One of the most beautiful sights I witnessed was this gorgeous creature perched as happy as you please on a rock. Pretty sure it's a Great Blue Heron.
I slowly, quietly, made my way to the waters edge, carefully testing one of the larger stones to see if I could get a footing. I lifted my camera phone and voila! A picture worthy of a postcard. Within seconds, he was off, and I quickly snapped a few more.
As I rounded corner away from the lake and into the wood, I was suddenly struck by how lush everything was becoming. It had rained the previous two days and everything had a more intense color.
The brown tree trunks appeared almost black, and the leaves were a deep, rich green. Everything smelled clean and fresh. I remembered coming this way not much more than two months before when the trees were barren and the only leaves were brown and crisp and strewn across the forest floor. How very different it looked today. And I know in another two months time it will appear different still. The vegetation will be even more thick, filling out the gaps and totally blocking the view to the lake just beyond.
As I pondered all the changes, I thought back to a conversation I'd had a few days before with a young woman interning in my office. She knows my penchant for baking and to a lesser extent, cooking. She asked me if I'd always been so passionate about it. "No" I laughed. "I HATED to cook when I was younger." She seemed shocked. "It was a different season of my life" I explained. "The kids were young, I was working several jobs to make ends meet. The last thing I wanted to do was spend time in the kitchen when I got home." I went on to explain that I'm a very different person these days.
I love spending a Sunday afternoon cooking and baking for the week. I get tremendous joy from creating yummy treats to give to family and friends. Tangible evidence that I've spent time creating something just for them, to make them feel special.
I've become an even greater lover of sunsets...reveling in the rich golds, pinks, and purples painted across the sky and the shimmering glow dancing across the face of the water as the sun slowly slips down behind the edge of the lake to ultimately be swallowed up by the trees. I have always led a busy life, and my calendar is still very full, but I have learned the benefit - the absolute necessity - of slowing down to enjoy life. Of experiencing it with all my senses. Of being quiet before God to hear what He is whispering to my soul. It is an exercise I wish I had learned many years ago.
Author and speaker Priscilla Shirer (daughter of preacher Tony Evans) shared in one of her studies something that stayed with me. She said her entire single life she had longed to be married. And when the day came that her now husband proposed, she was elated...for a few minutes. Then she looked at the ring on her finger and realized that for all intents and purposes, her single life was now over. And suddenly, she wondered what she had done with all those single years. Now that she's the mother of young children she sees it happening again. The temptation is to wish away the time - waiting for the day your baby can crawl, then walk and talk, then head off to school and before you know it, they are married and you wonder where? Where did the time go? Each season of life is to be lived to the full and appreciated for what it teaches us.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 are the well known "a time for" verses. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." Verse 11 goes on to say "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
The devotional Jesus Calling put it this way a few days ago..."Here and Now comprise the coordinates of your daily life. Most people let their moments slip through their fingers, half-lived. They avoid the present by worrying about the future or longing for a better time and place. They forget that they are creatures who are subject to the limitations of time and space. They forget their Creator, who walks with them only in the present."
Don't let another moment slip away. Begin today walking with Him in the present. He has made everything beautiful in its time, so live the time you're in right now to the full...the seasons will most assuredly change down the road - don't miss a second of the one you're in.