Lifestyle

Faithful Living: Faith worms way into spring

How has God enlightened and enriched your life this week? I believe that God uses the natural world around us to soothe our deepest, most heartfelt worries. We must, however, stop long enough to experience His touch and allow it to transform our thinking.

This week I have been most notably enlightened with visual contrasts far too dramatic to ignore, timed far better than anything I could have arranged had I been given the power.

My lesson began Tuesday when I realized I could actually take our Chihuahua puppy outside first thing in the morning and not only clearly see him out on the grass but sit outside in relative comfort. It’s still damp and chilly and occasionally foggy during these early-morning romps outside for Paco’s sake, but it’s also so terribly inviting. Each day there is additional new growth to investigate and hues of green to call me. It’s no longer very cold and there is newness in each day. I’m detecting the coming of spring.

According to the calendar, it is just days away.

Our horse’s whinny said it all this week, for I no longer needed my flashlight to see him standing out by the fence, to greet me and the mighty Paco. Standing beside a pond quaking from the sound of frogs singing of spring, I realized God is painting a picture of new life, new beginnings, and new hope with our surroundings. It is a gift of great value and it is free.

Hop out of bed and look around you, for there is so much to see and experience out there in the misty pink glow of morning. The world is waking up from a long winter’s nap. God is calling and His message is clear: even if you have been spiritually sleeping, now is your time to awaken and commit to growth.

Above all else it is perhaps the activities of the birds that nourish me most, what with their beautiful love songs that now pierce our winter mornings and the courtship dances, up there, in the chilly air. I can only wonder where that pair of mallards who take flight each time I walk past our pond might eventually make their nest. And it’s not all happening outside. My zebra finches have produced yet another nest of children, now feathered and noisy and demanding. When their three little faces look out from the covered nest I immediately swing into baby bird talk, opening myself up to major ridicule from my kids who beg me to resist the urge when their friends are visiting

God’s story of new beginnings and hope is dramatized in the fuzzy, soft pussy willow buds covering the tree out in our corral and in the tender, green lily shoots pushing up through the bark in our front planter. Cutting away old growth on our berry vines last weekend revealed new leaves just beginning to push their heads out, providing me with tempting thoughts of fresh blackberry jam, smeared across a piece of homemade bread.

God knows I have needed to be gently reminded that He is in control and never failing in His promise to provide hope and new life — when stories of violence in the Middle East sometimes leave me questioning whether God has perhaps grown tired of our fighting and left us to our own demise. Yet I know this is not true, for He never once gave up throughout the Old Testament and I see Him today, in the tiny red leaves pushing out from dormant rose bushes. God will grace us with His presence and spirit each and every day when we look past our struggles, obligations, bills and loneliness to experience an orderly, miraculous natural world.

And oh, how God speaks magnificently to us here in the Pacific Northwest.

In response I have asked God to refresh me with His presence at the moments I need Him most — when life is demanding and I am feeling overwhelmed, tired, discouraged and cynical.

The game plan is simple. I will celebrate the birth of spring and incorporate the comfort and knowledge of God into those moments.

If I am driving kids to activities I will remember to take some time to appreciate the snow-covered mountains and icy blue waters. If I am cleaning windows I will note the lovely clouds and stop for a moment to feel the warmth of a sun break on my face.

Whether I am finishing up taxes or running out the door to yet another committee meeting, I have promised myself I will stop for a moment. I will draw in a deep breath of fresh air, watch a robin eat a worm and praise God for the gift of our natural world that reminds me He is in control and the inventor of all that is truly beautiful.

Won’t you join me in such a journey this week? Easter is coming … new life surrounds us.

Freelance writer Joan Bay Klope’s e-mail address is jbklope@hotmail.com.

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