Behold The Thistle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn comes on timidly and I feel the last few strains of summer sing out to me when I attach the baby to my chest and take a bike ride. We ride the paths that wind through farm acreage the suburbs have forgotten about and I take great comfort in the bales of hay, and laundry hanging out to dry on a clothesline—calicos and whites and worn tea towels.

I hear the gentle bubble of a creek almost dried up completely and hidden by the prodigious weeds of summer. And there is beauty in these weeds, the golden grasses, the drying thistle, and this beauty is echoed in the fluff my baby’s straw colored hair against my chin.

I inhale the innards of country sweetness, the dazzling hints of fall, and between the gentle breeze and the slight whir of a bug buzzing by me, the silence is like a prayer.

I go to church on Sundays and at some point midweek, I will rush up the hill to the temple. I read my scriptures at night, after the children have gone to bed and we have prayed too, but the daily communal with God I most adore are the quiet, unexpected catches in my throat—the sky at sunset, the baby’s lips the moment before they break into a smile, reading the Book of Mormon with the kids at breakfast and feeling truth of parable and story more shockingly than I ever seem to feel while sleepy. The morning light seems a cathedral window when I wake early to exercise, the mountain miraculous in it’s changing coat, the ocean a wonder too sacred to express. And sometimes, nothing feels more satisfactory than knowing all my housework is finished for the day, and I go to bed with a full knowledge that I have done just as I should—and that Heavenly Father knows it. And approves.

I am grateful for daily worship—and for a God I seem to sense all around me. And I wonder, what are the things that you do to feel closer to Heavenly Father—and feel his love back—every day?

About Brooke

(Blog Team) is attempting inner om with this writing stuff. Proud to claim four loud children, a patient husband and a fat black cat as family, she feels blessed to be their mommy-- their giver of kisses and baker of cookies. She is ever seeking a good novel and wishing for the sand between her toes, palm trees, the ocean.

16 thoughts on “Behold The Thistle

  1. Checked in for a moment in between the busy, so I don’t have time to write what I will now ponder this afternoon ;)
    –just wanted to say I feel the same way and I love that you wrote this.

    Thanks. :)

  2. Inevitably it involves my children. At night when I tuck them into bed and stare at their cherub faces and sweet lips and laugh at the astute observations made by my 3 year old, I know that God lives and loves me. Cheesy? Yes. True? Absolutely.

    I want to come up and walk with you my friend, let’s catch up!

  3. Love this:
    “…but the daily communal with God I most adore are the quiet, unexpected catches in my throat—the sky at sunset, the baby’s lips the moment before they break into a smile, reading the Book of Mormon with the kids at breakfast and feeling truth of parable and story more shockingly than I ever seem to feel while sleepy.”

    Plus, the last line makes me realize I really need to start doing scripture study in the morning. I think I miss much from doing it late at night when all I want to do is sleep!

  4. Some of my most holy moments are when spirituality and motherhood meet. I love teaching my children about the gospel, discussing it with them, seeing them make connections and hearing them bear testimony themselves.

    I also love sunsets, the breeze through the aspens in our yard, the chirping of crickets and of birds.

    And family dinner time is another sacred time.

  5. There’s an interesting juxtaposition between this post and the one before it. I find myself more often than not relating to the other one, wishing I could feel more of what you feel and wondering why I don’t. My housework is never finished, taking care of my kids exhausting, and the guilt of knowing that I’m not doing all I should weighs on me. But how could I possibly do any more with breaking? I go to sleep feeling like I have failed. Does Heavenly Father approve of me too? Does He know how much I’m trying?

  6. lovely writing as always, Brooke. You are exceptionally good at finding the beauty in life. For me, I feel God’s love through my children.

    E– I’m so sorry. I’ve felt that way far too often. Yes, God does see your efforts, He does see how much you are trying. Please know that you are loved.

  7. E, I am your kindred spirit. I often feel the love of God intermixed with my feelings of being overwhelmed, but I can honestly say I don’t remember a day when I go to bed “knowing all my housework is finished for the day, and I go to bed with a full knowledge that I have done just as I should—and that Heavenly Father knows it. And approves.” I yearn for that, and I wonder why I don’t feel it, even though I know God loves me and gives me tender mercies to let me know. I feel like I fall short every single day…and I’m learning to come to terms with that. I think right now the Lord’s lesson to me is to accept his sacrifice for me, that he knows I’m not measuring up to my expectations of myself, but that with His payment, I’m enough anyway.

    I would LOVE to go to bed satisfied with my days, though…

  8. The 2 best times for me to commune with God and feel his love are during my morning prayer and during my morning walk or bike ride. The bike ride/walk is mundane enough that it lets my mind focus on spiritual things and feeling prayers, plus I’ve got nature all around me, which almost always leaves me feeling closer to God and thankful for His blessings.

  9. I loved this article. I think you are describing the essence of living in thanksgiving daily–as Alma tells us to do. As my life has picked up pace I’ve found it harder and harder to get into the mode to feel the way you describe (like I doubt my housework will EVER be completely finished! ;)) but some time ago I had an epiphany–if I wait until things calm down to allow myself to relax and enjoy the bounty that is around me–it will never happen. I’ve had to learn to give myself permission to toss it off, to live in thanksgiving daily anyway. I think living like this is essentially a choice to focus on some things, ignore others. I think the feelings you describe are facilitated by other choices–paying tithing, reading scriptures, praying, trying to keep all the commandments, etc. It doesn’t mean we will ALWAYS feel the happy peace you describe but I do think those happy peaceful feelings are a product of righteousness.

  10. Brooke – I read this twice, it was so beautiful. Every word. Thank you for writing about those small delights that make us feel grateful. Your words have stayed with me all day. I especially loved this phrase: “the unexpected catches in my throat.” I too, find that those times are when I feel Him closest. And your photo? Absolutely precious.

  11. my comment about the housework is specifically to say that i feel God’s love when i’m mopping or doing the laundry or picking up toys from the floor because i feel it when i’m working hard and chores are my work these days.

    and that’s just me.

    still, this love– this knowledge that god lives– is glimpsed in moments… i too have had times when it feels like i am pleading with Heavenly Father to just let me feel something. anything. a little twinge of affirmation or whatever. and i hate those times. and i blame those times on hormones and hope and pray for the dark cloud or sadness and anxiety to pass.

    but i feel god’s love most when i am not overwhelmed and somehow the stars align so that i am doing exactly as i should, when i should be doing it. often, this means letting things go. (and those of you who know me will know i have dirty hair & stubbly legs on most occasions… and that the baby is NEVER dressed… and that the almost eight year old boy hasn’t showered in DAYS… oh, and that we had in’n’out far too many times last month…) :)

    xoxo to all of you!!

  12. Thank you for these words, Brooke. Your regular, earnest connecting to God is inspiring.

    E, I absolutely, completely can relate. I have lately been thinking of the story of the widow’s mite in the New Testament. So often, I feel like my energy level is so much less than I would hope for. I seem to accomplish much less than many other moms I know seem to be able to. I have thought that my offering to the Lord and to my family is often like that of the widow’s mite. It looks really small, but it’s out of the abundance (or lack thereof) that I am giving. I’ve also thought of the parable of the talents, how one was given five talents, one two talents, and one one talent. We are truly given different gifts and different capacities. Only the Lord knows our hearts and what we are giving. He doesn’t want us to run faster than we have strength. So, if one woman is more of the tortoise variety and one is more of the hare variety, I think the Lord knows us and knows how we were individually made and created. Blessings to you, E. I hope you can feel God loving you right here, right now. You don’t have to wait until you’ve done enough. He loves us and embraces us and strengthens us even as we stumble and falter.

  13. “I feel like I fall short every single day…and I’m learning to come to terms with that. I think right now the Lord’s lesson to me is to accept his sacrifice for me, that he knows I’m not measuring up to my expectations of myself, but that with His payment, I’m enough anyway.”

    Thank you. This comment really spoke to me. I am struggling with this myself… I too often feel like I accomplish so much less than other moms I know. I guess part of the lesson is trying to see when I’m not measuring up to my own expectations because they’re too high- what are God’s expectations of me and what are my expectations of myself… sure He expects perfection… eventually, but not immediately right this second. And God’s idea of perfection probably has nothing to do with whether or not I have unfolded laundry sitting in baskets for a few days. :)

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