God snagged my attention

I did something yesterday, something I apparently needed to do. I took a walk along the river in my little village. It wasn’t one of those nice walks in the warmth and sunshine though. It was cold. I had to put on a hat and an extra layer; my gloved hands shoved deep in my pockets. I could see my breath too, but not too bad.

I did a lot of thinking and praying. I thought about my fears, my hopes and dreams for the future. I thought about my fears about my hopes and dreams for the future. I let whatever emotion come that would come. I let the tears come if they wanted. Only the sheep, fields and river were there to see them. I let any – and every – thought come up, pouring it out before God…and then I left it there for Him to take control.

Of everything that came up, I hadn’t thought that fear would be the most prominent. Yes, I’d been a little restless of late but I didn’t think that fear would be such a strong underlying cause. When I took an honest moment to be real with myself, it became so clear that I was scared. I was scared of my unknown and uncertain next steps, scared because the plans that I thought I was making seemed to be fading away into something else.

I’d planned to walk a long way along the river, but I soon found myself facing very soggy and marshy ground…and I wasn’t wearing my wellies. Frustrated by the dead end, I turned back and stopped at a place where I could stand still and watch the river flow along. Watching the water, I was reminded of the beginning of Psalm 23 when it says: “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul” (ESV).

I felt anything but ‘still waters.’  In fact, I felt very much like how the running of a great house was described in the British TV drama Downton Abbey: “It’s like a swan: you have the beauty and grace above the water, and then you have the feet furiously paddling underneath to keep it all afloat.” I was very much a picture of calm on the surface, but under the surface was a roiling turmoil of a battle. So I once again poured everything out for only the river and God to hear.

When I finally turned back to go home, I saw something that I hadn’t noticed on my outward march. Some sheep wool had snagged on the low-hanging branches of one of the trees. No doubt the poor sheep had felt a little discomfort and annoyance when first caught, but then went on with life once they’d tugged themselves free. The little tufts of wool left behind bore witness to the temporary struggle but no more. I’m sure that the sheep had no thought about the struggle or lost wool after the fact.

The fact that I hadn’t seen those tufts of wool in the bush made me think about one of my new year’s resolutions: live each day to the fullest, being fully present. I’d been so caught up in looking ahead that I had missed details and little joys along the way. I was focusing so much on something in the future that I was losing track of the present. I let my desire for some form of control become the controlling force of the present. 

So I left that alongside the river too.

That soggy dead-end stopped me from walking too far as the sun set. It sent me back to see something beautiful that I’d missed. It allowed me to return home before it got too dark.

That wool snagged in the bush reminded me to take each day as its own and leave tomorrow’s worries until tomorrow.

Are you marching into the sunset? Is there something you might have missed along the way? What’s your ‘wool in the bush’ reminder? What thing are you holding onto that’s preventing you from enjoying the present?

Hannah (USA) has been serving as OM Ireland's journalist for two years. A trained writer, she loves sharing stories of people and their God-inspired life moments. She believes that everyone has a story worth telling, and it's a true joy to be the one to tell them.

Share this Resource

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

IT Administrator Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAs our IT Administrator you’ll be assisting the IT Coordinator in a multifaceted range of responsibilities. You will be managing the email network, provide MS Office help desk and other user support, provide network maintenance and support to a multinational team and system administration with Linux-server, Windows 7 and  10.
Full Details
Finance Manager Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleUse your financial management skills toward the purpose of seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers established among the least reached. This important role is vital to ministry on the field. You would provide accountability for the cash transactions conducted on the field and perform duties to assist with accounting functions pertaining to bank accounts, budgets, journal entries, financial reporting and administrative changes, guided by precedent and guidelines of established policies.
Full Details
Children, Youth and Evangelism team members Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleSince our beginnings, we have been driven by a deep conviction that everyone should have the opportunity to hear the gospel at least once. Sadly, there are still thousands of peoples and communities that have never heard about Jesus, ever. Do you have a heart for (young) people and a desire for them to hear of His fame and renown? Come and be involved in many different activities including kids clubs, Big Red Bus ministry, creative evangelism and much more!
Full Details
Partnership Director Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you great at building relationships and linking the right people to each other? Do you have vision to see Christians work together to build God's kingdom? Come and help us build partnerships with churches, organisations and trusts, so together we can work on seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers here in Ireland!
Full Details
Internships in Ireland Ireland    Go & Live    AnytimeAre you looking for an opportunity to explore your gifting and passions? Or are you a student who wants to practice their vocation in a cross-cultural setting? OM is mobilising young Jesus followers to join our international team and serve and experience ministry in Ireland. We are open to have interns come from 2 weeks to 6 months, or even up to a year! Dates are flexible, although there might be more opportunities to help in other ministries during the spring/summer.
Full Details
HR Director (Manager) Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleCome lead the HR Department as they mobilise, process, send and receive people and provide care to enable a stable and growing missions force to accomplish OM's mission.
Full Details
Immersion leader Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a passion for seeing young adults grow in their knowledge of God and zeal for His mission? We would love people to join the leadership team for Immersion, could this be the right place for you?
Full Details
Missions Mobiliser Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you enthusiastic about short and long term missions? Is your heart's desire to see more serving internationally? We are looking for someone who enjoys opportunities to share about God’s Kingdom work and excites others to get involved. If you are a recruiter looking to use your gifting in ministry in Ireland please read more!
Full Details
Communications and Marketing Worker Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleShare the story of what God is doing in Ireland and the world and effectively implement our strategies to do this well within our context. Use your own creative skills, and build relationships with others, as you help to create a clear and inspiring online and offline presence. Use your gifts and talents to inspire and encourage people to become involved in God's work!
Full Details
Bus Driver/Evangelism – Big Red Bus Team Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleThe Big Red Bus is an amazing ministry tool that is very well known among the Irish community, and YOU could become it's driver! You will be responsible to take the bus and it's team members to different places, and will be involved in it's practical ministries: kids clubs, street evangelism, youth meetings and coffee/tea bars. You'll also be responsible for the general maintenance of the bus and the safety of it's passengers.
Full Details
Immersion Student Ireland    Go & Live    September 2023The immersion training programme is designed to immerse you in God’s Word, in ministry and in cross-cultural missions, in order to challenge you in ways you could never imagine, and drive you to depend on God more and more each day. Will you join us?
Full Details
Maintenance & Development Worker Ireland    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you task oriented with a servant's heart and passion about practical work for the Lord? Come and help us in the upkeep and development of the OM Ireland five acre property including all buildings and grounds.
Full Details