At the end of my life when we’re finally
face to face,
I don’t want to find out
that You loved me anyway –
even while I failed to acknowledge
the wonder of Your presence all around me.
I am taking a deep breath
and looking for You
in the velvet precision of wildflowers,
in the butterflies dancing on petals
just beyond my reach.
I am listening for Your voice
in the autumn breeze whispering secrets
through the tall grasses
and the leafy tops of trees.
I am looking for You
in the silky pools
of my daughter’s eyes,
feeling for You in her arms
draped like pearls around my neck
and in the depths of my own heart,
where You have always been.
Thank You for waiting patiently
for me to realize
the treasure of this life
and how it always intertwines
with the next.
I am saying yes
to as many of Your tiny invitations
as I can find.
I am re-centering myself in the truth
of Your majesty all around.
Luke 17 21
“The kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Matthew 6: 33
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”
It’s easy to forget “the Kingdom of God is in our midst.” When we pay attention, we can begin to notice the Spirit of God’s living presence all around us, which adds awe, wonder, peace, joy, meaning and a sense of purpose into every aspect of our lives.
Today, I encourage you to take a deep breath and tune into the Spirit of God in the present moment, wherever you find yourself.
How is God inviting you into union with His Divine presence in your daily life today? Is He calling to you through the beauty of nature? Your love for your family? Work to pour your heart into? A quiet place, where you can devote yourself to prayer? Will you take the time notice the Kingdom of God in your midst today? Will you say yes to all the tiny invitations to experience the wonder of His presence around you? What’s stopping you from cultivating a deeper spirituality today?
After a particularly chaotic week of getting my kids ready to start the school year and trying to keep peace in my heart, while going through some scary medical testing for my infant daughter, I was frazzled. Even after the good news that Celia is a perfectly healthy 10-month-old with a naturally big head instead of a brain tumor and a fantastic send-off for my boys to 6th, 5th and 2nd grade, I was emotionally and physically depleted. I knew I needed to reconnect myself with God to find my peace, joy and spark of creativity again!
I used Celia’s nap times and the quiet boy-free house to lean in to prayer, which usually restores my peace, interior sense of clarity and drive to be productive. Though I’m sure God was working imperceptibly through that time devoted to Him like He always does, I still found myself struggling to let go of that buildup of stress that had accumulated over a few harried weeks.
So when Celia woke up, I took her to one of my favorite city parks, which is full of a remarkable variety of unique trees and flowers for every season. As I prayerfully engaged in the present moment with my daughter, nature and the people from all walks of life who were also enjoying the park on a beautiful fall day, my peace, joy and creativity immediately started flowing again, and I received the inspiration for this poem.
I actually typed a quick outline of this poem into my iphone, while walking Celia in her stroller because I didn’t want to forget the idea. Since then, I have using my free 15 minutes here and there to chip away at editing this poem, graphics and reflection. I am so grateful for the gift of creativity, which is the fruit of my prayer life and something I can concretely share with others. I know it’s a gift from God because I can’t sit down and tell myself to “write” on demand, especially when I’m frazzled or stressed. When I do the work of prayerfully re-centering myself and listening to the still small voice of God, my creativity and service to others flows naturally from the depth of my heart into the world. The ideas for what I write seem to come from outside of me through me, as opposed to being generated by my own self.
When you read this, I hope it helps you tune in and pay attention to the ways that God is working in your own life, so you can say yes to all of the tiny invitations into a deeper spirituality that He places all around you, whether you pay attention to them or not. Things don’t always go our way, we don’t always have as much time as we’d like for silence and prayer, and we can’t always feel His presence, but God is always with us, working on our behalf and hoping we pay attention to Him in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
The more we look for Him, the more we will begin to experience the wonder of His presence all around us. I don’t know about you, but when I find that interior sense of connection with God, I am capable of having peace and joy even in the most stressful of circumstances. When I get off kilter like I was, my top priority is always to return to prayer until my interior peace has been restored and I can move forward again. I usually resist slowing down into a more prayerful mindset because I would prefer to be productive, but God knows better and has a way of making up for lost time, when I ground myself in His love through devotion to prayer and mindfulness.
Heavenly Creator, thank you for all of the gifts and talents you graciously give each and every one of us. Help us to cultivate a true faith in You. Give us the grace to become more aware of Your presence all around us and inside of us, in every moment. Fill us with Your Spirit, and guide us on the best ways to share our gifts with the world for Your glory. Energize us to accomplish all of the dreams You have for our lives. Work through us to make the world a better place in whatever way You think is best. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.
written by Nicky Gant for www.uniteinprayer.org 8/29/2019