I Run. I Pray.
By Emily Pegg, Special Kids Board Member, Race Volunteer Coordinator, and fundraiser
I run for Special Kids.
In March of 2014, as I walked through the new Special Kids building under construction, I was so overcome with emotion. It was indescribable how it felt to see those framed out walls and envision all the rooms and think of all the children and families who will be served. I’ve said many times that God performs miracles every day on Arnette Street and there I was standing in the biggest miracle of them all.
I have asked God for a lot of things in my life…
Protection, peace, guidance, but that building is the boldest, most outrageous thing I have ever dared to ask of God. I had no doubt He could do it, but I greatly underestimated how masterfully He would carry out His plans. It’s funny how quickly things can come to mind. I suddenly had this thought that I was there in that moment because of four things…a book, a hurtful comment, a prayer, and a pair of running shoes. It sounds odd, but it’s true.
I love to read.
Many years ago, I was reading The Purpose Driven Life. I love to read. I can read fiction all day long, but non-fiction is another matter. The ADD kicks in and I just can’t focus. I’ve read the first few chapters of dozens of non-fiction books, but I have finished very few. This particular book I devoured.
During that time, a friend told me in front of several people that I was selfish for all the time I spent running because it took me away from my husband and children. That was a nice public gut-punch with a side of mother guilt. I tried to brush it off in the moment, but when I was alone in my car I cried. There was truth to what she said. I did spend a lot of time running, but was it selfish if my husband supported and encouraged it? Was it selfish if we were out running as a family?
My thoughts went back to the book where the author talks about how God wants to use our talents and the things that give us pleasure. That’s where the prayer comes in. I just couldn’t imagine how God could possibly use my love of running for His glory and purposes, but I gave it to Him that night.
Thank you for running.
It was just a week or so later, while running the St. Jude’s Marathon that I saw a woman standing outside the hospital with a sign that said, “Thank you for running for Emily, my St. Jude patient.” That’s when the wheels started turning. I prayed for that little girl the rest of my run. I thought, maybe this is it? Am I supposed to pray for people while I’m running?
Then I came home to a letter from a friend who was running the Country Music Half Marathon and raising money for a place called Special Kids. I had never heard of it before. Things started clicking. The next Sunday night, a church friend said she wanted me to call Special Kids and tell them I would run the Country Music Marathon and raise money for them and so I did. Click, click, click.
I’ve logged a lot of miles for Special Kids over the last years. I’ve asked my family and friends multiple times to donate money or items to the organization and they have all been beyond generous. But, honestly, the take away has been far greater than any amount of time I could give or money I could ever hope to raise. As the author said, “Once you know what God wants you to do, the blessing comes in actually doing it.”
I am a different person because of Special Kids. I have grown spiritually. I am emboldened by the things I have seen God do there. I am humbled that I am allowed to be a small part of it. I am so thankful that God loves me so much that He found a purpose in what I enjoy even when I doubted Him.
“God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessing.”
1 Peter 4:10