I was standing in a large, slightly chilly room at church, while my husband was waiting in the car. I had stopped in to the MOPS meeting briefly just to drop off a friend's dish to pass since her kid was sick.
My hands were shaking and I felt so nervous and anxious I was sure I'd throw up any minute. I had trained for six long, exhaustive months to tackle my first 100 mile race that would start later that afternoon. I was on my way to the race at that exact moment, making a quick pit stop before hitting the road. I was hoping to run it under the cutoff of 30 hours, but I was second guessing myself and my abilities. What was going to happen? Could I actually do it? Was I really strong enough? Everything swirled around in my jumbled mind.
Just 2 weeks prior, I had debated not doing the race at all when I found out my 3 year old son, Emmett, would be heading in for another skull surgery shortly. More than anything in the world, I just wanted to protect him and spare him any further pain and I couldn't do anything about it. He had already suffered more in his short lifetime than anyone should have to. I felt helpless, hopeless, and like I was failing him. After a lot of thought, I decided I would run after all and raise money per each mile I ran for one of our favorite charities that helps children with Craniosynostosis (one of his main medical issues). I wanted to take on this adventure and make it mean something more at the same time.
While I was there, the MOPS leader, a dear friend of mine, read the first devotional about bravery and courage. She then pulled out this small fancy envelope with a COURAGE key inside and presented it to me. I started to cry as I looked around at the faces of these loving, supportive women that were once strangers but now friends. They thought I was courageous even when I felt absolutely terrified. Tears of gratitude continued to stream down my face as they prayed for me before I had to leave. I stashed that courage key in my running pack and it traveled with me for all 29 hours and 44 minutes as I completed the 100 miles. I kept that courage key in my running pack the morning of Emmett's surgery just 3 weeks later, while I ran and walked obsessively outside of the hospital waiting for him to be out safe and sound, and until I was holding his hand once again. Sometimes all we need is someone to believe in us and I'm so thankful these women believed in me.