It was about 33 degrees this morning, but the event planners were thoughtful enough to open the Addison Convention Center so participants could relax in warmth before and after the race.
They were also thoughtful enough to include an enormous hill in the route, but we won't dwell on that. It was a sold out crowd of 2500, so the energy in the air was palatable. We were pumped up and ready to run. One thing we enjoyed was seeing lots of families running together. We happened to stay close to a dad/daughter team throughout the race and thought it was sweet to listen to the encouragement he was giving this little girl (who was about Ava's age) as she jogged along. Greta wore her vibrams- first race to do that, and I am glad to report she did not trip over the road or her own toes. We continued chatting at Cafe Brazil after the race which is a great way to spend the morning.
I am so thankful for Greta. The depth of my gratefulness can't be fully appreciated without sharing this...
During the past year, I suffered an identity crisis and depression that it would not be overly dramatic to call life-threatening. In this dark and lonely time, God provided a handful of people to walk alongside me and physically demonstrate God's love and mercy to me before I was even able to understand it, before I was able to claim it from God himself as my birthright. Greta was one of these people. What I really appreciate about Greta is that every single thing I brought to her; fear, anger, neediness, shame, sadness, even my victories and healing, no matter what it was, she constantly pointed me toward God in it. She had been a friend of mine for several years before this, but it was through this trial that she really came to know me, the good bad and ugly, and her response of love and compassion is something I will always be thankful for and cherish. I came to know the real her during this time also, and I testify that the gift of authentic relationship, accountability, and openness is one of the greatest pieces of heaven on earth anyone will ever experience. And I am absolutely convinced now that it is the only path to true spiritual transformation.
Thankfully, God has worked in my heart in such a way that I have not placed my friendship with Greta as the latest cheap bauble on a long strand of wrong sources for seeking my identity. Along with her example, the readings I have devoured, and the counseling lessons I have done, God himself has shown me that my identity is not based on the affection and approval or rejection and disapproval of the people around me. For the first time in my life I am free. Free to give love without manipulation, without needing anything in return. Free to be myself without fear. Free to examine and understand my inmost motivations and turn them over to a God I trust completely.
Greta has been a huge part of that journey to freedom with me, so it's only fitting that the first running event of the year be with her. Thank you, Greta, for loving me when I felt unlovable and for showing me an example of what real love is.