She comes to me tear-stained and tired. She says no one wants her here and no one cares, so she’s just going to leave. She wants to run away and wasn’t I just saying the same thing yesterday?
I ask where she’ll go and how she’ll care for herself and what will she do. And she says she doesn’t know but she’ll be safe because she has her Swiss army knife, an arrow, and God.
And I find her a little later, a couple houses down and I call her back and we talk and I hold her and ask her to just come inside and do her school and think this through a little more before she decides to go. And she does and I try to go on with my day.
But isn’t this what we want to do when life gets hard? We want to grab our water bottle and our arrows and run away. Away from training, away from discipline, away from the tough love of our Father. I realize it’s what I’ve always tried to do and I know I’ve always been a runner, even before I wore running shoes. And this little girl, she has her mother’s heart: a heart that wants to escape and a heart that doesn’t like to do hard, a heart that wants to run away.
And my beloved sends me encouragement from the book of James, that book we just spent a year (or more) memorizing, that book I should know well but have somehow forgotten already. He reminds me of chapter 1 and trials and temptations and counting it all joy. And I ask myself, am I still running? It is one thing to write about it and to say it to myself in the early morning quiet, but when it comes right down to it, and my child is carrying on irrational and the calendar is overflowing and it feels like this whole thing is going to come crashing down in one spectacular heap – am I then looking to God and saying, “Yes, Lord, even this – thank you.” Am I running to my Jesus and saying thank you, even for this – for our daily stumbling and falling and facing imperfections? Or am I picking up my weary heart and running the other direction – running to quietly nurse my wounds and hide myself away from the world and from the sinking feeling that I’m never going to get this right.
And I know I’m still a runner. And my girl is a runner. But I want us both to be running to Jesus, not running away. And I’ve seen it on a few different blogs this week, how October started this year on a Monday and brought fall and a feeling of something fresh and why not commit to something for the 31 days of October. And that Monday morning I knew what I’ve known since we came home from Haiti in February – I am to commit to pray. Pray for my little family. Pray for our hearts and our minds and our relationships and that we would all be children who run to their Father.
I don’t know what this will look like here online because it’s hard to get on consistently and write in the midst of school and home and life in general. But will you join me in praying for our families for the remaining days of October – yours, mine, and all of those struggling around us? May we lift ourselves and each other up to our Heavenly Father for strength, encouragement, and wisdom as we struggle to be lights in a darkened world. And if we must run, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12) And as we think about running with perseverance, let us contemplate this definition that Matt shared with me:
Perseverance – a steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success; continuance in a state of grace leading finally to a state of glory.
Steadfastness despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Was I not just talking to my friend this morning about how it feels like we keep having these same struggles and will we ever see progress? Am I being steadfast regardless? And, oh, to continue in grace! Grace that overflows from the throne of God, grace that I must simply ask for and gather like manna because He supplies it new every morning, grace that leads to glory.
Lord, as we embark on 31 days of prayer, may you bless our efforts. May you draw us closer to your heart. Open our eyes to see our families the way you do. Give us renewed love and affection for our children, our spouses. Give us steadfastness and love and mercy and grace. Protect us from the fiery arrows of the evil one and may all that we do bring You glory. Give us runners hearts that run to you with wild abandon. And may our love for you spread like fire to those around us. Amen.
For His Glory ~