Playdates with God: Stepping Out

Clear blue calls and so I go–head outside to run into the sky for the first time since the snows came.
The legs protest at that first long reach…my muscles have grown short and bunchy over the past month, well honed to the squat round stride of the elliptical I’ve been training on during the dark days of winter; but clumsy on this cinder-strewn sidewalk. Despite this, my spirit lifts and heart soars at the first steps under the sun-illumine. I am a newborn fawn–all leggy and gawky–tremulous at the discovery of this power inside of me.
I struggle for rhythm and am lost under the canopy over head. It’s so easy to lope in–leave life behind, forget all the things that grab at my ankles and weigh me down.
Knees begin to ache at the unfamiliar pounding and sinuses grow thick with shaken down mucus. My nose runs and lungs sting from cold air.
But still there is this: joy. I gasp at the raw elation I feel at the caress of this truant sun.
But maybe it’s just these lungs have grown soft, lost the feel of the wild air.
Just breathe through, I tell myself.
I run by the water reservoir and watch two men drop fishing lines into ice-crusted water. They sit motionless and wait. A gaggle of geese fall into familiar formation overhead and I feel the joy of soaring…soaring into God’s blue sky.
It takes two miles to warm up, as always, and I am groping for that familiar easing up. Body hums but remains sluggish and I wonder at this life–this continual cycle of death and rebirth and constant need to shift and recondition.
To the hill now and finally, I am breaking free of the listless winter. Nimble, it’s up we go and I know I will regret this on the morrow.
A flock of Cedar Waxwings startle from a branchy cherry tree and I gawk at their rakish black masks and tawny silkiness. They don’t go far, circle back around and land again, eager to pluck the dried fruit from this otherwise naked tree.
Oh, the wonder.
Where have you been? I ask Beauty. I have missed you so.
And though my body screams I push it hard and rejoice at the freedom in my limbs until I am running down the familiar street to home. As I round the final turn, I glance up at my neighbor’s birch tree and see the silver bark shimmer naked against the blue sky. And I feel the beauty of that soul-bare way down deep in my bones and I know that I am seen.

And I smile.  

**We are starting a new book discussion this week over at The High Calling–reading Karen Swallow Prior’s Booked. It’s a beautiful book. Join us?

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. 

The Playdates button:


  1. Sylv_R says

    Thank you for taking me along on your real-feeling run, with its beautiful conclusion. You are making me think I need to get out of this stuffy here and now and into the sharp air, to “break free of this listless winter”!
    Sylvia R @

    • says

      It has been so busy–and so cold! Here that I have let my outside time dwindle. I really feel it too, Sylvia, when I’m cooped up for a while. Is it that way for you? Wishing you some fresh air, friend. All of God’s beautiful earth awaits!

  2. says

    Is it bad that I thought of many churches when I read this part?

    “But maybe it’s just these lungs have grown soft, lost the feel of the wild air.”

    May we all get outside more (literally and figuratively), and “Just breathe through, I tell myself.”

    Thanks for another great post, Laura.

  3. Becky Kopitzke says

    Laura, your words make me want to start running again. Beautiful. (And a little convicting to this tired body.)

    • says

      There is no condemnation in The Lord :)! I go through so many starts and stops with my running that I have come to see the starting over as part of my journey. In a way, it prepares me better for life’s little side roads. Love to you, Becky.

  4. JosephPote says

    Beautifully written, Laura!
    It’s been a while since I’ve run, and the cold air is one of the things that makes it easier not to.
    Your post makes me want to start running again! 🙂

    • says

      Yes, I know what you mean, Joe :). The cold is one reason I’m starting over–to many days inside. I like it this way, though…makes me appreciate it all the more! Have a great day!

    • says

      When my babies were babies, I never ran either, Brandee. 🙂 this is your season to stay close to home. I always find it reassuring that the seasons change this way…always keeping life fresh and new.

  5. Elizabeth says

    Oh Laura this is so beautiful. I feel so much emotion in your words and they are wild and free and untamed, yet gentle. And you share my hearts desire to see, always Beauty. Love this one, Laura.

    • says

      Yes, Elizabeth 🙂 it’s beauty that keeps my feet moving…always looking. I’m so grateful for sweet sisters like you who share in the great beauty hunt with me.

  6. says

    We are all facing challenges that the new year brings–wanting desperately to get back on track in one way or another. Yours, Laura, is a metaphor for the struggle and the joy in persevering. Thanks for this beautiful nudge, my friend.

    • says

      Yes, it seems like, come every January–I’m trying to get my groove back. Not so much from New Years resolutions as just finally, things are slowing down! Praying your groove is groovin’ too, Beth.:)

  7. says

    I saw my first cedar waxwing(s) in the Upper Peninsula the summer before last. I was in awe. Then last summer, one in our own tree. I’m in awe of a whole flock of them. And of you and how you infuse my day with wonder.

    • says

      Aren’t they gorgeous, Sandy? This is the only time I’ve been gifted with a flock this way. They really wanted those old dried cherries. And now I’ll forever have my eyes open…hoping to see them again.

  8. says

    Laura, your words make me want to leave this flat screen, exit these four walls closing in & get outside to limitless skies, fresh air, and His beauty. Thanks for taking us there.

  9. Michele-Lyn says

    Your poetic language is soul stirring and perhaps, this is the most motivating thing I have read for running. Beautiful…

  10. says

    Oh, I remember that feeling. Thank you for letting me experience it again and anew in your words. Beautiful photo, too. Soaring, yes. (Good for you for braving the cold and spreading your wings!!!)

  11. says

    Christine, I like what has been said about running as metaphor. And maybe stepping out into the cold is too :). I don’t usually make resolutions, but a new year always acts as sort of a stone of remembrance to encourage me to look at my life with fresh eyes. Do you make resolutions?

  12. Hazel Moon says

    My son sent me a suggestion for 365 days of fun running 365 miles – – not all at once but one mile a day! I loved your post!

  13. says

    I have made resolutions sometimes but don’t have one this year. God seems to appoint disciplines for me in both shorter and longer intervals than a year. However, I am starting over again to read the Bible through, and I am continuing the slow work of learning Ephesians by heart with my sister. 2 chapters took 5 months, so if I can manage the rest in 2013 it will be God’s grace.

    Blessed year to you and yours!

    Peace of Christ to you, friend.

    (sent from my phone)

  14. says

    Sweet Laura, I am so grateful for your words today. I run, too, and your words stir in me that grateful recognition of life that we get to enter into, as we embark on these running adventures with Him! How your running must bring Him delight! So blessed by you–and so thrilled to have found your Facebook page, {un} framed, too! Love it!

  15. says

    My friend, I wish I had the same love of running that you do! I run for the fellowship of my “Firehouse 7” girls :-), but it’s not the same love you have! Then again, I am spoiled by being outside almost 365 days of the year here in South FL. I’m training for a half-marathon in Feb. to raise money for fighting human trafficking. Hugs to you! Michelle

  16. says

    Almost every time I take a walk I think of you now Laura. I wish I would’ve planned better for the book club. Know I would love Booked after going over and reading about it. Life is full.

  17. soulstops says

    Hi Laura, So proud of you for pushing past all the aches to keep running and to see His beauty…I am not a runner but I am always impressed with those who persevere despite cold and discomfort…I will start reading Booked tonight 🙂

  18. Diane | says

    I’m not a runner Laura…but a walker of the landscape. I love the word pictures you painted today. Thank you!

  19. says

    All landscape walkers welcome here! I think it’s just the getting outside that this soul needs sometimes. It awakens me to the magnificence of God. Sounds like you know what I mean, Diane.

  20. says

    I know this, Shelly. I thought the same about your discussion of Leaving Church. I told a friend not too long ago that this is the first time in my life that I understand why some get preoccupied with immortality. There is so much I want to do and so little time for it all! But there is One whose timing is perfect and we must trust Him with our days. I’m grateful for your companionship in this walk of life, my friend.

  21. says

    Oh, my goodness, I covet your warm right now! And your Firehouse 7 girls! What a great thing is a running partner. This time of year I need extra motivation to get me out there, for sure. Keep me posted on your half marathon. Wow. That’s a great cause.

  22. says

    I’m so glad you found [un]framed, Jennifer! I run every other day and try to post a little piece of beauty that catches my eye while out. My friends think I’m silly and some think it is counterproductive to stop and start. But it only takes a few seconds to snap a shot and it keeps my eye open for the entire run–always scanning for a special gift, just for me. Happy day to you.

  23. says

    They are such beautiful birds. I don’t see many around here–maybe because my feeders are mainly for the seed eaters. But that flock is something I will never forget.

  24. says

    That is a wonderful goal. I’m still thinking about/praying about what to work on this year. Ann V. is doing some of Romans but I’m thinking something shorter this time around. I worry these longer bits aren’t making the way all the way to my heart. Do you feel that way sometimes? I don’t know. Still praying.

  25. says

    I know what you mean. It’s much easier and more motivating for me to learn verses chosen out of felt need at the moment. This is the longest portion I’ve ever attempted, but enough folks have testified to the benefit of learning whole books that I’m pressing on. For now, at least. 🙂

    The Living Proof Ministries blog community has a group memorization team for this year. 2-4 verses per month, chosen by each individual participant. We comment with our verses on the 1st and 15th of each month. The accountability helps me, and Beth Moore is a great motivator.

    The main page is, I think, and you would be looking for the Siesta Scripture Memory Team post or button. If you can’t find it and want to, let me know and I’ll send the exact link.

    The Lord will guide, willing heart. It’s all His Word. All bears fruit in season.

  26. kingfisher says

    I hope that your spirit may often soar like those wonderful birds in the photo. May he keep you covered with his protection and warm-wrapped in his Love.

  27. says

    This is my first visit to your blog Laura and I’ve so enjoyed it. I don’t have a post today appropriate to link up, but will follow your blog so I can join in the fun once my move is complete. Beautiful, lifting, photos and words in your post today. Blessings. . .

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