This post is going to be all over the place. Kind of like I have been the last week and a half. I have run in two cities in Arkansas and back home. I traveled about 1800 miles in a car alone. Of course this provided lots of thinking time! So this post will be composed of my different running adventures my last week of vacation and first week back to work. God showed up everywhere…of course! He does that, you know?
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)
Random thought #1- The mountains…the ups and downs of Bella Vista/Bentonville, AR
So Abraham called that place The lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the lord it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:14 NIV)
This scripture came to life for me as I visited my parents last week. They live in northwest Arkansas in the Ozark mountains. The elevation 1033 feet. So there are lots of ups and downs…some steep, some rolling. The Lord provided during every run. I had one long run. It was a 14 miler. I decided to get away from the hills of my parents neighborhood and go into Bentonville where it was “flat.” Oh my…I was wrong.
Bentonville has a wonderful bike/walking trail system. It is well marked and keeps you off the main roads for the most part. Being in a new town, this was my choice. God provided beautiful scenery on the trails…Friendly people to say hi to…Bathrooms and water fountains along the way…and…a long, beautiful, (did I say LONG?) climb.
I knew I was in trouble after about one mile I came to a steep downhill. I thought hmmm…I will have to come back up this at some point. Sure enough, I did….for about 3-4 miles it was up, up, and up. Thankfully, His beauty was evident all the way up. They trail is next to a nature center and a multi-million dollar museum project. They are going all out to make it spectacular. And, they have. So, as I am trying to make it to the top I had plenty to take my mind off the pain. It helped at times! :o) So, I was “on the mountain of the Lord” and “it was provided.” It being the will to make it up and keep going because I knew it was the run I was to finish on that day.
Random thought #2- God’s people…the Spa Pacers of Hot Springs, AR.
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. (3 1:5 NIV)
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22 NIV)
So, on the Saturday after my 14 miler I find out I get to test my running strength and mental capability unlike I have every done before…I get to run a 16 miler three days afterword. Woo hoo!!! (this was not my first thought…more like NO, NO!) I had driven to Hot Springs, AR on Friday to visit with my lifelong friends for the weekend. One of my friends husbands is a runner. I asked him for a long running route that would be safe. He texted a friend of his and I was introduced to the Spa Pacers of Hot Springs.
This running group meets throughout the week to run…as many of us do here too. They met at 6:00 a.m.on Saturday downtown Hot Springs. I showed up on Saturday morning to conquer the physical and mental aspect of running a second long run in one week. The group welcomed me and three other out of towners with open arms. They were there to support, guide and help me through along the way. And they were strangers!!! How cool? Does God not call us to do this daily??? I was so moved by their kindness.
The majority of them were running 8 miles for the day. So, I figured at least I can run half of my run with them. That would be great. But it turns out, one guy was running 14. So I instantly had a running buddy. It was wonderful. We ran most of the first half together. He started earlier than the group so I was left to running part of it by myself. This was okay. I had new surroundings to run through to keep my mind occupied. It was great. We ran four 4 mile loops out and back to the cars to refuel. Each time the group shared water, Gu and encouragement. When I was running on my own they saw me out…they had finished and were waiting to eat at the Pancake House(no fair!)…and they yelled go Trish. Again, I don’t know these people, but they were there to encourage me all the way!
God’s people – we are joined together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit- fellow citizens with God’s people!
Random thought #3- God’s cotton candy – Reward for a long run
Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? (Job 37:15 NIV)
Yesterday morning we had a 16 miler to run. Problem is…I started back to school this week and to get that much mileage in before work we had to get up before the roosters. :o) We did the best we could. We were able to get 12.5 in before I had to rush to get ready for school. We both committed to finishing the additional 3.5 on our own later in the day. Which we did! Yay!
God provided a reward at the finish line(almost finish line)…Blue and Pink Cotton Candy! He is around us everyday. Take the time to listen and look at His surroundings during every part of the day. He is there. We miss a lot because we are caught up in the busyness of life. Slow down…take it all in. He has shows His strength and presence in His creation.
Random thought #4 – God loves us no matter how bad the aroma…
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. (2 2:14-15 NIV)
No matter how hot, how cold, how wet…we stink when we run. We all know that. But, God loves us anyway. Our family members and friends might not love us at the moment, but God does. One of the guys in the Spa Pacer group invited me to eat with them after my run at the Pancake House. It was very tempting but I passed because I had 8 more miles to go. He said, “They know we stink but they are used to our smell.” The smell was pleasing to the Pancake House staff because it meant $$ was being spent in their restaurant.
We need to be a pleasing aroma to the world in our walk(and run) so we can save souls for Him who loves us even when we stink.
Random thought #5 – Hummingbirds – Fight or share?
Have you watched the hummingbirds around their feeders? I know we all have. We have two feeders with 6 slots for them to feed. To be continued…
As I was finishing up this post I received a phone call that required me to then call my sister, Lisa. When she answered the phone she was very emotional…in a good way. She said “I can’t believe you called right now. I was going to call you.” :o) Great minds think alike! Lisa is visiting my mom and dad’s this week. She was just finishing up her walk through God’s country…the ups and downs of Bella Vista. She was touched by the beautiful surroundings…the blue birds, the woodpeckers, the Monarch butterflies and of course the deer. God showed up for her in a magnificent way today while I was typing this blog about the very place she was walking. Who, but God, could orchestrate that? His spirit was touching her as she walked and absorbed His splendor. Then we got to discuss the shared experience because of the necessity to call her was orchestrated by something not even related. How cool is our God???? He is AWESOME and AMAZING! Which makes me think back to the hummingbirds.
If we have something or know about something that is awesome and amazing then why don’t we share it? The hummingbirds have food…it has to be good because it contains sugar…:) To them it is awesome and amazing. Do they share? No! They want it all to themselves. So, they fight and chase one another off…instead of peacefully sharing. We might not fight as much or run others off…but why don’t we share?
Why don’t let others know about our AWESOME and AMAZING God that can orchestrate a phone call at just the right minute??? That can provide on the mountain tops? That can provide strangers as support? That gives us cotton candy and beauty to look at everyday? That provides support and encouragement through strangers? And finally provides a way to summarize all of this up with a phone call from my sister discussing hummingbirds? (We talked after I wrote the first 3 sentences of Random thought #5…the rest just fit perfectly after our talk. She was watching the hummingbirds in Arkansas and I was watching them in Tennessee.)
Again….How good is our God???? He is AWESOME and AMAZING!
He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. (Deuteronomy 10:21 NIV)