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.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…”
In Genesis, we read that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In John, we read that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made by Him. So we can interpret Genesis as: “In the beginning was Jesus, and He created the Heavens and the Earth. He created you, too. You’re His child.
Then so many years after creation, the Word of God was made flesh and came and lived among us and taught us that there is one commandment that supersedes all others. We are to love God and love one another. And He showed us how with by His life of service and sacrifice, arms stretched wide for us.
If you are struggling to love—yourself, others, or God, I hope that you’ll get down on bended knee and pray for God to help you and to heal you. Then rise, give thanks, and enjoy your bright, new, shiny heart—a heart that beats with Jesus’ love.