Training in the Dark

Facebook post, post-marathon:

“26.2 barefoot miles |
The grace of God brought me to the finish line.
The God who healed me as a baby when doctors said I wouldn’t walk; who healed my broken foot at 19; who has healed me over the past 10 years of CRPS/RSD chronic pain — three times, the diagnoses said I would never walk normally, let alone run. But He’s the One who’s healed me inside and out.
Nothing is impossible with God.
In May, God put it on my heart to run the marathon. During training, the chronic pain disorder I’ve had since age 13 limited my ability to run, and I also had a mysterious case of throwing up at the 2 mile mark every time I ran with shoes on.
I took it to prayer and surrendered it to God, and in late July, I felt it on my heart to start running barefoot. The same day, my pain went away, my sickness went away. This marathon was completed against the odds, the diagnoses, the facts, the logic, and solely on the power of the cross. I learned that we give a little faith, and Jesus gives us love & resurrective power.
To everyone who supported me and prayed with me through these past few months, thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

As many times as I’ve sat – stood – wandered around – to write about the marathon, there’s been something in me that’s halted the full publishing of the story of this summer. I feel the whisper of the Holy Spirit saying that this story is not yet over, and therefore, I’ve pondered it in my heart and documented as much as I can in order to write it at the right time.

However, there are parts of the story that at this time should be shared, people I must thank, glory where glory is due.

With that in mind, I’ve felt a conviction in my heart from God in something I’ve been hesitant to share:

A marathon is long, but our God is not a God of distance. He is near, more near than we can understand. And because He is near, He can bring us to and through the impossible. But not only does He do the impossible, He also brings us to and through the possible in miraculous ways.

Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “It is by grace you have been saved, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – so that no one can boast. We are God’s handiwork, created in Jesus to do good things, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Our God is a God of grace. Our God is a God of miracles.

I ran a real run for the first time post-marathon on Saturday. I was waiting for a blister to heal and an “o-k” from the Holy Spirit through the month of October.

I ran it with shoes on, without pain, and didn’t throw up. In short, I ran normally for the first time in ten years. I averaged a 9 minute mile in 45 degree weather on a path by a beach in Holland, MI. It was a very average run for the sake of running, but it sealed and healed a loss in me and claimed a victory.

I ran like I had been running my entire life: the evidence of living on the other side of a miracle. I realized it wasn’t the marathon itself that healed me, but instead it was living in the freedom after.

I don’t remember what it was like to not be able to run. I don’t remember what it was like to tell myself I can’t, I won’t, I couldn’t. Every promise, every dream that brings glory to God is yes and amen in Jesus.

When Jesus sets us free, we’re free indeed.

Thank You-s

I thank Jesus for promising we’d do miracles like He did and greater, and for fulfilling anything we ask in His name (John 14). For reminding me He came to restore life to fullness and bring us into freedom. And, for healing me miraculously when I unknowingly used expired Neosporin for cuts on my feet pre-marathon.

I thank the Holy Spirit, who in the final days leading up to the marathon told me, “If the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you (Romans 8:11), how much easier is it for you to run 26.2 miles barefoot?” (I still laugh when I think about that). For the way He guided me through each day and provided the revelation necessary to complete the race in freedom and without pain.

I thank God the Father, who comforted me when I faced affliction. For keeping me so close to Him when I cried out, for picking me back up off the ground when I was afraid or felt defeated, for reminding me I am a child of a kingdom that can’t be shaken.

I thank a God who is three-in-one a Father, Son and Spirit, all encompassing, ever faithful, who brings intangible things into existence when we pray and spend time with Him. All honor, all praise, all glory be to Him and Him alone. It wasn’t a positive attitude or personal determination that brought me to the finish. There was incomprehensible sobbing, doubt and fear leading up to it that He quieted in me. It was the courage and perseverance He’s placed in me over the past ten years that came to life in this season.

I thank my friends who walked me through the journey of this summer, for (jokingly) confirming that I was actually crazy when I asked them if I was crazy, for praying with me, for trusting with me that Jesus was at the center of it all. For standing on the corner of Michigan and Randolph (downtown Chicago) during rush hour while I was throwing up post-run. For sending me training materials on running barefoot. For praying over my feet, for running with me, for laughing through the madness, and the nights of tears that led me back into confidence in the Lord. It was not an easy journey, and I couldn’t have done it without you and your faith supporting me to trust in God.

I thank my parents for the conversations we had, for the way that God poured confidence and courage into me through you. I am grateful for the fear that broke down, the doubt that became faith, and the faithfulness that ensued.

I thank those who helped me fundraise and provide clean water for families in Africa.

I thank those I don’t know who, during the marathon, cheered me on from the sidelines.

I thank those who taught me that a demonstration of faithfulness to one is a miracle to another.

I thank those who were praying for me from the sidelines, and those who dedicated miles in their own race to pray for me.

Through the past 10 years, He brought me to and through situations, miracles and tests that built the mental toughness I needed to endure. He taught me His Word through reading the Bible, so that I would know and remember His faithfulness. Every situation I faced where I didn’t know the way, He knew the path in advance. I walked blindly through night seasons only to discover exactly what I set out to find.

He trained me in the dark.

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