Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crossing the Finish Line!

Today, I found a journal that I wrote during, and immediately after the years of fighting leukemia with our son, Stephen. Kicked the stuffing out of me, for sure. Then I read some words that really undid me.

After our son passed away, I began running every day with a new intensity. We lived in rural East Texas. I would run for miles and miles, singing "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," over, and over, and over. It is all I sang for one solid year. Even now, almost 30 years later, I can feel the grief of those months.

It was during that time, I began to run fun-runs. 5ks, 10ks etc. In February of 1987, just months after losing Stevie, my husband Jack and I, and two other friends, Fran  and Charles, ran a 6.5 run to raise money for a child that needed a liver transplant. It was a tough run for me, because of the emotions involved, but practically speaking the hills were about to kill me. ( I have lung issues) About half way through the run, Jack took off sprinting! He never ceases to amaze me with his skills. Charles, Fran and I stayed together, encouraging each other, and talking.

I was getting slower and slower. I wanted to quit. But my running buddies kept encouraging me, "You can do it!"  Even though they weren't struggling, they slowed to my pace, and wouldn't let me give up.

Finally, the finish line was in view. We were the last runners coming in. People were cheering us on as if we were the first ones in!  At the last few feet, I stalled, and said," I can't do it," through heaving gasps.  Fran and Charles took hold of both my hands, and threw me across the finish line in front of them!

It was those last words I read in the journal, them throwing me across the line, at the end of my race that undid me today.

This race we are running can be unbearable at times.  We were not meant to run it alone.  God put us into community for a reason.  We need each other.  As we run let us keep our eyes on Jesus, and our hands on our brothers and sisters.  We will reach the goal together! The first shall be last, and the last shall be first, and the joy of the finish line will be awesome for all!!

Thank you to Charles and Fran, and to many others who have grabbed me by the hand and not let me quit.  May God grant me the courage, and fortitude, and love to do the same for all those He places on my journey.

Courage to all! Anna Marie

Hebrews12:1  NKJV

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us... 

Exodus 17:12 ESV

But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.