Getting lost 17 miles in...

I won't bore you with too many details.. but with the exceptions of being a mother and limping a 21 year marriage along, training for a marathon was really one of the hardest things I've ever done.

In grand Amberish fashion, I got lost on race day, around mile 17 I went a bit off track.

The fun had officially worn off, my adrenaline was gone, play list was stale, it was me and about 10 of my closest slow runner friends.

I sorta knew where I was, and by my calculations I knew that in order for me to get out of the woods it was going to be a long, dark, uphill run. Oh and it was raining too.


**long exasperated sigh**

There are days/months/years that are just that.

A massive long, uphill, winding battle.  It truly seems like it just might go on forever and gosh.. the pain, the comfort level (or rather UNcomfortable level) is just too much.

This is where things get a bit tricky.

A sweet fellow chubby runner in front of me veers to the right.

I stop.

I'm pretty sure that is not the way, the road is not marked clearly, but in my minds eye I see the run map and while yes that will get us out of the woods sooner and yes it's also DOWNHILL, I'm pretty sure it's not the right way.

Now lots of us are stopped.

"Is that the way?"

"I don't know."

"I don't think it is."

"But its DOWNHILL!"

We all follow.

Sometimes we know better, sometimes the Holy Spirit gently tugs at my heart to correct me..

"Amber that is not the way, you know better."

"But everyone else is going that way!"

"It's soooo much EASIER.. downhill... those words, accolades, faster mile times.. they just feel so good.. "

"I've been in these woods FOREVER and I'm tired of it here, freakin dog tired and I see the sun just beyond those trees.. if only I take this little shortcut and get there quicker.. jeez.. so much easier."

So we get off track.. 17 miles in. 42 years into this life.

The worlds siren song pulls us away from the path, a run map, the way my Maker already has laid out for me.

At first we were almost gleeful in our downhill running.. WOW!! So fast, I can see far ahead, we are almost out of the woods.

CRUSHING my mile time 17 miles in.. who would have THOUGHT!!!!

And isn't that how it feels at first when you are going the wrong way? Ego's are fed, stroked. False happiness all wrapped up in the wrong things.. faux friendships.. oh that little sweet FAKE spot before reality hits.


"Um.. you guys need to turn around."

**blank, dehydrated stares**

"You just cut 4 miles off... you need to go back.. you're gonna get disqualified."

(I didn't cry... mostly because I had gone into shock and had no bodily fluids left.)

This world we live in is complicated.. the path of least resistance is glorified all too often.

(I mean how the heck are the Kardashians even a thing?)

Life is like a marathon for most of us normal folk, it's hard, uphill and never quite as easy as we would like it to be. Some days are grueling, every single step takes such effort that the thought of another day.. another mile seem impossible.

It's not impossible.

What to do?

Am I going to hit my knees or raise a first to my Maker.. it's really up to me.

I turned my chubby butt around and headed back UPHILL from whence I came.

It sucked.

How we respond to failure, setbacks, mistakes, wrong ways.. dare I say it.. sin.. well that dear reader, that is truly what defines our character.. it's a magnifying glass on the deepest parts of our souls.

Because here is the truth.. every single good thing I have in my life has been hard.

Sometimes SOUL crushing hard. 

Parenting, marriage, friendships, health, my relationship with Christ.. All of it.

I have been lost, discarded, taken and given bad advice and have, like Judas denied my Maker.

I have tried and failed at so many things... important things.

Thank the sweet baby Jesus for tomorrows and the ability to turn around at mile 17.

I'm hoping when I finish this life, barely able to take another step, I'm left with a handful of the hardest battles I have ever faced. A lasting marriage to Zach, friendships that were open, honest and true, kiddos that know I love them no matter what, and the favor of a Savior that gently directed me matter how many miles I might have veered off course.


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