The Power of God’s Country

God’s Country: “A place conceived of as especially favored by God; a place away from a city.” Merriam-Webster

Last weekend, my husband and I flew to Virginia to see our youngest at school. She was thrilled to have us there and kept us really busy with her friends and touring around the university. It was all precious, precious time together, but there was something extra special about driving (and stopping) along the Blueridge Parkway.

We have traveled through Virginia for years, heading south every spring break with the kids. Back then, we drove which was exhausting, but we saw some beautiful scenery along the way. I fell in love with Virginia. I can appreciate northern Virginia for its proximity to D.C. and many historical sites. We have visited people and toured Leesburg, Arlington, etc., and enjoyed the shopping and eating. All of my travels there offered wonderful sights, but mid to lower Virginia is just stunningly beautiful.

Maybe it’s because I live in a part of NYS where we don’t have mountains so I’m always captivated by them on vacation. Maybe it’s because I live on five acres with a long driveway and I am a girl who likes open space.

I work in the city and take a deep breath when I hit that part of the thruway that finally parts wide. My town is lovely yet there was something much grander, peaceful and right about standing at the center of miles of valleys and mountains.

My job is stressful. I received a promotion a few months ago which was awesome but my hours went up, along with my stress. I do yoga and try my best to compartmentalize work from home but it’s challenging. Above and beyond is usually a way of life. Sustaining that level of giving and producing at work and then home is depleting. An hour of exercise a couple times a week does not restore me as it may have back in my 20’s.

The breathtaking mountainside along the Blueridge Parkway brought my shoulders back down where they belong. I walked in sneakers instead of heels. I breathed deeper than I do on a yoga mat. My eyes were off data and employee issues, soaking in what I name God’s Country.

“What are men to rocks and mountains?” Jane Austen

Those mountains reminded me that I’m missing time with God. We talk every day but my world shifted when I took on another job. I don’t spend enough time in the wide-open space of His Word. Peace like I experienced at the mountainside is elusive during many work days.

Make no mistake that He speaks in offices, at the watercooler, and has made His presence known during colleague conversations. But I thirst for more. I count this as a good thing. I never want to be comfortable too far away from Him, living lukewarm.

Late Sunday I had to come down from the Virginia mountains, just like Moses when he descended from Mt. Sinai. I reentered work on Monday, having to immediately address poor management behavior, just as Moses was confronted with poor behavior by the Israelites. The corporate culture at my company is unlike anything anyone has ever experienced, leading to high turnover. But God uses me for good in my particular role. I believe that He put me where I am to be a light in a crazy place as well as teach me a few lessons of my own.

He is at work and accomplishes His purposes even when we’re not in bible study. He is always with us but there is something powerful about standing in the literal “mist” and “midst” of His spectacular creation. Being engulfed in endless autumn color, feeling cool wind against my face that also refreshed my mind – and the complete silence in nature – equaled renewal.

There is a reason for all seasons in nature and in our lives. This specific season in my work life is challenging, but the chaos likely helps me appreciate God’s Country profoundly more.

24 thoughts on “The Power of God’s Country

  1. I love the mountains and the woods also. Standing in the woods is like being surrounded with a blanket of God’s love. Gazing off at the mountains is viewing a picture of God’s creativity and majesty. God bless you as you work to find balance. Your photographs are beautiful!

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  2. We all need a timeout with God’s immense and inspiring creation. I always feel a boost when I visit the Big Sky of Montana or the West Virginia mountains on my way to Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore. God is everywhere and every moment!

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  3. Your photos are stunning. I read your post on my phone, but I switched to the computer to see your pictures on a larger screen. Mountains seem to proclaim God’s presence. I grew up near the Mississippi River and spent 45 years near Long Island Sound. Today I look out any window and see mountains that are related to those you enjoyed. How often I say, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills….”! I’m glad you had a lovely breather before going back to the hectic workplace.

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Through your description I could envision you standing in your house looking at God’s beautiful creation. Knowing you spent that many years near Long Island Sound tells me how much you must appreciate the mountains out your windows now.💗

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      • We were surrounded by trees on Long Island and never thought we had no views. Our son had relocated to the mountains in NC. We loved this area and began to dream of living here. A realtor supplied us with a list of houses every time we came to visit. We drove by one that was on the list and vetoed it because it had two stories. We turned around in the drive next door, and our daughter saw that there was a for sale sign. The odd thing is that it should have been in our cart, but there was a glitch in listing it. No one else had looked at it, although it had been on the market for weeks. We made an offer which was accepted as we drove home. We felt God planned for us to have this house. He also gave us wonderful Christian neighbors. My constant prayer is asking God to show me what he wants me to do next while we live here.

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  4. I so agree! We need to enter “God’s country’ each day for that peace and strength to get through our days. I love Virginia too and I’ve often said if I didn’t live here in my home state, Virginia would probably be my next pick. Those Blue Ridge mountains are so peaceful and calming, aren’t they?

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