Words To Nourish You.
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.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”
To escape the heat, I drove to the Yuba River to swim. It was a bit of a hike over dry grass and weeds, uphill and down, but finally, I made my way to the swimming hole. People of all ages were in the deep, clear water of the Sierra snowmelt. I waded in, the cold of the water taking my breath away. Slowly, I adjusted to the temperature and began swimming with the others. A large rock in the middle of the river served as a diving board; young boys cannonballed off if it, laughing and shouting to one another. I thought of the Maidu Indians who used to live here along the Yuba’s banks—living in a time more attuned to God’s rhythms.
As I swam to the deeper reaches of the river, I prayed silently to God: “Dear Father, thank you for this natural beauty you’ve created for us.” A lone hawk circled overhead, its dark wings in stark contrast to the brilliant blue sky. I tread water for a while, looking at the majestic surroundings. “This is true medicine, God,” I said. “Whatever ailed me today is gone. I am at peace.”
“I’m glad, Sparrow,” God whispered through the trees, the sound so sweet and gentle that tears came to my eyes.
I swam back to where I could stand up in the water. I stood for a long time, soaking in the tranquility of the afternoon until the sun began her march towards the other side of the world. As I hiked my way back to my car, in the shadows of sunset, I reached out and took God’s hand.
“I’m with you,” God said.
I nodded. “I know,” I answered. We walked the rest of the way in silence, my heart full.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
“You’re in charge,” God whispered as I opened the refrigerator door to look for something to satisfy my hunger.
“In charge of what?” I asked as I opened the crisper and reached for a shiny red apple.
“You’re in charge of the colony.”
“Colony of what? I’m not a Pilgrim,” I playfully pointed out. I took a bite out of the apple, its crisp flesh giving way as I sunk my teeth into it. I wiped the drops of juice from my mouth with the back of my hand.
“You’re in charge of your body,” God explained. “It’s a colony. You must lead it carefully so that it serves you well. Eat well. Rest. Don’t stress. And don’t let it boss you around.”
“What do you mean by that?” I asked.
“Don’t let it convince you to be a couch potato, or to feed it junk food, or to ignore good hygiene. It can try to convince you to do things that aren’t in its best interest.”
I held up what was left of the apple. “I’m doing my best to make good choices,” I said. “See?”
“Yes. I see. Now, go for a walk and get some fresh air and some exercise,” God said.
“But I have a lot of work to do on the computer,” I answered.
“You’re in charge,” God whispered.
I pondered His words. Every day I make choices that are either for my body or against it. I really am in charge of the colony and I need to do a better job as a leader. So I tugged on my tennis shoes, tied the laces, and pushed open the front door and went for a long walk. My work could wait. My body is more important.
“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.
If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides.”
~1 Peter 4:11
The sun had a few more moments to hang in the sky, so I threw on my hat and tumbled out the door for a quick walk. It had been a long day of listening to people’s suffering. My heart and head needed clearing. A gentle breeze blew past me, pushing my hat off of my head. I reached to pick it up when I heard God’s gentle whisper.
“Noah was faithful,” He said.
“Noah trusted me to build the ark, even when there were no signs of rain,” He explained.
“What’s that got to do with me?”
“I want you to serve me with the same faithfulness. I want you to do my work even if you can’t see the reason why or see the fruits of your labor,” He explained.
“You drive a hard bargain,” I said. “I’m often tired.”
“I know you are. I’ll give you the strength,” God said warmly. I walked in silence the rest of the way, pondering God’s words.
I thought about how we are all asked to do God’s work in some way. The art of ark building—heading God’s call—is simply having faith. It means that we don’t rely on our own understanding, but instead, we rely on God. I finished my walk just as the sun turned out her light for the night. I sat in the dark of my garden for a few minutes before heading on into the house. “I’ll need your help. I can’t do it on my own,” I whispered.
God put His loving hand on my shoulder. That was the only answer I needed.
“Be kind to one another…”
On my morning walk, I came across a bird’s nest that had fallen from a tree during the night. I picked it up and marveled at its construction. Hundreds of twigs intertwined with each other to make a sturdy home. My eye caught one twig in particular. It was incredibly small. I wondered how the bird had even seen it. Why had the bird chosen it? Wasn’t it too small to make much of a difference?
Like the nest, our lives are made up of many intertwining things. There are our joys and our sorrows, our victories and our losses, our achievements, and our regrets. Even our small acts of thoughtlessness or disrespect will become a part of other people’s lives. So too, will our smallest acts of kindness. Let’s add to other’s lives in positive ways, even in small measures. Smile at a stranger. Open the door for someone. Say “Thank you.” Let the car ahead of you merge into your lane. Invite the person in line behind you with one item to check out before you. Be the little twig in the nest today in a positive way. Practice kindness, even on a small scale. It can make a big difference.
“Rise, let us go…”
“God, the storms in my life get me so discouraged,” I confessed as I readied myself for sleep. “I think about Jesus, and the storms He had to go through. When He knew that He would be betrayed after the Last Supper, He said, ‘Rise, let us go,’ and walked to His execution on the cross. How could He do that? How could He so willingly face such torture when I can barely face the problems I have?” I asked.
“Because I was with Him, just as I am with you, Sparrow,” God said softly.
“But I’m not as brave or as strong as Jesus.”
“You don’t have to be,” God answered. “Just trust me. That’s all the strength and bravery that you need—your love for me,” God said and put His hand on my shoulder. “Everything is going to be alright. The storms will pass.”
“Thank you for reassuring me. And thank you for your Son.”
“You are welcome,” God said. “Now, get some rest.”
I promised myself that in the morning, I’d face whatever I had to face with God’s help—I would do my best to rise and go.
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!”
While I was out of town visiting my children, the weeds in the garden grew so tall that I could barely get to the plants. I wanted to clear them out, but the summer’s heat and the smoke from the nearby wildfires stopped me. Every time I went out to water, I felt a pang of guilt—the garden looked so forlorn and unkempt.
Yesterday, I was able to tug on my overalls and sit on the soft, damp clay and dig out the offending growth. I had hours of work ahead of me, but I didn’t mind; I had the bees to keep me company. They buzzed about my head, visiting the blossoms. The birds sang sweet songs to me, perched in the pear trees. The wind ran her fingers through the tall Poplars, just beyond the fence; the sound of the leaves a little symphony.
“Thank you, for this beautiful day, God,” I said. “Thank you for this garden and all the life around me.” I popped a cherry tomato in my mouth and savored the burst of flavor. I lovingly lifted a wayward branch, heavy with fruit, and placed it back inside the tomato cage. “Jesus said that how we treat the least of us is how we treat Him. Does that include how we treat tomato bushes?” I asked, smiling. “I hope that you feel my love for you this morning.”
“I do,” whispered God.
“Good, because I adore you,” I said. The simplest of tasks can be worship if we allow them to be, even weeding a vegetable garden on a warm summer’s morning.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others…”
“I want you to be a light for others,” God told me on our morning walk together.
“I thought I was already,” I said, rather defensively.
“Yes, but I want you to really shine now. Really burn.”
“What about burning?” I asked. I wasn’t thrilled with the word.
“The work of being a candle is that it has to burn in order to share its light,” God explained.
“You want me to burn?” I asked. I’m sure God could hear the concern in my voice.
“I want you to burn with my love for you. I want you to be on fire with the Holy Spirit. I want you to shine so brightly that other’s hearts will be illuminated.”
“So, it’s a metaphor, this fire you speak of,” I said, relieved.
“Of course it is Sparrow,” God smiled. ” I want you to fall even more in love with me. I want you to trust me even more than you do.”
“How do I do that?” I asked.
“I’ll help you,” He said gently as He rested His hand on my shoulder.
God wants you to do the work of burning for Him, too. To share your light with others, you’ve got to be on fire for God. It doesn’t happen on its own; you’ve got to strike the match. Ignite your reality with God.
I stepped into a cafe to get out of the punishing heat. I asked about the salad special and was shocked to hear the price. “Why are lettuce and some vegetables so expensive?” I asked my server.
“The food is only a part of what you are paying for. You’re also paying for the cook, the dishwasher, the utilities, rent, and not to mention my salary as well,” she said. I ordered the salad and pondered her words.
How often am I seeing only one small part of God’s creation and not seeing it in the context of the whole? When I think of all that goes into the production of my food— the farmer, the bees, the microbes in the soil, the weather, the truck driver, the staff at the cafe, and a myriad of other things, I am reminded of how intricately interwoven life is; what affects you will ultimately affect me. I finished the last of my salad and went back out into the heat. I had a new appreciation for humanity. It’s not “every man for himself.” It’s every man is me.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
“Let go,” God whispered to me as I padded outside in the early morning, my head still dreamy from sleep.
“Let go of what?” I asked. “I’m not holding anything.” I opened my hands to show Him that they were empty.
“Not your hands. Your heart and mind,” He explained. “Let go of your worries and woes. Let go of your thoughts and beliefs. Let go of the words you use to construct your reality. Be with me in your pure form.”
“My pure form?”
“Yes. Be with me in spirit. Join me for a few moments without the incessant chatter in your mind. Let go of it all,” He said. “Sit in your garden and let yourself be still. Turn your consciousness towards the life that goes on around you. Let yourself expand beyond the boundaries you’ve built in your mind.”
And so I sat in the garden, still and quiet, and listened. The songs of the birds, the buzzing of the bees, the wind rustling through the trees—I took it all in, doing my best to be fully present in spirit, not in thought. For a few moments, I felt God’s expansiveness; His unlimited, eternal grace. There, beyond my thoughts, beyond the words I use to define reality, I touched God with my spirit, the pure essence of who He created me to be. And for a few moments, I was home.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”
“Have a nice night, Sweetie,” the young clerk said as she smiled and handed me my receipt. It was the way she said it that disturbed me; that I-feel-sorry-for-you-for-being-so old tone of voice. I pushed the cart out to my car and loaded the bags onto the front seat. I drove home as the sun went down behind the mountains, setting the horizon ablaze with pink and orange clouds. “I’m old, God,” I sighed as I braked for a squirrel who couldn’t make up its mind to run left or right to get out of the way of my tires.
“But you’re getting wiser,” God said.
“True. But I’m becoming obsolete,” I complained.
“Nothing in my creation is ever obsolete,” God answered.
“Uh, dinosaurs?” I reminded Him.
“They aren’t obsolete.”
“Are you kidding me? I asked, pressing on the gas once the squirrel made a decision and scampered off to safety.
“They may be extinct, but their fossils fascinate everyone,” He explained. “They still have a purpose. Nothing in my kingdom is ever wasted. Not even in death.”
“So what are you saying?”
“I’m saying that everything I’ve created has a purpose and that purpose can’t be destroyed. Ever. You have a purpose now, just as you will as you slowly give up the body you reside in. You can’t escape my will for you,” He said.
“That’s comforting to think,” I said.
“Sparrow, you can’t understand it now, but you will, one day,” God assured me. “You’ll understand that you were in my heart long before you were born. I’ve known you for all of eternity, for you’ve been with me forever,” He said gently. Tears sprang into my eyes at the thought of always having belonged to God. My heart opened wide, filling with the peace that can only come from our Father. I drove the rest of the way in silence—in gratitude.