See my head hanging down in defeat?
According to my training schedule, I was supposed to run ten miles on Saturday morning. I had run ten miles before. On several occasions. So I was not feeling the pressure and nervousness that sometimes accompany running a new distance.
I got up decently early in the morning and set out to pound the pavement for ten miles.
Or so I thought.
I got just over three miles in and my legs simply quit. They did so completely independent of my mind. My mind was actually completely occupied with praying for our little darlings. Then all of a sudden I was standing still.
I couldn't even pony up the strength to run the three miles back to my car. I had to make the phone call of shame and ask Adam to please come pick me up.
Oh, the humiliation!
So I spent the rest of the day feeling very frustrated with myself. I was confused, because this was a distance I have successfully run on multiple occasions, and it is not the farthest I have gone. Very annoying. And so I resolved to complete the run the following morning.
I got up earlier and set out to finish ten miles. And I finished.
But here's the thing.
Every single step was hard. I had to talk myself into continuing on almost every time I took a stride. I think I have mentioned before that I do not run with music. It distracts me more than it helps me, and so I am left alone with my thoughts and prayers for a looooong time during my weekend runs. And I spent most of yesterday's run coaching myself to keep on going. When I wasn't doing that, I was praying. Praying out loud. That got me a few strange looks.
Last week, our pastor preached out of 1 Corinthians 9. Paul closes the chapter by comparing the life of a Christ follower to running a race. Listen to his words.
"Do you not know that in a race all runners run,
but only one gets the prize?
Run in such a way as to win the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.
They do it to get a crown that will not last,
but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly;
I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.
No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave,
so that after I have preached to others, I will not be disqualified for the prize."
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Verse 27 was at the forefront of my mind while I was running yesterday. Striking a blow to my body to make it my slave. Some translations say "beat" instead of "strike a blow to." That is how I felt. I was making myself finish that run yesterday. It was so hard for me, and I wanted to quit. Even five miles in (half way!), I started considering having Adam come get me again. But I knew that giving up would not help me finish the race. And so I had to keep running. I had to harness my inner Paul and finish what was before me. And I did.
So many times on this journey to become parents I have felt like throwing in the towel. Just straight up quitting. It has been too hard, too painful, too long. I have cried to much, grieved too much, felt too lost, too confused, too alone. I have wanted to give up.
But I cannot.
This is what God has put in front of us. This is our race right now. And, while all of this hurting and waiting for our babies to come home is not what I would have picked for myself, I know that it is what God has allowed for our lives. And so I have to trust that it is for His glory and also for our good. I have to run in such a way as to win the prize, to keep going no matter how much I want to crumple up on the ground and cry sometimes.
And I do this because I know that crossing the finish line will be worth every tear, every sleepless night, every heart ache. Because I know another one of God's truths. Here it is.
"And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
A good promise, no??