Once I stopped running, I started running.
You are probably asking the question, “What does running have to do with a ministry?”
At some point, I believe that all of us are either running towards something or running from something. From a young age, I began running from something. I began running from the life that surrounded me.
Running became a pattern in my life. It carried into my adulthood. When things got tough in college, I ran. I attended 3 different colleges in 4 years. When things began to get difficult in my career, I ran. I had 5 jobs in the first 4 years of our marriage. When things got tough in my marriage, I ran. I ran to alcohol. I ran to isolation. I ran to adultery.
All of the years of running away from reality caught up with me to the point of exhaustion. It was in these moments of spiritual dehydration that the God of the universe reached down and breathed life into my lungs. I did not have to run anymore. I had never felt more at peace by being still.
Once I stopped running emotionally, I began running physically.
What happened next was something that I did not expect. Every time I put on my shoes and hit the pavement, God showed up. I fell in love with running but more importantly, I fell in love with Jesus as I would spend hours upon hours crying, praying, and listening to God’s whisper. It quickly became something much bigger than training for a marathon. It became my time to connect with my creator. When everything around me had fallen apart, God was putting the pieces back together deep within my soul.
I clearly heard his voice tell me, “I am giving you a new passion for running so I can spend time with you without any distractions. Do this in honor of me and for my glory.”
I have completed 42 marathons in 41 different states including the Chicago Marathon in 3 hours, 11 minutes, and 2 seconds to qualify for the 2018 Boston Marathon. My goal is to run a marathon in each state plus Washington DC. Once that goal is complete, God will lay on my heart another mission. For the time being, I know I am called to run marathons.
Running marathons is not about me. It is about connecting with Jesus in a very personal and intimate way. Each race has a story. Just as each of you has a story. All of the sacrifice, pain, and suffering leading up to the race have been rewarded by crossing the finish line. Life is much like running a marathon. We go through seasons where pain and suffering is suffocating. However, there is a healer. There is a hope. His name is Jesus. When you cross the line of faith, Jesus will meet you when you surrender to Him and you will experience unending grace and forgiveness.
Jesus is calling you. Is today the day you need to cross that line of faith?
Run by faith.