I love running! (at least most of the time) 🙂
I ran regular 5ks up until 3 days before I delivered my son, Isaac, 4 weeks ago. Even though my pace was considerably slower with a huge belly, I still loved the feeling of pounding the pavement.
My husband finds just as much pleasure in cycling as I do in running. Me, not so much. I’m strictly a fair-weather biker. 75 degrees, flat roads, and absolutely no wind; those are my conditions to getting on a bicycle. But because I love my husband, I have shifted my standards a bit to accompany him. When I first started riding with my man a few years ago, I kept my gears locked into their highest position regardless of hills. I just felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere if I dropped to a lower gear. I felt weak. My man would smile and shake his head and continue up hill without panting while I stubbornly struggled to make my pedals rotate. Eventually though, I gave in to his philosophy and discovered that if you simply had to go uphill, dropping into a lower gear made the agony of incline more bearable. Plus, you did make it to the top….eventually.
When I run, I’ve adopted a similar philosophy. I don’t avoid hills because I’ve found that the incline makes the flat roads blazing fast and the descents like floating on clouds. But without those hills, even the flat surfaces become strangely tedious.
A year ago when we walked through the fire of losing our baby boy, I thought about those hills. The indescribable pain of losing a life left us gasping for air as we struggled to make it from one day to the next. I remember waking up each day, thinking about all that we had lost and that somehow, we had survived another day. The pain wrapped so tightly it seemed to sear our hearts. Knowing how we had prayed for that baby, rejoiced over his life, and dreamed of his face only to see his tiny, lifeless body floating on an ultrasound screen and the technician saying, ‘There’s no heartbeat.” The depth of loss forced us to drop to a lower gear to make it up the hill. We refocused on the small things, we leaned in to the truth of who God is, and we rediscovered His goodness despite our circumstances. Just like endurance grows deepest on hill training, so did our faith in Jesus and our relationships as husband and wife and as parents.
The incline of loss seemed at the time to be unending, but because of our loss we grew stronger and gained ground in relationships and faith. Elijah’s life and death brought us closer than we could have dreamed possible because we trusted the God of impossibilities.
Through the process of grieving and trusting Jesus and growing through the heartache, we eventually came to the point where we were both ready to try again. We knew that we could lose another baby, but we both felt God calling us to be courageous even though we didn’t know the outcome. We couldn’t avoid the hills; we simply had to run them together.
With grace multiplied upon grace, we became pregnant again in May, just 2 months after we had lost Elijah James. Though we had crested the hill and had started to breath easier as we raced down the other side, fear ran right beside us even as we worked daily at conquering it with trusting our God who was both loving and good. I worried about losing this baby, wondered how I would handle another loss, and struggled to intentionally choose faith over fear. I was running up another hill – the hill of fear. As I’ve run, I’ve had to drop repeatedly into lower gear, reminding myself of truth and keeping my perspective on the eternal instead of the temporal. It’s not a fast pace, but it’s building my endurance and eventually by faith, I will take this hill too.
Today, as I snuggle my tiny little redemption baby, Isaac, and enjoy the feeling of running faster with my baby on the outside, the lessons I’ve learned because of Elijah’s life remind me that nothing is guaranteed. Not my newborn, not my life, or the lives of my kids or husband. The only promises we have are the ones God has steadfastly given in His word, the most important one being that we have a guaranteed eternal life through a relationship with Jesus. Honestly, in the end, that’s the only one that matters anyway. It’s the promise of hope. The promise that no matter what happens here, there is a rich life of beauty that will outshine any suffering we have on this earth if our hearts have been given over to the One who holds life together in His hands
It’s the only promise that makes every up hill run well worth it!
Do you have spiritual questions you’d like to talk about?
Send me an email at Rebecca@redemptionslove.com I’d love to hear from you!