Thursday, May 24, 2012
Run the Race
When I wrote almost two months ago I thought I had changed a lot. I did, but the change wasn't over, and I have had to face some of the hardest challenges in my life. There is so much going through my mind right now. I changed the name of my blog. I love how Josh had his "the Bright and Hopeful Unknown". I kinda wish I could barrow it, but it is his. I have named mine Grace for Today - Hope for Tomorrow. It seems that is all I can do right now. Live by God's grace today and hope tomorrow will be just a little bit better than the day before. I should live like this every day, but it is times like these that make me realize how much I can't live without it. God's grace today one day at a time. I lost someone I counted as a true and reliable friend. Someone I looked forward to knowing for years. Someone whose future I couldn't wait to watch unfold. Someone I knew was honest and would communicate with me. Someone that would encourage me to have a closer relationship with the Lord. and then....in just a moment he was gone. I couldn't believe it at first. He slipped into the water. They must be imagining things. He must be within grasp. I must find him and pull him to safety. I searched frantically for just a glimpse of Josh. It was hitting me. I kept repeating "this is not good". I started to shake and tremble and felt as if I would collapse to the ground unable to stand. Then I saw Ariel's face. "Anne, you need to pray"! I took a deep breath and pleaded with God not to take him. To let us see him and rescue him. To look back and someday laugh about how he lived on the edge and always made it. I kept looking and then I saw him. I ran. Over rocks overgrown with bushes. I almost fell. I didn't look where I was going. All I could think was that I must get to Josh before it was too late. I finally realized I had to stop and look for a path as I kept missing, falling through cracks, and was risking a broken leg in the panic. I looked back to where I had seen Josh. He was gone. I looked around and continues my frantic race to where he had been. I looked in the water trying to see him. I could not. Again, I started to shake and felt as if I would collapse again. Ariel grabbed me and started praying. Again I pleaded with God not to take him. I was in shock, numb, this must just be a bad dream. Things like this don't happen to me. Leanne caught up with, a backpack on her shoulder with supplies and moving past where I felt my eyes glued to the river. Ariel, said she needed to keep going. I wanted to keep going. Searching. Then I heard that no one knew for sure if someone was trying to call for help. I had left my cell phone in my pocket the entire hike. I almost left it in the car, but felt the need to keep it. I called 911. My phone vibrated and vibrated trying to connect the call. Nothing. I asked Leanne who had car keys and thank the Lord she did. Stephen, Caleb, Ron, and Darla were out of sight. She gave me the keys and I started the hick our of the falls praying for reception and help. I got to the falls looked at the trail and started to run. All the while thinking, there must be someone that can do this better than I. I had wondered if I could make the hike in and out with a leisure pace. How could I ever make it out quickly. I ran for a bit and started to get winded. Knowing that I had eaten little and drank no water all day I slowed to a fast walk. I thought of Josh. All of his stories of Alert training. The hike where they didn't know the time, how long, or when or if they would rest. Endurance. Physically I was challenged but even more so mentally. What if they found him. What if they didn't. What if he wasn't breathing and needed a hospital. What if his life was hanging by a thread and I couldn't be fast enough to get help. My mouth was dry and my head was spinning. I should have drank water earlier when told to. I had to fight every second to keep my thoughts captive. I wanted to fall down in tears afraid of defeat. Every step in front of the other was one step closer to help. I couldn't stop. Every second was precious. I talked to myself out loud every step. Keep going. Don't give up. Josh needs you. Josh would do this for you. Don't let him down. God is with you. The path started it's sharp incline up. I let my pace slow a bit, but I could not stop. "God, I can't do this alone. Please carry me." He must have because I kept going. My mouth was so dry it was hard to talk. "Lord, I am sorry I didn't drink water. Please, can you give me water?" He did. Within a few minutes I came across a stream we had passed on the way down and I had remarked it looked clear enough to drink. I reached in for three quick handfuls and kept going. It was just enough. My head started to clear and my mouth no longer dry. I came to the second incline of the trail. Going up I would go slow and going down I would quicken the pace. I grabbed the side of the hill and stopped. 10 seconds and then I could move again. I counted quickly to 9 and moved. There wasn't time to waist. I kept trying to get reception. A few times the phone would ring and I would hear "911 what is your emergency?' They couldn't hear me. The connection was lost. Again and again I tried. Nothing. I was so afraid. So scared. Vulnerable. Alone. But I wasn't alone. God was there. His voice of truth calling me onward. Josh's face in my mind pushing me forward. Hebrews 12:1 " 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." I was clinging to God's word, His truth, slamming the door of doubt, fear, and despair. There must be a chance. There is still hope. I kept waiting to hear a familiar voice behind me yelling that they got him and that he was okay. It didn't come. I had a race to run. I had to keep going. I had to throw away everything that hinders. Only by God's grace. This was my race to run. I had to do it. There may have been someone better at it than me. I was so out of shape. Yet, God had given me this task. I have heard this verse so many times. I never ever even began to understand. Others depended on me finishing the race. I had to persevere. It wasn't just me on the line. It was those I cared about and others I didn't know. It could be Josh's life. I saw the bridge. Finally...I was almost there. The connection kept taunting me as it would connect enough to hear a voice and then be lost before they could hear me. I unlocked the car. Got in. Looked for emergency lights and then realized time was wasting. I was off. Driving quickly and then aware of the dangers of the corners. I couldn't risk others for my goal. I drove as quickly as I could while trying to be wise and safe. Looking for reception. Looking for a person at a home who might have a phone. Nothing. It seemed forever and then I saw it. The gal running the ranger station walking into the building. I left the car parked in a place that was not a parking spot and ran. She called 911 and they told me they had gotten my calls and were trying to find me through my cell phone. They asked me many questions. I needed help now. The gal brought me a chair and I sat. Answering questions, giving details. Telling our story. I needed to let people know what was happening. The Eddy's. How as I going to tell them? What was I going to tell them? What if in driving away I had missed our group catching up and telling me Josh was okay. The 911 gal told me to wait. We needed more details and facts she said. We needed prayer. Who could I ask. I was alone. John Sleadd. He would no what to do. I didn't think I had his number. Aaron. Maybe he was with his dad. I needed help. I called...Aaron's happy chipper voice answered. He had tried calling me on our way to the entrance to the falls and I had lost reception. I tried to hold myself together while telling him that we needed prayer for Josh. I wish now I wasn't afraid of asking for help. Help for others I could ask for. Help for me. That was another story. He told me he would pray and the call was ended. I was going to call Stephen's dad, my parents, but the police man came and I had to get back to action. I tried to stand and grabbed the counter. My legs could hardly hold me up. I must move. I needed to move the car to be out of peoples way and couldn't find reverse from neutral. Finally the car was moved and the police man gave me a ride to the boat ramp. They were going to send people down to help. Then I had to wait. Be still. There was nothing I could do. I still had no cell reception. My part of the race had been run. Had I failed. Was I not good enough. There is more to this day, but this part has me thinking. What is my race? What is my goal? I thought that was my race. Getting help for Josh and those I loved. It was only a small part of the race that God has set before me. How many times have I stopped running the race to look back at the past, to consider a future without moving forward, to look at the present and think I could take a breather because how much could it really hurt to stop for just a bit. Every second counts. Every breath. Sometimes I moved fast, I ran, I speed walked, and sometimes I could barely put one foot in front of the other. Yet, I kept going. I stopped for 9 seconds. Should I have? I don't know. I did. Should I do it again? I don't know. It gives me something to think about. To ponder. I have a race set before me to serve my all mighty God and to bring glory to His name. Will I run it? Will I persevere? Will I cast off what hinders? If I do anything short of running the race to the end I am not running a race at all, just fooling myself. If I run the race set before me will I end well? Josh died well. Can I? To run a race takes perseverance, discipline, self control, a plan, pacing yourself, the grace of God. The pace will change based on the terrain. If I always sprint how can I finish? If I always walk can I reach the end? Will I take up the race God has set before me? Will I cast off the old self and all that hinders? Will I take thoughts captive? Will I believe God? Will I be willing to run the race alone? Will I believe that God is always with me and working through others around me therefor I am never alone? Will God be the highest priority and calling in my life? Has He been? I am ashamed to say no. I have far to often put things off and justified my lack of perseverance. The truth is, I am without excuse. I have no answer to bring before my Lord as I reflect on how I have not run the race. God forgive me! I have sinned. I want to say for Josh, but I know rather for the Lord's sake, I want to run the race set before me. Josh was an example as he persevered through trials of life to strive for excellence in God. Lord, for you I was to strive for excellence with all of my being. To truly live for you. For, to not truly live for you is no life at all. Wow....When I started at the beginning of this I had no idea I would end here. God...Thank you for Josh, thank you for taking him home, thank you for letting me know him, and thank you for letting me live through this to see my need for you, and Lord, please let my old self die and today, may I start my life of living fully for you.