“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”
All night the little boat tossed about on the stormy sea. The good captain braved the wind and the rain, walking back and forth, keeping a watchful eye on his beloved boat. The little boat was lifted high atop a wave and then crashed back into the water. It shuddered from the force. “All is lost,” the boat cried out. “I can’t hold together.” A few boards splintered and broke off, washing away into the churning sea.
“You’ll make it!” the captain yelled into the din of the storm.
“The storm is too much,” cried the little boat.
“Trust me” shouted the captain, as he leaned into the wind and turned the little boat into an oncoming wave. Hour after hour, the boat battled the raging sea. As the sun slowly rose over the horizon, the storm gave up. Blue skies stretched out as far as the eye could see.
“I grew your lumber. I planed your boards. I built you with my hands. You may fray and splinter, but you’ll never come apart. I built you to withstand the storms,” the captain told the boat as they made their way back to shore.
That’s how God built us, too. He grew our lumber. He planed our boards. He built us with His hands. We are His beloved ships, each of us on a course that He has set; a course that we can trust, even in the storms. We’re built to withstand them.
“…rather, he made himself nothing…”
“Father, how do I live a life of purpose?” I asked as I sat on my back porch sipping my coffee as the world woke up.
“You live as my Son showed you how to live,” God answered.
“I walk everywhere and share the Gospel?”
“No,” God said. “You use your talents in service to others. Jesus could have come to the world in glory, His birthright blinding, it was so bright. But instead, He emptied Himself of all of that and lived among you to serve you. Service is the life of purpose, Sparrow.”
“How do I know my purpse?” I asked.
“Empty yourself of your ego. Be still and know me. Feel what I place in your heart.”
“Does living a life of purpse mean success?” I asked.
“Not all will earn money with their service, but all will gain my kingdom.” God explained.
“So to live my purpose I need to empty myself, feel you in my heart, and to put that into service?”
“Yes. You’ll live a remarkable life if you do that,” God said gently.
I sipped my coffee and breathed in the early morning air. It was fresh with life, with possibility—with purpose.
(Dear Reader, my internet is down. But miraculously, I was able to access my Soul Reminders website to write this reminder to you! I hope you’ll take these words to heart. It seems that God really wants you to know them!)
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—
His eternal power and divine nature—
have been clearly seen…
I laced up my hiking boots and set out to walk the woods just beyond the property line. The sun had not yet climbed high enough to warm the earth, the night’s chill was still present.
“Where are you going this morning, Sparrow?” God asked.
“Walking in the woods,” I answered.
“I’ll join you,” God whispered through the trees. We walked on, following a deer path that carved through the underbrush. As we made our way uphill, God pointed out things I’d have otherwise missed. “Look there,” He said. Off to my right was a tiny paper wasp nest that had fallen from a tree. I picked it up gently to take back home with me. Farther uphill God pointed to a sunbleached jawbone of a deer. “Life and death happens here in the forest,” He said. I nodded, not wanting to break the still silence of the woods. We walked on, as the sun rose higher. “Do you see that?” God said as we passed by the creek. There on the banks was evidence that a bear had recently visited the rushing water. And farther uphill, God pointed out colorful lichen that laced the boulders next to the path. When we finally arrived at the top of the ridge, we stopped. Beyond us, as far as the eye could see, were the foothills of the Sierra Mountains.
“They’re beautiful,” I said and leaned my head against God’s shoulder. We stood there for quite some time, taking in the grandeur of the terrain. “I’d like to write about this morning—the sweetness of your company, the beauty of your creation,” I said, “But I’m not sure how to capture the feelings.”
“You’ll find the words,” God said.
“I hope so,” I said and turned to make my way back to the cottage to tell you that about my walk with our Father, in hopes that you’d be inspired to walk with Him, too.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
The wind came rushing down from the mountains, bending the tall Poplars that stand in line by the pasture. The birds, roused from their midday rest, took flight from the waving branches. I watched them beat their wings against the wind to make their way across the field. The clouds, too, scurried across the sky, tumbling over one another in their hurry.
“What are you up to God?” I asked.
“Playing,” God answered.
“May I play, too?” I asked, and started running, chasing the clouds.
God laughed. “Of course, Sparrow.”
A burst of wind brushed past me, lifting my hair. I stopped running and stood in its energy. I raised my arms out from my sides and twirled, like a little girl. Dizzy, I dropped to the ground, giggling. I laid there in the warmth of the sun, watching God ride the wind and scatter the clouds in His wake. I laid there in awe of Him.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…”
In Genesis, we read that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In John, we read that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made by Him. So we can interpret Genesis as: “In the beginning was Jesus, and He created the Heavens and the Earth. He created you, too. You’re His child.
Then so many years after creation, the Word of God was made flesh and came and lived among us and taught us that there is one commandment that supersedes all others. We are to love God and love one another. And He showed us how with by His life of service and sacrifice, arms stretched wide for us.
If you are struggling to love—yourself, others, or God, I hope that you’ll get down on bended knee and pray for God to help you and to heal you. Then rise, give thanks, and enjoy your bright, new, shiny heart—a heart that beats with Jesus’ love.