Lysa invited me to start running with her a couple years ago. I tried it…once…when we were away on a writing/staff retreat. I nearly died! That girl can run for miles and miles and miles. Now you need to know – we were in the mountains where there is not enough oxygen to breath when you are just walking let alone running. And there are lots of hills. I’ll tell ya she just about killed me!!! I was gasping for air while she carried on a full-blown conversation. I had to stop running to answer to her questions. I never ran with her again, although she did invite (bug) me again and again. Finally, she gave up. However, a few short months later she started inviting (bugging) me about going with her to adult gymnastics class. Now why would I do that? She was talking about bars and beams, pull ups and push ups. It sounded very painful and dangerous. Although I was quite impressed with her Olympic-sized commitment and her new found muscles, I was not a bit interested in having some of my own – not with all that work. “There’s no way!” I told her. Fast forward two years. My husband decides that although he has arthritis he is going to run a half-marathon. He asks me to run with him in Knoxville, TN. I remind him of the oxygen and hills situation and basically say – no way, no can do. He trains for months and runs 13 miles straight, up and down the hills of Knoxville. He comes home and tells me he is praying that I will start running with him – like I used to do when we first got married. Oh great! Now I’m feeling all out of shape and like a wife who’s husband is looking for some recreational romance and I’m just a slug. Last month JJ decided to run a full marathon this December on Kiawah Island, SC. He tells me there are no hills and the average temp is 70 degrees. He hints at me training to do the half-marathon. Then little Miss Olympics starts bugging me about doing adult gymnastics again. And in the same week my very dear friend Melissa tells me she is running a half-marathon, in Kiawah, in December. (Yes, the same race JJ is running in!) So now I have three people who I love to spend time with asking me to stretch my schedule, my faith and my muscles in ways I never have before!! And something crazy in me wants to. Somehow I feel God calling me to do that which I cannot do! Last Monday I decided to go with Lysa to gymnastics. And I talked my very sweet friend Holly into going with me! I told her I’d do anything for her if she’d go look like a fool by my side. Oh my gosh! It hurt so bad I could barely move the next day but oddly I felt great afterwards – well in my mind anyway. I had tons of energy and slept better that week than I had in months. I’ve been going now for over a week – and I CAN do it! And it’s really making me feel better. I have more energy, less aches in my back, shoulders and neck and my chronic headaches are gone! Here is a photo of us this morning at the gym. That white blob in my mouth is bubble gum – it helps me balance. Here is a lovely shot that truly reflects the pain I am enduring – for the loves of my life! But with the pain I got a little gain! This is just too much fun to keep to ourselves, so we’ve decided to start a new division called P31 You Go Girl Gymnastics. For more fun photos, click here to go to Lysa’s blog . Okay, so guess what else? Last night JJ signed me up for the half marathon in Kiawah – without force! I committed to train and run with Melissa and JJ (he’s got a friend running the whole marathon with him). We ran our first two miles this week and it was just like when we first got married – just like he thought it would be. This weekend our family is going to the mountains for some tubing down the river! Now that is my kind of recreation. Have a fun weekend! I’m praying for all of you to be, do and become all that you never thought you could be!
Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.