The process of learning to be a runner is challenging for me. It doesn't come naturally. I have to focus on my breathing. I have to focus on my posture. I have to have ridiculous arguments with my legs. "Just put on your big girl panties and KEEP GOING." All of this jumbled together means that, should I actually make it to the last mile of the half marathon, I will feel more accomplished than I ever have. I've had other accomplishments. I finished grad school. But to be perfectly honest, other than the duration of that process, it wasn't that hard. The actual content was not challenging. I know it sounds crazy, but running is harder for me than graduate school. (However, it's cheaper. Thank God.)
God has been working big time in the past couple of months, and He's doing a work in my spirit that feels a little like running that last mile and crossing the finish line. I got to be a part of something tonight that circumstance could have easily robbed from me. I witnessed a family bring their newly adopted daughter home from the other side of the world. I got to stand in the airport and watch their sweet reunion. I got to watch the Biggest Sister kneel down on the carpet of the airport floor, waiting for her mama to round the corner. I got to watch the Big Sister (different kid) ask over and over if her new sister was ever going to get off that plane. I got to stand on the sidelines and take it all in, because their new daughter is my niece....kind of. She's Ex's new niece. But since we're not married anymore, she's sort of my "not my niece." But I love her like she was a niece of the regular variety. Divorce could easily have robbed that from me.
But the really cool thing about all of it is that Ex's family decided a long time ago to do divorce differently. As a result of that, Ex and I, when faced with the same challenges, committed to doing divorce differently. It hasn't always come naturally. There have been so many times when it was just like trying to run. Focus on your breathing. Monitor your posture. And then put on your big girl panties and JUST KEEP GOING. There have been a lot of things over the last handful of years that have been hurtful on both sides of the fence. There were lots of opportunities to quit and decide it wasn't worth it. But both of us, (all of us) knew that E WAS WORTH IT, so we kept going. (And praise Jesus for The Champ, because he's so incredibly supportive of this concept, a trait that I found out the hard way is not easy to come by. Gosh, I love him.)
God has been bringing major things together lately that feel like the last mile. Like maybe, we're coming up on the finish line and it's all REALLY going to be okay. Like maybe, just maybe, God really did know what he was doing the entire time. I imagine this is what that guy was feeling when he wrote, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see." That guy had gotten divorced.
There's this thing I've started telling myself when I run. Whenever it gets hard, and the "I can't's" creep into my thoughts, I say this phrase, mostly in my head, but sometimes out loud. "I am, because He is. I can, because He did." To me, it means "I am capable, because He is the I AM. I can run this mile for Him, because He carried the cross for me." It's always enough to keep me going.
God has just confirmed to me, through divorce, through adoption, through unexpected conversations, that He is enough. He heals ALL things. There is no exception to that rule. Ever.
This realization has been soaking into my soul for a few days now, but tonight I crossed the finish line.
I am, because He is. I can, because He did.