Why can’t this be easy?

I am not a runner.

I want to be a runner. I look at other people running lightly down my street, on their toes like nymphs who frolic in the chilly spring morning air.

I am not naturally inclined to frolic.

Yet, there I was this morning, headphones in, bundled up to the teeth in layers (it wasn’t that cold, I’m cold blooded), following the dulcet tones of the lady on my ‘from couch to 5K’ app as she guided me in running and walking to running intervals.

I can’t say I expected it to be a spiritual experience, but it was, in a way.

Not the running part, I still kind of hate that, but the getting out there part.

You see, I have committed to getting more exercise, more sleep, eating better.

Because more often than not these days I feel wearier than I want to and older than I should.

Some times in life are busy and hard and all I want to do is cross stitch and watch tv and eat burgers. And those desires creep into the areas of my life that should be nonnegotiables.

Like spending time with God, seeking his wisdom above my own, lifting up rather than shouldering the worries.

Because some days can feel like 40 years of wandering aimlessly.

As I’m sitting here this feels like a place to dive into the idea of discipline, but there are some times when the discipline isn’t at the core of what’s really going on.

Because even though I cherish the importance of discipline, sometimes what my life needs is the bleeding over of grace. That flowing of memory of God’s mercy and love that floats off the burdens and reminds me of the whats and whys of who I am.

Because the disciplined mind knows, but the heart longs for. 

My heart longs for the closeness and memory of God. To remember his goodness and his loving intervention in our lives.

What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?

Only be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.

You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. Deuteronomy 4:7,9a, 11

In the busyness and stresses my memory grows short. I feel the weight and the drudgery and ask, why does this have to be so hard?!?

It’s hard because I’m tapped out. Tapped out of my own strength, my own resources.

I forget what it’s like to stand at the foot of the mountain. Forget the still small voice.

Forget that the nearness of our God is something unfathomable. That he is ever present and a breath away.

Today as I ran and huffed my memory started to change. I focused less on the physical goals and trials and the spiritual started to break through.

I saw the sun, the grass, felt the warmth of God’s presence.

I began to remember the goodness, the mercy, the interventions and the patience of his presence through the long hours of sleepless nights.

And my soul’s health began to be restored.

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Wounded Creations

One of my kids wrote on my table. 

This might not seem like a big deal, and usually it’s not. Pens slip, markers bleed, and Magic Erasers do their work. I get that mistakes happen.

But this wasn’t one of those things. This was a signature, a sentence, a proclamation on MY table. The table I had worked hard on. My first piece of furnature. The work of my hands. 

And I was mad. 

I was mad because it felt like a shot. It felt like an insult. It felt disrespectful and hurtful. 

Because how would they feel? How would they feel if I took my pen and wrote over their creation? If I took what was theirs and claimed it as mine to do with what I would.

Yes, I was mad.

I wanted to get that kid and tell them what’s what.

I wanted to make sure they knew how hurt I was and that what they did was wrong.

I didn’t care about maturity or turning the other cheek. I felt like an injustice had been done and I wanted them to know about it.

My upset phone call to my husband sought commiseration and affirmation of my sense of being wronged. 

And he gently attempted to turn the ship.

Through his gentle intervention and wise words to both sides he brought the younger to a sense of repentance and the older to a place of offering grace and forgiveness. He’s a pretty amazing guy.

When someone hurts the work of our hands, disregards our creation, it wounds. 

It wounds us, and I think it wounds God.

For you created my inmost being;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 

your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

I know there have been times when I’ve hurt someone else, one of God’s fearfully and wonderfully made creation. 

Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes an accident.

For my child, they thought it would be funny, a joke, to write their name on the table.

I’ve done that. I’ve made and misread jokes, hurt someone unintentionally.

I’ve disregarded feelings and opinions and left other people feeling like they don’t matter.

But just because it was an accident doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. 

And I wonder what God thinks of it all. Actually, I don’t.

I have a pretty old idea of what God thinks and feels when I wound one of his beautiful creations. I bet, like me, that he’s angry, hurt that I did that. That he wishes I could see how much care and time he’s put into that person. That they are crafted in his image and he loves them to the depths of his soul.

Like my impulse with my child, he could be really tempted to show me my faults, to make me feel the full depth of my wounding of another person.

But he doesn’t. 

He shows grace to me. He forgives. He corrects. He gives me a new way of looking at things so that I begin to see the person through his eyes instead of my own. 

His wounds are much deeper than mine, because the cost was much greater.

But so is his grace. The deep and wide grace that sees me as his child and looks past my sin and to the love he has for me. 

Because I’m his creation too. The work of his hands. And this hands continue to form me and show me new ways to reflect who he is.

A I’m a Creation in Progress.