God knows what each one of us is dealing with. He knows our pressures. He knows our conflicts. And He has made a provision for each and every one of them. That provision is Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit, indwelling us and empowering us to respond rightly.” — Kay Arthur
We long to receive comfort, support, guidance and answers to prayer. God has not left us bereft. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling our hearts by faith. His continual presence reassures, leads, guides, teaches and speaks to us in ways we can understand. The prayer/poem below explores some of the ways we can seek His help.
“It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.” ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Rather like the ravenous, darting wasps who seemingly cannot get enough of the windfall apples in the orchard we look out on, I’m a self-confessed fruitaholic who revels in the wider choice and bounty that summer brings to us.
But the best way to appreciate fresh fruit is to either grow your own—says she, happily munching on yummy home-grown greengages from her son’s garden—or to pick your own (pyo) fresh from the field, like I used to do as a girl.
Though I furtively ate a fair share, fruit picking was done mostly in pursuit of extra money in my pocket, to savour the sun and fresh air, and to helpfully keep out of my parent’s way during the long summer holiday. Here’s a glimpse of that experience… 🍓🍒🍐🍏
“Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, ‘Sit here while I go over there to pray.’ He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’ Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, ‘Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?’” — Matthew 26:36-40 NLT
Picture yourself in this scene. Jesus, your close friend, teacher and miracle worker, is approaching his darkest hour. You’re aware that he is special, and talking about being crucified, but your mind hasn’t yet fully grasped the reality of who he is and why he came, though you long to please him.
But it’s been a long day, with a seemingly wasteful anointing at Bethany, an unexpected betrayal by Judas, a denial, a final supper together, and now this period of praying in the garden of Gethsemane. You’re just plain exhausted. Jesus gently scolds you, and you feel dreadful because your tired body has let you down.
As we read these words, we wonder if we would have been any better at watching and praying with you than the disciples were. Sadly, their fatigue caused them to slumber in your hour of greatest need. You faced this ordeal alone because your friends failed you at this final hurdle.
Even so, you understood their weakness and gave them grace. Just as you do for us. From our post-crucifixion perspective, we know how it ends—how these failing, faltering disciples became devoted, faith-filled men with transformed minds and hearts. Oh may we have an ending like this too! Amen
“To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.” — Simone Weil
A sweep of trees sway
above me, with a deep rustling
reverberating through each leaf,
murmuring a message
of presence, of being,
of hidden strength and timely
wisdom encircling each trunk,
as ageing rings mark out
the seasons, and bark folds
itself into gnarled whorls
that speak of mysteries
only trees can see and know.
Standing still beneath
a canopy of branches, arching
my head, I am entranced
and given over to awe,
marvelling in their statuesque
beauty and grace,
their manner of connectivity
in this dark and sheltered place,
where I am but a visitor,
awed by their centuries’
old stability, peace,
and lofty splendour.
“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted like trees.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
“And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done.” — Colossians 2:6-7 TLB
I close with a few forest sights and sounds to help soothe the stress away and bring you a few moments of relaxation and peace…. Enjoy. 🙂 ❤
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” — Henry David Thoreau
Yearning for change
These naked limbs,
licked and warmed
by sun’s soft caress,
have their arms open
for an early entry
of spring, longing deep
at the heart
for sap to rise again
and the blooming
of buds to start
to burst forth, giving them
a new dress, new chorus.
and arthritic twig reaches
up to the heavens,
like a prayer, a plea
to be noticed,
to be spared the worst
of winter’s onslaught,
“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” — Rachel Carson
This poem arose when I paid attention to the apple tree outside our living room window. The more I studied it throughout the day, the more my sympathies were engaged and my gratitude enhanced for simply being here, acting as a silent observer of its wintry state and potential future growth. Because immersing ourselves in nature, in small ways and large, is a great way to stir creativity and bring us a deeper measure of soul peace.
“Change” happens to be my #oneword365 for Poetry Joy this year. Where are you receiving reflective thoughts from the created world as it beds down for winter yet retains a new kind of beauty in its structure, its place of peace and quiet repose? Do share below. 🙂 ❤
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” — Eckhart Tolle
“God hasn’t lost courage. God isn’t wavering on endurance. God doesn’t fear another day or another test, and God is standing behind me. He is making available for me all that he is. By grace through faith, I have nothing to fear, no reason to feel defeated.” — Gary L. Thomas ‘Simply Sacred: Daily Readings
Fear tends to infiltrate us out of nowhere. One minute we’re happily going about our days, and the next (or so it seems) we become scared of this or that, stuck in the muddy quagmire of worry, and consumed by anxiety and fear. A wall goes up and we cannot scale it, despite our best efforts.
I’ve experienced this over the last few months with the added stress of moving house before our previous property is sold. It’s the plethora of changes and extra admin that sink me, alongside the sheer weary overwhelm of being busy beyond my body’s capacity to cope. But there is hope and there is help for all troubled souls.
No scary situation we might face is a match for our matchless, fear-less heavenly Father’s grace.
God sits beside us, gently nudging us back to trust, softly reminding us of His all-encompassing Presence, great faithfulness, and constant love. And more than that, we have the gift of His calming and comforting Peace to keep us from staying afraid. May our faith be above every fear as we hand each one over to God.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” — John 14:27 NIV
“If you have been in the vicinity of the sacred – ever brushed against the holy – you retain it more in your bones than in your head; and if you haven’t, no description of the experience will ever be satisfactory.” ― Daniel Taylor, In Search of Sacred Places
A world within a world
Some can see a world
in the labyrinthine
whorls of a rose,
while others sense it
the smallness of a hazelnut.
Although it is too vast
and complex to be confined
inside one thing or one mind,
there remains a simplicity
bequeathed and revealed
to the soul of you and me.
A sacred space opens up
to the fathomless,
the infinite, the large,
as our tiny hearts
enlarged by holy love.
A whole universe exists
within each one of us,
ready to be explored.
All we need to offer
is our openness,
our receptivity is the path
whereby universal truth
can inhabit our hearts,
to be accepted—or ignored.
“And in this he showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed. And it was as round as any ball. I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding, and thought, ‘What may this be?’ And it was answered generally thus, ‘It is all that is made.’”
“I marvelled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God. In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it. The second that God loves it. And the third, that God keeps it.” — Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich
My friend, you might be feeling alone and far from God right now or fear that He has forgotten you somehow, but that just isn’t true, because we can rely on the promises in His Word that keep us safe and secure.
God never leaves our side for a second, and He finds a million little ways in which to demonstrate His constant presence, tenderness and love to our fragile, hurting hearts.
May you rest in His unconditional love today as you ask Him to open your eyes to the voyage of holy discovery and joy He wants to take you on. With blessings, love, hugs and prayer from this fellow voyager. Xx 🙂 ❤