– Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator
I realized it was the first day that felt like Fall as I opened the screen door of the main guest house and the crisp air touched my face. Trying to remain silent for the other retreat guests, I lightly stepped across the threshold, and outside onto the deck to discover my three legged cat friend, Rosemary, curled up napping at the break of morning. I left her undisturbed as I stepped over her sleeping body, and slipped into the choice rocker. I set down my steaming coffee cup onto the pine table, and opened my bible up onto my lap. I worked backward from where it opened to Psalm 84, and with no great purpose, stopped to rest my eyes for awhile.
I had come with intentionality in my heart silently hoping He’d speak.
I had come with intentionality in my heart silently hoping He’d speak. I wanted to hear His voice but I wondered after experiencing the weight of it at the Battle for Your Heart in August – “Would it be too soon?” As if He is running out of Himself.
I looked down and read the words:
3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah
Psalm 84:3-4, ESV
My reading was interrupted by a sound I couldn’t see, but only hear. It was the sound of the horse across the road blowing air out its nostrils as if it was letting go the first breath of the morning. And as quickly as it finished I heard the rooster somewhere nearby crow twice to announce, yes, the day has begun. Almost as an answer, the chickens across the street in Oliver’s pen began to cackle back with laughter. Back and forth the rooster and then the chickens talked discussing the brilliance of the day. The sound of the cardinal caught my ear in the bush next to the deck and I turned to see her picking red berries off for breakfast. My eyes moved to the feeder beyond the bush in the yard where it’s always been full of bird guests, and this morning was no exception as I watched two finches peck at the seed resting in the tray. I felt the breeze move my hair from behind as a hummingbird grazed so closely I had to use the sound of his wings to catch him with my eyes as he buzzed across the yard. A squirrel appeared on the trunk of the oak and began galloping across the lawn with a pecan as large as his head wedged in his mouth. The little squirrel was well intentioned to reach his storage spot with his prize possession for Spring. As my eyes followed the squirrel off the stage, as if this display weren’t spectacular enough, it was then I heard the voice of my Father echo across the morning,
“This is my sanctuary.”
And in the wave of His voice I came to deep awareness inside. He brought His word alive in front of me. I was experiencing creation sing for joy as they expressed their freedom to His pleasure, and He was pleased. Their worship and their freedom were one. And it brought me to tears of joy to feel His delight in watching the expression of who He created them to be play on the stage of His earth.
I was in the performance myself. I was in the larger story, present to God, the Earth, all free in it.
I knew I wasn’t watching this from the audience but I was in the performance myself. I was in the larger story, present to God, the earth, all free in it. But also, maybe in degrees more than yesterday, present to myself.
In that moment, I felt a trueness of who I am in Him more than ever before. At the same time I experienced a desire to be as free as the symphony of nature I had watched perform. I desperately wanted to worship Him as free as creation, as I lived from the depths of who I really am in Him. The echo of His voice carried with it a promise – That day is now, and it’s also to come – as I felt Him care enough to answer the desire even as it rose in my chest. I felt the assurance that my own offering of myself on the stage of the larger story, if only in my presence with Him, was enough and was good. He was pleased with me.
I stepped out onto the lawn and the music of creation began to cease. I think I almost couldn’t experience anymore or the joy it brought would overwhelm me.
And as I walked out onto the trail behind the house to process my experience, I had a new realization that each step I took on the soft grass felt heavier, deeper than before. Some part of the moment with God that seemed to have ended had indeed been carried forward. I sensed as I walked that I was still on His stage, because I had a new knowing in my heart that His stage is the whole earth and I am at home in it.
One Step Further:
- As you consider the fact that you are part of a larger love story that God is writing, how does that impact what you are currently going through in your life?
- Take a moment to be still and know that He is God. Breathe in. Breathe out.
- What is God calling you to exhale – Stress? Frustration? Apathy? _____?
- What is God calling you to inhale – Love? Joy? Contentment? _____?
- How do you want to respond?