Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Precious Love

I have been neglecting my blog a bit lately. Life is a little overwhelming. I will write more soon about the transition to and from Portland, because there is a lot on my heart about it, but for now suffice it to say that the upcoming move is a bittersweet and challenging transition. (Also, I will write more about my Social & Cultural class, and the question I posed a few entries ago. Sorry to leave you hanging for now.)

Since it's Sunday, and I was too lazy to go to church, I thought I'd write a little devotional blog. As you know from a previous entry, I have been reading Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge. The two authors often include anecdotes about their lives which relate to the topic they are discussing. A couple weeks ago I was reading the chapter about being romanced by God. (A fascinating concept for my helplessly romantic heart.) Stasi was sharing a story about her husband John. When he was spending quiet, prayerful time alone with God on a beach in Oregon, a humpback whale spontaneously shot out of the water, very close to shore. The time of humpback whales' migration in Oregon had long passed. John knew this was just for him, a kind of love letter from God. Stasi was happy for her husband, but wanted such an experience for herself. A few weeks later, on a beach in Northern California, Stasi asked God if He loved her enough to send her a whale. This was her experience: "I rounded a corner and came upon a starfish, a beautiful orange starfish. And I knew at once that it was God's gift for me, His kiss. For me, unique to me, He gave me a stunning starfish. He answered my question. Yes. He loved me. I thanked Him for it then rounded the bend and came upon a sight I will never forget. There before me, behind me, surrounding me, were hundreds of starfish. Zillions of them. There were purple ones and orange ones and blue ones, all sizes. I burst into joyful laughter, my heart bursting inside me. God didn't just love me, He LOOOOVED me! Intimately, personally, completely." Sweet, isn't it?

So after reading this, I naturally asked God if He loved me that way too. Nothing happened. Almost a week passed, and I had completely forgotten about the story and my prayer. I went to school last Monday, and on my way into class, I saw a golden retriever puppy, just a few weeks old. I thought to myself that the greatest sign to me of God's soft and precious heart is His creation of puppies. But not just any puppy. (Keep in mind that I love my own dogs beyond measure, so don't tell them I said this.) Golden Retrievers. Their chubby, clumsy little bodies. Their sweet faces and big brown eyes. Their thick, soft, plentiful coats of fur. Their endless capacity to love any and all human beings that they encounter. A God who created these little creatures is a good God indeed. So, with all that in mind, I went into class, marveling at God's sweetness. When I came out of class that night, darkness had fallen, so I almost didn't see it. I did a double take as I looked at a patch of grass underneath a bush with beautiful pink flowers. There were petals spelling out "I [heart] U." I laughed out loud. I know what you cynics are thinking, but I don't care how it got there. I just know it was there, in plain sight, in my path, as I left class, answering my question. He loves me. Intimately, personally, completely.


Mom Ryan said...

I love the story about the puppy and the flowers. What a wonderful experience!! I'm so excited you are coming back to California, but I know it's a lot of work to move back. I hope you are excited, too!!?? Love you!

Linda Z said...

Thanks for the reminder of God's incredible love for us... beautiful! I love the story of your cousin's encounter with the deer and its baby, too... one of my favorites. :)

Rob, Kelly, Bennett, and Elodie said...

I keep meaning to come back over and tell you this story...
One time, I was home for a visit, and I was really down (I don't remember why now), and I was driving along scenic in Carmel. I was praying that God would do something to encourage me, and I really wanted that something to be a sign of hope (or to give me) hope.

I rounded the bend at 14th, and I could NOT believe my eyes. There were about five or six dolphins in the ocean straight ahead of me, not just being playful, but jumping high into the air. High. Like they were in an act at Sea World. I didn't even know dolphins behaved that way in the wild (I still am not convinced that they normally do). As you know, dolphins are my favorite, favorite animals. I just watched in amazement. This went on for some time. The weirdest one around me noticed. I felt like it was God's gift of hope to me. Amazing!

I promise you I am not exaggerating-not that I need to tell you that.

Thanks for reminding me of that experience, and that He loves me enough to do something so outrageous for me. I can still barely believe it!

By the way, I love your Shel S. profile-thingee. That's great.

Colleen said...

Wow, that's a sweet story Kel. How encouraging! You never told me that. What an awesome God we have.