Race day preparation and motivation:

On May 29 2011 I am running 21.1 Km in the Run for Water Half-Marathon. This is the day I was due to give birth to our child. It is because May 29th was my due date that I want to run this race even though I’ve been behind in training due to my knee injury this past winter. At first I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to go for it. I now know I can go for it (accepting that completion may require some walking). So today I have registered for this very symbolic race which has become an accomplishment of much importance for me on a very significant day for Ryan and me. Consequently, this half marathon has been weighing heavy on my heart because I so badly want to complete it even though I can feel my knees aren’t 100% and I’m pushing my distances.

The Pep-talk:

This past Wednesday I was able to sit down with my dear friend who is a prayer warrior. She not only prayed for my knee and for the race on the 29th, she also prayed that God would be with me in my car on my drive home and that I would experience Him. Well God spoke very briefly, but pointedly and profoundly. God told me He will run the race with me. He knows my desires to complete that race and why it is so important to me. He understands that the race and the condition of my knees are not trivial for me. He will run with me. He will be with me with every stride I make, every step I take. He will be there with me on the very emotional day that should have been the birth of our child. He will give me the physical strength I need to complete that race and the spiritual and emotional and mental strength as well.

God told me he will run the race with me. This race of life can be challenging. I said to my friend why can’t our bodies just be able to do what we want them to do? I’m trying to be healthy by running, why should my knees prevent me from doing that!? The race path isn’t smooth. Striving for that finish line may produce injuries, will likely result in fatigue, and will hopefully provide moments of adrenaline driven highs. And God will be running with me when I’m slowed to a walk, when I’m elevated to a sprint. He will be with me on the plateaus (where I am now). He will be with me on the steep uphill out of the valley that’s slippery (where I was a couple months ago). He will be there when the “rush” of the race is so profound it bubbles out me and I can’t contain it. He will be there in the mile marker accomplishments. He will be there at the finish line.

And in these words that God has given I am reminded of the verse in 1 Timothy 4:8 “Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart.” You can easily replace ‘in the gym’ with ‘on the trail’ and this verse speaks directly to me. Yes it’s good to be physically fit, but how much better it is to be spiritually fit. I don’t really know what to expect in the coming 2 weeks of this race of life, but I do know that God will be there with me in it. I do know that in the end what really matters is that I am “[running] with endurance the race that God has set before [me]” (Hebrews 12:1).

The Prize:

For the most part Ryan and I have not fully grieved the loss of a child. Our miscarriage has felt like the loss of a pregnancy and the loss of hopes and dreams that came with that. However, as our due date approaches (and the bellies of our pregnant friends grow), I find myself thinking more of the loss of our child. So as I prepare to run that race on May 29th I know that regardless of what placement I finish at, I will feel like a winner. All participants who complete the race receive a medal. When I complete that race, I will be obtaining a medal of memorial for our child, for the blessing of his or her life that was too brief. This medal will also be my earthly parallel of the prize that God has called us to press on towards. The prize of LIFE that is available through Jesus Christ. The prize all Christ followers receive when they cross the finish line of the race of life (Philippians 3:14).