Soul Rest in Nature: Hope Bursts Forth in Radiant Colors

nature

“What’s she doing? Who would want to take a picture of cattails anyway?”

“I would…” I said to myself.

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I love walking the trails of Outdoor Campus here in Sioux Falls where nature is kept as natural and unspoiled as possible. At the end of a trail, one must walk on the sidewalk of the entrance road into the park. Across the road are cattails. Last year I was walking a few feet behind three women. The one with the camera walked to the cattails to take pictures when one woman voiced her opinion.

DSC_0282 I guess everyone has a right to their own perspective of nature’s paintings. I admired the woman who was soaking up snapshots of everything she could of God’s canvas.

I have fond memories of cattails. I grew up on a farm, and I loved plucking the ripened, fluffy seeds from them and letting them float away with the wind to places nobody but God knows.

The truth is if we don’t venture across the road to see the cattails, we miss other hidden surprises. Behind those tall, stately, brown-suited plants is a pond. And sometimes there are even ducks on the pond.

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I never find anything mundane in nature. There always seems to be something new to surprise me, just like when I read the Bible. Something pops out that I didn’t notice after so many times of reading it. God’s Word and nature are so synchronized. Both resound with His voice.

When I went to the Outdoor Campus last week, I asked God, “Will You show me something new today?” As I walked there were so many various thrilling bird calls that I thought: Ah, hearing this is a beautiful surprise already that I never grow tired of. But then a cardinal flew in a few feet from me. He flew away before I could get a photo, but the rich red feathers, black mask around his eyes, and the distinguished red tuft are still etched in my memory bank. Thank You, God. Since then I have found out that the various calls I was hearing were all from cardinals. Did you know they have about two dozen different songs? Wow!

As I returned on the sidewalk I mentioned, I crossed the road to the cattails, and I found another surprise. Usually I see mallard ducks, but this time I saw what I think was a female wood duck.

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Nature remains one of my favorite soul-resting whitespaces.

God desires to show us
He is still with us.
If our eyes and ears
Are attuned to His voice,
We will be surprised
And even fascinated
By what He gives,
And hope will burst forth
In radiant colors.


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“We need to find God,
and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence.
See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence;
see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…
We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
– Mother Teresa

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21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Whitespace Writing Prompt:
“Share a Whitespace Moment This Week”

A Soft Gentle Voice

God’s Signs and Seals of His Generous Love

God'screatures

Signs of God’s goodness and love surround us in His creation, whispering ever so tenderly:

Yes, Child, I am here.
Open your eyes and see.
Open your ears and listen.
Open your heart and believe.
I hold up My Creation,
And I hold up you
Because I delight in you.

Several weeks ago, my daughter spotted a Baltimore Oriole in our birdbath. I missed it, but I did catch a picture of him on the rooftop. I found out they especially love grape jelly, so I got a little feeder. He didn’t come back…

Last week when I felt so sick, I looked out the window and at the sky and sighed, “God, if You really are with me, will You give me a sign? Will You please bring that Oriole back?”

I quickly snatched it back. “I’m sorry, God. I shouldn’t ask for a sign. I should just trust that You’re with me always.”

I am trying to trust God, no matter what. Not only at times when I feel the sunshine of His Presence, but also at times when He’s covered by the stormy clouds that rage in my body, mind, or heart.

I am trying to find my footing on His immovable character of goodness and love, not in my faltering feelings.

I am trying to own His promises, believing He has personally given them to me and is faithful to fulfill them in His own time and way.

So I felt guilty asking God for a sign. He had just gifted me with a whisper of His assurance last week, “You don’t need to understand. You just need to hold My hand. I am with you.” Just because I felt so alone that day did not mean He wasn’t there for me. He never presses something on our hearts if He doesn’t mean it.

His promises are purposeful and will surely come to pass.

Because He loves us.

So deeply.

So devotedly.

So desperately.


“For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With His love, He will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

(Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)

God takes delight in us. He gladly gives us signs to show His love. He desires to calm our fears. His generosity towards us is a bottomless sea of goodness. He passionately desires to give us far more than we ask for or expect.

A joyful surprise arrived for me on Saturday. I was resting while my husband went to see if our son needed any more help with moving, and my heart nudged me to get up and look out the window.

A Baltimore Oriole! Giddy with excitement, I hurried to get some snapshots of this beautiful bird, so gloriously displaying the goodness and love of God. Thank You, God!

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I don’t know if the Oriole will come back. I hope so. But even if he doesn’t, I will see every bird outside my window as a sign and seal of the goodness and love of a generous God.

The house finches that nested outside my window have taken flight. It’s hard to believe how quickly they grow to nearly the size of their parents.

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I’m a big boy now!

And God has sent a variety of other birds to delight my heart:

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Goldfinches in their
sunshiny array.
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A pair of mallard ducks
surprised us with a visit.
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Mourning doves spread their wings to the sun, teaching us to spread our arms to the Sun and expect His blessings, because He is so willing to give them.
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And along comes Baby Mourning Dove.
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Let’s not forget the sparrows.
God counts us even more valuable!
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Yes, He’s still watching over you. I’m His witness.

Take a look out the window or a walk in nature. View photos of God’s marvelous creation. Signs of God’s love, His goodness, and His faithfulness are all around us.

No matter what you’re going through right now:
God knows.
He sees.
He hears.
He cries.
He understands.
And His heart is bursting with love for you!

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Joining Up With


A Soft Gentle Voice

Faith Barista’s Writing Prompt:
“Share your whitespace moment.”
– moments of beauty and rest
– feeding your soul
– your alone time with God

Whitespace Community Linkup @ faithbarista.com

 

Copyright © 2014,
Trudy Den Hoed.
All rights reserved.