So I’m a little off tangent today. That can happen when you have copious amounts of time to sit and think coupled with little sleep. I was lucky enough to have those things this weekend when I went to cheer my husband on in his first ever Ironman.
I have watched him train all year long. While he got up early to run miles upon miles, I drank my coffee and took long, leisurely walks. While he practiced his open water swims, I rode in a boat next to him to make sure I could rescue him if he sank like a rock. For the hundreds of miles he had to log onto his bike, I got him a bracelet – though he refuses to call it one – to hold all his emergency information should someone find him along the side of the road, unconscious. I, as you can see, was more of moral support than a training partner, which was just fine by me!
The day of the race came and my son and I (our daughters stayed home) wore t-shirts I had made. Mine proudly proclaimed that I was an “Ironwife”, his cleverly said “Ironson.” We had my husband’s number on the back and would frantically call out to him, cheering him on. We wanted everyone to know he was ours and we were his.
As I sat and waited for him at the half-way mark on his run I began to think. I had done none of the training. I did not have to endure a 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run, but I did get to claim the “Iron” part of his title and put it on my shirt. Simply by my association with him, I got to be an Ironwife. And boy, was I proud of that, as witnessed by my screaming for him, following his course and progress all day, and trying to get a glimpse of him in a crowd 20,000 strong. Of course, there was also my t-shirt, which I wore the entire day (never mind that it was bright yellow and yellow is definitely NOT a color I should wear. But we matched him, and we were visible). All day I’d run into people who’d point at my ‘Ironwife’ letters and smile. I’d smile back, “Yep, #875, he’s mine”, or “Why yes, I am an Ironwife. My husband, he’s #875 and he’s doing the race.”
Here’s the thing though, he was just as proud to have us wear those shirts as we were to wear them. He didn’t say we hadn’t earned that title. He didn’t ask us to take them off. He loved that we were claiming him, making sure people knew who we belonged with. He loved that we were so proud to be his.
And, as I sat and thought, my mind drew a parallel. I didn’t have to endure the cross, but Christ did. And He did it just so I could be His. I get to proudly put on, everyday, the title of “Princess” because He’s the King. He’ll never tell me I didn’t earn it, because it’s not about what I did, but about what HE did. Now that’s something to cheer about! And He wants us to come running after Him, to wear His name, to seek Him out and to be excited, crazy even, in our pursuit of him. He wants us to let others know; I am His, and He is mine!
Of course, my mind didn't stop there, it just continued down it's rabbit hole. I began to really watch the racers. I watched them push on and persevere through pain and problems. Hebrews 12 came quickly to mind. It begins with "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." It goes on to talk about discipline and training, something each of those racers knows a lot about.
What we need to understand, though, is that we're all in a race. One that we need to train for, one that we need to persevere through. One that we need to not grow weary or lose heart in, but rather fix our eyes on Jesus and keep on pushing through. I watched so many racers fix their eyes on that finish line and push through when everything was working against them. It truly amazed me. And, again I was reminded of all that Christ endured so I could have life. The life of a princess. Redeemed, cleansed, beautiful and cherished. I wonder, if while He endured the cross, if His eyes were ever fixed on me. Surely, with all He gave, I can run the race marked out before me and persevere.
So maybe now I’ll make myself an “IronPrincess” t-shirt for the race I'm running in and Who I belong to. Only this one I’m making in pink.