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Running to faith: finding God in the street


God in the street

Often I think back to the young woman I was at 21, 22, 23… Three very important years of my life; chapters in a book that is still being written. Years that, through brokenness, infused the very nature of who I am today.

Times I made decisions, felt rejection and abandonment so piercingly, that I could not stay the same. Pain so deep I literally could not stand.

And so I ran.

It was the beginning of a love affair that was the only solace to my broken heart.

There was something healing about being out on the open road with no one around, nothing to think about but just breathing. Sometimes it’s all we can do.

Sometimes it’s all we have left.

I would run early in the morning, stumbling out of the house my eyes barely open, the sun barely cresting the horizon. I can close my eyes now and vividly see the trail I would run…when the newly fallen snow cast a blanket of untracked possibility before me; an open invitation to make my own path.

It was also the start of me living out my faith. And when I say faith I mean it in the true definition of the word: a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

All I had was pieces of a life when my father shared Jeremiah 29:11 with me.

For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you, and will bring you back from captivity.

I was living in a broken down, old football house on a college campus in rural Wisconsin that I couldn’t even walk in without shoes. The door didn’t lock, I have no idea what color the carpet was supposed to be, the porch was falling off, and I had to shower in my running clothes and let them air dry in the room I shared with another girl.

Disgusting doesn’t even begin to describe where I had to live for 2 years. And yet, it was what I had. It was, and is, a part of my story. And a lot of healing and great faith took root in those broken down walls.

I taped that verse to a wall in my room, where I could read it every day. Several times a day. I remember standing there, fingers touching the words, aching for them to be true. Believing that they must, because I didn’t want to be where I was. I wanted more than anything to be far from where I was.

What touched me so much about the verse was not only that He knows the plans He has for me to give me hope & a future…but that I will find Him when I seek Him with all of my heart. I wanted to find Him. I needed to find Him. It was too hard to stand on my own. But I didn’t know how, and I certainly didn’t have all of my heart anymore. It was broken, and broken badly.

But you know what? I gave Him my best, and it was enough. And He has made it anew. Not the same as it was; but in a new and more beautiful form. He is a God of miracles.

Where are you? Are you stuck somewhere you don’t want to be? Living a life, being someONE you don’t want to be? 

Every one of us has a story that has brought us to where we are, but it doesn’t mean we have to stay there. I found my faith when I had no other choice but to hope. I was desperate enough to hope for something better than the past for my future, and I kept running toward it. I’m still running toward it.

I wholeheartedly believe that a better future is waiting for each of us, but we have to be willing to move. We have to be willing to change, grow and learn from our experiences and our mistakes. We all have our story and there are a million reasons and excuses for us not to start, and there are plenty of people we can call to mind to blame. But that will never serve us well. That will never get us to anywhere we want, let alone a life we imagine. We must be willing to go into our past to find the source of our pain and then bravely and deliberately move forward into trust, healing and hope.

The first step to get you there is to decide. For me, that could only happen by action. Some people learn by hearing and some by sight but the most stubborn and hardheaded of us (me) need to do something. I needed to move physically in order to figure out how to move emotionally, mentally and spiritually. What I learned was that the greatest obstacle to my happiness was myself; the biggest critic of my life, my voice; and the one holding me back, was me. The truth is, I found God in the street, and He set my heart free.

Decide today that you are not going to stay where you are. Our soul knows the depth of our passion and it craves the courage to live it out loud. The faith to believe in something for which there is no proof.

God never wastes one single thing. Every experience, every heartache and heartbreak brings us closer to the person we were created to be, IF we let it. A journey of a thousand miles, the greatest journey, OUR journey, begins with a single step.

Our God is faithful and his promises are true. We don’t all have to run, but we do need to move. Not from our past, but to our future. We never leave our past behind, we can’t. It’s always with us, threatening to hold us back. But when we make peace with it, accept it for what it was and not what we wanted it to be, then we get to rewrite our story. We get to design how far it will propel us forward, to the life we were created to live.

Move. In whatever way you know how. MOVE.

If you resonated with this post and would like to read more of my story from struggle to strength, you can purchase my book on Amazon right here.

Pretty: Breaking Free From The Illusions of a Superficial Life

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{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Krista October 31, 2012, 7:23 pm

    “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” What beautiful, redemptive tears, my soulful friend. They are now falling on dry ground of others’ hearts to spring up new life. Praise Him!!!! Oh, His grace….His grace indeed. Such a powerful story — L.O.V.E.

    • Tammy January 22, 2013, 3:36 pm

      i SO wish you could’ve seen that place! you wouldn’t believe it. ha! xoxo

  • Annie October 31, 2012, 10:26 pm

    As a wife, mommy, and friend who is in the middle of an amazing time of personal growth in life and my faith journey, this was an extremely timely and inspiring post Tammy! My “move” has been in the form of an attitude adjustment with the thoughts that are constantly swirling around in my head. Life is so much richer when you become unstuck from the muck and mire and live the life He has given to each of us. Loving today’s post and, of course, you!! 😉

    • Tammy January 22, 2013, 3:34 pm

      thanks annie! keep moving! xoxo

    • Mollie February 9, 2016, 6:04 pm

      I am more lost in life right now and stubbled on this much needed site. I have given myself to the situations of the world, that I have no idea who I am or where I am going.

  • tara February 28, 2013, 2:39 am

    over from edie’s blog…
    such a rich, honest, transparent post written from your heart.
    absolutely beautiful.

    • Tammy February 28, 2013, 4:18 am

      thank you tara! welcome to grace uncommon, i hope you come back and visit.

  • edie February 28, 2013, 11:42 am

    beautiful story, beautiful struggle.
    thanks for sharing, dearie!!

    • Tammy February 28, 2013, 2:31 pm

      thank you so much edie! what a gift to me to have you here. xoxo

  • farrah james May 7, 2013, 12:05 am

    My family every time say that I am killing my time
    here at net, but I know I am getting know-how all the time by reading these
    fabulous articles.

    • Tammy December 10, 2014, 5:19 am

      So glad you’re here Farrah!

  • Averil March 7, 2014, 2:41 am

    Thank you.

    Running is one of my most favourite and most unfailingly effective ways to pray.

    Running has led me to exactly where God always intended me to be, at exactly the right time – no sooner, no later than I needed to be here. xxxxxxx

    • Tammy March 9, 2014, 3:06 pm

      I love that. It’s a truth I know so deeply – to run in the path of His command and be set free. Blessings & happy running to you!

  • Jenielle Harpster February 10, 2015, 11:23 am

    Simply beautiful! Thank you for honest reflections! You have no idea how much I needed to read this today! Blessings!

    • Tammy February 18, 2015, 9:45 pm

      So glad to hear Jenielle!

  • Stephanie February 11, 2015, 2:50 pm

    Thank you, I needed to read this today.

  • Brenda February 13, 2015, 6:46 am

    I love this! And I just hope and pray that I can learn to apply this to my life! I feel like I am in such a “stalemate” spinning our of control trying to find direction in my life- even consumed with quilt for wanting something different. I need to find “my” way to move and then the next step……

  • Paula February 18, 2015, 5:22 pm

    Tammy,you are such an inspiration to me thank you so much I do believe that God hasbrought me to your wonderfuland insightful grace uncommon

    • Tammy February 18, 2015, 9:41 pm

      Thank you Paula! I’m so glad you’re here.

  • Lisa mckinney April 13, 2015, 10:23 pm

    i just found you shared by a friend on facebook and you are so inspiring. God has led me to you. I look forward to reading all your posts.

    • Tammy April 14, 2015, 1:51 pm

      Thank you Lisa! I’m so glad you’re here. xo

  • Jaime Keegan April 18, 2015, 7:04 pm

    What an inspiration you are to me. My freind just sent me a link to your page exactly when I needed it. I am a recovering addict whom is also battling late stage lyme disease. I know all about action. I have to take the action in my life to receive Gods blessings . I also have Jeremiahs verse on my wall that my mom gave me. I know God has a plan for me and through trials and tribulations I grow closer to him. Addiction itself is difficult to deal with but the Lyme is so painful I can barely walk. You have given me the strength to put one foot in front of the other no matter how long it takes me . For I know I will feel better one day on Gods time not mine . I thank you for you really have inspired me in one of the darkest places of my life.

    • Tammy April 18, 2015, 9:48 pm

      Oh Jaime I’m so thankful for your message and I honestly cannot tell you what confirmation it is to me right now, at exactly this moment. I’m lifting you in prayer that you would continue to lean on Him, trusting He knows the plans He has for you and they are good. All you have to do is take the next step. Just one step. I have watched my little sister battle addiction her whole life, and my heart is tender toward women in her situation. By God’s grace, she is finally breaking free and so I know how difficult it is. What a long journey it is to find freedom. Please know I believe in you and you can be free. You are loved. xoxo

  • Andrea Magdalena April 20, 2015, 7:45 am

    Greetings Tammy….

    Reading your article brought back images from my own life. Jeremiah 29:11 has been a great reminder for me of Faith and my personal lighthouse on several occasions.
    I came across “MOVE” the second time in the past couple of days here in your blog and in an interview a couple of days ago. The fact that you had the word capitalized echoed the message of the interviewee: “even if you are heading into a wrong direction it is important to keep moving because it is easier to stir someone towards h/h right path while in motion than moving someone out of the standstill.”
    What I learned is that in order to be guided one needs to to remain close to God 24/7. What this means – to me – is to remember to listen to my deepest inner feelings as the day unfolds. Noticing coincidences and synchronicities and reminding myself to observe first rather than react to events and people wonderful and otherwise. Some days are easier than the others but it is all about practice.

    Andrea M.

  • Melissa mancia June 25, 2015, 8:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story and sharing it so honestly. I too, found God in the steet and could relate to your words. I used to run to literally exhaust myself when I couldn’t cope emotionally, I would run by people crying, put down my shades, and say “hello” as if everything was fine. Then I fell flat on my face. God rescued me. And now I laugh because I still cry when I run sometimes, but they are tears of joy and thanks to our amazing Father that knows exactly how to heal our brokenness. As someone who hasn’t written in years and is trying to find my voice, you have given me the courage to write more honestly; to truley tell my story. I was so touched by your words, others relate to brutal honesty because they are going through the same stuff. It just looks a little different for everyone. Your writing has helped me discover that! Thanks for your words! I’m so excited about your thoughts on faith and encouraging others!

    • Tammy June 25, 2015, 8:22 pm

      Oh Melissa, I’m so glad! I’m completely humbled and honored by your words and that I could be a small part of encouraging you to find your voice. Go girl! xoxo

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