I Will Run {Guest Post}

** I've asked my dear friend Alice to share a part of her story here today. I hope you enjoy her powerful words of inspiration and her heart to make a difference. One stride at a time.


I Will Run
Hi. My name is Alice Daniels. I’m 42 years old; I’ve been married to my husband, Darren, for 17 years; I’m mom to two elementary-age girls, Lucy and Elaine; and I live in Rockford, Illinois, where I lead a pretty regular life.
My mom, Lois, was a missionary, and one of her great heroes was another missionary, Amy Carmichael. My mom boldly packed up her few possessions, went to the mission field as a single woman, and started a school there. Amy Carmichael left her home in Ireland to be a missionary in India. She rescued little girls who had been hired to work as temple prostitutes and worked without furlough for 55 years.  
Now—those are two pretty big heroes to live up to: Mom and Amy. Remember how I said I lead a pretty regular life? Well, I’d absolutely love to do big, exciting things with it, but after a little more than four decades of living, I’ve come to the realization that God keeps calling me to do little things instead. That’s OK—because at the end of my life, my greatest desire is simply to hear Jesus say, “'Well done, good servant, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.” (Luke 19:17)
That’s one of the reasons I love Alysa’s blog—she celebrates the Little Things in Life—and she generously asked me to share about one of the little things God has asked me to do.
Sometime in 2007, I was on my way home from work and running a couple errands. I was listening to the radio (WMBI) and heard an interview with a man named Ralph Borde. He’s the CEO of an organization in India called As Our Own. As Our Own rescues little girls from the red light districts of India. That description sounds pretty sanitized if you put it like that. The reality is that little girls—some as young as 6 or 7—are sold or kidnapped into prostitution. They’re kept in multi-story concrete buildings manned by bodyguards. They undergo a brutal initiation of being raped by multiple men. Girls the age of my daughters. They live a life of terror, abuse, degradation, disease, hopelessness, and death. When these girls come of age, they have children and the cycle continues. Ninety-five percent of girls born in the brothel go on to become enslaved themselves. The little ones live in the brothel cells with the moms and are left to sleep underneath the bed while their mothers are forced to “work” on top of it.
As Our Own is a light in the darkness of that awful world. They do the dangerous job of facilitating the rescue of these little girls and transition them to a Christ-centered home. The home provides them with love, family, security, an advanced education, spiritual discipleship, and really all the things we love to lavish on our kids. By God’s grace, they create a safe place where predators cannot prey on the innocent. They don’t take care of these girls as orphans—they love them…as our own.
As I pulled into the parking lot of Target that day, hearing about little girls treated so awfully and tossed out like so much garbage, I sat there for awhile and cried. Just cried.
Martin Luther King once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I vowed in that Target parking lot that, now that I knew about it, I would not be silent about the slavery of girls. This cannot happen. Not on our watch.
When I got home, I checked out As Our Own’s site www.asourown.org and began to pray regularly for the faces I saw there. After awhile, our family was able to begin supporting them financially as well. I follow them on facebook, and it’s such a joy to me to see pictures of the girls I now think of as my daughters in India, to hear their testimonies of what God is doing in their lives, to receive prayer requests for them as they attend school.
Then last fall, As Our Own posted this short video. http://vimeo.com/27595751
And I felt the tap of God on my shoulder, asking me to do this one thing for our girls. Just…run a half-marathon. Celebrate the rescue of captives and raise funds and awareness so more can be freed. Just this little thing.
Now, if you already know me, you are probably letting out a big Snoopy laugh right now because there’s almost no one less likely in this world to run a half-marathon than me. I’m the one making those jokes about not running unless someone’s chasing me and all that. I’ve never run in my life, except from my car to the house when it’s raining. I’d pretty much like to be my cats, who lie curled up on a chenille blanket at the foot of my bed approximately 22 hours per day. Me = not a runner.
But the conviction was so strong that I was to run this race that I actually found myself going to the marathon site and registering, answering questions such as: “How long do you estimate it will take you to finish the course?” (Er, how long will the course be open?) “Do you need a wheelchair?” (Not yet, but I’m guessing I will by the end.)
Now I was signed up and I actually had to, you know, run. I found some old Asics lying in my closet and checked out a beginner’s running plan online. The first day it said to “run 3 m.” “OK,” I thought. “Probably anybody can run for 3 minutes. Or maybe it means 3 meters?” To my horror, I realized it actually meant 3 miles. Time to revise the plan—let’s see if I can start with one mile. I got up on our treadmill, which is in the basement next to the furnace, and ran the most pathetic mile you have ever seen. It took me 17 ½ minutes, and when I finished I thought I would die. I felt so defeated and frustrated (and foolish! Like a total idiot, I’d just signed up for a MARATHON!) and said to God, “See? I knew this was a terrible idea. I’ll never be able to do this.” I felt His still, small voice saying to me, “I know you can’t. But I can. You show up here each morning and run, and I’ll do the rest. My power is made perfect in your weakness.”
And that’s what I’ve done. I bought better shoes (yay!), loaded my mini-iPod with praise music, and started running each morning. My goal (on October 1) was to be able to run five miles by Christmas. God and I met that goal by Thanksgiving. I kept running. My next goal was to run 8 miles by February. God and I met that one. I kept running. Now I can do a mile between 9 and 10 minutes (or sometimes 11 and 12 minutes!) instead of 17.
While I’m running, I pray. I pray for my daughters—those in my home and those in India. I pray for the leadership at As Our Own. I pray for my friends and family. I listen to the praise music and sometimes sing along. And, full disclosure, I watch that time and mile meter and look forward to when I’ll be done and can go shower. Each day, God meets me at the treadmill in the basement next to the furnace, and we run. Somehow, over the course of these last few months, I’ve come to enjoy, even love it.
I love running!
That’s not to say I’m not nervous about this upcoming race in June. I’ve started having the race nightmares: that I’ve fallen asleep while everyone else is running, that my legs just stop working in the middle of the race, that I fall down and break my legs, that I get to the race but I’ve forgotten my socks and shoes. Basically—that I’ll blow this thing, and let these little girls down.
But you know what Amy Carmichael once said?
 “I turned to my God in a kind of desperation and said ‘Lord, what can I do? How can I go on to the end?’ And He said, ‘None of them that trust in Me shall be desolate.’”
And you know what my mom used to say?
“Up and at ‘em.”
So, here I go with this little thing.
Whatever happens—I.Will.Run.

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