Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Training Lessons: Looking Back at the Battlefield 1/2 Marathon

We were somewhere between mile 6 and 7. The trees had created a fall canopy that kept the sun from shining on us. That stretch of the run felt like a tunnel to me. It was very shaded and cool. The crowd that we had started with had all fallen into their own pace and there was room to spread out and breath. But mentally, I was having to force myself to concentrate. God had given me several verses to say at different points of this run and I was saying things like, "do not throw away your confidence, Stephanie". (Heb. 10:35) And "I can do all things..." (Phil.4:13) when I heard them.

There, between mile 6 and 7 I could hear a crowd. Faintly, I could hear them yelling and encouraging the runners ahead of me. Chad heard it about the same time and said "LISTEN! Can you hear them cheering?" I did hear and began to listen intently to see if I could understand what they were saying. It was then that this passage in Hebrews came to mind:

Hebrews 12:1-2

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

I began thanking God for the cloud of witnesses that were cheering us on, the seen and the unseen. The twitter friends, the family and friends around the country and the people that had lined the start line as we began the race an hour before.

We were still running under the beautiful canopy of fall leaves but the cheering crowd was getting louder. Chad kept saying that we were almost out of the woods into the clearing. That was when I felt like I was really having a meltdown or some sort of hallucination. I felt like I could hear my girls voices in that crowd. I couldn't make out words, but I know what my girls cheering sounds like and I was convinced I heard them yelling.

I looked up and saw my Dad standing on the edge of the woods, then I saw Chad's mom and sister. Then I heard my girls and nieces screaming "THERE THEY ARE!!!"

That would have been the cue for the ugly cry.

I had not been going crazy or having a meltdown! :) I was hearing the voice of my children cheering everyone on. They were my great cloud of witnesses that cheered me through the toughest part of my run, the half-way point.

We ran out of the woods into the sunshine and the smiles of my Dad, mother in law, sister in law, nieces and my daughters. They ran along side us for a few minutes and gave me the push I needed to finish the last 5 miles.

They were having so much fun cheering for everyone, but I'm not quite sure they realize just how incredible it was to see their smiling faces as we came out of the shade into the light.

Made me wonder what our entrance into Heaven will be like. I can't fathom what it will be like to finish this race of life and see the face of Jesus and even sweeter, hear the sound of his voice. What a day that will be.

Here are our cheerleaders waiting on us near the finish line. (Thanks Linds. for taking pictures!) The two short ones are our daughters. :)


Sheryl said...

I love those verses in Hebrews.

Heather said...

This just made me bawl my eyes out. It's a runner thing. Or maybe a God thing. :) But I've been there (both actually and spiritually) and seen and heard my "people" cheering for me as I ran and there is nothing like it. Nothing like it!!! Can't wait for heaven!!!!

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

girl, you are my hero. I'm so proud of you and I know your family is as well. I bet the angels were cheering you and Chad on!!