Nothing like running through the woods during thunderstorm's breeze, the winding trails, and wet pelts hitting my skin, feeling myself lift easily and lightly over roots raised up high from earth...and the smell of wet dirt, grass, salty moist air, and muscles working hard but not even realizing it...moving in strong rhythm. The only thing that makes it better is having my daughter there with me.
"Well, if it does, then it will be okay." I am a little worried about it thunderstorming, and getting drenched, but I don't let her see or hear the fear in my voice.
The three of us walk and jog toward our trail. I encourage her to keep up with the pace. She says, "Maybe we shouldn't have done tae-bo before we left the house!" I laugh.
We head down the trail, down a steep decline of rocky red clay. We are deep into the woods, weaving in and around trees, when the thunder begins to roll and the woods darken. The wind gently whips my face, and light flashes around me and I feel a startle of fear, but I hear her excited panting, and her leaping over roots behind me. We run together, unafraid. My friend close behind her, laughing at us, the laughing bouncing off the trees in the dark.
I say, "Isn't this cool?", so excited and happy to have this feeling nestled in my heart, that we are friends in this moment.
She replies, between breaths of exhileration and turning trail, " Yes! You can see the animals and nature at the same time while you are running!
We get good and drenched and as we are leaving the woods, we hold hands, running together, and she says, "Mama, maybe one day when I'm 12 I can do a race with you."
And she isn't expecting the grace, just like I'm never expecting it from my Father, always thinking I need to work harder and for the rest of my life before I'm good enough. " You can do the next race with me if you practice."
He says I'm good enough right now...all I need to do is be me, and His grace is there for the covering. And there IS grace for this anxiety, this fear and depression that I carry. And we run together unafraid.
"The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:20,21
'And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." II Corinthians 9:8
Counting the grace, the ways He loves, the little moments I'm grateful for:
112. How Bella's eyes get bright and she says, "Elvis (our cat)...there you are--I was looking all over to you!"
113. just hanging outside with my children and the freedom of that.
114. out of control girlish laughs and giggles, light spread wide across their face.
115. this is joy, here in this simple moment.
116. tiny delicate puffs floating to the bright sky.
117. big sisters and little sisters.
118. how Lilly grins and toddles over to her big sister as fast as she can to embrace her with a hug after not seeing her for a while.
119. little hands cupping gifts, held up in offering.
120. perfect golden ringlets in the sunlight.
121. tiny hearts cut out from construction paper with the inscription in child's writing, "I love you", brought and placed in Mama's hand.
122. my children's obedience and Husband's patience--how Husband instructs Ivy to tell Bella that she can play with her horse and the hard words that finally come out one by one.
123. Bella learning to communicate-- she cries and says, "Ivy has my horse, and I tell her PLEASE can I play with it?"
124. smell of earth and green grass with Heaven's first sprinkling.
125. how Lorna passes me up on the trail, giggling and saying she wanted to beat me.
126. Ivy begging everytime Lorna and i leave for a run, to go too, and the love ripping through my heart when i have to tell her, "When you are older".
127. knowing that being a parent is so excruciatingly painful at times, but also knowing that God's grace covers ALL of me, not just parts of me, and His grace will abound for every good work.
128. yes, there is even grace for my fear, anxiety and depression. all i can do is receive the grace given for the moments--even the ones i mess up.
129. growing pains. hurt. rejection. fear.
130. the comfort of the knowledge that in these trials, i am suffering with my Jesus, for i face nothing that He did not face.
131. this passage: "...But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5
132. thunderstorms. being drenched and running in the rain. the grace to feel ALIVE.
You can join us in sharing your gratitude and counting the grace moments: