Friday, June 23, 2017

Running 26.2 Miles for Clean Water

By Jimma Walls, donor response manager for Samaritan’s Purse

April 21-27 is National Volunteer Week in the United States. We will be spotlighting Samaritan’s Purse volunteers, and volunteer opportunities, throughout the week.

I’m getting nervous and excited. There’s just less than two weeks standing between me and running 26.2 miles.

I’m getting that nervous little twinge in my stomach— you know, the one you get when you pass a Highway Patrolman on the road and you see his brake lights come on. What do you do? You immediately look down at your speedometer, don’t you? Then, when you realize you’re going a little fast, you get that twinge in your stomach, right? Yep, that’s the one!!

You see, I’m a mom, a worker, a daughter, a girlfriend, and a runner. Sure, I’m certainly not breaking any records or have any Olympic medals hanging on the wall. But, I’m a runner, and in 12 short days, I will attempt the ultimate running goal– a full marathon with Team Samaritan’s Purse.

Learn about joining Team Samaritan’s Purse and using your athletic event to support our work

Not an athlete? Find out about other fund-raising opportunities.

I was looking at my desk calendar this morning realizing that I’ve been training for this run for more than three months now. That’s the whole first quarter of 2013!! The callouses on my feet can prove that fact easily!

Jimma runsFor weeks, I’ve tasted sweat and tears. I’ve tasted way more salt than any trip to the beach can provide. But through all those sweat and tears, I have decided that I’m ready. I’m ready to see this through. As a sweet friend wrote in my marathon journal this week, “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:2). I’m ready to run the race.

I’ve spent a lot of time in thought and prayer while running. Before my first 20-mile training run, I realized that I forgot my iPod at home. As I rummaged through my bag, I could feel that anxiety rising. How in the world can I run for four hours without my music?

It was then that I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. Perhaps you should spend those four hours with me?

Yeah, I heard it loud and clear. So, for four hours, it was me and God.

Usually, I pray before I run. Sometimes, I pray during the run. Often, I think a lot about life in general— like, what am I going to fix for dinner on Saturday night? I wonder what work will be like tomorrow? Should I trade in the Jeep? I wonder what Aaron will be when he grows up? I wonder what I will be when I grow up? No, wait. I am grown. OK…back to reality! You get the picture.

But this time God and I talked. I mean really talked. He’s challenging me to run further than I ever have before. He’s challenging me to break out of what is easy and grasp onto something extremely difficult.

These months have been hard. I won’t lie. I remember a few weeks ago sitting on my boyfriend’s couch with my face in my hands, crying. Not a simple tear down the cheek crying, but crying from the depths of my soul.

I was so tired. A 10-mile run had gone horribly bad. I remember looking up at him and saying, “What am I doing?”

And then out of nowhere, my mind went to those less fortunate than me— those who wake up to life as it is in the picture at the top of this blog.

That’s when I got it. That thought that rushed to my mind wasn’t coming from “nowhere.” It came from the Savior of the World who says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24).

I won’t win the New River Marathon. I know that. But there is a prize far greater that I’m working toward. I’m running for clean water.

What would it be like to walk for miles to a pond and dip out filthy, contaminated water for my child and me? I can’t imagine. I’ve always had clean water every day of my life. I’m so guilty of taking that precious, clean water for granted. The water that I drink during the day, the hot shower I took this morning, the nice stream of clean water that I brush my teeth in—all of it is taken for granted.

Have I knelt down today and thanked God for it? Not today. You see, I’m too busy. I’m too busy thinking about gas prices, the cost of living, where to vacation this summer and ohhhhh… how my feet ache.

But when it comes down to it, the truth is I don’t know what real aches are. I’m sure the woman pictured above could tell me.

That’s why I’m running 26.2 miles in two weeks. Not for me. For them.