Gentle and Lowly

The time of beauty that catches your breath and opens your eyes to the wonders of your surroundings. We all awaken to this beauty in our own way and in our own time. We craft this time, the time is given as a gift, and, sometimes, we are surprised by joy in the unexpected. The gentle breeze that caresses your face and catches your breath. 

It has been awhile since my mind has been clear enough to grasp the importance of noticing and breathing. Letting go of worry, fixing, and apologizing.

I’m here in this space because it was a gift to me from my friend Kim, I accepted and carved out the time, and while I’m here I’ve been so surprised by the beckoning of nature to heal. I’ve been in a rut. Stuck, but moving mountains. Hurting to the point of questioning worth and wonder. Can the wonderment of hope and all things new come alive again in the midst of continued loss and uncertainty? How did my friend see this need and instinctively provide?

Tears, anger, insecure, writing letters in my mind to those I love

Music, more tears, words spoken, pictures from the past pop up on social media

I read a poem from my book

“ I do not know why I’m still here

Or why I say anything at all

In a world spinning wildly with questions

Water circling in a thousand directions

My tired heart still beats

While I search for meaning

And I feel like an imposter

On some hero’s journey

I will trust that I matter

I am here

I live

I breathe

And I speak with curiosity

Existence is a mystery

But I will live my life with Intention” (Morgan Nichols)

Intention is pulling me forward. It’s awkward and strange and instinctively I’m drawn to say no and do what my body requires.  I walked to the water to find the sun setting on the day. The sun’s rays bring energy and I want to run.

Alone, I ran to the beach. I needed this time alone to breathe and take in the salt air. My body’s so worn, I can only run but so far until I take a deep breath and slow my pace. With the sun setting, I found an abundance of sea shells washed up–the gift of the sea. I saw children with their family flying kites and starfish. “Look at you!” All my life’s journeys to the beach I’ve searched for you! Here you are at this moment just for me and any other sea lovers. Are you alive? I thank you for showing up so gently and uniquely. Just in case, I throw you back into the sea to live. How can I take you from this sacred place of a million grains of sand holding you up.

As I walk further, I bend down to pick up shells when a majestic white dog with blue eyes comes beside me in an excited stance. She seems to ask, “What are you doing?” With no owner or leash, I only talk to her. Fear grips me, and I decide to be still and just look into her eyes. I have great respect for animals. I still see her deep blue eyes searching for her answer. She runs off. As quick as she rushed into my moment, she was gone.

The dog looked like this. I was not able to capture her beauty.

Travelling further down the beach, I saw the famous Nights In Rodanthe home. The sky was filled with color and vastness!

I decided to walk back to the house with my treasures. With groceries put away, we settle on a snack of pizza, crab dip, and crackers. 

While walking on the beach, I listened to an audio book Gentle and Lowly by Dane C. Ortlund. I’ve been so distracted when trying to listen that I tell myself to not start over again, just start wherever it is in the recording. I’m so glad I did. Chapter 3 was just what this soul needed. The perspective of God’s fullness being my relationship with Him was comforting. I reflected on the day’s events. The chapter shared the gentleness of God no matter how we come to Him. He knows our heart and wayward searching, and He never turns His head in disgust, but welcomes us into a loving relationship. 

“When we hold back, lurking in the shadows, fearful and failing, we miss out not only on our own increased comfort but on Christ’s increased comfort. He lives for this. This is what he loves to do. His joy and ours rise and fall together.” (Ortlund)

Ortlund’s writing references Hebrews. This book of the Bible shares the work of Jesus–the joy set before Him! His joy was to see us healed and whole. And, every time we come to Him we acknowledge and inspire His love. Our work becomes a visual representation of His love and mercy!

A friend of mine sent me a text with pictures. She tried two times to make a special cake for her husband’s birthday. Two times. I laughed and told her to get one of the guests to pick up a cake from the store and bring it to the dinner party. I know the feeling tied into perfection and relationships. I wondered how many times we can gently and lowly try again. I made this story a bit of a stretch metaphor to my life questions. I was in the shower praying when her pictures came to my mind. How many times Lord? How many times do you forgive and still show up with love instead of bitterness? Her family picture around the cake later that night with big smiles created an answer for me. It’s not really how many times, but how you will do it for the rest of your life, over and over again, with the knowledge of Christ’s love for you, and by the way, for them, too. My new book took me to a better place. It’s not that I’m not doing it right. It’s that I’m challenged to lean more into His love for me. It’s a given that I need Him, and every. single. time. he will be there for me with loving arms. I can’t look any place but to Him because every person in my life is on the same journey towards God. They can not offer me what He can so my self-concept and agency lives and thrives in Him alone.

The sun will rise tomorrow, and I will be given another day to hope, wonder, and love.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. ashleythomasrn says:

    What beautiful photos of a relaxing place surrounded by nature!
    What part of the obx were you in?
    WhTs the title of your new book!

    Liked by 1 person

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