Do you know how many trees there are in the world? Multiple sources state that there are over three trillion! God created them all and we can see Him through them. Discover nature with the following program ideas.
- Look outside where you live, where you gather at the corps, or even just drive around. How many different types of trees can you identify? Collect samples of leaves from the trees you find. Some leaves are complex while others are simple. With your group, research the types of leaves you find and where the trees they come from originate. Are they from your area? As you research, I am sure you will be astounded at the nature around you and how God has created you in His story. https://www.treemusketeers.net/tree-identification/ is a great site to identify the leaves and get information.
- Give each group participant a leaf (artificial or real). Invite them to write their favorite outdoor space or activity on the leaf. Invite everyone to share.
- Nature String Nail Art: Draw nature design on a piece of wood (i.e., leaf, tree, plant, sun, flower) Hammer in small nails around your outline about ½ inch to an inch apart. Use colored string and wrap around the nails. Check Pinterest for tutorials.
- Set up a Geocaching by putting clues around the community. Divide the women into teams to find the clues. Have prizes for the winning team. For instructions check the website https://www.geocaching.com/play
- For those with physical limitations host an indoor scavenger hunt with items from nature.
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station,
through which God speaks to us every hour if we will only tune in.”
—George Washington Carver
Finding God through Nature
As a very young child I could always be found outside. Growing up in Northern Virginia, we enjoyed all four seasons. But that never made a difference to me. Six feet of snow or scorching hot days, I just wanted to be outside. I would beg my mom to let me go out in our backyard day in and day out while my mother watched her favorite soap operas.
As a four-year-old, I didn’t have anyone to play with during the day. My older sister was at school, so I was alone. I would sit on the swing set or in the grass and just look up at the tree line and the sky. It may sound arbitrary, but I felt the presence of God through the cool breeze, the tingle of snowflakes resting gracefully on my nose, the tall firm protection of the trees, the soft comforting pillow–like clouds and the sounds and smells of nature around me through any given season. I found God through nature.
In Luke 5:16, Jesus also communed with God in nature—in the wilderness. Jesus was surrounded by noise and people clamoring for His attention. They congregated around Him to hear Him preach, teach and to heal their ailments. Maybe you feel that way too? There are so many distractions and daily responsibilities that pull us in all directions. We must make sure our children and our families are taken care of. It’s time to do the dishes and laundry. We are needed to help with homework. Our job is to complete a certain project before the deadline, which is in ten minutes. Our corps is having a covered dish fellowship meal that we signed up for, and it’s my week to lead the women’s Bible study. These things are all important in our lives, but we still need the time and space to connect with God without distractions. Jesus knew that He needed to remove Himself from all the clatter and so He went to the lonely place (as it is worded in the NIV) to connect with God.
“Our strength comes from God.” We hear it all the time and we even tell it to ourselves almost as a mantra. If we are honest, do we believe it and live it? If we do, we become strengthened by being in God’s presence, by connecting with Him. I think the best way to connect with God is through nature. He is the creator. Jesus knew that for Him to be refreshed, renewed and reinforced to do His Father’s work here on earth, He had to connect with the source. He found the wilderness to be the place of connection.
Just as in childhood, being in nature helps me turn off the distractions around me and connect with God. I can just be still and be in the presence of the Lord, renewing my strength. I am ready to take on my responsibilities through the strength I have in Christ. I challenge you to get away; to connect with God through nature. There are many ways we can do that, no matter the season or our physical limitations. Try taking your personal prayer and devotional time outside or use art to help guide your time. If being outside physically is not possible for you, there are many YouTube videos and even apps for your phone that provide an “outside wilderness” experience. No matter the logistics, take time to withdraw yourself from the crowd and connect with God.
Pray With Me
Father in Heaven, wilderness Creator, my connection for strength—You are so good! Help me to get away to the wilderness to connect with You. Show me Your strength and reveal Yourself more to me through nature and all of Your creation. Amen.