I had no answers and really no expectations yesterday morning other than I wondered how badly I would fail. Because this week had found me falling face first in pretty much every area of my life. This is when I tend to shut down. Pull away. Want to run. But then again, I have learned a little over the last three years of hard. Ride this out baby girl. He had a plan. He always does.
Standing in her kitchen Friday night I sobbed. I talked about my week. She listened as she made dinner. After I finished talking she said "He has something big coming for you, all this breaking. You have been here before"... Yes. My hand holder she has been. She has walked with me through it all. I can say anything. She loves me anyways. She held my hand through my very first race. And she has been with me through each one ever since. We are family. They took me in and loved me as their own.
In January she texted and simply said "I need you to do this with me." It wasn't even on my radar. I said no way, too hard too expensive, not interested.....she said "I have it covered. It's done." Yeah. So I agreed. And then I panicked. But I couldn't turn back. And I would have honestly, if another hadn't paid a price for me to go. And maybe God knew that too. Like He always knows what I need.
So I cried all the way to her house yesterday morning. All the way. I was sure I would let her down. Let myself down. And perhaps worse....I feared every fear I have ever feared at one point in that moment. Even death. I can be a little dramatic.....
I slept on the drive over. I was overwhelmed. And I was shaking from the cold as much as my fear of the unknown. How was I gonna run this race and do all I needed to do? We got up to the sign in and got our numbers, dropped our bags and then moved up to wait.....every 15 minutes another wave... 9:45 and it was our turn. We listened to the instructions. I wanted to throw up. Then we climbed a wall just to get to the start.... And then he spoke..... You don't see a time clock because that's not what this is about. You work together, help one another....and you never leave anyone behind....that stuck in me. How often in these last three years have I wanted to, even though I know what God has asked of me. Sometimes, it's not about you and what you can do. It's about helping another get to where they need to be.
And we started running. No music, trail path running. And it was hard. And I suck at it. And everything I know and I am used to....gone. Every way I know to get through a race doesn't apply here. It's not a race. It being in the moment. Using what you know to help others. And then letting them help you back.
We ran a bit. And then water. Knee deep. Then we run some more. I'm cold. And so I concentrate on the scenery. Beautiful woods, perfect day and people all around. All running their own their own way, but to the same place you are. All getting there the way they were made to. We laugh, we speak, we encourage. I am so out of my element in this. And then it comes. Face down in the mud. And the only way is through. Because barbed wire is over head. And I forgot a couple times. And I got stuck. And so I put my face down in it and I crawled. And how many times have I had to do that. Face down in a situation I did not want to be in. And there is only one way out. So you trust the ones yelling on the other side. And you move. More running and we had to climb a wall and go over water via monkey bars. I'm tiny and some things just aren't possible for me. But I tried. And ended up submerged in freezing water. And it shocked me. And the one in front of me said Move, just move. Eyes on me. Swim. And I did. And they pulled me out on the other side. And we encouraged the others coming along. And when our whole team crossed, we moved forward. No one left behind.
She was panicking about the ice water. She had been there before. I had not. And she trembled at the thought of it. But we got there, she and I. And we went down together. My encouragement went out the window as I slid completely under in a pool full of ice and water. And I screamed not nice things. But I had no filter at that point and I wanted out. And I made it on to the beam, out of the cold. But to make it out, I had to go back in. And I made it. My body numb from the cold. I've been there in before in this journey. No way to ever know the trauma that awaits. Until you completely submerged in it. And there is only one way out. Through it. I want out of this most days. And quickly. The pain of it can still take my breath. But I have learned not to stay in a moment. To move forward. The experience will serve as a lesson. But you can't say stuck in it. You can't. The longer you stay stuck, frozen, the more painful it is.
We had more mud, more hurdles. Some things I could do. Some I tried and failed. But I tried. And I met amazing people all along the way. We were all warriors in our own battles. All had wounds. Some visible, some not so much. And when we started to look at the ones around us as wounded souls just like we are, our focus turned to helping everyone along side of us. Up and over and through. You take my hand and then push me over the next hurdle. We all wanted to quit at some point. We never knew what we would face next. But as I looked back and forward, we were all moving towards the finish. We encouraged the ones going into what we just came out of. And we looked ahead to see those who were where we would be next. How were they doing it? What did they look like after? What could we learn? What could we share?
Over 11 miles in and two obstacles left was my biggest fear. Jumping off a high place into water. It was just one last thing standing in between me and the end of this day. And I wanted to be done. I just said you have to Kimberly. Leave all that fear up here. You have to jump. No matter what happens next. It's the only way. Just jump. He said one...two...and I bailed. And I felt a sense of panic I can't express. And that water was hard and cold and nasty. And it went up my nose but I came to the top. And I couldn't breathe. But I kicked and flipped on my back and kept kicking. And I made it out. I just did what I feared most. I jumped. I made it to the other side.
We rounded the last few turns and there it was. The end. About 6 hours after we began, this journey was done. It took way longer than I dreamed. It was nothing like I dreamed. It was harder, but it was better than I could have imagined. I learned a lot about myself along the way. Who I am. What I believe. And what God has placed inside of me. I realized I was thankful for the ones with me, but hopeful for the ones who might share it with me in the future. And I learned that what He has told me since the beginning of this...almost 4 years ago is so true. So true...Love Never Fails.
So fear took a flying leap off a 15 ft platform. And I left it there, in the water. And the song I cried to all the way to her house hours before....yeah. He reminded me. There must be something in the water.....something that we need to experience in the jumping off and going in and under the dark, muddy waters that separate us from settling for a life of fear and smallness to living a life of freedom and overcoming. I came out of that a different girl. I learned a little more about who I am. Who I can be. Thankful.