Posts Tagged: stillness

Escaping Depression: Finding peace in nature

Matthew 14:13 Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself. . .

I have had two experiences in the woods since my son’s death and they both have lifted my spirits. How many times do I stay cooped up in the midst of depression expecting the walls to suddenly stop closing in on me?

Nature is never walled in. It is wild and open and filled to the brim with stories of our maker. Jesus regularly retreated to refresh and spend time talking to God; he invited his disciples to do the same. The crowds were pressing in. Many times it is in exiting the confines of our daily rush hour and noise that we remember to listen and find contentment in God’s provision. I have lived in city areas most of my life, but the country hillsides of my birth have always drawn me into quietness. I love the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains! They are old and wise. They remind me of the paths I have already traveled, and question where I am going. They celebrate who I am and whose I am. These hills teach me that valleys are where most of my growth occurs. They teach me discipline, to listen better, and to breath deeply.

Do you have a place in nature that you are able to draw away to and find peace in the stillness?

Remembering My Son: Because he lived I am changed

John 16:20-24 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Today our church celebrated All Saint’s Day by remembering our loved ones who have passed away this year. I have stood in remembrance for friends, but this year friends stood for my loss. Throughout the morning we were surrounded by hugs, tears, and love. While my husband and I sobbed we were not isolated in our grief. We knew that today would be hard, but no matter how much you brace yourself for the emotions you know are coming, grief is exhausting.

So how do I keep this moment from just being another day the band-aid is ripped off my healing heart? I take in a deep breath as I type this post and truly, deeply, remember my son. Because Jonathan lived I fell in love with Christ, and became a stronger person. Because he lived I returned to school. Because he lived I took better risks. Because he lived I found love I never knew existed. Because he lived I gave friendships a chance to blossom. Because he lived I took a chance again on dating and found my soul mate. Because Jonathan lived I write to help others. Because my son lived I ride rollercoasters! Because my son needed protection, I am learning to boldly advocate for those who have no voice. Because Jonathan laughed I laugh more deeply, and because he wrote, my writing became deeper.

Because my son lost sight of hope, I cling to it, nurture the hope in my heart and allow God at those places that I never have before. Because Jonathan has lived I want other teens to know their value. Because Jonathan suffered, I advocate for others who suffer illness. Jesus told us that we would have grief and loss, but because Jesus was with us, we are able to do amazing things! So, because Jonathan my beloved son lived, I take in another breath . . .and keep turning my page!

What the Woods Teach Me

Turn the Page:
Matthew 6:27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

My writing retreat was yesterday. Problem is, when I attempted to start my computer all I had was a blank screen. Now what? I pulled out my notebook to write and managed a page, but then crickets. Has it seriously been that long since I’ve written on paper that I have forgotten how?

I decided to take a walk in the unusual October warmth and read scripture as I walked. The retreat center has a twelve step prayer walk, so I decided to head into the woods and walk the path.

My brother, sister, and I spent a lot of time in the woods at my grandparents home. The sweet fragrance of Fall as I crunched through the leaves beneath my feet and the breeze through the trees took me back to childhood. The woods were a place of stillness for me. I was aware of the sounds around me, but time, well that was another matter. Time only existed as the sun began to set.

Now as an adult the woods have a calming effect. All of the anxiousness that I was feeling as I began my day, slipped away in the perfect provision of Christ. The deer I heard off to my right is provided for. The soil is replenished with the leaves the tree gives up. Seeds are planted to hide away during winter and wait for their reveal in Spring. The breeze prunes the dead branches and I stood at each prayer station aware of God’s provision for me.

God has a storehouse ready to supply my daily needs. He replenishes my soul, and he prunes the dead parts of my life. He sits with me in the woods and teaches me to just be.

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