Sunday, May 31, 2009

God on the Greenway: Tying Up Loose Ends

Today is Sunday. Lately, I have been running in the afternoon/evening, but today I can’t. I made sure to run last night because I knew I would be giving blood at church today. Yeah, before I blog about my running, I got to give a shout out to everyone about giving blood. PLEASE, give blood through the Red Cross!! You can save up to three lives!! You can be a hero!! One pint is nothing compared to ALL of the blood Christ spilled for you (that’s how I always see it). By the way, kudos to my friend (Cindy) who attempted to give for the first time today; but the iron count got her this time. (I hear ya! It’s happened to me too!! So proud of you for trying!! Next time, I‘ll get you AND Phil, both, to donate!). It’s worth it, people, and the need/demand is high! Please, give blood; give life!

Anyways, I have to lax on the running today (plus, I got a totally awesome purse party to attend this evening!). I usually don’t like it when my “plans” are rearranged like that, but hey, you gotta deal with it right? That’s precisely what God showed me on my run last night!

I drove to the Greenway to tackle my four miles. My back was bothering me, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. However, I tried not to think too far ahead. I settled on at least running the first two and then deciding what to do with the next two on the way back. So, I did some stretching, put my iPod on, and then checked my shoes to make sure they were tied (and not too tight). Then, I started off.

I was doing pretty well! I made it to a mile in eleven to twelve minutes. That’s what it was last time I did two miles straight. I figured I would probably meet (or even beat) my two mile record (which is twenty-five minutes). Then, I noticed something. My left foot felt weird; and like my shoe was going to fall off. I looked down and saw that my shoe was untied. Unbelievable!! I was aggravated!! I didn’t want to stop and tie it!! The thought even crossed my mind to let it go. However, one doesn’t want to “take a trip to the falls.” It’s better to have to stop and tie up the loose ends now rather than paying for it later. So, reluctantly, I stopped, tied my shoe, and continued on.

Aside from that nuisance, there were other ones. For one, my allergies were really wearing on me that night. There was little fuzzy stuff flying around in the air and I felt like my airways were a little clogged. I also had my water bottle with me (which I don’t typically carry - I would rather have my hands/arms free). However, it’s getting warmer out and it’s important not to get dehydrated. So, sometimes you have to deal with distractions and nuisances like that for a bigger reason.

Then, it happened again; right as I was about to hit the 1.5 mile marker!! This time, my right shoe was untied!! Once more, I groaned and stopped to tie my shoe. I was agitated because I was being bothered with all sorts of stuff that was slowing my progress. I figured it was Satan trying to steal my thunder. Though, I also remembered that like Job, God allowed his faith to be tested. Satan couldn’t touch him until God allowed it. I know there are those that don’t understand this, but think of it this way. It’s like a parent who allows their child to make a mistake for the benefit of the learning experience. Not only that, but the child has free-will. There is only so much anyone can do to influence a person. You can’t control anyone; only yourself. God is the same way. He loves us and gives us free-will. He doesn’t force anything on us, and He gives us freedom to make our own choice through free-will. In the process, He allows things into our lives in order to teach us, strengthen us, and bless us. Job ended up being even more blessed at the end of the story than in the beginning. God brought him through and restored him.

I thought about that as I continued pressing onward. God allowed my shoes to become untied. Why? Because I need to learn that there are a LOT of times where things won’t go as I plan. Sometimes, things come up. When they do, it’s a lot better to tie up the loose end than to ignore it and hope it goes away (or think that you’ll get to it “later”). I knew that if I ignored an untied shoe, it was just asking for trouble. Then, I would most DEFINITELY be annoyed by the distraction of an injury and wouldn’t be able to make it to the two miles at all. Who knows what might have been! And, it would have been the result of MY CHOICE not to take the hint and take care of what I needed to. So often, we blame God for the consequences of our actions. God can do no evil. He is 100% faithful and good. The evil we experience is the result of our choices as well as Satan at work (in others and even ourselves - Ephesians 6:12).

I was almost finished with the two miles when I saw the back of a t-shirt that I recognized. It was a t-shirt that our church made for our Celebrate Recovery group. I also recognized the person wearing the shirt; my dear friend, Maggie. God always has a way of giving me a surge of energy just when I need it (usually towards the end of the run). When I saw Maggie, I felt an adrenaline rush and my pace picked up as I ran up to her, “Boo!” I said. ;) I told her that I would meet her at the bench at the end of the Greenway up ahead.

I gave it all I could and I reached two miles in just over twenty-five minutes. Yeah, I almost met/beat my record, but not quite. Yet, it was ok. I did my best and I was glad that I didn’t try to run on untied shoes (or I might have fell over myself at the “finish line”). That wouldn’t have been a glorious moment at all! LOL

I sat on the bench and thanked God for his goodness and strength as I waited for Maggie. We sat on the bench and talked a good while. Again, it wasn’t one of those “planned” things (after all, I had thought about running four miles straight) but it was a good interruption. ;) I love my sweet sister, and people are a priority. Running can wait! The fellowship was sweet, and so worth it!

After we were done talking, we got up and made our way back down the Greenway; she walking, me running. ;) I said good-bye and starting moving along again. I was enjoying the run back even more since I had a rest; plus, my water bottle was a lot lighter since I had drank most of the water. I had learned so much, and I was feeling refreshed!

Now, here comes the part where God just puts the icing on the cake. A while back, I had blogged about wanting to see something like a rainbow, a swan, deer, etc. Today was the day that I saw the deer; and not one, but two!! Not only that, but it was the cutest thing! It was one chasing the other in the green grass just across the road. I could see their cute little white tails sticking straight up as they scampered by the fence and towards the woods. It was such a blessing!! Not only that, it was during the last mile of my run, and it gave me a big boost! I felt taller and stronger. I felt swift and fast like those adorable and graceful deer. It was just what I needed!! God is good!!

All total, I ran four miles in 55 minutes (and had some stretching time for the next five so I could have a full 60 minutes of exercise). I felt refreshed and very peaceful. I was listening to the Narnia soundtrack and just taking in the beauty of God’s goodness in all of his creation around me. If it wasn’t already getting dark, I might have even run a little more. God had once again given me strength beyond myself and I just didn’t want the moment to end!!

I drove home feeling tired, but rejuvenated. I thought about the shoes, Maggie, and the deer. I thanked God for all He blessed me with as I relished the thought of the next time I could go back and experience more! He is so good to me!

Grace and peace to all of you!! May your life be blessed; no matter what comes your way!! Remember to take care of the loose ends in your life (or they will take care of you!). Enjoy the journey and remember to look for and appreciate the blessings that God sends your way!! God bless you all!!

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