If you haven’t yet read Part I. Click HERE.
If you haven’t yet read Part II. Check it out HERE.
While preparing to write this post, I took the time to scroll through my Nike App and find the run I did with Linnette.
It was on 1/21/14.
In January of this year, Linnette planted a seed.
It laid dormant for a month.
And then on Saturday February 22nd, one month just about to the day, I ran a half marathon.
Cowtown to be exact.
Now you have to remember that I’m not fast.
I’m not trying to make or break any kind of personal record, nor am I trying to be the first (or second or third) across the finish line.
I’m just trying to finish.
So I make it my business to enjoy myself when I run.
If you have followed me on Instagram for any amount of time, you will recall, that I “snap my way” through my races.
I try to break up the monotony of running for 2 to 3 hours with taking in the scenery and sharing some of what I see with others.
Even better than the scenery? The encouragement. There are tons of people I have never met that make it their business to clap, cheer, shout encouraging words, and share smiles.
And right about the time I’m wondering why in the world I decided to sign up for this dumb race, there’s even a person or two who makes me laugh as I make my way through the city streets.
13.1 miles is long. It was hard. It was challenging.
But I didn’t do it by myself. I had encouragement from strangers along the way.
And I finished my race.
One month later, again almost to the day, I ran yet another half marathon.
Because I’m just dumb like that.
There was more encouragement, more clapping, more strangers cheering me on.
But there was one sign that got my attention like no other sign had. I read it and it resonated with me in a deep place. Even while I was running I found myself tearing up. The message of that sign made me want to cry.
When I instagrammed that post, the caption read, “Run like I stole something? No problem. Operation #stealmylifeback currently in progress. #battleofmylife #fatdemon #halfmarathon #running.
You see, my running is not just some random hobby I’ve picked up because I have nothing else to do with my time. Running is…
…a part of my weight loss journey
…the ability to have a goal in my life that I get the satisfaction of completing
… the wonder of having a sense of accomplishment
…the beauty of remembering that I am a strong, capable, and able woman.
Running is a part of my journey in stealing my life back.
Somewhere in the course of my life, I forgot to celebrate my life.
…maybe it was the shame and guilt of being a teen mom.
…maybe it was the isolation of being mother of young children and being the wife of a husband who traveled a lot.
…maybe it was in the busyness of my days but the lack of sense of really accomplishing anything worthwhile
Somewhere in the course of my life, I forgot who lived inside.
I looked in the mirror one day and didn’t recognize the girl staring back at me.
But you need to know something.
As a teen mom, there were family and friends who supported me and helped me to get on my feet.
As a single working mother, I had scholarships to finish school and opportunities to enjoy a successful professional career.
As a mother of young children, there were people in my life, books, conferences, and resources that affirmed my value as a mother and a wife.
As a woman who didn’t recognize herself in the mirror I had a friend who came along to kickstart my weight loss journey.
Then I started running.
And through all of those months of running, that conversation with Linnette has been nagging me. The seed she planted has not wanted to lay dormant
All of those wonderful people in the races and their encouragement watered the seed.
That “steal my life back sign” and the bigger idea watered the seed.
The realization of how blessed I’ve been to receive encouragement along my journey has watered the seed.
There are lots of people who need help.
Linnette recognized that there were people who weren’t necessarily going to get the scholarships, resources, or encouragement to steal their own lives back without help.
Just like all of those strangers stand at the side of my race routes and encourage me along the way…
Just like Linnette encourages young girls to choose life for themselves and their unborn children…
I want to encourage too.
I want to help and I figure that my running journey could be a way for me to do just that.
Yes. I’m running for me.
But how can I run for others who need help? How can I run for another girl or young woman who needs to remember – or even just to know – that they are strong, capable, and able to steal their life back too.
My next “Mercy Marathon” post will tell you exactly who I’m running for and how you can help.
But here’s my question for you today.
What have you forgotten about YOU?
What do you need to remember about your own gifts, talents, and abilities.
What do you need to remember about who you are and the person God created you to be?
I know I’m not the only one who has gotten lost in a sea of bad choices, loneliness, or the busy lives that our culture pressures us to live.
But just because you’ve been lost doesn’t mean that you have to stay that way.
I want to help.
And I want us to help each other.
Today, ponder these verses and pray about what you need to remember.
Who are you?
Who did God create you to be?
What has gotten in the way of that?
What weight – literally or figuratively – do you need to shed in order to recognize the person looking back at you in the mirror?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! Psalm 139:13-14a (MSG)
Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:7 (ESV)
I know some of you won’t know the answers to some of those questions.
And that’s OK.
You don’t have to know all the answers.
That’s why prayer is so important.
So today, let’s pray and
…ask for God’s help – for ourselves or for another.
…ask God to help us remember or discover who He wants us to be.
…ask God to help us and/or to send help so that we can shed the weight that is holding us back.
It’s a beautiful thing to see women praying for each other.
So here we go…
As always, feel free to pray about A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G…
But if you are helped by having a topic to focus on for prayer…