Odd title huh? Well, it will make more sense in a minute.
I there are five people I know competing in Ironman Coeur d'Alene tomorrow. They have trained all year, stretched beyond what anyone would consider comfortable and pushed farther to tomorrow when they will swim, bike and run what is arguably one of the hardest athletic events known to man (or woman).
I have been praying for each one intensely for the past few days. As an intercessor, someone who basicly prays a lot as the Lord puts things on my heart, I began to feel a knot building in my stomach (yes, different than the flu bug I have been battling) about Wednesday afternoon. The tension in the air, the excitement of the pending challenge, the nerves of anticipation and the buzz of the community were beginning.
I have watched each of their facebook posts and felt unable to respond effectively to what my spirit is praying for them. Some would think an athletic pursuit like this one is an unreasonable waste of time and energy, and for some, it might be, I have no idea about them. I do know some things about my friends though, and I would like to share them with you. They each inspire me differently. Some I know better than others, but you will have to read further if you want a small glimpse of these incredible men and a wonderful woman and what they represent to me.
Randy - I start with him because I don't know him very well. We haven't talked much, beyond the usual "hello" and such. I haven't actually heard him talk much either, though I imagine he does talk. :) But one thing I do know from watching him on and off for years is that he listens. The word that always comes to mind when I think of him is "kind". He is a man surrounded by beautiful women. His wife and their girls are wonderful, each in their own way. He is a good man. He loves his family. He is an accomplished athlete. He has supported and encouraged his beloved wife as she has decided to compete this year as well.
My prayer for him tomorrow is that he would experience a new revelation of God's love for him and His provision for his every need - not just within his physical performance tomorrow, but within his mental, emotional and spiritual self as well.
Alicia - Randy's bride, is an amazing woman. I don't know her terribly well, but I do know this: she, despite several significant challenges is going to compete tomorrow and fulfill her dream to finish the race. She told me once she has never been an athlete. But she wanted to do this. She has been up before 5am most of this year. She has done her training six days a week with three different workouts in a day sometimes. She has diligently tended to her family and kept her training schedule in such a way as to impact her family time the least amount possible. Personally, she has advised and encouraged me in so many ways. I am excited for her tomorrow.
My prayer for Alicia tomorrow is this: Lord I ask you to be the wind beneath her wings. I ask You to provide for her knee that has been an issue, that You would lift her up. I pray she would see You around every corner, feel Your touch on her as she swims, feel Your breath refreshing her in every transition, that she could "draft" You as you go before her on the bike, and as she runs, she would know You are by her side, speaking life, encouragement, joy, peace, and perseverance into her.
David - A man after God's heart for sure. I have known David for years. We have been in small groups together with his wife and my husband. His wife is one of the strongest and most spectacular women I know. A woman like that can only have the most amazing kind of man in her life. He is. He loves his God, his bride, his kids and many others with a passion that is consistent and full of much grace. He is an accomplished athlete that also lovingly works hard to keep his training schedule from interfering with his family time.
My prayer for him is that he would tangibly experience his God at least once in each leg of this race. David knows God, he believes God, he trusts God, and Lord tomorrow, I am asking You to show yourself to him in some sort of tangible way. Personal, just between You, his Creator and him, the created. Please show him You SEE him. Thank you Father.
Tony - Tony is one who twinkles. Not many men can be acknowledged as one who twinkles without questioning their manhood, but Tony can. He has had a light in him that is divine from the beginning. He is different. He is a gift. There is a quality to Tony that is unlike anyone I have ever known. Even now as I try to describe it, words fail. There is one who knows deeply this quality and that is his delightful wife Pat. She was a gift to him from the Lord. They are a wonderful expression of God's great love placed in two hearts made one. Tony is also a daddy. He has an adorable little boy who already twinkles within his masculinity, just like his Dad.
My prayer for Tony tomorrow is that he would reach farther for more of God tomorrow. That he would trust God for more of Himself than Tony has experienced before. I pray that the expectations Tony has of his God would expand beyond comprehension as his body performs the challenge of this great race. That he would feel the touch of his Heavenly Father as he acknowledges the muscles, the bones, the ligaments that do their job effectively and with a fluidity that is unmatched in all creation. That he would know and experience the truth that Tony is fearfully and wonderfully made. Just as God said. Lord, help him to own all of what he has accomplished through You this past year and tomorrow. Set him free and release all Your greatness upon him in Jesus name.
And finally Jon - I have saved Jon for last because he is one I have the closest relationship with. He is in every way the meaning of brother-in-Christ to me. He loves me. I love him. He challenges me, I challenge him, he makes me mad, I make him mad, he prays for me, I pray for him, he laughs both at me and with me, he makes me feel special and he comes to my rescue when my Erik is out of town. See? Just like a brother! His beloved bride Peggy is truly one of my most favorite people. She is a delight in every way you can imagine. They are parents of four truly amazing and gifted children who have all the joy of their mama and all the exuberance of their father. This past year has been one of great trial and challenge, in some ways, Jon's Ironman course began before he even signed up. They have had one trial after another and have walked through them standing in the solid Truth that God loves them and He has a plan for them. Most recently, like 2 days ago, Jon was hit by a car while riding his bike. I kid you not, they have had an intense year.
My prayer for Jon is so deep in my soul I am not sure where the words will come from. Provision. Revelation. Healing. Trust. Joy. Confidence. Strength. Lord, the thing about Jon that You already know, that I know, that Peggy for sure knows, is that he is already an Ironman. There is a look he gets on his face when he is committed to something, a point he's trying to make, something he wants to do, or something he thinks someone else should or shouldn't do. Lord, I see that look as I pray and I ask that You would meet him eyeball to eyeball in that strength that You gave Jon. That You would invigorate him in a such a supernatural way so he will know he is experiencing You and You alone on that journey tomorrow. I also specifically ask for complete healing of any and all of his injuries from the accident on Thursday.
Do you see why these people inspire me? My triathlon dreams existed long before these people were in my life, but God is using them to reveal Himself to me in this unbelievably intese athletic pursuit.
I will be cheering you all on at the finish line!
Thank You Lord for hearing my prayers. Thank You Lord for loving these precious people and all the dear ones in their lives. I praise you for each one!