Archive for February, 2011

The Pace of Grace

Annabelle, my 6-year-old, asked me this morning as we were getting ready for school, “Mom, is it your shoes or your feet that make you run fast?”

“Well, sweet pea, it IS your feet, but you DO need to make sure you’ve got the right shoes or it won’t matter how fast your feet are!”

And so I began mulling that over . . . and asked God to give me some “faster shoes,” because I’m not getting anywhere lately. . . and my feet are going about as fast as they can go.  Not a great way to start the new year.

I still have Christmas cards that I haven’t mailed.

I still have 2 Christmas trees up. (One down, woohoo, since I began this post.)

And I’m still putting all the other Christmas decorations in the attic.–Those also have actually been put up since I started this post.  But don’t even ask how many loads of laundry are piled up in my bathroom . . . I thought I was caught up–I know I’ve folded at least 8 loads in the last week.  Like I said, it doesn’t seem like I’m getting anywhere lately.  (Maybe it’s because we are yet to have a full week of school devoid of a snow day–or I’d like to use that as my excuse anyway.) Oh, did I mention, that the cupboard is bare, and I mean bare.

So . . .

Do I need faster feet?  Honestly, probably not. I’m going about as fast as humanly possible.  I have no desire to go any faster than this.

Do I need different shoes?  Well, maybe, my tread is starting to wear down.

Or, perhaps, do I need to be running a different race? I’m fairly confident I’m doing exactly what God wants me to be doing, and not doing what He doesn’t want me to be doing. So, I’m certain I’m running the right race. In fact, if I didn’t know with confidence that “this” IS the race I’m supposed to be in, I would have passed out after the first mile.

So, how can I actually “get somewhere” with these feet in these shoes in this race?

“I can’t”–outside of the grace of God.

One element I failed to mention to Annabelle, lest I get a blank stare, is that PACE is paramount when she’s running!

I’m a runner, and though I know that full well when I’m actually pounding the pavement, I fail to remember that when the execution of my every day stride becomes hard and tiring and painful, I MUST PACE myself!

And that is exactly the echo I hear God speaking to me lately. . . .

“Pace yourself, Candice. Pace yourself.”

And maybe that is why I’ve been parked in 1 Kings 19.

In verse 7b, the angel of the Lord says,

“Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you [Elijah].” 

Elijah said, “I have had enough, Lord.” (v4).

I get it! I’m a widow. I have 3 children, one with special needs. God has called me not only to mother but to ministry as well.  I can testify that, indeed, this “journey is too great.” And usually by bedtime, I have said, “I have had enough.” I am pooped. I am tired, and I haven’t made lunches for tomorrow. Do I peel myself out of bed now and make them? Or do I put it off until morning, and pray I am up early enough to make healthy lunches and not just throw a bunch of pre-packaged over-processed orange chips in their lunch bags. (I’ll let you know later what the lunch bag holds, because I’m not moving after I post this.)

But this is what I love and cling to . . . that God not only reminds us to eat as He reminded Elijah twice (in verses 5 and7), but He provides the food (verse 6).  Two chapters previous, in 1Kings 17, God sent Elijah bread and meat by the ravens. And then sent him food by way of a widow.  God has been in the business of providing food for hungry, needy people for a long time.  THAT is good news!

I will never forget the night of David’s death, how, literally, God nudged me to eat with the children instead of waiting on David as was my custom.  I specifically recall the Lord impressing me to “Go ahead and eat because you are going to need the energy.”  I made tacos that night. I did, indeed, eat.  In fact, it was at the end of that meal when I received the phone call that tipped me off to David’s crash.  I don’t remember the next time I ate, much less a full meal.  And that is when I knew that my survival depended on God’s gentle promptings and my willingness to accept every crumb of grace that was within my reach  . . . and that which was far beyond my reach.  And for the months that followed, I can testify that I maintained a pace of thriving (not just surviving), because God Himself and His Word was my sustenance.

I am ever so mindful in my modus operandi that everything God enables me to do is so far beyond my reach, there is no doubt (to me, and I pray to the world) that it is only by God’s grace that I am running this race.

And so .  . . I’m learning to run my race with the pace of grace which reminds me to stop and rest and eat . . . and not fret over the Christmas trees that are still up in February or the laundry that is piled up and all of the other things that are (still) on my to-do list. It is, then, and only then that God Himself will continue to enable me to “get somewhere” in these feet, with these shoes, in this race.

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Heb 12: 1 (NLT)

How is your pace? Are you running the right race?

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