My heart has heard you say,
“Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
A few months ago I began taking Baby Steps toward wholeness and healing …healing from depression, anxiety and what I call ridiculous fears. Many steps — some small, some large — but some of the best steps have literally been pounded out in sneakers on walking trails on Sabbath Rest days.
Simply walking. Being present. Enjoying the moment. Listening to the Spirit.
Last Saturday I found myself walking down paths surrounded by blankets of wildflowers …flowers just doing what God made them to do …nudged by the Creator to reappear year after year in the season for which they were made. (Thank you, Richard Foster, for inspiring me through your words and helping me to have this perspective!)
In these places, it’s as if my own heart can hear the Father say …
“Come and walk with me. Listen. Enjoy the beauty I created for you. Rest. Meander.”
And worship services don’t have to be in buildings with walls and a roof made by man. Tall pines and strong oaks can serve as walls with a roof of blue sky …and white puffy clouds as natural umbrellas …logs instead of padded pews …and a light source from the sun streaming down–creating beautiful rays of glory all around.
And the order of service can be perfectly created by the Holy Spirit …a walk through His creation …a Divinely orchestrated, reading in just-the-right-chapter of a book.
And the book from a friend who knows me well …Hinds Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard is like reading my own story.
In her beautiful allegory, the character, Much-Afraid, “wonders about the wildflowers …”
“It does seem strange that such unnumbered multitudes should bloom in the wild places of the earth where perhaps nobody ever sees them and the goats and the cattle can walk over them and crush them to death.” (Hannah Hurnard, Hinds Feet on High Places)
and the Chief Shepherd responded …
“Nothing my Father and I have made is ever wasted … They offer themselves so sweetly and confidently and willingly, even if it seems that there is no one to appreciate them.”
(Hannah Hurnard, Hinds Feet on High Places)
And the questions came as the Holy Spirit guided down another trail …
Who decides whether someone is valuable? acceptable? worthy of honor? useful? needed?
What performance says we’re good enough, important or significant enough to warrant real beauty?
One of my favorite things to do is make my annual Spring pilgrimage to the local garden center at Lowe’s for beautiful flowers. With great anticipation, I look over every pallet of beautiful flowers that have been carefully and intentionally planted just for us. These flowers come with a $ value stamped on them because someone deemed them worthy and acceptable flowers for display in flower beds. They made the cut. They somehow out performed the others.
Scattered seeds …sprouting more thoughts.
There are people in our community that are subtly deemed “worthy” …worthy to be displayed before the world …worthy of better jobs …worthy of greater respect …worthy of love. These are the people who get to go on display for all the world to see …to see their victories and accomplishments, their beautiful homes and family gatherings. These seem to be labeled the “acceptable flowers”.
But then there are others …the “wildflowers” I’ll call them. They tend to pop up in all the wrong places without plan or purpose, often being weeded out to make room for what has been decided acceptable.
But who’s to say? Who has the authority to really classify who is acceptable?
And ironically, God speaks through another Hannah to answer …
The Lord sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.
from I Samuel 2 (NIV)
And these wildflowers …they just go about their business of being what God made them to be whether anybody sees them or not …whether they are acknowledged as “acceptable” or not …whether they are “loved” or not …whether anyone seems to care or not.
And the beautiful array of the seemingly insignificant speaks significance.
We are all created by God …
“…for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
He loves us all …wild or not …rich or poor.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God cares for us all. He cares about our coming and our going.
And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? Matthew 6:30 (NLT)
God uses us all … each of us in our perceived weaknesses or strengths to be like a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
And maybe you feel unnoticed …unseen …not needed …unworthy …behind the scenes …below the radar. Take a walk with Jesus today. Listen to His voice speak love and worth over you …significance.
If you feel no one would even notice if you showed up …He cares! He sees! He loves you and you matter to Him!
And if you feel what you’re doing never seems to get noticed or appreciated or valued or compensated for your labor, know this …
Maybe our most prolific display is when we’re more like the wildflowers …springing up when it’s our season …just doing what God made us to do whether anybody sees us or not.
You may feel alone but you are not alone! God is with you. He is making something beautiful in and through you!
Take heart my friend! God sees! He is using you in ways you can’t even imagine. You matter to Him! He is working in and through you for your good and His glory! And consider this …
“…but always their greatest victories are like the wild flowers, those which no one knows about.” (Hannah Hurnard, Hinds Feet on High Places)
*Wildflower photos were taken at the Hays Nature Preserve, Huntsville, Alabama . Thank you for meandering down the trails with me!
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and thanks for the book my friend! 😉
You once told me as we walked “make it personal”. Walks are the perfect personal time with Jesus to sort out “the mess” of life. Love you, Joy. xoxo
Oh how I miss our walks Michele ! Love you too, dear friend.
Beautiful post, Joy. Meandering paths full of worship. He loves us all, wild or not, rich or poor. Everything seen by God, nothing wasted. Yes.
And Faith Todd gave me the book, Jan ;-). We truly are walking together. Thanks.
Awesome sweetness! This was great and oh so true and spoke to my heart. I’ve always been a wild one I guess. Seems like I’m comfortable this way too. It’s hard for others to understand but I know He does. If I start comparing my journey with others I sometimes get sad that I don’t get to stay put and really blossom, however He is teaching me my seasons are short and I have to bloom where He sends me and seek Him where I’m at. Sometimes my walks are so incredibly beautiful they take my breathe away and I think He does this on purpose to remind me of His constant presence. Keep writing…it’s beautiful. Miss you!
Wendy Payne, I miss you. I love your travels and wandering wonderfulness 🙂 … God has you just where you need to be. You are a special flower to me . Love you friend. Thanks for reading and meandering with me.
Wow…… Such precious, encouraging and uplifting words… Thank you Joy. You continue to be a huge blessing in our lives. I always feel so special after reading your “lifegivingmoments”…. Love and blessings.
Thank you Bernice! I know we both share a love of flowers and God’s goodness through His creation. So thankful for the Holy Spirit’s work. Love you.