Soft Things

 

I am one of the many recipients who receive an email from Alan Webster, who writes his thoughts in a daily output called Quiet Times.   Often there is food for thought and encouragement for those who need it.

At times I can be a  ‘word-and- phrase catcher’ and so it was with the last QT that came my way,  the phrase – ‘soft  things.’
For some reason it conjured up in me a feeling of gentleness, and I got to thinking about what the ‘soft things’ were that spoke to me personally.
But before I expand on this I want to share with you the Scripture and the particular paragraph that stood out.

The title of his writing is Spring into Life,  – with a nod to the coming season of Spring,
–  and as Hosea writes to those who have fallen away, to return to the road less travelled.

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Hosea 14:5-7
5.    I will be like the dew to Israel,
He shall grow like the lily,
And lengthen his roots like Lebanon,
6.   His branches shall spread,
His beauty shall be like an olive tree,
And his fragrance like Lebanon.
7.  Those that dwell under his shadow shall return;
They shall be revived like grain,
And grow like a vine
Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

“What a wonderful picture of awakening is given in these verses by Hosea
Note the gentleness of the Lord who offers  soft things like dew and shade,   

            morning-dew

almost imperceptible touches of grace to allow room for healing and restoration.
Nothing is forced, nothing pushy, nothing fabricated.
Providing the right conditions of water, sun and shade,
the plants that have withered and perished can come back to life.
        ……….   And even while the hot dry winds of August blow, 
blossoms are appearing.
Father, I praise You for the life that comes after a dormant season.  Amen “

In essence it is to me a description of the way the Lord works.
He offers soft things like dew and shade…
Nothing is forced, nothing pushy, nothing fabricated….
…. The plants that have withered and perished can come back to life.

Such a gentle God, a characteristic we do not often ascribe to Him, yet He is gentleness itself.    Gentleness, when delivered, brings with it such grace, relief and freedom to the person to be themselves and feel acknowledged, accepted and loved.

So what soft things talk to me ?   My ‘beeg’ blue soft cushion on which I prop up when I read, or when I feel to rest my sleepy head.   The nearness of my cosy cat.

Ice cream in cone

Soft serve ice-cream !
And for soft cool breezes on a humid and hot summer day.
But most of all the soft kind words of people by, through and to people,  –  are a few that come to mind.

What are the  ‘soft things’  that imperceptibly move you ?
Give it some thought, write them down, even create a poem ? –  and perhaps discover the gentleness in you.

 

 

The Comfort of Gentleness

 

It is in times of great distress that comfort is needed, but can be overlooked because of pressing action and immediate needs.
It may take special insight and compassion to know that there is need for comfort to be given for a soul wrecked by crisis and trauma.
Soul comfort needs something soft and gentle, whether it be a kind word, a knowing look or a fleeting touch.  Comfort is a gentleness given when the soul is bruised, frightened or crushed.
Gentleness has a wordless language of its own.  It is a conveyor of love.

This became evident to me as I read Gene’s story of her major endeavour to collect soft toys for the children of the recent Mozambique floods.   Her main purpose was to bring a comfort to the children who had gone through this traumatic event, where all had been lost.     And though the immediate and practical needs were huge with regard to shelter, clean water, food, clothing bedding and such like, there was also the need for comfort of the soul, (not often recognised as a need) – but that can bring about an assurance that despite it all, all will be well.

It was her insightful compassion that sparked me into action to get my small Care Bag of Bibles and vegetable seeds to Mozambique, which happened in an amazing string of events.     Gene’s endeavour was met with more hurdles, logistics being the main problem.   Nevertheless she persevered  and has now finally been able to bring her mission to completion.

Here are a few photos of the soft toys she collected, some made by ladies of a local needlework group who wanted to make a contribution,  her own handcraft of little kids bags and collections from other generous sources.   These will all find their way into the hands of various Churches and given to the children of Mozambique as a token of comfort and love in their loss.

Moz teddie bears

Moz toys

Moz Kids bags
To me Gene’s thoughtful gentleness is a spark of inspiration, and may her tribe increase !
It reminds me of a song we use to sing :

It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
And soon all those around will warm up in its glowing
That’s how it is with God Love,
Once you’ve experienced it
You want to love, you want to give  
to all who are around.

 

campfire-dancing