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!



Our grandson Joseph started walking last Sunday.

He had been taking steps around the furniture. His dad or mum would walk along with him holding him gently by the arms. This reminded me of the scripture in Hosea. “I myself taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand. But he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who took care of him. I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love.”Hosea 12 v 3.

As I watch my son hold his son by the arms I see in him God our Father’s character. We as human beings want the best for our little ones how much more does our Heavenly Father want to care for us and to teach us the best for our lives if we would only let him.

Joseph was at a family party on Sunday. Other toddlers were there having a good time playing. He watched the others kids, who were his size, and got confidence from them.  Strength came into his small legs, and he took off without any help.  Isn’t it often the case that we can do things after we see someone else do it?

There is a saying I have heard often, “Learn to stand on your own two feet”.  This statement encourages us to be independent.  But has the need to become independent gone a bit too far in our society?

I am very grateful for our free education and health care in this country.

 My children have all had the opportunity to go to university.  At school, computer skills are taught.  The young children become whizz kids on the computer, mobile phone, iPad, iPhone or iPod.  My two year old granddaughter can use her dad’s iPad to turn on her favourite programs.

Their independence gives them these skills. However children have unsupervised access to the internet and open them to the influence of other people or values.

I went to the nurse with my young daughter recently to get some injections she needed to travel to Africa. I was asked to wait outside. The doctor can advise our children without any input from us as parents.

Although my children are independent and are able to stand on their own two feet, they are still dependent on family for nurture, love, encouragement, advice.

 I said in my book that my children seem to know more than me, which has left me perplexed many times.  Mum can be done without. Am I, after spending my life rearing my children to adulthood leave them to the mercy of the state.  No! No!  My husband and I have wisdom to impart to them if they want to receive it.  I will do my part to guide my family in ways that are good for them, away from harm.

Joseph, beginning to walk reminded me of the story in Acts 3 NLT about a lame man.

5 The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting a gift. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!” 7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and anklebones were healed and strengthened. 8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. 9 All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. 10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! 11 They all rushed out to Solomon’s Colonnade, where he was holding tightly to Peter and John. Everyone stood there in awe of the wonderful thing that had happened”.  

Peter commanded the lame man to be healed in Jesus name.  Strength came into Joseph’s legs as his parents helped him up and held tightly to him.  Acts 7 v 28 says “In him we live and move and have our being”.  Daily life shows us the power of our Creator.

  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.  Matthew 18 NIV

 My grandson, a little child, learnt to stand up and walk.   If you have to take a step into something new go for it today.  The Creator of the universe is with you!   I hope my writing and story will inspire you to trust God just as the lame man did.

I will continue writing about prayer another time.