RETREATS IN GRATITUDE FOR THE SOUL
Have you ever really taken a moment or a good chunk of time to contemplate God's creations? The more I do this, the more I am just in absolute awe at His creative mind and power.
His attention to intricate detail
of things like flowers.
or the June bug I saw in Costa Rica
...of the creation of clouds
that so thankfully cover or filter the sun on a hot day. Seriously! If you were creating a world for your children, would you think,
"that ball of fire and gas might make them pretty hot when their location is tilted and pointed towards it. I better think of something that can cover it's rays sometimes. Hmm.... what could I put in the sky that could do that? It has to be something that floats in the atmosphere of course. Oh! Good thing science is one of my favorite subjects! Water can float when it's in its gas state. Perfect! They'll love these clouds of water droplets on a hot day."
Or....maybe the clouds were just a byproduct of God's precipitation plan for recycling water on the Earth. But even if He didn't actually create the clouds with the intent to cover the hot sun for us, I can feel the same appreciation for Him by contemplating the way the water cycle works! Incredible planning and forethought!
...of the creation of the human body
I often am astounded by how all of the organ systems in our body work together so well! Especially at this time of the widespread Covid-19 virus, I have pondered much on the forethought God put into giving our bodies a way to protect itself against pathogens through the creation of antibodies.
The human body is absolute evidence to me that there is a God.
His own experience and knowledge
that led to His desire to send His spirit children to Earth to have their own experiences and gain their own knowledge and seek after truth.
I sit here in a secret garden, designed by man, inspired by God I'm sure, writing this portion of this post. I came to this 200 acre fully designed garden, Thanksgiving Point for the first time without kids today. I've always longed for time here. Time where I'm not being pulled from one section to another, kids complaining of being hungry or thirsty. Only me and my super contemplative mind today. I was elated to find the secret garden completely empty as I walked in. It was my hope. It was what I had envisioned beforehand. Today is a discounted day and I wasn't sure this hope could be fulfilled with the possible crowd of others partaking in the discount, but I still hoped. God willing, it being the hottest part of the day, I was blessed to be the only one brave enough to be exploring this part of the acreage... for a while. I sat myself down in the shade of one of the quaint little alcoves and decided I wanted to capture this grateful moment forever in writing and photo.
So here I sit, listening to the fountain splattering...I have a thing with the sound of moving water. It takes my soul to thought provoking places. And I ponder about this incredible experience of finally being able to realize my dream of spending time in this garden alone. Free from any distractions. Time to think. To feel overwhelming gratitude for experiences like this in my life.
I notice all the details of the plants, how healthy they look. Around this point, a garden employee came in and hand watered the planter in my alcove, which caused me to think of all the effort that goes into maintaining a beautiful garden space like this. Gratitude flowed out for all the workers and volunteers who made this experience possible for me, who contributed to up keeping such a beautiful area for me to ponder in.
I have to say, there are certain places and situations that seem to instantly give me the opportunity to ponder on gratitude and truth. Places that invite a spirit of learning and growth. The secret garden was one of those places, and this incredible fairy garden- like hiking path in Glacier National park that I got to experience this past weekend was another. The moment I came upon it, I had to sit on a log and give thanks to God for allowing me to spend time in this quiet, fern and moss, Red Cedar and Hemlock haven for my soul.
I imagine I'm not alone in my desire to spend time in these retreats, but with the busyness of life, you're probably thinking, "When would I ever have time to find myself in these places on a regular basis and sit long enough to do this kind of pondering?"
We all have the same 24 hours a day. We decide how we use that time. I promise that if having this kind of retreat to connect your spirit to God and truth is important to you, you will know how to make time for it.
We don't need to leave our home to have a place to ponder, think on truths and feel gratitude. We can go there in our mind. I'm sure you've been in a place that just absolutely spoke to your soul. Put on some calming music, (I search "meditation music" on YouTube) and practice visualizing that place. Go there and just open your mind to thoughts that come. If you want, you can even open with a prayer and ask if Christ can sit there next to you. You can ask Him questions, and see how He answers. I truly believe I have received some very helpful truths in this way that have guided my life. I have definitely felt an overflowing of gratitude at times during this practice. I always take the time to tell Him thank you for being there and often express gratitude for certain things that I'm feeling extra grateful for. I usually precede or follow this type of visualization with scripture study or reading of good books so that I can be in a place spiritually to receive and be led to truths.
It is experiences like this, when we afford ourselves time to ponder, to enjoy our surroundings, especially alone, I have found, that we can truly dig deep to learn more about ourselves and our connection with God and feel abundant gratitude for His creations.