“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.
~1 John 4:16
Jesus instructed us to love. But we aren’t supposed to only to give love. We are to receive it as well. Love flows like a mighty river. We aren’t supposed to block its flow by not accepting it. We are supposed to accept love and to let it flow out of us. For many of us, receiving love is a challenge. We push it away, afraid that we are not worthy.
It is our job to let go of our unworthiness. We do that by giving our fears to God and allowing Him to work within us. Remember He promised us that He would remove our heart of stone (our fearful heart) and replace it with a heart of flesh (that can feel the love!). He also promised us He would put His Spirit inside of us. How can God’s Spirit be unworthy of love? It can’t be! You have God’s Spirit inside of you, right this very moment, so there is no way you are not worthy of love. Learn to receive love. Let it flow through you and back out into the world, as part of the whole we all live in together, as one.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God
he created them; male and female he created them.”
“Tell them how beautiful they are, ” God said as I was waking up.
“Mmmmmmmmmmm,” I said, as I sleepily opened my eyes. I sat up and stretched.
“Remind them that they are made in my image,” He encouraged.
“I haven’t even had my coffee yet, Big Guy! Give me a minute, for heaven’s sake!” I teased.
“It’s important that they take to heart what they are. They are so precious. So very, very precious. And they forget, you know,” God whispered gently. I knew His words were for me, too.
“Yes, I know,” I said, and kicked off the covers. I padded into the bathroom, and there sat the scale, glaring at me. “Boy, do I know!” I looked in the mirror. An aging woman stared back at me. I averted my eyes so as to not see all the wrinkles and gray hair.
“Don’t look away!” God scolded me. “Look at yourself as if you are looking into my eyes.”
I raised my gaze to my reflection. I pretended I was looking into God’s eyes and suddenly, I saw the beauty of my soul. It didn’t matter, my skin and hair. “You are beautiful Sparrow because you are made in my image,” God explained. I kept my gaze on my reflection until I could feel God’s words all the way down to the marrow in my bones. “Please, tell everyone how beautiful they are,” He asked me again.
“Yes, God. I’ll tell them.” I walked into the kitchen and made myself a cup of coffee. Outside, the sun was peeking over the horizon. I waved a cheery hello to her and sat down by the window to watch the day arrive. It was a beautiful sunrise!
“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become
like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I pulled out a long row of Shasta daisies that had taken over the front of my flower bed. As I worked in the gentle sun of the winter’s day, my thoughts focused on my problems. Slowly, I sunk into a bad mood. A squirrel scampered into the garden and sat up, begging for peanuts. “Thank you,” I said to her. You’re a good distraction from my self-induced misery.” I stood up and got the bag of nuts. I threw her a handful.
“Do more than feed the squirrel,” God urged.
“Do you want me to feed the crows and the jays, too?” I asked.
“No. I want you to do more than distract from your negative thoughts,” God explained.
“If you only distract, you’ll eventually return to your judgments and feel miserable again,” He said. “Become childlike instead of judgemental.”
“Wait. What? You’ve lost me,” I said.
“Children are innocent. They see the world through eyes of curiosity and wonder. They don’t judge until they are taught to fear and hate,” God said. “Look at your life with curiosity and wonder. Don’t judge. Look with kindness and compassion, the very same way that I look upon you—with love.”
I watched the squirrel eat the peanuts. She wasn’t concerned about her problems. She lived in the moment. I took God’s words to heart and promised I would do my best to become childlike. I’d do my best to see my life, including adversity, including my past mistakes, through the lens of innocence, and wonder. I’d look at everything as if I were looking into the eyes of God. Such peace that would be!
“Honor your father and your mother…”
Dear Soul Reminders Friends,
I’m struggling to write. My best friend’s father died unexpectedly. We were together when she received the news. I’m too sad to be clever or to spin a little story. So, instead of forcing words, I’m going to simply ask that you tell your friends and family that you love them today.
I’ve been privileged to witness my friend’s journey with her father these past few years. She’s exemplified grace, dignity, patience, and kindness. She’s honored me with lessons on how to love. I’m so grateful for her friendship. I’m so sorry for her loss.
Please keep my friend and her family in your prayers today. God knows who she is. Thank you.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Winter storms have kept me from tending to my garden. The ground is saturated with rain. I went out after work, with only a few minutes of light remaining in the day and turned over the soggy earth. Each shovelful was as heavy as my heart, for many plants had died from too much water.
I looked over the garden and was struck by the determination of life. Here, in the depths of winter, one storm after another, the flowers have patiently waited for this sunny day. I spied a Mask Flower peeking out from behind an overgrowth of Nasturtiums. The red blossoms looked so cheerful in the fading light that I couldn’t help but smile. I turned to walk back inside when God rested His hand on my shoulder. I stopped. “What is it, God?” I asked.
He whispered. “Everything’s going to be alright.” A Finch at the feeder burst into song as if to punctuate God’s sentence.
I nodded, not wanting to speak. I wanted only the Finch’s voice to be heard. I climbed the steps into the house and closed the door on another fine day, another great gift from God. I took the lesson from my garden to heart. I will be more patient in the face of adversity. I will be as cheerful as the red blossoms, as joyful as the singing Finch. I won’t lose hope in the storms.