Family and friends are here for spring break. The house is in disarray. There are two dogs instead of just one. There have been some very surprising conversations to this point, but God has been right in the middle of them. The grandchildren and a friend have been delightful, offering help (well, maybe willing to act on our suggestions at least but that works for there have been no arguments!), adding their whit and whimsey to the wonderful mix of generations here this week.
All nine of us started out for a walk this morning, only to find that they had made a plan to hike about four miles away, onto a neighbor’s property. I’ve been trying hard lately to get back into my walking habit, but this one I wasn’t quite ready for. So, I marched part way with them and then took a turn to come back toward home alone.
As I walked, I listened. No noise, just a very slight whisper of the wind through the trees as I rounded corners in the trail. The sky was pure azure this morning and not a single cloud in the sky, quite the contrast from the past few days. I closed my eyes and thought of lazy, summer days at my favorite mountain lake and for a few seconds I was taken to that spot by the lake, looking into deep blue waters.
God is amazing. He can take an otherwise regular day and turn it into something very special. I didn’t think about the possibility of Him speaking to me in the ways He did this morning. He spoke to me, not loudly, but as gentle as the rolling winds through the trees. “I like what has taken place these past few days Linda.”
“Oh my, thank you Lord. You have inspired me and you’ve helped me not react to a couple of potentially challenging situations. Communication has just rolled lightly off my lips this week, as I realized I needed You to be in the center of these talks.”
I continued walking, feeling the warmth of the spring day flush my entire body. This walk was definitely going to get my pulse up. I came around a turn and noticed an old stump to my right. It reminded me about life and how fragile it can be at times. We can easily be uprooted in life by the unexpected trauma that sometimes awaits just around the corners of our lives. We don’t see them, but they are there, awaiting the proper time to unfold. Does God cause them? I don’t think so. I do believe, however, that He sometimes allows them to come, just like the story of Job. At other times, I think they come as the result of our own decisions or unfortunately, as part of living in a fallen world.
The gnarly twists and turns of the stump reminded me that we can’t control how our lives will form. The unexpected accident or injury might leave a scar or new alignment in our fragile body. The hurts and emotional pains of our past may form some dark spots deep inside. We often have a tendency to try to cover up those dark spots or perhaps even ignore them in the hopes that if we don’t acknowledge them to ourselves or others, perhaps they’ll go away. The truth is, they don’t go away at all, but can become physical or emotional wounds that scab over eventually, but the reality of their presence remains with us.
“Oh Lord, this stump is working on me today.”
“It’s good Linda. You need to look sometimes, because while the scars and twists represent pain in your past, they remind me how much I love it that you are willing to look at them now and, with my help, you are ready to move past them. I won’t remove the scars, but I will heal their effects in your life and you will realize the true freedom I have for you on the other side of pain.”
Wow, I didn’t see that one coming! I have often looked into the mirror and wasn’t sure I liked what I saw in the reflection these days. Lines where there used to be none. Spots of discoloration, a bump here, a flaw there, all representations of a life lived. I didn’t want those marks and changes yet they came on their own, some marked by the passing of time, others as unexpected things happened in my life. I realize I’m feeling more comfortable in my skin than ever before, lines, bumps and all. I guess they, like the twists and turns of the stump, represent in their own ways the paths of my story.
A walk in the high desert on a beautiful spring morning. Didn’t see Him coming toward me and yet He met me on the path today, bringing insight, love and understanding. I so often forget that my Lord loves everything about our journeys with Him. Whether I’m in the middle of baking raspberry crisp for dessert tonight or taking a walk with Him in nature, He is always there, willing to show me yet another slice of wisdom about my trek called life. Thank you for a glorious walk through your garden Lord, walking with you in the bliss of this beautiful day!
Now you’ve got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I’m on the right way. Psalm 16:11 (MSG)