• Jennifer Hastings

Be Still, Look Up! Where Does Your Help Come From?

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

Look up! Sounds weird, I know, but I want to share with you what looking up did for me last week on spring break. Looking up changed my perspective and grounded in me in truth when I needed some encouragement. If you are in need of a fresh outlook on life, spend some time looking toward the sky. Let me explain.

The worries and the problems of this world have a way of weighing us down. The Bible teaches us in Matthew 5:45 that it rains on the just and the unjust. Troubles and hard times are to be expected. Sometimes the tendency can be to turn inward when the rain comes, but I’m learning this is the exact time when we need to look up the most!

The first part of spring break we travel to Illinois to visit Stewart’s Grandmother where apparently the ground is still frozen in the mornings and the wind is not your friend. Stewart’s Aunt and Uncle are living with her so she can continue living on her farm although she can still ride a four-wheeler! She has trouble lifting her arms high enough to cook for herself, but other than that...the lady is fiercely independent. Did you hear me, she still drives the four-wheeler to the mailbox? That fact blows my mind. I can’t even drive one! My crazy crew comes along and we completely bust up the peace and quiet on the farm.

One afternoon finally finds Stewart, his Grandmother, and myself alone in a quiet living room. I decide to take a walk and give them time alone. I know how special alone time with a grandparent is regardless of your age and besides I am missing the alone time my normal morning routine brings me.

The gravel crunches under my feet and I set out with my notebook, bible, and pen preparing to study and write. Wrong! I settle into the hammock and realize there is no way my hands can be on top of the blanket. Way too cold. I make myself a little cocoon and only my eyes are showing. I can only look up. I’m forced to be completely still. As I look up into the trees I feel myself slow down as I give God room and space to speak to my soul.

My view from the hammock.

My takeaways...

1. God provides gentle reminders of how small we are and just how big he really is!

At first, the naked tree branches seem random, but I begin to study the intricate patterns and beauty the branches bring to the overall look of the tree. It reminds me of the twist and turns in my life and how sometimes my life seems out of order, but God knows how to weave my mistakes into a beautiful picture. I think about my past and see what I would have called an ugly branch, but now I see how it fits into the overall picture. I wonder how God is going to weave this thing or branch in my life that seems out of place right now? Maybe you have a few issues in your life that seem wrong or out of place from your over all plan. Maybe you can find comfort in thinking about the future and the hope we have in the master Gardner to complete the work he has started in your life.

2. Our lives matter and affect others.

The branches intermingle with each other and it is hard to tell which branch belongs to which tree. I think about how much my actions and my life matters to my loved ones. I reflect on my actions and how I am positively and negatively contributing to the growth of the trees in my life. My parenting decisions are and will impact what kind of tree my kids become. The love of a grandparent can impact generation after generation. I think about Stewart and his grandmother and how much his grandparents have influenced him. Their trees are intertwined. I shift my gaze to the wheat field to the pasture to the wooded acres of land Stewart loves so much. His grandparents and this farm have shaped his life branch to want his own acres of land. We are in the process of searching for our very own acres right now and I anticipate the changes our move will make in our overall landscape of life.

3. Everything blooms in God’s perfect timing.

The wind is so cold, I retreat completely under my blanket for a few minutes and wonder how warm it is in Georgia. When I’m warm enough to poke my head back out, I begin staring at the tree again. Wait a minute, I see buds hiding on the tree. They are not big, but they are there. Tiny and perfect. This is the moment when God speaks to my heart and answers my worry for a loved one.

You won't always see the work I’m doing in the lives of your family and friends. I work on the inside and sometimes it takes a while to see what I’m doing in secret. Trust in me! Give me time to work on the branches!

I sit there in awe of how God speaks to us and answers our prayers when we give him time and space to talk. Just as Illinois’s spring is a few weeks behind Georgia, each person’s life is in a different season. It is comforting to know God is in control of all our seasons... a reminder I needed. I am not in control and need to give him time and space to work. Maybe you have a loved one living in winter, give God time and space to work in their life and pray for their spring to come. In the waiting for the first signs of spring, look to the sky, and you will find help in the waiting.

Psalm 121:1-2

I lift my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

I hope you can carve out ten minutes for yourself this week to find a spot, be alone, look up, and invite God to speak to your heart. Seek out a time where you can be completely and utterly still. I’m not going to lie, it was hard for me but totally worth it. The way I see it, looking up is soul refreshing. After my tree experience, I’ve since seen two Eagles and a rainbow, and a few more special messages from above.

If you try looking up, I would love to hear about it!


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