Eden Is My Catnip {The Grove: Eden}

Our cat Patches was one cool cat. Until . . . catnip entered the picture.

If he caught even the faintest hint, he was absurd. Gone was his cool swag as he made the pathetic mewing sounds and gladly followed anyone with catnip to the nearest brown bag where he could roll in it like a fool.

Eden is my catnip.

Working with Danielle, Patty, and Kimberly on who would write the Grove posts for December, I saw (remembered) that January started off with Eden and I line jumped them so fast they didn’t see it coming. Ponder? Wonder? Seek? Traditions? Who cares!!!! My soul was mewing and it was pathetic—in the best sense—and I’ve been twitching with anticipation ever since.

When you love something so much you barely can make a complete sentence, where do you start? Okay, Amy, breath deeply and calmly share how this holy obsession interest was sparked.

Stories can start in unlikely places and this one started in a hotel in Chiangmai. My room was on the 17th floor, I was in town for over two weeks of meetings and a conference. Needless to say, I had a lot of time to out my window and this was the view:

the view from the 17th floor

When you look at it, you might wonder what’s so paradigm shifting about a fairly ordinary scene. I can only claim the glorious, mysterious whisper of the Holy Spirit. I wrote about how this picture reflects three realities: pool side, the rancid canal, and the bird’s eye view.

As is true of many paradigm shifts, I hadn’t realized a major shift has started in my soul. I returned to China and my routines, one of which included going to the gym. I don’t know why, but when my gym had gone through a renovation, the elliptical machines were relocated and flipped 180 degrees. So, instead of being able to distract myself with people watching, the four elliptical machines faced the wall. Only one machine had anything potentially distracting, so day after day I selected the machine in front of this sign:

You in the fitness

Listening to podcasts or music I read this again and again. You in the fitness, the safekeeping that she has financial. Please carry valuable to prevent theft.

Exercising for (ideally) 40 minutes.

You in the fitness.

You in the fitness.

When I first came to China, I understood why translations were so poor, come on, there is no real reason for the safekeeping that she has financial. I’d laugh or sputter at how unnecessary these poor translations are or rejoice in job security. Exercising. Exercising. Bouncing up and down in front of You in the fitness.

And then one day the Holy Spirit whispered: “Amy, that’s how you sound in the Language of Eden.”

Wait. What?

“Your heart language, your native tongue, should have been: LOVE, FAITH, HOPE, CONTENTMENT. 

“But instead you learned to speak the foreign language of jealousy, disbelief, despair, and discontentment. You are fluent in the Language of Eden Lost.”

We were meant for paradise. For harmony. For love. But we doubted, and doubt led to disobedience which led to death and brokenness. That which should have been our native tongue became a foreign one.

I so often miss that brokenness was never meant to come so naturally to me and certainly not from me. It wasn’t meant to come so easily to those around me either. But it does. We must learn to speak how we should have been speaking all along.

A major lie that has been sown far and wide is that we can’t speak it fluently, so why try.

But here’s the truth, as with any language, I can learn. You can learn. We can learn. Our vocabulary can be added to. The grammar of love can be studied and played with. New ways of looking at a concept can be cultivated.

I am growing in my ability to speak how the perfected me will speak one day. But like that cloudy mirror mentioned to the Corinthians, too often I have a thick tongue. What I mean to say comes out the spiritual version of, “You in the fitness.”

Forgiveness enormous more than pointing.

Patience more better than swish.

God is so colleague better.

You in the fitness. You in the broken Eden.  Read this sign and be encouraged. You will not always speak so brokenly, so woundingly, so awkwardly. Begin to try now to speak how you will speak then.

To speak your true native language, the language of Eden.


A few days after I finished this post I went for a walk and saw this in the snow. Isn’t it ideal for what we’ve been talking about this week!

Eden in the snow

I really am a bit obsessed with this :). I hope to write book on Eden and one year blogged 31 Reminders from Eden.  I have found signs to be a helpful way to slow me down and create space to reflect on what I sound like. In the comments today, first of all, say whatever you want! But second, if you’ve got a sign with an interesting language translation or phrasing, you can upload it in the comments. Let’s see what God has for us today from the signs around the world.

Then join us at The Grove.  It’s where we all gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art on our weekly prompt.  So join us in the comments.  Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt.  Click here for details and instructions


  1. Michele Womble January 7, 2016

    I’m obsessed with the topic of Eden, too.  Thank you for bringing out and relating it to language (another one of my favorite topics) and the language we lost.   

    “Patience more better than swish” !  I need to learn this one!  I’m excited about your 31 reminders from Eden, so I’m running over to it now but I’ll be back. (uh-oh – am I swishing?)(I’m also swishing off to a Bible study, so I’ll be back in a few hours, actually.)

    Not sure about a favorite sign – I need to think on that one.


    1. Amy Young January 7, 2016

      Sometimes swishing is fun too 🙂

      Michele, it makes me happy, happy, happy that Eden and language and signs resonate with you!

  2. Kiera Duncan January 8, 2016

    I don’t have a picture of any of my signs, but these are three of my favorites:
    “Merry Crisis” – on a department store window at Christmas time.
    “Defend to clip sincerely” = beware of pickpockets
    “Fragrant grass. Deep kindness” = don’t step on the grass. I love this one, so zen. haha.

    1. Amy Young January 8, 2016

      “Merry Crisis!” What unintended wisdom :).

      I love signs :)!!!

    2. T January 9, 2016

      so fun!  I want to make a printable of that last one!

  3. Joanna May January 8, 2016

    This is wonderful Amy. Thanks for sharing. Seems like God is doing something! He keeps speaking to me over and over the last couple of years about Eden and Eve, especially the love relationship between Father and daughter. I have been overwhelmed with His love, and all He desires for us to enter into. I am in the middle of writing a book about Eve (so excited about it!), and really really hope to finish it this year. I’m thrilled to discover your 31 Reminders From Eden…will read those over this next month. I have linked up a post I wrote about Eve. Many blessings!

    1. Amy Young January 9, 2016

      Thanks Joanna, I enjoyed reading your post! Let us know when your book is out :)!!! And I’ve also made a calendar to go with the 31 days if anyone wants a copy :). I’m a geek!

  4. Kelly January 8, 2016

    Have you heard Sara Groves song, Native Tongue??? It’s in her latest album, Flood Plain. It echoes your sentiments perfectly. It’s been working on me!

    1. Amy Young January 8, 2016

      I had not!! Thank you for sharing it … I just listened to it and now am trying to buy it :)!

  5. Patty Stallings January 8, 2016

    I love everything about this post, Amy!  Especially inspired by “But here’s the truth, as with any language, I can learn. You can learn. We can learn. Our vocabulary can be added to.” 

    1. Amy Young January 9, 2016

      Thanks Patty :). I know that I need that reminder over and over :)! Here’s to learning together!

  6. Patty Stallings January 8, 2016

    So hard to choose only one sign…

    1. T January 9, 2016

      ooooh  the sign for teenage girls!!!  🙂

      1. Amy Young January 9, 2016

        Hahah 🙂


        And Patty, I love this!!! Agreed, so hard to choose just one . .. so many good ones that reminder us of Eden!

    2. Michele Zintz January 10, 2016

      I got back on here today JUST to see what signs people posted.  Love this one!  I always thought it would make a fun English lesson to have my students bring their notebooks, bags, t-shirts, etc. with English writing on them and discuss what they were trying to say and what they actually said!

      I thought I was pretty good at interpreting these things, but apparently not in this culture.  I give up- What is this supposed to mean?


    3. Patty Stallings January 10, 2016

      A clearer translation would be: “Danger! Don’t play in the water.” But I kind of like this translation and all it implies!  🙂

      1. Michele Zintz January 11, 2016

        Ahh- don’t PLAY!  Of course!  This is definitely better.  I would have loved to have posted it in my sixth grade classroom.  🙂


  7. Elizabeth January 10, 2016

    Ahh! I love this comparison of speaking the language of Eden or of Eden lost. Too often I speak in Eden lost and never realized it until just now. Jet lagged though and too tired to say more. 🙂

  8. Felicity Congdon January 12, 2016

    Thanks for sharing! I love this idea..and I love hearing how it all came about. This kind of signs were one of the things I most love about cross cultural living that make it such a joy to serve overseas! But I don’t have any photos of any handy…I’m inspired to be on the look out more though!

    I too am eager to keep on learning the language of Eden. Have there been resources that you can point to and say they have helped you take a step toward learning this language? Or is it more of an over arching being a disciple of Christ thing? I’m just curious…..

    I’m also eager to look at your 31 thoughts on Eden. And curious if the blog you wrote about the pool photo mentions anything about the person with the blue Mohawk loungin there?!?! Or am I seeing things?

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