Sunday, August 3, 2014

Rachel's Race 2014

Yesterday we held Rachel's 3rd Race.   It was an amazing day, full of all sorts of bumps that God's grace carried me through without a flinch and lots of love, support, excitement, tears, emotions, carrying each others burdens... and HOPE.

I have been wanting to write almost every day this last few weeks, but I've been so completely engrossed in preparing for the race, (or trying to spend quality time with my family in between) I didn't have time to slow down enough to put my thoughts down.  Honestly, I'm still unwinding from it all and still feel a bit unready to share my heart.

We had 108 babies we remembered by name at the race - 225 runners/walkers and a bunch more there just to show support that weren't signed up.  The forecast said it would rain, but other than slight sprinkling here and there, we had good weather and it was more pleasant to work in.  Everyone seemed to have a great time and although it was just as crazy as always, I really enjoyed the day.

As usual, I was stopped time and time again by people telling me how much me sharing my journey with Rachel has helped them.  I will never tire of hearing that her life helped someone.

I do not have final numbers yet - I know we made less on race day then usual (by about $1,000) and since I didn't do any pre-race soliciting of donations, we were already about $4,000 behind our norm.  So take $5,000 off the top.  I am still waiting on a company to send money they collected on a couple of jean days they held in Rachel's honor and on payment for some shirts... and I am going to try to sell what I have left of shirts, bracelets and key chains (made by me & Cyndie) I have left over, to get the numbers up a little bit more and will announce when I have a final amount.

I am waiting on some photos and will get together a video from our baby ceremony so that if you weren't there, you can still hear your baby's name spoken!  Will get it done as soon as I can.

Although it appears our numbers will be nothing like the years past, I feel like this has been my most successful race... I've always said that money was not the main purpose and the way I feel right now proves that to be my true heart in this.  I'll tell you why...

Because this year - on the inside and out - I felt like I honored Rachel and glorified God.  My heart was light and I rolled with punches like never before.  I had just as many disappointments from others, just as many last minute issues (actually MORE!), just as many people with entitlement issues pressuring me to give them something for nothing, more baby names to get straight, more kids in tow as I did it all and a promise to keep that this race would not affect my family life, meaning I spent the first 4 months of work on it, working when nobody here would know I was.

The night before the race, I got about 1hr and 45mins sleep.  I left late, and from the moment I stepped foot on the field, things were going wrong... and I mean constantly.  And I think in the first couple of years, that would have been too much - I would have looked messy and felt messy -  maybe partly because of my grief overload and partly because I was just so clueless on how to do this big of an event... but one thing I know for sure is that when my eyes opened at 4:30 yesterday, I had the thought that I should just go back to sleep...I didn't feel ready to face the day - but I rolled over and said "Lord, be with me today please..." and I stepped out of bed and went for it...

But I didn't go for it for me... I didn't go for it for money... I didn't go for it to be able to say I did... I went for it because I know how important it is for the world to be educated on child loss - how much it happens and that it's okay to talk about it.  I know the world needs to hear a message of Hope... And I believe God called me to share that.

And so I did.

But more importantly, as I did, what was going on inside of me while I was working thru the day was amazing.  I'm way more uptight than that so I know it was God answering my prayer to be with me.  And I left there that afternoon, completely exhausted, but feeling great about how the Spirit guided me and helped me to overcome obstacles (mentally) that I couldn't change anyway - and everything worked out just fine in the end.

I came home, we emptied the uhaul and I lugged tables and chairs back to the basement and then, with my house still overtaken by boxes and cut up fruit, I sat down.  I woke up a couple hours later and saw the dozens of photos and messages on Facebook of the race and so many people saying how thankful they were to be there and what it meant to them to participate and I just knew... Rachel's Legacy is going to outlive me...

Thank you so much to everyone who ran, walked, registered your baby, volunteered, stopped by to show support, participated virtually, donated, or sponsored someone in the race...  each and every one of you made a difference and I'm excited to see how we will be able to bless others in Rachel's honor this year because of all your help!  While money isn't my ultimate goal, it is a necessary thing to run a nonprofit and so I thank you for entrusting us with your time and treasure to keep Rachel's Legacy going.

I will get together some photos and such soon, but for now, here is an updated family photo of our shirts... we needed one with Ezra and this time, I brought Rachel Bear with me and I made her a shirt too...

Ours all say our title in relation to Rachel with a 43 on them... I wrote her title as "God's Girl" and started writing the 43, when it came to me... I changed hers to "4 eternity" (but used the eternity symbol)

So as the clock brings us to another August 4th in just 20 minutes... and I remember that day 4 years ago when I got her diagnosis, the day my world stopped.  This is where my Hope is anchored... In Jesus Christ and His promise of eternity.

I can't believe it's been 4 years, it hardly seems possible... but each day, I get one day closer to her.

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