“Your life is a vase that needs to find beauty in whatever wild place it can.”

   Ann Voskamp

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“Do you miss running?” In the first hard days, it seemed to be the question those close to me asked the most. They knew me.

Knew I was a runner. Knew I loved to run. Knew this thing I had been stripped of might hurt.

I was barely walking through my days, strictly in survival mode.

Running was no longer a blimp on my radar screen. Simply putting one foot in front of the other was.

In the beginning of this journey, it was easy to answer that question.

Today, not so much.

If you asked me that question today…

In this season, where the daily-ness of this thing is where I am, my answer would be yes. Yes. Yes.

I had a plan. A plan to run a 50K. A plan to keep my body conditioned, ready to run a half-marathon at a moments notice. Collect the medals. The race bibs. Count and log the miles.

Today, it’s a gritty question, one that scrapes the tender places in my heart. I. Am. A. Runner. A question with the hard answer.

No. I can no longer run.

My prayer life is not so different.

I find it scary to pray the “gritty” prayers. Ask the hard questions. I fear the hard answers. And so I skip along with the easy stuff. Cowering behind a list to be blessed. Covering the scarred and tender places that ache within.

” I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory.” Psalms 63:2NLT

I have seen Him in the sanctuary. I have been on the mountaintop with Him in my hardest of days. Experienced Him right here in my midst. I love Him so. I know that I know that I know, I cannot do this thing called life without Him. Do. Not. Even want to go there again.

So why I am struggling here in the valley, walking in the everyday of chronic illness? Why am I running from the gritty prayers?

Sometimes it frightens me that I want to jump up from my quiet time as if I have nothing to say. Distracted by Facebook and searches for reassurance. And then I wonder. Wonder what it is I am trying to hide. He bends down to hear my pleas, my desperate cry. Why in the world do I hold them tightly inside?

“We don’t fight the battle He fights~we fight the battle to surrender.” Pastor Tyler Kirby ~View Church

It is in the surrendering where gritty prayers are uttered.

It is in the hard answers where Grace meets us.

My struggle is in the surrendering. Boxing in a God whose ways and thoughts are higher than my ways and thoughts. Pushing my agenda and not walking in HIS WILL.

“It’s not your position in life that makes you strong. It’s your posture before God.” Clayton King

I keep going back to Ezra’s words in chapter 9…

“I fell to my knees and lifted my hands to the Lord my God. I prayed…”(verse 5b&6a)

I prayed the gritty prayer.

He gave me the hard answers.

I need to let go of my illusion of control. Unleash His power in the hard places of my life. Stop boxing Him in with conditions. Let go of my need for order. My need for perfection. For structure.

I trip up in the same places again and again. With fretting and worrying. Begging for a glimpse of how it all ends.

I hear my precious granddaughters singing Frozen’s Let it Go. I hear the whisper of His breath upon the wind…

Let. It. Go.

Go with me into the wild places. Trust ME in the unknown.

Graced by God

Tammy Mashburn

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