As many of you following the blog will recall, my family supports the ministry of the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, Texas (MCH). (Please click on the MCH tab on the landing page of the blogsite for more information about this amazing organization.) We first became involved with MCH when our family decided several years ago to stop gifting to each other and select a charity that represented their interests and passion. Elizabeth chose the Methodist Children’s Home as her charity to acknowledge her family members during the holidays. Her home church, Salado United Methodist and it’s pastor (Pastor Travis), believed very strongly in the work of MCH and actively supported it so for Lizz it was an extension of her home church commitment and her love of children.
After the home going of Lizz and the boys, Sam requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to MCH. We all agreed that is what Lizz would have wanted. Several weeks/months later and as the acknowledgement cards continue to arrive from amazing people, co-workers and friends that donated to MCH in honor of our loved ones, we receive a phone call wanting us to visit the Waco campus. Sam, my daughter Lauren and I went to Waco with Pastor Travis to meet Trey Oakley, the MCH Vice President for Development. He took us on a tour of the beautiful campus that was started as an orphanage back in 1890. During that tour as we drove across the grounds with the rolling hills and beautiful oak trees hearing about their work I mentioned to Trey that this would be an amazing place to have a 5K to which Trey informed us that they were going to have their 1st 5K race in the spring of 2013!
Fast forward a few months to April 13, 2013 and MCH is indeed having their inaugural 5K race titled: “Race to Connect”. John and I immediately registered to support this amazing ministry, but also to walk/run in memory of Lizz, Fischer, Ben and Hayes. The day before the race, I received a call from Allison Crawford who is their special events coordinator who asks if I would mind “starting” the race! I told her I was extremely honored and would love to have the opportunity. John is unable to attend the race due to a torn meniscus (OUCH!….yes, surgery is coming!) and Lizz’s dear friend Randi Bingham from Salado agrees to make the trip with me and take his place. Randi helped coordinate the Dallas Marathon race that so many of Lizz’s friends and family ran in that was in memory of her and the boys.
April 13th arrives, Randi and I drive to the MCH campus and it is an absolutely perfect day for a race! We pick up our bib numbers and await the start of the race. Trey asks if I would share a few words about how I became involved with MCH and I began to tell the crowd the story of Lizz, her love of their ministry and their home going on July 30, 2012 and that Randi and I were in attendance that day to run/walk in honor of them. There were so many of the residents, house parents and supporters who reached out to me afterward about hearing about Lizz and the boys and how their story touched their heart. You see, that is my prayer, that God continue to let Lizz and the boys’ lives touch others to bring honor and glory to Him.
So, up first was the 1 mile race and I get to take the airhorn and start the race! After the finish of the 1 mile, the 5K kicks off! And my compliments to MCH! That was the most difficult 5K! There were probably 15 hills……and what goes down (first half of the 5K) must come up (last half of the 5K)! It was a beautiful morning, a beautiful course and as I walked/ran and listened to my playlist, my heart was so immensely full of Lizz and the boys spirit. I kept thinking of the verse from Hebrews 12:1: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. And this verse from Philippians 3:13: I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize…
Crossing the finish line to honor the life and continued memory of my daughter and sweet grandsons was very emotional. This race was not about my completion time (even though I continue to improve!) but was about the experience, living in the moment, hearing the birds, the cool breeze, the river, reminding me that Christ is the water of life and I will never thirst again………letting God continue the healing of my heart, letting the presence of my daughter and grandsons fill my heart to overflowing and to hear my heavenly Father tell me along the course: “It is OK Julie…..I have them…..they are safe…..they are happy…….no more pain, no more sorrow…..ever, for any of them.”
I got to share the morning with the amazing staff and youth at MCH, blessed by my heavenly Father AND got 3 miles in :). Even though I did not place in any RUNNING category, they honored me with one of the awards. This award has a prominent place in my home to always bring back the tender memories of that day. All the awards were hand made by the residents of MCH. How AWESOME is that!
As standard in my posts, I have created a video of the morning’s events. The song is special to me because it was one of Lizz’s favorite running songs. When I hear this song I always think of her :). The title of the song is “The Rescue” by Adam Cappa. Love the chorus and love that Lizz loved this song, it was if she was pointing us here for healing:
I need You right now,
Here in this moment,
I’m losing ground,
Can’t keep going,
I’m calling out,
For You to rescue me.
Don’t want to drown right now,
Here in this ocean,
I’m so far down,
Can’t keep moving.
This time around,
I’m keeping my eyes on You.
You are the rescue,
You are the rescue.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your presence that special morning, for this special song of Lizz’s and this time around, I’m keeping my eyes on You……because you are the rescue!
To my MCH family (and yes, I consider myself part of your extended family!), may God continue to pour his blessings out on you, your facilities, your residents, your staff and those that continue to support your mission! You are the hands and feet of Christ in our broken world….and to Him ALL Glory and Honor! AMEN!
I am looking forward to next year’s 5K and also working with MCH (Allison Crawford) on another event (hint….hint)! More to come on that, because I will be looking for some additional help! And FYI…..they are planning a “mudder” event in the future at the Boy’s Ranch!
Until next time,