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.
*Disclaimer: I am a pastor... but I also have my moments of doubt and question... and this is one of them. Please know that going into this... and that despite my wavering trust, God's faithfulness never wavers.
Running is my normal respite, even at 5am when it's 20 degrees out....I'll go. And mostly what drives me to get out of bed is knowing that in the wee hours of the morning, I reconnect with God.
However, the other morning the only thing which got me out of bed to run was the fact that I was meeting someone to run. On that morning God couldn't have drug me out of bed.
I was angry with God...madder than I'd been in awhile. Truthfully, I'd been hurling curse words up towards God. Yes. I swear at God occasionally. The last thing I wanted to do was 'connect' with God.
But since I was running with someone I was pretty safe. I knew I'd be able to squirrel God away to the farthest regions of my mind and heart and just blabber to my running partner.
And - lo and behold - I was safe....for most of the run. She wasn't running as far as I was, so I ended up doing the last bit by myself. After dropping her off I instinctively began to pray. It's almost a reflex for me to pray as I run.
My prayers were more like a one sided shouting match with God. I had all these things and people that I was worried about, all these painful and difficult situations, all this confusion.... and I was furious that God wasn't doing anything (or at least that's how I felt). I could see all their faces flash in front of my eyes and through my mind as my feet landed one after the other on the pavement.
My pace quickened as small tears began to slip out of my eyes. The air was so cold that they froze a bit on my cheeks.
I'm a creature of habit so my runs are fairly mapped out, so I can go on autopilot. The route I was running that morning necessitates my crossing over a railroad track. I must cross this track 3 times a week....always at about the same time and there's never been a train barreling down the tracks until this particular morning.
Still yelling at God in my head I came upon ringing bells and flashing lights, letting me know that a train was coming.
"You've got to be kidding me," I thought. For a split second I contemplated dashing across to beat the train, but as I looked down the tracks I could see the headlights rushing towards me. So, I stood on the platform....waiting.
Waiting. And mad.
And as that train began to rumble past me - the ground shook and the wind wiped across my face and I was reminded of how so very often in the Bible when the mountains shook and the wind roared it was because God was doing something.
And the people couldn't withstand God's power.
The freight train rushed past so quickly that I dared God to knock me over. I wanted to feel God's power. I wanted God to prove to me that he really was powerful.... which sounds arrogant and unfaithful and yet I stood there daring Him.
I was swallowing so hard to keep my breath, and I had to close my eyes to shut out the dust particles, and I swayed a bit from the force....but I stayed standing.
"Is this ALL you have God?! Really?"
Oh, I was so mad. So very, very mad that God wasn't more impressive than that.
The train finally passed and I was still standing. So, I squared up my shoulders, wiped my eyes and started off...determined to just get home without thinking about God.
And I did. It wasn't far from that freight train to my house.
As I got into the shower I fell. Not really - not like I kept begging God to do while I was standing on the platform, but I fell. The water seemingly was more powerful than the train. It softened me.
I felt like a fraud. I no longer felt stronger than God...I felt small. And I wished I trusted God implicitly. Shouldn't I? As a pastor, shouldn't I always trust God?
Now in the shower, as I thought about that freight train barreling past me I realized that maybe God was allowing me to be stronger than He...for a time. Maybe God knew I needed to have some sort of power... I don't know.
All I now knew was that it was me that didn't want to trust God. But in my core I knew that I always could trust God.
I'm hoping God understands this about me... That I love Him deeply and it's unnerving sometimes. That when I can get out of my own way I trust Him with my life.
And that sometimes it does take a freight train to get through to me.
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.