We had an opportunity to pray with this young girl from Sorlumba (where we visited the CLP program) who is also struggling with sickness. When we arrived she was so happy to see visitors and asked us to pray for her.
Ma Jenna who we were able to interview-struggled as the only Christian in her village-being beaten and mocked-but stayed steady and true to "the one true God" as she stated with great joy...
Many of the stories I have posted on this blog have talked about the everyday struggles that many women in rural Liberia face-not being able to read or write, no access to clean water, sickness, and the list goes on. And then there are women like these three who not only struggle through these but have experienced the struggles of life on a deeper, intense level that you and I may never understand or experience. All of them express a joy doesn't make sense to many of us.
There is a verse that I found to help me understand this-found in 1Thes. 5:16-18 (NLT) "Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus". These ladies despite what struggles life has thrown at them, belong to Jesus-they are doing exactly what God's will for them is-being joyful, praying and being thankful no matter what has happened.
Training...Sigh...I was not joyful as I struggled through my run on Sunday. Seriously, I hit a brick wall physically that made me feel like I had been hit by a truck-here are the pictures to prove it...(Joni took the pictures and also brought me my 'fuel' of water, Gatorade and Gu)
This pretty much sums up how I felt...
It was muggy and hot-at the half way mark I had to change my shirt as it was soaked with sweat...I took it off and wrung it out-and watched a good full cup of Bev sweat hit the ground (at this point Joni literally gagged).
I quit at ten miles-yes, I quit. It's not something I am proud of-not something I usually do-but dehydration and heat won out. Today I was going to write about something else on my blog-but yesterday's experience made me change my mind-at one point of my run I passed a young man on crutches, his left leg amputated from the mid-thigh down. He had his soccer cleats on-he was heading to go play soccer-soccer with one leg-and I struggled? Good grief...Once again, I was humbled, everywhere around me this past month I have met people who have struggled-like Anita and Ma Jenna-and their response was very different than mine.
I don't know what will happen during the marathon-I won't lie to you I am a little scared. But no matter what happens I will be joyful, praying, and thankful that I belong to the same Jesus as Anita, her beautiful mom and the many more women I have had the honour to meet here in Liberia. They have all taught me what true joy is -despite the struggles-they are why I run.