I've always considered myself a bit of a nature nerd. While some people go about their lives not really noticing their natural surroundings, I take the opposite approach and am probably a bit too observant. You can often find me stopped dead in my tracks gawking at a sunrise or sunset (which can make going on a walk with me a bit annoying I'm sure- sorry friends!). Standing in the morning light watching the day come to life feels like getting a hug from an old friend. The way the soft sunlight filters through the trees or a gentle breeze rustles new spring leaves makes me positively giddy. One glance at my Instagram (@laniemw) and you'll see that photos of flowers, trees, and water outnumber photos of people 10 to 1.
Growing up and living in the lowcountry, surrounded by the marsh and palmetto trees and garden-filled cities like Charleston and Savannah, is such a gift and I treasure each day I get to spend here. My soul and this little part of the world are truly one in the same- I feel completely intertwined with the sweeping landscapes and delicate intricacies that make up the South Carolina coast. While I appreciate the nuances that accompany each of the four seasons here, every time spring arrives I realize that it's where my heart truly lies.
My birthday is April 3rd- I'm an Aries born in the heart of springtime. I know it sounds silly, but I honestly feel like my heart and soul are connected to spring and nature in a deep, unexplainable way. I never gave this feeling too much thought- I just accepted that it was how I'm wired and went about my life. However, on my walk this morning I had a realization- the blooming and stirring and coming to life of nature in spring is so special to me because feels like my yearly birthday gift from the Lord- like it's all happening especially for me.
There are so many soul-saturating opportunities to experience the truth of the Gospel in nature it blows my mind. To see a barren tree without a single green leaf suddenly spring to life over night is one of the most poignant examples of the love, grace, provision and power of Jesus I can imagine. I am reminded of and filled up by Him every time I sit and listen to the birds sing, when I see a new flower that wasn't there the day before, when I feel the sunshine on my face or the breeze in my hair, when I sit by the water and marvel at its vast, deep endlessness. He isn't an abstract thought or person from a story in the Bible- He's there, He's all around, He's present and active every moment- it never fails to give me chills and the deepest sense of gratitude.
I don't believe in coincidences. I know that I was born in springtime because it's the time nature is the most in your face and obvious- demanding to be noticed and appreciated. When what was dead and dormant comes screaming to life and color and fullness again you simply have to stop and let yourself experience it- experience Him. I'll never get over my nature/springtime obsession, and I'm so thankful that the Lord planted this connection to Him + His amazing creation in my heart.