It all started with a conversation on Christmas 2013. Every year, my family goes around the table at Christmas time and shares “where will I be in 5 years”. It’s a little bit of an exercise in sharing our hopes and vision for the future as well as probably giving my parents a glimpse of when they can hope for more grandchildren or a marriage of one of my sisters.
So, back to Christmas 2013… I had been tossing around the idea in my mind of running a marathon before I was 40. Now, this is a CRAZY though for me. I always said I would NEVER run a full marathon; that was for crazy people. I had no plans of that. But, for some reason, after having run a couple of half marathons for Team World Vision, the idea of running a full marathon sprouted in my mind. So, I said it. I said, “I turn 35 this year. In 5 years, I will hopefully have completed a marathon.” That was the first of three threads God tied to my heart.
The second thread was this voice telling me to start praying about some of my commitments. God so clearly was speaking to me through scripture, BSF lectures, sermons, and friends that I had taken on more than I should. I was busy all the time leaving no time for quiet time with God, quiet time with my children, or time to think about other plans God may have for me. I tend to do that, thinking I can do it all and saying yes because I am asked. I do it to myself all the time and then find myself over-committed, short on energy and patience, and eventually burning out. God clearly spoke to me and told me to let go of some commitments. It was going to be hard. I started saying no to people and was constantly under attack with feelings of guilt and doubt. My first sign that I was on the path God wanted me on should have been that attack. Guilt and doubt are not from God but from the one who wants to thwart God’s plans. I had to continue seeking scripture, prayer, and advice from Godly friends to stay on the path I was on. That was the second thread – clear my schedule, reduce commitments.
The third thread was an greatly increase awareness of the issue of human trafficking and a burning desire to do something about it along with a sense of helplessness in what to do. I had had conversations with family members, seen news articles, facebook posts, and blog posts all with this same issue. I felt deeply saddened by it but didn’t know what a stay-at-home mom in small suburban MN could do about it.
These three thread, though I didn’t see their connection then, continued to wind around my life for 4-5 months.
Then came the email on April 28 that tied all of these three threads together in a way that only God could have done. I had already begun training for a half marathon that I would run in August with Team World Vision. I was about to start my training run for that day when I decided to quick check my email first. And I see this subject line “Invitation to 2014 NYC Marathon”. The email was somewhat standard, formal, saying that Team World Vision had 50 spots open in the NYC marathon for a team that would shift it’s focus off raising money for clean water (Team World Vision’s main cause) and onto the cause of Child Protection, working to prevent the exploitation of children, protect the most vulnerable, and bring healing to children who have been exploited.
At first read, I sort of dismissed it, assuming that everyone got the email and I was just another name on the list. But, it got me dreaming on that subsequent training run. I started to get goose bumps thinking about what running the NYC marathon would be like, about how impossibly AWESOME that would be as my first marathon, about the enormous and seemingly impossible fundraising goal of $5000 in addition to the $1310 goal I already had for my half marathon, about the fear of what training for a marathon would entail and whether or not I really could do it, and so on, and so on. So, like I said, I sort of dismissed it. But, then I ran into a friend of mine who was also running the half with me. I asked her if she got the NYC invite email, assuming we all did and she hadn’t. Hmm…..
I told my husband about the email that night. Now, my husband is a very analytical sort of person. We don’t make a lot of decisions or big purchases without first researching, putting together some sort of spread sheet looking at costs, quality, features, checking out every possible option before committing to one, etc. So, when his immediate, without hesitation, answer as to if I should consider doing this was “Yes, do it”. I was shocked.
The next day, having decided to pray on this for a day or two (I only had a day or two, I had to decide by the end of the week if I was going to do it) I went to my BSF lecture. I distinctly remember that day the teaching leader saying that sometimes it is with fear and trembling that we need to say “yes” to something God is asking us to do for Him but He also promises peace and joy in serving Him if we are living in His will for us.
Ok – message seemed pretty loud and clear! I took that trembling, fearful leap of faith and committed to running the NYC marathon with a fundraising goal of $5,000 for the cause of Child Protection. Wow – I remember the giddiness I felt when I realized what I had just done, I had just signed up to run the NYC marathon! Only God could have placed that immediate joy in my heart at this crazy thing I had just committed to doing. God tied together all He had been putting in place in my life over the last 4-5 months – the crazy notion that I might run a marathon sometime in the next 5 years, the need to reduce my over-commitments (giving me more time for training), and a way to make an impact for the cause that had been burning in my heart.
But, God didn’t stop there. The lead up to me signing up for the marathon is awesome but God’s provision throughout the last 6 months of training that has been unbelievable. I will share more about that in my next post.
To learn more about Team World Vision and their mission as well as the work World Vision is doing in the fight against human trafficking, you can visit my fundriasing page and follow the links I have at the bottom.