An Unexpected Longing

by Jennifer Mote, Listen to My Life Facilitator

During my high school years, I was introduced to running.  I was not a Cross Country girl, rather it was part of our conditioning work for Basketball.   Our gym had a running track underneath it and I would run down there on rainy days and outside in my neighborhood on sunny days.  Time had a different feel to it while I ran.  It slowed or almost stopped as my mind would jump from topic to topic and eventually just rest in still peace.   Running two to three miles was bliss.

Early in our marriage, my husband, Chris, decided to train for the marathon.  By this time knee aches and plantar fasciitis had halted my runs.  I recall looking at my odometer one day while driving into work and made the realization that the distance he would run for the marathon was my full commute, which in Chicago traffic was almost 40 minutes each way by car.  What sheer madness!  That year he ran up to the 20 mile long run and had to stop training due to life circumstances.

Last year, Chris signed up to train for and run the Chicago Marathon for Team World Vision.  On the day of the marathon I woke the kids up early and we participated as spectators, cheering him on at miles 3, 6 and 24.  The kids wrote a sign “Go Daddy!  Go Daddy!  Go Daddy!  You can win!”

The feeling was electric, but for reasons I did not anticipate.  People certainly run the marathon for a personal challenge.  But many of the participants run passionately out of their story.  They run for someone they love with cancer, or in memory of a loved one who had recently passed, or for a charity close to their soul.  They pin pictures and slogans to their athletic wear and they run.  Watching this parade of stories pass by me was riveting.  These people did not look like professional athletes, and yet they were out there doing it, running the race well.

Something in me turned a corner that day.  I recognized a longing, and yet a frustration.  I would love to run again Lord, but you know my body these days.  Good for Chris!  For some reason it’s not for me.

This past Spring, a dear friend came to my door to visit.  She and three friends had signed up for the Chicago Marathon on behalf of Team World Vision.  God had planted another marathoner in my life, yet with a twist.  She was going to run-walk the race.  Run three minutes at a solid pace, and walk the forth and do so in that pattern for the whole race.  Intriguing idea.  And she was going to train and run the race day all in the context of community.  Wow!

Hunger and wonder stirred deep.  My knee…. run/walk ….26.2 is a long way…..but with friends and fellowship.   That night, with tears, I called out to God and said, “Will you please help me do this Lord!  It’s crazy.  It’s beyond me.  But could it be for me too?”  The answer was yes.  Run to raise money for clean water in Africa.  Run for hope.  Run for community and personal challenge.  Run because you care.  Run because I made you to be a runner in an entirely new way.

Stepping into that “yes” has started me on a fresh and significant spiritual journey with many highs and lows.   And “the more of the story” continues to grow out of my story, mile by mile, day by day and will continue through race day (10-10-10) and beyond.  I look forward to seeing how God will meet us as we run the race with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.


  • Where have you been surprised by a buried longing?
  • Where is God asking you to stretch out and grow for the sake of others and your own soul?
  • What recreational or spiritual challenge can you say yes to?

Scripture: John 10:10 says:  "The thief comes only to steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Prayer: Lord, open my eyes to the things you have for me.  Open my ears to hear the whispers of direction, calling and challenge.  Open my heart to receive what you have for me, that I can make a difference in the lives of others.

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We would love to hear your stories, questions, or comments. Thank you.


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