“God is love.”
~1 John 4:8
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” God asked me as I lifted a pillow from the couch and peered underneath.
“I forgot where I put my car keys. Want to help me find them?” I asked.
“I didn’t mean your car keys,” God answered.
I dropped to my knees and looked under the couch. There they were! I picked them up and dashed out the door. I spent the entire day running errands. When I got home I curled up on the couch, exhausted.
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” God asked me.
“You asked me that this morning. Sorry. I’ve been busy. What am I forgetting?”
“How much I love you,” God said with so much tenderness in His voice that my heart melted.
“Awwwwww. Thank you!”
“You get so busy that you forget the most important thing of all,” God said. “Love is the only real thing in life. Everything else is just an illusion, a distraction.” I thought about my hurried day.
“I love you beyond your wildest dreams. Beyond your comprehension. I’m always with you,” God said. “Will you remind the others, in case they have forgotten?”
“Yes, I’ll tell them,” I said.
“Tell them that I sing over them as they sleep at night. I watch over them by day. I celebrate every good thing in their lives. I mourn their every sorrow. I love them to the heights and depths of my creation, and beyond. My heart leaps every time they call my name, every time they remember me,” God said gently.
My eyes pooled with tears at the thought of how happy God is when we remember Him, and how often we forget Him. “Yes, I’ll tell them, God,” I promised. And so I have, with this Soul Reminder.
“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”
I stopped into a cafe to get out of the pouring rain. I ordered a cup of coffee and was shocked to hear the price. “Why is your coffee so expensive?” I asked.
“You aren’t paying only for the coffee. You are paying for the fine china it’s served in and the ambiance,” the cashier said as he waved his hand to show me the beauty of the cafe. I paid for my coffee and sat down and pondered his words.
How often am I paying attention to only one small part of God’s creation and not seeing it in the context of the whole? I give thanks for the food I eat, yet I seldom give thanks for the people who plant and harvest it. I don’t give thanks for the favorable weather that allowed the crops to grow. Nor do I give thanks for the insects that pollinate or ward off other insects that may want to eat the crops. I don’t give thanks for the microbes in the soil, or the air, or any of the myriad of things that go into the production of my food. In other words, I rarely see the full picture of the abundance and blessings of God.
When I think of all that goes into the production of my food, I am reminded of how intricately interwoven our lives are. What is affecting you today will somehow affect me, even if we are worlds apart. That commandment of Jesus’ to love one another was a way to ensure that we all have good lives, not just some of us. I sipped the last of my coffee and went back out into the storm. I had a new appreciation for humanity. It’s not “every man for himself.” It’s every man is me.”
(I first published this Soul Reminder 2/17/2017. A few months ago I stopped eating any animal products. It makes this Soul Reminder even more special for me as I know I am not paying someone to exploit, enslave, abuse, or kill another sentient creature in God’s creation for my tastebuds. That feels so good in my soul!)
“If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
The phone rang early this morning. It was my friend Peggy. She said, “I want what you have.”
“A bad cold?” I sniffled.
“No, I want the relationship you have with God,” she explained.
“Ah, that.” I blew my nose into a crumpled up Kleenex.
“What do I have to do to be as close to God as you seem to be?”
“Talk to Him like you would a dear friend—someone you trust—someone who knows you intimately,” I said.
“You mean like a real conversation?” She sounded skeptical.
“Absolutely! Tell Him about your day. Ask Him about His. Listen. Listen a lot,” I suggested.
“How do you know what God says to you?” Peggy wanted to know.
“I get a knowing in my gut—my heart—like God has placed knowledge inside of me. I also hear His words in my head, especially when I am writing my Soul Reminders. Sometimes I feel that the Holy Spirit moves my fingers on the keyboard. I’m often surprised at what I’ve written!” I said.
I pulled the receiver away from my face and sneezed. “Ahhh-chooooooo!”
“Bless you!” Peggy said.
I laughed. “Thank you! God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams! He wants to give you the same blessings. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. He won’t let you down, I promise.”
God won’t let you down either. If you long for a closer relationship with Him, reach out. Talk. Listen. Listen a lot! And above all else, keep your heart open. That’s how God gets in!
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
I sat at the edge of the ocean, clearing my mind after an unsettling day.”Breathe it in,” God said.
“The smell of the salt air?” I asked.
“The beauty,” He answered.
I took a slow, deep breath.
“Now, breathe in your beauty,” He said.
“Breathe in your beauty,” He said again.
I laughed, “I’m sixty-one, remember? Not much of that left.”
“Not that beauty,” He explained. “Your soul’s beauty.”
“I don’t know how to do that.”
“Sure you do. You did it the moment you were born and took your first breath,” He said. “Close your eyes and remember.” I closed my eyes. I took a slow, deep breath. Suddenly every cell in my body was filled with love.
I opened my eyes and saw the ocean stretching out endlessly to the horizon. Like the beauty God breathed into me the moment I was born, it seemed to go on forever and ever.
“Do not be discouraged.”
Needing some downtime to process my bad mood, I shuffled over to Starbucks and ordered a decaf latte. I savored the warm cup in my hands as I slowly sipped the coffee. I’ve felt these feeling before. They are the fingerprints from past hurts—the pain of not being seen or heard, or respected. “What do I do God?” I prayed.
“Just breathe,” He answered.
“But my heart is aching,” I said. “Don’t I need to do something?”
“Close your eyes. Just breathe.”
Amid the hustle and bustle of a busy Starbucks, I closed my eyes. I took in a slow breath. I exhaled. I took in another, and another until my shoulders relaxed. My body let go of the tension it had been holding onto.
“Feel better?” God asked.
I opened my eyes. “I’m more relaxed, but what about this sorrow?”
“You can give that to me,” God answered gently.
“What does that even mean?” I said, somewhat defensively. “It’s not like I can put it in a box and hand it over to you.”
God replied with a great deal of patience in His voice, “You give me your hurt by letting go of the need to control others. You let my love for you be enough.”
“I’ll try,” I said.
“One more thing, Sparrow. Forgive,” God reminded me.
I swallowed the last of my coffee and left the table. I pushed open the door and walked back home holding God’s hand. It was enough.