The sun hesitates to throw off its covers this morning.
The sunflowers topple as they die.
A goldfinch digs for breakfast.
A blue jay settles on the bath for a drink (he drinks fast and flees), and a ruby throat hovers near the feeder.
I love silent mornings as I go about my duties.
The quiet’s broken only by the flow of water from the cat fountain and the refrigerator’s hum.
I take my cup outside and am surprised by the breeze.
The beauty of neglect greets me.
The herb garden that’s not.
A mosquito bush that balloons and tumbles over the walk. (It’s supposed to repel mosquitoes, but it doesn’t.)
The not-garden that my husband finally mowed over this weekend.
And there are sounds.
A train whistle blows in the distance.
Cars whoosh down the highway.
Crows gather to cawsip in a far afield dead tree.
A mourning dove croons.
The air fills with various warbles and tweets.
They annoy me this morning.
I retreat to the kitchen.
The sizzle of scrambled eggs, the scrape of knife against toasted muffin, and even the plop of my own bare feet against the brick vinyl irritate me.
Jason zinged the message yesterday, a reflection on chapter 6 of Crazy Love, “When You’re in Love.”
His words won’t leave me alone.
Do you love Him?
I wrote in my notes.
Do YOU (Sandy) really love Him?
Do you (Sandy) REALLY love Him?
Do you (Sandy) really LOVE Him?
Do you (Sandy) really love HIM?
Jason talked about the Shema in Deuteronomy 6 that Jews recited twice a day.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. ~Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)
ALL your heart.
ALL your soul.
ALL your strength.
Have these words always on your mind.
When you talk and when you walk.
When you lie down and when you rise up.
Stamp them in the minds of your children (and grandchildren.)
Bind them on your forehead so that others will know you are different.
Tie them on your hands so that you remember me in all you do.
Write them on your doorpost so that you take me with you when you come and when you go.
Because it’s all about Him.
It’s all about love.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” ~John 21:15-17 (NIV)
Three times Jesus asks.
And we usually connect these to Peter’s three denials.
But Jason suggests that perhaps Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his strength as he recites twice a day.
Does he love Him with every cell and every fiber of his being?
I step back outside and close my eyes.
The breeze swirls around me.
Brushes my hair.
Caresses my face.
Kisses my cheek.
Do you, Sandy, love me?
I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
~A.W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God
David Rupert says
This is a powerful question. It’s one that I want to avert my eyes — look away because I’m not really comfortable with my answer
I’d like to think that if I struggle with the question, I might be close to the really.
I’m crying now. My heart responds ‘yes!’ but, oh, I feel so weary. Motherhood just happens to be kicking me in the booty right now. But in my fatigue, I will rest in my love for Him and HIs love for me.
Sometimes in our fatigue, that’s all we can do. And all He wants us to do. Rest. In Him. Praying rest for you, sweet Jen.
Cindee Snider Re says
A question I wrestled with in prayer this week in another way — wondering if a loved one strives so hard, is often so weary and worn-out because he has no idea just how much God loves him, how immense and incredible and inexhaustable God’s love is for him — just him. HUGE! For how can we love, sacrificially — love that costs and cuts deep and bleeds into abundant joy until we first begin to taste and see and experience God’s overwhelming and infinite love for us? Thanks for posting this today! My heart needed your words. 🙂
It’s true, isn’t it, that we can’t really love until we first embrace His love for us?
Lynn Mosher says
As always…breathtaking. Touching. Inspiring. I cry out YES! And may my actions line up with my heart! Beautiful, Sandy!
Thank you, Lynn. And I echo your prayer.
Megan Willome says
I love, love your crow pic. I’m a little nuts about them.
Did you mention that to me once before, Megan?
Here are some crows for you. 😉
Stone Crossings: Baptism
Oh, that is the question we must all answer, isn’t it? Like David, I want to look away. But I like the possibility that these three refer to the heart, soul, and strength. That is so interesting. We learn so much when we look at the Jewish traditions, don’t we? Your photos are gorgeous. You have such a way of capturing the best shots! Love to you, Sandy.
Oh, thank you, Laura! And yes, scripture comes so much more alive when we look at it through their eyes. That’s part of why I love Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus so much.
You know, that might make a great study for THC book club!
S. Etole says
In the hard places … it’s a difficult question in the hard places.
Indeed. And even on the easy road when we sometimes forget about Him.
Hugs to you, Susan.
Connie@raise your eyes says
To read the three questions and equate them not just with denial, but with personal vows and expectation…brings it home…thank you Sandra, for posing them to us.
Oh, and that goldfinch? He’s supposed to be our state bird, but only visits our rainy western Washington in summer…don’t suppose the legislators asked Mr. Goldfinch before they elected him.
Yes, looking at those questions in that light gives a whole new perspective. I’m thinking a study on each one separately might be in order. 🙂
Maybe Mr. Goldfinch decided Michigan winters are warmer? 😉
Such a lovely, thought-provoking post. Thank you!
pretty photos. i especially like the birds.
I thought, as I was reading this, how often words like these slip so easily off my tongue without much thought. We sing them, pray them, read them – but do we really? Perhaps just the asking means we long to and in the longing we do.
The photos are just amazing.
I hiding that last sentence in my heart–maybe in the asking we long, and in the longing we do.
Those photos? They take my breath away.
Jenn Hand says
What a powerful post.. whew.. glory!
What a powerful God!
Glenda Childers says
I love being around people who really truly love Jesus . . . it always rubs off on me.
That’s when “contagious” is a good word. 😉
Sheila Lagrand says
I want to shout out, “Yes, I DO!!” and then I imagine Him arching one brow and responding, “oh REALLY? What about….” and then listing my flaws and failures.
I have to shake my head and remind myself that He loves me despite my brokenness.
And that thought is enough to restore me. Just that.
Thank you, Sandra, for taking me there.
David had his share of flaws and failures–and yet his heart was for Him. So grateful He loves us in spite of our brokenness.
I can see that I’ll have to read yet another book! I’ve really enjoyed A Thousand Gifts!! Thanks for giving us a window into your spirit today…
This has been a year of life-changing books!
Jason Stasyszen says
Love how you take us from the peace to the stirring, Sandra. His words, His life, His love–has to be always with us and flowing in and through us. Good stuff. Thank you.
And I don’t want to block that. Thanks, Jason.
Michelle DeRusha says
I like your observation about the three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves him linked with the ancient passage from Deuteronomy. I had never made that connection, but it’s resonating with me tonight.
And thep photo of the hummingbird? Wow.
It resonated with me, too, Michelle. Still chewing on it.
I’ve been working on the hummingbirds. They’re fast little dudes!
“Does he love Him with every cell and every fiber of his being?” …do I? Heart, soul, strength? Thought-provoking questions.
And your photos are stunning.
Thanks so much, Anna.
imperfect prose says
The beauty of neglect greets me.
this line really struck me… for i know that, as much as i might claim to love him, it is he who loves me, over and over and over; he who sees the beauty of neglect in me. it is all he. thank you for this, beautiful sandy.