Perception: “intuitive understanding and insight” (dictionary.com). Funny how perception guides our minds. Such beauty in this picture.
I also happen to know that these giant clouds cover the exquisite view of crisp mountain ranges outlining a beautifully carved cross shaped lake… I know what’s beneath the delicate cotton candy clouds. And it’s sheer beauty, no doubt. Though the powdered puff balls cover the view that sold the cabin where I sit, I find myself intrigued even more by the here and now of what I see.
My mind travels to what I imagine Alaska to look like – but powdered with snow not clouds. I breathe the air in and it seems to feel cold as my imagination sends me hang gilding over Alaskan mountainsides.
And I consider just why it is that my mind chooses to see this splendor when the real gem is hidden. I’ve seen the magnificence of the view beneath the clouds. I know it’s there. Beauty beneath the clouds frames my perception, opens my mind and allows me to be free.
I experience the same freedom in the assurance of Christ’s unparalleled love for me. I know it’s there. And this insight changes everything I see in the here and now.
Knowing love like that of Christ allows me to see my current circumstances through a lens of promise. I know what’s beneath the clouds of this life and even they can be named glorious because of this perception.
My perception of all things present is based on my belief that the ultimate life canvas is painted with giant strokes of unconditional love of a Savior who came to this earth for the purpose of me. And you. Perception changes when we embrace the way of Jesus – love, not hate, building up not tearing down and the beautiful not the ugly.
Our science minds want to explain away the intuitive and the insight and forgo the supernatural phenomenon that guides such abstract concepts. Some things just can’t be explained away- they have to be felt and believed.
Let us all embrace the cloud cover of our lives today and see the beauty that it is as well as is assuredly beneath it. It is all a giant canvas of Christ’s love.
Day Lily Living
Here for a day. Gone tomorrow. That’s the life of a Day Lily. That’s it. One day to shine, whether that day is overcast, drizzly, blistering hot or unusually chili. Some may be chosen for a centerpiece display at a baby shower. But, for most Day Lilies, no person will even see their one day in glory to even name them beautiful.
But God sees them.
Sometimes I feel like my life is like a Day Lily. And I wonder just what beauty I am presenting to the world for the short time I am on this earth. I consider the challenge of not being picked for the centerpiece display and how that affects my appearance. I may wilt a little or hold tight to my bud and refuse to release my bloom to its full potential. I may allow my petals to hang lower as I realize the truth that there are many days where no human will see the beauty I present, making it seem for naught.
But God sees me.
The Day Lily life challenges me to live each day to the fullest, always presenting the most breathtaking bloom I can offer. If the only one who sees my glory reflecting splendor is my Creator, that is more than significant. If I point my bud to the Son and allow His light to unleash my beauty, no baby shower centerpiece in the world could offer more soul significance.
How about you? What would a Day Lily like life look like for you? No matter the weather or any other outer circumstance, your beauty constant? Your petals – rich, deeply colored and textured – giving their all without even a thought of human approval? How very freeing… May your day be like that of a Day Lily today. May you feel fully free to let your beauty shine in its complete splendor, knowing that your creator sees you and adores you. You are always featured in His centerpiece.
Pursuing My Son
“Sure mom, I’ll go.” This the surprising answer my 12 year old uttered seconds after I tossed out the request for him to bike with me on my 4 mile run. This – the goal of the plan I set in place 5 months ago, that he would be required to run, walk or bike with me for one mile a week.
Those beginning jaunts were truly almost torturous. 9/10ths of the mile, I heard him ream me for anything and everything that I have ever or will ever do wrong. I wondered if I was actually doing more harm than good in my quest for closeness with my preteen. Those miles were hard.
But, slowly and surely, a shifting occurred and the groans turned into sighs that then disappeared. He readily put his shoes on, went out the door and started the conversations. Then, a tenth of a mile’s worth of meaningful conversation turned into 4 beautiful miles.
And I thought…is this how I am with God? Scrolling through life, I fight giving the time necessary for a closer relationship with Him. A scripture snippet here, a whispered prayer there and I’m left wondering why my relationship with God is not where I want it to be.
I imagine God’s face when He hears me say, “Yes, I’ll participate in that bible study that commits me to daily quiet times, yes!” I imagine him longing for me and my heart, just like I did with my son. And I also imagine him pursuing me relentlessly and so very patiently, much like how I pursued my son.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Seeking God with your whole heart is hard. Parenting a child is hard. But it is in the continued seeking of both God and the child where we find the beauty of a relationship founded from our deepest places of longing and persisting. It is there where we find a relationship built on unconditional unconventional unwavering love.
How about you? Do you find it hard at your stage of parenting to imagine that there could be more? Does it make you consider your relationship with God? Trust me, both relationships are so worth it. Go there. Push for more.
Choosing Life: Lessons learned from a Coffee Cup
This coffee mug arrived early for Mother’s Day. It’s not what I ordered. I ordered a white mug with pictures of all of my kiddos smiling in their happy places. Apparently, I accidentally ordered a color changing mug- that doesn’t change colors.
I grumpily waltzed over to the sink and turned the nozzle to hot. I filled the mug. Nothing. Still black. Totally shadowed over pictures beneath the black veil stayed hidden.
I checked my order to make sure I did not make a mistake. Nope. Confirmation email showed a white mug with pictures. I was disappointed, frustrated and annoyed. I took a breath and wrote an email to the company who immediately responded, “Our mistake” and graciously sent me a replacement.
Have you ever felt disappointed, frustrated and even a little annoyed about your place in life? Not what you ordered? Not what you planned?
My dear friend Heather has a rare terminal and life shortening genetic disease. She has given me perspective on this challenge I think we can all relate to.
We are all terminal. No cure for that. No medication, no herbal remedy, no secret fruit blend that allows immortality. What we’ve been given is what we’ve been given.
Life does not usually turn out how we think or plan that it will. All the prescriptions for change in the world will not transform our outer circumstances. Empty promises, unattainable goals, unending costs…and no replacement policy with life, like there was for my mug.
Jesus offers us hope that He is “not delaying the promise, as some consider slowness, but is being patient, because he does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. He wants all to come to Him, to live for Him and to live life fully here and forever in heaven. He is the immortal change the world longs for. Jesus does have a replacement policy – he takes our disappointments, frustrations and annoyances and replaces them with love, joy, hope and promise of eternity with Him.
Read more about Heather at @rescuedletters, rescuedletters.com and check out her new bible study, Determined.
Being Still, Watching Fire
I spent a lot of time watching this weekend. I watched my kids play a pick up game of baseball with our camping neighbors. I watched musicians sing and play their hearts out from beneath an umbrella. I watched my middle son play his guitar with my mom beneath a tent filled with “pickers” from around the state. I watched my daughter devour a turkey leg, my oldest son play hacky sack like a boss and I watched my husband prepare us all breakfast on his little Coleman stove with his four day no shave camping stubble.
I realized all of this while I watched the camp fire burn. I was in charge of those burning flames while my husband went to get more groceries. I watched, I listened and I realized just how still I had been in so many moments over the weekend. And as a result, how present I had also been. The details I recalled recreated those exact moments as if I was still in the moment watching… And isn’t that what’s available to me every day? God calls us to “be still and know that He is God.” Being still here means “to release” or “let go”. Earlier in Psalm 26, God calls out chaos among the nations and begs His people to recognize just who he is, the still among the storm.
How I long to continuing watching. Soaking in moments, recognizing my very inhale and exhale as I allow stillness. The stillness of God is the absence of striving, of getting that next box checked off. The absence of chaos. The stillness of God is to allow the watching.
Take a deep breath and allow yourself to watch this week.
Landscaping Heaven Style
“I bet it feels good to actually see something to completion,” my dear friend said to me after I shared what I chose to do with my unexpected day off. I didn’t catch up on movies, laundry or the latest episode of This is Us. I didn’t even take time to eat lunch. I landscaped my yard. Sweat, dirt and sunshine. In a day, I saw this mission to completion.
It is not like that in other areas of my life. I often pray over and over and over again and it feels like God is just not answering me. I don’t see hearts change, people heal, bitterness sweeten. And I realize, I just may not see my prayers answered this side of heaven.
Paul says of the Philippians “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” He believed, without seeing, that God would continue working on the Philippians because he knew that God was committed to their transformation.
In that moment of connection with my dear friend, I realized that just like Paul, I too, can fully believe that God is still in the business of transformation. I may not see the fruits of my labor today, tomorrow or even next year…but I can trust that just like my beautiful landscaping, the sweat, dirt and glorious son-shine efforts of today have lasting eternal effects. What a gloriously landscaped yard I look forward to in heaven.
What about you? Do you get tired of praying over and over again and not seeing or hearing the answer you hope for? These are the times of countless loose frayed ends and instant gratification, not the ways of our God.
Keep looking ahead to that freshly mulched floral masterpiece of deep yellow petals with hints of white that pull your eyes to the just distant budding gardenias. Forgiveness granted, hearts turned toward God, healings that surpass any earthly knowledge, hope or imagination.
Take a deep breath and remember Paul’s words to the Philippians. Our God is not fickle. He is not discouraged by long suffering. He is steadfast and determined to complete His good work in each of us.