Words. Wisdom. Wellness.
Hello, Beautiful Soul!
I am so glad that you are here.
I hope that my Soul Reminders help you
connect more deeply to God so that you
know your purpose,
you live your truth,
and you love yourself.
It is an honor and a joy to write them for you.
Jennifer, I'd like to ask you...
“Give thanks to the Lord…”
The mercury rose as the heat of the day bore down on the garden. The birds abandoned the feeder in search of shade. Even the busy squirrels stopped foraging under the oak trees. “It’s too hot, God,” I complained. “Can’t you turn down the thermostat a bit?” A butterfly, oblivious to the heat, bobbed from flower to flower. The color on its wings so vibrant that I couldn’t help but smile. “What a beautiful butterfly,” I said as I wiped away the sweat from my brow.
“Thank you for saying so,” God said.
I heard His words and an uncomfortable feeling came over me. I realized that I don’t say thank you to God often enough. I’m usually asking Him to do something for me—asking Him to apply Himself.
“I take back what I said about it being too hot. No need to turn down the temperature.”
“The vegetables growing in your garden will be glad to hear that. So will that lizard on the rock next to you,” God said gently.
I turned my head to see a lizard sunning itself. “Everything is in your hands, I know. Thank you. For everything. Even this heat.”
“You are most welcome,” God replied as a robin landed in the birdbath. I watched it splash about, tossing water up onto its back. When it was done it flew off leaving me with the reminder to stop asking God to do and to let God be. And, to say thank you.
“Ask and it will be given to you.”
A movement outside catches my eye. I stop writing and look out of the window. A baby bird perched on top of the feeder shakes and flaps its wings. It’s an attention-getting little dance. “Me! Me. Me!” it chirps. The bird’s mother places a seed in its mouth. Over and over I watch the mother feed her little one. After a few minutes, the baby bird is full and the two of them fly away.
I think about the times when I have felt like that baby bird, desperately in need of attention. “Me! Me! Me!” I squawk to God. Like the devoted mother at the feeder, God gently gives me something to sustain me.
A peace settles down around me—a knowing that God will always take care of His creation. He will always take care of me. And, He will always take care of you.
~1 Peter 5:6
I can only imagine where Jesus’ feet roamed. Dusty roads. Dirty floors. Weed-choked fields. Scrabbling over craggy rocks. I like to ponder the sandals that encased His feet and bore His weight. I like to think of the dust that they collected—evidence of His tireless travels to tell others about God’s love for them. I like to think about Jesus taking off those well-worn sandals at night—how they waited for Him through the long, dark hours. And I think to myself, I want to be that patient. I want to become that dusty and dirty for Him. I want to carry His weight—carry His message—that God loves us. I want to be as humble before God as the dust on Jesus’ sandals.
“Consider how the wild flowers grow.”
“I made them for you,” God said so quietly that I almost didn’t hear Him.
“Made what?” I asked as I dug my hand trowel into the wet earth.
“That was very thoughtful of you,” I said and gently moved an earthworm out of the way of my digging.
“When I was creating the universe, I thought to myself, Man will need something to remind him that I care about him. Something whimsical. Something beautiful. So I created flowers for your enjoyment,” God explained. “I hope that when you look at them you’ll realize that I love you enough to give you such delight.”
“I hadn’t thought of flowers that way before,” I replied honestly. ” I mean, I like them a lot, as you can tell by my garden. But I didn’t know that you made them just for us to understand that you love us.”
Thunder rumbled off in the distance. I looked up to see clouds moving in from the mountains. “I guess I better get out of the coming storm. Let’s go inside and have some lunch, shall we?” I pulled off my gloves and put them in the potting shed. “I want to hear more about the things that you made for us.”
“I made everything for you,” God said as I opened the door to the kitchen.
“I thought you’d say that.” I laughed. “You really do love us, don’t you?”
“If you only knew how much,” God whispered. “If you only knew…”
“…in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”
“Whatcha doing? God asked.
“Fixing the garden fence,” I said, as I hammered another nail into the post.
“That’s quite a fast swing you have there,” God said, as He peered over my shoulder.
“Uh huh. I’m sorta in a hurry,” I replied. I wiped a bead of sweat from my forehead. “I’ve got to write this afternoon.”
“Will you be in a hurry then?”
“I guess. I’m eager to get the new book done,” I explained.
“When you hurry your mind it doesn’t go any faster, “God said. “In fact, it stops. You’ll be more creative and productive if you slow down and relax. Let your mind go. Let it wander. It will take you where you need to go,” He assured me. “With everyone in a hurry these days, it’s a wonder that anyone utilizes the talents I’ve given them.” (I could have sworn I heard Him sigh right then.)
“Yeah, we’re all feeling crunched for time,” I said as I drove the last nail deep into the wood. I stood up and looked around at the garden. The sunflowers were just starting to bloom. The tomatoes sported little yellow blossoms that bobbed on the breeze. Beans reached up and wrapped around a trellis, pulling themselves up from the damp earth.
“Those plants aren’t in a hurry,” God pointed out to me. “They take the fullness of the time I’ve given them to produce. Take your time, Sparrow. Take your time.”
I walked to the gate and pushed it open. I felt the sun on my face. I felt the expanse of the day and the abundance of everything I needed.
“I’ll take my time, Father,” I said and slowly closed the gate behind me. “Yes, I’ll take my time.”
I hope that you will take your time, too.
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
~1 Corinthians 3:16
“God, I’ve got some big decisions to make,” I prayed. “Will you help me?” I asked.
“Of course I’ll help you,” God answered.
“Thank you, I don’t want to figure this out on my own.”
“I’m glad that you are turning to me for answers,” God said. “Most people don’t realize that they have a part of me inside of them so that I am always there to help them. They think that I am some old man up in the sky far away from them. They don’t realize that not only are they in my presence but that they are the presence of me!”
“They are the presence of you?” I asked.
“Yes. Just as electricity becomes evident through the bulb, I become evident through life, through people,” God explained.
I nodded. “Thank you, for working with me to help me make a decision so that I move forward in the right direction,” I said. “And thank you for explaining that we are the presence of you. Remembering that will help me to be more kind and caring to others, for how I treat them is how I treat you.”
“Any time, Sparrow,” God said and rested His hand on my shoulder. “Any time.”
“There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.”
We’ve all had a Valley of Achor through which we must journey; scrabbling over rough terrain. But God takes the valleys of our lives and transforms them. He turns the very journey that seemed so desperate into a door of hope that opens to Him. If you’ve been struggling out in the wilderness, know that God will give you back your vineyards; the ripe fruit of your life that sustains and nourishes you.
Only the Almighty God can turn our troubles into a door of hope! And He does so, each and every time we find ourselves journeying through the rough and barren terrain of our lives. Every hard climb up and out of our valleys leads us closer and closer to God.
“But I trust in your unfailing love…”
“It’s dark in here, God,” I said as the door closed shut behind me. There was no answer. I felt my way along the walls as I slowly crept forward. “It’s a long hallway, God,” I said. I took another hesitant step forward. Where I thought I was going, I had no idea. Eventually, I tired and sat down. “It’s getting cold, too,” I called out. Still, no answer. And so I sat in the cold dark, and waited, doing all I could to keep my rising anxiety at bay.
After what seemed like an eternity, I called out again to God. “Hello? Can you hear me? I know you have to be here.”
“Of course, I’m here,” God called back.
“Why didn’t you answer me earlier?” I asked.
“I was busy arranging your next chapter,” God answered.
“My next chapter?”
“What you’ll be doing next with your life. I closed the door on your last chapter and I’ve not yet opened the next door. I’m working out the details,” God explained.
“What do I do while you’re busy working everything out?” I asked.
“Hold onto my promise,” God said.
So I sat, in the dark hallway, holding onto the promise of God, waiting patiently for Him to open the next door.
After some time had passed I called out, “Thank you for all you’re doing for me.” Just then, God opened the next door. Light flooded into the hallway and I could see what was next, and it was so beautiful!
“Lo, the day is coming to an end…”
A pale light is all that remains of the day, and soon, it shall slip below the horizon and be gone. The birds have abandoned their posts at the feeders for nests unseen. The squirrels, too, have disappeared into the woods, and the night animals have yet to appear. The only sound is stillness as I sit out under the pear trees in the garden.
“Thank you, God, for the gift of today,” I whisper, not wanting to disturb the quiet.
“You are welcome, Sparrow,” God replies.
I rise from my chair, my eyes straining in the dark to find the path back to the cottage. “I’ll walk with you,” God says, and tosses a handful of stars into the night sky to illuminate our steps. Together, we make our way back home so that I can ready myself for sleep, and for the gift of tomorrow.