Have you ever wanted to read a certain book, but just never got around to it? Then, when you finally do read it, years later, realize that it was the exact perfect moment for the message? Back in 2017, I was so excited to read Love Lives Here by Maria Goff. I had thoroughly enjoyed Love Does, written by her husband, Bob, so I just naturally assumed I would love the book penned by the woman he affectionately calls “Sweet Maria”. Being married to a man of seemingly endless energy who goes on all sorts of adventures seemed intriguing to me—I wanted to know more about her and her life.
But I never bought the book.
I kept thinking about it though. The cover with the blue and gold contrasted against the white background was so inviting to me. I wanted to know what was inside of it. But I got distracted and read other books in the process. And I’m so glad I waited. I really think I wouldn’t have enjoyed this book as much if I had read it earlier or at a different stage in my life.
There are so many nuggets throughout the book that leaped off the page at me, so I’m going to be writing about this book for a while—brace yourself. But there’s one thing, in particular, I want to focus on for a few moments: running.
You see, I love to run both physically and figuratively. I’m much better at running figuratively than literally, but it doesn’t diminish my love for either. When things get tough, I want to run. When things are good, I want to run. When people get close, I want to run, and when they’re far away I still want to run out of fear of them getting closer.
In Love Lives Here, Maria shares a sweet story about a time when her children wanted to run away from home. Instead of shuddering or recoiling at the idea, she helped them pack. Instead of being afraid for her children to “run”, she celebrated the spirit of adventure in each of them, knowing they would return home after a trip around the block or whenever they got hungry.
When discussing this event, she writes: “The kids were running toward a beautiful adventure, not away from any difficulties. Don’t be fooled. There’s a big difference between the two. One’s worth doing; one’s worth staying and learning from.” p. 111
Right now I’m in yet another staying season. Everything within me wants to run. I’m sure I would run to something great eventually, but the motivation of my running would be to get away, and that’s not how I want to run my race. For me, running is one of the easiest things in the world, it feels natural, like breathing or eating unhealthily, but staying during difficult times is like eating my greens and managing my money well: it takes effort—a lot of effort—but thankfully I don’t need to do it on my own.
I’m grateful that God is with me every step of the way, encouraging me, telling me that it’s going to be okay because he’s with me, and celebrating with me when I lean into the discomfort instead of bolting out the door. And the same is true for you. This book was such a powerful reminder that God is with me and for me, his love is ever-present, and I can get down into the difficult parts of my life and heart because he’s already there waiting for me with a headlamp and pickaxe ready to mine the gold out of the hard places of my life.
Have you read Love Lives Here?
Do you tend to be a runner? How are you practicing staying?
How have you seen God’s love tangibly expressed in your life this week?
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