I went running. For the first time in over 18 months. It felt great! And my heart has been blessed beyond measure because of it.
You probably know that I was a runner before I got sick. It wasn't fast and it wasn't pretty, but it was my thing. My runs were my time to really lay it all out with God - it is nearly impossible to be less than authentic while wearing clothes with partial spandex and sweat dripping down a face that has absolutely no make up on. When I was running, there was no extra energy for distraction. It was me, my thoughts, and God and His thoughts. I was at my most spiritually vulnerable while I was running. Being able to run changed the way I felt about myself. Every run changed me for the better.
I know how ridiculous it may sound, but losing my ability to run was a crushing part of being sick this last year and a half. I cringe even as I read that, because it sounds so selfish and superficial. But if you are a runner, you probably know that intangible blessing of a run. While I have gained a lot of my health back, I haven't been even close to trying a run. I had almost lost hope.
I have been reading an interesting book called "The Beginners Guide to Intercession". The very first chapter deeply resonated with me. Everything starts with a love relationship with God, whether we're talking about prayer or service or evangelism. Nothing is important outside of a true, intimate relationship with God. In Revelation one church is admonished, not because of a lack of good works, but because they had lost their first love.
Now I know that God loves me and I know that I love Him. He and I have had some really powerful moments together over the years. But as I read this book I realized I was longing for time to love God and to be loved by God without the almost instantaneous response of "doing". I asked God for time where we could just focus on each other - not on my response to His love as much as the beauty of His love. I wanted time to soak in God's love and to spend time just loving Him.
I had no idea how beautifully God would answer my prayer.
Yesterday I felt really good - really, really good. I didn't have to lay down (which is the first time in as long as I can remember). I didn't feel short of breath going up our stairs. I was on my feet for awhile, and it didn't make me dizzy. Last night I took Marshall for a walk, and we kept such a fast pace that I suddenly knew I was supposed to go for a run. As soon as we got home I dug out my old running clothes and grabbed my iPod before I began to doubt and lost my nerve.
Now it was only a mile and a half, but it was the sweetest 13 minutes God and I have had together in so long. All I could do was run and sing to Him. And while it sounds strange, I know without a doubt that He was delighting in me. The ability to run that mile and a half was a love letter from God in a language He knew would speak right to the bottom of my heart. I was reminded of how intimately He knows me, and how very, very much He wants to shower His love on me.
I am not sure if I am going to be able to run today or later this week, or ever again for that matter. I am not sure it makes any difference. God gave me last night, and it was loving and intimate beyond explanation. So if you were driving through my neighborhood last night around 5:30 and saw a women running (albeit slowly), laughing out loud, with my hands raised up to heaven (I lost all my Swedish Lutheran inhibitions in those moments!), that was me. I was loving God and rejoicing in His love for me.