Gratitude—Learning all over again the gift of being still and without words, pausing to get new perspectives so I’m not stuck in the old habits, to remember I’m a human being, not a human doing. In the quiet I receive nourishing love from the Source of all goodness. Energized then and encouraged, I’m ready for the routines of the day. Ah, the dew of silence, the wine of stillness!
It’s time to tame the wilderness, weeding out the bad and the wrong. Time to plant the good and the right, transforming all the spaces into a place of delight, the Hebrew meaning for Eden.
There is the wilderness of my body, ravaged by toxins, negative thinking and emotions, past traumas, too many antibiotics, poor foods and soil, so many factors.
There is the wilderness of my soul, learning to leave negative ways of thinking and feeling behind and to plant new thoughts and actions of love in all the devastated cracks and crevices, guided by the Divine Gardener.
There is the spiritual wilderness where in the past the road’s scary twists and turns bred ignorance and discouragement in my relationship with God and in a meaningful expression of family and faith community.
There is the social wilderness, how to stay truly connected to people I have bonds with…the wilderness of texting, facebooking, busyness, inner and outer pressures of conformity to cultural expectations.
And there is the literal land we will be moving to, a raw wilderness needing to be transformed into a safe place with garden spaces, work and prayer spaces, play spaces, where humans, creatures, and the land dwell together—not greedy plundering but restoring land and people to purposes of beauty and fruitfulness.
My new perspective on unwanted symptoms, financial challenges, relationship tensions has been formed from time with Jesus, teaching me the strength of truths I’ve not noticed enough in the past. I’ve come to rely on the wisdom and counsel that His Spirit gives, the compassion and healing love He shows me, and the security of my heavenly Father’s protection and watchfulness over my details.
In these times of retreat with Jesus, I relate to Him right where I am at, not waiting for a Sunday sermon, however wonderful it may be, or a how-to quick fix book to help me figure out a way forward past pain, regrets, demands, whatever I’m facing. It’s a 24/7 faith, good for the road, good for home.
So in light of that fact, I was dealing with some troubling breathlessness that began when I was on anti-anxiety medication I no longer take. With food allergies it seems like a moving target to figure out if a spice or food might have triggered the reaction. Lately it’s hard to determine what might disturb my body.
I felt tired too, not sleeping well the night before, so I laid down for a brief nap. I prayed for wisdom for how to be free of the breathless feelings. Immediately I could see myself being given a ‘breathing treatment’ by Jesus, joyful and unworried, attending me. Is that too weird for you? I probably wouldn’t have shared it except that I got great results. For a few minutes, eyes closed and heart at rest, I fell into a deep but very short sleep. When I got up, the breathlessness was much reduced and I had great energy to work tirelessly at some overdue projects the rest of the afternoon and on into the evening.
Healing is uneven and yet it is growing, despite the fragile nature of adrenals and thyroid out of sync. I no longer define my life by negatives or symptoms. My job is to pay close attention to details of new life. Not ignoring but just not defining life in terms of the negatives.
Sure, I don’t always know what to do or where to go. But I have a sure Leader in the wilderness, who is teaching me how to stay focused on the new life, letting the old life fade away as we build, plant, sometimes change directions, tear down, and pause frequently to assess, to rest, to be grateful, to replenish hidden wells.
Let’s downplay mistaken virtues of rush and hurry. Take a deep breath; let it out slow and sure. Look around and see all the gifts in the day—goodness flowing from someone’s smile, a kindness done, a listening ear, patience with whackingly obvious flaws, favor, open doors, summer-luminous clouds riding through azure blue, a hug from a child, an encouraging word from a seasoned person who has seen many summers come and go and knows what matters most.
All that we need is set before us to make the wilderness thrive and become a place of Eden delight. For those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to receive, faith to take action.
Watch it—Eden emerges from the very wilderness we thought would do us in.
What’s your wilderness? What’s your Eden?