I signed up for a half marathon, just like I had many times before.

A couple months before the race, I felt the Lord saying “you’re going to do the full.” I didn’t know why, and I didn’t want to run another full without a purpose. So I prayed each morning for clarity and direction.

One day while praying about the race, I heard “PRAYLIST.” Okay… what does that look like? The Lord said that instead of creating a playlist for running, make a praylist.

He started placing people on my heart to pray for and gave me a vision of an arm band, like you’d use to hold your phone while running. I wrote down names as He gave them to me. As the race drew near, I still didn’t know if I should do the full or not.

I had around 16 things/people He had put on my heart. I continued to pray for direction here – was I supposed to do 16 miles? I asked God (or maybe told Him…), “Show me the number. If you want me to do 26 miles, give me 26 prayers. If not 26, then show me how many.” I knew God is faithful and He would show me what to do.

As the days leading up to the race passed, I kept hearing the word “hidden” in my heart.

Most of my life had been a continuous pattern of restricting and binging. I did it with alcohol, cigarettes, exercise, food… but I found freedom when I surrendered these former strongholds over to God. The previous three years had been full of life-giving freedom as I watched God put a stop to those destructive patterns.

During my training for this race, I participated in the Revelation Wellness   “Month of Original Design,” and felt a specific prompting about another pattern it was time to let go of – my ADHD meds.

Even though I’d known God wanted me to give them up, I kept coming back to them because they brought comfort.

My mind is like a spider web – I have visions and dreams that make rest so hard without medication. My mind won’t stop. However, when I’m on the medicine, my mind is quiet. I have less feeling, I get everything done on my to do list, I’m content, and I have no appetite.

But there was that prompting that I couldn’t ignore. I put down the ADHD meds a few weeks before the race. It wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it.

I shared more of my testimony on our Lifepoint Fitness Facebook page a few days before the race, and told the LPFit members that I would be praying for their freedom while I ran. I also told them to send me prayer requests if they wanted me to specifically pray for them.

My longest training run had been a 14 mile trail run, which was about 3 hours. I knew I could finish a full marathon, but wasn’t actually training for it. I still didn’t have 26 prayer requests, so I waited on God to see how far I was going to be running.

The day before the race, I had 23 people and things to pray for.

At 9pm the night before the race, I received 2 more prayer requests.

1 hour before the start of the race, I got the 26th prayer request. God has such a sense of humor! My Praylist was full, so I was doing the full 26 mile marathon.

Over each mile, I gave thanks and prayed for one person or thing that was on the Praylist, and I had opportunities to pray for others who were running the race, too.

I was able to pray over a woman for clear lungs and strength, and then I got to watch her finish the race in front of me! Praise God. I prayed when I was in pain, and that pain went away. I prayed when I was out of gas and He filled my tank. I prayed “Lord, be my feet” many times, and he continued to lighten the load.

I was weary at mile 23 or 24, so I put on a Rev the Word podcast and held my phone. A girl behind me was listening to it too, and when she came up beside me, she said that podcast was exactly the encouragement she needed right then. I told her God always knew exactly what we need, as it says in Psalm 23. Brittany hung by me with a smile and finished strong.

This was BY FAR the most amazing race I have ever run because of how God had it planned from the very beginning.

He created me in His image and He made me in my original design, with beauty and messiness and everything in between, for a reason – for His unwavering purpose.

I hear God better when I’m off the meds and feeling things that I need to be feeling, despite being uncomfortable with it and having to rely on His strength. Which is exactly how it should be!

This life of surrendering to God’s purpose is where I’ve found freedom and true joy. I love how it’s not about striving for perfection, but it’s how we grow closer to Jesus in the process.

I continue to press into Him, because there are struggles every day of this journey. My newfound strength is in Jesus and I know that this life is not my own, it’s a gift from God. I want more people to know Jesus through my story. True joy only comes through Him.


-Kristen Gartland


Kristen is participating in an event titled Rim to Him. It is a one-of-a-kind, co-ed, adventure/fundraising hike, through the grand canyon, where you will come to know more deeply that with God, all things are possible. For more info go to:


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