I remember it so well. I was about 4 or 5 years old, and I was playing in the dirt in my backyard in Memphis, Tennessee.

I remember scooping dirt with a spoon, and putting it in a little cup, and I thinking, “God, I don’t pray very often, and I can’t read yet, so I can’t read the Bible.”

So I told God, “Every time I talk to myself, or think to myself in my head, I’ll really be talking to You.”

And that was how it was.

I talked to God about my pet rollie-pollies, and the little house I was building them out of bricks I’d pulled from our patio. I talked to God while attempting to dig a hole through our yard into China. I talked to God about the onion grass I liked to chew on, and whether or not wild strawberries were really meant to be eaten.

… Fast forward about 6 years …

I was wandering around our big backyard in Austin, Texas. My parent’s rented a house there, and it sat on about 3 wooded acres, which were surrounded by pasture land.

As I walked along, I was singing the hymn, How Great Thou Art.

As I sang the lines “… When through the woods and forest glades I wander, and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,” a chorus of singing birds flew over my head and disappeared into the foliage of a Juniper tree, where they continued to twitter.

I was a bit startled, but I continued, “… When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze …” and the wind picked up, and rustled the tall golden grass.

I was beginning to feel like I was in a music video. Or like Snow White, when she sings and all the little animals gather round her. I got chills, knowing that God was all around me; imagining that nature was singing to God with me.

And then I looked up.

There, not 15 feet away, was a magnificent buck. His eyes were like onyx — so black and shining. His antlers were tall and majestic … And he just stood there … watching me with the most peaceful, knowing, expectant gaze.

Photo by Manuel Antonio, Brady, Texas
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