I’m sure it will come as a surprise to no one that my days this summer have been a lot less about taking photos of nature and writing about them, and a lot more about taking photos of a certain darling little lady and writing in my journal about her first smiles or the first time she slept through the night.
But in between the midnight feedings and uncounted numbers of diapers changed, I still watch for the beauty outdoors, even if it’s only through the windows while I’m pacing through the house in an effort to soothe her cries on a fussy day. I don’t see many exotic things, but I do see the way the morning dew is glistening on the clematis or the way the light falls warm and soft across the field grass just before the sun sets—and these bits of loveliness are things that have fed my soul on days that adjusting to life with three small children under my care is a little on the overwhelming side.
The other thing that has fed my soul lately is the book of Psalms which we’ve been reading through, one a day at breakfast time—and chapter 36 is one of my recent favorites. May these excerpts from it, accompanied by these glimpses of my summer, feed your soul, too.“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings…They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights…For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.” (Psalm 36:7-9)
We were standing at the edge of a steep bank. Late afternoon sunlight slanted gold through pine branches over our heads, highlighting the moist hummocks of brilliant green moss creeping along the slanting forest floor. Below us, a river, satiated with a deluge of rapidly melting snow, rushed it’s wild, joyful way down to bigger waters. The music of its abundant fullness reminded me of this verse:
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:37-38)
A little river like this, wildly overflowing with springtime run-off, is exactly what I picture a life looking like as the fulfillment this verse. A life so brimful of Christ that it can’t even hold the goodness back—it pours out in utter abandon, literally gushing with the joy of it.
And the good news is: in our case, the source never diminishes like the banks of melting snow eventually will for this little river. The invitation is always open, the supply is endless. The only way we can possibly dry up is if we quit coming and drinking.
And how do you come and drink? It’s simple. Spend as much time as you can with Him. Read His Word. Talk to Him.
“Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
May the river of living water that flows from you as a result be one hundred times more wildly beautiful and joyful than this one.
I’m sitting here, gazing out the window, watching lazy flakes drift to the ground, gently highlighting the forms of dark spruce across the field. It seems strange that they’re forecasting temperatures above freezing for the next couple weeks, which means our world of white may soon be turning to soggy brown. But it’s March, after all, that indecisive in-between month that (where I live) is never quite winter, never quite spring.
With all this uncertainty, then, it seems like I’d better slip in this last ode to the beauty of winter before it’s too late—and with it, excerpts from a most appropriate psalm. “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting……He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly…
…He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes……He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold?…Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 147:1, 15-17, 20)
If you get a chance and need something guaranteed to lift your spirits (who doesn’t?), slip out your Bible and take a moment to read through this psalm in it’s entirety—I’ll just say that it’s not only about snow and ice, and it’s pretty magnificent!
Look what I shot the other day from the car window!
(No, no—not literally! You know, with the camera.)
We have an abundant population of ruffed grouse in our area, and we hear the males drumming frequently, but they’re rather skittish birds and challenging to photograph. So I was pleased when this one sat still and eyed me warily long enough so I could step on my brakes, roll down the window and take its portrait. (Hooray for country dirt roads where you can do that!) I didn’t have a telephoto lens on, so this isn’t exactly a close-up—but I can’t complain about the scenery he chose to pose in front of! Haven’t the daisies been gorgeous this year?!
I drove past the same spot the following week and everything was mowed back, chopped off low and rough for safety purposes. Even if my little grouse friend had reappeared, the photo could never have been the same again. Thinking about that, I was reminded of not just the fleetingness of photo opportunities, but of the golden opportunities that come our way in life, and these words of wisdom:
“Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Make the most of the opportunities you are given, whether great or small—you never know whether they may gone forever tomorrow!
“Then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord. For He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.” (Psalm 96:12-13)
We took a hike amongst these majestic 300+ year old trees recently, and I stood there and thought about what it might be like to hear this stately forest literally rejoice in anticipation of their Creator’s coming. Can you imagine? Kind of gave me goosebumps!