The following is a guest post written by my new friend Jackie Brindle. She invited me to be a guest on her Be Encouraged! podcast and we realized we have a lot in common. In this article, Jackie takes us on a run with her and helps us discover the gift of memories and God’s glory on the way. If you’ve been around my blog for a minute, you know that this is totally my jam. Enjoy!
By Jackie Brindle
I am going to be honest: I love receiving gifts. I like giving them, but it’s so fun to receive them, right!? Especially the ones that are out of the blue which can be the very thing that makes my day.
Sometimes gifts don’t always have to be wrapped up in a bag or tied with a bow. I got one tonight, and it wasn’t wrapped up at all!
Take a walk with me down memory lane and meet my grandmother Leah Rubin. She always carried mints in her bags. She walked with her shoulders back, dark maroon lipstick on, and had a deep love for sweets!
She is no longer with us, but there are days I think of her. A memory of her pops up when looking at pictures, eating coffee ice cream, or a bagel and cream cheese. Oh, and anytime I hear the song, “You are My Sunshine” or sing it to my own children. Grandmom used to sing to us, especially on long car rides.
Tonight, I got the most beautiful and unexpected gift. It happened to appear on my run, when I glanced up at the most incredible painted clouds dancing across the sky. It literally took my breath away. It was like the gates of heaven were opening up.
I was frozen. In awe of the sunshine piercing through the clouds. Of course, in true Jackie fashion, I paused to take a picture of it.
I breathed in the fresh air and let it out slowly.
As I continued on my run, I thought about my grandmom. I let her smile marinate in my mind. This memory was such a gift! It opened up more memories like a river rushing down stream. I was instantly reminded of what she used to call me: my precious. She really knew how to make me feel so special with the warm glow of her smile much like the golden hour sunset. Her gleaming grayish-blue eyes lit up when I walked in the room. The clouds in the evening sky reminded me of her eyes.
I thought about one time in particular I had with her, when there was a storm at night, and my twin sister and I were sleeping over. We were probably 5 or 6 years old, and I missed my parents. I was upset over the loud storm.
We heard the thunder and dashed to the doorway of her bedroom. I saw her reading the newspaper. Her glasses had slipped down to the edge of her nose. My grandfather was doing the same beside her. My grandmother glanced above the black and white pages.
She put down the paper and invited us in with a smile and her arms spread open wide. We rushed over to her and she wrapped us up in her soft arms. My grandfather told us stories and jokes to cheer us up too.
That feeling is something I will always treasure and carry with me. That simple wink from God was a gift in that moment.
The memories that flooded back of my grandmom as I was running, really put things in perspective on how God sees me. I think He sees us all as His precious children.
I imagine Him smiling down on us like the rays of sun through a cloud. No matter how we feel when we are living life, rolling through the motions, I believe God is right there for us.
I think He examines our hearts, much like my grandmother or that special person you are thinking of, that sees only the best in you.
If you need some reminding today of how “precious” you are, let these words soak in to encourage and inspire you:
You are already so incredibly creative, talented, smart, and beautiful inside and out. I know I don’t see all the things that you are doing, behind the scenes, but God does. I get it. Days can sometimes run altogether or there are days I need that little piece of love from up above to shine a light on my path. This encourages me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Take a look outside. Look at the stars. You are among many, yet no one is like you. Let this moment stir up all the goodness of those memories of that person who sees you just as you are, unapologetically you!
Recently, I started reading the devotional called, Walk Run Soar by Dorina Gilmore Young. Her devotion titled, “He Refreshes my Soul,” challenged me to take in the world around me. Dorina coached me to go for the run, not for the pace, not to compete with others, or for the sake of a workout. Rather, it was an opportunity to recharge and embrace all my senses. It was about letting go with each strike of the foot and looking around at God’s creation.
That was the very thing, I needed to do that evening. I am so glad I took the run down memory lane!
Friend, I hope the next time you take a walk or go for a run that you lift your eyes to the sky and God meets you there with a sweet memory.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Sometimes you seem far away. Life can be easily filled with distractions that draw me farther away from you. The truth is you never leave my side and you are always there with arms opened wide. Thank you for never leaving my side. I appreciate the way you remind me of the sweetest memories among days that are harder than others.
Help me to put my trust in you, not that you have set me apart, among all the people in the world, for your glory. Help me to seek you in the day, as it is a gift that I will always treasure.
In Jesus name,
Jackie Brindle is a wife to Grant, mom of 3, and an elementary school teacher, in Central, Pennsylvania. She lives on coffee and Jesus. Jackie loves running, writing, and speaking. She started a blog called, “Be Inspired and More” and also podcasts at “Be Encouraged!” Connect with her here.
Check out my conversation with Jackie on the Be Encouraged! podcast. We chat about how to deal with unexpected change and “Finding the Starting Line Again.” Oh, and we also talk about running, writing, mom life and travel! It’s a fun one!
*Do you have a copy of my latest book, Walk Run Soar? If you are a runner or walker, this one is for you. More details about this new devotional book here.