I had just finished one of my best half-marathon times. I was feeling good and thankful that I had hit the halfway mark. As I continued, I picked up my pace a bit.
Mile 14 — Feeling good
Mile 15 — Starting to feel pain
As I continued to run, my hip really began to hurt. I decided I should stretch. Since I was doing good on time, I sat down and stretched for several minutes. I thought, if I don’t take the time now, I’ll be fighting this pain the rest of the race – something I couldn’t afford.
I finished stretching, got up, and started running. Except, the longer I went, the more I felt my hip hurting. I was at roughly mile 16, wondering how I would run ten more miles!
I slowed my pace and kept telling myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I tried to ignore my pain. I stopped a few more times to stretch again, which helped, but only temporarily. As I inched closer to mile 17, defeat started to sink in; I wanted to cry. I don’t know that I am going to finish, I said to myself.
I began recollecting everyone I told I was going to run this marathon. I looked down at my arm, where I had written my nieces’ and nephews’ names, and the We Carry Kevan shirt I was wearing that I dedicated this race; they all were expecting me to finish.
Miles 16 and 17 were breaking my resolve. I was about to accept defeat and try again another time when I got to a major intersection and heard a car horn beeping repeatedly. I looked up to see a waving hand out of an SUV. It was my friend, Laurie.
“Hey! I’ve been driving all over looking for you! I just prayed that I would find you, and that’s when I spotted you turning the corner. Do you need some water?”
I wanted to cry. She’d been circling the area where she thought I would be for the last thirty minutes. Since she was driving and I was running, she put her hazards on and followed me for the rest of the race. Do you know how slow and painful it is to watch someone run 10 miles? She shared nearly two hours of her life with me to cheer me on!
When I got into my neighborhood, my sister also showed up, and the two ladies cheered me on until I got to the finish line — which I made only a block away from my house. It was there that I was greeted by my mom, my other sister, and my cousin.
Why do I say all this?
Because I initially decided to run a marathon because I heard a man say, “If you train and run a marathon, it will make you better in every area of your life. The mental battle it takes will only benefit every area.” Since I had always wanted to run a marathon, and that seemed like a really good reason, I picked a training schedule and began training.
Can I tell you something? This man was not lying! The past couple of months has been challenging. I’ve gone through hard times before, but the past couple of months have been a mental and spiritual battle. I’ve had to go back time and time again to the truth God says in His word because not much over the last year has made sense. Although I have seen some things happen, the majority of it still doesn’t make sense.
I went out for a run the other day to clear my head, and I felt like the Lord was saying, “this season is your miles 16 and 17.” This is where you have to force yourself to put one foot in front of the other, despite the pain you feel. Although this time, it’s not my hip, it’s my heart – where out of it springs the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
Additionally, God has placed me in an incredible community. They have checked up on me, prayed for me, and continue to cheer me on — we cannot do this life alone. The enemy wants us to believe we are alone, forgotten, and unloved.
But it is God who loves us with an everlasting love and draws us with lovingkindness (Jeremiah 31:3). Additionally, here are some reminders for us when we think God has forgotten us:
- Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive (Gen 30:22).
- Early the next morning, they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her (1st Samuel 1:19).
- The Lord sent an angel to meet Elijah when he felt alone and wanted to die (1st Kings 19:1-7).
- Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible (Luke 1:36-37).
God is good, and He does good (Psalm 119:68), and no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). God is in heaven, and He does what He pleases (Psalm 115:3). We are the sheep of His pastures (Psalm 100:3). He is our Shepherd. He can restore our souls. (Psalm 23). When you pass through the waters, God will be with us, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow us. When we walk through the fire, we shall not be burned, nor will the flame scorch us. (Isaiah 43:2-3a).
God doesn’t forget us in our 16- and 17-mile seasons. He is cheering for us, fighting for us, loving us, praying for us, and using this to strengthen us. He is good and has our VERY best, tailor-made life in mind for us. God is the author of life — we can trust Him to write our life story.
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