Christian, coffee, Encouragement, Faith, friends, God, grace

God speaks running (part 1)

IMG_3618_edited-1

These are my favorite shoes.  Besides the fact that they are the most comfortable of all I own, they are more than that to me.  They represent an effort that I find enjoyable even when it’s hard.  They take me outdoors and remind me that there’s more to any given day than the pressures and responsibilities and busy-ness that my list demands.  They take me away from the other voices, the other noises, and give my mind a break.  They take me to a place that God consistently speaks to me.

For my non-running readers, hang with me.  I believe as I share His runningspeak, you will be able to relate from the comfort of your robe and fuzzy slippers just as well.  I posted the following earlier this week on social media and will be periodically sharing the many ways God has used running to help me grow.  Perhaps you can relate…

As I sit here this morning with my second cup of coffee (slow start today…) and resist the temptation to visit the Dunkin Donuts which is just minutes away, I am thinking about exercise. Haha. As you may have guessed, I bailed on the aerobics class months ago. I had a really good reason – my summer office work hours prevented me from attending any classes except the one led by miss-serious-muscle-bound-intensity and I simply could not bring myself to endure this voluntary torture and the humiliation that would invariably occur. So I did nothing.

Now fall is here with better hours and cooler temperatures and it’s calling me out. I want to run. It’s always been my preferred method of exercise and tender knees were the only reason I re-entered the aerobic world in the first place. Now the knees are better and I no longer have to rise at 5 am to avoid triple digit temperatures. It’s time. I’ll have to start with walking, but it won’t be long and I’ll be running again. Woohoo!

My excitement builds as I consider the many advantages of running. Here are my top 10:
#1 I don’t have to count my steps.
#2 I don’t have to watch the minutes unless I want to. And if I want to know, I can wear a watch that will do that for me.
#3 The only skill required is the coordination to place one foot in front of the other over and over. Granted, I still struggle with this from time to time but the odds of me kissing the pavement are considerably less than the tripping and stumbling and falling that occur when I attempt to do the grapevine in time to rock music.
#4 There are no mirrors.
#5 THERE ARE NO MIRRORS!!!
#6 I am alone. There are no witnesses to my trips and stumbles unless I take CJ (the dog) and he doesn’t laugh. Well, at least not out loud.
#7 I choose the time and location that suits me.
#8 Run enough and I don’t have to feel guilty about the occasional Dunkin Donut
#9 The only investment needed is a good pair of shoes. And who doesn’t like to buy shoes, right??
#10 Perhaps the greatest revelation I’ve had: If I go at the right time of day, the image I see of myself is no longer the reflection of a poorly spandex-stuffed sausage in movements that can be best described as spastic, but rather a tall, slender, graceful shadow that gives me hope there will be a day when my waistbands no longer threaten to cut off the circulation to my entire body and a trip to my closet can be a moment of joy rather than despair.

So here goes. Time to lace up and get out the door. I am thankful I live in a neighborhood with leash laws and drivers who fully expect to see walkers and runners and cyclists and allow plenty of room as they pass. I’d invite you along, but I don’t have time to wait. Besides, being alone is always a time that God can speak and He speaks running.      🙂

 

God speaks running (Part 1)” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

Advertisements
Bible, children, Christian, church, Encouragement, Faith, family, friends, God, grace, Jesus, love, prayer, Spiritual, trials

In her shoes

IMG_1804_edited-1 copy

I caught her eyes several times during the service.  She struggled to listen as she was surrounded by her four children and the activity that invariably ensues when two or more children are in close proximity.  The chapel is simply the dining area with most of the tables removed and only chairs in their place.  She sat at the back with the other mothers of busy children, concerned that they were a distraction but longing to hear anything that might expose a glimmer of hope.

Their faces are like open doors giving a glimpse into their hearts.  I can see some are simply there because it is a place to rest in the air conditioning, a break from the routines of responsibilities they don’t want to do in a place they don’t want to be.  They are disinterestedly polite.  Some smile and nod in agreement as my words confirm what they already know.  Others are so tired from the physical and emotional demands of the day that they nod in a different fashion.  Anger and frustration burn in the eyes of a few as there is no longer a pretense that they are fine even when they come to church.  Especially when they come to church.

She was the farthest from me but it’s as if I can see in her face a silent plea. “I’m hungry!  Feed me something that will last until tomorrow!  Give me more than empty platitudes and churchy phrases!  Please make it real.”  Across the room expressions without words reveal she is not alone in her desire.

Does she know that I see her?  Does she see in my eyes that she matters?  As I look from face to face I pray that the women who sit before me know they are seen.  I haven’t walked in their shoes on the paths they have traveled, but I see these, my fellow Egypt-wanderers.  I have no stones to throw.  We’ve traveled paths we never planned and feared we would never find our way home.  We’ve found our feet unable to move through the muck and mire of our own selfish choices.  We’ve fallen under the burden of someone else’s choices.  We’ve choked in the grips of trouble, desperate to believe there is more than this.  More to life than the struggle.  More to church than a list of do’s and don’ts and the fear of going to hell.  More to God than children’s stories and greeting card verses.

Can she hear me?  Can she fathom the depths of the Love offered her this night?  Can she imagine a life of freedom purchased through Grace where no condemnation speaks?  Can she believe the stirring in her soul is His voice compelling her to come to Him just as she is, loved and accepted?  Can she find the Hope that is her future?

I watch as she walks toward me.  She is tall and beautiful and tired and ready.  Ready to reach out to a stranger who has not walked in her shoes but will take her hand and perhaps point her toward the way out of Egypt.  We pray and hug.  She takes a bible.  There is so much I want to say but there is no time.  We smile and say goodbye.  We will probably never meet again.

God, take me to a place in prayer for her where there is no hint of opinion or judgement, no arrogance that thinks I know what she needs, no pride that considers myself any different as you have delivered me out of my own Egypt-wandering.  Remind me as I pray that I haven’t walked in her shoes.

I am the Lord your God, Who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. 

Psalm 81:10

In her shoes” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

Photograph by Kay Stinnett and cannot be used without permission.