Refreshed… in many ways.
There’s something about the countryside that gets me really, really excited. At the same time, it overwhelms me with a peaceful contentment that I can hardly explain. As some of you know, I lived in Wisconsin for some years, and my time living in the country grew me extremely fond if it. Countless times I would go for long walks—either by road or field—just to enjoy the hidden beauties of God’s creation… and to get away to think truthfully.
I have been on spring break this week, so I drove up to Modesto with my brother who was on his way home from the Shepherds conference. I needed to get away for a little bit to “get some air” you could say. The other night Sam, Nicki (brother and sister-in-law) and I took a short little adventure to stretch our legs, explore the area, and to get out of the house. We found a beautiful park with a long walking trail along a small river. Above everything else, I wish I could capture how good it smelled. The air was so fresh, that after breathing in its rich cleanness I felt as if I had never breathed before in my life. On our walk back, we crossed a bridge, and found a little hidden path that trailed back to our destination. It was just a narrow path that weaved through super long grass, trees, flowers and bamboo dams. With every breath I felt like my lungs were going to expand out of my chest—I couldn’t get enough of the fresh, clean air that smelled sweeter than anything in the world.
Well, that’s not what the following pictures are of—but I did try to capture the same feeling in the series of images below.
Tonight I went with Sam and Nicki to choir practice at their adorable little (GOD honoring/truth sustaining) country church. While I sat outside with my brother, I could hear my camera whining at me to get out of the stuffy car. So I took him out and let him look at the church for a little while. It was about 6:30pm and Sam said that I could take the car to go exploring since they wouldn’t be done rehearsing until 8:30. I knew I only had about 30 minutes before the sun set, so I jumped in the car and started driving (trying my best to remember the streets I drove on so I could get back). I really wanted to capture the feel of the beautiful blooming trees that we had adored during the whole trip—so that was my first stop. After that I just drove down the road until I found an incredible field of tall grass, which I spent the rest of the sunlight on.
Right when I was finishing up there, Sam called me to tell me that there was a huge lake 10 miles in the opposite direction from where I had gone. I knew that it was too late to take any photos of it, but I figured a good country drive would be very therapeutic and refreshing.
As I drove, I saw this strange and enormous round glow peaking up behind the Yosemite mountains. I thought it was an optical illusion because it was too big to be the moon (so I thought)… I could hardly believe my eyes! The images that I got hardly capture the size and beauty of it as it rose through the fields and hills that I drove past to get closer to it. Take note—whenever you see an enormous moon coming up, take a picture of it immediately =) Don’t try to get closer. The “closer” you get, and the higher it gets, the smaller it will appear. =) It was a fabulous chase nonetheless. I could hardly get the image I wanted framed properly without the moon rising through my eye-piece. If you ever wanted to freeze a moment, this would be one to keep for a lifetime. I found a spot where the road curved past a brook-like-canal, so I pulled off to watched/captured it rising over the brilliant green hills, while listening to the rippling stream, crickets, birds, and toads in the background of the mystic evening light.
After the moon rose to a normal size, I decided to continue my drive down a single lane, bumpy gravel road. I was surrounded with green fields and hills on both sides. I would never had imaged that I was still in California. I stopped the car for a moment to answer a text message (because it’s illegal to text and drive! 😉 ) when all of a sudden, I looked up and there were two stunning horses walking along the fence toward me–just gazing at me. They walked over, and just stared at me as if they were waiting for something (probably food right?). I assumed they wanted me to take their picture, so I did =) but then they moved. I had fun experimenting with them with the delicate moon light behind. I think the slight vibrations of my car music gave the images a mystic feel and glow.
Well, all of this to say, God is a God of beauty, life, and refreshment. He refreshed my soul, and spirit as I talked with Him about His creation, and the wanderings of my own heart. He lightened me with encouragement and life during a time of discouragement, trial, and confusion.
So as a point of advice—if you would— in everything you find to enjoy that stirs or lightens your spirit, let it be filled with God. And when I say “let it”, I mean take it for what it really is. All things are from and for God, and NO greater enjoyment can come out of these gifts except that they bring us to a closer relationship and delight in God and His Son, Christ. Joy truly is in the Lord. He only uses earthly delights to remind us of that. Let Him be the one to fill and renew you to life and purpose. He’s good at it. He designed delight, and He designed our hearts, so naturally He knows how they fit together in perfect unity.
I hope these images encourage you to closer delight in Christ- Ps. 37, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” It’s true =)
I couldn’t help but put a lot of photos… Words couldn’t do justice.