|this was not the marathon. I don't have any pictures of that race because it was before digital photography.|
I've run a marathon before.
People always ask me that. I ran the Country Music Marathon in Nashville one month before I got married to Matt.
I thought it would be good for me to run it and reflect on the life that I was going to live with my new husband and all the things that it would teach me would help me get ready to be a wife.
It taught me things.
But it didn't teach me how to be a wife.
It taught me that sometimes you run miles and it feels effortless, with laughter and energy. It's easy.
Sometimes you run miles with some friends. People around you who are running the same pace as you. You encourage one another. Keep each others spirits up when you are feeling a little low. You want to keep going just because they are there. Friends can make all the difference.
Some miles you are running well because you have some great cheerleaders. Someone thinks you are doing great, so you are! Someone is dancing near you and it lifts your spirit. Someone else is running well, so you are encouraged enough to go a little further. Encouragement by cheerleading. Some miles you just need someone cheering you on.
Some miles; the hardest miles--no amount of music, friends, water, food or cheering crowds will do a thing for you. You are cashed out. Exhausted by the fight. Frustrated. Tired. Beaten. Everything hurts. In the Nashville Marathon, a band started playing "Much Too Young To Feel This Damned Old" by Garth Brooks when I felt like that. I wanted to throw things at people around me who were still running easily, laughing and having no problems. It is so isolating.
I got a blister during the marathon. A small little one. It started about mile 13. No big deal. It hurt.
I made it to the end of the race. About a week later, it took over half my foot. I couldn't hardly walk. Sometimes it's the smallest things in our lives that end up hurting us the worst.
I laughed in the marathon because it was in Nashville and we ran down streets with A LOT of churches on them. One church had a sign that held a running verse on it:
"Run the race marked out for you with perseverance"
I loved that because I hated training for the race. I never picked out the routes so I never knew the turns, I never knew what mile we were on. It just seemed endlessly frustrating and mentally exhausting. Which it was! I was running lost so much of the time. That verse meant so much to me on race day because the work was done. I was simply running the race that was marked out for me. I didn't have to think. I just followed the route.
The same thing goes for Christ. It is SOOOO much easier to follow what He has marked out for me than just to go my own way. To just jet off the path is exhausting, frustrating and meant for getting lost.
Just follow the race marked out for me with perseverance.
I passed that sign and looked back at it. The sign said "Don't look back! Remember Lot's wife!"
That was huge for me.
Don't look back.
Keep looking forward.
You will finish this race. Good things lie ahead. The future is ahead. Keep going towards its.
Then when we rounded the corner towards Titans stadium, you could see all the fanfare and it literally looked like heaven.
I could STOP running the race when I hit the line. Just like when I get to heaven. I won't have to run this race anymore. I won't be worried! I'll be done!
As I was crossing the line, they yelled out my name "Leslie Lamb, Asheville, North Carolina!"
That is pretty much what I imagine they are going to do in heaven too.
Then a little girl walked up to me and put a medal around my neck and said, "Thank you for running this race."
I am pretty sure that is what is going to happen in heaven too.
But it'll be Jesus.
I can't wait.
I didn't learn a lot about marriage running the marathon, but I learned so many things about life.
This time around, I am using a training schedule and I am setting the plan.
It is no less exhausting.
I have a blister on my toe and I'm so mad at such a small thing.
The small things become big things.
Some miles are easy and some miles are really hard.
We all need people to cheer us on. Through them all.