Many of you know that once a year, I run a half marathon for charity. You would think that I continue to train in-between Februarys, but I don’t. Somewhere around October/November, I reluctantly lace up my shoes for another 3 month dash to re-train myself, yet again, to be able to go the distance. It’s certainly not the smartest way to do it, but for a lazy girl like me, it’s simply reality.
So I have been running for a few weeks, easing back in with 3 miles runs. But this morning, surrounded by strangely cool air and even stranger amounts of energy, I decided on the longer run – 7.5 miles, to be exact. Around mile 5, the familiar pain crept in. My feet hurt every time I run further than 4 miles. I have paid for the best shoes and support insoles, had people analyze my stride, all to no avail. My feet HURT when I run. But as the ache increased I thought to myself “I know this pain. I remember it. And I know I can run through it. I always have, and I will again” . As the muscles tightened, as my breath began to wane, I told myself that I could keep going, because I have precedent. And rounding the corner to the end of my run, I smiled and thought “I know THIS feeling, too. I’m strong and I did it”.
It reads like a familiar story, Regina’s financial woes, loss of her job and her house. We all know the miraculous road I have walked, with God’s providential hand on my shoulder the entire way. But just because I can look behind me now and see it, didn’t make the journey itself, in real time, any easier.
It was hard. It HURT. My spiritual muscles ached, and my emotional breath would wane. But with love, and a healthy dose of His strength, He made sure I made it. I realized it doesn’t matter if you are limping when you finish, it doesn’t matter if you crawl. You just get there, and when you do, that finish line is gorgeous. It doesn’t take long before the pain fades to memory….until the next time.
It has been a year since I walked out of the home I loved so much. I have a nice place to live, a car to drive. I have started a business, and it seems to be going fairly well. It is comfortably supporting me and my son, and God is giving me enough to even relax now and again without worrying about bills.
But what people don’t know is that I have been running another very personal, very tough race. The legal battle had dragged for 4 years. During that time I went to more lawyers offices I care to remember. Logged thousands of hours on the phone recounting over and over my financial irresponsibility, my mistakes, my failures. From the divorce to the layoff to the credit mess, I was telling $12 / hour perfect strangers my life story, again and again. Putting it in writing and signing it. Trying to somehow justify all my mistakes when all I wanted was release and understanding.
Then just like that, the finish line, After all that time, all the battles, all the frustration – the phone rang, and they were sending the documents I had been requesting for years. “Sign them, and its over”, they said.
Yesterday that door closed once and for all. It’s not a pretty chapter, but as my friends know, I’m not a pretty runner. But I finished. The aches, the pains, the fatigue will ease and I will walk on. And after resting for a for a brief time, it will likely be time for me to lace up and face another race. But I know this pain. I know I have the strength, the breath, to beat it as long as I run with Him. I am stronger than I ever dreamed I could be, because of His promises and presence.
So are you. You are so much stronger than you know.
Eyes up, sweetheart, the finish line is close, and it’s gorgeous.
If it hurts, if you can’t breathe….if you feel so alone running your course, and have no one to confide in….know that He is there. Not only to give you strength to keep going, but to tell you that those mistakes, those failures, those disappointments that you just keep trying to explain can be gone forever.
Psalm 103: 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.