Testimony Tuesday. My Experience of How Nature Restores My Mind.

I was reading and article on the internet, from the New York Times, written by Gretchen Reynolds.  It is entitled “How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain.”  I will quote some of the article,

“A walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve our mental health, according to an interesting new study of the physical effects on the brain of visiting nature.

City dwellers also have a higher risk for anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centers, studies show.

Volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health, according to their scores on a questionnaire. They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk.  They were allowed to walk at their own pace.  As might have been expected, walking along the highway had not soothed people’s minds.

Most of us today live in cities and spend far less time outside in green, natural spaces than people did several generations ago.”

Thank you Gretchen Reynolds for this article.  I agree with this article.

In Psalm 23 I read,

The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful waters.  (‭Psalms‬ ‭23‬:‭1-2‬ NLT)

I lived in a town house when our children were small.  I grew up in the country and I longed to live again in the country.  I dreamed of my children putting on their Wellington boots and going out to play in nature in all kinds of weather, as I did when I was growing up.

Being in the town had more benefits for our family at that stage.  The schools, post office, shops, library, swimming pool, dentist, medical centre and friends lived nearby.  Driving my children to school, or to the shops would have added stress to our already busy lives.  I was at peace and realised living in the town was the best thing for us then.

Before we had a car Brendan and I always took our children on walks along the river or into a forest, nearby.  When our family increased we went for drives to the beach or other beauty sites a little further away.  Everyone piled into our minibus and headed out for a drive after tea or on a Saturday to enjoy nature.  We returned tired, refreshed and had a good night’s sleep.

Being in the middle of nature did lift any stress we or our children were under.  Any bad feelings or attitudes were forgotten as the children played together.  Brendan knew what would do us all good.  No need for headache tablets or Prozac for us.

Brendan and I now live in the country, beside a forest and the sea.  We have a double portion of nature.  Each time Brendan and I would take a walk for a mile along the foreshore we see something new.   One evening we saw six large storks that rose up from their feeding places as we walked along.   Their big wings flapped like skirts and they screeched, because they were unsettled from their feeding positions.  Never mind we had a wonderful display.

Another time I noticed something stir in the shallow water off the shore.  Air bubbled to the surface.  Was there a whale or dolphin out there.  No, three divers came to the surface.  It is a popular spot to explore wrecks of ships out in the bay.   A seal swam in the water along side as we walked by another time.  Every evening  there is a beautiful sky as the sun shines through the clouds at sunset.

We went for a walk along Barhill Rd, a National Trust property one Saturday evening.  Not many people know about it.  A lane took us to open ground beside a near a newly sown corn field.  We saw six hares play together in the evening sun.  The path continued down to the sea.  We walked along a bar made from stones throw up by decades of sea waves.  Across from us on an island lay many fat seals, safe from an intrusion.  We rested a while, amazed.  “How Great Thou Art”

Brendan and I are certainly enjoying nature and our minds and moods are being changed by the healing environment where we live.  Our souls are being restored.

Yes I recommend old and young getting out in nature for a walk.  You will be surprised by the show God puts on for you.   You can listen to the music of birds, leaves, wind and waves.  Your eyes will see life around you.

Nature declares the Glory of God!

I Never Thought I Would Be Writing Blogs

Some years ago I was travelling home from America.  I was sitting beside a lady who was writing on a small computer.  She was making notes for a book she was writing.  I was returning home to a houseful of children to be reared and there would certainly be no time for writing.  Have you watched the film cheaper by the dozen?  The mother of the children wrote a book!  I wondered if I would ever write a book.  The only writing I was doing was jotting down notes about my daily readings from the bible.  My husband called them “My Rewrites.”  He teased me saying “Are you going to rewrite the bible.”

Ten years on, I was on my way home from Canada to Ireland.  What was I doing?  I was writing notes for my blog.  I would never have dreamed that I would be doing this.  With the quick advancement of technology over these last years one does not have to make reams of notes in books with a pen.  I can do much writing on my i Pad.  Brendan bought it for me on my last birthday.  As I sit to write, memories come flooding back to me.  The Holy Spirit brings things to mind.

I watched the movie “Julie and Julia”.   The movie was made from the blogs a young lady wrote.  I loved the movie, especially Meryl Streep’s acting.

I have resisted writing before.  I resisted thinking back to the past.  I did not have good memories.  I resisted writing letters to anyone because I wanted only to write if I had some good news to tell. I did not have the peace, confidence or courage before.  God promises he will make a way when there is no way.

I was embarrassed at first when I visited Canada.  Waitresses in the cafes were friendly and smiling.  People talked about having fun.  A husband would call his wife honey.  A wife would call her husband sweetie.  I was embarrassed.  I have never called my husband sweetie in my life.

Maybe the Irish are too numb from pain to express genuine love.  It can be embarrassing to hug someone you don’t know.  We can be sharp to tear someone down with our tongues.  I want to speak  kindly and be pleasant to others.  Very often we don’t say anything and retreat into silence because of fear of being rediculed or someone retorting in anger because they dont agree with your opinion.

There is a saying that goes if you can’t say anything good don’t say anything at all.  Perhaps trust is broken and one cannot be open again.  One puts up the defences to protect ones heart from wounding.

But God is healing my heart and mind of past traumas.  I can now look back and remember the good.  A friend has come back into my life this last week.  As we talked she remembered good times when we met together with our children.  More restoration and healing for me.

There is a Psalm that describes how I feel.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. (Psalm 126:1-6 NIV)