Poison Dart Frogs are some of the tiniest and beautiful creatures on the planet; they are also incrediably deadly. So, why call this blog "Tiny Dart Frog"? It goes back to the old adage - good things come in small packages. We are all created exactly as God has intended - unique, strong, and beautiful.
Recently I ran the Boston Marathon, which has been a dream of mine since the 10th grade. When I returned many, many people asked me, "How was the race?"
My response was almost always something to the effect of:
"It was GREAT! My time wasn't that great though. I ran 8 minutes slower than my usual marathon pace."
And then I proceeded to talk about how exhilarating it is to stand at the start line with 25, 000 other runners, to run the oldest marathon around, to struggle and conquer Heartbreak Hill(s), to spend the weekend with one of my best friends, to have a chance to relax....
It isn't often that I wake up and know that today a dream will be fulfilled.
One time I went through this - reliving all the amazing pieces of my marathon experience and ended it with, "So, it was great even if my time wasn't."
The person responded, "Sounds to me like your 'time' was amazing."
Hmm...that's right. That is spot on, I thought. My time was amazing. Bookend life with that...you can't actual quantify 'time' if you look at it that way.
So, yes, I was a bit slower - chalk it up to really steep hills or taking in the scenery. Whatever. I had an amazing time.
When my oldest son was young, I was the careful mom. My son looked cute - all the time. I always had a spare diaper, some nutritious snacks, and made sure he followed the rules. Among the rules was: No Running with Sticks!
Seriously...if he ran with a stick, he could trip, and then he could fall, and then he could impale himself in the eye with a stick, and therefore he would be blind for the rest of his life. No running with sticks.
Then, I had another son, and another...and my rules get less and less strict. I dressed my kids less and less matchy-match - and basically hoped they had clean underwear. And...we ate whatever was in the house.
Now...my oldest is, um - gulp, almost a teenager. I hear him talking about girls - he texts all the time - doesn't talk too much anymore either. And I thought I needed to worry about him running with sticks.
There don't seem to be any rules for this...I gotta let him run. It's scary though.
Running with sticks, or lightsabers, or sword fighting sure doesn't seem like a big deal anymore.
The other evening I went for a bike ride... The previous few days had been incredibly busy and I needed a stress release. Normally I run...it's definitely my first choice when it comes to letting it all go. However, there is an aspect of biking that doesn't happen much with running.
It's the freefall. You know, the point where you ride up this huge hill - pushing, straining, laboring.... and then on the other side, when you reach the summit - there it is: the freefall. I love this!
I pause just before letting my pedals go - just so I am ready to take in the rush of air, the speed, the freedom, the weightlessness. For me that feeling I get is how I envision "freedom in the LORD". It's purely living. Worrying about nothing. Doing nothing wrong - enjoying everything right.
The one other time I have this same sense of weightlessness is during the last 5 minutes of church. When I used to sit in the congregation, I waited for this part. I knew it was coming and I would relax my shoulders, breathe deeply, shut my eyes, and wait...for the weightlessness when I heard:
"Now may the LORD bless you and keep you. May the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the LORD look upon you with favor and give you peace."
Ahhh....freedom. Really - it's my favorite part. And it really does feel like a rush for me.
It's the sun shining, spirit blowing, and the hand of God all rolled into one...
Go ahead....let it go. God's got your back.
My name is Christine Stephan, although I answer mostly to Mom or Pastor.
I am a Lutheran pastor for an amazing group of Jesus' disciples just outside Washington DC AND a mom to 3 of the best boys in the universe.
I blog here about family and faith and frustrations....That thing we call 'life'.
My boys are passionate about all things legos, anything involving a ball, video games, and chocolate.
I am an avid runner, a lover of interesting books and deep conversation, a very amateur writer, and also a lover of chocolate.
I also love theology (which is weird, I know), but I don't love theology more than Jesus.
This blog is hardly ever profound, but it is real. As a pastor and I mom, I find 'real' to be more helpful in my journey with Jesus than crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's.