Pretty funny even writing those words because I am not a ‘runner’. But Sunday morning at 5:00 am found me with 20,000 other crazy ladies (and a few brave guys) getting ready to start the Disney Princess 1/2 marathon. Yep, that’s right. 13.1 miles.
Somewhere between the ball at Epcot and Cinderella’s castle, I realized this race felt a lot like life.
There is a course in front of us and each morning we get out there and face it.
Although we are surrounded by thousands others, our race is an individual one. It is up to me to put one foot in front of the other, step by step, knowing that God is with me. Maybe that’s why Paul talks so much about running in his writings. Hebrews 12:1 “…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”.
There were a lot of surprises in this race for me. I expected there to be cool Disney stuff along the way, like photo ops with princesses and pirates. I expected to be sore. I expected there to be lots of hard work training and fundraising.
I never expected the support of my team, Team Freedom, over 100 Jesus girls daring to take a stand with Abolition International against human trafficking, raising over $60,000 one little donation at a time. Complete strangers bonding over a common goal; these sweet sisters laughed and cried and prayed over our Facebook page, finally meeting on race weekend, running for those who are not free to run. Yet.
I never expected to be met at the halfway point on Main Street by my precious daughters who got up at 5:30 to ride the monorail to Magic Kingdom just to wave ‘Run, Mommy, Run’ signs. And yes, I did cry!
I never expected the thousands of volunteers. They were at every mile marker, ready with Powerade and water and shouts of encouragement.
I certainly never expected this lady (yes, more crying!)
I never expected God to whisper so sweetly to me on the long stretches in between. To almost feel His strong hands in the middle of my back pushing me forward.
I never expected to spend so much time encouraging others as we ran. Laughing together, hearing their stories, and helping them go just a little bit further.
I never expected to turn the corner during the last agonizing mile and be met by a gospel choir!
I expected to finish – but I never expected to finish with such joy.
To burst into tears when a complete stranger put a finisher medal around my neck! Looking back, maybe because it was a tiny taste of what heaven will be like. ”I have fought the good fight..I have kept the faith. There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord will give to me on that day..” 2 Timothy 4:7-8
And that is what is comes down to sweet ones. We are all running our race step by step. Sometimes in the company of many. Sometimes in the agony of alone. But we know that we are running to a goal that is unbelievable.
I pray you can run your race with joy today. That even though life has placed you on a course you never expected, that you can keep taking the next step. May you feel His hand in the middle of your back urging you forward. May you find opportunity to reach out to someone else, even in the middle of your own race. And while your keep your eyes on the prize that is ahead, don’t forget to look for the unexpected surprises and encouragement He will place in front of you this day.