Last fall, God prompted me to run another half marathon, marking the ending of one season and the beginning of a new era. I don’t know how eternity and time work but it seems that God in a sense closed the book on seasons and we have entered a whole new era. Maybe He will impart to you the life He infused in me during running this half marathon. 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and the perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

May this verse be as oxygen to our souls! Here are a few of my new breaths:

  1. In former races my witnesses, my cheerleaders, were the crowd. This race they were mainly my co-runners and family. Nathan, Hannah’s husband, also ran.There is nothing like our kids and bonus kids running the race with us. Of course, he finished 1.5 hours before me, but my heart was empowered to know he was with me. Passing on the trail, his encouragement rang out clear. A fellow grandmother, my angel, and I finished the last grueling hour together. We were each other’s personal encourager. At the finish line, Hannah cheered me on, not letting me stop short. Sitting exhausted, little Eden slipped up beside me, patted my back, and put her head on my shoulder. Wow! Family and community is a priceless gift in this era. 
  2. I’ve never ran with pacers, but I felt like God said it was the only way I’d finish within my goal. Pacers alternate running and walking. At the beginning when I was fresh, I struggled slowing to a walk. I wanted to keep running. It felt counterproductive. But I surrendered, following their lead and finished better than my time when I was 48! Rest, surrender, and pacing are the only ways we will finish this era well. 
  3. During the race I just could not get those little cups of water down. A lady runner told me I need my own water backpack with tubing that I could sip from. As we run this race of life, we need our own fresh supply of the Living Water as a well inside of us that we can drink of His presence consistently. 
  4. At the end I kept asking God, “Please let  me see the finish line. Where is that stinking finish line?” Finally, the last .1 mile I saw it. Joy filled my soul! I quickened my pace. In this era, I can’t run with my head down, focused on circumstances around me. Rather, our eyes are fixed on Him, the originator and finisher of our faith. 

These are just four of seven big breaths we need to consistently breathe into our being during this next era. As we run this race may we not compete or despise each other but rather encourage and spur each other forward. May we find the rest of the Lord and not fill our lives with dead works that do not promote faith. But rather take on His burden and surrender to Jesus, letting Him set the pace. Let’s dig deep into our own well of relationship with the Holy Spirit that we do not dehydrate but have life coursing through us. May our gaze ever be clear, not marred by circumstances or preconceptions, that we may behold Jesus, the Lion who is our Lamb. Together, let’s run the race before us, enjoying the journey, staying in our lane, finishing well, and hearing, “Well done!” This is going to be an exciting era!