I really love being outside on a warm day. I love to feel the sun on my face. I love to feel
the breeze blowing on my skin and through my hair. I love the sounds of the birds
chirping and the rustling of leaves. I love seeing the green grass and trees and the
colorful flowers. To me, being outside is a beautiful gift. It grounds me. If I’m feeling
anxious, a walk outside gives me hope and calms my anxious thoughts. The simple act
of just being outside almost always points my thoughts away from myself and turns
them toward God.
If we’re honest, most of us struggle with anxious thoughts occasionally. For me, being
outside reminds me of simpler days when I was a child. Warm days in the Deep South
at home in my yard or roaming my neighborhood.
One of my fondest repetitive memories I have of childhood is digging in the dirt on the
side of our carport and making mud pies. A little tin pie plate, a pile of dirt, rocks, water,
and a shovel would keep me occupied for hours. Even if it was raining, I was protected
under the carport, and I could go outside and play. I made thousands of mud pies. I
imagined they were real and made all kinds of pies for all kinds of people. I used rocks
for nuts, leaves for decoration, sticks for added ingredients, and for writing messages on
top. It was quite an operation. And I was, as my grandmother used to say, “As happy as
a lark” or as, “Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.” But that’s just gross, so I’ll stick
with the first visual.
It’s no surprise to me that as an adult, I love to cook, and I also love gardening. I cook
almost every day, so even though I love it, it can get tiresome. I don’t really meal plan,
but I do try to have meals on hand that I can choose from to cook. Sometimes, my lack
of meal planning results in me having to come up with something with the ingredients
we have on hand. If my family likes the results, I have often said, “Well, enjoy it now,
because I’ll probably never have all these ingredients again to make it!” Ha! It kind of
reminds me of being on an episode of Chopped. Just without the crazy ingredients and
Gardening, however, is different. Gardening, especially having a small garden for food,
is seasonal. Since I can only do it during one part of the year, it’s special. I look forward
to the day I can start preparing the soil in my little salsa garden. I look forward to taking
that trip to the garden center to pick my young plants. I look forward to the day I get to
put my hands in the soil at my home and plant those young plants. I look forward to
getting the seeds from the Marigolds we got from our dried flowers in the Fall. I enjoy
watching the plants and the flowers grow and begin producing fruit. I love the pleasure
fresh peppers bring to my husband’s spicy pallet. I love garden fresh tomatoes. I love
the bright, happy yellow marigolds. It grounds me. And yes, “I’m as happy as a lark.”
Just like taking a walk, gardening helps me to take the focus away from myself and
points me toward God. It really causes me to worship. There’s something about feeling the soil and thinking about all the information that a little seed holds that forces me to think of the sovereignty, wisdom, and love of God. I can see His good design so clearly. The same way that I can see it when I hold a newborn baby and take in that new baby smell. Why does a newborn’s head smell so good? Why is that scent so heavenly to me? This sight and smell also point me to heaven and cause me to worship! I can’t help it! I’m as happy as a lark.
One day as I walked around the park in my neighborhood, the Holy Spirit directed my
thoughts toward God’s provision. This verse of Scripture just kept playing over and over
again in my mind.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In myJohn 14:1-3
Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go
to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come
again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
I looked around as I was walking, and I thought about each time I had brought a baby
home from the hospital and how we prepared a place for that addition to our family. The
gifts from friends and family. The diapers and the wipes. The bed and the bedding. The
clothes, hooded towels, and baby blankets. The washing and cleaning. The pacifiers
and car seat. The little socks and burp cloths. And the anticipation of that little one
joining our clan and what they would look and be like. We prepared a place for them.
And then I looked around at the trees, grass, and flowers. I thought about the seeds and
the tender plants in my own yard. I thought about all the seeds one tiny plant produces
and their potential to multiply into other plants and flowers. Here, on earth, before there
was one human being, God prepared a place for us. For me! And Genesis tells us, “It
was good.” And even after the Fall of man into sin, the glimpses He gives us of His
creation proclaim His Goodness! Creation is good, even in its fallen state, though it is
marred because of sin because God is good!
Then my mind went to Jesus’ words in the text that I mentioned above, “I go to prepare
a place for you.” I began to think, if I can see the goodness of God in this sin-sick sin-
marred world and it causes me to worship brothers and sisters, can you imagine what
heaven will be like?! The very Son of God, Christ, the perfect Savior of the world, is
there, and He is preparing it for us. And He is also preparing us for it.
I cannot imagine, but I try to! But I know that if I can see glimpses of His goodness by
walking in the park, that causes me to worship here in this place. If making mud pies as
a child grounded me. If the smell of a newborn baby’s head and planting a salsa garden
cause me to worship in this prepared place. I know in heaven, in that ultimate prepared
place, I won’t be able to do anything but worship! Every sight will point me to His
goodness and provision! Every person will feel exactly the same! Pure, unhindered,
can’t help myself, WORSHIP!
And I think, I’ll be happier than a lark; there’ll be no dead pigs there.