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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

One Week 'til Marathon #2

"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

That's when I'll be running the Little Rock Marathon.

It was just about a year ago that I committed to running the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon, my first 26.2 mile race. I was still young in the throes of grief after Amanda's death the previous month. It was a challenge by my friend Jesse, who came to help out the week after Amanda was killed, that motivated me to register for the MCM.

Until that time, I had repeatedly said I would never run a full marathon. I'd run two half marathons in 2010 and they seemed to give me all the challenge I wanted. After both those 13.1 mile races, I hurt and cramped so bad that I rolled around in the grass for an hour or so before I could even think about driving home. I'd finished them, but at the end I was feeling bad enough that a full marathon seemed out of the question.

But when Amanda was murdered, a lot of people came to help us through the first few days. Two of my old friends, Jesse and Pat, from the Marine Corps dropped everything and crossed the country to help us through the first week. Jesse had started to get back into running and challenged me to run the MCM in the fall.

"If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up."--Ecclesiastes 4:10

I'm pretty certain now that God led him to issue that challenge because I eventually accepted it, and it became a huge part of what got me through the first year after we lost Amanda. The training, the sweat, the pain, and finally the sense of accomplishment that was all a part of preparing for and completing that first marathon, all of that helped me survive the pain of losing my daughter.

Once I crossed the finish line at MCM, actually starting about mile 21 of the race, I told myself never again. Never again would I run a full marathon. Someone asked me what it was like and I told them it was a huge sense of accomplishment accompanied by severe pain and discomfort. Immediately after the race I was certain I'd never run another.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."--Romans 12:2

But I made it back to the hotel, took a hot shower, and slept for about 3 hours. When I awoke, my wife and Courtney were gone and I had an irresistible urge to find another marathon. I moved from the bed to the computer and was registered for Little Rock in just a few minutes.

Now here we are, four months later, one week from marathon #2. God has blessed me with a four month training period unmarred by injury. Throughout these four months He has convinced me this is His will for me, to run and grow this ministry. I won't be setting any records or winning any prizes at Sunday's race, but that's not what I'm there for.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."--Colossians 3:17

I hope and pray that others see God working through me on Sunday. He is the only reason I can train and run. He is the only reason I can keep going after losing Amanda. He is the source of everything good in my life and I hope and pray that He is glorified through my effort on Sunday.

One week until the Little Rock Marathon. I feel blessed and ready. Thank you Jesus for bringing me to this point. I know You will carry me the rest of the way.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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