Coincidental Snails

Some days feel like God is pushing me along…

I’ve been training for a 5K and had hoped to participate in my first one within a few weeks. The training started better than expected! But when school let out, things slowed… to a stop.

Last week, my husband booted me out the door (as tenderly as possible, of course) to go run! Having a mind of my own, and feeling groggy and out of shape, I pushed valiantly through the guilt and proceeded to walk.

There’s a stretch of my route that passes by a county lake, hidden by thick trees and marshy grasses. That spot always slows my time, even when I’m running. I find interesting things there — iridescent dragonflies and scenic sunrises that “didn’t happen” if they’re not captured and shared.

I’m walking along that stretch, thinking — all by myself, in my head (where no one notices) — that I could do better if I’d only push myself…

And guess what I find crawling across my path:

snail 2b

God is reading my thoughts…

Slow, slow, slow.

Anyone who thinks God doesn’t have a sense of humor…

(Actually, I can hardly imagine God relates to each person the same way, any more than I relate to each of my kids the same way. Same God, same dependable character, individual relationships.)

I wondered if there were more snails — there weren’t. But God kept speaking, verse after verse from His complete Word, which is always available and never coincidental:

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” (Isaiah 55:)

“…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 your heart. I will be found by you…”(Jeremiah 29:12-14)

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” (Proverbs 8:17)

I also remembered the incredible silence of God — seven years of hearing next to nothing “…not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.” (Amos 8:11)

Because of everything that happened during that time, my relationship with God drastically deepened and changed. I would never have chosen a season of grief for myself — it was bitter — but God knows, in the most personal way, what I need to grow most.

At the last corner, I turned around, and suddenly snails were crossing the road everywhere!

snail 4 group

snail 5 group

Some were dried up. They were a bit of a distance from water.

snail 9 shells

snail 6 shell

My thoughts, which “no one” ever hears: Don’t wander away too long and dry up. Don’t neglect the habit of listening, which can be lost, like the habit of running.

snail 7 in grass

I waved at a neighbor, who laughed at my bouquet of snail-slimed weeds.
(They’re for the kids, alright? — That’s my excuse for plenty of things.)

snail 10 dark

I got past the lake, past the snails, past God’s chiding…

as if circumstances can keep God from speaking…


and laughed out loud at this turtle creeping its way across the road!

God’s discipline is kind, never intended to push me away, but to pull me closer, to let me know that He is attentive and not ignoring me. Every time, I’ve found in the end that He has been listening to every detail, even through silence.

It’s time to pick up my pace — stop walking, start running.

When I got back to the house, my husband raised an eyebrow at my treasures. “It’s for the blog, you know” — my excuse for plenty of things.


Coincidentally, right before my walk, he had shown me this youtube video, below.

God does seem silent sometimes, but He expects me to keep seeking, because He likes to show up with unexpected surprises… Will I always want Him enough to keep watching?

(P.S. Right after my walk, as I was in the middle of making quick notes for this post, a friend from NJ — who hadn’t seen any running updates from me recently — messaged me to say, “How’s the running going?”
Some days feel like God is pushing me along…)

8 Responses to “Coincidental Snails”
  1. david wolfe says:

    a super amen to your post i am glad that michael enciurage you to run it has been 4 years for me and i love to run an run and run some more hang in ther run with thev snails and turtles have fun too let your creativity soar higher and higher to ou lord god

  2. Reva says:

    LOVE the snail pictures – I see snails almost everyday on my way to work. I’ll think of you tomorrow. I have a love-hate relationship with jogging (don’t run). My mind loves it, my knees and lungs hate it.

  3. Barbara Greenstein says:

    The youtube video made my eyes fill with water. Great blog!

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