The Spirit of God dwells in you.
~1 Corinthians 3:16
I woke to the feeling of fall; the morning cool and crisp. I rose and went out into the garden to greet the day. “Come,” God called to me on the breeze.
“Where?” I asked.
“Into my love,” He replied.
“I’m coming,” I said, as I walked under the clouds moving across the blue sky. A covey of quail startled and rose beyond the blackberry thicket. I stopped and watched them take flight. The songbirds, now awakened from their dreams, sang to me from the trees standing tall along the fenceline. The bees, intent on their chores, joined in with their winged noise. “You’re here, all around me,” I said.
“I’m in you, too,” God whispered. “Go Inside of yourself.”
I drew in a long breath and exhaled slowly. I put my hand over my heart and walked back to the cottage in silence, marveling that God put Himself inside of me where I can always find Him.
Let the glory of the Lord endure forever; Let the Lord be glad in His works;
Walking through the garden I stepped on seeds that had fallen from spent marigolds. I leaned down and picked up one of them and held it in my hand. It looked like a little exclamation mark nestled in my palm.
“You’re like that little seed,” God said.
“You are inside of your body, just like the flowers are inside of the seed casings. The flowers are not the seeds and you are not your body,” God explained.
A ripe pear fell from the tree, startling me. It rolled and came to rest next to dozens of pears rotting on the ground. “Why do you want me to know the distinction between me and my body?” I asked.
“Your body will one day wither, like the fruit on the ground. But you won’t be inside of it anymore. You are the soul that resides inside of your body, the soul I’ve known since the dawn of time. You are the child I dreamed of before I created the heavens and the earth, before I parted the night from the day. You are my precious Sparrow whom I love dearly,” God said softly.
My knees trembled, hearing His words. I sat down on the wooden bench. “God, it is almost too much to take in, the thought that you love me as you do,” I said.
“I love all of my children as much as I love you,” God said gently.
“I’ll remind them,” I said, and leaned down and picked up the pear that had fallen. I brushed it off on my shirt and took a bite out of it. It tasted of God’s goodness and glory—His sweet and tender love for us all.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others…”
“I want you to be a light for others,” God told me on our morning walk together.
“I thought I was already,” I said, rather defensively.
“Yes, but I want you to really shine now. Really burn.”
“What about burning?” I asked. I wasn’t thrilled with the word.
“The work of being a candle is that it has to burn in order to share its light,” God explained.
“You want me to burn?” I asked. I’m sure God could hear the concern in my voice.
“I want you to burn with my love for you. I want you to be on fire with the Holy Spirit. I want you to shine so brightly that other’s hearts will be illuminated.”
“So, it’s a metaphor, this fire you speak of,” I said, relieved.
“Of course it is Sparrow,” God smiled. ” I want you to fall even more in love with me. I want you to trust me even more than you do.”
“How do I do that?” I asked.
“I’ll help you,” He said gently as He rested His hand on my shoulder.
God wants you to do the work of burning for Him, too. To share your light with others, you’ve got to be on fire for God. It doesn’t happen on its own; you’ve got to strike the match. Ignite your reality with God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
“Let go,” God whispered to me as I padded outside in the early morning, my head still dreamy from sleep.
“Let go of what?” I asked. “I’m not holding anything.” I opened my hands to show Him that they were empty.
“Not your hands. Your heart and mind,” He explained. “Let go of your worries and woes. Let go of your thoughts and beliefs. Let go of the words you use to construct your reality. Be with me in your pure form.”
“My pure form?”
“Yes. Be with me in spirit. Join me for a few moments without the incessant chatter in your mind. Let go of it all,” He said. “Sit in your garden and let yourself be still. Turn your consciousness towards the life that goes on around you. Let yourself expand beyond the boundaries you’ve built in your mind.”
And so I sat in the garden, still and quiet, and listened. The songs of the birds, the buzzing of the bees, the wind rustling through the trees—I took it all in, doing my best to be fully present in spirit, not in thought. For a few moments, I felt God’s expansiveness; His unlimited, eternal grace. There, beyond my thoughts, beyond the words I use to define reality, I touched God with my spirit, the pure essence of who He created me to be. And for a few moments, I was home.
“Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.”
A baby bird somehow managed to find its way into my screened-in balcony. Exhausted from flailing against the netting, it sat on the railing with its mouth opened, gasping for air. When I got close to it, it spooked back into flight. I had no idea how I was going to free it; the balcony screen has only two small areas that I can open to the outside. As I walked toward the bird again, it shot past me and was gone. Thankful that it found its way out, I breathed a sigh of relief.
I padded into the kitchen to cook lunch. Standing at the counter chopping vegetables, a movement startled me. I looked up and there, on the window sill, was the bird! It hadn’t flown outside, but instead, it had flown into the cottage. It made a feeble attempt to fly away, but it was too weak. I took the flyswatter off of the hook on the wall and extended it to the bird. It hopped onto it but tumbled off when I turned towards the door. It landed on a whisk sticking out of the jar of cooking utensils by the stove. I slowly picked up the canister of utensils and walked it outside.
I sat the canister on the ground, but the bird still clung to the whisk. I took a few steps back and waited. It took a few moments, but finally, the bird found some strength and flew off. I thought about the bird as I cooked lunch—how it allowed me to help only after it had completely exhausted itself. Do I wait until I’m exhausted before I allow God to help me? Do I not trust Him enough to turn to Him first? I wondered.
I ate my lunch in the warmth of midday and asked God to help me turn to Him at the first sign of trouble. There’s no point in flailing about, exhausting myself, when God is right there ready and waiting. There’s no point in you doing that either.
“For the Son of Man came to seek…”
“Ah, there you are, Sparrow,” God called to me as He opened the garden gate. “I’ve been looking for you.”
“The tomatoes needed staking,” I said. “I came out early, before the heat. What’s on your mind?”
“Nothing, really. I just wanted to hang out with you today,” He answered.
“I want to hang out with you, too,” I said.
“Great! What shall we do today?” God asked.
“What do you want me to do?” I asked.
“Whatever makes your heart happy,” He said.
I thought for a few moments. “Let’s go swimming down at the Yuba River.”
“That’s a good idea. I’m already there with a lot of other people. It can be like a little party,” God said. I could hear a happiness in His voice.
I smiled, thinking of how God seeks out our company, wanting so very much to be involved in the day to day activities of our lives. “Let me finish with this tomato bush, and I’ll go get my swimsuit.”
God smiled. “Here, let me help you,” and together we tied up the sprawling branches.
I wonder, what are you doing with God today?