Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
Small things delight. Small found things delight me even more.
As I was washing the labels off six old wine bottles I found in a bag in the attic, I said to my husband, “What other woman you know of would be so pleased with this kind of find? I am a low-maintenance kind of gal.”
When I cleaned and organized the attic this spring (so my kids won’t have to do it when I die), I came across a paper tote holding bottles. Glancing not very closely inside, I concluded they were bottles one of the kids (all four now adults and cluttering their own homes) had collected. I imagined those fancy little antique bottles that look great when you take a hostess gift to someone of homemade salad vinaigrette.
One of this summer projects (stimulated, I’m sure, by weeks without rain—a rarity in the Great Lakes ecosystem) has been to collect wine bottles, fill them with water, then stick the necks into those large flowering jardinières and pots that hold lovely flowering annuals. My garden is mostly shade so I plant for leaf contrast; it’s always a bonus when the perennials actually bloom.
My solution has been to find enough discarded wine bottles (clear and green for the front pots and blue for the back garden). We don’t drink that much wine, but an occasional bottle comes my way. I enjoy it—David is not much of a wine-imbiber—but mostly, I’m really coveting the bottle. I soak the empty container in hot soapy water, take a knife and scrape off the parts of the labels that insist on sticking despite the bath, then smugly fill them with water and stick it in the soil. AHAH! Ten pots down and only ten more to go. I take empty bottles from friend’s tables. I encouraged David to grab the blue water bottle sitting on the table in the Courtyard Restaurant at the Art Institute—“It was here when we came in, and it is still here as we are going. It must be a gift.” This logic seemed to convince him, knowing that I am a woman who is rabid about not paying for the small gifts that fill our days and which most of us ignore.
The bottle, a small blue bottle, just fit beneath the flap of my shoulder purse—more and more I’m abandoning lugging around those large stylish totes that seem to weigh down my shoulders.
I will say, however, that I regret not buying the 20 blue bottles I saw at the Geneva, IL, Goodwill store—What was I thinking? (I probably thought, Why buy them when you can collect them used and free?) Since then—one of those purchase that got away from me—I’ve seen bottle trees designed by sculptures who recycle that lovely blue glass in creative shapes that would have been perfect for a spot in my back yard.
As I was running out of empty bottles (and the drought was soaking up the water in the land, despite our nearness to Lake Michigan and the days were heading into record heat—who says we aren’t in a global-warming trend?), I thought about the paper sack in the attic. Soon I discovered that the bag didn’t hold fancy antique glass bottles but six ordinary empty wine bottles—not ordinary to me, you better believe it. In fact, two of the bottles were large two-quart size, and one was a plain glass salad-size. The larger size were perfect for the planters for which I had just purchased annuals—the purple ipomoea batatas ‘Ace of Spades’ and the ‘Jade Princess’ millet with its bright-green leaves and wine-colored frond and the verbena bonariensis. The larger wine bottles would salvage my new plantings from drought’s hot breath.
Everyone who comes to the front door notices the watering bottles. “Do they work?” they want to know. My answer: Some do; some don’t. I haven’t figured out why some drip their contents slowly, carefully and why some pour directly into the soil needing to be filled again within one or two days. I’ll write another blog about it when I solve the reason for this discrepancy.
The smaller salad-sized bottles are perfect for the two clay pots that hold one geranium plant each. They really dry out quickly, but since the geraniums are by the garage door, I can keep my eye on them, at least when I’m home.
How foolish we are not to see the gifts in simple things. I go for whole weeks attempting to spend as little as I can because ready dollars often prohibit me from waiting for the small gifts prepared for me by Someone who loves me and who takes delight in my delight.
There were six old empty wine bottles stored in a paper sack in the attic. I don’t remember where they came from, but I do know they were there when I needed them. How amazing. How much fun is that?
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.