Last week I shared my venture into the Elizabethan Gardens in North Carolina and asked you to join God in the garden. I hope you said “yes” because now that you have entered there is no turning back. Now it’s time to sit and stay awhile!
Who knew that one garden on one summer day in June would leave me with presents or actually the presence of God? He matched me step for step on each pathway and whispered an invitation to serenity and renewal. How can you say “no” to that?
Along the way I discovered benches beckoning from every nook and cranny. Whispered promises of tranquility filled my imagination as each bench became visible. There is something so inviting about an empty bench surrounded by natural beauty – God’s presence gifted to all. Feelings of calm and renewal stirred my heart and reached deep, wrapping around and begging for a chance to stay. The invitation is open and freely given to each of us everyday. God doesn’t play favorites but instead craves time with us. The question arises -“will we make time for God?”
You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. Exodus 34:14 NLT
These words from Exodus are describing the Israelites, but they can just as easily refer to us and our lack of focus in this hustle-bustle world. The bottom line is that God loves us to the moon and back and in that love He desires our time – our attention – our focus – not on the things of this world, but with a direct gaze on Him. On the breath of the gentle breezes we hear the words “come sit”! Come rest and be still! Allow yourself the freedom to just be!
God’s invitation doesn’t stop with “enter” but becomes a lifetime promise of serenity and renewal.The bench is waiting just for you. Will you join God on the bench today and everyday?
I love that life lessons show up in the ordinary and end up becoming extraordinary. I leave you with the reminder from Ephesians below! You are loved and chosen from the beginning of time. You have a purpose to live gloriously for God. Stop and take some time today to thank God and join Him on the bench for a renewal of your soul.
11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1:11-12 MSG
Blessed to be linking with:
Join my mailing list!
Subscribers receive updates, newsletters, and FREE resources! Your information is safe and will never be shared.
If you're not receiving emails from me, check your spam folder and mark my emails as "not spam."
Hi Mary! I love gardens and nature paths. So simple, so serene, so peaceful.
I think that’s one of God’s ways of drawing us in to sit and rest with him. I was just reading about how holiness means being happy in activity and in rest. They are both wonderful and necessary, don’t you think? Even though our society just loves a ‘busy bee’, God loves us to rest too.
Beautiful photos, thank you for sharing them!
So glad you stopped by Ceil! I love that we share a connection through our love of gardens. I agree that activity and rest are necessary and the two help keep us balanced. Thank you for your kind words. Blessings!
Love your beautiful photos, Mary! What a great visual for the invitation from our Father to come and sit a while with Him. Thanks as always for linking up to Testimony Tuesday.
Thank you, friend! I love my garden moments and whether I’m out for my power walk or just strolling, God always has something amazing to teach me. Blessed by your weekly link up and your visits here!
Oh how I love these beautiful benches surrounded by amazing floral displays. Even better, the still moment to hear God while surrounded by his beauty. Inspiring. I love, “freedom to just be” and having a direct gaze on Him. Beautiful Mary.
Blessed you stopped by Jolene! I love finding perfect pictures as well as the stories behind the pictures. God is so good and He loves sharing all His beauty with us-hopefully we are paying attention. Happy Wednesday!
Mary, I so enjoyed visiting your space today through “Testimony Tuesday.” Thanks for reminding me to “enter in” to the stillness where renewal comes. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by! Don’t you love finding unique quiet places to sit and rest awhile? God loves when we do and especially when we share the moments with Him. Blessings!
Mary, this makes me think of the bench I parked myself on July 4th. The eve of the 4th was very hard for me. I was sad to approach another holiday without my husband home. But God led me to a bench at an arboretum I ventured to on the 4th and oh how He filled by soul during the two hours we spent together there. Loved this so much. You write and share your heart so beautifully. Blessings to you.
Beth your kind words are such a blessing to me. The bench you found was prefect for you because God chose it for you and was so thrilled that you decided to sit down and spend time with Him. Isn’t it amazing how God shows up just when we need Him? I would love to share a bench with you someday my friend to get to know you and hear about your sons and husband. It would be such an honor for me. Blessings, my friend!
Mary–so nice to meet you through Linda! Unfortunately God has to get my attention in the wilderness—I see Him in the garden–but I seek Him in the wilderness. Lovely post!
So blessed you stopped by! God knows exactly how to get our attention and what works for me certainly does not always work for someone else. The wilderness makes me think of a place that holds no distractions and it is only God and you. I imagine that would be the perfect place. Blessings!
Absolutely beautiful words and pictures, Mary! I need to spend more time “on the bench” with God. I definitely get caught up in the busyness of life and am ashamed to say, He is the first to get knocked off my schedule. It should be the other way around- all else gets dropped before Him. Thanks for your peaceful encouragement today, my friend!
This was great!” I love that life lessons show up in the ordinary and end up becoming extraordinary. ” … so good!
Blessings to you!
Blessed you stopped by today Dawn. There is so much to learned in the resting moments of our life-we just need to slow down and listen. Blessings!
I’m quite taken with the shapes and shades of those benches, Mary. I love an out of the way surprise seating area!
I’m not sure what got me started on finding unique benches but the invitation that seems to accompany each allows my imagination to run wild. I hopped over to your place today and loved reading your responses about writing. Thank you so much for joining the blog hop. It’s a great way to pay it forward! Blessings!
Joining you in the garden my friend. Love your photos!
Come and sit awhile Barbie! It’s a wonderful place to be! I have been so blessed by these intimate God moments! Hugs my friend!
Thank you for taking me into your garden. I enjoyed it. The benches were welcome and the words whispered in my soul life changing. “Jealous ” What a beautiful name He gives Himself. Jealous for our love – Jealous of the emptiness we reach out instead. He knows what He has to offer is so much more than the way we prefer the promises at the end of the rainbow…we will never find what we’re looking for without Him because He’s made us perfectly to fit into the palm of His hand. He is “Jealous” and I am glad.
So blessed that you stopped by today, Chris! You speak truth when you shared that we will never find all we desire without God. He is so jealous for us and our hearts. Thank you for your kind words and please come again! Blessings!
Beautiful thoughts! My backyard is this place for me.
Karen – thank you for being so faithful and kind in your visits and words!
Mary, this post is beautiful in both word & thought and in photos! May we each take time to rest and see God “show up in the ordinary and become the extraordinary!” May it be a great week filled with such moments for us both. Blessings!
So blessed by your kind words! I am being very intentional in resting and finding God in my everyday as I re-energize for a new school year. May God bless you with a week of ordinary turned extraordinary! Blessings!