This Is Joy Deep Down in My Soul

I sit in the backyard on a white plastic chair handed down to us by Ben’s parents. The chandelier sits in the middle of the patio table waiting as it has for over a year to be hung in the trees above the backyard space we have imagined. Two strands of lights are strung from the trees and the old, original Cottonwood Lane sign takes up residence in the tree across from me.

I am buried in yellow buttercups, opening my notebook to write out my prayers which have been recorded there often, though lately huge gaps have been thrown in between.

My relationship with God has richened and with it a more dedicated desire to worship God by writing out words. I am overwhelmed by the world around me. The way the sunlight falls on the blades of green…the bird chirping softly, then the loud one like a sibling making its presence known.

All I can really talk to God about is the beautiful nature, the life it’s bringing to my life season, how content and full I am to sit here, to be here, to occasionally watch as the sun sets ever softly, ever slowly. I am full of praise. And God loves to hear it.

For a split second, I marvel at where God might be leading me and how much deeper I’ve come and will come to know Him. Nearness to God has turned into the only life I want to know. All day long, I get side-tracked and mind-swayed to the things bound by earth and time and social status…then I sit buried in the buttercups with nothing but praise to God and the overwhelming desire to make my life an offering. I’ve only just scratched the surface of what that means, but I’m here and I’m ready.

Made in the image of God is, perhaps, the greatest gift aside from salvation. I am overwhelmed by the privilege and responsibility as an image-bearer! What does that mean for my writing? What does that mean for my book? My work? The way I nurture my relationships? The time I take to simply bask in the life God has made and given?

The questions mount, but not to overwhelm me. They open up doors of opportunity, of offering, of obedience. All doors leading me ever nearer God. All doors swinging wide for all the people I want to take along with me. I bear God’s image. All my work, all my writing, all my life should be an offering….beautiful, expression-full, purposeful, sacrificial.

The buttercups have never been so pretty to me. The world around me so full, the spring so abundantly rich though broken things crack in my life and around the world. I bear God’s image. I am made for Him. I have claimed the lovingkindness of God in my life, and I have found there is nothing but life to live!

I can barely even think of all that’s bruised and wounded in my heart now. I can no longer grudgingly hold my life against the God of life. I am made for God, to give all to God, to know God, to be known by God. Is there anything more beautiful? I am happy deep down into my soul that has claimed and resolved it is well. I have never been more ready to be an offering, never more wiling to uncover all that this means. I’ve only just begun.

I see those yellow buttercups surrounding my heart’s jubilee. I have never truly had a favorite flower. But now I do. The sun has a few more minutes before it gets lost behind the horizon and I look over my shoulder one last time to smile at the beautiful buttercups made by God. Finally having a favorite flower causes my childlike joy to leap in the corner of my heart.

Even this is praise to God.

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