Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Petals in my Hammock

Rest - Peace - Abiding - Retreat - Renewing - Be Still -------- and know...
It's what God is relentlessly laying before me.
"But Lord..." (i try and say) "there is so much to be done, things to be sold, details to attend to, meetings to plan, heart matters to deal with... (like leaving my mostly grown children who reflect the shape of my heart, and my favorite red bone hound dog who is love covered in fur)."
I love to make out lists and check off the accomplishments for the day.
It feels like the time was used more wisely when the list is completed and body is tired from the work accomplished.

But God ---- God is saying something VERY different to me these days.

"Be with Me...", "Listen for My voice...", "Rest IN Me...", "Stop 'doing' and start 'being'...",  "What I can accomplish in and through you is much greater if you sit with Me, than what you can accomplish if you do not..."  oh - I must say that one again ---

"What I can accomplish in and through you is much greater if you sit with Me, than what you can accomplish if you do not..."

These are the certain whispers in my soul these days.

And so i am watching, listening, wondering (not wandering) ---- and because of Yahweh, i am hearing, seeing, and understanding more.

A beautiful hammock garden rests in the corner of our backyard.
It use to just be an ugly power pole we mowed around each week. The power pole stands as a support pole with a guide wire to another much larger pole required by the power company on our road. So removal of the pole was never an option. More than 20 years ago, Steve's sweet mother, Mary, gave us a tiny Wisteria plant from her garden. She commented the Wisteria would love clinging to the pole and covering it with cascading purple blooms; she knew the old pole bothered me. We planted the beautiful, tiny bush beside the ugly pole.

Some years later, the Wisteria has now covered the pole in such a way, that it actually looks like a Wisteria tree. Steve and i built a small covered area beside the pole to hang our hammock and planted more plants, then added a fire ring and finished it off with an aviary for our doves. The lone power pole is now surrounded by beauty and has become a favorite "hang out" for our family on cool evenings.

God makes the doves coo and the flowers bloom, God adds the fireflies and the stars, God sits in on the conversations around the fire ring and sends the breeze to rock us in the hammock. And this past week, in our garden haven --- God spoke to me again about resting in Him.

He covered the hammock with flower petals ----- as if to say ----- "I'm serious ---- come, rest, be with me, I'll pour out my beauty as you abide with me".

In a romantic gesture of love, a husband or wife might sprinkle flower petals in a bath or on a bed --- and the recipient would feel so treasured and wanted.
Likewise, I did not miss the gesture of love from God -- as He covered our hammock with His invitation to rest in Him.

I've never been in this "place" before.
I've always worked --- whether there was a job to be done or not --- i've managed to WORK. Working with a purpose - working to accomplish something - working to feel worthwhile -- working to please someone else or even myself.
There have been seasons when I had to work --- there was much to be done.
But there have also been days when I worked because it was a habit --- or worked because I thought someone would be displeased with me if i did not. Then i began to realize this mindset of work had silently transferred over to my thoughts towards God. Silently thinking the more i did, the more pleased He would be with me.
God is silencing that deadly lie.
God blesses us to be able to work and enables us to bless others through our work.
But is our "work" what matters most to Him?

The power pole garden reminds me of my grandfather. He was a minister. Good health was not something he enjoyed in his later years, after multiple heart attacks and open heart surgery, he could more often than not, be found at home, quietly "being". He walked his prescribed miles each day, but was not able to be active in the hustle of life around him. For me --- Pop was a place of steady love and deep wisdom. He was like the hammock under the power pole. The power pole represents the ugliness of the heart disease he endured. The hammock garden is the result of how Pop chose to respond to the immovable object. Many times, even in my teen years, I would stop by my grandparents' home, and pour out my heart to him. I'd ask him deep theological questions and then ask him silly teenage struggle questions -- he listened and responded to both with great care. He spent much time with God, like petals in a hammock. He always had a response for me that would enable me to walk more closely with God. He never told me what to do - not once. He never tried to impose his opinion - not once. He never acted as if he had answers ---- but instead he always referred to the One who had the answers and would guide me to His ways. Pop was a living example of ----- "being" not "doing". For someone who was looking for impressive appearances, my Pop would have been passed by. But for someone looking for God's truths, my Pop was like a hammock filled with flower petals.

What do you believe matters most to God?

Is it "what" we do --- or "how" we do it?
Is it how "much" we do?
Is it how good or impressive it "looks"?
Does God measure the outward appearance of a matter?
Or does He measure the motives of the heart?

I use to believe accomplishing much would cause God to be more pleased with me. And so I worked like a honey bee on a spring day -- trying - hoping - striving.
As God prepares me for the days ahead ---- He is making Himself very clear.

He is speaking through the petals on my hammock.
He's reminding me of days on Pop's porch.
He is speaking through His Word.
He is a good, good Father.

"He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

"Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10 (Amplified) 

"Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
      loving look at me, your High God,

      above politics, above everything
."  Psalm 46:10 (The Message)

Photo taken by my Steve of our flower filled hammock compliments of God.


  1. Mungu Akubariki meme Mama Mike.
    This speaks loudly in it's display of peace. You have touched my heart and caused tears to flow. Thank you for being a woman and and a wife who pauses to listen, for being a Mary instead of a Martha and for choosing what is better in this life.
    I love you madly,

  2. what do you do when you get squirmy? when the "doer" in you surfaces while you're trying to be still?

  3. Thank you my sweet Steve. :)

    Jenn -- that's a tough one -- but for me -- i tell God - openly - i "tattle tale" on the "doer" and ask God to hold me in His place. Focus on all that is true, right, good, pure, admirable, etc. - and thank Him lavishly for everything good and right in your world, in your heart, in your home, in your soul. Take those thoughts captive and hold them to an obedience that will allow you to remain in His lap.
    Then - when it's time to work - work intently - with more of HIM in the middle of it all. :) I love your heart dear Jenn.

  4. Donna, this is beautiful....I can so relate. I do not sit well. I am not good at JUST BEING. I know God is teaching me that patience is what I need but I'm so bad at it. However, everytime I give HIM my time, give my life time to reflect on what HE has given me, I am given such peace, hope and energy. Thanks for sharing your heart. It was a beautiful way for me to start my day and move on to my bible study. Love you much!