Last February I turned 50. (I AM still alive...there IS life after 50) A friend of mine, Chris Stanton, wrote a book called "Jubilee - A Gift From God; A Year Like No Other" and it's a story of how he trusted God for a year (his 50th) beyond all years, based on Leviticus chapter 25. Every 50th year was a very special year for the Children of Israel. You can read it and and discover what made it special.
Chris' challenge is to move into that year, trusting God for really big, very special things to come to pass. So...I did. God knows our hearts. He knows how He made us and what brings us joy and that's what Jubilee is all about.
There is something about being a Christian endurance athlete that I think is hard to have non-endurance athletes understand. If you are one, you'll understand. If you're not, then the words of Eric Liddle, the Olympian from Scotland and missionary to China may help. "God made me for a purpose and He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure." When I run and race, I feel God's pleasure. You may feel only pain and that is OK. We're all different and uniquely made. Running and racing makes me feel...like this is part of what I'm on the earth to do.
That might sound like an overstatement to some, but, it's honestly how I feel. Some of the most awesome times I've ever had with the Lord have been on runs in the desert at sunset, listening to worship music on my iPod Shuffle - body, spirit, mind, soul all engaged in God and the beauty of His creation. Gratitude and worship pours from my heart like a waterfall. Feeling the Lord "carry me" in some races is a very real sense I've had on occasion.
All that to say, this is my Jubilee year and the Lord has blessed me with an opportunity to represent Him and the USA by making the age group triathlon team that will represent the USA in Hamburg Germany on Sept. 2nd at the World Championships. I'll be one of over 200 Americans that will make up the team.
It'll be an Olympic distance triathlon - about a 1 mile swim, 25 on the bike and a 10K / 6.2 mile run. Lots of friends have asked me to keep them informed on my training, what I'm learning and how the trip and race goes. Another friend said I should do a blog to accomplish this, so....thank you Mike for setting this up for me.
I'll post entries every few days and will send reports and pics from Germany when we get there. God knows what bring us joy and because He's a good, loving Father, He'll blow our minds every now and then with demonstrations of these aspects of His character. Making this team is just that for me. By His grace, I finished 9th at the USA National Championship race in the 50-54 age group, qualifying me for the team. So....Germany, here we come.
As I worked out this morning, a worship song I was listening to had a theme from Ps. 115:1, "Not to us Oh Lord, not to us, but to YOUR name be glory because of your lovingkindness..." That's it. That's what life is all about. Not us, but Him. Germany and Team USA are about Him, His kindness, His generosity, His graciousness and that will be foremost in my mind as I train the next 7 weeks and race at Worlds.
"Eye has not seen nor ear heard and no mind imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him." I Corinthians 2:9. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement! More to come soon...