Reflections on Childlike Vision
“New Eyes to See” by Lynn D. Morrissey
“The Master Gardener” by Jeanne Gowen Dennis
“What God Looks Like” by Bryan Davis
“About the Art” “Childlike Faith” by Steve Miller
New Eyes to See
“New Eyes to See” by Lynn D. Morrissey
Are you a creature of habit? I would include my Standard Poodle, Bogey, in that category. One day a friend who was visiting asked why Bogey was standing stoically in front of the refrigerator, and then commented on what a smart dog he was to know where the food was kept. Actually, Bogey was not waiting for his next meal, but rather standing over an air vent on the kitchen floor, hoping to cool down after a romp in the backyard. Unfortunately, on this lovely breezy day, the air conditioning was off, but Bogey, a creature of habit, didn’t realize it. He didn’t budge from his usual post.
I’m about as brilliant as my dog! One day, my husband Michael asked me (with a quizzical expression on his face), how long I’d been opening the dining room window next to our computer. I’m temporarily using my dining room as an office.
“Oh, for about six months or so,” I replied. “Why?”
“I was just wondering,” he commented, “because there’s a closed storm window behind the screen!”
Talk about a creature of habit—or maybe dumb beast would be more apropos! Because I had not fine-tuned my eyes to see below the surface, I didn’t realize that my view beyond the screen was not much clearer than when the inside window remained shut.
How often have I gone through life with blinders on, habitually going through the motions and not recognizing God in the myriad circumstances of my life? It seems that I prefer to complain, instead, that He has forgotten me or that I simply cannot “find” Him. I imagine that He is not there just because I haven’t really opened my eyes to see Him; yet the truth remains that, because He promises never to leave or forsake me, He is always there behind the storm windows and storms of life. Better yet, He is right there with me in the midst of them.
I would encourage you to develop what my friend, author and speaker Mary Whelchel, calls “forever eyes.” Sharpen your vision to see God working in the midst of your life—to see the sacred in the secular, to see the spiritual in the physical, to see beyond the temporal storm window to the very real eternal world that exists all about you.
Marcel Proust exclaimed, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Open your eyes and behold Him who loves you beyond imagination. He is in your midst. When you do that, your life will never be the same.
© Lynn D. Morrisey
Lynn D. Morrissey is the author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy Through Written Prayer, devotionals Seasons of a Woman’s Heart: A Daybook of Stories & Inspiration and Treasures of a Woman’s Heart, and contributing author to numerous bestsellers. She is a CLASS & AWSA speaker specializing in prayer-journaling and women’s topics. She and her husband, Michael, have one daughter, Sheridan, and live in St. Louis, Missouri. You can find her at http://powertochange.com/blogposts/author/lmorrissey/.
The Master Gardener
“The Master Gardener” by Jeanne Gowen Dennis
A favorite rhyme of gardeners states that one can be closer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth. All gardeners can probably understand what the writer of that verse felt. When we grow gardens, we participate in the act of creation by planting, watering, and nurturing new life. In the process, we are free to impose our own sense of order and design on our small horticultural universes. Most of all, we are filled with wonder each time our tiny seeds, papery bulbs, and dry twigs are transformed into harvests of green beans, tomatoes, tulips, daffodils, hydrangeas, or roses.
Through the years, I have noted various types of gardens, including:
- Flowerbed-bordered lawns;
- Old-fashioned, front-yard gardens crowned with hollyhocks and surrounded by picket fences;
- Vegetable gardens in perfectly-spaced rows;
- Raised beds bursting with garden produce and fragrant flowers;
- Sumptuous formal rose gardens;
- Wild, natural-looking plantings of flowers, bushes, and pampas grass;
- Manicured boxwoods that mimic animals; and
- Japanese gardens mixing floral beauty with gurgling water.
Gardens around the world vary almost as much as the gardeners who plant them. Each in its own way is an imitation of the larger garden of the earth, and each gardener in a small way imitates the greatest Gardener of all.
When we observe nature’s intricately designed plants and landscapes, we might wonder what kind of Gardener organizes and maintains such an assortment of “plantings.” What delicate hand unfurls the petals of a rose while carrying the tremulous thrill of birdsong on the scented wind? What mighty hand sustains towering redwoods and oaks? What imagination conceived the cactus flower, the pumpkin, and the lily pad?
Psalm 104 states that God is the Designer and Sustainer of all. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work. He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate—bringing forth food from the earth. . . .How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all . . . (Psalms 104:12-14, 24 NIV).
Yes, one is closer to God in a garden, both in a garden designed by human hands, and especially in the exquisite garden of Earth. Let’s listen, and we will hear all of nature shouting that it was designed by the Master Gardener, the greatest Gardener of all.”
As a former extension agent in horticulture, Jeanne Gowen Dennis has often felt close to God in gardens. She is the host of Heritage of Truth TV and the author/coauthor of several books. Visit jeannedennis.com for more information.
It’s time to exercise your ears. Find a quiet place to sit, either outside or inside, and close your eyes. Listen for the loudest sounds. What do you hear? Traffic? Machinery? Television? Next, listen for sounds just below that level. Do you hear a loved one’s voice? A cat’s mewing? A bird’s trill? Finally, concentrate on only the quietest sounds, the peaceful sounds hiding beneath life’s chaos. Is it the wind? Your own breathing? Perhaps you can hear the still, small voice of God. Listen, and thank Him for the wonderful gift of hearing.
What God Looks Like
“What God Looks Like” By Bryan Davis
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way (Psalms 25:9 NIV).
With twilight casting a soft glow on my daughter’s drooping eyes, I kissed her forehead. “Daddy?” she asked, her eyes fluttering open. “What does God look like?”
“Jesus said,” I replied, “‘He who has seen Me has seen the Father.’ If we watch Jesus, we’ll know what God is like.”
“But Jesus isn’t here anymore.”
She was right. The Savior who fills our eyes with the Father’s glory no longer walks the earth. I took a deep breath. “Then it’s up to me to show you what God looks like.”
She grinned at me. “Really? Did you go up to heaven and take His picture?”
“No, silly goose. It’s my job to show you what God is like. When God makes a father, He pours in a bunch of His own qualities. So think of me as your picture of God.” I tucked her in tightly, whispering to settle her thoughts. “I can’t be everything God is, but I can show you how He loves you like a father. Will that be enough?”
Her voice stretched into a yawn. “That’ll be enough.”
I sighed, wondering, “Will I be able to fulfill my promise? Can I bridge the gap between heaven and earth and reflect God’s love in a way she can understand? Do I know Him well enough myself?”
Psalm 25 tells us that God guides the humble and teaches them His ways. Through humility like that of a little child, our feeble attempts can be empowered by God’s desire to reveal His fathering character, and we can show others what God looks like.
© Bryan Davis
Bryan Davis is the author of Dragons in our Midst, Oracles of Fire, Children of the Bard, the Reapers Trilogy, Dragons of Starlight, Tales of Starlight and Echoes from the Edge, seven series filled with fantasy, adventure, and mystery suitable for your entire family. Visit his website at http://www.daviscrossing.com.
Roaming the Path
Here are some resources you might enjoy as you continue down the path of childlike wonder and faith
Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy Through Written Prayer by Lynn D. Morrissey is an exquisitely beautiful book that will encourage you in your journey towards childlike faith. See our editor’s review on amazon.com.
A Chance at Childhood Again: Restoring Freedom and Wonder to Everyday Life by Alan D. Wright, A delightful romp back into childhood that will stir your sense of wonder and reawaken deep feelings of gratitude and love toward God
Running Barefoot on Holy Ground: Childlike Intimacy with God by Jeanne Gowen Dennis. Best-selling author Bob Hostetler writes of this book, ” . . . You will fall in love with God, whether for the first time . . . or all over again.”
“Come to Jesus” and “My Cathedral” by Chris Rice from his CD entitled Run the Earth, Watch the Sky
Profound in its simplicity, “Come to Jesus” encourages us to go to Jesus in every problem and joy of life. “My Cathedral” speaks of how nature can inspire worship of God the Creator.
About the Art
“Childlike Faith” by Steve Miller
Our inspiring cover illustration, entitled “Childlike Faith,” was executed in pencil and airbrush using black ink and white acrylic paint by artist, illustrator, and designer Steve Miller. Having drawn and painted all his life, Miller creates computer-generated graphics and animation for various companies and clients as well as illustrations for publications.
He says, “Trying to pay the bills always seems to keep me wrapped up in the commercial end of art. However, when I find extra time or just need to get away from the computer, I hear the call of my oil paints and find myself once again painting an image that whispers some deep song of my heart . . . .”
God’s creation inspires Miller, but he realizes that sin has tainted God’s handiwork and left it with only a shadow of its original beauty. “As I try to capture a small piece of the beauty that remains, I find that a painting emerges, with colors and a presence that can only be described as a place of the heart, a place beyond the horizon; a place desired for, yet untouched and unseen. It is a longing for that place in the Garden before the fellowship with God was broken.”
Steve’s website is http://www.stevemillerstudios.com.
Editor: Jeanne Gowen Dennis
Associate Editor: Sheila Seifert
Assistant Editor: Christine St. Jacques
© Heritage of Truth, LLC