“God, your children are hurting,” I bowed my head and prayed. “Please calm those who are frightened. Soothe those who are sick. Comfort those who are grieving. Give strength to those putting themselves at risk to help during this global crisis. We are grateful for their service.”
“I Am,” God answered.
“Help us to learn and grow from this challenge,” I asked.
“The lesson is always to learn how to love,” God said.
“Help us, then, to love,” I prayed.
God rested His hands on my shoulders. “I Am,” He said. His words drifted on the breeze and made their way down the valley and out across the universe.
The eager sun reached her fingers in through the window, searching for me. Wake up, she insisted, rousing me from my slumber. I opened my eyes and raised my arms in a long, slow, stretch, and yawned.
Outside, the shadows of the trees appeared as the morning light spilled down the hillside. I kicked off the covers and padded into the kitchen, hopeful that a cup of coffee would help me rise and shine.
I stood on the deck, the warmth from the mug warming my hands, and looked down the valley. A white cloud hung suspended in-between the rugged peaks, flapping in the breeze like a sheet on a clothesline. “It’s a gorgeous morning, God,” I said. “Thank you for making it.”
“You’re welcome,” He replied.
A little bird flew down and landed on the railing. She turned her head to the side and looked at me quizzically as if wondering what I was going to do with the day. To be honest, I hadn’t thought that far. I was, at the moment, content with my coffee.
A gust of wind encouraged her to take flight. I followed her with my eyes until she disappeared into the oak trees. I made a mental note to fill the birdfeeder, then went inside to open the gift of today.
I’ve been so focused on work and family that your Holy presence began to fade from view. Without my being aware, I began to hurry. I began to push. I willed my way through my days. I stopped letting you be God. Now, as I come back to center, back to the fullness of your heart, I ask you to help me to swim in the river of your love. Help me to be still in the midst of it, swaddled safely in all that is you.
As I go forward, with this deepening of my openness and vulnerability, help me to be courageous enough to walk new paths and to explore new ways of being your love and light in the world. Please, grace me with wisdom and peace so that I may share them with all of your creation.
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Unhurried. That was Jesus. It should be us, too. Time spent in quiet reflection—away from people—our hearts and minds open to God’s love and guidance. Remember the vine and the branches parable (John 15:1-17)? Tucked into that story was the lesson that it is only by abiding in God that we learn how to love. We can’t abide in God if we are in a hurry, ticking off items on our to-do lists, or scrolling on social media.
Slow down. Get away from the hustle and bustle of your day. Put away your phone. Spend time with God in prayer or meditation. Abide in Him. It is in the quiet where you will find Him.
Give me your heart.
I had just finished feeding the feral cats when a movement outside the kitchen window caught my eye. “What are you doing out there, God?” I called through the glass.
“I’m getting things to make a nest,” He said as He bent over and picked up a tiny twig.
“A nest for a bird?”
“No. For you,” He answered.
I tugged my coat on over my pajamas and joined Him in the yard. “For me?”
“Yes. For you. I want you to have a nest in your heart,” God explained.
“A nest of twigs?”
“Of prayer,” God answered.
“But you’re picking up twigs,” I pointed out.
“So I am,” He said, with a twinkle in His eye. “Come, let’s sit together.” We went into the cottage and sat by the fire.
“I want you to pray for my guidance,” God instructed. I closed my eyes and prayed as He told me to. A sense of purpose and direction washed over me.
When I opened my eyes, God had arranged the twigs He had collected into a little nest. He handed it to me.
“Let your prayer for my guidance be a nest in your heart that holds you and nourishes you all throughout your day. Let this little nest that I made for you be a reminder for you.”
I nodded, too overcome with emotion to speak. We sat there in silence as I pondered His wisdom in my heart, in a little nest that feeds and nourishes my soul.
I will give you rest.
It had been a long, hard day. Tired, I tumbled into bed and turned out the light. “God, thanks for a wonderful day,” I mumbled, adjusted my pillow, closed my eyes, and hoped that sleep would find me.
“You didn’t think it was a wonderful day,” God said.
“What?” I opened my eyes.
“You had a rather difficult day. Why didn’t you share that with me?” God asked.
“I didn’t want you to think I’m a whiner,” I said, and paused, summoning my courage to confess my feelings. “And to be honest, I was mad at you today,” I answered.
“In sharing your truth—your experiences and your feelings—you open your heart to my love and mercy,” God explained. “Pray the truth, and you’ll find rest in me.”
And so I did. I told God everything about my day, leaving out nothing. As I finished, the crescent moon rose above the garden; it’s faint glow peeking into my window. I turned my pillow over and nestled my head into its downy softness.
“Good night, Sparrow,” God said. “Rest well.”
“Good night, God,” I murmured, and fell fast asleep.