This time, I’m running

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“I’m running for the freedom and wholeness of our beautiful women right here in Canada, for the physically and sexually abused, the sex trafficked, the prostitute.”

When you all ran the SheLoves Half-Marathon for Living Hope last year, I felt so ripped off.

Just afterwards, I wrote on my own blog:

I had a chance to be a part of something really amazing, to tell a very cool story of love and sweat and work, and I said no.

So much of life is like that, isn’t it? We feel a nudge, an invitation, a passion, a burning, a bothering. I once heard that if you want to know where you’re called, take an honest look at what makes you angry. If something makes you angry–an injustice, in particular–that is as good as an engraved invitation to do something about it. And oh, I admit it, sometimes I’m so angry about women’s issues (in the church and the world) that I want to burn down the Internet for every lie told to keep women down, to placate and patronize and neuter the strong voices of women, for every injustice done to our sisters and our own selves from the daily mundane lies to the violent abuses.

But we all have a long list of reasons for not stepping out, speaking out, writing it out, singing it out, running it out, confronting, praying, laying on hands, working it out, being bold and courageous. It’s risky. I might fail. People may not like me. I may irritate people. I might be called names or receive a bit more nasty email. (People don’t like it when someone else gets out of the boat, do they?)

It’s easier to stay home and write tweets celebrating the ones actually doing something. And even though I want to live boldly, speak truthfully, love madly, work for justice, sometimes when I hear the Voice, the invitation, I shrug, “Meh – I’m tired” and I’ll just cheer on the women and men actually doing something instead and convince myself that it’s enough.

I work a few hours a week for Mercy Ministries of Canada. Every year, we hold our main fundraiser, the Run for Mercy. And every year, I organize and plan, set up tables and lend my hand to the undertaking. I hand out sandwiches or sign people up at the registration, I write letters and recruit. And I love it. I love gathering together with the Mercy family, with our residents, our graduates, our supporters, our churches, our friends.

But this year, I’m running.

This time, I want to sweat, I want to hurt, I want to be physically there, every step of the way, my heart focused on the long journey of our brave girls.

My sister downloaded that Coach to 5K app on her iPhone, and she’s doggedly walking beside me while I wheeze and hobble around our small city track three nights a week. (I believe that runners call this “training” but that might be a bit ambitious in my case. My feet are moving though and that counts for something, I hope.) It won’t be pretty, but it will be done.

I’m running for the freedom and wholeness of our beautiful women right here in Canada, for the physically and sexually abused, the sex trafficked, the prostitute.

I am running for the drug and alcohol addicted, the broken, the hurting.

I am running for the anorexic, the bulimic, the depressed, the frightened, the anxious, the self-harming.

I am running for my daughters, for our mothers, our sisters, our friends. I am running for you.

I am running for our current residents, for the girls still in our application process, for the girl sitting there with an unfinished application absolutely terrified of change but more scared of staying the same.

I am running for our graduates, for our most recent graduates, Christina and Jessica, because all of our graduates are my heroes.

I am running because I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one, and that it is a plan for good and not evil, a plan of hope and freedom.

I’m running for Mercy because it matters for Mercy Ministries of Canada, of course. But I’m also running because, now I know, it matters to me, too.

There are three ways to support Run for Mercy:

1. Join us. Register here, recruit a team from your church or neighbourhood, volunteer or fundraise, show up on Race Day

2. Spread the word for us.

3. Donate or sponsor the Run for Mercy.

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Sarah Bessey

Sarah Bessey

Sarah Bessey is the author of Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith and Jesus Feminist. She is an award-winning blogger and writer who lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia with her husband and their four tinies. You can find her online at SarahBessey.com or on Twitter at @sarahbessey.
Sarah Bessey

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