Sprinklers. Beautiful summer sunsets. The smell of fresh grass. The garden growing. Bicycles and laughter. Baseball.
These are the pleasures of simple summer days.
Here we are in mid/end of July but until this week… these moments had eluded me. Sure, I’d watch on while the kids ran in the sprinkler, or played catch in the yard. I’d encourage them to lay on the grass and watch the leaves sway in the breeze (isn’t that just the best?). Perhaps we’d take a nice bike ride and watch the sunset with its brilliant pink and orange hues over the Rocky Mountains. But in the midst of these simple moments, my mind was anything but still.
This summer has been a different one, hasn’t it? Sure, we all have summers of “adulting” and regular work and chores. But this summer, with the pandemic, it feels like my mind has been on a search for the solution. It’s like trying to place the correct order of a puzzle—a figuring out of items both present and future… a preoccupation of sorts. It’s this knowing that somehow we need to get through this— but how? Somehow the puzzle pieces will line up if I keep working on it, right? Then I can rest. But no matter how I work it, no matter how many times my thoughts go around… there is no where concrete to settle. There is no producing of the so-desperately-needed solution.
I was talking to the Lord about this the last couple of weeks—how it feels like the simple joys of summer are being upended and replaced with this puzzling, wondering and swirling thoughts— and God, as sweet and gentle as He is, doesn’t give me a lesson on “doing more” (exactly what my mind thinks I need to do). Instead, I feel His Presence settle upon me. His Presence has been there the whole time but now that I take a moment to reach out, to quiet my mind, I am reminded He is there.
“But what about the solution?” My heart asks.
It’s almost as if I feel his warm brown eyes on me as his gentle, loving presence surrounds me.
“But what about this?” I whisper, outlining some of the concerns on my mind.
His hand on my back. He’s here and He’s listening. He cares.
“And this?” We go through my questions. One at a time until, they drop from my mind and instead a peace comes over me.
He doesn’t rush me as I talk openly to Him… baring every part of my mind and soul. He already knows my thoughts… my feelings, emotions. Yet there is a great connection that happens when I (on-purpose) become transparent with Him.
Have you ever experienced a friend or spouse or family member being there for you in just the right moment? Perhaps you spoke to them openly, and they listened. They didn’t judge or have pre-put together phrases to say or perhaps they didn’t even offer a solution. They just sat there with you, perhaps over a cup of tea or coffee, or maybe on the church bench after service, or maybe just over a long distance chat. It usually isn’t anything fancy— but that’s not important. The most important thing is that connection you shared. That you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were there for you… when you needed them most. When your heart needed a bond. That’s how God’s been showing up for me this summer. Like the gentle friend who listens and is for me.
After this time of sitting together and sharing my thoughts, my heart with Him, and feeling His heart towards me too… a realization dawns on me: Perhaps I have been looking for the wrong “solution”. I have been looking for a solution that was of brick and mortar… something I could touch, feel, contain. Something that could be written down as a to-do list and if I followed it, it would lead me to the ultimate solution. But after sitting with Him… my cheeks warm in embarrassment.
“It’s you… isn’t it?” I whisper.
His eyes are warm, accepting, and full of love. “Yes, Dear One,” He whispers and a surge of awe and reverence reverberates through me.
No longer do I need to search for a concrete solution… no matter what other pandemic, trial, challenge or disaster comes. He is the solution. As long as I have Him with me, I have all I need. I have the ultimate solution.
I may not be able to write it down, puzzle it out, figure it out… but I just have to hold tightly to His hand with the trust of a daughter with her loving Father.
I know that this can come off as such a basic thought… but to truly live it out and experience it is such a powerful, wonderful, awe-inspiring journey.
And this journey continues…. With God as my source. My solution. My all in all.
There is such treasure to be found by coming to God in every circumstance. Just as we’d come to a friend. Or even perhaps more honest than we’d meet with a friend…messy “mom bun” hair (with growing out highlights! Ha ha) , pajamas on, morning breath or tears streaking down your cheeks… He is the friend who is there for you, just as He is for me.
I read the verse this week, a verse I am sure you are no stranger to:
“Do not let your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me (Jesus).”John 14:1
Before when I’d read this verse and my first thought would be— I know this is true. I know this is something I need… but HOW?
The great news is God always equips us to follow His word. The ANSWER is Him- His Presence.
The only answer to “not be troubled” is to come to him. Through prayer. Through sitting together. Through reading the Word. Yes, reading the Word like looking God in the eyes. Hearing his heart.
So when we need a dose of His peace… something to slow the swirl of thoughts in our minds… sit with him. Look Him eye to eye through the Bible (the Book of John is a good place to start, or even Psalms- as it is filled with emotions and ups and downs but how the Lord was there for David just as He is for us).
It’s these moments that put a peace and a calm into my soul. It’s the moments of being transparent with God, soaking in the great reminder that He is my all in all, my solution to every problem… that lead me to the freedom of enjoying the simple days, the simple moments of summer.
So excuse me while I go grab my favorite chai latte, sit on the porch and smile as my children squeal as they run through the sprinkler, this time with a lighter heart. (I encourage you to do the same. 🙂 )
Until next time,