In my Father's house there are many dwelling places.
Father pointed out that each of us has a place in Heaven prepared for us by God if we choose to open our hearts to Jesus. But he also pointed out that Jesus's name is Emmanuel---God WITH us. He is with us here on earth, too, and provides dwelling places for us here as well. These dwelling places are special places of peace where we can be at one with Him and feel Him more deeply than ever. It's a place where we can be close to God and feel most comfortable speaking to Him with an open heart. Father encouraged every one of us to seek out a place like this. The act of seeking a special dwelling place such as this will also ensure that we set aside time every day to have conversations with Jesus. Whether it's sitting out on the swing on a front porch watching the world go by, crabbing at the lake, a special chair, a ride on the ferry, or playing the piano, we all need a place where we can connect with God on an intimate level. He asked us to think of where that place was for us personally and to truly make an effort to dwell in that place as much as possible.
My special dwelling place would have to be the park. The joy of seeing God in nature is sometimes unbearable for me; I can't contain it---I want to cry, sing out, run after my puppy in sheer ecstasy! Joy is everywhere at the park, and God's love shows itself in so many ways. Fathers teaching their children to ride bikes. Mothers with babies feeding the ducks. Friends sharing conversation. Not to mention the beauty of enormous oaks, the budding of knockout roses and hydragneas, swans and ducks floating over the water, birds tending to their nests, trees soaring up high, reaching their branches to the sky, gloriously waving to God. And a sweet little puppy looking up at me adoringly, a huge grin on his face for being in this place, at this time. My little dog reminds me to cherish the gifts God gives me in the moment, at this place in my life, embracing the present. All of the things I encounter in the park hearken back to the essence of what Father was trying to tell us. EMMANUEL. God with us.
He most certainly is. Every single day. If we just open our eyes.