The full moon put on a beautiful show this morning. I’ve always been fascinated by its reflected light, especially in the morning. Most prefer to watch the moon at night, but I’m a morning moon person. I live on top of a mountain, so the sun rises in front of the house and sets in the back. My bedroom faces the west, so I get spectacular sunsets most days. I love to sit and watch the sun go through her nightly ritual and don’t like it when she closes the clouds in front of her. Sunsets are fast, and I miss many because I’m not paying attention. The moon takes its time, and I love that about moon sets in the morning.
When the moon is full, its light wakes me early. It’s like the little girls when they come running down the hallway for breakfast. They have been gone for a week, and I’m missing our sweet morning ritual. I’ve had a different routine this week; I’ve enjoyed having coffee and watching the full moon fade into the horizon. I love the views from my bedroom; a dear friend calls it my window to the world. I so needed this time on the mountaintop, and I wouldn’t give anything for the two years I’ve spent with my son and his family. I will have a very different view from my new home in town, but I’m looking forward to watching the town awake.
I love people, and I love Bryson City. God brought me to these mountains in 1970 to attend college, and I never went home. I’m sure my grandfather would say I came home. My father argued with me when I decided to live in the mountains. He said, “I worked my ass off to get out of those mountains, and you moved right back up there. What does that say??”
I smiled and said, “That one of us has some sense.” He had to grin because he did love the mountains of his childhood. He was worried about making money and getting away from what he saw as backwardness. Mama embraced the mountain ways and knew what every plant in the woods could cure. She missed the closeness of the mountains and longed for them her whole life. Like her, I can’t wait to get back to mountains when I am exposed in the flatlands for a while. They surround me like a warm hug and make me feel protected.
I believe we all have a place that speaks to our hearts. The mountains speak to mine in a powerful way, and that has never been more true that during the past week as I’ve had time to stop and sit and stare. God shows up in those quiet moments, and I know I am exactly where I am meant to be. Daddy understood. The city called out to him in the same way, and he never regretted listening to its call.
The moon takes a long time to let go in the mornings, and it becomes more beautiful as it pales. It is sitting in the distance reminding me that it will be back in the morning. I’ll be waiting with the wide-eyed wonder of a child and a cup of great coffee.
I love the Psalms of Ascent, and Psalm 121 is especially dear to me.
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever. NASB
I love to look at the mountains as I pray. Unlike the ocean, they do not move. I like that about them and could stand and stare at them forever. They are one of the few things that cause me to stop and be still:) My strength does come from God, and the mountains remind me of His majesty. This beautiful psalm reminds me of Who God Is. Asleep or awake, day or night, sun or shade, going out or coming in, God is there protecting and loving me forever. What blessed assurance of His sweet presence!
The mountains I love so very much will eventually wear away, but God always has been, is, and always will be the same. My faith falters, and my obedience is inconsistent; but God is faithful and patient. I beat myself up when I get off course because I waste precious time that could be spent with Him if I stay down when I stumble.
I will stumble and fall as long as I am living. It keeps me humble and reminds me I am human. Lillyann insists on pretending she is a puppy, and crawls all around the house. Her poor knees bear the bruises of her imagination. My heart bears the same skins and scrapes when I insist on my way instead of yielding to His.
I am so thankful God loves me and tends to my heart just as my mama tended to my many bangs and bruises. As I told Lillyann today that her poor knees couldn’t take much more abuse, I thought of my own heart and the punishment I put it through as I insist on my own way. God bid me to treat it with the same care He does and asked that I stop putting it in harm’s way. Hearts and knees deserve loving care; Lillyann and I both need to remember that.
I’ve been sleeping on the floor for two weeks as I’ve waited for the wonderful new mattress I ordered. I found out yesterday that it’s been ready for for me to pick it up for three weeks now. God made it clear that He has provided a new home, new furniture, and a great mattress, but I am still sleeping on the floor. I’m also still settling for less than He desires when it comes to my heart. God provides abundantly, but my stubborn insistence on my way keeps me from experiencing all He has for me.
The Psalms of Ascent are about moving up an drawing near to God, but I cannot move up to where He wants me to be as long as I’m satisfied where I am. Fear keeps me from ascending, and a lack of trust keeps me satisfied on the floor. I’m slowly learning to step out and up and put my trust in Him. Psalm 121 along with the amazing mountains I see at every window of the new home He has provided remind me that I am surrounded by hope and help:)
As I awoke this morning, I was struck by the fog settling in the valley below. It was as if God was right in that fog, and love was embracing the mountains, the town, and me all at the same time. The mountains change moment by moment, and the worst part of the deluge of late is that the mountains were out of my sight. I knew they were there, but there were clouds blocking my view.
Often, I don’t see God because of the worry in my heart. Like the clouds, it settles in the low spots and keeps me from experiencing His presence. The prayer retreat is all about being in God’s presence. I know He is always present; unfortunately, I’m not. I’m learning that praying is about being present. Love is the same:)