Originally published Tuesday, 18 October 2022.
The three of us are up in the mountains, cedars and redwoods reaching toward warm October sky. The path we walk is wide enough for Mugsy, who, on her leash, finds every rustle in the shrubs an irresistible invitation to explore. We make our way to the lake, a wide expanse of deep blue and teal sparkling with ripples across its otherwise smooth surface, and walk out onto the dock, intent on getting as close as we can to the cold water without plunging in.
It was a delicious four-hour drive to our friend’s cabin, talking about family and makeup and wallpaper and God. I love her dearly, the friend who loves me and moved away and still comes to visit often. Whenever we are together, people ask if we are sisters, and we love it—leaning in close, hip to hip, head to head, and smiling ear to ear. I am most myself—the child He draws out and the woman He loves—with her.
And we are together due to a love letter sent through text: Our beloved friend who knows that connection is vital—restorative and essential—made a way for the three of us to gather in the wood cabin God gave her, a retreat on a forested hill overlooking this lake that stretches for miles and miles. Our friend is beautiful—and I am breathless from her offering us what He gives.
For two days, the three of us soak up a piece of heaven’s glory: we hike, eat, bike, read, and take naps on the beach. My heart quiets; I am new to letting Him fold me into His peace. For weeks ahead of this trip, in full awareness of my life’s idol of striving—and my struggle to slow—I intentionally soak up His love for me. I wanted to be present on this trip—and I knew I couldn’t, body, mind, and soul—if I was worried about the past or trying to control the future. And, as an introvert—and an introvert who struggles with self-condemnation—I knew, as this trip approached, that I would be desperate for His help. As much as I love my friends, my insecurity can get in the way of connection when I, moment by moment, do not trust God with my heart, body, and mind. I knew, on this trip, that I would need to see with His eyes, hear with His ears, feel with His heart. If I did this, I knew He would give me capacity to receive His love and love my friends, giving what He offers me.
And He did.
You are so beautiful.
Little is gained from withholding our hearts from the people we love. Little is gained from striving.
Rather, gifts unfold in crazy measure when we open our hands and offer back only what He gives.
For the poetry prompt this week, will you join me in writing a poem about “intention”? What is on your heart this day that is drawing you closer to—or away from—God? I’d love it if you wanted to share your poem in the comments. But even if you don’t feel like sharing, write anyway. Pause. Breathe deeply. Consider what words you might convey your heart’s whispers.
I feel it rising in me,
dissatisfaction, anger from
a discontented self
who rejects freedom and
instead chooses torture,
studying how people
offer themselves to the world
while also seeming
to love who they are.
My heart is complicit in it:
hungry to know how
people love themselves and
this life too.
This post appeared originally at jennifer.camp