"I'm going on a date with God today. I'm nervous. As if it were our first time meeting. I'm excited. I'm anxious. My soul has longed for this. I have my camera, my worship playlist and my headphones. Headed to the botanical gardens to capture him in his most pure form. Somewhere I can feel his creation and love surrounding me."
This world and life have crumbled right in front of our eyes so very quickly and we are losing grasp. Like the last stretch of hope reaching out your hand waiting for someone to save you from the current that just swept you away. We want to return to "normalcy" SOOO badly, whatever normal even means. I had plans and hopes and dreams for everything 2020 was going to be filled with. I could see it. I could feel it. Then the wave crashed.
I just couldn't take it anymore. Any of it. It's overwhelming to a degree I didn't even know was possible. It was so easy to feel like God was slipping away. It's hard in a time like this to believe in love of any kind. My heart and soul were aching terribly. There have been days I sit outside and just let tears stroll down my face because I want to save the world, but I can't. Crying for God to sweep up this earth and all of the life in entails and hold it tightly. Like a mother holds their newborn with an indescribable, healing, comforting love. God told me we needed to go on a date. Just the two of us. So that's just what we did.
I created a worship playlist on my phone of some of my favorite and relaxing songs, grabbed my headphones and camera and headed to the Botanical Gardens. Nature is my favorite way to feel connected to him. To be surrounded by his creations, his masterpieces...it soothes my soul. Worship is also one of my favorite ways to feel his warmth. To say the stroll was spectacular would be an understatement. I slowly walked through the gardens, observing the detail in each life, in awe of their uniqueness. Their vibrancy for life and intricacy of the way they each grow in their own time and own way.
Feeling out of control of the way things are going, each day full of new events and heart aches, has been the deepest emotion I am feeling in this pandemic. As a control freak, it really gets every bone and muscle in my body.
Control has always been the biggest spiritual battle I continue to have with God. Even though I KNOW he is in control, as life continues to show me, over and over again, I just never seem to learn it or grasp it. I will probably continue to struggle with it my whole life and need many more reminders that I don't get to plan this life he has given me. This life is a gift.
As I strolled through, I would occasionally stop to pray and just silently listen. Sometimes we need to just be still and let God do the rest. Give up the control that wasn't yours to begin with. This world is a spiritual battle field right now and I am choosing to just be still. God has a plan already mapped out for our paths.
All of these photos are reminders that life is not in your control. Flowers don't race bloom, they bloom in their own time. There are many things we can learn from nature....
Bloom in your own time. Life is not a race. Don't worry about what the flower next to you is doing. Focus on your own growth.
Be unique. Flaws and all. Accept them. Learn to love them and understand they are part of who you are. Learn to love your unique beauty. There is only one of you. God crafted you himself. His designs are perfect.
Learn how to grow together. Learn to love one another. The flower doesn't destroy the roots of the flower next to it. Their roots grow together. All of these plants were growing together. Millions of plants in just this one garden grow as one.
"My God is love. This is enough to know my God is love"
The lyrics rested well with my soul as I soaked in every moment of our date. Being surrounded by and capturing all of these creations was enough for me to know. It was enough to remind me to give up control of what we are facing. In the world as a whole, and in our personal life. Challenges sweep us into the current and have us reaching our hand out for a last grasp of hope. God reaches his hand out pulls you out. You just have to stop fighting. He is in control.
"You know what you have for me, and that is all that matters"
I can long for motherhood desperately all I want, but ultimately, it's not up to me when that occurs or doesn't occur. Just like I didn't have a say in whether or not cancer chose me as a target or not. Along with many other obstacles I have faced on this journey, I didn't choose them. They were already written into my story. They all make up who I am. The strength the Lord has given me is a blessing, but I had to grow through pains for it.
You can plan all you want for things in this life, but don't be angry when they don't go as planned. We did not plan this pandemic or anything else 2020 has in store for us. We had plans. We had dreams for this year. We all thought it was going to be an amazing year. We are not in control of what is happening around us.
Friends, please go take a stroll with God. Recharge yourself. Be reminded that you cannot change the script. Be fulfilled in his promises and unconditional love. Be faithful and trusting in his plan for your journey. You are growing and blooming in your own time. There is no gold medal or million dollar reward at the end of this life. We only get one life. Live it.
Be thankful for the things this life has brought you. The good and the bad. Be thankful for every moment of it. They make you who you are. Embrace them. Use your struggles as a tool for helping others through their own struggles.
As you are scrolling through this are you paying attention to the small details in each photo? The delicate webs, the tiny ants hard at work, the spiders relaxing in their uniquely woven web, the bull frogs soaking in the water, the furry leaves and the caterpillar eaten leaves. Scroll through them slowly and soak in all of the life they hold within them.
My heart skips a beat and my stomach fills with butterflies and warmth when I go through these and feel his presence in each photograph. I am so thankful for the gift of capturing his life he has blessed my eyes with.
This gallery is my reminder that God is still very much present in this life and the enemy only attacks this hard when something big is happening we don't know about. Stay faithful. God has a plan, we just have to grow and suffer a bit through it. This isn't the first time we've had to, and it won't be the last. Grow through every struggle you face in life.