Sunday, March 8, 2015

Frozen Feet Endurance Run 2015-Bethany's Journey

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Bethany Kelley is an 11 year old joyful little girl with a beautiful smile, a contagious spirit and an abundance of hope . She is also a little girl fighting cancer for the second time. In her battle to beat this disease, that has now left her legally blind, her parents take her to St. Louis (from Cuba, MO) every Monday for chemotherapy. As you can imagine, the cost to do that adds up very quickly. The 2015 Frozen Feet 6 hour Endurance Run/Relay was organized to help with those expenses. On March 7, about 60 people arrived at Hood Park in Cuba, Mo to begin the race at 8:00 a.m. Only 12 runners would run the race solo. The remaining runners would compete in the relay. The runners and teams would repeat a .75 mile loop for six hours. The solo runner with the most laps would win the race competition while the team with the most laps would win the relay. But that's not why these runners were out there, not really anyway.

There was no doubt we were all joined together to do something we love... to run. But we had a bigger purpose. We were there to support this precious child we had yet to meet because we knew it was important. There was no bling, no goody bags and no crowd of spectators cheering us on. But it was fabulous! The race director was a friend of the family and had organized the event to help the family and to "encourage one another". TEAM RWB (a nationwide group of veterans) from Ft. Leonard took it upon themselves to be the cheering squad for every runner on the loop and cheered to "encourage one another".  The volunteers were also there for one purpose... to "encourage one another." Isn't that what it's all about? In the midst of a discouraging situation, there was hope. 

After the race, we were awarded finisher certificates (and TEAM 413 shirts to the winners) as we lined up to meet Bethany and have our photos taken with her and her family.  When it was my turn, I couldn't resist hugging her. I was amazed at her positive outlook as she told me about her hectic treatment schedule. She was smiling the whole time! Talk about being an encouragement. We agreed that God had big things in store for her and that when she was healed, she would have a great testimony that would surely be used to "encourage one another." The day was a blessed reminder of the power of encouragement and the importance of building each other up. 

Wouldn't it be great if we lived our lives every day looking for ways to help others? Looking for ways to encourage others and build them up? Why not start today? We can never be sure what someone is going through so be kind in your thoughts, thoughtful in your words and purposeful in your actions. Let us "encourage one another and build each other up" every day. 

Heavenly Father, thank You for those people that you place into our lives that help us when we need it. Whether that be by a kind word or deed, we thank You. Thank You for those people that share our burdens, lift our spirits and encourage us to go on each and every day. Lord, help us to trust your plan even when we don't understand it. In the words of Bethany's favorite scripture, help us to walk by faith and not by sight. It's in your precious name we pray, Jesus. Amen.

Happy Running!!!

Walk by Faith - Jeremy Camp

* We are praying for you Bethany. Continue to walk by faith and not by sight. *