Read below as Rachel Harvey, a Show Hope advocacy events, describes how she trained and completed the Walt Disney World Marathon for Show Hope! It was a challenging race, but in God’s strength, she was able to finish all 26.2 miles.
While adoption has always been on our hearts, my husband and I know that it’s not the right time for us. However, we strongly believe that everyone is called to care for orphans! In the fall of 2011, we heard God’s calling to join Show Hope as monthly sponsors. In 2012, I went to China with a Show Hope Sponsor Team, again following God’s leading. Then, in 2013, I fell in love with running.
I ran two half marathons in 2013 and was slated to run five more in 2014. Our family had been planning a trip to Walt Disney World for January 2015, during the Disney marathon. While planning out my race calendar for 2014, I heard God calling me to run, not just for myself, but to run for His Glory and for His purpose. Again, I knew it was not OUR time to adopt just yet, but it was SOMEONE’S time and I could use running as a platform to raise money for an adoption grant for someone else!
I had never dreamed of running a full marathon. In fact, a half marathon was on my bucket list, and I was so thrilled to have completed that much. But, for some reason, God was calling me to step out of my comfort zone and rely on Him. He opened the doors for me to register and train for the Walt Disney Marathon that would take place on January 11, 2015.
By June 2014, I began training for the full marathon and started raising money for Show Hope. As the miles began to increase, so did the generosity of others! I had a great training season from June until November. I felt good and I was excited about running for the organization that I love. However, I hit a roadblock when I developed tendonitis in both knees after a 22-mile training run! The entire last month of training was slow and painful, and I ran fewer miles than I had planned. I went through physical therapy and rested more to get ready for the race. I had determined that I was going to finish the race no matter what!
We flew down to Florida to begin our Disney vacation on Saturday, January 10, 2015. By 4:00AM Sunday morning, I was on a bus headed to the starting line. I knew my body was not 100%, but I could already feel the prayers of my family and friends as I approached the start. I felt that if I could run at least half of the race, I would be satisfied in that.
From the first mile, I could feel the pain. It was a completely humbling experience. I just talked with God and said, “Ok. You’ve got this. This is all you. I obviously cannot do this on my own. Not even one mile on my own.” I knew God was carrying me through. I ran 18 miles before I could barely take another step. I felt defeated. This was not the glorious race I had been dreaming of. This was not how I wanted to run for Show Hope! But I kept going. Slowly. Then a little faster. By mile 20 I was able to get going a little better than before. By mile 22 I settled into a groove. I knew that God was holding me. I knew my cause was to persevere. “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” I was able to finish the 26.2 mile race with determination and His strength!!!
From this race experience, I learned that we can do nothing out of our own ambition. God has to be the center of anything that is meaningful in life. I could have run a marathon for myself, for my own pride, but there is something special about running for others. And, I was not alone! There were many people on the course running for a cause. And I was proud to represent Show Hope.
While I was frustrated that I was injured and not able to run at the level I had hoped, I realize that I was so much more dependent on God because of my injury! I cannot simply say that I ran the marathon. I have to give Him credit for carrying me through that race.
My advice to other advocacy events is to find your passion and pray that God would show you how to use that passion for His Kingdom. Passion will fuel the determination to follow through when things get tough. Don’t be afraid to share your story about how you are involved in Show Hope and what you hope to achieve with your advocacy! And pray, pray, pray. God will lead you every step of the journey.
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