beyond the finish line

[They were there. They saw it all, every step, every fall. Pummeling along dirty trails, rocky roads and sidewalks sales, the two traversed in stride laying every weight of entanglement aside. Supporting the weight of her restless heart, they gave her an outlet to completely fall apart. From tears, giggles, glee and cheers, to grunts, groans and singing in off tones- fit in them, she was fully known. Free from judgment and full of grace, with weary souls and loosely laced, the two matched tone and submitted to pace. Her faithful companions for 500 miles, they carried her through the most tumultuous trials. The eight-month journey to twenty-six point two could only be credited as experienced in her running shoes.]

20130828-160746.jpgFour months ago to the date, her running shoes carried her 26.2 miles across a finish line. This finish line was symbolic of many thoughts, ideas and experiences. It was the end of an adventure, the reward of discipline, the anticipation of glory, the completion of a goal, but most feared, the turning point into the unknown. With arms high, and heart abandoned, the step that followed four hours and twenty five minutes of running marked the step of surrender; a letting go of dreams, of plans, of expectations, a trust that her way isn’t best, and a longing to know His way as better. The life she’d imagined, she’d dreamt of it, she’d planned it and she was living it. But it wasn’t good enough. She was disappointed. Her expectations weren’t met. She was unsatisfied. Even in the best of what her futile mind could create in wonder and zeal, even in the full exertion of every fiber in her body, it wasn’t enough. The adventure incomplete, the reward too little, the glory fallen short, the goal too small, and the unknown so great. Her plans, her dreams, her imagination, done. Eight months of rigorous training, done. The career she once dreamt of, done. The expectation of his engagement, done. This finish line marked the end of her arrogant attempts to rule the life she’d imagined, and the beginning of what control couldn’t manage. Here, crossing this finish line, the life she’d never imagined, began.

20130828-160820.jpgThe attempt to articulate this life recently begun overwhelms her. Eight half written blog posts lit up in her doc are her efforts to do so. Their appearance on the screen reflect off of the partially consumed cup of coffee in her hand that meets with the lips of her semi-smile of smite as she sits, contentedly at rest, and irresponsibly unemployed. “This is it.” is what she ponders, staring at the screen, “This is life beyond the finish line, life surrendered, life beyond my wildest dreams. This is it. This is grace. This is what I do not deserve. This is it. This is the gospel. This is Your delight in me. This is it. This is redemption. This is it. This is glory. This. is. it.” Maybe she doesn’t know what ‘this’ or ‘is’ or ‘it’ really is, and, maybe her testament of the past three months beyond the finish line could never fully paint a picture that this is it, but she knows this is better; better than what she could have planned, better than what she has dreamt, better than what she asked for, and better than what she imagined.

Because pictures paint a thousand words, and because a thousand words couldn’t articulate this life beyond the finish line, I’ve chosen a few to take you where I’ve been since then.

20130828-160911.jpgShe let go,

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cleared her inbox and to-dos, quit her job, prepped her last clean eat

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moved to camp,

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remembered His covenant,

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honked, ran fast and free, met beyonce, became known as ‘momma’, loved like crazy,

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waved her flag,

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played in the mud,

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 made eye contact, drank alot of coffee, caught the bouquet,

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got ‘er done,

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burnt some bacon, flushed a fork, ate a chop, met some gems,

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shared her story, experienced grace, tasted the gospel,

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dominated the dam(n) slide,

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and at the end of it all, she came home.

This. is. it.

It. is. better.

Beyond her wildest dreams, the life she’d never imagined.

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