Running with Giants

So. I have this little thing I call a dream list.

I have a good number of dreams on my dream list, things I long to see or do during my life. Some are silly, like building something out of cob. Some are ambitious, like writing a book that will be made into a movie. Some are hopeful, like having a cup of tea with Douglas Gresham (C.S. Lewis’ stepson). Some are adventurous, like riding in a hot air balloon, hiking the Cottswolds, or visiting countless places around the world. Some are simple, like getting married and having a family. Some are spiritual, like raising the dead or seeing food multiply.

Dreams creep up at odd moments. I try my best to catch them when they aren’t looking (so as not to scare them off), and tuck them into my ever expanding list. And there they sit, waiting for surges of my own courage and the faithfulness of God, until I can check them off.

#28. Run a halfy through the Redwoods.

One of the dreams I felt like going after early this year was running another half marathon. I came across The Ave. half marathon, which takes you on a lovely 13.1 mile run through the Redwood forest. Score.

For me, this little run was tied to something else God was doing inside of me – of turning 30 and renewing my approach to life – of squelching lies that hold me back – of committing to live more fully in TRUTH – in JOY- in HOPE.

Grabbing my shoes and ipod, Brooke Faser’s Shadowfeet became my anthem.

Walking, stumbling on these shadowfeet
towards home, a land that i’ve never seen
I am changing; less and less asleep
made of different stuff than when i began

And I’ve sensed it all along
fast approaching is the day

When the world has fallen out from under me
I’ll be found in you, still standing
Every fear and accusation under my feet
when time and space are through
I’ll be found in you

You make all things new

And so, every time I ran, I pictured every fear that has ever kept me bound being pummeled under my feet.

The race would take me through a place called “The Avenue of the Giants”, which I thought was fitting – like David running to Goliath. I thought of myself running past all the giants – the lies- that have raised themselves against me. So much of this season has been about entering a promised land. I found it befitting, then, that I took to the starting line to the announcement, “Welcome to the 40th Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon.” I was ready for my 40 years in the desert to be over – to enter my land of the giants, and finish the race in victory.

The day was beautiful, and I knew the Lord was cheering me on. I hit the split (half way point) at 1:11, and smiled. Triple ones, they follow me often, speaking of this season of transition. The race is an out and back, so as I turned to head back at the half way point, I thought to myself, I am no longer running away from giants, but with them- because I am one. Not in the Goliath way, but in the I am an oak of righteousness way, planted in the courts of the Lord. Unmovable and strong.

I crossed the finish line, beating my previous time by 8 minutes, and drifting into joy thanks to my runner’s high.
#28. Completed.

To the dreams and journeys ahead…

What manner of love is this?

Sometimes, in quietness, I find
the great song of kindness
the Lord sings around me.

Sometimes, in patience, I find
His hand tucked firmly in my own.

Sometimes, in boldness to move out,
I sense His steady leading,
forging roads for me to walk,
preparing before time began
a path I imagined I might have made for myself.

Because His hand is greater than my ambition,
faster than the release of my dreams.
And this is His love-
that the dance I thought I would offer to Him
He had prepared for me,
An offering for me, met by an offering from me.

What delight to walk the unbeaten path,
Only to find it had been walked and previewed
by my Love
Who in thoughtfulness left light, and love, and laughter
for me to find, along the way.
Along the journey.

What manner of love is this?

When writer’s block hits, it’s best to write a story about it.

I was blessed this summer with the opportunity to completely pursue writing. I decided not to look for a job and instead fling myself head first into working on some story projects. I wanted to learn about the publishing business and just take a season to dream about what it might look like to pursue being an author. Wow. That sounds kind of lofty, even when I read it.

Three months of free time, what more could a writer dream of?

Except that for a month and a half, trying to write was like walking through tar and I couldn’t figure out why. I love to write, why was I so unmotivated?

For some unknown reason I became rather obsessed with flowers and gardens this summer. I’ve had the privilege of living and visiting amazing gardens throughout my life, but never thought much of them. They were pretty and all, but they weren’t the intoxicating presence they have since become in the the last month or so. I thought maybe I was pinning for England again and this was just the latest tell-tale sign. So, during times when I surely should have been writing, I’ve instead been researching and plotting how to start my own little British garden beside our house. With many hours in the blazing sun and a pretty penny’s worth of new flowers, I did it. I planted a flower garden. It’s not opulent, but it’s delightfully quaint.

And after much sweat and effort, I stood back and admired my little garden. But I felt supremely guilty that I’d found yet another hobby to distract me from the task at hand: becoming an author.

It’s in the midst of this that God and I hashed it out…into a little story.

Enjoy. The Spade and the Pen.