3 and a half miles...

Friday, August 6, 2010

i run to hymns.

that feels odd typing that.

but it's true.

i've downloaded about 91 songs onto my ipod and if i'm not listening to my new bff elyse fitzpatrick, i skip past all the praise music to the sturdier hymns.

i'm not totally sure why, but as i listen to the music my heart starts swelling and i start moving faster and pretty soon tears are streaming down my face and i'm fighting stopping in the middle of the walking path and raising my hands in the air to praise my Jesus.

however, that wouldn't be wise. (the stopping part, not the praising part...)

the cyclists on this particular path are quite the...ummm..."sticklers" for protocol.  (i've come across more arguments over things like this in the last month then i ever have before.  it's crazy.  cr.a.zy. i tell you.)

last night was no exception.

i spent the afternoon watching the storm clouds roll in over the tops of the mountains.  and i have to admit, as much as i love the prairies, there is nothing, absolutely nothing more beautiful or majestic then watching the clouds build higher and higher and deeper and deeper in intensity.  and then to hear the thunder repeat itself in the echo that occurs down the valley is nothing short of amazing.

such was the storm of yesterday afternoon.

i went walking in the aftermath of that storm.  

i headed out to my marker, but i had gone faster than i meant to so i decided to go a half-mile further before i headed back home.  i was just finishing listening to the second part of elyse's talk and i knew that if i walked that last half mile i would be able to listen to my hymns the rest of the way home.

as i slowed to a walk i began watching the path in front of me.

and i began noticing the evidence of bullying.

crude words and drawings written out in sidewalk chalk, meant to shame and hurt the ones written about.

my heart broke.

what if that child's mama was walking by these words tonight?

what if that child was walking by those words tonight.

such heavy cruelty.  and i had nothing with me to wipe it away.

i had to keep walking.  by that time, my half-way marker was only a few feet away and i looked down once more to see another set of words written out in a different hand.  beautiful words.  

i love the whole world

i stopped mid-stride.  i couldn't move, much to the chagrin of the cyclist behind me.  no worries.  he rang his bell and yelled "left".  protocol was kept - on his part at least...

the words of elyse that had been filling my ears as i ran had summed up the gospel in two easy points.  

1. you are more sinful than you ever dared imagine.
i had just walked over some of the most vile and cruel things i had ever read.  words that reminded me of the depth of sin that resides in the heart of every person.  words that reminded me of the depth of sin that resides in me.

there is nothing special about me.  left to my own desires, i am unkind.  impatient.  fearful.  worried. full of sin.  and not just the "happy" sins, but the worst kinds of sins.  

without Jesus, that is who i am.


don't you just love that word?  (when it doesn't preface bad news of course...)

2. i am more loved and accepted than i ever dared hope for.
"i love the whole world".  words written by a child's hand, but words that i firmly believe were meant for my eyes to fall on.

if my salvation depended on my worth, i could never have acquired it, it's true.  i have absolutely nothing to offer Jesus...other than my willingness to believe that He died in my place so that He could offer me His incredible gift of salvation.

and in my willingness i find complete and utter love and acceptance.

how incredibly beautiful is that?

i reached my 3.5 mile marker, touched the post and turned around for home and as i did, the strains of "this is my Father's world" started playing.  this time, though, i lifted my eyes.  to the mountains.  because that is where my help comes from.  

and this is what He had done with the storm...

praise You, Jesus; that even in the hugeness of a storm, you can bring beauty.  out of cruel words can come hope and the promise of Your love.  that in my unworthiness, You found me worthy.

thank You...