He is near.

Most mornings start with coffee, prayer, and a hard long run.

I’m not great at taking “easy” runs. In fact, most of the time, I tell myself to slow down, but by the end of the run, I am in a deep conversation with my Abba or I am trying to process the million things in my mind, or enjoying the run so much, that my pace turns over faster and faster. I usually end up becoming somewhat numb to my surroundings. Aware, but also in my own head. In prayer. Then, I finish.

And, everything stops. I notice the sights and sounds and people and noise. Running makes me rest and even though I am thinking constantly, it gives me a chance to breathe. Most of the time, I run on trails and as far away from people and cars as I can. Actually, my ideal race is a race that has some covered trails, where spectators can’t get to, to yell and cheer. There is something really raw and organic about being next to your competitor and hearing them breathe. One of the joyful moments in my half? Natasha and I were at a quieter part of the half, next to each other. We breathed in and out, and I knew she was hurting just like I was, but in a really good way. Then, came a quiet whisper, “Good job, Lauren.” I smiled and said, “Good job, Natasha.”

It was a moment of companionship and competition in one.

That’s the perfect picture of God’s grace in my life right now. It is easy to feel on my own, but I’m not. And, whether I have quiet moments or hectic chaos, when I listen, I hear God’s voice: “Good job, Lauren.”

Somehow, I write novels in my mind when I run. Sometimes it’s easy to sit down and write, and get it all down on paper. Other times, like today, I can’t even recall all that I prayed and thought through during my run. But, it was really enjoyable and really beautiful out. So, I got my coffee and sat down, then put in my headphones to hear the sweet voice of James Vincent McMorrow. (Yes, I’m a huge fan.)

I started to read Cold Tangerines to think and pray about Monday, as well as a leadership book I am reading. I thought, something has to come to mind to write. But, my mind felt silent and quiet.

Silent and quiet.

I can’t complain. And, as I settled into the peacefulness of a busy coffee shop, I thought back to my race, and that moment that I knew God was cheering me on, giving me boldness and courage.

That’s what He is doing in my life lately. I am thinking and praying and feeling encouraged. I am thankful for peaceful mornings like today. I am okay when my mind actually shuts off for a minute. It’s almost as if, God says…

Enough. Be silent and still. Be thankful. See how I am working in you. Recreating you. Making you okay with quiet mornings. With peace. With a feeling of contentment. I am near.

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