Cross Country Coach–“It’s All About the Cross”

I’d like to introduce you to our guest blogger, but before I do I want to invite you (yes, you!) to submit a blog during the month of December.  I’d like to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by writing HIS story of how HE saved YOU!  Or, if you prefer, you can write a story about someone that you led to the Lord.  I’ll send out more details on the writing specs this week.  But for now, please think about what Jesus did for you and consider bragging on his great mercies to you or to someone you led to the Lord!

Now, for today . . . I am so pleased to introduce you to my new friend Rebekah Trittipoe.  Rebekah is a marathon runner and cross country coach at Liberty Christian School in Lynchburg, Virginia.  I am a Liberty University alumni myself, so it was a pleasure to meet Rebekah last summer and I praise God for the impact of the cross on her team.  Here’s Rebekah’s story!

I met Hope in July 2011 at a writers’ conference in Montrose. Hope’s call to attendees to re-focus on the cross spurred me to look for ways to make that cross come alive.  I wrote the following story on my blog:

It was the day before the state championship meet. This group of cross-country runners had worked long and hard for nearly four months. The season was punctuated with stellar runs, personal bests, and conference titles. Now it was time to wrap it all up. During this practice,  no running workout could assure exceptional performances the next day. But, there was an opportunity to refocus.
The group divided into four teams and raced to form letters and numbers with their bodies. It took team work and analysis to use all team members in the effort. Next, each team formed a “dragon” by holding onto each others’ waists. The task was to protect the “tail” from being tagged by another dragon team. Strategy was required to survive the dragon wars.
The entire team was then asked to figure out how to keep a balloon off the ground simply with string. It took forming a circle and tossing the ball of string to teammates across the way. Soon, as the ball of string repeatedly criss-crossed the circle, each person pulling their “piece” taut, a complex, inter-connected web formed. With tension on each line, the balloon was kept in the air with little effort.
It was obvious that working together was critical in the three exercises. But one more activity remained. Each teammate was handed a personalized puzzle piece. They were given no instructions other than to assemble the puzzle. Following initial mayhem, leaders emerged and assembly began. “What shape is it?” they queried.
“Can’t say. You’ll know soon enough,” I answered with a smile. Standing back, I continued to watch and listen. Soon, the entire group shouted when the last piece was arranged in place.
“It’s a cross! It’s a cross!” And with that, the lesson began.
“Yes. It’s all about the cross. All about the cross.”
“Look at it, guys. What do you see? Are you drawn to the names or to the cross?” I could see them begin to mull over the truth. “We’ve talked a lot about being “Team Peculiar” this year. We’ve challenged one another to make the most of every opportunity to represent Christ in everyday interactions and to see our athletics as expressly given for the glory of God. But listen, we fail as a team if people can’t see that wonderful cross when they look at us.”
I continued. “Everyone of us has a unique position and purpose in that cross. Our identity is fully embedded in that cross. But, what happens if I take out a piece? There’s a hole, isn’t there? You’re eye is drawn to the ‘hole’ rather than the ‘whole.’ That vacancy detracts from the cross’s glory. Can we begin to understand how important it is to embrace each and every one of our positions in that wonderful, magnificent cross?”
“As we go to the state meet tomorrow, what will other teams see? Will they see individuals running for themselves? Will they see swagger or less-than-best efforts? Or, will they see actions and attitudes that point squarely to the cross of Jesus Christ?”
With that, the team bowed in prayer to seek guidance and offer thanksgiving. Truly, it is all about the cross.

After a twenty-five year career in cardiac surgery as a cardiovascular perfusionist, Rebekah now spends her days coaching cross country and distance runners at Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg, VA. She is also an author, motivational and inspirational speaker, and an on-line instructor. In her spare time, Rebekah hits the mountain trails as an ultra-runner and adventurer. She regularly posts life-lesson stories on her blog (http://rebekahtrittipoe.blogspot.com ). Additional information about Rebekah, her books, and speaking services can be found at http://rebekahtrittipoe.com .

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About Lift the Cross of Jesus!

My day job is writing--I'm an author and publisher of a number of books. More on that later. But there is nothing of greater importance to me than the early morning hours I spend with the Creator of the Universe. Although He knows everything there is to know, His greatest delight isn't to give us knowledge, but to give us love. My highest joy is to watch the sun rise with notebook in hand and write the words he speaks to my heart. I want to share some of those words with you here . . . words on the cross.
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3 Responses to Cross Country Coach–“It’s All About the Cross”

  1. Larry Who says:

    Great story by an impressive woman. God bless Rebekah.

    Like

  2. Beautiful story! Great object lesson.

    Like

  3. I agree. I want to bring her to Pennsylvania to teach my kiddos!

    Like

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