A blogger friend’s recent post (thank you MamaLava!) showed some wonderful snow people and gave us a reminder that when we’re in our heads, it may not always be the best place for speaking truth and love to ourselves. It’s a great post what will make you smile!
But it also reminded me of a special date I had with Jesus on Friday. It was a cool, clear morning at sunrise. My husband went to walk with our son and dropped me at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve that is a couple of miles from our house. I figured I could walk home if I took my time. (Health issues make that long of a walk exhausting.) It was a time to worship and thank God for his beautiful, peaceful creation.
Very few people are there at sunrise so the hushed surroundings made me want to tiptoe through the trees. When I arrived at the main lookout over the largest pond, a trio of birds sat on the rails looking for fish. I don’t think they were observing the sign.
The sun hadn’t come up far enough to shine on the pond yet. Clouds in the distance promised the predicted rain that was to arrive around 10:00 a.m. It was only 7:30 so I had plenty of time to make it home before I got wet. Or so I thought.
With each new turn in the boardwalk path, the sun rose a little higher shining through the trees and reflecting off those across the pond. I love that God’s mercies are new every morning!
"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
There are always squirrels who greet us. Sometimes we’ll see armadillos, hogs, otters, and often snakes like the one on the right. You can tell he’s a poisonous one (a cottonmouth or water moccasin they’re called) because of his pointed head. Look closely by that brown leaf. His fat belly and sleepy head told me he probably had eaten recently. You can see his black tail pointed above his head.
I also saw a couple of wood peckers high up in the trees pounding away at bugs. The sound echoes through the woods so it’s not too hard to find them if you look carefully. Unfortunately, with only my phone, they are too far away to get a good picture of their red heads. A falcon swooped by and startled me. Too fast and he landed too far away to get a picture. A woman with a very long camera lens showed me where a little screech owl hides. I hope that maybe in the future I can bring my camera and with my zoom lens get a photo. So many intriguing creatures hide out in the woods. Last time I was there, a racoon appeared on the trail in front of me. He must have thought I was following him because he kept looking back to see if I was still there before he eventually slipped silently into the trees.
An occasional pop of color grabs my attention. The red beak of an ibis forging in the water for food on the left and a random red vine hugging a tree. Red seemed to be the color on Friday. Red reminds me of Jesus’ blood shed for us. Thank you, Jesus.
When I got ready to leave, the clouds were closing in, leaving only a small patch of blue sky reflecting in the water. I still had at least an hour before the rain was supposed to start. I headed home with gusts of wind whipping my hair. Would I make it?
As I walked, I sang to the Lord about his faithfulness. Holy is he. My need for him. Songs on repeat in my heart and mouth. I texted some photos to a friend to brighten her day. We love walking in the slough together but she was sitting in an auto shop waiting room. And then Jesus blessed me with one final treat. A young falcon perched on a fence along the path. I ventured as close as possible. I didn’t want to scare it, but I also didn’t want to get too close to the shallow ditch water. In Florida, you can’t always see alligators even in the shallowest of water so it’s good to keep a safe twenty-foot distance. It’s not a very clear photo, but you can find him watching for small fish in the water below.
Within about five more minutes, the rain started. Forty-five minutes early! Pulling my jacket hood up over my baseball cap, I cinched the ties and tucked my phone in my pocket. What began as a steady rain, grew quickly into a strong downpour. Fortunately, it was at my back, unlike the woman who walked towards me with the rain pounding in her face.
I wasn’t cold. The rain made my date an adventure. I laughed and smiled at cars driving by. With soggy shoes, I made my way home in the rain, singing. I think there’s a song and movie about that. 😉
I’m not going to lie. It was a long walk and by the time I arrived home, I was wring-water-out-of-my-clothes wet. At least my phone stayed dry in my jacket pocket! But it had been a delightful two and a half hours with Jesus. A true adventure. I can’t wait to see what he has for us next time.
Any relationship requires time to develop it. I spend a lot of time with the Lord reading his word, talking to him, and worshiping in song. But then there are those special moments, outings, messages he gives like he gave MamaLava on her snow walk. I pray you have enjoyed some of those intimate times. And if not, why not ask him to join you on one?
"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." Jesus. John 17:24
Maybe you’d like to share your special times with God in the comments. =)