Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
I cut back the salvias and took out the last of the annuals from the flower garden in preparation for the coming winter. I’d miss their beautiful blooms, but it was time. The afternoon sun was warm, but losing its powerful summer punch. I worked quietly, listening to the drone of the bees still in search of pollen.
“They brought you a lot of joy, didn’t they?” God said.
“Yes,” I replied as I tugged on a stubborn root.
“It’s good to appreciate things when they are here, for everything has to come to an end.”
“I wish that they didn’t though,” I said honestly. “Impermanence is challenging.”
“That’s because you can’t see the big picture, ” God answered. “You can’t see the true workings of my creation. But you can trust that everything is in perfect order because everything returns home to me, Sparrow.”
“So I don’t have to feel guilty for taking out these spent annuals?” I asked.
“No. “They are in my care.”
“I’m glad I don’t have to be sad that their days are done,” I said.
God knelt down next to me and took my dirt-covered hand in His. “You don’t have to be sad at all,” He said and gazed deeply into my eyes. “You just have to love llife—death—the mystery of it all—and me.” He squeezed my hand then let it go so that I could carry on clearing out the faded glory of summer.
God, your works are wonderful.
The birds at the feeder kept me entertained as I folded the laundry. I watched them from my bedroom window. Two brown birds I’d not seen before clung to the wire mesh, pulling black oiled sunflower seeds out, one by one. I’ll have to look that one up in my field guide. Should be easy, its a rather ordinary bird, I thought to myself.
“Ordinary?” God questioned.
“Isn’t it?” I asked.
“Every living thing is special; unique in its own way. When you look at life, any life, and say that it is ordinary, you deny the power and glory of my work,” God said.
“I’ve never thought of it that way,” I said. “I’ve always thought that some animals were more special than others, you know, like some people are more special than others.”
“People worry about being special. They work so hard to be better than others, but they don’t understand that they were special to begin with. And everyone is equal.” God explained. “Your looks, bank account, career—nothing makes you better than others.”
“You mean I don’t have to work so hard to be special?” I asked.
“Not in my eyes. You can’t earn my favor. I’ve already freely given it to you, to everyone.”
“You mean grace?”
“Yes. grace. And the miracle of life,” God answered.
I looked back at the feeder at the brown birds still enjoying their lunch. “From now on, I’ll look at all of life as extraordinary. And I’ll stop trying to impress you and others,” I said.
“Just be you. You’re enough. Everyone is enough, just as they are,” God said and winked at me. I winked back and returned to folding my laundry.
God will not leave or forsake you
The stars were beginning to surrender to the rising sun as I walked out to the garden. The dew on the grass was cold, and a biting breeze brushed past me. I pulled my coat closer to my chest and wished that I had thrown my wool scarf over my head. I sat on the wooden bench and prayed. “God, you’re always here, aren’t you?” I asked.
“Always, Sparrow. Why do you ask?” God replied.
“I’ve got some worries and I want to know that you’re here. I don’t want to carry them alone,” I said.
“You don’t have to carry them at all. You can give them to me,” He said.
“But they are really big worries, God. You promise you’ll handle them?” I asked.
“I handle the universe every day,” He said gently and put His hand on my shoulder.
“I know. It’s just that my worries are painful. I want to know that everything will be alright,” I whispered, fighting back tears.
“Let me carry them for you,” God said softly. “Then let me carry you.”
I nodded, unable to speak through my tears.
God reached out His arms and picked me up. “I’ll never let you go,” He said and carried me back to the cottage as the last of the stars gave way to the dawn.
Serve one another humbly.
He opened the door and strode into the cafe, running his hands through his disheveled hair. His clothes were wrinkled; his shirt untucked in random places, hanging loosely. But he had a sparkle in his eyes that immediately warmed the room. In all of his disarray, there was a boyishness about him, an innocence. He caught me watching him and he smiled at me, nodding ever so slightly. I smiled and nodded back. Was he a local? A tourist? I didn’t know.
After I left the cafe, my thoughts returned to the young man. He had seemed so authentic, not at all concerned about his appearance on an early Sunday morning.
“I put that young man in your path to remind you to be unassuming,” God said as I walked to church.
“It worked,” I replied. “He made an impression.”
“It’s when you are humble that my love shines through you,” God explained.
I thought about Jesus. He walked miles and miles to spread God’s love. His ego didn’t urge Him to dress in fancy robes or to ride the biggest donkey into town. There was only His desire to be of humble service. How often had God’s love been hidden, overshadowed by my pretentiousness?” I wondered. I entered the old church. It was plain—even tired looking, yet it shone with God’s love.
Something made me turn and look at the door. The young man from the cafe entered and took a seat. I smiled. I’d have to find him after the service and say hello. I slipped off my flashy jewelry and tucked it into my purse. “God, I don’t need to shine,” I said. “Your love needs to shine through me.”
“Atta girl,” God said as the choir began to sing.
Love God with all your heart
A few Christmases ago my daughter gave me the little book, What I Love About Mom. It has sentences that are unfinished so the person giving the book can write in their thoughts, making it a very intimate and sweet gift. For example, the first page says, “I love your___________.” I often curl up at night before falling asleep and read what my daughter wrote about me. It touches my heart.
I thought how interesting it would be to write about the things I love about God in the same fashion. I hope you’ll join me in answering the questions.
God, I love your _____________________.
I really like it when you _______________.
You inspire me to ____________________.
I am thankful for your_________________.
I’ll never forget when you ______________.
When I ______________ you always ________________.
I’m glad you ______________________.
When you________________ I’m __________________.
Remember when we _______________?
I want to emulate your______________.
Please don’t ever forget___________.
I’m always amazed by your_________.
I hope you had as much fun as I did in thinking about what you love about God. I am sure that God enjoys knowing our answers.