"You are not taking your MP3 player on this one," I heard God say.
In September I was looking for a race to do at the half way mark of Jeremy being gone. I found one back home, in the Arkansas/Oklahoma area. I lived in this area for 9 years and I honestly had no idea I lived 30 minutes away from the World's Tallest Hill (Wikipedia). It is 1,999 ft high. One foot shy of being called a mountain.
So, God tells me "no music" and I was feeling a little scared at how I was going to be able to do this if I don't have upbeat rhythm to pull me through. I knew what would. I held on to that little "secret" God told me. I cherished the request and promised to leave the music behind.
I traveled to Arkansas (4 hours away) with the support of my family waiting to witness me complete this. This is the closest to Pikes Peak they know.
When I arrived in Poteau (Oklahoma) I had hopes of being able to run in nice 70 degree weather, that is what the Weather Channel said, but it didn't turn out that way. It was 40 degrees with high of 54 and 30 mile winds. Honestly, it felt like good ol' Wichita weather so I was somewhat prepared.
My mother-in-law and Maddy gave me a hug and I jogged to the starting line. I was eavesdropping on people talking about the trail runs they had done earlier in the year and how this run was the most brutal run they have done. I pushed those thoughts behind and focused on God.
We started running and I was feeling so good. I was enjoying the scenery that Kansas doesn't seem to have. Oklahoma is beautiful. We began to climb up our first small hill (1 1/2 mile) and I was still jogging. I was praying that swelling wouldn't happen after this run.
There were no mile markers so I relied on Garmin to see me through. I don't like to focus on it all the time because it takes away from MY purpose but this day I had to.
Mile 2 was a little difficult and I had to walk but as soon as it evened out I was back to running. I looked down at the Garmin and noticed I was already at 3 1/2 miles. I began to feel a little bit of pride (just that I knew I was ahead of a lot of people) and I looked behind me to see. God said in an ever loud voice, "Why are you looking back?" and I quickly turned back around. He then asked me, "Do you remember what you are doing?" I said, "yes" and he asked me, "What is it?" I told him, "Completing not competing." At that moment I was renewed. It is amazing how fast things can creep up on you but how quick (bc you have the Holy Spirit) you can cast them away. I do not want pride and it is one of the things the Lord despises. His word says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" James 4:6. I wanted and found out I needed to be humble.
Mile 4 was a killer. I was literally leaning a walk up this steep hill. The hill was a paved road with rocks. I felt at times when I was walking up the hill that my knees almost touched the road. My butt felt like it was on fire and I prayed for immediate results since I had to endure 3 hard miles of working my glutes. The entire mile I prayed for my sister and reminding myself that I was completing not competing.
Mile 5 had arrived. I did not care what I finished, I had finished. I quickly ran over to the view and I was in awe. I made it. Not by myself of course. I had help from above. At the beginning of my running days, I had a vision of God sending down ropes to help me when I was struggling through wind and small hills. God had reminded me of those ropes during this run and I used them.
In the midst of feeling this enormous accomplishment I overheard a guy talking about what he had placed. I walked over to the directors and noticed them writing the results. I was looking at my category and there it was. I had won 1st place. I couldn't even speak. I was in shock and besides who would I speak to? My family was 1,999 ft. down and Jeremy is over 1,999 miles away. God heard me. I was laughing, crying, and thanking him over and over. All I could say was "what? really? me?" I felt immediately loved. Not just that I had won (I got a coffee mug) but because I had listened to God. "You are not taking your MP3 player on this one," he had said. I held on to that request for almost 2 months. I may start leaving my MP3 player behind all the time. I am not looking to win any prizes but to win with Jesus. I may not have noticed or reached for those ropes if I had music on. I might have looked behind with a proud heart at people behind me if I had music playing. God wanted my full attention. I leaned totally on him when I was struggling and not song 5 on my MP3 player (which is Golddigger).
What would happen if when God spoke something, we listened and obeyed? Well, it was proven to me that we win. I am convicted at this while writing because I don't do this enough. It is also freeing to me to have gone through it and know that it is real and can have results in your life when you follow God's leading. A part of following God's leading is not looking behind. God will quickly remind you to look ahead not behind. When you look behind at others or the past you are trying to see what purpose that is-not important. God says, "Turn around and see what the purpose is I gave you." We can't go through this life competing. What you have now and what you have accomplished you only did it through the grace and love of Jesus. You are not super woman/man that you can do this on your own. Jesus did, is, and will continue to do these things for you. There is so much more for you and I believe if you take off the MP3 player you will hear him.
So I ran/walked up the World's Tallest Hill. What does God say about that?
"Counting on God's rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I am king of the mountain!" Habakkuk 3:19
Well, it wasn't quite a mountain (just one foot shy) so I will settle for King of the Hill!