I have this friend who tells me what to do. If she didn’t, I wouldn’t do it. (Picture a post competitive body builder turned wife, mother, rancher, cowgirl, baker, personal trainer. Yep, she’s awesome.) Par for the course, Friday evening, just as I settle in to a lovely daydream about our first Saturday in eons with nothing planned, my phone dings.
“Run 4.8 miles tomorrow. End of discussion.”
For some of you this number is child’s play. For me, a near Olympic feat. Nevertheless, I map it out before bed hoping the motivation leads to a strong, confident, beautiful, Saturday morning jog.
Alarm goes off. Coffee pot commences. I stare into space until the last gurgle alerts me to draw from the well of inspiration. Once my system registers caffeine in the bloodstream, I don my running shoes and head out the door. My expertly planned route reveals a steady, three mile decline on a fairly busy road.
Marked descent + constant cars = shame in quitting early.
About 10 minutes in a woman passes me, ear buds in staring straight ahead. I make a funny joke in passing (well, I think I’m funny.) to which she completely ignores as she stone cold face runs right past me. Pretty sure it’s because she runs UP hills. Shortly after, I come across a girl dressed in black, walking while glancing at her phone. Passing her I continue on.
For about a half a block.
The thought drops into my brain, “Go back, tell her I love her and have a plan for her life.” I call this a Holy Spirit drop, because my brain usually doesn’t tell me to turn around and do the hard thing. Reluctantly, I do a 180 heading back up the hill. Realizing her walk is matching my “jog”, I call out, “Excuse me.” She stops, allowing the distance between us to close. Sweating and heaving, I take a moment to catch my breath. She looks up at me waiting.
“The Lord wants me to tell you that He loves you, you are beautiful (Yes, I added that, because she is to me and to Him.), and He has a plan for your life.” I watch her eyes as her brain catches the words that fly between us. I watch them penetrate her heart. Her chin quivers, her eyes fill and spill.
Choking back tears she purges her plan, “I was just walking up to the Rims (miles of cliffy outcroppings that sit north of our town) to jump off.”
She says something after this, but I miss it. A love and passion for this beautiful girl grows so fiercely within me that I bend to her level, grab her shoulders willing her to align her eyes with mine.
Look at me. You are worth looking at, Dear Girl.
Once she levels her gaze with mine, I let her have it. Rather, God let her have it. Everything He thinks of her, how much He loves her, where He has been these past months while she has endured such pain pours out over her like a waterfall. He knows what’s going on. This is not the end of your story. There is more. So. Much. More. Don’t give up. As she unravels her hurts through tears we pray together.
Then, as quickly as the interaction began, it’s over. I turn into the jog while she turns to go home. I twist one last time and yell, “I love you!”
The run ends (fireworks & chocolate) and my 24 hours continue. Moving on to the details of life, I find myself continually pondering her story and our experience.
What of her mom? At one point this 16 year old girl stopped, looked at her phone and said, “My mom keeps texting me.” What if I was her mom? Even if I didn’t believe in a God, I think I would have been on my knees begging whatever was TRUE to reach my daughter and save her. Then, what does Mom do when Daughter walks back into the house with the story of the crazy woman in pink with a “word from the Lord”?!
Then I thought of ALL the people with whom I cross paths daily. How many of them are headed to their own set of Rims? How many times has the random “thought” dropped and I, because of fear or personal agenda, ignored it?
And what if we all turned back and did the hard thing EVERY time?
Will we be wrong sometimes and left embarrassed? Chances are high.
Will we be right at least once? Yep.
Will that one time out of a hundred change a life? Quite possibly.
What if He used US to leave the 100 to go fetch the 1 who is lost? Remember how He left the 99 safely grazing on the hillside in search of the one who wandered away? Once found, He hoists His loved one up on his shoulders and heads back home. The Bible says heaven rejoices over rescued lives (Luke 15).
Friends, this whole blabbing of words has nothing to do with me.
Please get my heart on this. The propellors of this story are two fold:
- How much does God love a 1 out of 7 billion teenage girl to orchestrate a divine appointment that speaks straight into her “Life is too painful to live” with a “I love you and have a plan for your life” at the 11th hour? That’s how much He loves.
- What if we all said the crazy thing, prayed the crazy prayer, befriended the outcast at the expense of our own circles? What if we all got really comfortable with everything uncomfortable?
I pray today we all experience the Holy Spirit drop. And I pray that today each of our lives become crazy uncomfortable and embarrassing while God uses us to call out to the girl walking up the road. Let’s do it, friends. Let’s go in search of the one wandering away. Let’s let God use us to bring them home. Home to Him. Home to His Kingdom of Love.
Running beside you,
P.S. I did not tell my friend/personal trainer that I stopped mid run to minister as she would have had me start over. I’m taking a Holy Pass on this one.