I used to be a runner. I’ve said that before I’m sure at least once. Running was such a key part of my identity as a young person, I’ve never really let go of it totally, despite the road my uncooperative muscles have taken me on. Before my running career met an inglorious end due to muscle trouble, I set records, won races, and took my small state of Idaho by storm (at least in my event). Thirty years have passed, and often I’ve wondered at the hours and hours I spent on something that lacked any sort of long term benefit. I’ve felt half guilty. I was so obsessed with something that wasn’t eternal! I’ve wondered what God thought about all that time, all those years.
This past week’s been pretty tough. I felt terrible and found out I had two infections. I was grouchy and hard to live with and then felt badly about being such a pain in the you know what, especially to my poor husband. I should have stayed in bed, but it’s really hard to be a teacher and miss school so I just “toughed it out.” However poorly that was done…. The wicked Witch of the West had nothing on me! Then last night I got the worst migraine I’ve ever had (they think spurred on by the medicine I was taking for the infections.) And I was done. I was curled up on the floor crying my eyes out. I wanted out. I wanted to quit. I wanted to be just plain done with this life. And I kind of couldn’t believe it. After all I’d faced in the last two years, I’m crumpled up and quitting now?
Today is a better day (thank the good Lord in heaven!) and I’m not on the ledge anymore. I was talking to God about the whole thing and He had something really interesting to say. “Tammy, no matter how hard this life has been for you, you are not a quitter. All those years of running did something in your soul. And you just don’t quit.” Competitive training is all about discipline. It’s about schooling the body to push in pain. It’s going out to run 7 miles in the midst of a snowstorm or rain. It’s running when everyone else is sleeping in, or pushing one more lap when you don’t think you can go on. It did help me. I learned to put my head down into the midst of the windstorm and not quit.
My thoughts quickly turned from this towards my two teenage daughters. I so want to protect them. I see their hurts and disappointments and I want to shield them, to make it all better, to pave a lovely path for their lives. But I cannot see the future and don’t know what they need. Or how the fruits of their present challenges and life experiences might actually help them. But God knows. He sees. He watched that skinny girl step out into the rain to pound out those miles all alone and saw a different day when she would need to know how to push on.
We never know how God is preparing us for the roads we walk. But we can trust Him because He is faithful and good.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.