I was born skinny.
Well, maybe that’s a lie. I was, in fact, the largest of my mum’s eight babies, weighing in at a whopping 10 pounds. But the joke in my family for a long time was that I’ve never put any weight on since.
It’s true though, that through no merit of my own, I managed to give birth to four sons and then shrink, almost immediately, back to my previous slim self. The same skinny jeans that I’d discarded a few months prior slid easily over my hips without too much trouble. And I continued in that same skinny vein for years and years. If you don’t believe me, here’s a 1990’s picture to prove it…
Suffice it to say that I have never, ever, in my life, had to go on a diet.
Until the “Grandma Body” took over.
So, my husband and I recently embarked on the Four Day Diet. He found a copy in a second-hand bookstore and we dived into it.
Along with the obvious, obligatory, healthy eating that he recommends, (think GREEN) there’s also the non-negotiable 30-40 minutes of cardio per day. I love to walk, but when I hurt my foot because I was going too fast, it was then that I jumped on my bike and discovered this little ride nearby.
It’s only four miles, and it’s only 30 minutes, but four miles and thirty minutes is all God needs.
Now I know that all you bikers reading this might be giggling a bit. You’re probably saying to yourself: four miles in thirty minutes! That’s pathetic! And okay, so I could probably do it in 29 if I put my mind to it. But the thing is, I don’t ride with my head down; I ride with my head up.
I’m not pedaling to perform; I’m pedaling to pray. And I’m not out to go for gold; I’m out to get a glimpse of God.
And so, if you live in the Rockford area and happen to see a grandma on a little red, fold-up bike, sometimes bouncing in the pot-holes because she’s looking up at the trees; and if you should hear her singing, at the top of her lungs, the words to her mum’s favorite hymn as she rides:
Yes, God is good, in earth and sky,
From ocean depths to spreading wood.
Ten thousand voices seem to cry,
God made us all and God is good.
and if she stops singing when she’s going uphill, because it’s all she can do to just breathe… well, that would be me.
One day, I didn’t even get much exercise. It was God’s fault. I could barely ride because of all the beauty around. I kept hopping off the saddle to capture all this loveliness:
And what I’ve discovered in my early morning bike rides is that God is with me when I’m whizzing down the easy slopes and when I’m climbing up the hard ones. Our omnipresent God is always, always, and everywhere around. And if you stop, and listen, and pay attention, you’ll meet God in the most unlikely places.. like a cornfield.
And after that glorious sight, this is what I penned… (and just in case you’re wondering, the interchangeable pronoun for God is deliberate.)
So I met God in the cornfield this morning. Of course, She’d been up long before me, but I think She was waiting, there at the side of the road, to see if I’d notice Her. And I did.
I got off my bike and took this picture, and I knew it was God. He shone down, through the clouds, just for an instant as He bent down to paint the corn all golden in the wind.
And as I rode, I saw God everywhere then: in the vibrant colors of the autumn trees; in the tiny blue patch of promise above; in the black-eyed Susans that danced in the breeze; and in the early morning bird perched on the wire.
But I saw God in the weeds too: the ugly ones that we wrench from the ground and try to get rid of.
God was there in the brown, dried-up ferns that straggled the roadside, looking like a mess… the ones that are dying.
And I knew, then, that God is in every part and pattern and purpose of my life: the beautiful, and the ugly; the beginning and the end. God is in the miracle and the mess; the parts of my life that I celebrate and the parts that I suppress.
And nothing, nothing, in earth, nor life, nor death, can ever separate me from God’s love.
I met God in the cornfield this morning.
So, friends, if you’re thinking of embarking on a diet, I can highly recommend it. You might lose weight, and you might gain God.
PS…David and I are four weeks in, and feeling good!
PPS… my newest children’s book, ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas is out in just six days! Next week’s blog will, of course, be all about that.