Standing in the cool water of Whitefish Lake, looking out at the array of blue colors glazed with a dancing light from the sun. To my left and right were other competitors ready to take a plunge and challenge their limitations with the unknown of their potential. Everything that brought me to this moment was a victory for heaven and a prophetic picture of a new chapter in my life.
The gun fired, and the sprint triathlon began.
My mother passed away training for her second Los Angeles marathon; she was such a fighter. Running 26.2 miles, I remember my anticipation and joy as she crossed the finish line at 4 hours and 21 minutes. She lived her dream and defeated her limits.
Memories of my mother and I running on dirt trails and California beaches flooded my mind and heart… Eight years later it was my race.
I signed up for the Sprint Triathlon in the Summer of 2011. The course was laid out with a mile and a half swim, fourteen-mile bike ride, and a three-mile run. Healing from a broken relationship, I used this race to end that chapter and cross the finish line into a new one.
No one went to cheer me on, however, I knew the Spirit of God was with me and my mom was watching from heaven.
Swimming in the cold, choppy waters, I reminisced standing at my mother’s grave with a picture of legacy imprinted in my heart. Looking down at her beautiful smile on the picture of her tombstone, I said, “Ok Mom, I have the baton. It’s time to run my race…”
The writer of Hebrews relates his walk with God in this life to a race:
“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.” (Hebrews 12:1)
This verse mirrored a fight to be won in my heart. I was going through despair and uncertainty, but with my mom as my inspiration. I chose to show the Lord and myself that I am going to fight the good fight of faith. I am going to move forward.
Many people told me prior to the race the swim would be the hardest. I found the biking was the most difficult because I didn’t have a racing bike, and was watching those with correct equipment fly by me like the wind. I began to feel alone and discouraged as I was trudging up the hill with my legs wanting to give out.
“Come on Jess, you can do this,” I whispered to myself with tears in my eyes.
Suddenly, the Lord showed me His presence; He showed me He was with me.
During my last mile run, my iPod played Never Give Up On Me by Josh Bates from Facing the Giants soundtrack. The song was perfect in timing and spoke to me about God’s unfailing love.
“You never give up on me
No, You never give up on me
Though I’m weak you are strong
You told me I still belong
No, you never, never give up on me
You always erase all my mistakes
You lift me up when I’m down
Through all the ages, Your love never changes.
You welcome me just as I am.”
God intervened in my race impacting the rest of my life. Passing the finish line, I remember smiling to the sky with my heart overwhelmed. Overcome with love and vision, I linked arms with Heaven that day and worshiped in my car on the way back home. He was with me; He helped me run my race.
And my mom, well, I know she was proud.