It’s taken me awhile to be able to write this…

You all have heard me talk about the weight loss journey (don’t worry, I’m still on it…) and you have heard me blah, blah, blah about training for a 1/2 marathon.  It turns out the 1/2 marathon was far bigger than I ever could have imagined.

It’s taken me awhile to be able to write this because running the 1/2 was by far a bigger Spiritual experience than I expected.  It was pretty big physically, too, but only because in the weeks leading up to the race, I had been kinda sickly.  Like heavily medicated and pray and breathing treatment kinda sickly.

I was/am grateful that I had some really great friends along with me.  These chicas are Jesus loving, family focused, encouragers extraordinaire…

I would be the linebacker among the ballerinas on the right! 😉

I won’t bore you with the details of how we were all really nervous and praying our way from our rooms to the lobby of the hotel.  Kelly was running her first 5k and she did great!!  Cynthia did a fabulous job.  Really.  She runs at a Speedy Gonzales pace and is in great condition.  My running partner, Jenn, is wonderfully pregnant with her first baby! 🙂  We had to stop training together so she could focus on taking care of her (yes, I am hoping for a girl, her family is betting against me) during her first trimester.   She did a great job persevering and walking the entire way.  A HUGE accomplishment for this very competitive and goal oriented athlete!  So proud of her.  Me, well.  Yep.  I just wanted to pray my way through the course and finish.  My goal was to finish without dying.  I jokingly would say it alot.  Have fun and not kill myself.

I ran alone.  I’m a people person.  I love having partners and getting encouragement from others.  I’m new to this whole running thing and still feel completely unsure.  Or did.

We had plans to spend the night on Saturday after the race.  We were going to EAT… yeah buddy… and rest and pamper ourselves and then go home Sunday.  Or we did plan that.

Days leading up to that we all became a tad unsure.  For various reasons.

It was a great race.  A well run race.  Organizers were amazing and hosted a wonderful experience.  Lots of encouragement and fueling stations through the maniacal race course.  Lots of “you can do it DEBRA’s!”  Poor people couldn’t read my bib.  Bless their hearts, I know I was running really fast.  Not.

I prayed over my family.  I prayed over friends that were hurting.  I prayed over my sister’s sick puppy.  I prayed for the strength and healthy to glorify Him throughout the race.  I prayed for the blessing of finishing well.  I prayed for my momma heart and asked for Him to heal it.  I prayed for my husband and our marriage.  I thanked Him for the wonderful weather and the ability to run.  I prayed for the women I was running with.  I prayed through the pain.  So.. you get it.. I prayed and praised and worshiped the entire race.  But that wasn’t it.  I finished pretty well for this ole’ chick.  My time was 33 minutes faster than I thought.  Nothing Olympic mind you, but worthy of a high five and a shower and some food.

Then He did it.

He showed me why I was there.

Because I pray.  Because I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t pray.

Kelly, Cynthia and I were waiting at the finish line for Jenn to walk in.  We had walked back up to about 40 yards before the finish line and waited at the edge of the railings.  And then He did it.

He showed me why I was there.

Because He needed me to pray.  Because I could do nothing else except pray.

Lynn Manzelman, a well trained, experienced runner collapsed in front of us just 20 yards shy of the finish line.  I didn’t know her.  I wasn’t blessed with being a part of her life until that moment.  My heart just broke in my chest.  As the officials and the medical team began to work on her, I knew.  I had seen it with my own eyes before. To my own family.

Right in front of me, right in front of all of these women, He was showing me why I was there.  I hit the pavement and we prayed.  I kept praying.  I didn’t stop praying. I couldn’t stop thinking about her.  Her family.  Her friends.  Her running buddies.  Was she okay?  Lord, what where you showing me?

I wasn’t there to run for me.  Really?  Nope.

I was there to pray.

Lynn Manzelmann ran her last race and went to be with the Lord on September 26th, 2010.  If you would like to continue to pray for her family or hear more about her life, please do.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.  Ever get over the way He speaks to me… when I pray.  Ever get over the reasons why He has me running.

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8 Comments

  1. I love your heart … more all the time. And as the recipient of so many of your prayers, I thank Him for you on a daily basis. You are just beautiful – inside and out. So honored to call you friend.

  2. Dedra – that was beautifully written!! You r an inspiration to so many.

    God has put u in my life and for that I’m very thankful !

    Keep praying girl 😉

    1. I am praying girl! And who knew.. that at a table of women.. we would meet each other and become good friends? Grateful.

  3. Just another example of why we need to hug our friends, hug our kids, hug our spouses, family members….everyone!! Life is way to short to take anyone/anything for granted. Love you so much!! Thank you for being you. :o)

  4. Thanks for sharing! I'm so sorry that u witness this…. It's so cool that u are able to hear God speaking to you….and that u listened. Sometimes we hear God but we don't listen. Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:17

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