"And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
- Romans 5:5
The Bearathon was the very first half marathon I had ever run. I have been running for as long as I can remember. I usually would enter into 5K or 10K races, but never a half or full marathon. My 3rd year at Baylor, I finally got up the courage (with the help of a precious friend) to run this race and what a race it was!
My 3 years at Baylor have been such a blessing. The Lord opened so many doors and taught me so much! Yet, even during my freshman year, I felt that I was just not fulfilling my full potential. I, however, was not yet aware and very scared of what my full potential could be...
It wasn't until this year, this spring semester, I finally took that leap of faith and jumped full force into finding out my full potential.
After months of trying to figure things out, I finally decided to give the idea of transferring out of Baylor a go... convenient timing... My boyfriend goes to Auburn and as much as I didn't want to "be that girl" and follow him to school... with the blessing of the progression our relationship the idea seemed so right. I have always been strong academically and figured transferring would be easy... I was wrong. I applied to transfer in December and was denied admission. Guys, I have never been denied like that. I was completely devastated! It hurt, but I was humbled. It was almost as if God was showing me that if this is what I wanted, He would bless it but it will take hard work and training....
Just like with running. I have been running for so long, when I signed up for the half marathon, I thought training would be easy. I've run 8 miles before, 13 should be no problem! The first time I tried to test my endurance and shape I only made it 3 miles.... It was disheartening, and like with the Auburn denial, I was humbled. Training for the half marathon was going to take work and discipline.
Beginning the semester I was very motivated and determined. I was going to work hard. My strength was nourished and quenched. I was feeling good. Beginning the half marathon, I felt the same way! I was pumped to get this baby underway! In the very beginning classes seemed good. I was feeling great about the semester. With the race, the first few miles felt great. I was getting into my pace and breathing. I had my good friend Amanda supporting me along the way as well as onlookers on the sidelines! Life was going good!
Let me just tell you one thing... the Bearathon is considered the toughest Half in Texas... not because of the 13 miles but because of the hills. Like with the semester. I knew there would be times of trials and times that would get tough but until I actually went through the "hills" I didn't really know.... The first hill I came too in the race was during mile 7. I was feeling good mile wise. I was in my pace and I knew if the run was a straight path, I would be fine! I saw the first hill coming and kind of pumped myself up... the first hill was the one and only hill I attempted to run up... I almost threw up at the top of the hill... all of my energy was GONE! It was miserable. The only thing that was running through my mind was the fact that I had 4 more of these to run up... terrifying. My first trial of the semester wasn't so clear cut... my best friend and I parted ways... I know friends come and go as with seasons of life... but we were roommates. At first it was awkward due to the fact that I absolutely hate conflict and try to avoid it at all costs... as time passed... the distance between us grew until we just kind of became civil and polite to each other when needed. I never felt more alone in my life. My two greatest supports were both hours away... I saw the semester looming ahead of me and had no idea how I was going to get through it by myself.
In the race, I ended up power walking, semi jogging up the rest of the hills. I quickly came to the conclusion that I didn't have the endurance or strength to run up the hills and keep going. I had to slow down and lean on the strength I had at that moment. There were many moments and many bumps in the road that popped up and made me wobble through out the semester. I was getting too tired and exhausted, desiring the finish line, to be out of Baylor, was all that was on my mind. But there were no short cuts... no easy ways out. I had to keep going.
I thank God for his strength and faithfulness through this semester and the race. But I thank him every day for the people he placed in my life encouraging and praying and lifting me up this semester. My precious nugget and sunshine, Amanda, who literally ran the race with me and walked with me through this past semester. My rock, my Mom, who talked on the phone and heard to me cry and laugh and just listened at all hours to speak truth, wisdom and prayer to me. And my heart, my Justin, who walked with me, lead me and filled my life with joy and the love of the Lord constantly. (And so many more!) Through out the actual race, I would get spurts of energy or motivations to finish strong. I strongly believe that God pours out his strength and love to us through the ones we are closest too. God filled me and sustained me through the love and encouragement of the ones I held nearest to my heart.
Despite the spurts of energy and motivation through out the trials and hills, the last 2 miles were the hardest. My body was numb but still in pain. I was beyond exhausted and knew I was almost done. I was ready to be done. I wanted to stop so badly. 2 miles... only 2 miles left. In the grand scheme of things, 2 miles isnt bad. I run 2 miles all the time... however... after running 11 before hand, 2 miles seemed like 20 to me. Welcome to the last few weeks of school of the semester. Classes were winding down, I could see the finish line. I wanted to just stop, stop being strong and just be finished! I felt like the last few weeks of school went by so slowly. I was exhausted. I had worked so hard to get my grades where they needed to be, I was almost there.
Finally... THE FINISH LINE! I'll never forget the moment I crossed the finish line of the bearathon.... I was SO happy to be done but so proud of myself for what I had just done. I couldn't believe it! I actually made it! The finish line of the semester came when I got two of my hardest class grades in and my GPA was then high enough to transfer. I cried. A huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I actually made it! I had finished and done what I had set out to do. Still brings tears to my eyes. It was so hard...
I can only sit here and give all of the glory to God... no matter how tough it was, I know that none of it could have been done without the strength and love of our amazing Lord and Savior. Walking the path he has set out for us isn't always easy but he never ever puts us in situations we can't handle. He gives us the strength we need when we need it. We will face those dumb hills but it is during those moments his strength shines brighter than anything else. When we reach our limits, He is there holding our hands walking along side of us pouring his strength into us. Just because the race is tough, doesn't mean its not going to get better in the end. I am still waiting on one more grade until I actually apply to transfer next semester. I'm nervous and excited. I'm not sure what next year looks like but I know that He is walking right beside me always. I have nothing to fear. All the glory to him because ultimately he is building us stronger to better serve his purpose, our desires.
I am sad to say Goodbye to Baylor and the friends i've been so blessed with, but its not really a goodbye ... no, its just a page turn to a new chapter. :)
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
-2 Timothy 4:7