God’s name is majestic throughout all the earth!
Walking the trail this morning I barely paid attention to my surroundings— too busy thinking about the things I needed to get done. God tapped me on the shoulder. “You’re missing the beauty,” He whispered.
“I’m a bit preoccupied, sorry,” I answered.
“I’ll walk with you and show you,” God said. As we walked He pointed out the geese on the pond. He showed me little birds that flew through the reeds in the marsh, singing as they went along. He pointed out a doe hiding shyly in the tall pines and He brought my attention to the enormous boulders resting high up on the hill. The trail curved sharply ahead. When we came round the bend, an old gnarled tree greeted us.
“Look at those scars where the branches were cut off. How beautiful they are,” I said and ran my hand over the tree’s long-ago wounds, my heart filling with tenderness.
“If you take the time to really see my creation, and love it, you’ll begin to feel my love more often. That love will spill over into every breath you take and into every action you make,” God said.
We continued our walk together until we came to the end of the trail. By then I had forgotten my to-do list and instead, my mind and my heart were filled with love and gratitude. I’d have missed them had God not gently nudged me to see His beauty all around me.
God’s nudging you, too. Go outside. Take a walk. See His glorious handiwork. Love everything you see.
Love one another.
What would your life be like if you allowed connection to others to be more important than protecting your ego?
That’s the question driving my thinking as we wind down 2018 and head into the New Year. Connection with others creates health in our minds and bodies, yet it is often challenging to create. Our egos get in the way. We don’t know how to live with open hearts and minds, for that feels too risky, too vulnerable. Yet, that is what we’ve been commanded to do.
One of my goals for 2019 is to help others learn how to love as Jesus commanded. With that in mind, my Soul Reminders may move away from my usual conversations with God.
I’ve enjoyed writing my Soul Reminders for you all these years and I will continue. But for now, I’m allowing myself some space to nourish my creativity around this goal and to discern where God wants me to go.
I pray that the coming New Year brings to you all things bright and beautiful and that you recognize your many, many blessings and give thanks for them.
In love and peace,
The stars shone brightly above as I walked from the garden back to the cottage. I paused by the hedgerow and turned my gaze to the heavens to take them in. “Beautiful, aren’t they?” God asked me.
“Yes. Very much so,” I answered.
“It was a night much like this one when Mary and Joseph sought shelter for the night. But over and over, they were turned away. There wasn’t room for them,” God said, His voice soft and gentle. “Jesus was born in a stable.”
“Some people still don’t have room for Him. They refuse to open their hearts to Him,” God said.
I nodded again.
“I’m glad that you have room in your heart for Him, Sparrow.” A shooting star blazed across the sky as if punctuating God’s words.
“I’m glad too,” I replied. We stood out under the stars until I began to shiver in the cold. God put His arm around me and walked me to the cottage.
Before I went to sleep, I thought about those hearts that have no room for God and I prayed that they would open,
God has lavished great love on us!
1 John 3:1
In the east, the sun began her slow rise over the horizon. I opened the curtains and saw the front meadow bathed in the pearl-glow of dawn. A dozen songbirds took turns at the feeders as the squirrels below dined on their fallen seeds. Out beyond the hedgerow, the geese honked noisily on the pond. And a family of skunks waddled sleepily across the yard to tuck themselves into bed. I took in the morning’s beauty.
“It feels good to know you created all of this for us,” I whispered to God. “It’s truly incredible, the gifts you have given.”
“I’m pleased that you are pleased,” God said and came and stood by me at the window.
“It’s almost too much to take in. The glorious sunrise. The animals. Life!” I reached out my hand for God’s. He took it and held it gently.
“It is my greatest pleasure to give. I delight in your delight,” God answered softly.
“We don’t deserve any of it, yet you keep giving and giving. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” God answered. We stood at the window for a long time as my heart overflowed with His extravagant love.
Feed my sheep.
A cold wind tapped at my window panes. I got up out of bed and put a fresh log on the embers in the stove. When I turned around, Jesus was sitting on the chair next to my chaise. “Good morning, Sparrow,” He greeted me.
“Why, good morning to you,” I replied, a bit startled. “I wasn’t expecting to you see this morning, Lord.”
“I have something to ask of you,” Jesus said softly, His eyes bright and warm. “I want you to help me carry my cross.”
“But, that was thousands of years ago. And a man named Simon helped you,” I answered.
“Yes. That’s true. But the work of my cross still needs to be continued by sharing God’s love,” He explained.
“Of course, I’ll help,” I said, tears filling my eyes. “How could I not want to help you with that?” I asked.
“You’d be surprised at how many people turn me down,” Jesus said. “They are too trapped in fear to love.”
“Maybe they worry that if they love like You that they will have to give up something.”
“Love is the only way to gain what is most important,” Jesus said.
I looked at the scars on His hands. “You made sure of that for us,” I whispered. I looked into His gentle eyes and said, “Lord, I’ll help you carry Your cross. I’ll help You continue to show us that love is the way to Your Kingdom.”
Jesus smiled, and I settled in on the chaise to enjoy the warmth of the fire and the warmth of His precious heart.
Love your neighbor.
A gentle rain fell as the sun lifted her sleepy head and peeked over the horizon. I curled up on the chaise to write, but instead of thinking about God’s love, I thought of someone who had recently attacked me in a very hostile email. My heart filled with hatred for the sender. “God, who are the neighbors I have to love?” I muttered under my breath. God pulled up a chair and sat down next to me.
“A man asked Jesus that same question,” God said. “Jesus answered by sharing the story about a Jewish man who had been beaten, robbed and left for dead. No one would help him. Even a priest ignored him. But a Samaritan took pity on him and showed him mercy, even though there were hostilities between Jews and Samaritans. He cleaned his wounds and even paid for him to recuperate in a nearby hotel for two months. Jesus told the man that he was to be just like the Good Samaritan. You see, loving your neighbor isn’t so much about who your neighbor is, it’s more about being a good neighbor. To everyone. Jesus wanted to make that point very clear. Be a good neighbor, Sparrow,” God instructed. “Let go of your fear and anger about the email.”
I thought of the person who had written such unkind words to me. “They must be hurting to write such hateful things,” I decided. God reached out and took my hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
“I’ll do my best to be a good neighbor to all, but I’ll need your help.” I squeezed His hand in return.
“I’ll keep opening your heart to my love,” He promised. We sat there together, holding hands until the sun rose and shared her light with us.