After 34 years of chronic health issues, the Lord healed my broken body in many ways.

To celebrate, I walked my first 5K ever with my daughters Beth and Suzy last summer. The Dog Day Race has been held in Long Beach Island, NJ, since 1984. LBI has been the home of our summer vacations since I was a kid. If you know my health issues, you know that even signing up for this was a miracle in itself. I’ve never been a fan of anything athletic and celebrating by walking was the last thing I ever thought I’d do. But I got convinced that Jesus had totally changed my life physically and I needed to celebrate that in some physical way.

Heading to the island’s firehouse that day, I could see the excitement as people stood along Long Beach Boulevard, as if they were waiting for a parade to start. There were banners and flags being waved to cheer on the runners, or in my case, the walkers. Beth chose to run but Suzy hung back with me because neither of us knew how this might work out. Could I make it to the end? Was I thinking too highly of myself that I could even hobble down to the first water station?

But you know what kept me moving? The cheer of the crowds. The encouragement of the masses.

Yes, my family came to cheer me on but besides the five people I knew, the rest were faces I didn’t know. Yet their encouragement was everything as I dropped to the back of the pack and was the last to finish.…yes, last. As I thought about how I “ran” the race and those around who cheered me on, I thought about the Hebrews 12:1-2 passage:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

We are all running some kind of race be it a physical, emotional or spiritual one. And the winner isn’t always the only one who takes it all, for it’s enough to run with perseverance.

And we are all cheerleaders, encouraging others with grace and love that we meet along the journey.

Did you know that on June 22nd our church is having a Global 5K? It starts at 8 am at Burke Lake Park.

We need runners and walkers TO RAISE AWARENESS of our Global Partners around the world.

AND we need spectators TO CHEER AND ENCOURAGE those along the route.

The details are below. You can choose to walk, run or cheer. But please be there to support what we are collectively doing together in Jesus’ name.

I’ll see you out there with my sneakers laced up – I’ll be the one bringing up the rear!