“So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life-in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” Phil 2:15-16
The alarm clock went off at 4:40am. Which didn’t seem to matter since the sleep had been hit and miss up to this point. I couldn’t believe today. was. THE. day.
It had been four months of big time reliance on Jesus. To get my booty out of bed in the morning and run. To meet and speak to me on each run without music or other media filling the time. To strengthen my body, heart, and mind to persevere when my body was in pain and my mind told me I couldn’t do it. To provide me with prayer running buddies along the journey (I was amazed at the 20 different sister’s in Christ God brought to my side when originally my plan was to have just one running buddy-His ways are not my ways, but they are always better!) To get me to this very day.
It was surreal. As I pulled on my most slim looking, tummy hiding, zipper including, lack of chaffing, favorite pants. As I lubed up all areas to avoid potential pain. As I looked in the mirror and brushed my teeth and thought to myself, “Is there any way I can get out of this?” I realized something. Just as Jesus had gotten me all the way up to this point, He also would get me through the now.
I can trust Him.
It was five and a half hours of physical, mental, and spiritual battles as I ran my first marathon. But Jesus met me on the run. And there were three “JP tears” (Tears mixed with joy and pain) moments that pushed me to finish. the. race.
JP Tears Moment #1-I was only two miles in. My mind went to crazy town thinking of all the ways I was inadequate. Unable to go the distance. Feeling tired already and knowing I had 24.2 more miles to go. Things looked bleak. I asked God for His peace to cover my mind, body, and Spirit. And He gave it to me. I looked up, fixing my eyes towards heaven for help, and what do you know was around the corner? A gigantic George Fox University billboard ( my husband is a professor at George Fox University) and it said, “It’s your time to shine!”. I cried. Right there. At mile two. JP tears flowed because I knew God had whispered a little of His love to me in that very moment. Confirming I was exactly where I was supposed to be. And that I could do this with Him. And through the tears I said a offered up a one second prayer, “Thank you God for your graciousness to me”.
JP Tears Moment #2-The cool breeze of the morning was no longer. The sun was beating down with an upcoming long stretch of hill and no shade. There was a sign which pointed the half marathoner’s to the left and the full marathoner’s to the right. The half marathoner’s were one mile away from the finish line and the rest of us were, well, how do I say, not. (I highly considered jumping over to join the relieved face crew of runner’s going left.) It was a moment of need. As I passed the depressing “this way to finishing the half marathon sign” I heard someone yell, “You can do it Jillian! You are strong, you got this!” I felt a renewed sense of purpose and motivation to trudge on. As I scanned the bystander’s to see who had so been so timely to call out my name on my bib, another stranger yelled, “You are lookin’ good Jillian, way to go!” Then came the JP tears. There was something so special about hearing my specific name called outloud. Who cares whether it was a random stranger-It was a gift from God. It was healing. It was inspiring. It got my feet to keep moving when everything else in me screamed “Quit!”. It was a turning point of pushing through pain and doubt.
JP Tears Moment #3-I saw my family four times on the run. I was anticipating their smiling faces as I grew closer and closer to each of their designated viewing spots. Time seemed to stop as I caught a glimpse of them. (Of course my glimpse didn’t start until I almost could touch them since my vision is quite hilarious without my glasses on.) Then came the JP tears. I had loved ones supporting me. I had loved ones taking time away from all of what they could be doing to be present with me. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for each of them.
I was overcome this day. With pain. Unexpected joy. Gifts and strength from above. But most of all-I was overcome with the fulfillment of finishing. the. race.
Knowing my training and hard work was not in vain. Seeing the faithfulness of my God, once again. And recognizing whether on a literal run or running the race of life, I wouldn’t have it any other way: Looking to. Giving glory to. Including. Listening to. Loving-Jesus on the run is the only way to live!
So my friends- “Arise, shine, for YOUR light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).
Persevere in obedience and faith in Jesus as you “run your race of life” today! Remember your work and obedience to Jesus is not in vain. You will not regret bringing glory to Him in every word you say, job you do, and person you serve. Enjoy the journey filled with “JP tears”, unknowns, and acting in weakness and faith. Because He see’s you and is shouting out your personal name as we speak-In an effort to love on you, strengthen you, comfort you, and inspire you to overcome all trials, pain and obstacles-enabling you to finish your race strong!
© 2012 Standing on Peace