Rain clouds hung low overhead in the Texas sky on the day of my 8th Grade District Track Meet. I was thrilled to be selected to run the mile for the meet, until fear took me by storm. The day of the race didn’t feel at all like my preparation and I found myself begging for the clouds to break open so we could all go home.
When the time came for me to run, my legs were like cinder blocks. We lined up and the gun went off. Then, as if right on cue, it started pouring down rain. All the other girls ran ahead, seemingly unfazed. I, on the other hand, thought my legs would stop working and I would die on that track in front of everyone.
I honestly wanted to quit, until I saw her through the rain. I squinted and there she was standing in the bleachers wearing her yellow raincoat screaming my name. One of the only people left remaining of the once full crowd was my mom. She was yelling for me with a desperation that suddenly began to carry me through the race. My brother sat next to her with a sheepish smile on his face, looking intently at me with hopeful eyes. By some crazy miracle, my feet persevered, pounding the black tar pavement only fueled by the belief of the people who loved me deeply. Their presence somehow made this moment lighter and less impossible.
As long as I live I will never forget the beautiful picture of my people showing up for me, believing in me and reminding me that I could finish.
Right now, those days under the familiar Texas sky seem like a million years ago. We are tirelessly chasing once buried dreams now resurrected as if eternally defining, like they could almost kill you and turn you into the person you were always made to be all at the very same time. I secretly and not so secretly beg God for an easy out. Now it’s not just my legs, but also my heart that sometimes feels like a giant cinder block.
So many times I honestly want to quit, until I choose to see it. I squint my eyes hard past the haze to see a new perspective of the grace of God in my life. Right there in the heartbreak, questions and hope there it stands, just grace.
These days, grace looks like: texts from friends filled with encouragement and prayer when I doubt everything, hour-long phone conversations with an old friend like time hasn’t passed, wildflowers in a vase on my coffee table bought by a man who fought hard to restore his promise to me, life-giving laughs with a newish friend in a crowded restaurant after work and a card given to me by someone in passing at church with the words, “What you are doing is not in vain. You are doing a great job.”
These are my people standing in the yellow raincoat.
When everything around you seems like too much, look for your people in the yellow raincoat and keep running. Look for grace, and keep believing. There are people and a Creator who love you deeply.
These are the ones who will carry you. By some crazy miracle, your heart will persevere the pounding of the path less taken fueled only by this deep love. This will somehow make these moments feel lighter and less impossible.
As long you live never forget this beautiful picture of your people showing up for you, believing in you and reminding you that you can finish.
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. Philippians 3:12-14 (MSG)