I Heard the Lord Call My Name
Recently, someone was spying on me while I was in my garden. But before I share who it was, I need to tell you why I was out there in the first place.
Because I’ve heard the Lord call my name often enough, and have learned by experience how rewarding it is to heed His voice, I now make more of an effort not to ignore His nudges like I tended to do when I was younger.
I’ve become more aware of His Presence and whispers as my bodily aches and pains have forced me to slow down a tad.
Aging is a second chance for spiritual intimacy with God.
An older body reminds us the end is closer than ever before, so we better be ready to meet our Maker. A middle-aged and beyond body can’t withstand the same busyness it once flourished under.
Busy. That’s an adjective which describes how I’ve been much of my life. Are you a busy person too? Do you bury yourself up to the eyeballs with busyness when you’ve discovered a new passion you want to explore to its farthest reaches? If you’re not, then I imagine you’re most likely friends with or married to someone who is. We can be difficult to live with—especially if someone wants to get our attention. Waking us out of our intense focus is akin to whistling to a deaf owl; you need to step up close and make eye-contact with us before we notice you’re in the room.
The upside of this super-charged focus is the ability to meet deadlines; the downside is a propensity to ignore God’s still small voice. And this is where getting older can become one of the biggest blessings; busy people are finally forced to do less and notice more.
Aging slows us down enough so that we’re primed
to experience a second-honeymoon with our Creator.
Although I’ve made it a habit to start the day out slowly by spending quiet time with God, once I’m off my knees I tend to take off like a bird does from a tree. But God is gracious and compassionate; He tends to give me a heads-up early enough so I notice He’s calling my name before it’s too late to tend to whatever it is He’s asking me to do.
One such moment came when I heard the Lord whisper to me I needed to spend some time raking leaves in my garden. I’d been sick, and while my nose had run, the fall leaves had dripped all over my lawns. Leaving them there would suffocate the green and waste the crumbly mulch I loved to make from the fruit of autumn’s trees. My perennial borders and vegetable garden appreciate a blanket of leaf mold or compost each year too. But my lawns detest being smothered.
I sighed and promised myself I didn’t have to overdo it. Just get out there and spend an hour at the most before returning to the house.
It’s not that I don’t like working in my garden; I don’t like switching focus. I was happily writing poetry and prose and editing pictures and whatnot. But I knew the still small Voice had a reason for reminding me I needed fresh air and exercise—love.
God’s love nudges us to take care of ourselves.
I reluctantly trundled out the door wearing an over-sized denim shirt, work socks pulled over-top my good ones, and mud pants pulled over my jeans. I’d topped it all off with a wool cap and cotton gloves. I’m sure I wouldn’t have impressed anyone much.
I headed to the rake that was right where I’d left it, leaning against a honeysuckle vine-covered fence near the largest of our four cherry trees. While I wore wrinkles and silvering hair, the giant fruit tree wore moss and lichen I’ve watched birds pull off to weave their nests with.
The tree and I were an odd old couple under a canopy of gloomy grey.
Soon I lost myself in the rhythmic motion of raking leaves. And one by one I carried a basket full of golden brown across the verdant lawn as I passed by the younger cherry tree to empty my harvest into a compost bin my dear husband built out of retired pallets.
I inhaled the fresh, earthy coolness and glanced around me. The grey sky backdrop hung unchanged above the barren branches hovering over me. I startled as my eyes settled on a fluffy form perched in the cherry tree.
A barred owl watched me watching him. I set my rake down and ran. I ran to the house and tried to open the door, struggling with gloved hands. Finally I was able to open it and then I called for my daughter to please fetch my camera.
Oh, how I’ve waited and longed for the owl to return. I’d seen him in our tree before I had my new camera. And I’d hoped to have a second chance to capture a shot of him.
God grants us second chances.
Old age is our second chance.
The owl had been shy before and flew away, depriving me of a decent shot. Often since then, I looked out the window above my kitchen sink and gazed at the cherry tree as I longed for his return.
I heard my daughter’s footsteps as she descended the den stairs; soon she approached and handed me my camera. I thanked her. She, used to my passion for photography, smiled as I placed the camera strap over my head and turned to leave.
Would the owl have waited for me? Had God nudged me to get outside more for the sake of my love of owls, rather than for my love of a healthy lawn?
I ran, thankful for able legs and the exercise equipment that kept them limber, and I looked up at the tree. And the owl looked down at me.
I focused. I clicked. I focused. I clicked.
And just as I had fallen into the rhythm of raking leaves, I fell into the flow of the moment the Lord had whispered for me not to miss.
Oh, Lord, You’ve blessed me again through Your creation. I would have missed this second chance if I’d ignored Your voice. Oh, dear Lord, please help those I’m praying for—those the readers are praying for—not to miss their second chance.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 (NIV) says we’re to:
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—
All around me sings your glory
All around me shares your story
All creation whispers truth
For it all points back to You
All around me woos my heart
All of nature is Your art
As earth beckons us to believe
You’re the creator of all we see.
Wendy / 2016
Blessings of His Calling ~ Wendy