Recently, I was asked to speak at a women’s retreat. I didn’t sleep well nervous about what I was going to say so I got up early and did what I love to do, I went for a run. Not too far into the run, I see 6 deer standing in the road ahead. I was able to get super close to them before they stepped out of my path. After a few miles, I turn around to head back and I see the same deer again. This time, as I get closer, all 6 deer stepped into the woods just enough to be out of my path and ran roughly 400 yards right beside me. I ran looking to my left watching them as I could hardly breath overwhelmed with emotion by what was happening. I RAN WITH DEER! Later on my run, I found myself on a long winding bridge through the woods that lead me to a breathtaking waterfall. I took a break from the run to stand in front of the falls with my hands held high praising and thanking the Lord for the day he had made.
My love for running began as a very young child. My dad and I would run together and talk about all kinds of things. It was our time! Dad would often push me to go farther and faster than I thought or sometimes wanted to go. As far back as I can remember, Dad was there either running beside me, coaching me along the way or at the finish line cheering me on. He taught me discipline in running and also modeled the importance of a routine time alone with the Lord. He still to this day gets up super early to have alone time with the Lord as he reads scripture and prays.
Over the years, my runs shifted to being some of my favorite times alone with the Lord. It is when I openly invite the Lord to be with me as I pray, praise his name in worship, give him thanks, repent from sins, humbly admit my unworthiness, ask for healing, and even cry out to my Heavenly Father for help. If I am willing and open to hear him speak, he always does. Jesus tells me over and over, “I love you, Wendi! I love you so much! I forgive you! I’ve got this! You can do this! Look around you at all I created (DEER!! WATERFALLS)! Stand tall, be courageous! I created you, you are my child! I AM LORD! I will give you strength! Fear not! Make a joyful noise! I will never leave you or forsake you! I am all you need! It is finished! Let me do this! I’m worth it!”
These two verses at the end of Psalm 100 give us direction, instruction and invites us to give thanks, praise and bless the name of the Lord. It wasn’t hard for me to give thanks and praise his name when I ran with deer and saw the waterfall. But this isn’t every day! I don’t always feel like jumping out of bed to go for a run to praise his name. Remembering these verses focuses me on how much I’m loved by my father in heaven. Even better that his love for me doesn’t stop with me but will continue on to Gibson, Gibson’s children and beyond. This my friends makes my heart glad.
I pray as you read and memorize Psalm 100 that no matter what season of life you are in, you are able to look around you to see all God has given you and you can’t help but give thanks and praise his holy name. Our God is good, he loves us so much and is worthy of it all!