Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!
~2 Corinthians 9:15
My garden needed tending today. I sat on the ground and pushed a trowel deep into the dirt, liberating dead annuals from the soft earth. Soon, I’ll plant spring bloomers to fill the barren spaces.
My thoughts turned to my challenges ahead. As I tried to work out solutions for them in my mind, God tapped me on my shoulder. “Don’t think about the things you fear in the future,” He encouraged me. “Be here now.”
“Thank you, for reminding me,” I said and plunged my trowel deep into the earth again.
I looked at the beauty all around me in the garden. I felt the winter’s sun on my skin. I felt the breeze brush past me. What a gift, this breath, this heartbeat. I’m here! The worries I had about the future melted away as I replaced them with more and more gratitude.
A joyful heart is good medicine.
The storms finally exhausted themselves. Empty clouds scurried towards the mountains as the sun broke through, exposing a piece of sky so blue it almost hurt to look at it. It was a welcomed sight!
Sensing a shift in the weather, the feral cats came from the shelter of the barn and laid down on the walkway, stretching out their lean bodies. They soaked up the sun, arching their backs, rolling happily in the warm patch of light.
I couldn’t help but think how often I miss out on such delicious moments in life. I’m too busy, too preoccupied, to see the little gifts of sweetness God provides. I waited for the cats to get up and leave before I went outside. I didn’t want to disturb them. When they went off to the meadow, I strolled out to where they had been. I stood and raised my face to the sun.
“Thank you, God.” I didn’t have to say anything more. He knew all that was in my heart. The sun on my face was all the answer from Him that I needed. I stood for a while in the sunlight, appreciating the end of the rain and snow, before I headed back in to finish my work.
He made himself nothing.
The snow fell soundlessly all morning. I stood at the window, watching it blanket the meadow. There was something calming about its presence. “You send the snow to quiet me, don’t you?” I asked God,
“Is it working?” He replied, and smiled.
“Yes. It’s in the silence of these moments that I hear what Jesus was really saying to us.
“What do you hear?”
“He wanted us to not just imitate Him, He wanted us to be IN Him, as He is in us,” I answered. “He wanted us to understand that we have to empty ourselves as He did if we want to enter the flow of love. But it’s hard, God. Jesus took love beyond human boundaries. He told us to give, to love, without wanting anything in return. He even wants us to be as merciful as you!”
God chuckled. “He did take love to a new place. But you can enter that place through Him. Keep your heart open. Be of service to others as He served others.”
“I’ll do my best,” I said. “Anything else?”
“Don’t cling to anything. That’s part of the emptying.”
I thought about how I try to hold on to money, my career, my youth, people, things…the list goes on and on.
“Let go,” God whispered and then blew the snow around the meadow, making it swirl and dance as it came to rest.
“Breathe on me as you do the snow. Let your breath be what fills me, instead of my ego,” I prayed, opening my heart as wide as I could
God loves all things that exist and loathes nothing that He has made.
I saw it out of the corner of my eye, a black splotch slowly crawling up my white curtains just a few feet away from me. I jumped. I hate spiders! But even though I’m not a fan of them, I can’t bring myself to kill them. I trotted down the hall to the kitchen and got a mason jar. I’d catch and release the little monster.
As I struggled to get the spider to crawl into the jar without it crawling onto my hand, I muttered under my breath, “God, why did you make these creatures?
“Because I love them,” God answered. “Just as I love you.”
“You love spiders the same amount as you love humans?” I asked, a bit surprised.
“There are no favorite children in my house,” God said gently.
“But what about the saying that we are more valuable than the birds in the air that you feed?”
“You may play a bigger role in creation, but that doesn’t mean I love you any more than anything else I’ve created,” He explained.
The spider finally entered the jar and I quickly walked it outside and released it in the meadow. I watched it crawl to safety in the tall grass. God’s words opened my heart. I no longer saw a creepy spider; I saw God’s love there before me. I turned and walked back to the cottage, humming a happy little tune.
Blessed are the poor in spirit.
“Come and sit with me while I make my coffee, Jesus,” I asked. The morning was shaping up to be a chaotic one. As the water boiled in the kettle, I went on and on to Jesus about the things in my life that needed attention and what I was going to do to solve each challenge. He sat and listened politely.
The coffee ready, I poured it into my favorite mug. Are you going to keep pouring?” Jesus asked me as the coffee rose to the rim, ready to overflow.
“I like my cup full,” I said with a smile.
“But how can anything else get in if it’s so full?” He asked.
“There’s a lesson coming, isn’t there?” I replied. Jesus smiled.
I can’t teach you anything if you’re like your coffee cup— so full of yourself.” He answered. “You have to empty yourself and allow me to fill you. All those plans you’re scheming this morning? Let them go. Let me fill you with the answers.”
I nodded and sipped my coffee. “I didn’t realize I wasn’t being open to you this morning. I’ll empty myself and let you lead the way,” I said.
“I know just where to take you,” Jesus said and handed me His heart and His hand. The morning was now shaping up to be a wonderful one!