Every day when I wake up and after I have savored my first (and maybe my second!) cup of coffee, I make plans to get out to this space ASAP.
It’s here that with my second (or third!) cup of coffee I take my stress to God. And I let the gentle invitation of Jesus words wash over my heart. Because sometimes life hurts with the kind of heaviness that weighs my spirit down and slows my steps.
I know you understand. So does God. That’s why He told us . . .
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Look at all those action words! Come. Take. Learn. Then He promises soul rest and light burdens. It’s like a treasure hunt where the treasure is guaranteed by God!
I feel Jesus beckoning me with His heart wide-open and his hands out-stretched. Not demanding or grabbing or forcing but smiling and hoping I’ll choose to step into His gentleness.
Sometimes it takes me awhile to release the demands of life and let myself settle into the gentle peace bird watching brings to my life. Although the arrival of this young Oriole, whose feathers looked like rich, soft velvet help expedite the process. I hope she brings you as much quiet joy as she did me the other day.
I keep my phone in my pocket because the news and social media I can so easily get entangled with is full of hatred and shouting and cursing and condemnation and threats. If my family needs me, I’ll answer, but I yearn for quiet, powerful, gentleness in a hungry and thirsty kind of way.
A quote from Max Lucado reinforces the conviction in my heart that the gentleness I long to experience in the world is also my responsibility.
“I choose gentleness. Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.”
― Max Lucado
And God agrees.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5 (NIV)
Breathing in the warm summer air, full of scent of wildflowers, and taking in the Truth of God’s Word with the wise counsel of Max (we all seem to be on a first name basis with him although we’ve never met him!) the tension eases from my jaw and shoulders (and not it’s not the coffee – really!). On this day, it was also the exquisite moment a bumble bee came over a blossom. . .
And yes, I may have sung, “The bee came over the blossom, the bee came over the blossom, the bee came over the blos—som, to see what he could see. . .” Because suddenly it was that kind of morning.
And the gentle moments were just getting started!
This little guy hovered in front of my face gently then sat on this branch and watched the other hummers chase each other away from the feeders. As I watched him, I was delighted when I caught him watching me a time or two.
Then, this beautiful blossom dancer caught my eye . . .
Sometimes when life drains the cup of my spirit with the urgent, I feel guilty for taking this time out for myself and I wonder if it’s selfish. (Okay so my wondering is more like worry.)
That’s when the kind words of Brennan Manning remind me, “The art of gentleness toward ourselves leads to being gentle with others — and is a natural prerequisite for our presence to God in prayer.”
When it was time to get back to the responsibilities waiting for me, I looked back at this quiet, private space and knew that come winter I am going to be homesick for the blossoms, butterflies, bees, and some of the birds (although the sweet juncos come back). But I’ll still be hurrying to this little corner of our great big world (I have a tent I call my photo fort that protects me from some of the bitter cold wind).
I often leave without solutions to my own struggles, and there’s still more chaos than clarity in the world, but a gentle peace that comes from God takes up residence in my heart and I am helped.
And I wonder sometimes – what if that is contagious in a cup overflowing kind of way? Wouldn’t that be so cool? I do love these tender lessons from God.
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV) “. . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Until Next Time,