This year my husband and I are spending our Christmas out in Oregon, where he grew up. It’s not easy being away from MD/PA, but I’m blessed to have wonderful and loving in-laws.
A friend commented to me that he was going to use his Christmas break to get stronger physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. So I decided to take the same challenge. And that started the other day with no-excuses running. As far as I could go. Just in case you didn’t notice, I haven’t exactly been the queen of marathon training. So I ran 5 miles on Monday, and paid on Tuesday. I won’t lie when I say I sadistically love the pain in my muscles post-run (I have a feeling that I’ll be regretting those words come 20-mile training runs.)
In the desire for even more muscle pain, I decided to push myself even farther today and ran 6 miles- I went exploring around a park and found a cool tunnel that went under the road. But then I started to wheeze pretty badly, and blisters were forming on one of the arches of my foot, and I was cold, and I ended up angry and sad due to every other emotion in my mind. “This run isn’t going as I planned,” I said to myself. “I should just give up and walk home.”
But then my favorite Christmas carol, Once in Royal David’s City, came on my headphones. (The version of the song that came on was by Dana Cunningham, and it’s a piano version. It’s brooding and thoughtful rather than the typical cheerful version, and it resonates with me. For some reason YouTube doesn’t have any versions, but a clip of the song is available here and I bought the song on iTunes so it’s obviously there too.) These are the lyrics (for the next part to make sense, you need to read the lyrics.)
I found myself thinking about Mary. When the angel told her she would give birth to Jesus, she said “Let it be done to me according to Your will.” She later gave birth…in a barn. And put her baby in a manger. This surely couldn’t have been on her birth plan. Yet through her humility and willingness to follow the Lord, she gave birth to our Savior. If she had given up and didn’t let the Lord fulfill His will, Jesus would not save us. If she had stuck to her plans and given up and walked home, who knows what would have happened. This coming year, I’m going to focus on being more like Mary.
“Use me then, my Savior, for whatever purposes and in whatever way you may require. Here is my poor heart, an empty vessel; fill it with your grace.” – D.L. Moody