I never made it to the theatres to see War Room. Three quarters of the book was read before I got distracted by another book, but from what I did read the power of prayer struck me in the face. The intimacy that comes from alone time with the Lord is indescribable. As I related my life to this story I realized that my War Room….were my War Runs.
I used to loathe running. Heading out for a jog used to take all of the motivation I could muster. But then, one day, something changed. I was invited by a friend to meet some ladies at 5:45 (in the morning!) to run. Dragging myself out of bed for these early morning runs eventually became something I looked forward to. There I got the opportunity to meet with other ladies and participate in talking either before, during or after our run. We didn’t always run side by side, but we knew no one would be left behind. Suddenly, the runs I once loathed became a passion.
I ran a few 5 K’s, a 10K, and eventually added a few half marathons. I was never expecting to win, but I was always hopeful. I was not one to run in a race for fun. That didn’t even register. I was in it to win it. My competitive side would always come out, and I would push myself on race day just as hard as I could.
After enjoying a year of running, I began to have some pain in my knee. Whether it was from pushing myself too much too quickly or from a fall on a trail run or just life in general, knee surgery was scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving.
I’ll spare you the details, but basically my expected recovery went from, “You’ll be back at it in 4-6 months,” to “Sometimes it can take up to a year.”
Now, over a year since my surgery, I am finally beginning to gain some of the strength back in my muscles, and for several months I’ve been back to running. My running doesn’t resemble much of what it used to. I’m slower, there are days when my knee still has pain, and I’ve lost the desire to “compete”. Running, just to run, is nice.
Moving into our new neighborhood I quickly met a neighbor who also runs, so we meet before the sun rises and enjoy running together while we talk. We share about our kids (of course), settling into our new homes, our husbands’ work, and regular every day topics. Our new neighborhood is quite hilly, so I’ll do my best to ask her a question that may take a few minutes to answer right before heading up the hill. I can hardly breathe, let alone talk on these climbs! (I hope she’s not reading this!) 🙂
While running was absent from my life, I didn’t realize how much I had come to value it. I love the fellowship that comes from running with others, but I also treasure the time I have when hitting the pavement alone.
My Saturday morning runs bring life. When I am able to sneak one in, I am different when I return home.
These War Runs, as I’ve begun to call them, are revered for several reasons. Many times during one of these runs the Lord has opened my eyes to His world, His truths, and His words. Praise music plays on my phone and the lyrics minister to my soul. I have time to talk with God uninterrupted. These runs are cherished.
I took a day to run at the gym last week, and as I did I realized how much faster my pace was on the treadmill than it has been on the road. The realization hit me as I ran faster and faster….
THERE ARE NO HILLS
When I run in the daylight, I always wear a visor. Initially it was to block out the brightness of the sun and to keep my hair out of my face, but now I also use it to block the seemingly, never-ending hills.
As I approach these “obstacles” I will lower my head so that my visor blocks out the long ascent ahead. I’m sure I could write something super spiritual here about lifting my eyes to heaven, but as my breathing becomes more labored I know myself well enough that in this moment I can only handle one step at a time. If I look too far ahead discouragement will seep in. I won’t stop running, even if I could walk faster, because I know that once I stop it’s more difficult to begin again. It doesn’t matter that I’m slow. I’m continuing on.
If I’m praying while heading up these hills my words become more desperate. Gasping for breath, many times all I can utter is “Jesus”, or “help me”, or “thank you Lord”.
Many of us are gasping for breath as deadlines hit us at work, as we’re drowning in the never ending demands of our children, as our marriage is crumbling around us. But as we gasp for breath, trying to run up that hill, He is there.
Romans 8:34 tells us that Christ is sitting at the right hand of His Father making intercession for us. He is praying.
In these moments sometimes words elude me, but I know that in these desperate moments even if all I can utter is His name, it brings power.
Many times when getting to the top of the last hill on my run I want to raise both arms like Rocky and in my head this tune is playing…du-nu-nah, du-nah-nu, du-nu-nay, du-nah-nu, dununu-nanunay, dunt duh. I hope that even if you can’t read this you figure out that it’s the theme song for Rocky. 🙂 I wish I was kidding that I felt this way, but I’m not.
It feels like a tremendous accomplishment every time.
So as I arrive at the top of the hill there is always great rejoicing and a desire to tell others what I’ve gone through.
My desire is to do that in my life. As the mountains come and I climb I have to take it one step at a time. In my desperation, exhaustion, weakness, I will call on His name. As I enjoy my mountain top experience, I want to rejoice with others standing with me, but I also want to yell down to those still climbing that if I can make it, so can they.
I want to tell my stories. How Jesus is intertwined in my every day living.
There are long days and hard days and blessed days and fun days and painful days and joyful days, but through it all…..there is Jesus.