This is the first Our Stories post. I pray you look back at your own life and see God.
When I was four or five years old, I would escape into the woods behind our house to get away from my big brother who liked to pick on me.
I remember looking around to make sure he wasn’t following me before stepping from the grass in our backyard and onto the dirt path I’d worn leading into the woods.
The sunlight was too bright in the yard, but once I stepped under the canopy of trees, the shade was soothing and cooling. The light skipped across the leaves overhead, falling all around my feet and dancing on the ground as ferns and the smell of dirt welcomed me.
There was a branch sticking out from a nearby tree that I’d pull back, move past, and gently return to its place over the path; this was the gate for my secret garden.
The sunlight was in my garden, only it was mellow, not harsh or blinding. It was golden, warming me and washing over the flowers on both sides of the path that disappeared over the hill. There was always a gentle breeze, the leaves applauding a performance only they understood. And the delicate purple flowers that grew sporadically in our backyard were lush and abundant here like someone had planted them just for me.
I’d sit on the dirt path and pick those flowers for my mom while the sunlight kissed me as I sang songs I’d made up, playing with salamanders that wiggled in the dirt.
This place was special to me. I belonged here. I didn’t need to hurry. I wasn’t afraid. It was lovely and calming and perfect.
God knew how to bless that little tomboy with scraped knees and dirt caked under her fingernails with His presence by meeting me right where I sat. I like to think He joined me, right there in the dirt, and taught me how to hear Him, how to recognize something wonderful He brings us:
My secret garden was where I first met God. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now.
Your turn for reflection:
What is the earliest memory you have of God in your life?
Did you have a special hiding place you’d escape to as a child? If so, can you look back today and recognize you weren’t alone, that God was with you?