As I started I remembered the conversation I had with Yenster the morning before. I had called to wish her son a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Little Oliver was already turning one. Where had a year gone? I remember clearly getting the text from Yenster saying "it was go time." And now a year later Oliver had literally changed my life and he was turning one. Wow! Yenster and I reflected on the last year. Then she asked the dreaded question: how is training going? The week before had been hard and slow. So I told her the truth: crappy. She laughed and we talked about how we feel after really long runs, not yourself, sick to your stomach for hours, slow, ect. Not once did Yenster ever say: well just don't do it. Nope, she knows the thrill of finishing something that seems so hard. Heck, she was the one that got me into this running mess in the first place years ago. No matter how hard it was, no matter how cold, she would always say: just keep running. Just keep showing up.
The Yenster is always with me at the start of every run: you showed up, now just keep running. She not only taught me that in running but in my faith. Over the years of knowing me, she saw my ups and downs of my faith. The roller coaster ride that was my relationship with Christ. And then as my senior year approached she saw me "level" out. The joys and hard times were there but not as magnified as usual. I got worried at one point: "Yenster, my faith seems so dull" I would say. Without a flinch, she would reply, "It's called maturing in your faith Shelbs." It was something that I never thought of. She continued telling me, "keep showing up, keep doing the things you know the Lord wants you to do, keep running with Jesus."
Thank you Yenster, for continually being my motivation, inspiration and teacher. You never cease to amaze me. You have truly changed my life. The Lord was so good in placing you in my life. I love you!
PS...Just in case anyone cares...I finished my 12 miles the fastest I ever have, 1 hour 48 minutes. I never once said to my Jamaican sprinter that I couldn't do it, and I even smiled at a couple runners going the opposite direction. The best news came when I got home and had a missed call from Ratty. She was back from around the world. Her heart wrenching stories of the lies people hear about Jesus broke my heart, yet her faith and hope in what was happening gave me hope. I could hear it in her voice: "Shelbs I am going to keep running and showing up with Christ so these people, around the world can see Jesus." Ratty, the Lord shines through you.
Next week, 14 miles. I have never ran that far, ever. Oh this should be a good story! :)