The embedded the spiritual practice of noticing God at work in the beauty around us sharpens our prayer life and leads to worship in the present moment.

Wonder 101: What Your Kids Can Teach You About Delighting in God

My grandson’s favorite grape tomatoes ripen to a vivid orange in the sunshine on one of the outside rows of my garden. He literally quivers with delight when we pick them together, filling container after container with their bright beauty–and a small one to stow in his cup holder for the ride home. Children do not take for granted that small orange balls of deliciousness show up in the summer time, that they burst with flavor between your teeth, and that they produce with ridiculous abundance for a short season, and then are gone with the first frost.

As we delight together in the miracle of fruition in my garden, my grandson is schooling me in the practice of awe. In The Gift of Wonder: Creative Practices for Delighting in God, Christine Aroney-Sine has produced a curriculum of awe, reminding readers of spiritual practices which can be as natural and as much a part of our life as eating a ripe tomato. For example, when I’m walking the dog and the bees are hard at work ransacking the honeysuckle bushes for all they are worth, it is an act of worship to stop and listen to their buzzing productivity. The small insects’ devotion to the task at hand instructs me in unity of purpose and focus for my own calling.

Imagination as a Pathway to Loving God

Our big picture thinking ends up shaping the minutes of our days, and the inclusion of delight, playfulness, imagination, and love of nature becomes a scope and sequence that shapes our thinking about God. Embedding the spiritual practice of noticing God at work in the beauty around us sharpens our prayer life and leads us to worship in the present moment. Aroney-Sine works this out personally by taking regular Wonder Walks with her husband, and has introduced me to this spiritually seismic question:  “What has God enjoyed today about who I am and what I do?”

The imaginative practice of painting names and inspiring phrases on rocks to serve as prayer reminders is an alternative to structured list-making. Using colored markers and clipboards for note taking during a sermon can heighten comprehension and retention for some listeners. As a gardener, I find that God’s voice comes to me more clearly when my hands are in the dirt.

Finding God in the Present Moment

My grandson’s enjoyment of grape tomatoes is not lessened by the fleeting nature of the season or by foreshadowings of the coming frost. He takes every flavorful bite as it comes, and this ability to live in the present is a gift to the very young, but not inaccessible to adults. Christine gently inquires:

“What distracts you from the Divine Presence and prevents you from fully appreciating the revelation of God in this never-to-be-repeated moment?” (126)

Creative spiritual practices reassure the believer that God is not a workaholic–even as he is always at work! Therefore, the invitation and the example are one. He longs for us to enjoy him and to enter into his singing, buzzing, fluttering,  splashing creation as co-creators–lovers of God who bring maximum glory to him.

Many thanks to Intervarsity Press for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase The Gift of Wonder: Creative Practices for Delighting in God, simply click on the title within the text of my review, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a very small commission at no extra cost to you.

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

50 thoughts on “Wonder 101: What Your Kids Can Teach You About Delighting in God”

  1. “Spiritual practices can be as natural and as much a part of our life as eating a ripe tomato…” This sounds like such a good book on spiritual practices. Love the reminder that even the simplest of activities can remind us of God, and deepen our relationship with Him.

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  2. Those little ones really have so much to teach us. This question is such a big one: “What has God enjoyed today about who I am and what I do?” I’ll be pondering that today. Thanks for your insights, Michele. I love how you think and how you share.

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  3. Wonder is one of God’s greatest gifts. Your grandson has a lot to teach us. He knows that today, this moment, is all we are given, and we should delight in it. He instinctively understands awe, beauty, and the value of a delicious and healthy snack!

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  4. Love the visual of your little grandson in his car seat, supplied with a cupholder of grape tomatoes. Very cute! Christine’s book is on my wish-list; I need to move it closer to the top! Wonder-living surely has the potential to increase our joy and draw us closer to our Father God, the Creator of all wonders. Thank you, Michele, for an enticing review!

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  5. Michele, it’s easy to lose our sense of wonder when life is too busy. I love taking morning walks with a friend near the creek not far from my house. We see glimpses of the mountains, and depending on the time of year, the sunrise. This summer we discovered some black, orange-breasted birds that have made their homes there. And, once, we spotted deer, which is unusual. But, if we hadn’t been looking, we wouldn’t have seen them at all.

    And it’s true. When I am wondering at the beauty around me, I find myself worshiping my Father as a natural outpouring from me to Him. And prayer seems to come more easily too.

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  6. Wow! I’d never heard of this book! I love the idea of taking walks of wonder. And I’ve also noticed that using creativity and color really sparks my time with God. In my More of God Bible study this summer, several women commented how fun they had in even ten minutes of doodling or drawing. Will check out this book for sure!

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  7. Michele,
    Oh the joy of produce fresh from the garden. My kids used to love to pull up carrots and eat them like Bugs Bunny. It was great to see them make magical moments out of eating of God’s bounty. I like the idea of Wonder Walks. I’ve been taking these for years, but never had a proper “name” for them. What really struck me, however, was the idea of never-to-be-repeated moments. How many do we just let slip away? May we all have childlike wonder that captures and takes in the joy of every single moment. Enjoy these days!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  8. Michele, your grandson and I have something in common. I LOVE the yellow/orange grape tomatoes!!! We actually planed more in the garden this year because I love them so much. Every night. On my salad. YUM! I have not read this book. Putting it on my list. Thanks!

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

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  9. Michele, love this post! Especially this quote, “Embedding the spiritual practice of noticing God at work in the beauty around us sharpens our prayer life and leads us to worship in the present moment. Aroney-Sine works this out personally by taking regular Wonder Walks with her husband, and has introduced me to this spiritually seismic question: “What has God enjoyed today about who I am and what I do?” Love the term “Wonder Walks” to sharpen our wonder at God’s handiwork as we prayer-walk! And that question…what a great way to think about the things we do all day as, “unto the Lord.” Many blessings to you!

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  10. I have always found joy in worship when I am outside. As I get older and grow deeper in my relationship with God, I find noticing all the little details is a challenge that leaves me richer for participating.

    I am in agreement with your grandson over the deliciousness of grape tomatoes. May we all wonder in delight daily.

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    1. I know you have this practice firmly established in your following life, Mary. So thankful that you are continuing to make room for the practice of meeting with God in the great outdoors.
      And I’m sure my grandboy would be happy to share “his” tomatoes with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sometimes I wonder just when the imagination gets put on the shelf by most adults. I think that’s why I chose to work with children, it kept my imagination fully engaged as an adult. #GlobalBlogging

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  12. We could really learn a lot from children if we slow down to listen to them. I am just figuring that out with my grands. Thanks for linking up at the #GatheringofFriendsLinkParty 3

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