This week, I’ve been visiting my family in Pennsylvania. My little sister is getting married tomorrow, so I’ve been hanging lights, cutting out bows, baking brownies, and drinking gallons of coffee with little sleep. It may sound tedious and busy, but it’s been wonderful. I’ve had the chance to spend my sister’s last days as a single lady by her side.
One thing that she asked wasn’t so fun though. She wanted to be in shape for the big day, so asked me and all my sisters to join her in running a half marathon. So, last Sunday, we bundled up and headed to Delaware to run 13.1 miles. I was NOT looking forward to it. Two weeks ago, on my last training run, I decided that I needed a plan to get through it. I had heard about people using long runs to pray and thought, “Why not give this a try.”
But I couldn’t decide who or what to pray for. Then it hit me. After interviewing an awesome woman for a story at work last week, I realized that I’ve interviewed 13 people so far while working at Denver Rescue Mission. So I spent the first three minutes of each mile praying for the incredibly strong people that I’ve had the privilege to connect with over the past five months.
Mile 1: I prayed for Dallas, an ex-addict I met at Fort Collins Rescue Mission who has overcome trial after trial in his life. He has finally found sobriety and feels like the people at the Mission are the first to ever care about him.
Mile 2: I prayed for Eddie, a chef at Fort Collins Rescue Mission who is putting his life back together through the Steps to Success program.
Mile 3: I thought of our Emergency Shelter guests, up to 150 men on the coldest nights. I prayed that the shelter will be more than refuge from the cold, but the first night of a new beginning for these men.
Mile 4: After chugging some Gatorade, I remembered Fedline, a young, strong, single mom who earned a spot as a Dental Assistant and received her driver’s license in a matter of months. I praised The Lord for His providence in her life.
Mile 5: I prayed for Angeline, Fedline’s two-year-old daughter. I prayed that she will always know her mother for exactly who she is: a strong woman who loves God and fought for a good life for her family.
Mile 6: The Fort Collins Rescue Mission is Denver Rescue Mission’s newest facility and the staff there are working tirelessly to keep it running well. I prayed for strength and wisdom for the men and women who work to change lives in the name of Christ there. I thanked Him for their servant hearts and passion for Fort Collins.
Mile 7: I thought about and prayed for Ida, the first woman I ever interviewed for our Family and Senior Homeless Initiative newsletter. She sat in her chair with her Bible, quoting scriptures and praising God. Her kidneys were failing but she had nothing but positive things to say.
Mile 8: I prayed for Latrice, another person from our Family and Senior Homeless Initiative. She is expecting her second child in June and just moved into her own home. I prayed for a healthy baby and that Latrice will continue to grow and thrive in her church community.
Mile 9: At this point, I was praying for my cramping hamstrings and my aching knees. But I also lifted up Monique, a single mom who just found housing and is working through some difficult times. I prayed for clarity, strength and support around her.
Mile 10: I smiled as I started this mile, remembering Robert from Fort Collins. He didn’t stop smiling for a second while I interviewed him. He glowed with joy next to his new bride the whole time. I prayed that his marriage will make him stronger and that he will continue to work with such excitement for his future.
Mile 11: Shelly was next, Robert’s bride. I prayed that she will support Robert in his successes and hold his hand through his trials. I prayed that she will be able to reconnect with her children.
Mile 12: Praying for Tim got me through this very difficult mile. I thought about him at work, operating all the heavy machinery, beaming like a little boy. He takes such pride in his work and I prayed that all of our program graduates will find that joy.
Mile 13: After a high five from my sister for making it to the final mile, I prayed for Towai. I prayed that he will continue to flourish in his position at Goodwill and that he will be able to find a community where he can serve others as he so deeply desires.
I finished. The half marathon was significant for so much more than a long run. It reminded me of all the people who have shared their story with me and once again, it gave me the chance to marvel at the work God is doing in Denver.