Just Get Up And RUN!

Dear Premila,
I've been writing and re-writing this post in my head for months. 

I knew that on the eve of my first "HALF", 
that I would want to write to you. 
And I'm hoping that somehow my words get into your hands and your heart, 
despite the oceans between us. 

Normally words sort of spill out with not much effort at all.
My husband Jack thinks that perhaps I have enough words for about 3 grown women. 
He's just jealous is all. 

As I try to figure out what to personally say to you, 
I'm at a loss for words. 

So, I'll start with a picture of me, the runner. 
Thought you might like to see a photo of the gal that's running in YOUR honour!

Excuse the ugly sweatshirt,
 but this is the sweatshirt I'm earning by running on Sunday.
I'm sure you know Avishi. 
I don't, yet I feel as if I do. 

You see, last year, 
one of my very best friends ran her first ever 
half marathon to raise money for Avishi. 
For her future. 
For her present. 
To shout to the mountaintops that Avishi was loved. 
And valuable. 
And precious in God's eyes and hers. 

 And at the time of Alice's race I had to chuckle because this side of heaven - not in my wildest dreams - would I have thought that Alice would ever pick up the daunting hobby of running. 

Unless she was being chased by a crazy person wielding a machete. 

You see, my dear Alice has a whole lot of talents and gifts, 
but until then, I wouldn't have thrown 'runner' into that mix. 
And yet, when she felt so clearly called by God to sacrifice and train, 
to 'get up and run' for Avishi, 
she became a runner. 
She DID it. 

Just like that, her training was over and her race day was on us 
like white on rice.
 I remember yelling and photographing Alice as she crossed the finish line 
and I remember thinking, 
"Well if that isn't like the God of the universe to do something 
that we thought was impossible. 
Alice just ran a HALF MARATHON. 
NO WAY!" 

And not in my WILDEST imagination did I ever think I might join the ranks of Alice, 
who raised money for a girl she didn't know. 

Who got out of bed at too-early-o-clock in the morning to train, 
day after day. 
Week after week. 
Month after month. 
Who asked God to join her every single run 
because she knew she couldn't do it on her own. 

So you can imagine my surprise when this past June, 
after completing a 5k race, 
I felt this inner nudge to maybe - just maybe - try something 
bigger. 
Longer. 
Harder.
After a week of prayer and contemplation and 
panic if truth be told, 
I decided to go for it. 

But before I pressed go on the decision button to run a half marathon, 
I contacted As Our Own to see if I could run my race for YOU, 
sweet Premila. 
Because I knew that in the dark hours of training 
I would need a motivation beyond myself. 
I needed this to be about more than myself. 
I'd need someone worth fighting for. 
Worth sacrificing for. 
Worth training for. 
Worth loving. 
Worth pushing myself and my abilities. 
Worth NOT quitting on.

 And that someone is YOU. 

While I don't know much about you 
{I so wish I knew more and had more photos of you and believe me I asked. 
I so pray that someday I'll get to wrap you up 
in a great big mama bear hug.} 

 This much I do know about you: 
I know that you love worship music. Me too. 
Worship music has carried me on almost every training run, 
and just last night I finished up my play list for my race on Sunday. 
It's THAT important to me. 

They say you're outgoing and talkative. 
Ya, that pretty much sums me up in a nutshell. 

You have a quick wit and keen sense of humour. 
We'd get along so well because I love to laugh. 
Me, quick witted -- not so much. 
That would be my husband. 
But laugh? 
Oh I can LAUGH alright. 

You want to be a singer when you grow up. Me too. 
I say YOU CAN DO IT. 
 Chase that dream sweet girl. 

It seems that while we haven't met {yet}, 
our hearts are bonded. 
Forever bonded. 

 I have prayed for you every time I have run. 
I haven't known exactly what to pray, 
so I've prayed for you as if you were my own daughter.

 I've prayed prayers of Hope over you. 
I've prayed prayers of Joy over you. 
I've prayed prayers of Peace over you. 

Most every run of mine has been in the morning, 
so as I'm running, 
you're heading off to bed for a night of sleep. 
And with that in mind, 
I have been compelled to pray that Jesus would step in 
and protect you from bad dreams and memories. 
That He would wipe away your tears and your fears
 and that you would somehow know
 that He loves you with a deep, crazy kind of love. 

I have prayed that fear would not grip you. 
I have prayed that He would redeem the hurts and difficulties from your past. 
I have prayed that you would just FEEL loved. 
That you would sense Him right by your side when you take school exams 
and when you study and when you play with your friends. 

I have prayed that should you choose to get married some day, 
that the man that you marry would protect you and honor you 
and love you with a DEEP love, like Jesus loves. 
I have prayed that should you have the desire to have kids, 
that you would be given that great gift. 
I have prayed that you would get to lead worship and sing, 
now AND in the future. 

I am praying that your story, 
as hard as it has been, 
would be a story that you would let God use to show the world 
that He is in the business of loving us deeply, 
loving us THROUGH our pain, 
loving us in spite of our circumstances, 
loving us in the middle of the dark, lonely nights. 
And even when we can't feel Him, 
HE IS THERE. 

I am praying that your story gets told to the masses, sweet Premila, 
and that God uses YOU to shout from the mountaintops 
that He IS loving and kind and compassionate
 and that He desperately wants us to run TO Him instead of away from Him. 

I have been praying that since our stories got jumbled up 
in this thing called a half marathon, 
that God would use us, together, 
to give people hope when hope seems COMPLETELY out of reach. 

I've been asking God to show people that He does care. 
And that He does answer prayer, 
even if it isn't the way we want the prayer answered. 
I've been asking Him to make Himself real to me and you, 
on opposite sides of the globe. 

I know He has been real to me during this training time. 
And I so wish I could sit down with you and ask you if He feels real to you. 
I'd love to know what you think about God? 
What you wonder about Him? 
If you doubt Him or trust Him or have a mix of the two. 
If you can see His love even in spite of all that has happened to you?

Oh, I wish I could sit down with you and visit. 
And talk. 
And cry. 
And dream together. 

 Just because Sunday's race will be over in 48 hours doesn't mean 
that I will stop praying for you and thinking of you, Premila. 
You're stuck with me for life, my dear!

 I hope through all this, you know that a girl in Chicago, 
who faced the next to impossible in her mind, 
is crazy about you and believes that God is for you 
and that God has GREAT things in store for you. 
God wants to scoop you up in His loving arms to be your daddy. 
 I hope you'll let Him do that for you! 

 Premila, I asked a bunch of my friends and family to 
give financially to you, through As Our Own, 
so that you could tangibly see that YOU ARE LOVED. 
And I'm so thrilled that so many have stepped in and given. 
Generously. 
Lovingly. 
They just keep giving. 
How cool is that? 

 Isn't it just like God to tap one person on the shoulder and ask her to get up and run. 
And then he taps another person on the shoulder and says, 
"Will you give a little?" 
And then He taps another person on the shoulder and says, 
"Will you pray for Premila AND Alysa? They both need to know they're not alone." 
And then he taps another person on the shoulder and says, 
"I wonder if you'd be willing to run? 
For another little girl that needs to know she's loved. 
And worthy of love. Maybe next year?" 

 Premila, you are beautiful.


SIMPLY STUNNING!
You are loved. 
You are precious, in God's eyes and mine! 

So now, 
in God's incredible PEACE and STRENGTH,
I'm going to 'get up and run'.
For YOU. 
For ME. 
For God. 

And in the meantime, 
I'd love to know that you're singing a praise song to God in India, 
while I sing a praise song to God on Chicago's lakefront path on Sunday. 
I love that our God can hear both our songs at the same time! 
THAT blows my mind. 
God blows my mind.

Love you sweet girl.

Lovingly,
Alysa

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