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Monthly Archives: August 2016

Almost 12 years ago I did my one and only marathon. Saying I did it almost seems to flippant. The truth? I woggled my way through all 26.2 miles of it. It was one of the hardest, but most fulfilling things I have done in my life.

The training is what gets you ready for the BIG DAY. Miles upon miles on your feet. Early morning runs, runs in the rain, runs in the the snow. No matter what.. you run. I had trained, but not enough. As often happens in life, I had experienced a few hiccups that kept many of the long runs at bay. But, I had gotten one 18 miler in and a few medium runs.. so I pressed on to the Chicago Marathon.

I stepped into the crowd of close to 40,000 runners – alone. The streets were already beginning to line with what would be close to 1 million spectators. It was amazing, scary and overwhelming all at once.

The first 5K was too fast. The early speed brought on a very early WALL at mile 9. The wall. It hits you like a brick, stops you. Every muscle in your being hurts and I had 17 more miles to go! Mentally I was already done. I couldn’t take one more step. Emotionally drained. I turned the corner and heard something familiar. Fist waving in the air, smiles as big as a bride on her wedding day …my parents. Cheering, believing, rooting me on. I looked at my mom and told her I couldn’t do it. I was too tired, too sore…. Mom looked at me and said “YES YOU CAN“. We will meet you at mile 14.”

I pressed on.

The next 5 miles were nothing like the first 9. They were easy and I felt good. When I saw my parents at mile 14 mom said I was like a different person. And I was.

Mile upon mile I jogged ahead. Along the way runners and spectators cheer you on and suddenly 26 miles later you see the finish line. With a push of spirit you move forward towards to finish.

For me the finish represents so much. My life the last few years has felt like the first part of my marathon. Only 9 miles in and 17.2 more to go. But, I have noticed something. Something amazing and wonderful. Just like during my marathon, there is encouragement along the way. Lots of encouragement.

Morning upon morning I open my Bible to be reminded that “he who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:7). Reminders that “the God of all grace, who has called ME to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself complete and make you what you ought to be” (I Peter 5:10). And that while what I am going through may be hard, and seem to be taking forever to not be discourage and “expect God to get here soon.” (Psalms 31:24 MSG).

If I would stop to see and listen, my creator wants to encourage me along the way.

Life can be hard and you will probably “hit the wall” more than once. I used to hate the wall, but now I see it for what it was. A turning point. A place where I decide despite how hard this stuff called life is, I am going to finish the task set before me.

Watch for the cheerleaders that God has set out for you and listen to his encouragement as you press on.

Julie Cagwin Lammers