Heat, humidity, and July activities are sure signs that we are in the depths of Summer! It is in July when I secretly long for the arrival of Fall, anticipating less sticky and slower days. The celebrations this time of year are always a welcome blessing, yet I can tolerate only so many hot dogs and hamburgers before I begin to crave homemade soup.
Perhaps the biggest challenge I have during this time is that I grow another year older. To change things up a bit, I gave God my birthday this year. Enjoying a Sabbath Day at my local retreat house, I devoted the day to the one who gave me life. One cannot argue with a day off work, quiet time for prayer, and even an hour spent on mindful creativity. It all sounded wonderful until I checked in, looked around, and muttered to myself, “why am I here?”.
As per usual on the sacred grounds of this place, God did not waste any time in responding as He guided me to a journal entry written in March of this year.
Settled on an outdoor bench beside a water fountain, I set my phone on silent, closed my eyes, and basked in the glorious sounds of nature. I opened my eyes only to glimpse a bird bathing in the waterfall. The water looked refreshing as the bird immersed its face and then fluttered about to cover its wings. Seemingly enjoying the water feel, yet staying only long enough to fulfill its purpose.
I figure God must have given the bird reason to stay and enjoy for that brief moment, and perhaps the same would happen to me. The sound of the water invigorates my soul, allowing me to close my eyes once more, relaxing my body and spirit.
Not having a schedule for the day felt strange. However, lunch served at a specific time helped me to stay on track. Following my silent meal, I made my way to the creativity room. Intimidated by the urge to want to create a masterpiece, I let my mind go back to the sounds of the fountain.
The peacefulness of this day was proving to be fruitful in many ways. I felt connected to God, the sacred place, and my spirituality. Then it happened. I checked my phone to see what time it was, only to glimpse a special email gift. Staring at the screen, I debated whether or not I should open it. After all, I promised myself I would not look at anything outside the present moment. The Holy Spirit then gave me a nudge as I realized I was reacting within the confines of the here and now.
Inhaling a deep breath, I clicked the email, and there it was, the final approval and release form for my novel. This retreat house, a gift unlike any other, served as the epicenter when God revealed His plan for Bella’s Beautiful Miracle. A flurry of emotions befell as I considered the length and breadth of Bella’s journey.
I hesitated only for a moment, unsure if I wanted to sign in the presence of family or bring this to fruition in the sacred space where it all began. I dove into a prayerful conversation with God, and within minutes, I printed the page, signed my name, and scanned it back to the publisher.
Breathing in the stillness of the accomplishment, years of work, and God’s influence, I was carried away on the flowing current of God’s Grace. It was only after the initial shock wore off that I realized an inscription on the pen holder upon the library desk.
I pray God will continue sending opportunities my way which reveal His Goodness and Glory! One way I know for sure is always to consider if the action, consideration, or event is pleasing to and praising God.
On a side note, that particular email was the only one that came as an alert on my phone that afternoon. A reminder to pay attention to heart nudges, as they are often gifts and insights from the Holy Spirit.