I know...you think I'm going to get all preachy on you today. Well, I am, but not really. You see, the way I interact with God -- the way my soul grows -- it isn't very preachy. I grew up in church and I went to a Christian university and we still go to church faithfully -- and all added up? That is a lot of preaching. I get a little tired of preaching. Don't you?
What I don't get tired of are those moments when I can feel my soul breathe. I don't know if you have had those moments (I hope you have!), but once you feel it, you will always want more. Those moments when something lifts in your heart and you are simply at peace. You aren't crazy happy. You aren't even full of elation. You aren't even necessarily joyful. You are just at peace.
For me, that peace is directly tied to the way God speaks through nature. Perhaps it is childish of me that I find God the most through his tangible, smack-dab-in-your-face gifts instead of his more lofty spiritual gifts. In any case, I'm not going to argue with how and when. I just love the feeling of freedom when my soul breathes.
Perhaps you are wondering when I'm going to get to the point. I'm getting there I promise.
A few years ago, we had just moved to Pennsylvania and we were living in a townhouse. We were supposed to live there for a year but I was a little baby and needed a garden and a place for the boys to run. Looking back, I know that realistically, we should have stuck it out. Quite honestly, I knew I was being ungrateful in my heart at the time. I just couldn't stand it. I couldn't stand the babies waking the other babies up because the quarters were too close. I couldn't stand the stark whiteness and "townhouseiness" of it all. I couldn't stand the fact that my poppies bloomed 1/4" wide because they were being grown in pots that couldn't support them. I was tired of not having potatoes and tomatoes growing in my backyard. I was tired of not being able to paint walls and hang things on them. I was just a plain old baby about it all.
However. I am a little bit glad that I was a baby because we ended up with a house that lets my soul breathe.
I still haven't told you what I'm talking about....
Let me show you.
It is those places where sun glints through the plants like diamonds and that place where the sky goes on forever. It's that place where the green fills your eyes and then coats your veins and tumbles down into your heart. It is that moments when you breathe in the air and feel it living you life. It is the country and the woods and the beaches and the ocean. It is rocks and grass and trees and sky. It is the place where God reaches out and can physically touch us. My soul can breathe when there is space and life and light and growth. My soul can breathe when I can feel God.
Those photos? Those aren't of my home. Those are of the [incredible] Rapid Canyon Ranch in Wyoming. The problem? We can't afford hundreds and thousands of acres of unbroken sky. We can't afford a home where neighbors are invisible. We can't afford a mountain.
However. We can afford a home that lets my soul breathe. Sometimes you have to get on your knees and look under the plants to see the way the sunlight glows through the leaves. A blanket and a baby and that view? Your soul can breathe. Sometimes it is looking the right direction. Maybe you have a busy street in front of your home, but out the back you can see rolling hills in the distance. You don't have to own those hills for them to grace your heart.
All that said...my soul can breathe now. If I wouldn't have been such a baby, my soul could have breathed in that townhouse, but I was too stubborn. I wanted grass and trees and room to plant. I wanted sky and breeze and trees to climb. I wanted to own my little piece of land and raise chickens and chase groundhogs.
Are you in a space where it feels like you can't breathe? Re-evaluate your space, add some life, try to embrace your space and you might try adding a few of my styling tips to help. In any case, breathe. You can't live without it.