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FOUR LANES FURTHER

In summer time, I like to dog sit to earn extra income. It’s an easy gig and one filled with love from new furry friends. I am currently on day four of a fourteen-day visit with Daisy and Pookie, in beautiful Burbank, CA.

 

A week before the job began I felt I heard God prompting me to use the time to get unplugged and get closer to HIM! Since there is no Internet where I am, that took care of staying off social media. (my phone doesn’t have internet either) I don’t know how to work the TV and decided not to learn. Instead I brought The Circle Maker to read and dusted off my tennis shoes and sweat suit and threw them in my suitcase. I felt like I should get some exercise, since nature is where I feel closest to God!


Before I started working, I also felt prompted to use the time to do my yearly two-week master cleanse, which involves drinking only lemons, maple syrup and cayenne pepper... no food. When I arrived at my temporary home, I was encouraged to find a lemon tree with juicy ripe lemons in the front yard of. YAY! FREE lemons! The kitchen of the home I’m staying in doesn’t have a stove, only a microwave, so extra bonus…I am not tempted to cook. What a perfect place to do a two week fast. God really removed all temptations from me!


On the first day of watching the furry babies, I looked out the gigantic bay window in the living room to see droves of people running, walking, biking and pushing baby strollers, this way and that, down the middle of the street on the beautiful Chandler Bike Path. I sat on the couch with the dogs for over an hour and watched as people made their way hurriedly along.  The path was intriguing to me. I felt like it was calling me to it, so, I decided to check it out. Tomorrow.


My first morning on the path, was spent walking and receiving good cheer from all the passers bye. “Good morning!” “Good morning!” Good morning I said in return. Wow! The people were all so friendly. Neighborly I think they used to call it. I liked it! I would be back for more.


The sun was shining bright and was warm against my back as I walked west, about a half a mile down the luscious green path from Buena Vista to Hollywood Way. I was going to go further but since the traffic light was unusually long, I turned around and headed for home. Since I was cleansing, I felt a sudden urge to use a bathroom, so I decided to periodically sprint a bit on the way back in an effort to get home quicker.


Wow! It has never been more evident to me how out of shape I am. I was only able to run tiny little spurts of about fifteen seconds. Honestly if it hadn’t been for my immediate need of a restroom I wouldn’t have run at all. But God uses everything.


The second morning on the path I decided to go the other direction, heading east. I was greeted again with the friendly “good morning, good morning, good morning and extended my share of morning cheer in return. About a half a mile down the path I came to it’s end, or maybe it’s beginning, depending on which way you are heading. There was a giant bronzed man holding a lantern type light, standing on the original tracks. There was a plaque that explained about the railroad and the trackwalkers. I stopped to read it.


The Chandler Bike Path used to be the first railroad in the valley. It was built by David Burbank, some guy who ended up getting a city named after him. The railroad brought the fruit from the fertile valley to Los Angeles and beyond.


When it was decommissioned in 1992 they decided to make it into a bike and running path that goes all the way through the center of the San Fernando Valley. In Burbank, the path runs smack dab in the middle of Chandler North and Chandler South and is surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees. It is very well groomed and quite pleasant to the eye, in the middle of a concrete jungle.


After a short break to read the sign and gaze at the giant bronzed trackwalker, I turned and headed back toward home. The sun was breaking through the clouds, the birds were chirping loudly, welcoming the top of the seventh morning hour. This path was really lovely. I felt like I had discovered my own little slice of heaven.


 All of a sudden, I felt the urge to run again. This time it was from God, and not the master cleanse. So I started, but once I realized how far I had to run to make it home, I was immediately out of breath and slowed my pace to a fast walk.


 “I can’t run that far. I just can’t,” I told myself. Not the whole way, but maybe part of it.  I did my little sprints here and there, but mostly walked the half a mile back home. Oh well, I told myself. At least I have started. I was graciously reminded that God takes us from Glory to glory, little by little.


This morning as I entered the path for a third time, the sun was hidden behind a thick patch of June gloom clouds. I was grateful because it meant that it would stay cooler longer.


Today I decided to walk an extra portion of the path. Why not? It is Saturday morning and I have nowhere else to be. Truth be told, I could go back to sleep if I wanted. I walked the usual mile from Buena Vista up to Hollywood Way then waited at the crosswalk for the light to change. In my recent visits to this intersection, by car or by foot, I have noticed that this is an extra long light.  I timed it at 3 minutes, which is a lifetime in LA traffic. But just as I though about turning around and heading for home, the light changed and beckoned me to go further.


The birds were chirping in the cool morning air, and the usual suspects were on the path extending greetings, of a good morning. This morning I was putting into practice something I read in The Circle Maker. The author, Mark Batterson talkes about every single meeting being a divine appointment. He talks about how we have the opportunity to pray for every single person we meet, if only for a second, by shooting them with invisible prayer bullets.


I felt really connected to God at this point and was quite busy shooting all the passers by with invisible prayer bullets. Ping! Covered in the blood of Christ! Ping! Hit with the Holy Spirit. I must have encountered 25 people already who were unknowingly showered with a God shot! This was awesome!!!


Next thing I knew I was at the Whitnall Highway crossing about another quarter mile down the Chandler Bike Path. Wait I know this place! I’ve been here before. I saw a bronzed bench surround by a bed of beautiful blooming flowers. I knew this spot well. I had sat on that bench many times with my ex boyfriend John. I was tempted to sit down and reminisce on our past. Probably not a good idea, my thoughts gently reminded me. I decided to turn around and head back home.


All of a sudden I heard God yell “RUN!!!”


OMG! Are you kidding me? Run? Not just sprint but run! I can’t run.


Who am I kidding? I spent most of my life running, whether it was from the cops or an ex boyfriend or even my parents. Properly motivated, I was plenty able to run.


God yelled it at me again, just in case I missed it the first time, “RUN!”


 So I did!!!!


As a goal oriented person, I immediately needed to know how far I had to run. I saw how far away the Hollywood Way crosswalk was and felt a prompting to run to it. But God I argued…that’s like a quarter mile away. Then God showed me something that will forever change my life. He said…


“Just run to the next pole.”


Okay! I can do that! So I ran as fast as I could to the next pole, Then God said, “Now run to the next tree.”


Well it was literally only about 15 paces away jogging so I said “OK! I can do that!” And I ran to the next tree.


I looked up in the distance and saw a lady walking in front of me. For a moment I thought I should run to her. “Oh I can’t run that far,” I protested.


“Just run to the next tree,” I heard God say to me.


So, I did. And then the next one and then the next one. Before I knew it I had passed the lady who had been in front of me and the Hollywood Way crossing was in my sights. I am not a quitter but I also am not in shape. So being that Hollywood Way was still kind of far off, I started to doubt myself and look at the ground.


God literally pulled my chin up and said, “Keep your eyes on ME!!!”


But what if I stumble? I wondered. Don’t I need to look at the ground? What if I fall and have an injury?


God said, “If you stumble my angels will keep you from falling, but if you fall, I, Myself, will reach down from heaven, extend you my hand and help you back up!”


Wow! God Himself will help me get back up? You know I heard this a million times in the Bible or at church, but the God of the universe actually told me Himself, right there on the Chandler Bike Path!


So I kept my eyes up, focused on heaven, running at my fullest speed toward the next tree! And then the next. And the next. Some of those trees were only five paces apart, but even though I was tempted, I didn’t look ahead accept one tree. I didn’t look at the finish line, I kept my eyes focused on God.


After several minutes of running as fast as I could to each approaching pole or tree, I saw the Hollywood Way crosswalk, out of the corner of my eye. Oh thank goodness! I just had to go just a little bit further. Surely I would be able to rest at that long light.


I pushed just a little harder, ran a little faster as I neared the intersection ready to finish. I was panting and breathing hard, and incredibly lost in the moment with the Creator of the universe. I was surprised to find drops of sweat running down my brow. OMG! I am actually sweating. It’s a miracle!


Just as I was ready to stop running, the Hollywood Way light changed.

Then I heard it loud and clear… Just go four lanes further!


So, I did.


When I got to the other side of the intersection, I stopped running. I was quite amused with God and myself. I turned around to see the distance I had covered and was stunned. With the help of my God I had flat out ran as fast as I could, a quarter mile. While this may or may not seem like much to you, for me it is a modern day miracle.


After I returned home, still out of breath and sweating like crazy, I sat and pondered what God had shown me today. Here is what I learned.


I learned that when God plants a destination in my heart, He will get me there. End of story! All I have to do is keep my eyes towards heaven, and run as fast as I can to the next tree. When I reach my destination, tired and worn out from giving it my all, God will take me four lanes further. Cause that’s the God I serve… the God of above and beyond what I can think or imagine... and I can imagine pretty big!



 To be continued...

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