I leap like a deer over roots protruding up, high, landing on toes, muscles flexing strong, carrying me as legs bound and wind through bare trunks. Leaves yellow, red, and brown make nature's carpet and make dirt and the obvious way hidden from the eye and each time I land I have to trust, eye watching the ground for rocks and roots, crevices and sharp turns, my feet following. The leaves, they whisper a soft spring give underfoot and they break from trees, parachuting down, falling like snow, all around me, the gentle hush and rush of them dancing in wind far and near. I hear it here and there, not really sure of the beginning. Large, palmish leaves form a thick landing in a curve and earth crumbles as feet pound and the loose grainy pieces of soil slide down the ravine only inches from my dangerously narrow winding path.
My friend calls from behind, searching for me, asking which path I've taken--it all pure grace that she trudges along, follows me--the seasoned runner--as I string her--the newbie--along on this hard trail.
I call out to her and her back is to me, standing on the bridge that takes her south of me. She doesn't see me, and I yell it loud, laughter in my voice, teasing her a bit, "Hey! Lost woman! I'm here!" She turns when she hears my voice, chuckles and pants to catch up, now on the right path.
And I think about how this is how God calls to us when we are lost.
When we are standing in the middle of the woods with leaves obscuring the path and a crossroads giving us many options to go north, south, east and west--and if we listen--and we are acquainted with His voice and know it well-- then we will follow the right path, we will know the way because we hear His voice.
And when I'm with her, I feel like I've been with God. And that's the way it ought to be. And she's been more than a friend to me.
Later we settle in at our bookstore table for two by the window with coffee and bibles, my purple bible with my name and her black one with her name. People quietly mill around and stand in line for hot drinks in windy November.
And we read about the birth of Jesus in Luke, and we talk about Mary--how when everyone went out to tell others about the birth, how she treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
While we sip hot coffee, I tell her how my life has been like this--a quiet season with few friends and very little fellowship--how I've felt alone--and how I can relate to Mary, who kept to herself and pondered these things quietly.
I tell my friend how I can relate to Mary and maybe I know how she must have felt--that this was a time for quietness and reflection, a time for learning and soaking up God's words.
And my friend, she is writing in her bible, all along the edge, in a circular pattern, the ink going all the way around the page.
This has hit her square in the heart too.
And in that moment I am so grateful for my friend, the one who has been on her knees for me and has fought off my enemies, it all pure grace that she follows me, that she wants to be where I am, that we are here together on this narrow path we trod as He calls to us from everywhere and leads us Home.
#381 a loyal friend to fellowship with, catch up with, and love on God with
#382 friends and mentors who keep writing, keep checking on me, praying for me, just being there for me--pure grace!
#383 a day with my entire family shooting pictures at the lake--all of us candidly posing in nature--the light mood and fellowship, the conversation and laughter on the trip home
#384 a friend who is consistent and dependable, who meets with me in rain or cold to run!
#385 my grandfather's huffing and puffing as we turn around in the Ryan's parking lot, looking for a place to eat--seeing his bear-growling in his car as he follows us, "I tell you what--are they ever going to stop and eat somewhere?! What's wrong with Ryan's?!?!"
#386 all of us laughing and mimicking what he is probably saying because we know him so well and then all of us laughing about it with him when we finally gather to eat
#387 a beautiful Saturday and warm weather to take pictures in and enjoy God's creation
#388 the warmth of sunshine and that i feel it--the way it warms me through
#389 that God gave the lens in my eyes that help me see the world in color the way i see it--the special way He formed the pigment of flowers, birds, fish, the coral on the ocean reef and the lens of my eyes with which to experience it
#390 another date night with Husband sharing wings and baby back ribs (obviously his pick)--i'm so grateful for the time together and a grandmother who is always willing to watch the children for just a couple hours
#391 looking forward to Thanksgiving, allowing God to cultivate this restless heart and turn it into a content, peaceful, grateful heart
#392 How when we drop Bella off at Granny's to stay the night, she encircles my neck in her chubby arms and says in her four-year-old-lisp, "Mama, I will misth you," her dimples shining at me, begging to be kissed
#393 love-arguments that bring us closer together
#394 that moment of deep connection after we've derailed that brings everything in the universe back into alignment
#395 Husband who so tenderly takes time to play with the children and when they sing-song to him, "Daddy, will you swing me?", he does.
#396 how Husband goes to the appointment with me and sits through it all--even the really tough questions
#397 trusting in Husband's tender shepharding of me when he says I'm not ready
#398 this season of quiet, of rest, of little fellowship and lonliness, of treasuring these things and pondering them in my heart and God's great mercy and grace in it all--how our family has grown and how Husband and i are bonded and woven tightly
Joining with Ann at Multitude Monday--Join us there for more counting graces and opening eyes to see His beauty?
Joining also at L.L. Barkat's place--maybe you would like to join me there for some quiet poetry and reflection?
and at Jen's for Soli De Gloria: