Tag Archives: beauty

Beauty Restores

It is a wearying day.

The struggle to find a rhythm in the new season.

Sick daughter.

Rambunctious determined son.

The relentless laundry pile & meals to be made & dishes to be cleaned & dogs to be let out & work needing to be done so bills can be paid.

***

I can feel it – the cloud of Overwhelming coming to cast his shadow.  The webs of Anxiety and Stress ready to spin their traps.  I step outside to water the tomato plants – one more “to do” – and the Beauty of the day calls to me like a long-lost friend.  I know in a moment how to reclaim this day from Heaviness.

Image Source; FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Source; FreeDigitalPhotos.net

***

The sick one moves slower than usual, sits for a rest more often.  But she inhales the breeze and soaks in the sun, and her smile comes.  She is healing as I watch.

The rambunctious one runs, wild and free.  The wind carries him – he is faster, stronger.  He chases stray dogs & searches for treasure rocks & sifts dirt through his hands.  He is coming alive as I watch.

And I – the weary one – I sit with words under the soothing cloudless sky.  I drink them in, I pour them out.  I rest for a moment from the doing and focus on just being.  I am refreshed as I pause, see, savor.

Today these are our green pastures and still waters.  Under the pure, undefiled blue, gently whispered to by Nature’s breath, basking in golden light – He restores our souls.

 

 

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Filed under Beauty, Healing, Parenting, Rest

Owning Our Strengths

Image Source: A Shared Lens

Image Source: A Shared Lens

I sat across the table from a friend today for 3 and a half hours that felt nowhere near that long.  I have not so fully understood someone’s heart or felt as fully understood by someone in a very long time.  And in the safety of that sacred place, I found myself speaking aloud things I have only acknowledged in the depths of my heart and the whispers of my prayers.

We spoke of crazy dreams and big ideas, faith and community; above all, we spoke of the beauty unleashed when women find their voice and their strength, when one person’s courage inspires another and then another and then another . . .

***

A lifetime in church and in faith circles has taught me that among the myriad of thing Christians fear most is pride.  This is not without reason.  We all know pride comes before the fall. Um, hello – we ALL know how Lucifer got himself thrown out of heaven.  For me personally as a worship leader, it is legitimately something we struggle with the most – not pointing people to ourselves and our talents instead of to God.  And if you’d rather throw everything spiritual out of the equation, let’s just go on and say it how it is – no one likes being around a cocky person.

But.

In an extreme effort to avoid this crippling, poisonous vice, we have often diminished the magnitude of our strengths, and as a result, the message of who God is.  The overall effect is a bunch of people walking around with a false humility the rest of the world can smell from a mile away, simply because we have misunderstood what genuine humility looks like.

If I am not willing to acknowledge my strengths, I will not use them as effectively as I could.  I will allow myself to get backed into other areas that are not the best use of my gifts.  I will not spend my time most efficiently and by default, I will not represent or advance the kingdom of God as well as I could.

This is not pride.

Pride says, “I have this strength because I’m just that good.”  Humility says, “I have this strength because God has gifted me with it.”

Pride says, “I will use these strengths to make myself known.” Humility says, “I will use my strengths to make Jesus known.”

Pride says, “I am threatened by people who are stronger than me in this area.”  Humility says, “I will learn from people who are stronger than me in this area.”

***

My fiery friend said it best today when she said, “We jump into the arena with other women, bloody and scarred from battle, not because we are fighting each other, but because we are knocking out the lies.  And when you are ready to knock out the lie holding you back, we will offer you the strength to thrust your arm forward and take it down.”

If I embrace my strength, it will be there in all its force to offer you when you need it.  We most fully illuminate the splendor and beauty of God when we own our strengths, run full force with the powers He has put in each of us.

Here are some strengths I am finding the courage to own:

I am a musician and I am a writer.

I am a good mother, and a creative one too.

I am a good worship leader, and with that, I am very good at building solid worship teams and developing effective worship leaders.

I have an e-book, a novel, a poetry anthology and an e-course brewing inside me – more likely several of all of the above.

I am a visionary and a strategist and a prophetic voice.

***

It is harder than it might seem to write that list, to own the things God has placed in me, especially when it feels a lot of them are overlooked right now.  But it’s a starting point and a step in the right direction.

And now it’s your turn.  What are the strengths you are wired with?  Own them.  Run with them.

 

*Looking for that community that will champion your strengths and cheer you on as you find your voice?  It’s right here.

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Filed under Beauty, Creativity, Faith

Beauty in the Weeds

He bursts through the door, a rush of excitement.  The sun has tried to steal its way inside – the rays shine through his eyes and the scent lingers in his hair.  He offers up his treasure in tiny hands.

IMG829“Mom, I brought you a flower!”

And I know what this one means, more than countless others he has brought me before.  He has been searching for them through the winter, bewildered when I explain how the cold kills the plants or sends them into deep sleep.  I have assured him over and over that when spring comes, the flowers will return.

Thanks to a series of exceptionally warm days, the ground has been tricked into sending up signs of life, at least until the next cold snap.  Long enough for Little Man’s persistent search to be unexpectedly rewarded.

***

There is a voice that lingers in my head.  I cannot precisely pin the memory, so I don’t know if it is something I experienced or overheard.  But I recall this much.  Another small voice, thrilled with discovery: “Look, I found a flower!”

And that grown up voice, disinterested and unimpressed: “That’s not a flower; it’s just a weed.”

Then the feeling of foolishness and disappointment settling over a little girl who thought she’d spotted something lovely, only to discover it was a cruel trick of nature.

(*An aside for adults everywhere: if a child ever offers you one of these flowers, never respond with “That’s just a weed.”)

***

These tiny yellow flowers speak volumes to me about the heart of God.  Even among the weeds – the irritating, life-strangling, pig-headed weeds – He bothered to weave in beauty.

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Perhaps to bring delight to the wide-open heart of a child.

Perhaps to remind discouraged adults that beauty can always be found in unexpected places if we are willing to linger and look.

Perhaps that when life is strangling and choking and frustrating, we might have a glimpse of hope, something worth fighting for a little longer.

Perhaps because messages of His love are often tucked into the places we have deemed undesirable and unloveable, and He is gently wooing us out of our selfishness and narrow perspectives and calloused hearts.

Perhaps to quietly but unmistakably affirm that He most certainly can – and will – make ALL things beautiful.

***

We’re expecting another dip in temperatures next week, so it may take awhile.  But there will be more of these little flowers.  I know my children; they won’t rest until they’ve picked them all (which means walking the dogs will take even longer).

But I will receive them all with a smile, and we will marvel over the tiny cheery petals.  They’ll be tucked behind ears and onto dollhouse tables; they’ll be fed to safari animals and glued to nature collages.  And some of them will be picked for the sole purpose of brightening the dinner table, and they will be welcomed every time.

Because we all need the reminder – there is beauty to be found among the weeds.

IMG832

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Filed under Beauty, Faith, Hope, Miracles