The Outcome of a Refreshed Soul // Love Fully

Friday, November 27, 2015

With the early winter air comes a certain chill and dimness that can dampen a spirit. We huddle in our homes with hot chocolate and a crackling fire and complain about the cold. We dream of summer and yearn for spring. The cold never bothers me, though, because there's something about the chilly air that sends a message of hope. Leaves fall off  trees, but they still dance in the wind. The trees are bare, but still very much alive. The pines hold their green, and against the bareness of everything else they look their best yet. I love winter, not just because of warm sweaters and fuzzy socks, but because of the hope that clings to us so closely.

Things will get better; I promise. 

People go through winters sometimes. We close our hearts and stop blooming, refusing to reach out to anyone. Those wonderful pines, though, the ever-true evergreens, the people of hope, reach out. I've encountered quite a few of these evergreens lately, and they've been a huge blessing. This holiday season these evergreens have reminded me just how much I have to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving morning we six Reids boarded our Chevy Traverse at 6:34 a.m. with coffee, Pop Tarts, lots of blankets, and my camera in hand. We drove to Cades Cove, a wildlife reserve in Townsend, Tennessee, and watched cotton candy clouds rise above the Great Smoky Mountains. 

It was a simple journey, but it was enough. My depleted soul was looking for refreshment, and the reminder that God is always in control was exactly what I needed.

- (excuse the blurriness; I had my telephoto, manual focus lens attached with no tripod.) -

We drove through the eleven mile loop twice, making sure I was able to adequately capture the true beauty we saw. Though the pictures don’t do it justice, I am pleased with how they turned out. We were able to get right next to a group of turkeys. They were monstrous, and the way the sun shone on their feathers was beautiful. I was able to get probably ten or fifteen yards from a huge buck, and though I’ve seen more than my share of whitetail deer in my lifetime, this one was the biggest yet. 

- two turkeys on turkey day. how about that?-

We then hiked to Abrams falls, a “moderately difficult 3-4 hour” hike that we were able to accomplish in two and a half hours.  The view was stunning. Several times I found myself humming How Great Thou Art because of the awe I felt. God’s beauty and power was so evident in these moments. My soul was full, and because of that I was driven to worship. It amazes me that the very thing we do to glorify the Lord we cannot do on our own. God places the desire to worship Him in our hearts. Without His help, we cannot even give thanks to Him. 

We drove home with renewed souls and tired legs. (If I were to be honest, I’d have to say that they still are a little sore.) God started accomplishing a little heart-work within me at that moment, and I haven’t been able to shake it since.

These past few days God has reminded me just how dependent upon Him I really am. I need Him for the most monotonous things – every breath I breathe is borrowed from Him – yet I only call upon Him in times of distress.  During and after the terrorist attacks on Paris, the hashtag “pray for Paris” was trending. The world called out to God that night. If only we could realize that we need God every single day, not just during wars or terrorist attacks or times of distress. I need God when I wake up in the mornings. I need God to have the strength to go to school with a joyful heart. I need God to stand up in front of a whole classroom of people and tell them all that He has done for them (more on that later). I am foreverin need of God. I need His grace on good days and bad. I still need His grace when I get up and read my Bible and pray. I need His grace when all I have time to do is throw on a t-shirt and jeans and grab coffee to-go. I alwaysneed God, and this week He has communicated to me just how much I need to live in His grace.

I went into our little cabin’s small bedroom last night knowing I should talk to God, but I picked up a book instead: The Discipline of Grace, a book that was a “stretch goal” for my summer internship, but I never got around to reading it. Jerry Bridges, by God’s power, convicted me of something. My lack of loving others.

I’ve always thought I was pretty good at loving. My church family always tells me how much I smile, and I know that’s by God’s grace alone. People at school call me a “sweet girl,” and I never really doubted it. But last night I realized just how much I needed to start loving others. Jerry Bridges put this list together adapted off of First Corinthians 13:4-7:

·         I am patientwith you because I love you and want to forgive you.
·         I am kind to you because I love you and want to help you.
·         I do not envy you because I love you and want you to have the best.
·         I do not boast about my attainments because I love you and want to hear about yours.
·         I am not proud because I love you and want to esteem you before myself.
·         I am not rude because I love you and care about your feelings.
·         I am not self-seeking because I love youand want to meet your needs.
·         I am not easily angered because I love youand want to overlook your offenses.
·         I do not keep a record of your wrongs because I love you and “love covers a multitude of sins.”

Are you letting God’s love manifest itself in your life this much?  I know I’m not. I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to be this selfless, and I know none of us can all the time. However, with God’s grace in our lives, anything is possible, and if we depend on Him to love like this and let others know that it’s God’s love we’re showing and not ours, it is beyond possible. 

Next week life starts back up again. I have two weeks of school then a week of midterms, and then Christmas break. But I know those three weeks will drag by, perhaps slower than than the whole school year combined. Will you start asking God for the grace to love others this much? Comment below if you're in. I'll keep you updated here as well as on Instagram at @thereidwhowritesblog and @mur_shells ! As Christians, we are supposed to be people of love. Will you be known for God's love shining through you?


  1. Thanks for sharing your heart and all that Father is teaching you. You've challenged me today!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sandy! I'm glad I could encourage you!!

  2. I like that paraphrase from Jerry Bridges. Thanks for sharing it! There's so much to aspire to; I'm in.

    1. I love it too!

      That's awesome! I'm so glad!

  3. I can always connect with your posts, but today, I connected with it in so many ways. First of all, Tennessee is so very dear to my heart. I have gone through Cades Cove and had the same experience as you: pictures cannot describe how beautiful it is. Something about spending time in nature does refresh our souls, and I'm super excited that I get to go there with my cousins for spring break :)
    I thought this post couldn't get any better: and then you started writing about loving others.
    " I always need God, and this week He has communicated to me just how much I need to live in His grace."
    I especially love that quote right there. God's grace is something that we can easily take for-granted, and some of the events that have occurred recently in my life remind me of how I daily need His grace.
    I absolutely love this 1 Corinthians thing...I had never seen it worded like that before, and I will definitely keep looking back on it. So THANK YOU, so very much for this. So encouraging, so beautiful.
    Definitely my favorite post from you so far :)

    1. I know! TN is my new favorite state! I'm already looking for universities there! I'm so glad you're going there for Spring Break!! Family trips are always so fun!

      And Laur, your comment made my day when I read it. I'm so, so sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but believe me, my heart was so warmed when I read your words. I was beginning to think this post was a flop, that it was too scattered and too random. And maybe it was. Nevertheless, it's worth it if my scattered and random words can reach someone's heart! I'm so glad God used this to encourage you!

      I think sometimes we forget that living with Jesus is a daily walk, not just a one time event. It has been a struggle for me lately to wake up every single day and get in the mindset that I need God's grace today as much as I needed it yesterday or the day before.

      Thanks for commenting, Lauren!! Like I said, it truly encouraged me! It's comments like these that keep me going :)

  4. Lovely post!
    Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I am doing a daily post challenge for december over at my blog! ;) If you are interested in doing it as well here is the link to my post:

    -Elly <3

    1. Hi, Elly! Daily post are a little too much for me right now, but I definitely will check yours out! I'm sure they will be awesome! Thanks for commenting! :)


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