Saturday, October 6, 2012

Getting up vs. rising up...

     Some of you know I was never truly a distance runner, but a couple years ago I was approached to train for and run a half-marathon to raise money for A21 and all proceeds we raised would go to fight human trafficking. After not only hearing of the atrocities involved with human trafficking and sex slaves throughout the world, but actually meeting girls who had been rescued from such a horrific life I was all in. Thus began months of difficult training. When I first began I went to the local high school to begin my training...it was humiliating. I honestly could not run a lap which in case you are unaware is a quarter-mile. Additionally, in case you are unaware a half-marathon is 13.1 miles! Clearly I had a lot of work ahead of me which would require diligence and patience. Fast forward a few months and I completed the half-marathon (albeit running ten miles and walking out the last three due to inadequate stretching of my IT band...lol) and we raised lots of money for A21 Campaign. It was awesome in many ways including I proved to myself through steadfast discipline and training what seemed impossible could become a reality.

     Upon completion of the race I would occasionally run shorter distances with friends whereas I had been bit by the running bug. However, I truly struggled to run alone. Then last Memorial day I was introduced to trail running by a friend out at Eagle Mountain Lake Park. It was just what I needed to have the motivation to run alone. Between the view of nature (i.e. - the lake, the deer, etc.) and having to keep a close eye on the ever changing topography it kept my mind occupied just enough to create an atmosphere of wholly enjoying my run! I was instantly hooked. I went out at least once a week, typically at sunrise, and ran the trails at the lake for the next four weeks. I felt so alive and week by week I would see my strength and endurance increasing. I had found my new favorite hobby.

     I then had to take a break for a couple weeks whereas I had youth camp and some other events which kept me from getting out to the lake to run. Then in the most unlikely way I suffered a stress fracture in my foot. I was unaware of the injury until five weeks later, the pain was significant enough that it grounded me from my new found passion of trail running. Up to that point I had failed to rest in ways which would allow my foot to properly heal. During this time I experienced a downward flow emotionally and physically I stopped going to the gym (in addition to not running) and honestly I was not eating in my typical healthy ways.

    During the next couple of months I would put on between ten and fifteen pounds of unhealthy weight and begin to feel tired and sluggish as a result of my now not so healthy eating habits. A couple weeks ago I realized it was time to make a change before I sunk any deeper. Two weeks ago today I went on my first run in almost three months. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself not running much slower than my previous pace. Since that day I have run three other times with my pace increasing every run. Then this morning as I was greeted with a beautiful 52 degree temperature and a slight drizzle I decided to go back to the lake and once again attempt the magnificent trail running experience. When I completed my run, which was just shy of three miles, I realized I had run my fastest time in trail running yet. As I marveled as how this could be God spoke to me and asked, "Are you really surprised?" The following dialogue between God and I led to an amazing realization that when we are within His will He will surprise us! Now let us get to the meat of this post.

     So last year I stumbled and I posted a blog about it. My heart during this season had suffered from a stress fracture. Well, the time immediately following that was not easy and I struggled immensely in many ways. I got up and brushed myself off. The problem was I never eliminated that which contributed to my fall and that which was a primary distraction from my relationship with God. So just as I had with my foot I was not eliminating what was needed for my heart to heal. I also never started to run the race set before me; I was walking, limping, resting all along the way and continuing in life with the very thing that had caused the fracture. I had heard God speak to me more than once about the situation and how I needed to sever that which had worked its way in between He and I. I am still not sure why I kept allowing my emotions to convince me I was not clearly understanding Daddy and what He was telling me. I just know I allowed my soul to take leadership of my actions in this particular area of my life rather than my Spirit.

     Thankfully God is faithful and He continued to reveal things to me and to others which brought about circumstances which kept gradually squeezing this situation out of my life regardless of my death grip I had on it. Well, I can gladly say that over the last few weeks I has risen up and within the last few days I finally began running with all my might to wards the finish line! Some crazy occurrences over the last few weeks have also strengthened my faith exponentially and I have also had some incredibly, amazing individuals brought into my life in the last few weeks. God showed me this morning through my run and my pace that my Spiritual race is the same. Now that I am back within alignment with His will, He will not only put me back where I was, but thanks to His grace and mercy He has increased my strength and endurance as a result of my faith.

     I am reposting the video (this time with sound) for all to see and I hope it encourages you.