Thursday, October 9, 2014

tough mudder

I don’t run.  I don’t like to be dirty.  I really hate to sweat.  I deplore camping.  And I would be the first person on “Survivor”, begging to go home because I cannot live without brushing my teeth. 

Does it surprise you to know I was an Army officer?

Me, too, some days.

I was a 105-pound scared-of-my-own-shadow wimp when I enlisted.  I was an excellent student, but, even with scholarships and financial aid, I was running out of ways to pay for college. A couple of months into my enlistment, I applied for an ROTC scholarship, and the rest is history.  I won't belabor the struggle of becoming much tougher than I was when I started.  The physical strength it took was one thing. 

The mental strength? 

Let's suffice it to say I learned a lot about myself.   

And my faith.

My drill sergeants were straight from Fort Jackson and had never trained females.  My ruck sack literally weighed 38% of my body weight and nearly took me down the first time I put it on.  And let’s not talk about lobbing the grenade, okay?  It was like a scene from Private Benjamin, only not quite as funny. 

Insert photo I must dig for but share at a later date.

By the time it was over, though, I gained ten pounds of muscle and could do more than 40 men’s push-ups in two minutes.   I got that scholarship and paid for my last two years of college.  And I had a shiny bar on my shoulder, to boot.  Pardon the pun.

Would I do it again? Yes.

Would I want to do it again?  NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

But if I hadn't joined the Army and applied for that scholarship, I wouldn't have met my husband.  And I wouldn't have lived the life I’m living now.  So for that reason, yes, I would do it again.

Now that you know of my physical mettle, it shouldn't surprise you to find out that I have not even an ounce of desire to run a marathon or a 5k or even a half-mile. 

Tough Mudder?  Pass.

But let me tell you something.  This adoption road? 

It’s as muddy as it gets. 

A year ago, I was in Florida, celebrating my 25th anniversary by submitting an application to adopt. The sun was shining.  My heart was soaring.  I had waited over six years to re-apply.  I had persevered through some pretty discouraging days.  Surely, the hardest part of this journey was behind us, right? My plan was to take it easy and enjoy the rest of the race.

Let’s all take a moment for a few chuckles, belly laughs, or just a shake of the head and a little pity over my naïveté.  It’s completely appropriate.

No sooner than the ink was dry on the application check did the already bumpy road begin to deteriorate.  Oh, that evil one uses it all…our financial weaknesses, our relational weaknesses, our spiritual weaknesses.  If I have any witness to bear, it is that the everyday battles wage strong against His plans.

Remember my plan for a smooth little speed walk to the finish line? 

But this story isn't about all the things that went wrong.  It’s about how to keep slogging through the mud, even after a solid face plant.

Taking a leap when can’t see where we’re going to land.

Keeping our eyes on the prize when we’re hanging by our fingernails. 

Reaching for a helping hand when we feel like we can’t make it on our own.

Reminding each other that His ways are better than ours, that His timing is perfect.

You see where I’m going with all of this, right?

Exactly one year later, I fully expected we would be booking plane tickets to China in celebration of our anniversary. 

Actually, I had fully expected we’d be leaving for China on our anniversary this year. 

Honestly?  My plan was to be celebrating our little one HOME on our anniversary.

I mean, really.  We’d busted a move in the last few months.  We’d flashed baby pictures whenever possible.  We'd shown up for an early walk-in for our fingerprints. We’d submitted letters for a medical expedite.  We’d been on the phone and emailing any and every time possible, trying to shave off a few days here and there. 

We had a plan.

But that muddy road. 

And now we’re close to the finish line.  So very close. 

We found out late Tuesday night that our most recent plan to travel next week has been, once again, delayed.  Which means all the arrangements we’ve made to be gone from work and school must be re-arranged. 


Like a big ol’ pot hole full of muddy water we didn’t see coming.  We’ve broken a leg, lost a shoe and landed face first in a puddle. 

It was quoted in the New York Times that a Tough Mudder isn't about winning.  It’s about having a story to tell when it’s over.  

Ah, but it is. 

Oh, we’ll have a story to tell. 

But it’s Jesus for the win. 

Finishing is winning.

Because the orphan is near and dear to the heart of the Father, He will pick us up each and every time, wipe the mud from our eyes and set us back on the trail.  He’ll even carry us to the finish line. 

By His power alone, we will finish this race.  Mary-Kate will come home.  Her heart will be healed in more ways than one.  She will be loved by her family.  And she will know the love of her heavenly Father. 

And by the time it’s over I may even like being a little muddy.

"But these things I plan won't happen right away.

Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches
when the vision will be fulfilled.

If it seems slow, do not despair,
for these things will surely come to pass.

Just be patient! 

They will not be overdue by a single day."

Habakkuk 2:3

*photos are hyper-linked to their original sources
**stay tuned for price tag - part 2

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