Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The race marked out for us

One woke up screaming. It's early. On this morning, she is my alarm clock. Did I hear her right? Her stomach hurts? She is crying from the top stair. Good morning. Whew. Could I jog past her for a quicky sip of coffee before dealing with the sick tummy? No. She's heaving just moments later onto the floor. I remind her to try and make it to the bathroom. Brian is off to church for a early meeting. I begin getting the others ready for church. She continues to throw up, never once making it to the bathroom, or to a trashcan.

It is while I am walking her to lay down on the sofa that Vivian burns her finger on my super hot curling iron. I hear her crying. By the time I arrive, there is already a blister forming. About that time the baby wakes up. She is ready to get out of her bed. Yes, there was a moment when 3 of the 4 were crying. 

Not every morning is like this thankfully. Actually mornings are almost never like this. For example.

Saturday. Was. A. DREAM. 

12 tennis shoes laced up. At the starting line at 7:45am on a Saturday morning. What is my family gonna think of this craziness? Saturday morning racing shenanigans? 

I may never do a 5K without my family again. All these years I've done 5K's and 10K's and triathalons and even a half-marathon by myself. But I am here to say, I am past the years of improving my time or finishing for me. The joy that I felt in pulling, carrying and pushing my four girls across the finish line was some sort of cardiovascular-euphoria. I can assure you, the runners high is even stronger when your little ones are with you. Right beside you. Even if they are hot and tired. They get the rush of the race too. Already have the girls signed up for a 2K for kids in September. Can't wait. 

We took turns pushing the stroller. I pushed the first couple of miles. From the start,  Brian and Carlisle took off running. The pack moved further and further away from me and the girls. We couldn't even see the two of them after a while. The girls kept saying, 'Mama! Catch up with them!' About half way in, the three little ones and I did catch them. Carlisle was red faced, but still smiling. At that point some of the girls switched spots. Vivian ran a while and Evelyn rode.  At times, three were riding. But all were committed to finishing well. Brian walk/jogged with us for a while and then he was off again. He sprinted ahead pushing the two little ones in the stroller. This is not a jogging stroller. It is my scooting-to-the-gym stroller. The one that I use everyday. It has small wheels, but it did the job. 

It looks like I am walking right here, I'm not. Steady pushing, steady running and steady sweating.

Meanwhile, I had the two big girls. We had a mile to go or so. Brian was LONG gone. 

They were tired. Especially Evelyn. She was on my back for at least a mile. Running a 5K at 5 years old is big. Shoot. Running a 5K for most is big. Even the racers, were encouraging to us. I guess it's not typical to see someone with a child on their back in a 5K.

One of the bedtime stories we read last week was a version of the story of the turtle and the hare. 'SLOW and STEADY wins the race.' That was us. We couldn't have cared less about our time, or where we placed. For us, it was just to make it across the finish line.  

'Left, right, left, right. One foot in front of the other girls. We can do it.'

Don't be too impressed. While I did sweat PROFUSELY, alot of my job was encourager to the brood. 

Eventually, Carlisle left us. She found her last burst of energy and off she went. I was left with a little one on my back and less than a mile to go. 

 It was just fun. Evelyn high-fived cops holding traffic at intersections. They LOVED her. She was the youngest running the race, by a long shot. 

Brian ran so fast with the stroller that he crossed the finish line and guarnered a place win for the only one of the six of us that can't walk. Eleanor Bliss. 

Once he crossed the finish line, he turned back to collect the rest of his family. 

Evelyn and I were in the home stretch. She too got a final burst of energy. She climbed down off my back and put her chin up. I spotted Brian and the babies ahead. It was just what she needed.  We were all reunited.

Our family of 6 ran across the line together. 

We got a standing ovation. Well. Maybe they were already standing. But they were all-out cheering us on. 

Evelyn said, 'Why is everyone cheering for us?' 
I said, 'Cause Honey, you're the youngest one out here that ran the race. They are proud of you. Your race is encouraging THEM.' 

A smile spread across her sweaty, flushed face. She ran the last 2 tenths of a mile like they were her first with Carlisle flushed and happy right beside her. 

It was HARD. There were times that I know the girls wanted to throw in the towel. They felt done. 

LIFE is like that. HARD. There are times that we want to throw in the towel. 

I'm reading through the bible. I cannot express what a blessing that it's been in my life. I read from the Old Testament and the New Testament everyday. I JUST read this from the book of Acts this week. 

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace. Acts 20:24 

The apostle Paul is saying, My main desire is to finish my course with joy. It doesn't bother me that I have to be imprisoned. It doesn't bother me that I'm going to be bound. My main desire is to just to finish my course. 

So Paul's great drive is to finish that course that God had set before him. He finally wrote to Timothy and he said, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course." 

And then...he was beheaded by Nero. 

Right before, he said, "I fought a good fight, I finished the course. Laid up for me is a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, our righteousness judge, will give me. Not only to me, but to all those who do love His appearing" 2 Timothy 4:-8. 

I love this. I love commitment. I love determination. In any person. At any time. And at any age. 

I am teaching THIS to my girls. I want them to finish the course that God has set before them! Give me four little girls who are sold out for Jesus and I'll soon give you hundreds more. 

I love Paul, he was determined. He was committed to a cause, a cause of Jesus Christ. And nothing was going to sway him from finishing that course with joy.

So he says, Well, it's probably the last time I'll see you, but it doesn't bother me. I know I'm going to be thrown in jail. Beyond that I don't know. But I'm not worried by this. Because I do not count my life important to me. What I really want is just to finish my course with joy. 

Can that be said of me? Of you? 

I just want to run the race well. It's gonna be hard. It is gonna be long. There is going to be death, life, hurt, pain, trauma, hardship, persecution. But I don't care about my life. I just want to proclaim the name of Jesus and finish well....with joy. 

At the awards ceremony after, they called the baby's name. I was a distance from the stage. I wasn't paying attention, I was watching the girls get their faces painted. I looked in time to see Brian turn, look at me and smile, motioning to head for the stage. I went up and received the gift for her.  She won first place in her age group (12 and under). Our little baby, who still doesn't walk won first place in a 5k. That. Is finishing well. :) 

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Cor 9:24

The pack moved on. Carlisle and Brian are somewhere far in the distance. The girls kept saying, 'Mama! Catch up with them!'
These blond pig tails look the same from the back. This is Evelyn...
This is Vivian.
Worth mentioning. This is her running debut. I think I've seen her run like twice in her whole life. She's SOOO girly. So like my Mom. So feminine. And so uninterested in some things that others are so very interested in. Dolls is in her top 5 favorite things. Running is NOT.

She mostly held down the fort in the stroller with Baby. Which I was grateful for. It kept the stroller rolling straight and the baby happy the entire time. The baby actually didn't utter a word the entire race. She was perfectly content to just be propelled down the road with a sister beside her.

'Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.' Hebrews 12:1

Thinking we must have dripped sweat on the lens. Or it was so hot it fogged up.

The after race celebration 
Free sunglasses for the kids. Bubbles. Face painting. Fitness demos. I think the running bug bit them. They are excited for the next one.
How about this for a proper pushup? He did a few hundred-thousand when he was at the Citadel. He got pulled up on stage to demo proper form. It looks like he's resting on the ground. He's not. This is an action shot. Tapping his nose to the ground before returning to the top to do it again.
Let us finish well sisters. My prayer for you is that as you travel your race you call on the Lord who is worthy to save. 

God loves you, no matter how badly you failed. No matter how deeply you have sunk into sin, God loves you. But God hates sin because He loves you. And God knows sin is SO destructive. And because God loves you so much, He doesn't like to see you being destroyed. And so He hates that which is destroying you. God loves the sinner. God hates the sin. Because He loves the sinner. And He sees what sin is doing. God hates the sin, because He loves the sinner. 

And so God has made provision to free you. To free me from the power of sin, by sending Jesus Christ, His son, who took our sins and died in our place. That by our believing in Him we can be forgiven from whatever sins we may have ever committed. And through faith in Him can receive power over that bondage of sin. And one day, we will be freed from even the presence of sin. So that is the gospel of the grace of God. Not because I deserve it, but just because God loves me.

I pray that the Spirit draw you into a closer, more intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ. And I pray that it starts TODAY. 

1 comment:

gillian said...

1st of all GO CARLISLE!!!! 😊
2ndly, all I can say is I love you. and your sweet family! YOu have blessed me, encouraged me, witnessed to me through the hardest time of my life and I am grateful.