As early as I can remember, nature was a solace to my soul. There was always something that drew my heart in and calmed me. Even before I appreciated the Creator of it all.
When I couldn’t be outdoors, photos of nature drew me in. As a child, I loved a large nature scene in our living room. I remember it had trees and water. It was such a calm scene, far from all the evil and pain in this world. When my thoughts were jumbled, troubled, and confused, I loved to imagine myself sitting on the bank feeling the coolness of the water on my feet.
I’m now 66, but I still imagine myself sitting or walking in calm nature scenes. 🙂 When the cold winters keep me housebound, I sometimes search out old photos, including the one above from one of my favorite nature retreats. Now wouldn’t it be lovely to sit on one of those rocks and soak in the sights and sounds?
Here are a few more pics from this soul-soothing retreat:
“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?” – St. Augustine
I am always delighted when my brother in Arizona shares photos with me. They always refresh my heart. He graciously allows me to share them with you.
When times are tough, it can be easy for us to slide back into the rut of our insecurities and feelings of worthlessness. But the truth is, that even though we may “feel” insignificant and inadequate, God declares and maintains we are beloved, chosen, and favored!
“What we tell ourselves in our suffering powerfully shapes how we experience it.
Are you telling yourself that you are beloved? If you are certain that you are unconditionally and extravagantly loved by God, it will give you courage and hope, convinced that whatever is happening to you cannot be anything but God’s best for you.
So what would you name yourself today? Would you name yourself by how you feel and the narrative that you subconsciously replay in your head… forgotten, unloved, undone? Or can you name yourself as you truly are… beloved, chosen, favored?”
“One morning I opened my Bible and read today’s key verse: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. Beloved, we are God’s children now” (1 John 3:1a, 2a).
Beloved. Valued. Belonging. Accepted. Wanted.
Regardless of what others say or do, our identity rests secure in who God says we are. He says we are beloved. He says we are cherished for who we are in His eyes, not because of something we’ve done or not done. We are precious in His sight, one-of-a-kind, created for a unique purpose.”
God’s Whispers of Love
When we feel unloved God whispers His Truth My child, I love you with an everlasting love! With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself!
When we feel ugly God whispers His Truth My child, I have wonderfully created you And I delight in your beauty!
When we feel dirty, God whispers His Truth My child, I have purified you And made you whiter than the snow!
When we feel defeated, God whispers His Truth My child, in spite of everything that happens to you, You are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you!
When we feel rejected and deserted, God whispers His Truth My child, I will never ever abandon you I am with you always even to the end of the world!
When we feel at a loss about what to do, God whispers His Truth My child, no matter the situation or the chaos, I am still in control and will get you through this! Just keep taking one step at a time. You don’t need to understand, You just need to hold My hand.
“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is Your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 36:5-7
”Go out, go out, I beg of you And taste the beauty of the wild. Behold the miracle of the earth With all the wonder of a child.” ~ Edna Jacques ~
I love walking along the trail near the river, soaking in the sights and sounds of “the beauty of the wild” as the author of this quote puts it. Every bit of it still fills me with “the wonder of a child.” The heaviness in my heart over all that’s going on in this world seeps away as I remember how God has clothed and preserved the beauty of His creation and He is still in control.
Now for the grand finale of photos… My brother John recently discovered Great Blue Herons cough up pellets of the indigestible parts of the food they eat just as owls do. Okay, so I said “Gross!” when I first saw it. But it still fascinates me how God has equipped some birds to do this. Can you imagine what a belly ache all those indigestible parts would cause otherwise?
“Hope is the silver shaft of sun breaking through the storm-darkened sky, words of comfort in the intensive care unit, the first spring bird perched on a snow-covered twig, and the finish line in sight. It is a rainbow, a song, a loving touch.Hope is knowing God and resting in His love.” ~ NLT Life Application Study Bible: Zephaniah introduction
We Have a Living Hope
So many are feeling hopeless and seeking for hope that I’m not surprised that the two posts read the most this month are about the hope that is still alive for us.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3
God’s Whispers of Love
Are your hearts sometimes sinking in the mire of despair? Are you feeling forsaken by God? God whispered this to my heart and He is whispering it to all of us! (Is Life’s Journey Too Great For You?)
My precious child,
I’m still the same God today.
I was there for Elijah
And I am here for you.
Arise and eat, My child.
The journey is too great for you.
Eat the manna of My love
Drink My life-giving water
Relax in the arms of My grace,
My power and My will.
And you will find rest
For mind, body, and soul.
I hold you, My child,
In the arms of My everlasting love,
No lies can snatch you away from Me.
You are safe with Me.
Marvelously made and enough.
Be still, My child, be still.
You don’t have to journey alone.
Rest in My Truth,
And I will refresh your weary soul.
” I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” ~ George Washington Carver ~
I was looking through Shutterfly at some old photos and found ones from our 2013 trip to the Black Hills. Such beautiful views bring back memorable quiet moments of awe. It’s a comfort to know that the same God who has such power to create such beauty will also take care of us. 🙂