Dear Mama

The other night I was putting my 5-year old to bed and I held her close and whispered, “I promise to never, ever leave you.”  This promise may seem ridiculous, but it stems from my insecurities about the impact my working for 3 years of her toddlerhood took on her, always shipping her off to be in the care of someone else rather than feel her mother’s love day in and out.  I always worry it will cause some kind of insecurity.  And her response?  “What about when you die? How will we be together then?”

Mark 16:16 says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

I responded to my little girl, telling her if she wants to see me after we die she needs to grow up to love God, to try to be good, and to be baptized and follow Jesus.  She asks if I’ve been baptized and I tell her yes.  I promise her I’m going to do all I can to go to Heaven but that she needs to do the same.  Then we will be together forever.

I think about the people in my life I love more than words can describe.  I think about those I’ve already lost – good, honest, hard-working people… non-Christians… and I wonder… did they go to Heaven?  Will the other people in my life that I love, other non-Christians or luke-warm Christians, will they be saved?  Can you go to Heaven without following God’s road map?  It is hard to think about those we love most not going to Heaven.  When I do let my guard down and think about it I weep for them and for myself.  It makes me feel like I’ve failed those I love the most because I wasn’t able to show them how great God’s love is.  But He did give clear instruction in His book on how to be saved.  I have no clue how to absolutely guarantee someone goes to Heaven, but I’d say the Bible would hold the most probable answer.

There are times I want to quit.  I want to quit it all –  quit being responsible, quit having to set an alarm to get up early when it’s the weekend (!!!), quit striving to better myself for my family and just be selfish.  Heck I’d just like to use the restroom one time without having someone bust in on me!  I’d like to just start locking the bathroom door.  Lock them out.  Quit it all.  Live for me.

Then my little girl asks me that innocent question, “What about when you die?  How will we be together then?”  And all selfish desires melt.  Imagining a day without my beautiful, sweet, loving girls literally rips my heart from my chest (to the point that I’m actually tearing up just typing this – I’m such a sap!) and I love them so much I would literally go to the ends of the world for them I would do anything to know that there would never be a day in which I would have to be without them.  And with that I press on.  I give all of myself to the Lord, I surrender my heart and soul and I teach them to love Jesus.  I pray that it sticks but I know it ultimately will be their choice and I realize life is a marathon.  As for me, I choose to follow His road map.  I pray I see you at the finish line.

Run by faith,

Lindsay

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Feeling Strangely Fine

Two weeks ago I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon.  My first ever marathon.  Here is a pic of me pre-race:

pre-marathon

I may look like my normal silly self but truth be told I was really, really nervous.  I mean mega-nervous.  Perhaps more nervous than I have ever been before any physical challenge I’ve ever done.  This was my first marathon – the longest race I’d ever run before this was 13.1 miles, which was 2 years and 1 baby ago.  I did 100% of the training and preparation for this by myself.   I didn’t have a regular time of day or schedule for running, because when you’ve got 3 kids pre-K and under you don’t really have the luxury of having a schedule for your hobbies, let alone even have hobbies.  So I stuck with a plan as best I could, worked it around my girls’ dance, soccer, swim lessons and illnesses and showed up on race morning feeling completely overwhelmed and underprepared.  “If I’d only had more free time I’d have done way more cross-training,” I remember thinking.  “I just need to pick a reasonable pace per mile and stick with it.  I just need to cross the finish line.”  My goal was just to finish the race with some level of dignity.  So with the help of my trusty Garmin watch I picked a pace that seemed modest, tamped down my adrenalin and forced myself to stick with the planned pace even though I so badly wanted to tear off at a faster clip.

My distance runs during training started off strong.  But as I got further into training I found myself getting burned out, so I had to back off running a bit and try to find a better balance.  But in backing off I also ended up unexpectedly having to pack and move our family of 5.  Subsequent distance training runs suffered and rocked my confidence.  I would call my (non-runner) husband (who loves me but thinks distance runners are nuts) mid-run when I was struggling and he would encourage me to press on.  I would often come home, feeling dejected, shaking from running 18+ miles and wondering how in the heck I was ever going to run 8 miles further.  It was beyond demoralizing.

Race morning was a humbling experience.  Feeling like I had bit off WAY more than I could chew made me want to throw up.  I have always been an athlete, a competitor, and feeling like I can’t do something isn’t how I operate.  “What if I don’t make it to the finish line,”  I wondered, “What if I get injured and can’t finish?”  “What if all the time I spent preparing and training just wasn’t enough to press out those last few miles?”

I did what I always do – I took it to God and prayed for my safety during the race.  I prayed for both physical and mental strength and tenacity.  I prayed that I would just finish the race.  I thanked the Lord for giving me the opportunity to run.

And a funny thing happened – as I ran I started to think about my finish line in life when I go to the Lord.  Will my training and preparation be enough for me to cross into Heaven?  Much like the marathon with some easy, some difficult miles, we have easy days and hard days when it comes to our faith and our ability to avoid sin along our life’s course.  But at the end of it all we can blame our “life marathon” result on no one but ourselves. Only I am ultimately responsible or accountable for the choices I made during my time on Earth.

I know how scary it was feeling I was unprepared on race morning — I can’t even begin to imagine how petrified I will be going before the Lord knowing in my heart that I am not worthy.  All I can do is focus on the training.  To keep studying His word.  To continue fellowship with fellow Christian sisters.  To continually pray.

Crossing the finish line (I’m on the right)

I will never know while I’m here on Earth if my preparation truly is enough to cross the finish line into Heaven.  What I do know is that I will never stop preparing for that final mile, minute, breath.  Fortunately for me 2 weeks ago, my preparation was more than enough for the Pittsburgh Marathon and I finished easily in 4 hours 33 minutes.

super proud 🙂

“Keep running the race that is set before you with endurance.” -Hebrews 12:1

Run by faith,

Lindsay

How Bizarre

Getting caught with your pants down is a funny saying.  It’s hilarious to imagine.  In real life, however, it’s embarrassing and a public humiliation.

There’s nothing worse than toeing the start line of a race and feeling completely unprepared.  As I’ve been going through the rigors of training for my first marathon, I’ve spent A LOT of time worrying about whether or not my training and preparation has been adequate.  With the race literally less than 4 days away there’s really nothing more I can do to increase my strength or endurance.  I am praying that the miles I’ve put in have been enough.  I am praying that I don’t eat something over the next few days I regret once I’m 15+ miles in and that I remember to drink a ton of water between now and Sunday morning (I’m bringing back the 40-oz challenge!).  (I think) My success depends on a combination of training up till now and my diet and sleep between now and Sunday.  I really don’t want to go into Sunday and get caught with my pants down.

Me crossing the finish line for the 2010 Half Marathon in 2 hrs 4 mins

When I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May 2010 the day started off really humid and muggy.  I was SO THANKFUL when about 3-4 miles in it started raining, breaking the humidity and providing what I considered to be a ton of physical relief.  What I failed to think about was how I was going to finish the half marathon and not get caught with my pants down.

At some point a few months prior to race day I was wearing my favorite cotton Nike running shorts when my 3-year old pulled the draw string out.  I continued wearing them and they seemed to stay up no problem so I figured I didn’t need it and never went to the trouble to re-string it into my shorts.  What I failed to consider on race morning was that I hadn’t done much training in the rain in those shorts, if any.  And race day was rainy.  About 7 miles in I noticed my shorts were starting to sag.  Since they were cotton they were starting to get water-logged and heavy.  About 10 miles in and things were turning from mildly annoying to really irritating.  And at mile 12 I was seriously considering taking them off and finishing in my undies.  I’m not joking.  If you look in the picture above you can tell which one is me – I’m the one holding up my shorts while running towards the finish line.

A lot of runners and running friends have been chatting about how to prepare for the race – what to wear, what to eat, where to park.  All I can say is this:  don’t do anything you haven’t done before.  Eat foods you typically eat before a run – but don’t be dumb about it!  I would not recommend something really heavy or greasy even if it is what you chow down on before your at-home distance runs.  Pre-plan your parking strategy and get there really early.  And for the love of Pete, please make sure your clothes are equipped to handle whatever the weather forecast is for the day, because getting caught with your pants down really sucks.

“but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint” – Isaiah 40:31

Run by Faith,

Lindsay

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