I need to share something. I’ve been running this race for a long time. This is my race. I have a lane, and I have a finish line. My race is not a sprint, it is a marathon, and in the struggle, I many times have lost the heart to make it to the end. It is those moments for which I need to say thank you to many of you. It suddenly struck me hard between the eyes this morning that I am grateful for my race, for this eating disorder, for my struggles. I am grateful because in the struggle, I have found God’s grace made perfect in my weakness. I have found a great cloud of witnesses cheering me on, encouraging me to the finish line. Without my eating disorder, I would not be learning how to lock my eyes on Jesus, how to be humble enough to ask for help, and how to live each day knowing I cannot do it on my own.
This post is a thank you to each person who has reached out, who has listened to God’s nudge to send me a message of encouragement or to comment on my posts with prayers. You truly have no idea how much you all have kept me running. Very wise women of faith shared the race analogy with me this past week after my last blog. I had let the weeds at my feet trip me up and take my eyes of Jesus standing at the end. But once again, the cloud of witnesses cheered me forward and once again, my perspective has refocused because of many of you. God didn’t put me on this race to struggle alone. He gave me the support I need to make it. And my prayer is that as I get farther along, God can use me as the encouragement someone else may need. The past is defined by death. The future is held by God. I want the future. I want to run my race in such a way that I bring glory to God in each step toward home. So yes, I am thankful for ED because in his effort to pull my eyes behind to the death that lurks there, he has thrust me directly into the arms of Jesus. I will run because the future shines with hope.
I wrote a poem called My Race when I lived in Nicaragua. I was dealing with some serious doubts during a hard time, and this poem is the first time in my life that God actually spoke directly to me and it came out the end of my pen. I write because that is how I process. When God speaks to me, he has given me the ability to process his voice into words on a page. I want to share this poem today because of what happened the last few weeks with ED and because of the encouragement a few have given me to pull my focus back to my race as a marathon. These are my life verses because whenever I read these verses, I feel that moment sitting on my bed in Nicaragua when God spoke them directly to me. So when my race is over, I know exactly what the finish line holds. I cannot wait to get there! But until I get there, I will run hard, locking my eyes on Jesus standing at the end and soaking in the cheers from all of you. And I will cheer for you, too. Because we are family and family doesn’t leave anyone behind. I pray you also find encouragement in these words, as I have.
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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
By Rhonda Joy Hubers
I stood in confusion,
lost and scared.
No one had told me where to go.
I didn’t know where to go.
I didn’t know which direction was the finish.
I didn’t know my path.
The gun had gone off,
the clock was ticking,
and I was standing.
I turned circles,
sinking into self pity because everyone had left without me,
without caring that I was lost and alone and scared.
Then I heard a voice.
I raise my eyes, trying to see through the blur of my frustration,
the blur of my tears.
In the distance was a man.
If I squinted and craned my neck, I could see him,
waving his arms and calling my name.
Standing in the sun,
his face illuminated so I could see his eyes,
filled with determination.
no room for me to wallow there.
Instead, I was embarrassed that he was seeing me this way.
He looked at me in a way that made me stand a little straighter
and pull myself together.
His eyes were so deep.
The longer I looked, the more I saw.
He was calling me forward.
“Come to me. Come this way.
Don’t just stand there.
Run the race marked out for you.”
I looked and saw a path and knew it was the start of my path.
I couldn’t see all of it,
but I knew it had been created just for me.
Then I realized, no wonder everyone else had left.
Their paths were not my path.
Runners all have their own lane;
it’s only the finish line that is the same.
marked for me,
with the Prize standing in the light at the end,
calling to me,
beckoning to me.
I looked at my feet.
I looked at the man.
Back to my feet.
Like a baby discovering how to walk,
I timidly picked up my right foot,
set it down in front of the other,
one step, the beginning.
One step, giving me confidence.
One step, on my path.
I kept looking at my feet.
One in front of the other,
faster and faster,
blurring the ground.
And then I fell.
Entangled in all the vines and thorns pulling at my clothes,
wrapping around my legs,
ripping my skin.
The tears sprang up so quickly.
Why was my path so much harder than everyone else’s?
Why wasn’t it cleared off?
Why wasn’t it marked?
Why was this race so unfair?
Why should I even get up and finish this dumb race?
I didn’t want to fall again.
I didn’t want to hurt.
I didn’t . . .
A voice. My name.
I heard it.
I moved to my knees,
peered over that which had entangled me.
He was still there.
“Get up, you’re losing.
Look at me. Look into my eyes.
Lock your eyes on me, not your feet.
Your feet are not the way;
Don’t look down. Look at me.
I will guide you home.
It’s worth it.
Come home! Come home!
Come to the finish!”
Slowly I rose to my feet.
With my eyes on his, I stepped forward.
Then I heard the crowd behind the man, a great cloud witnessing my race,
cheering me on.
The cheers echoed joyfully in my ears.
But I never moved my eyes.
I threw off all that had hindered me and I ran.
My lungs full.
My legs strong.
My breath even.
My eyes locked.
No self pity.
Ripping away anything that tried to slow me down,
I ran with perseverance that race marked out for me.
It wasn’t easy.
But because the man had finished,
because he wanted me to finish,
because he made me believe I could finish,
because he believed in me,
I fixed my eyes on him,
the author of my faith,
from the first step,
each step following,
each step to come,
teaching me to trust in him.
His eyes danced for me.
He cheered for me,
his one voice louder than the thousands who had finished before me
and who cheered me on now.
I fought for each step.
Because I saw in his eyes Joy.
The joy of a teacher, a mentor, a coach
whose student has understood, has learned,
has trained and overcome.
I knew I was his joy.
He had finished so he could stand where he was now
to bring me across the finish line.
I moved faster.
My heart swelled to make room for all the love he was giving me in his eyes.
I lengthened my stride,
straightened my body,
held my head high to make him proud,
to give him the glory for my victory which was really his victory in me.
I neared the end.
Never grew weary.
Never lost heart.
Never took my eyes away from my path reflected in his eyes.
I knew I was the joy set before him as he cheered.
He raised his fists in triumph as I came closer,
Straining and stretching my body to snap the tape.
I ran into the light and into his outstretched arms.
I had stepped out of my confusion and frustration in one step of faith
and now my faith was made perfect in the thrill of that embrace.
It had been a good race.