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I love nature. This is where I retreat when my life becomes overwhelming and stressful. It is where I hear God speaking to me in His still small voice. It’s where I feel close to God as I admire the beauty of His artwork. In nature I am calmed, I find peace and my hope is renewed. As I have spent time walking down the lane of remembrance in the place I retreated to for so many years when my life was so painful, all the feelings of those long ago years returned to me again. Satan tried His utmost to steal away from me the things that brought so much joy to me. And without realizing it, I have allowed it to happen. First, it was my joy and happiness after my boyfriend drowned, then it was my hope, my love for running, my love for singing and my love for nature. He has tried His utmost to remove me from nature so He can keep me stressed out and anxious. Yet, with my sponsor's help, I am beginning to fight back. My goal is to exercise again. On Monday I told my sponsor, “I exercised today. I ran from appointment to appointment.” Her response was, “Hey, that doesn’t count!” Two days later I said, “I’m on a treadmill that only speeds up.” She sent me a smile even though she knew I was failing with the plan. A day later we were running late to work so I told my daughter to drop me off at the end of the long road that leads to my work and I walked the remainder of the way to my work while she sped off to her job. It was less than half a mile that I walked but that morning I shot my sponsor a text, “I took a walk!” As I walked I knew that it wasn’t the distance that mattered but the effort that did. It was taking that first step toward my goal that was important. As I sit here in nature I realize this is another step I must make. I can no longer permit Satan to steal my joy and happiness. It’s time for me to recover what he has stolen from me. That starts by taking one step at a time to make this happen. When I do I find my hope returning. What has Satan stolen from you? Maybe it’s time that you too begin making steps to changing that in your life. My prayer is that we all can reclaim these things again.

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