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,--Hebrews 12:1

Monday, March 7, 2011

Running with Amanda

I am a runner. Not a fast runner. Not out winning road races. But I've been running off and on for years. When I entered middle age, I decided to get back in shape. For the past two years (after turning 40), I've regularly been running endurance races. But on the night of January 15, shortly after midnight, we received a phone call that changed our lives forever.

Shortly after 11:00 pm on the 15th of January, my oldest daughter was shot and killed by a drunken, stoned idiot at a "party." The party consisted of 6 or so kids sitting around drinking and getting stoned at this 19 year old's house. I can't go into details of what happened until after the coming trial, but I'll summarize. He pulled a gun, shot and killed my daughter, and stole from us a beautiful young lady who was only 4 days away from celebrating her 18th birthday.

Long before that, God had been telling me that I needed to glorify Him through my running. A couple of injuries shortly before half marathons I had scheduled made the message clear that He would only let me continue to run if I used my abilities to bring glory to Him. I had begun to dedicate my efforts to serve Him, but hadn't completely surrendered myself and my running.

Now that Amanda has died, I've decided to honor her memory and God in every race and in every training mile that I run. I've teamed up with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to become a St. Jude Hero, and with Firstgiving.org to raise money for Arkansas Children's Hospital and Soaring Wings Ranch. Now I run to raise money for these wonderful organizations and to bring glory to Jesus Christ.

I now feel her presence with every step I take, and every breath I draw. A few weeks before she died she asked if I would "teach her" to run a mile. Since she was four, she'd wanted to be a police officer and knew she'd have to run in the academy. So I planned to "teach her," but never had the opportunity.

Now, she runs with me to glorify God and to support various children's charities.

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