Monday, June 8, 2015

My half-marathon and how running is helping to encourage me in my life with God

First, Still Counting Gifts:

I ran my third half-marathon and it went really well (#1116). I ran the fastest first mile of my life, thanks to Colin and Karyn: 10:06 (#1117).

I had to send them on ahead because they just run faster than me and I didn't want to run the entire 13.1 miles with a stitch in my side. Ben lent me his phone after mine didn't wake up on Saturday morning (#1118). He even broke it out of its' life proof case so that I could put it in my running arm band (#1119). Thanks love!

Seeing Ben at mile 2 and 7 and my parents at mile 8 and 12 kept me feeling inspired and running strong (#1120). They appeared as the literal answers to my prayers for God to give me strength and endurance to keep going when I wanted to quit (#1121).

In my last mile, when I was really struggling to finish because of intense leg cramps and pain, God ordained a song to come on my shuffling playlist that talked about running hard this race in order to win the prize (#1122). I couldn't help but smile and say thank you to Him as I rounded that last corner and saw the Finish line. I finished in 2 hours and 36 minutes, which was only 8 minutes longer than my last time (#1123).

I struggled some with perfectionism and was tempted to judge myself for walking a lot during that last painful mile. God helped me to agree with Him and believe that I had done my best and it was a great race, regardless of how long it took me (#1124).

Karyn had an incredible run: finishing at 2 hours and 14 minutes! She may have developed an addiction to running long distances, which is special to me because of my love for running (#1125). Unfortunately, she is so fast that she probably needs to find a faster runner to train with. But, we can still do fun runs together (#1126).

Ben and I had a great time with his family when we met up for his cousin Julia's wedding (#1127). It was fun to be able to talk more with several of his aunts and uncles and to get to know the Striker clan better (#1128).

We enjoyed riding part of the way there and back with his sister Amy (#1129) and got to host David and Debe at our house for several days after that (#1130). Seeing our house again, through their eyes, was so sweet (#1131). I especially loved sharing all the flowers and plants with Debe, who thoroughly appreciated them (#1132)!

Second, God has really been speaking to me about my life in Him:

You already know that God has been inviting me to make Him my peace. Because Ben and I are self-employed, our finances are usually the perfect area for God to work in. I have been struggling with a lot of frustration that God continues to provide just what we need, as we need it, and has not allowed us to pad up our savings in the way that I would like Him to (#1133).

I have been struggling a lot with fear that God is not good to me, specifically in the area of our finances. I have felt this pressure even more in this past week because our 2nd quarter tax payment is due one week from today and we still needed some money to come in toward that payment.

I kept praying Mark 9, "I do believe, God. Help me to overcome my unbelief." And, God was so faithful (#1134). He kept reassuring me that He is good to me and that He would provide for us, even as I waited to see how and when He would do so. But, it felt so, so hard to persevere in faith.

God kept reminding me of how hard that last mile of my half-marathon felt to run (#1135). My legs hurt so much that I could hardly walk, much less run. That's how I felt this week, emotionally and spiritually. I was so tired of contending for God's peace in my heart about our finances, that I could hardly continue. I recognized that we were only a week away from the deadline, just like I knew that I was approaching the finish line when I was running the half-marathon. But, it took the pure grace of God to bring me to that finish line of faith (#1136). I didn't think that I could make it and I know that I wouldn't have made it apart from God's kindness to me (#1137).

And right in the midst of all that turmoil, God was so clearly giving us joy in Him (#1138). Ben and I kept having these moments of sweet satisfaction in our relationship with Jesus where we just knew that He is worth the pain of this journey of trust. Even as we struggled and hurt, we felt confident that it was all worth it because of the person of Jesus Christ and how enjoyable it is to live for and with Him (#1139).

Just yesterday, God brought in a very special gift of financial support for Ben's work at the Moravian House of Prayer as an intercessory missionary (#1140). We were stunned. It was exactly what we needed. We cried tears of joy and relief as God showed His great faithfulness to us all over again. We worshiped God and thanked Him for loving and providing for us (#1141). We were also so thankful that we had persevered in our choice to continue trusting God, despite the difficulty of the process, because He is so worth it.

We pray that we continue to love and trust Him this way, even when our prayers go unanswered, because we believe that He is always worthy of our praise.