It’s the Little Things

“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.” Luke 12:27 (NLT)

As we drove in from church today, I mentioned to Dale that our yard is a sea of dandelions after the rain we have had off and on this past week. They are a part of summer and like gray hairs, if you pull one, six more will show up.

After dinner, I went to walk. The air was a bit cooler than earlier and it was refreshing to be outside. Flies and bees were floating around, dive bombing the bushes and weeds.

Across the driveway, I looked at the woods.

This view always fascinates me. It is a small incline that gently slopes into the woods. I am always half expectant to see a bear come walking up there, but know that would not be possible during the day time as there is too much activity in the area.

I looked at the grouping of dandelions across the road. They were bunched together and I actually did thank the Lord for them.

My walk habit is to walk up our driveway and make a sweeping turn by this view. As I turned to go back down our driveway, something caught my eye (no, it was not a bear). I saw a glimpse of purple in the midst of the yellow.

On my return to the end of the driveway I went across to examine more closely what I thought I saw. There at the top of a stem was a little purple flower. We tried to take a picture of it, me, several times and then I had Dale come out to try. We ended up picking the flower and trying once it was plucked and in a vase of water.

The result is a bit fuzzy, but this flower, 3/8 of an inch, was beautiful. A lavender color on the petals and bright yellow in the stamen. The detail was exact, a perfect little blossom.

I looked at this tiny flower. It was hard to see while walking. Driving by it would be missed completely. To see it, you have to stop and look closely. Yet, God, the ultimate artist, created a small detail in nature, knowing it would be unnoticed except for a lady bug or bee.

God is a careful creator. He takes the small things, things we mostly think are insignificant and He makes them beautiful. He does this in nature, and He does this for each of us.

A Random Memory

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” Psalm 68:5 (NLT)

My time of walking is a time for prayer, a time to reflect and often it is a time when random things pop into my head. Today was no different.

What happened today was a memory of my Dad. I don’t often write about my Dad, I don’t know why. I have always looked like my Dad’s side of the family. I have the same unibrow he had, and I now yell at the television like he did. I like to walk like he did. There are many similarities. He was a quiet man. Conversations weren’t always easy with him. He died suddenly which was a shock to everyone. The above scripture is one the Lord gave me on the flight home from his funeral.

The random memory was about a time I spent with my Dad on an early Sunday morning, years ago. I have always been a horrible sleeper. One night must have been one of those nights that I kept my parents up also. This is how I remember the events of that early Sunday morning.

My Dad walked into the bedroom I shared with my younger sister. He said that since I was awake, I might as well get up and dressed to go to early mass. The early mass was at 5:30 a.m.

I got dressed in my new Easter jacket (a short white one, and a red rose covered headband) and off we went in the dark. After mass, the sun was just rising. We drove past our house and continued on to the cemetery. He parked at the far edge of the cemetery and we got out to walk. I had never been there before and honestly, I don’t know if I have ever gone back to that point since.

Spring flowers were just blooming. I remember holding onto my Dad’s hand and listening to him talk. I can’t remember what he said, I just have the memory of his voice talking to me. I felt so special in that moment.

We got to the edge of a hill and watched as the sun continued to rise. Below us ran the Allegheny River, hard to see at first, but glistened as the sun hit it . The sun woke the birds and they chirped as daylight began.

There were few moments like this with my Dad. It was a different time and generation. Dad’s were the quiet head of the houses. They were stern and catered to.

Later in my life, this man became the single parent to three daughters. How strange that must have been for him. I am certain he felt overwhelmed and at a loss as to what to do. But, he was steadfast in being there. Not always saying or doing things correctly, but he was a constant.

As I walked this morning, I realized that our Heavenly Father is a constant also. He is a father to the fatherless. I felt this morning that it has been too long since I walked hand in hand with Him. Like normal families, we often dash in to grab a quick snack only to dash out again to be on our way. Our Heavenly Father is understanding, but I feel like He longs for us to stop, talk, crawl up into His lap and listen as His voice fills our being with knowledge that we are special.

A Path to Walk on

“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” Amos 3:3 (NLLT)

While living in San Diego I had two friends that ended up being walking partners. The three of us didn’t walk together, but for a season I walked with one on a paved path around a lake. It was a big lake and we only made it around the entire lake once or twice.

My other walking partner and I lived closer together and we walked on a dirt pathway around a small lake by both of our homes.

These times together were wonderful. They were times when friendships deepened. It was a time when confidences were shared and prayed about. I cherish the memories of these times.

This morning one of my walking friends called. As usual, it was an uplifting conversation. After we hung up, she texted me a quote on friendships and thanked me for the conversation. I replied that all we needed was a path to walk on.

After I hit send, it occurred to me that friends always have a pathway to walk on, even if it is long distance. When a gift of a friend is given to you, the Lord already has a plan for the two of you. The longevity of a friendship determines the length of the path you have walked together. It also makes you look forward to the path ahead of you.

Friendships are a gift. These gifts are different, each of them. They are like sweaters hanging in a closet. One may be for cold weather and hard times, these are sturdy sweaters. Some are for warmer weather and happier times, these are light and breezy sweaters. But, we always have our old faithful sweaters that are worn through each season and provide comfort when they are put on.

I am blessed to call many, friend. Each is a gift to me. Each hold precious memories that hold a special place in my heart.

We are unique and individual. The same is true for the path we walk with friends. Some paths have gone up steep mountains that eventually lead to refreshing mountain streams. Some paths have been dark and full of thorns and thickets. These are difficult pathways that need help in navigating. Other paths lead to coffee shops or restaurants for gentle conversations and laughter. Some paths are quiet paths, where conversation is muted and still and peaceful.

I have walked many of these pathways through the years. Today’s conversation reminded me that distance does not change a friendship, it only changes the look of the path in front of you.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)

Another Confession, (sigh…)

I am a human. I am learning. Most of the time, I am relearning because I didn’t learn the first time. I have often said that the Lord has a sledge hammer with my name on it beside His throne of grace. I often picture Him sighing, and leaning over and picking it up once more to whap me upside the head so that I will get the message. It is a well worn hammer, I picture it worn on both sides from use.

For years, I have opened my eyes in the morning and thanked the Lord for the new day. Often I will remember to put on the armor of God. I always say, ‘I give this day to You, Lord, it is Yours.’ That sounds so lovely, doesn’t it? I almost sound like I am in tune with God.

And then… (There is always that statement.) I begin to tell the Lord what I am going to do with my day. I like to be organized and fit as much as I can in each day. The same is true in walking. Each lap, I pray for particular people. I am regimented. There has to be order.

This morning I started my walk, one lap, two laps, and on the third lap I heard it. “STOP! You are doing it again. ” It took a few seconds for the message to get to my brain. Again, I am making certain that I am doing everything I THINK I need to do. I overcompensate in almost every area. I confess it.

Once more my Lord leaned over about to grab that sledge hammer. Like a dog learning obedience I stopped and gave a sad puppy look to heaven.

I often tell others that they are enough, just like they are. They don’t need to strive because our Lord loves them, knows the number of hairs on their head, and even those in the hairbrush, that our Lord sings for joy over them each morning. I can believe that for others.

After realizing that I was once more trying to ‘do’ what I felt was right. What I was doing was rote, I heard, “Just walk. You are missing Me in trying to accomplish your list.”

I spent the rest of the walk silently walking. I remembered how I have had conversations with so many where I couldn’t get a word in edgewise and yet, here I have been doing that with our Lord. Prayer is a conversation.

So, I end with this. Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for not listening. Forgive me for not allowing You to move in my day the way You desire. Forgive me for not seeing my worth in You. I love you Lord.

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118: 24 (NLT)