Sunday, January 1, 2012

" ...And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, "
This is the second half of the first verse of Hebrews 12 and it  is a  meaningful verse to me for many reasons.  I was a runner in my younger days.  I fully understand the preparations needed to run the race set before me. To even compound that knowledge further, my son Jeffrey is a marathon runner.

Jeff finishing the Boston Marathon in 2011
From Jeff, I learned many things about the months of work and dedication needed to prepare one's body for such a race.  The eating, the sleeping, the miles, the shoes; it is truly incredible to me.  So yes, I feel I have a good handle on the understanding Hebrews 12:1.  

I was in a field running about two years ago when a not so often thing happened.  Mid song on the ipod, while in deep thought, and half in prayer, God spoke to me.  He told me to hang on tight, and trust in Him, because my life was going to change in a big way.  (I blogged about this here)

(Funny how this running theme is taking shape in my mind, I think I am looking forward to getting back to the gym.)
But with today being the first day of a new year it has us all doing the same thing: reflecting on the past year, and looking forward to a new year.  

I had one of the loved pastor's in my life say this: "Everyone is in one of three places in their life, 1. about to enter a storm, 2. just coming out of a storm, or 3. in the middle of a storm."  

I remember sitting in my pew with a smug little smile on my face at the time, thinking that it had been quite a while since I was in a storm, and that I was loving my life right where it was, (thank you very much).  Oh, but he was right.  And without even knowing it, I was sitting in a boat with the sun shining down, not even realizing how quickly the sky can change, and that I was heading straight into a Michigan Summer Thunder-doozey!

So if you are my friend you know this stuff, but if you are just tuning in I can assure you that I am just crossing over the finish line of the biggest, and longest marathon I have never prepared myself for.  

I chose this picture because I remember having a migraine this day, and after looking at our photos,
my mother commented on how she could see the pain on my face.
I will explain for you in case you have never read my blog before.  In November, I had a double cervical fusion.  That means that the Dr. took out two disks between vertebrae that were broken and painful in my neck, and filled the space with bone from a cadaver, then bolted it all into one segment. (Can you say OUCH?)

There are hardly the words to describe the pain I went through before making that decision, and the fear that went with it was crippling.  Add to my past 18 months: moving away from family and the best friends I had ever had to a lonely, and not so friendly place, and you have the picture of my "RACE"

I want to tell you the good news of this.  Just as clearly as God gave me a word up on this time coming, I had a clear word this morning that it has ended. I am so relieved that I am free from pain for the first time in nearly two years that I can honestly not wipe the smile off of my face.  Talk about a new lease on life.

At the same time I write this, my heart is breaking for some very dear friends and family who are going through some big storms at this very moment.

Maybe your spouse has decided to call it quits, or worse yet, has betrayed you? 
Maybe you are living in pain physically?  
What is it that God has given us this entire verse for?

Hebrews 12: 1-3
 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

What race is God calling you to prepare for in 2012?

Maybe God wants you to throw away years worth of bitterness and anger and finally forgive that person who is asking for your forgiveness?

Maybe God wants us to look outside of our world view and see that there are other life situations than the ones you can see through your life's experiences.

Maybe you need to be the strong leaning pole while your friend suffers and needs someone to cling to.

I do not know what God has in store for me, or for you in 2012,  but I do know how to understand the rest of that verse.  He (God) has suffered far worse than our worst storm, and apparently one of his motivations was so that we would have the opportunity to say;
"God not only understands, but he is letting me go through this to make me stronger." 


Karen Kuecken said...

I love you. You are an amazing writer. This made me tear up. Loved it. :)

deckermj2 said...

We know your pains,and are so happy that you were able to find the right Doctor, and hospital, and surgery that helped you win over this particular storm. As you say, there is no way of knowing what lies ahead, in 2012, or 2013, or ever. We cannot say, what is or is not going to happen. All we can do is hang on to the hand that is always there, Jesus never leaves us or forsakes us. He may allow a storm, but stays with us until it passes over and the sky is clear again. God bless you Mary, I pray you will stay well, and always holding the hand that leads you. WE love you, Mom and Jack.