Holding Space in Relationship…

What does it mean to hold space for another person?

Berkeley & Helen Smith 1937
Berkeley & Helen Smith 2000

Truly, this is perceived in different ways. But some facets in all these perceptions seem to use tools to meld or laser focus Light in the discerning heart.

One current way of holding space, is described by Heather Plett of “Enlightened Consciousness” to be walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. To open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.

Put another way, holding space is in what First Corinthians 13 says so clearly…  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always hopes, always perseveres.”

The discerning heart will tell you how to use these perceptions.  The couple in the above picture that persevered in life are my parents. After the Great Depression, they held space in their own way while married for 72 years and built a life together in not ideal circumstances.

They grew together in a challenging multi-generational family, lived through family separations and divorce of past generations, survived more than three wars and life -threatening and debilitating illnesses, raised two children, moved, made job changes. All the while, they maintained responsible relationships in work and at home. Watching each penny that they spent, they loved each other through these and countless other difficulties.

Was their relationship perfect? No, not really. But they never gave up on each other enjoyed moments present to each other. Did they disagree? Yes. But I remember no violence or arguing in front of us. Dad and Mom patiently, but not perfectly, worked together and they always came back to loving and forgiving each other.

In this give-and-take of life, they honored their union and respected each other enough to remain there. They held space for each other and for us.

So, is there one perfect way of holding space in a relationship? We each have our own stories of individuals whom we feel have held space for us or not held space as the case might be.

Personally, I am still learning how to hold space, not by doing exactly everything my parents did, because their lives were configured by God differently than mine. But they and others continue to guide me, as I do my imperfect best to pray, read and live the Scriptures for example in Corinthians, Galatians and Colossians. Not just memorize verses…but to see life through them using the discerning lens of my heart.

I believe God doesn’t keep count of mistakes we make as we walk a life journey committed to Him. If we are truly present in life, we can perceive how Jesus continues to be Love in everything we experience …In this manner, the Spirit guides us. Holding us, He shares His very life.

The challenge I give you is this. While give yourself some grace along the way, start this process for a week.

1) Read to discern a tool, a gem, in a few verses of Scripture each day…perhaps in Colossians 3 or Corinthians 13 or Galatians 5.

 2) Try to laser focus, by maintaining a space of time to use that gem with another person/creature and be kind (as an example), no matter what the rough exterior. What reactions, if any, do you see in yourself or the other being?

3) Perhaps choose to jot down your thoughts as you walk through this process. Quite possibly you and I may not have 72 years in any relationship. Time doesn’t matter. Take care of the other as Jesus does you. Now. Today. Love.

© 2021 Bonnie Smith-Davis

No problem! I got this…

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

“No problem! I got this…” 

Do you ever feel this way? 

I received a strong reminder of God’s power when the neighborhood cat Daisy triggered a gut feeling in our Rascal dog that cleanly knocked obeying his master out of the park. 

“My territory. My way.”

We were walking Rascal in the neighborhood when all of a sudden, I saw a flash of fur ahead of us in the near distance. Before I could react, the leash flew out of our hands with a big sudden jerk, trailing behind a disappearing Rascal around the corner of a house. He was chasing Daisy, who was scared for her life. 

Oh no—he’s loose! This was the cry of my heart.

A deep wrench of “why didn’t you” flashed before me as I ran with heart thumping …Why hadn’t I had (didn’t I) keep a stronger grip on his leash? I clearly did not “have control“ and there was a problem. Rascal was gone! 

Why, Why, why… A busy street lay just beyond Rascal’s disappearing tail. Roger hurried around the other side of the house in an attempt to head him off. But no such luck.  As I ran, I prayed that Rascal would be found safe from danger away from the busy road in front of our house and return to us.  I caught my breath in the front yard and surveyed the landscape in an eerie out-of-time pause.

When time picked up again, I returned to the present, seeing Roger across the busy street yelling to me, “I see him! Rascal, come see dad!”  

A splash of light brown tail raced in the other direction. Then, as Rascal finally heard our voices, an “Oops I forgot look.” appeared on his face. He stopped dead in his tracks and faced us as Daisy scrambled behind her house.

Rascal approached Roger, much like a child after being caught with his hand in cookie jar. He slowly dipped his head, tentatively wagged his tail, and bowed deeply, as if asking for compassion and understanding.

As his contrition unfolded, my heart reawakened me to how our loving God welcomes us as we truly observe our weaknesses. He reveals them in what we are doing to ourselves and others, and bids us come back to Him.

When we awaken to the realization of our thoughtless actions, judgment of others, and disregard of God’s ways, we hear God’s voice calling us. 

In the same manner as Christ, Roger leaned down, joyfully surrounding forgetful, cat-chasing Rascal with his arms.  Roger’s loving tone rang out, “Rascal! You heard me and returned when I called.” Rascal’s tail immediately wagged faster and smiled. He behaved as if he were home, welcomed into His master’s arms.

We may say, “I got this! No problem!“ 

But do we?  Our Savior says “Come to me. I Love you no matter what, I will surround you with my Love and strengthen you throughout your life. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Not our power, but His holds us in life.

My challenge: read and meditate on the following verses from Corinthians 1, chapter 13 about LOVE.  Perhaps, replace the word LOVE with your own name or God’s. Try doing so twice daily.

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Awaken to others by learning more about what our Lord Jesus did when he came to us as a man, choosing to be present with lovingkindness for all. Pray ceaselessly, giving God praise and worshiping him. Come back home.

Later, as we rested, I felt such gratitude and love as Rascal jumped up and nestled close with a sigh. As I petted his soft curly fur, he looked up, ears flopping open with his deep, soft brown eyes melting into mine. 

God’s Love whispered, “I’ve got this. I Love you. You are Mine.”

© 2021 Bonnie Louise Smith-Davis

Choose to See God

Hands

Question. Where do you see God?

Answer: everywhere and in everything. In every molecule of water, every blade of grass, all animal life, every living, breathing human on the planet, every star in the sky, every breath we breathe.

Alive and well. All is well.

But how can we say that all is well when a loved one passes, friends argue, a job is lost, an illness arises, crimes are committed, COVID-19 continues, hunger and homelessness live on, forests are burned, and smog fills the air? Anger arises and trials run on and on….

Above all, be aware, choose joy and love, patience and kindness, acceptance, and hope. We can choose to love because God loves us without reservation— just as we are.

We can choose to see God through a beautiful phrase I heard the other day…

Life events happen for us, not to us. The more difficult the day, the more we can choose to rise to meet it with God’s help. God is in every crack and cranny of this world and beyond.  We can choose to see with the eyes of faith and be made stronger when we recognize our dependence on God to help us through each circumstance.

Last year, I experienced what doctors labeled a deadly serious illness in my digestive tract and ended up “alone” in the hospital because of COVID-19, with technicians and doctors working hard to get me through. Throughout this time, I felt so close to God, just depending on him. My husband and I trusted God’s plan. I prayed that God hold Roger and the rest of the family close if I didn’t make it.

Through this struggle, I learned to have more patience and acceptance, among so many other things. Prayer and love held us together. Throughout my life, God has continued to provide people—just the ones I need—to be there for me. As God is for you. God loves us. Each one of us.

Recently my husband underwent an MRI. He had gone through an ultrasound that did not show any conclusive reasons for a problem that was becoming an enigma. He had been experiencing dizziness and had previously had a mild mini-stroke that left him with difficulty speaking and in need of medical treatment for a long time.

God chose to let him stay with me and healed him. The current MRI showed residual effects. Perhaps this dizziness was a wake up blessing, spurring us to take needed measures.

We will continue to search for answers, but will continue with trust, knowing peace and having hope, for this situation has been given to God. The unbreakable thread of Christ’s Love holds strong in our lives. We will keep praying, believing, and doing all we can.

We feel a wellspring of gratitude for the breath of life and the opportunity to love and serve as we are able. Not that we do not grumble or complain at all, because we do. But life events happen. How we take those moments is up to us.

We can choose to see Son shine in each moment, whether breaking a garage door, cooking a meal, doing the dishes, walking the dog, changing a tire, serving at church, praying with others, or sharing a celebration – endless circumstances in which we can grow more like Christ.

Intentionally, we can choose to see and be Christ’s presence as we are called. We can know God is in us and completely with us… working in our lives. We know this is true in the depths of our being. In our heart.

We may spiral down but come back up through the power of Christ’s Love.

Alive and well. All is well.

Where are you seeing God working in your life today? No way is too small. Praise God!

© 2021 Bonnie Smith-Davis

Kitchen Chair Love

Bonnie, Buddy and Blake

For as 1 John 4:19 tells us, “we love because he first loved us.” It is the effectual love of God that first changes our hearts in order to make us capable of love.

The truth is that what we “see” is not what is visible to the heart. You can’t make an animal love you. For example, this photo of our animals shows love profoundly in my heart. The newspaper explains what the world might have seen as very important at the time. The headline blares out words of “this is something that you must know”.

My dear Buddy dog and Blake cat are focused on what is important to them. I look at their eyes. Seeing through their eyes, Blake is looking at the “world” around them…the kitchen, the food on the table, the next fun thing for him to do. Buddy focuses on Roger, my husband, and the photographer. He immediately loved and wanted to rescue Buddy from the “pound”. Roger saw what was beautiful inside of this sweet creature, once bedraggled, mistreated, scruffy, and flea -infested and, even to me, not so special to any other visitor to the humane society. Buddy knew that in his heart. His wounds heal from love inside out. Like ours.  You cannot make an animal love you or you love any of God’s creatures.

Claws dig into my lap and my eyes focus on the two dear, sweet animals that want to share a little lap time with Mom. Normally, I realize they would probably not have chosen to spend much time so close to each other. But these sweet boys come up to visit Mom and share the warmth of sweet trust and love. Each sees what is most important to him or her as we live and love in our small community.

God’s love Light encompasses the whole picture. Simply love all, deeply, truly and forever. Christ’s love lives and loves through us. May we strive to do this for others and ourselves. …each moment be in the present, alert as your heart peels away the wounds of your hurt and below the surface reveals to you the deep love hidden in plain sight beneath.

© 2021 Bonnie L Smith-Davis

The Snow Blanket

  • Mark 4:27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens.
  • Ephesians 3  ….20 Now to Him who is able to do so much more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

More snow. A beautiful thick blanket of white tucks in the Earth below every night now. As my feet touch the ground a soft crunch radiates up from my boots to my ears. Icy cold too. As I struggle to focus through glasses fogged with breath, evergreens gradually appear to my right standing tall and strong with snow heavily resting on their branches. An occasional bird and squirrel peek out from under the green cover.

Close by, the empty bird feeder glass shows hunger of the wildlife. Time to feed again. The chill blazes down through my nose as I breathe in the winter air. As I move to get the mail and garbage container, the deep silence resonates a loud chill into my soul.  Next week is Ash Wednesday.

With measured steps I make my way to my destination. Quietly I move as the earth rests preparing itself after a very long year open to all that came seeking. I see no one which seems so much a part of last year. Separation from those of us that are dear to us. Not able to see the vibrancy of their lives close up, their breath, touch and dear faces within an arm’s reach. Yet. Hope sustains.

I see a small bit of earth peeking out where the plow has dug deep down, bleeding the life underneath. I remember the lesson that resonates throughout the Gospels. Infinite Beauty calls us to stop, rise above the noise to listen and feel the warm embrace that surrounds all life everywhere. The quiet growing of Life beneath the Earth seems to shout “I Love you. You are mine. I forgive you and you will be with me forever.”

Scratching the ground for a bit of food and chattering to himself, an impatient squirrel hears me bringing the empty garbage can up to the house. Ralph, as we call him, scampers up the tree. Hurry up human, I am hungry. “Patience,” I say under my breath. I observe that I feel a lot like Ralph sometimes. Just digging and searching impatiently for quick wisdom and reassurance of what I think I need.

How will we approach Lent this year, as we are rooted and grounded in Christ, to proclaim our beautiful connection to all that exists in this world? Deep inside the seed that grows within …Jesus shows us how as we listen, observe, participate fully in life.  I wish to grow, to learn as I push upward through the snow with Christ as my closest friend and guide through in whatever “weather” I find myself.

And, as Ralph reminds me so lovingly, don’t forget along the way to feed the animals and all creation, including yourself. Nourish tenderly with kindness, service, joy from deep within your beautiful self that God created. Live in the moment and perhaps, hug a tree…

Takeaways: Stop and warm yourself with the joy of Life. Listen with your heart to the message of the following beautiful old hymn of faith and trust.   Listen as the Spirit leads you to grow…to push upward through whatever “weather” you find yourself. Find the Light in others.

Begone, unbelief, My Savior is near
Author: John Newton

Begone unbelief,
My Savior is near,
And for my relief
Will surely appear:
By prayer let me wrestle,
And he will perform,
With Christ in the vessel,
I smile at the storm.

Prayer: Jeremiah 15:16 When I received your words, I ate them. They filled me with joy. My heart took delight in them. Lord God who rules over all, I belong to you. Amen

© 2021 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

The Rusty Shed and God’s Transforming Love 2021

Rusty shed
The rusty shed in my back yard

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

What do you see when you look at this shed in this picture? On first glance you may see an old, well weathered, square steel structure with its white sides, corroding a little bit more each day. Recently, one sliding green panel door twisted and nearly came off in a violent wind storm. My husband had to hammer the panel to protect its contents. But, despite his best efforts, a space in the door could not be repaired and allows in light and weather. The open places outside of the shed’s floor, covered by bricks, have expanded to allow determined little furry little creatures enough access to bury themselves under the shed for protection from cold, rain and snow.

Through the door panel space, you see the shed’s “treasures”. The light reveals the lawnmower, the gardening tools, the chairs and table to sit comfortably on the outside patio. Assorted nutrients and other lawn machines are nestled in their places. All of the treasures are now vulnerable to what the outside world may bring.

Today I feel a kinship to our shed with my “rusty” spots. Some outside, some inside. It can be hard to get out of bed and get my energy up and going. Titanium body parts let me know now and again that they are not original parts of God’s gift to house my soul. The tennis game that once took me to a championship falters as I push to make moves that I once felt mimicked the best in the game. My fibromyalgia that once wracked my body with pain, now chooses to push my brain to forget things and makes finding an antibiotic that I’m not sensitive to in my system a real challenge. My eyes work extra hard to see past cataracts, and night driving is out of the question.

I will turn 70 soon. Under my somewhat “rusty” belt of experience, I have lived with my generation through three national wars with family members called to active participation, September 11 Tower attack, 15 Presidential elections, a Presidential assassination, assassination of national leaders as Martin Luther King, recession, disease and virus isolation and death, campus riots, introduction of television, computers and cell phones, disappearance of typewriters and carbon paper and the nearly lost personal art of beautiful cursive letter and card writing to name a few things. These “weathering” experiences have helped me explore my beliefs, courage, compassion and love of God more deeply.

And, unlike the rusty steel sided shed, the Light that shines within us (me) continually renews, nourishes and transforms the amazing treasures God created inside each of us because we are His beloved children. With gratitude I feel the Breath of life that starts and threads each day with prayer and praise.

For example, after prayer and Scripture, I often feel led to often follow my dog outside in our yard while he runs after and plays with the squirrels. I look toward our dying backyard elderly trees and wrap my arms around them. This will be their last winter. After the run I often end up in the living room where I am immersed in practicing my piano, letting the Joy-filled praise of God release from my heart and my fingers into all that is around me. I find that I often can lose track of time when I play.

Like the shed and all the other things of this world that may disappear, we all have our “rusty” spots. But we have God’s unending Love to connect and hold us all as the Light transforms the inner treasures just as God plans for us. All is well and all will be well in 2021 because of the One who truly leads us forward. This I believe. Peace, Joy and Love be yours.

Challenges for you today: What do you see are “treasures” in your shed? Let God’s Love flow through you, seeing the Love of Christ that is in everyone and everything. These moments, perfectly planned by God, won’t come again but the memories and love will regenerate throughout time and space. Joy without end. Amen.

© 2021 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

Christmas Trials

Guest Blog

Nativity

By Laurie Jane Stawicki

It was Christmas break, and I was home from college. I attended the University of Northern Iowa. The big white farmhouse with green shutters housed my two younger brothers, who were 16 and 18 and my sister who was 18 months older than I. Her boyfriend was visiting from Germany, and we were having our common teenage times of visiting with friends, and doing our regular things, however, all was not well.

As we watched our mom go from a bright-eyed perky person to a depressed, zombie-like state, we worried and wondered and hoped.

Christmas that year was strange without Dad, who had left us to go with another. But what was stranger was that Mom’s brother Uncle D. came and helped Mom shop for gifts for us. The usual lights and brights of Christmases past were not to visit us that year. Christmas morning was solemn and somber as mom sat in a catatonic state on the couch and we took turns opening our gifts and thanking her. We had gifts for her too but she seemed vacant and foggy.

Later that day, preparing to go to my Grandmother’s house in town, my brothers and sister and I snapped a picture of ourselves out in the snow by our cars.  Someone had lobbed a snowball at someone else so there were a few smiles, but in the photo, the strain and worry and somberness of that particular season showed up on our faces.

I am not telling this to depress you. I am sharing this because not everyone around us is having a merry Christmas.  Although we all have so much to be thankful for, even for breath, food, clothes, life, and whatever family and friends remain in our lives, we can be thankful! Even if loved ones are no longer in your life, it is great to remember them with gratitude; the opportunity to have known them and to share some part of your life enriched or taught you or brought understanding that we may not have had any other way.

I have often said that people need to have grace on others while in the grocery line and while driving. I think it’s important to be polite and give others the benefit of the doubt. You never know what news they just received from the doctor, or what family member had a difficult thing to share on the phone that morning. We need to not take everything personally but give our brothers and sisters on the earth grace for whatever may be happening in their lives.

How about you? Can you relate to a joyous occasion turning out less than joyous? Or a season of loss and grief in life that seems to be accentuated by the expectations that there should be joy and peace?

What would you say if I told you that there can be joy and peace no matter what has happened, and no matter what is going on in your life? When we look up to the cross and to Christ and see the sorrows that he endured in order to make sure we had a way to have access to his most loving, holy, heavenly Father for eternity, we can focus on the blessing of Christmas; the fact that because Jesus Christ the Messiah came to earth, we can see through any trial, looking forward to the end result, the salvation of our souls.

© 2020 Laurie Jane Stawicki

Laurie Stawicki, singer/song-writer, poet and writer, lives, loves and creates in Iowa where she is mom to five children (and others by association) and a labradoodle dog.  Raised in a Christian home, yet marked by abuse, she has spent her time praying, journaling, reading and singing all the while learning more and more about the healing God offers through his Son Jesus Christ. It is her hope that her upcoming book, “Sacrifice of Tears,” will be a blessing to others by showing them the possibility of redemption even through family tragedy, and the hope we all can have in the Lord.

She can be reached at Laurie.Jane1 at yahoo.com and www.LaurieStawicki.com.

No Conditions. Just Love.

Advent wreath and candles

1 John 3:1. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so, we are.

Despite our best efforts, we just lose control of the situation involving our kids, our co-workers, our family and friends, our health, whatever is precious. How do we get through?

       The peaceful glow of the white Christmas tree lights and flickering Advent wreath candles lull me into a curled-up position on the couch.  I pull out my Light upon Light Advent book with my soft purple macramé quilt draped over me. It is so good to be back home. Our Benji-dog Rascal snuggles into position by my stomach and sighs contentedly.  I adjust my head on the pillow and turn over for better light. Unfortunately, a small turkey dinner leads me into deep dreamy slumber, the book falling silently onto the carpet. So tired.

The dream began with a loud buzz that startled me, felt a blast of cold air and a railing. I looked over to see the bedside monitor by the empty fluid bag. My heart rate slowed a bit as I deep breathe as I focused on how I got to where I was.  It had started as a simple doctor visit. The doctor came in with the test results. I twisted my wedding ring from habit and look at my husband as we focused on the doctor’s face as he gave us his diagnosis. “You need to go to the hospital. We will call the ambulance for you.”

 “No other choice?”  My husband of 31 years Roger and I looked wordlessly at each other and touched hands. We knew that I must get effective treatment soon.

“This is very serious, Bonnie. You need hospitalization, now.” 

So, in what seemed like slow motion the doctor, efficient, gentle EMTs and nurses got me to the hospital emergency room. My IV embedded into my skin and fluids attached. Test after test, question after question. Blessedly no Co-vid, but now I would be in a solitary room for 3 ½ days with a condition that can turn deadly.

My attention came back with soft footfalls of the caring nurse who quietly shut off the buzzer, checked my vitals and set to work. As I heard her gentle, quieting words as she changed the bag, I reflected on the hands and feet of Christ Jesus. These amazing, dedicated and caring front liners helped me with tests, blood draws, consultations and so much more, even sitting with me holding my hand during difficult times. All of these moments led up to the new cool liquid antibiotics flowing through my veins to effectively start the process of killing off the advanced kidney infection in my bloodstream.

In this darkness after she left, the One Light deep in my heart and loving prayers enveloped me, raining down loving comfort of my Healer Who was holding my hand. A peaceful sleep covered me. So tired.

Ka thump! Seventeen pounds of furry reality lands on my chest with a soft wet, pink tongue licking my face. My eyes pop open to see big dark brown eyes in the darkness peering down at me as if to say, “It’s okay, Mom. I am here for you.” I smile and snuggle close to the warm furry body. The brilliant white star from the tree echoes the loving response back to my heart. I am here with you now and always.

© 2020 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

Reflections of Love

Note from Author:  I miss you, my dear readers. My long absence has been due to my recovering from hospitalization and my current healing during a long recovery. Never have I felt so enveloped by prayer and God’s Love as through that experience. To be held. To receive unequivocal, pure Love throughout my being. I will share more on that experience next blog. The current blog is a familiar one…  Being alone, yet how our dear Lord’s Love can enfold us in Nature and ripple through us if we just stop long enough to reflect in each moment and breathe the Joy.

Lake surrounded by trees. Leaves are turning.
Balsam Lake Wisconsin

Would you please put that phone away, Bonnie? I looked up into the descending sunlight on each side of Southern Wisconsin’s highway to our secluded cabin. Deep forested territory lined the hilly landscape. I cracked open a window to get the fragrance of the woods as it started to enfold us into the night sky. The cell phone found its home on the electronic charge pad in between the two seats.

As we found the cabin, a thump of ‘what are we doing here’ took over. We could be in a cozy hotel someplace or in our own home. We were “nowhere” and yet, it seemed warmly familiar. We pulled out our cell flashlights which barely scratched the surface of the dark.

All alone here. We said a prayer and carefully maneuvered along somehow familiar markers to the right pathway by familiar chairs, buildings, and scenery. The moon now lit up the porch area of this pine lodge where we looked for the key. My heart pounded. What if this was someone else’s house and not our rental cabin? We went to the other entrance and, blessed be, we found the hidden entrance key. I said a silent prayer of gratitude as we went in and shut the cold night air behind us.

This welcoming atmosphere soon led us to a cozy bed to collapse. A few days to relax by the lake which we hoped to see for the first time the next morning. Toward morning, I felt a very strange interior “whirlwind” of Peace relax my and fill my soul. Taking deep breathes helped a little, but I felt the restless draw of tranquil water lapping at the shore. So, I reached for my camera and padded quietly down to see the sunrise. Perhaps take a picture or two.

My camera in hand, I carefully made my way in the pre-dawning light to the mid-level deck area where I could pray and await the rising sun fill the lake. Vivid autumn colored trees of yellows, reds, oranges and browns across the lake filled my eyes. God’s beauty. I sat back in the Adirondack chair and closed my eyes and went into prayer for a while. Something pulled me out of prayer, perhaps a squirrel, bird, or the fresh smells of the woodland. As I opened my eyes, a mirroring of color started to extend out into the lake from the far shore. The sun was starting to rise, water rippling from quiet early canoeists, and my camera came off the arm of the chair, seemingly on its own to start reflecting the day into my memory.

As God’s light radiated into the water, I felt this warmth of interior power rise in me as it had earlier. The strength of God’s glory in Nature filled my soul and focused my mind on what was here. Now. In this moment. Time stood still and I with it. Mesmerized by the growing reflection of God’s beauty, I became one with it. Just rising and glowing with the power of the Sun. I remember taking pictures, but the lake drew me in. I padded down to the lake in my slippers, took off my shoes, and walked out onto the dock between the two docked boats, I lay on my stomach at the edge of the water and reached in. Cool, gentle ripples touched me and revived my heart. I pulled my hands back up and put them under my head as I lay there soaking up bird song, quiet rustle of trees, warmth of the radiate beams carries me away.

How can all that electronic noise fill my days? The Spirit touched my heart and brought me back to connections with every other human, rock, and the remaining stars. “See the Beauty in the moment, my Child, I heard in the wind. “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

I thanked the Lord for this moment, and I wondered though if I really needed to be in this place to feel this deep peace. Wasn’t it possible to just belong along with the rest of life in our own yard? God is everywhere. Give Glory to God even when it seems like there is no Earthly reason…wars, diseases, famine, elections, natural disasters, unkindness and cruelty. Because overriding it all is the One true Creator… who proclaimed it all Good. When you get right down to it all is well when you turn the day over to God.

Today:  Try one of these ways to be: Find five reasons to be grateful and write them down in a journal and tell God how much you Love Him because He Loves you without question. Put down your electronic devices for an hour or two. You will survive.  Take a walk around the neighborhood. Call a friend just because you can.

© 2020 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

What Nature Brings

Humility… comes with what Nature brings.  Beautiful sunshine gently kisses my eyes open seconds before my alarm.  Momentarily stunned by the “lots to do” bug, I pause. Just for the moment… breathe deeply and hear the music of the outside day beginning out to watch the sun fill in the shadows of our quiet room.  God’s immense plan will fill up with Beauty that day…despite the disappearing thoughts of “must do” plans that await.  

As I stir, a rippling cascade follows…Rascal lands 17 lbs. of loving terrier on my stomach and licks me right on the mouth til I opened my eyes, husband Roger snorts, (a cute snort😊) and cat leaps over everyone bounding to the floor. Nature calls…Walking down the hallway I step on something squishy. Afraid to look down, I hear a soft confirming purr right behind me.  Yep. Blake, our 16-year-old cat had left a message and follows the purr with a sharp nip to the leg. Breakfast, please. ME-Ow. Now.

As I dodge the cat under my feet, I glance into my office. Well laid out plans now lie wet under the cat’s new play toy…the tipped over once yummy banana smoothie drips onto my rolltop desk. The cat must have been hungry to go after that. Okay. This is what You’ve got in mind. Reminding me once again Who is in control, I see God’s wonderful sense of humor starting to shape the day.  Fun… I have to laugh. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Our patriotic red, white and blue beta Fred sulks in his house located on top of the file cabinet by the office desk. Somehow, inside his tank, he knows he is the last to be fed. Our life sometimes seems like that fish tank… As I reach inside to put in his food, Fred makes a beeline for my hand. I get the strangest feeling this little beta would just love to chomp on my hand for being a little tardy. Agendas are made, but God has Work for us to do through our day, and we don’t stop to see nourishing life-giving Beauty hidden inside the endless things to do in the tank, uh, Life. That is, until we are given a Nudge. The Sun shines its rays of Beauty.

While my boys eat, I visit our backyard to enjoy Solitude of prayer. I turn on the bubbling rock fountain, settle in the comfy deck chair, and close my eyes to hear to Grand Nature’s music rise in my heart. The sweet song from our new “renters” of our old wren house fills my ears. Freshly mowed grass and soft breezes tickling the wind chimes rest in my senses. All Nature is flowing together…rabbits “social distance” from each other chowing on the fresh clover…squirrels fill up on leftovers from the birds, sun flowing through all the yard resting on the garden yet to be weeded…a tomato plant hints at birth of a green fruit on its lower limbs. I close my eyes to be with the Maker of this amazing day to come.

All is well. All will be well. God is in control. Awaken to the light, weeds co-exist with the roses. Our plans are not His. Praise God.

Today: listen quietly to the joyous music of the awakening day. Be still. Remember that whatever is in your world from child to grandparent, rock to planet, every bit of existence has the Christ in it. God created it. You can enjoy each and every bit of each moment.

© 2020 Bonnie L Smith-Davis