"The life of true holiness is rooted in the soil of awed adoration. It does not grow elsewhere." ~ JI Packer
I remember when my husband and I, early on in our relationship, travelled across our country's beautiful landscape, from east coast to west, in search of exploring its natural treasures. I had hardly been outside of Connecticut, with the exception of a few high school trips to Canada, where the distance and views in between, went largely unnoticed. And there was that trip to the Bahamas on Spring break my first year of college, memories thinly lined by sandy beautiful beaches but mostly consisting of the inside of clubs and chartered cruises overpacked with swelling crowds of college students feeling free and careless. Youth's wasteful days!
It was only until that trip cross country that I began to realize the sheer beauty and diversity that adorned the mantle on the part of earth's crust called "America". Mountains the likes I had never imagined rose up, like giants, standing tall and proud, their peeks reaching to the heavens. Colorado forever changed my perception of what I always imagined the Rockies looking like. The pictures do no justice. We trekked across the badlands, stepped carefully through the bubbling geysers of Yellowstone, slept on the mysterious shores of Oregon, got caught in blissful rainstorms in the rainforests of Hoh National Park as our clothes, wet, became plastered to our bodies. Laughing together as heaven rained down, exulted by the radiance and energy of creation all around us. My passion for nature blossomed.
It wasn't until we arrived at Glacier National Park, in Montana, by the border of Canada that my heart nearly stopped in my chest as it decidedly found God in that meadow of wildflowers, encircled by mountains garbed in a patchwork of iceburgs and lush green. I'm not sure why it was there, considering there were so many other amazing places we had been, but I just froze and took in my surroundings, breathing in deep the life that pulsated with the glory of God all around me. What seemed like infinite species of wildflowers in an abundant array of colors and forms gave my heart the impression that I now stood in a garden, planted by God. I remember reverently standing in silence, in awe, at the handiwork of our Creator. I turned to my husband, whispering, "If someone doesn't believe in God, they just need to come here."
I had always thought of God as far away, distant, and removed. But it was there that I realized He was part of the beauty and miracles that abound in nature. He was the very author of Creation itself. When one really thinks about that, what that really means, it's an amazing thing. It makes me, anyways, completely amazed and at awe. His creativity and love, grace and mercy, are interwoven in the DNA of life. God wasn't just about who goes to heaven and hell. He was so much more than that. He is what holds all of reality together. He is reality. He is love.
The rolling meadows of Montana, with its wildflowers planted by God and lined with mountains was the first place I really stood in awe at the magnificience of the reality and love of God. His power, His love, His mercy and grace gently whispering through the tender wildflowers and powerfully carving out mountains of stones. It makes me heart sing out with joy to our great God :)
It was at that moment, also, that I knew, if I ever had a daughter, I would name her Montana Skye, after the place where I experienced a deeper and fuller reality of God's love and beauty than I had ever known before. I proclaimed it on that warm breezy morning to my husband and we wrote it years later on a birth certificate, as our daughter, just having entered this world, lay in my arms; warm and new, a gift from God filling my heart with a whole new adoration once again of God's mercy and handiwork.
What has made you stand in awed adoration of our great God? Please share in the comments section!