Recently my husband and I were invited on a trip to the mountains of Colorado with our dear friends. It was a beautiful week taking in the beauty of God’s snow capped mountains and the stillness of winter’s rest. It was a week of love, friendship and spiritual truths for me. In Louisiana, we rarely get snow and the climate doesn’t slow down our pace of life as it does in many areas of the country. As I watched and observed the winter landscape this week, I sensed the Father was showing me some lessons about His plan for the seasons of our lives.
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
“It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth; You made both summer and winter.” ~Psalm 74:17
For me, the splendor of the snow and mountains was truly a wonderland.
I was so grateful to have this time with my friend who has been battling stage 4 cancer for 2 years. She is an amazing woman, so courageous and strong. We have traveled together with our families since our girls were 3 years old, 28 years....! We have treasured memories of vacations, fun times together and watching our children grow. We’ve laughed and cried and played hard through the years. But this trip was different. The children weren’t with us and the landscape was speaking to our hearts.
The first night we arrived at the ski resort, our friends Melissa and Perry had planned a special surprise evening for us. All they told us was to dress warm. The temperature was about 3 degrees I think! We arrived to find a large sleigh waiting to carry about twenty of us up to the top of the mountain to Uley’s Cabin.
It was freezing and glorious! I just cried at the wonder of it. The moon lit our way up the mountain and there at the top we had a delicious five course gourmet meal. I cried again when we sat down to eat, overcome by the beauty, the roaring fire, the generosity of dear friends who would treat us to such a wonderful evening! Love flowed...
Later that week when we drove the mountain roads back to our friends home in the mountains, we barely spoke. There were no words. We were just taking it all in.
The glory of the Lord was on display in the beauty of His creation all around us!
We saw little wildlife along the way. But we searched the peaks and valleys for elk and deer. We would drive a long way with nothing in sight. Everything was just all white and quiet and then suddenly God would bless us with a small herd of elk resting in the snow or deer crossing a frozen river. As we drove, God's amazing majesty and beauty brought us to worship. We found ourselves singing in the car together...
”As the deer panteth for water, so my soul longeth after thee. You alone are my hearts desire and I long to worship thee.”
There are many ways to worship the Lord in this world. Sometimes it is in church, sometimes in the quiet of your own home, sometimes in the sacrifice of service for His kingdom, and sometimes when song breaks forth in gratitude from your hearts as you cherish sweet moments with lifelong friends while driving along a mountain road!
It’s a privilege to share the joys and struggles of life with those whom God has chosen to weave together with your own.
Next I noticed this sign outside the fellowship hall.
"In simple humility, let our gardener, GOD, landscape you with THE WORD, making a salvation-garden of your life."
All week I couldn’t get the words out of my mind.
The little church established in 1891 is nestled up against the mountain. There were about 35 people gathered there for Sunday morning worship. It was simple and beautiful. I thought of the faithful believers who had gathered there at this mountain for over a century. I was awestruck at the power of prayer and God's presence in that humble little church that Sunday.
After singing some hymns, the preacher called all the men to the front and they got on their knees and prayed. What a sight to see the men of this small community bow in reverence and humility before the Father. Then we sang more hymns, shared prayer requests and prayed together in small groups for those needs. People gathered around my friend and prayed for her healing. They know her family and have loved her since she was a young child. Her family has spent time during the summers in Lake City since her grandparents first bought a summer cabin there years ago. There is a history and heritage of faith in that little church. We sang and prayed for almost hour before the pastor began his message. My heart was full. Then the pastor spoke hard truths to this group about living a life of sacrifice and offering hope to those who couldn’t care for themselves.
God met us in the power of His Word and loved us that morning through that small, faithful group of believers. His presence was powerful because their hearts were devoted to the Lord and to each other. As we left, I spoke with the pastor's wife and commented on how much their commitment to prayer had ministered to my spirit. She smiled and responded, Jesus said, "My house shall be called a House of Prayer." Matthew 21:13
The glory of the Lord was on display among His people in this house of prayer.
I came back rested, restored and ready to prepare for the new season God brings this spring. I want the landscape of my life to be His Word so that I speak words of life to whomever He brings across my path. Winter is a season of rest before the bloom and new growth of spring bursts forth. Truly His Word is the most beautiful landscape for our souls so that we might also be a display of His glory.
God so often seems to teach me in themes that keep recurring throughout the circumstances of my life. When He wants to be sure I get the message, it's everywhere. Does He speak that way into your life?
This morning the main focus of our church service was from Habakuk 2:20.
"The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
As only the Lord could orchestrate, the whole service was full music about God's holiness, His salvation and being still before Him. We read the passage from Psalm 46:10-11 - "Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Sometimes, like creation, we need a season of quiet and rest to prepare our hearts and spirits for what lies ahead. I encourage you to take a little winter’s rest for your soul before spring comes upon us.
Find a place to be still and quiet, for at least a few hours or more if possible.
Ask the Lord to give you a fresh vision and His eyes to behold His glory all around you.
Soak in God’s landscape in Creation and let our Gardener landscape your soul with His Word this week.
Make a salvation garden of your life.
Then share His life with a friend.
Our God is holy.
He is sovereign.
He is majestic.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.
Let us bow in holy reverence and worship.
" You are beautiful beyond description,
Too marvelous for words,
Too wonderful for comprehension,
Like nothing ever seen or heard.
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom,
Who can fathom the depth of Your love,
You are beautiful beyond description.
Majesty, enthroned above...
And I stand, I stand in awe of You,
I stand, I stand in awe of You,
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You."
Enjoying Winter's Rest,
Resources: I Stand in Awe of You, Mark Altrogge; As the Deer, Marty Nystrom, Psalm 42:1
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