I love this time of year.. after a long rainy winter, we are finally getting some beautiful weather and the first signs of spring are here. All my potted plants are showing signs of life.. it is always a surprise when I see that they survived so much rain and I never managed to transplant them.. yet they are coming back again. Their conditions are less than ideal.. but they persevere..reminds me of our lives.
We live in less than ideal circumstances.. yet every spring we can look ahead with hope and trust that the Lord has new things for us in this season. The hardships of winter may have beaten us down.. but there are signs of new growth.. signs of life. I don’t know about you.. but I need to have hope for the future.. to believe that there are going to be surprises.. things that God is going to do that I never expected..I try to make a point of noticing those things when they happen.. even if they are very small things.. like my rose bushes looking exceptionally healthy this year.. almost ready to bloom.. a precious gift from God.
Easter is coming in two weeks.. a time of celebration.. rejoicing in what the Lord has done for us. We have this time to begin to savor each day and to be thankful for this life.. to pray and ask for restoration and healing.. to seek a greater glimpse of His goodness. This is a special time and I don’t want to waste it looking back at the disappointments..the desire of my heart is to experience the abundant life of John 10:10 every single day in the midst of the challenges and trials.. He is always with us and always pouring out His love into our hearts.. time to drink deeply of the Living Water.. to fill up so we can pour out that love to others.. Let it be so Lord!
We got a good dose of God’s blessing of rain this month.. after a long dry spell..the colors of His palette are everywhere. I have been walking over the last week.. easy to do when the sun is shining every day. You never know what new things are just around the corner and I am continually encouraged by the Lord that He is in control and everything is moving ahead exactly the way He has planned it.
My heart is feeling full of hope as we move toward Spring and I know that it is because He has answered the cry of my heart to be renewed and granted more faith in this season. I see the way He is weaving my life experiences together..nothing is random. Isn’t that reassuring? We are part of a larger story..one that we can’t full comprehend, but He gives us glimpses. One thing leads to another and suddenly we are filled with joy.. God is doing things with us and through us.
I want to leave you encouraged today.. filled with anticipation..hopeful and renewed in your faith. I can’t do all that, but the Lord can and He will.. He is ready to meet us and to fill us with His living water.. I took some pictures on one of my walks to share with you…glimpses of Spring and all the good things that are yet to come..
Here is the scripture that God gave me for this year.. I am art journaling these days..I recommend it.. as a way of responding to the Lord and remembering His words to us.
We are still in the fog these days..but God continues to break through at times and shine some light into the darkness. He knows that we need hope. Without hope we cannot continue..our faith grows weak and we wonder if we are totally lost.
I am so grateful that at just the right moment..He comes through with a glimpse of something..a possibility..enough to help us continue. I’ve noticed a pattern recently..just as I am on the verge of total hopelessness..God does something to encourage me. As I am walking down the dark path..suddenly He shows up! Just as I feel like I cannot walk another step.. I realize that He is with me.. that I am not alone and that He has lifted my spirits and given me strength for the next leg of the journey.
His desire is that we trust Him..rely totally on Him, no matter how bleak things may look. He is close even when He feels far away. He wants us to depend upon Him for everything..all the time. I know you’ve heard that before..and so have I. Right now I am experiencing the truth of that message in a deeper way. All the time for everything. Wow!
So.. if you are discouraged. Keep looking to Him. Keep seeking Him. Keep asking. Keep trusting Him. We are doing it together and He is with us.
“Lord, as we stumble in the darkness, grab our hands.. lead us and protect us. Encourage us as we wait on you. Bring hope for the future and keep us close to you.”
About a week ago we visited the Sonoma coast area and went for a long walk along the cliffs above the beach. We started out in the mid afternoon and as we walked the fog began to settle all around us. Soon it was like a shroud that came in and made it impossible to see much of anything but the path in front of us.
As we were walking I kept thing that it was a visual picture of the very experience we were having with the Lord. We know we are on the right path yet we are unable to see much beyond the next few steps. The fog is thick .. keeping us from seeing anything that will happen in the future. There was a strange beauty in this foggy scene..not the type that is so obvious on a sunny day with blue skies and white puffy clouds or the amazing view of the foamy white waves breaking on the shore below us. There was a subtle beauty that was expressing itself in the grey mist all around us.
It was food for thought for me. Here we were in this place knowing that on a different day we would have seen all those things I just wrote about. But God brought us out there on this type of day..to be in the fog.. to be with Him. Later as I thought through all this.. I realized that He was in that fog with us..guiding us down the path. One day soon we will see those blue skies and the sparkling water. For now..it is time to take His hand and keep walking.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
I thought of the title of this post while I was out walking this morning. We use this expression to express a different type of walking..it might be described as staying close to the heart of God..following Him..choosing His plans instead of our own. All of this is very important, but so is walking outside in nature with God. For me, it is a necessity.. I literally cannot keep going emotionally unless I get out and walk.
We live in a beautiful place so I am blessed to be able to walk out my front door.. right into nature. The reason I crave this time is because nature represents something stable and unchanging to me. The birds always sing..the grass always turns green after the rain..the creek always flows. In winter the trees always lose their leaves and their silhouettes are breathtaking. As spring approaches, daffodils poke up through the ground and the tips of the tree branches turn green. The flowers are in full bloom during the summer months and the birds seem to sing even louder. Then we have the beautiful fall show..the leaves turning color and drifting slowly to the ground. Wow!
Our Creator is working overtime in this world giving us glimpses of His artistic genius. It keeps me connected to walk outside and view His handiwork..it encourages me that He is never too busy to place beautiful clouds in the sky and to remember incredible sunsets. I just can’ t get enough of it! I truly hope you find the time to step outside and take in creation in all its glory..it will bring peace to your soul and rest to your spirit.
My car has been in the shop for the last 10 days and I decided not to get a loaner. Instead I am taking this time to slow down and rest and to be alone. Today as I was walking in the valley, I began to realize that God had given me a personal retreat over the last week.
I am fortunate to live in an area surrounded by open space..walking here is so beautiful..trees with fall color and animals of all kinds. Since it is so dry, the deer are coming down lower and lower and they are very tame. It is an interesting experience to be walking along and suddenly come almost face to face with a buck..huge antlers and all!
I am reminded that my life is part of something bigger..and that somehow I am connected to both the beauty of nature and the amazing deer that roam this valley. Their life is simple..they eat, they rest, they walk..they are not worried and apparently not afraid. A good example of how our lives can be if we walk in faith and let God lead us. I am so thankful for this time.. for being set aside to remember what really matters..to be with Him and to enjoy the gifts He has given me.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’”
This is the buck I saw today.. He let me take his picture! Isn’t he amazing?
These pictures remind me of God.. God reaching down and touching us with His handiwork..He is an artist.. He creates a beautiful world so He can take our breath away. His creation is a place for us..a mini-retreat for us.. open the front door and take a look. The sky is so blue..the grass is so green.. the sounds of birds are everywhere. The flowers are beginning to bloom. Spring is here and He is doing His redemptive work in our lives and in this fallen world.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
Our valley is filled with it this morning.. I can hardly see across the street. From my balcony the world is covered in a grey mist. A blue jay landed on the railing looking around.. he seemed to be wondering if he was in the right place. I can’t see all the beautiful trees, the hills, the blue skies, or the bay far off in the distance. All of these are familiar sights that I enjoy every morning. The morning is my time..I drink tea, write in my journal, and talk with God.. I love looking out at the beauty while this is happening..a great reminder of our Creator.
The fog today was a different type of reminder.. it seemed to be speaking to me about life and how it may be shrouded in darkness. Sometimes we look out toward our spiritual path and we cannot see ahead. Our steps are taken by faith without sight. The fog is surrounding us and we have to use our memories to guide us. We remember that the path is not gone..that God is not far away..that the future is going to be good. We trust that the blue skies and sunshine will return. We believe that God is in the darkness, holding our hands and guiding us.
Is there fog in your life today? Do you feel like the future is uncertain and surrounded by mystery. Join me in trusting in the goodness of God. He knows every inch of that path that you are on and He will guide you as you step forward with Him. We cannot let the darkness stop us or discourage us..it is there for a reason. Our faith will grow stronger as we exercise it and rely on Him and not our own senses. He is with us!
“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” ( from the Message 1Cor 12:13)
I love them. The colors..the surprise every time one shoots up in the air an..that moment when as you wait for it to explode. If you are in a crowd..you can hear the sighs and feel the wonder all around you. Fireworks help us celebrate..prompt us to look up..take our breath away..renew our weary spirits.
God does all these things too..and not just on the 4th of July. He loves celebrations.. He rejoices with us when we find ways to enjoy life. When we lift our eyes waiting expectantly for Him to show up.. He is delighted with us. Every night the sky is flooded with stars that He made. Some evenings we can catch a glimpse of the beauty of the full moon. Nature is His handiwork. The coast of our beautiful state is one breathtaking view after another. The wildflowers are a sea of incredible shapes and colors. What a creative genius He is!
Yes I love fireworks..but even without them there are surprises and beauty everywhere. Find a way to enjoy this day..let Him renew your spirit and lift you above your circumstances..you deserve it!
“This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
I have been having some of these over the last week. They are regular moments that could go by unnoticed..but something makes them incredible. I told my husband that I was having an “Enchanted April” moment on Sunday. That is a reference to a wonderful movie that my daughter and I both love. I used that term because I felt like I had stepped out of my life into a place where everything was perfect. In reality I was in my dining area standing at the window watching my husband barbecue chicken. Suddenly I realized that my life was amazing..that I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth in a condo with views that take my breath away. I was filled with awe at the goodness of God.
The same thing happened today while I was walking in our valley. The trees were so green and the sky so blue..the flowers were popping out in yellow, red, lavender, pink, and white. The stream that runs through the valley was rushing along and I could hear the sound of doves as they cooed and flapped their wings. A perfect day.. at least a perfect moment. Walking up my hill I stopped to pet a dog and he suddenly started barking and growling at me for no reason. The lady who was with him said that he was a good dog.. I didn’t concur. The end of the perfect moment.
We have those moments as reminders of the perfect place that our souls long for. The place where the colors are always vibrant..where the sky is bluer than we have ever seen it. The place where the creek is always full and there are more types of birds than we could ever count. The place where there are no dysfunctional dogs or people.. the place where there is no more pain or disappointment. The perfect place that awaits us after our journey here is over.
In the meantime.. enjoy those glimpses that He gives you. Stay with them as long as possible. Soak in the beauty that surrounds you..and cross the street when you see a dog you don’t know 🙂
” Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.”