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  • Writer's pictureCalli Townsend

A lesson in redemption

Updated: May 11, 2021

A year ago today we received an email from our coach telling us our outdoor track season was canceled.

I remember reading it and instead of feeling disappointed and sad, I felt relief. I felt guilty later on, like why was I so relieved to have such a special thing taken away from me?

By that point track had become a source of anxiety and pressure. It wasn’t really fun anymore and racing just scared me, so I guess it makes sense why I found relief in that email.

But I just opened that email back up to read its words again and man, I felt anything but relief. I felt the sadness and disappointment and even anger that I should have felt last spring. And then I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the work God has done since that day last year.

Running is actually fun again. Racing doesn’t scare me, training isn’t dreadful. I ran in circles around a soccer field the other day for a workout and I felt so much peace and joy in that.

My junior year indoor season left me feeling discouraged, and I could see why. I looked up my stats from that year and realized that I literally got slower with each race I ran. And honestly, I was scared that would happen again this year.

But then I got quarantined in November, right before this year’s indoor season was supposed to start. Instead of joining my teammates for our Blue-White scrimmage, I raced my brother in a 400 around our high school track.

My parents and my dog came to watch. They timed and cheered as Jake beat me. I’m confident if that race had been 100 meters longer I would’ve won. It was freezing and windy but it was fun.

For the first time in a long time, running was fun and I left a track feeling happy and proud. I asked God, “Please. Whatever this season ends up being, I just want to enjoy it. Please help me like track again.”

My first three races were slower than I wanted. Slower than any time I had run the year before that, actually. Things weren’t looking good, but I was having fun. I toed line with confidence and excitement to race. I finished each race feeling strong instead of dying up the straightaway with weak limbs. I knew I could run faster.

And then I did. From my first to my fourth race this year, I improved six seconds. I had finally PR’d in the 800 and then two weeks later, I ran even faster.

By the time our conference championship rolled around, I was super excited, but also nervous. The two years before this hadn’t gone well, and I wasn’t looking for a repeat.

As I stood in the warm up area waiting to go, I prayed that God would give me confidence, give me strength, and that He would just let me run whatever race He wanted for me that day.

Our God doesn’t just restore what’s been lost or broken. He makes it even better than it was before, if only we’re willing to let Him in and do the work He wants to do.

I had given Him the control of the season, I just wanted His peace, and He gave me so much more.

Psalm 130:7 “O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows.”

Revelation 21:5 “And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’ And then he said to me, ‘Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.’”


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