I had another post prepared for this month but then... my daughter ran the Toronto Marathon this weekend (and my wife the half Marathon). Our girl Ruthann tells her story and it's too good and too relevant to your life and mine not to re-post it here. Lengthy read, yes, but SO worth the time. May it change something inside the ropes of your life, especially if you "need to be sustained."
I entered the “road less traveled” at the 19km mark where the half marathon and full marathon split. Prior to that moment of seeing my mama, I seriously considered veering off with the half marathoners, heading home early. But with the sustaining hand of Christ through the picture of my mama, I pressed in. A million miles to go.
Upon reaching the halfway mark, I made a phone call.
“Hanika, I am at the 21km mark! I made it halfway!
“We are here at the 31 km mark waiting for you! Keep going girl.”
“Pray for my knees.”
“Okay, we are praying. See you soon!”
As we hung up, I became more aware of my surroundings, knowing the familiarities of it. Not unlike last year, when we entered the loneliest portion of the race, the world became dark and bitterly cold. I was thankful I had not taken off my mitts or my headband, which I had considered doing on some of the warmer stretches. I passed the point where I had made a friend last year, which had carried me through the second half of the race.
Jesus, I need a friend. Send me a friend.
No one came. There was no one I was pacing with. No one that seemed to be in stride with me. I was alone. My breathing and stamina were in a great place, but my legs were slowing me. With each step, I became more and more discouraged.
Jesus, why are you leaving me to do this alone? You know I need a distraction, a human right now. You know the pain that is consuming me.
“Keep going. I like what I am seeing. I like that you are staying right behind him. It’s like he has gone before you and drawn a line in the sand and you are running it. That’s perfect.”
The words were from presumably a running coach who was biking beside a runner. But the words were spoken to me.
There is no where that you go that I haven’t already been. I go before you, leading the way for you. I have endured all pain, more than you will ever know. Keep running in the line in the sand that I have marked out for you, the line that I already made by going there Myself!
A dear streetleader called me just then.
“Supie? Are you almost done?”
“It depends what you mean by almost done! I have a lot of kilometers still to go. Probably another hour and half of running.” Oh Lord, have mercy. Sustain me!
“Okay, we are still here waiting to cheer for you!”
“Thank you dear girl! I love you. Please be praying for my knees!”
“We will! See you soon!”
I pressed in deeper. I entered the Beaches, whispering a prayer for a dear friend and kindred spirit, Thoughtful Girl, who lives in that area. As I prayed, Thoughtful Girl called me.
“Ruthann?!? Wait, are you running? I was just going to leave a message. I wanted to let you know that I love you, I am thinking of you and I am praying for you. How are you doing?”
“Not great. I am in a lot of pain. My knees are greatly troubling me. I don’t know if I can finish the race.”
“Can I pray with you right now? Jesus, You are with Ruthann. Give her the encouragement that she needs right now. The strength she needs to continue and to finish. We love you and you love her!”
As I hung up the phone, Jesus directly answered the prayer. The long awaited sight of familiar faces renewed my soul. Cheering Friend, Coach Papa and Teacher Friend came just in my time of great need! They spoke words of encouragement, cheering me on, reassuring me and speaking life into me. Teacher Friend, who ran the 5 km race earlier that morning, joined me in my running for a few kilometres.
I sustain you.
As Teacher Friend, went off to the side, I felt lifted once again. However, the thought of the long stretch back clouded my present joy, bringing me right back to a place of discouragement.
(Hover over picture...)
Sustained. Each. Step. Of. The. Way. I answered the prayer of your Papa George over your knees. I held your knees. I held you. And I still hold you. I still hold the world in my hands. I hold your kids, the youth, the families at UrbanPromise Toronto Camp Freedom. I am the One who sustains. All things.
(Adapted Repost from http://justaclaypot.tumblr.com)