to start questioning and succumbing to weariness. Again, the verses from Isaiah 40:30-31 just seem to stay on my mind and in my heart. I don’t want to take these verses out of context, and I hope that you would all open up your Bibles to the Old Testament and spend some time there. There is so much to be learned from studying the history and much more significance can be gained from knowing the full context of familiar verses. But if I may just focus on these two verses for now. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not be faint.”
Matthew Henry says it very well, “Many a time he gives power to the faint, to those that are ready to faint away; and to those that have no might He not only gives, but increases strength, as there is more and more occasion for it. To those who are sensible of their weakness, and ready to acknowledge they have no might, God does in a special manner increase strength; for when we are weak in ourselves, then are we strong in the Lord. Those who trust in their own sufficiency, nor seek God for his grace, shall be faint and weary. But those that wait on the Lord and by faith rely upon Him and commit themselves to His guidance, shall find that God will not fail them. As the day, so shall their strength be.”
No matter what your race, I pray that you will run and not grow weary and that you will rejoice in the day that God has so graciously given you. Whether you are in your first 5K, preparing for another PCS, raising a difficult child or facing a deployment, may you trust God to keep your lamps supplied and be your “arm every morning.” (Isaiah 33.2)
To God be the Glory.