The day is long. They often are. Being home with my girls—homeschooling them—is a huge privilege. And yet, I have to be honest.
I don’t often admit that. I try to make it look easy. The truth is, as much as I love it, this is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Things worth doing usually are.
Today is particularly trying. I meet opposition at every turn and I’m exhausted.
My husband arrives home just the girls are finishing dinner, and I am out the door in a flash. I push aside a twinge of guilt—the niggling feeling that I should be doing something more meaningful with my time. I remind myself: You can’t give when you’re empty. Tonight, I’m empty. And besides, the whole reason I’m going out is to meet up with someone who can help.
And I know just where I’m going to find some uninterrupted time with Him.
I park the car at the end of a gravel road. The sun is beginning to set and the woods are bathed in the early evening glow. I grab my camera and begin to walk. A narrow side trail leads through a bed of ferns and into the bush, and I carefully pick my way over protruding roots and rocks. At the end of the path, nestled in a small valley, is a stream.
I crouch beside a fallen tree and watch gray field slugs feast on mushrooms. Some might find this repulsive, but I’m intrigued. I learn later that some slugs solely subsist on fungi during certain stages of their development. Nature is a fascinating thing.
I go back to the main path, past the frog pond and towards the meadow. Another side trail leads to a bench overlooking the valley and the view leaves me breathless.
A little further on, in another meadow, three deer eye me suspiciously. I stop to stare back. I’m in no hurry.
As the sun slinks behind the horizon, dusk emerges bold. Something dark flaps low across the path. It lands on a branch and I peer through the thicket to see what it could be. An owl. I watch until it flies away.
The air fills with the yips and howls of coyotes—the music of the night. I slowly make my way back to the car, rested.
I’ve done what I’ve come here to do. I’ve met the One I’ve been seeking.
These days, I often find myself scrambling over rocks, pushing my way through tall meadow grasses and wandering deep in the woods. I often find myself needing this change of scenery—time away, just me and Jesus. No little feet creaking down the stairs when I’m trying to pray in the early morning. No demands or pressures. Just uninterrupted time with the One who can soothe away the frustrations of the day. Here, in nature, I see reflections of His glory. Here, He speaks to the deep places.
Through silken spider strands glistening in the sun, He whispers.
Through the ebony jewelwing that rests on a cool, green leaf, He whispers.
Through the forest carpeted with flowers, He whispers.
Each of these things, a gift from a Father who longs to draw close. Each of these things, a whisper of love. Love expressed through beauty.
“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20)
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” (Psalm 19:1)
I come home and my heart is full. I’ve met Jesus.
And I’m ready to give again.