I opened the screen door and stepped out onto the one concrete step we had at our small rented home on a farm in what used to be our small town of Culpeper. Always barefoot, I run toward the tire swing waiting for me as I hear the familiar smack of the screen door close behind me, laughing a little to myself because dad is at work and he doesn’t like it when I do that.
The grass is cool on my feet and filled with buttercups and clovers. I grab up a buttercup and hold it to my chin. How does every buttercup know that I love butter? I have yet to find one that simply does not know. I stare at my reflection in my bedroom window and can see the tint of yellow on my chin. I smile. I’ll pick another one later. Always determined to find that one that hasn’t a clue how much I love lots of butter.
My cousin, Lisa, found a four-leaf clover in her yard. It has been said that if you find one of those rare gems, you will be blessed beyond measure. All good things will happen to you. I lay in the cool, soft bed of clovers and start my search for the day. There must be at least one in what seems to be millions of them in my yard. I want to find one like Lisa because I want us both to be blessed beyond measure. I wonder what that means anyway? I tire again as my search is unfruitful and move to my favorite spot…the tire swing.
I sit inside and very slowly spin and take in the scenery around me. First my home, with my bedroom window closest to me. Turning to the left, I scan the cornfield, amazed at how what was once dirt and seeds is now filled with huge stalks of CORN that we can eat…with lots of butter. Turning more to the left, I see (and smell) the cow field. They are all staring at me. I am sure they want me to sing. Because they always do or because I always want to. I swing and sing my version of Delta Dawn while they give me their undivided attention. While I appreciated their attention, it made me so curious as to how you could get a burger out of one of those big hairy things.
I lean back and look into the grand tree that holds me in the tire swing and I watch the leaves blow and some fall. I watch birds come and go. Some seem to be playing tag. How are they able to fly? It’s amazing to me that something so little can fly around in such a big world. What about on a windy day? Amazing little things! Have you ever tried to walk around outside during a very windy day? It pushes you and we are way bigger than a bird. I yell out “stay safe little birds!” I’m sure they know what I’m talking about.
The tree is so big and high and there are branches that I could climb all the way to the top! I make a plan to do it someday. Mom would have a heart attack if she saw me at the top of that tree. I’m pretty sure it’s not allowed. I think about doing it when no one is home and I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack. So I put that on the back burner for now. But I picture myself way up high in that tree and I am convinced that I will be able to see half the world at the very least. And how fun would it be to sway with the branches if a big wind would come along!
In the meantime, I will do the windup on the tire swing, twisting and twisting as tight and as high as I can go when my one big toe is left digging for stabilization in the dirt. This spin is going to be the fastest ever! I give it a push with my one toe and I draw my legs in tight and pull my head in close to the rope and I spin so fast and hard, I am sure if I let go, it would sling me the distance that I could see from the top of that tree. It is absolutely the most thrilling thing that I can do by myself and I love it! The tire swing goes back to normal and I sit and look down at my feet in the dirt waiting for my eyes to catch up with reality. I love this well-worn patch of dirt under the tire swing. It symbolizes just how much that particular spot in the world belongs to me.
I climb off the swing and go back to lay in the clover. I pick a buttercup and lay on my back and look into the sky. Each cloud is different and I try to see some hidden meaning into each one. Doesn’t that one look like a rabbit? And that one! Doesn’t it look like a heart? I wonder if God is trying to tell me that He loves me? Would He communicate with me like that? I’m sure He could if He wanted. I decide YES…He loves me.
I roll over and start my search for that four-leaf clover. I admit I had the thought many times “if you love me God, help me find a four-leaf clover.” Unfruitful find…again. I decide it has nothing to do with God’s love for me. A butterfly lands in the grass next to me. I think WOW! You used to be a caterpillar. I try to get all science-y and figure it all out. It’s just too wonderful! I get up with my buttercup and run to my bedroom window and look. There it is, that yellow tint on my chin. Unbelievably amazing! How do they know?
I run back into the house and let the screen door smack shut again. I giggle. Dad isn’t home yet.
To this day, I can still find myself looking for a four-leaf clover. I still have not found one. As I have grown, I know that when I do find one…it will be specifically chosen for me by God at the perfect time.
Oh, the wonder of it all.
In this day and age, I’m afraid we have lost the art of wonder like we had as a child. The scene described above would most likely have taken hours to complete as we had all day to linger with no cell phones, computers or Internet. We had one phone attached to the kitchen wall highly guarded by our parents. We spent most of our days outside…playing.
I am reminded of the wonder of God speaking the entire universe into existence. Speaking! What a sight that must have been to take nothing and speak everything…all of it wonderful and good.
I have had to sit still for a long time to remember a time like I’ve described. I’m grateful to have had the chance to do so and I ask the LORD to let this be a daily practice. Things might not look the same. For example, laying on the ground and rolling around in the grass is not something I’m drawn too but I am totally in to sitting on my porch swing while the wind inspires the wind chimes to make wonderful sounds. At this particular time of year, watching the leaves on the trees change colors and then fall and blanket the ground in a colorful carpet is so peaceful and calming and…wonderful. I swing enjoying my warm sweatshirt and leggings and holding my hot mug of coffee with both hands.
I didn’t find a four-leaf clover but Jesus knew exactly where to find me and when I ponder what He did for me (and you), no four-leaf clover can cover the magnitude of that much wonder.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
That was the first Bible verse I ever heard and memorized. When was the last time you really let yourself…your whole self…marvel at what the verse means?
For me, I can get so busy and increasingly full of anxiety and distractions, that I forget the “blessed beyond measure” I already have in Christ.
He knit me (and you) together in our mothers’ womb! What?! HOW?! From the very start, as soon as His hands began His good work, I was me and you were you.
When He sent His Son (who was without sin by the way) to die in our sin-full place, He did that WAY BEFORE you and I did one single thing…good and bad. He chose us before the foundation of the world. I wonder, does that mean there were conversations about me before He started making something out of nothing with HIS WORDS?
That absolutely floors me!
I come closest to terms with the wonder of just how BIG and WONDERFUL GOD IS and how very small I am when I stand on the ocean sand. Watching the waves crash over and over again against the earth. He decided where the raging waters would stop and those waters obey. A-MA-ZING! I have been body slammed by a small wave. Powerful wonder!
Another time that was pretty close to the ocean was when I sat on a rock and overlooked the Grand Canyon. Sweet peeps! Four-leaf clovers are small potatoes compared to that wonder!
And my snackcakes? When I held them for the first time and looked into their eyes, smelled that wonderful baby smell and examined every inch of every wonderful piece woven together by God and given to me as a gift from God! He just loves like that. So wonderful!
I find myself wanting to go on and on but I believe I’m way over the word limit of what’s considered a blog. It is my hope that you take the time to ponder your own memories of having a childlike faith and being captivated and full of wonder, especially of Him…
…and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)