Can You See His Beauty?


Today is a little stormy in my town in Southwest Florida. Not really cold, but with gusty winds, grey clouds crawling across the sky, and temperatures in the mid-sixties, I’m reminded that we’re in the middle of winter. I know it’s snowing in other places, but here in our tropical paradise I forget. Looking at the sun streaming intermittently between the clouds today, it’s hard to believe it’s a frigid winter elsewhere, and we’re already half-way through the first month of 2021.

Thankfully, due to our warmer weather, there is a tree in the area behind our townhouse that spans the view of my patio and living room window. The elongated, dipping branches stretch out a handful of magenta blossoms as if it’s handing me gifts. A blanket of fallen blooms covers the ground beneath the tree. I watch as the wind scatters a shower of them to add to the carpet covering the grass.

Beauty.

In the midst of a dark world, beauty still reigns. I’m grateful this morning for the view. Grateful for the sporadic rays of sunshine and the blustery winds. Grateful that God is on his throne seeing everything, knowing all, and in control.

Time doesn’t exist within his realm. We live according to the clock, but he has already been here this day. Already seen the events still to play out. Nothing surprises him. So I can rest and revel in the beauty he offers us.

When I sit in this place of peace, listening for God’s whispers in the wind, I am transported into his kingdom. He placed man in a garden, after all, didn’t he? His desire was for us to walk and talk with him in the beauty of nature. And God doesn’t change. That’s still his desire today.

I know evil in the world rages. Our voices have been silenced by media, social sites, and masks. Lies are being called truth, and truth is repelled as a lie. Children are discarded through abortion and trafficking. Various religious groups persecute those who choose to follow Jesus in his way of love. Political tempers flare. Those who claim tolerance are intolerant of anything having to do with God. Even those who say they love God, show hate across various platforms. As the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:1-3,

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good…”

Sounds like our world.

But God still offers us beauty. Beauty for ashes, the Bible tells us.

God’s grace and mercy reach far past our sinful, prideful ways. His peace reaches out to us when we’re harried, hassled, fearful, and anxious. He longs for us with the love of a perfect father who wants our company, our input, our devotion, and our good. His call to us is to see him, know him, and love him in response to his immeasurable love for us.

He offers us so much. For so little.

Jesus paid such a great price so that we could belong and be with him forever.

Today, when a bit of beauty crosses your path—when the color of a flower, the majesty of a sunset, a blanket of newly fallen snow, the wave of the mighty ocean, or the towering of stately trees shows up—when the hand of God strokes his paintbrush across your landscape, will you take a moment?

Whisper a thank you. Consider the God in heaven who you may have overlooked, ignored, or forgotten? Recognize that in Jesus, you can live in a place of perfect peace in spite of the crazy ways of the current world. It only takes a moment to reach out in response to God reaching out to you. Quicker than typing out a text, we can say,

“Thank you for all you’ve made. Thank you for your love. Thank you for dying on the cross for me, Jesus. I’m sorry I’ve sinned against you. Please lead me into your kingdom today. I believe you. I trust you.”

Will you join me in beauty today?

If you say, “yes,” I’d love to know. Will you give me a thumbs up in the comments, or tell me your story? Or even just click like. I pray for my readers, and we all need prayer in these times, don’t we?

Enjoying the Journey


Taking our lives forward is a great thing.DSC_0128

But sometimes if we are too focused on the future we can lose sight of the present.

Nearly every day I walk along a canal by my home. My path leads me to marvelous sights. Turtles, alligators, otters, snakes, blossoming trees, butterflies…the list seems endless. And can I mention the sun rising with rays beaming from out behind thunderclouds? Anddsc_0020 the days when wispy, white brush strokes paint the sky or the water reflects the brilliant scene above it while fish flip to catch a neon dragon fly?

But once in a while, I miss one of those treasures.

On a recent jaunt, two cyclists on the path ahead of me coming my way caught my attention. For a couple of minutes, until our paths crossed, I was focused on what was up ahead. I heard a splash and missed whatever creature moved in the water.

Disappointment tore my gaze away from the oncoming bikers and taught me a lesson.

God has great things for us in the future when we break free of our past and move ahead. But he also has greatness for us right here today as well.

We say “stop and smell the roses,” but we can miss seeing the roses if we move atdsc_0068 too quick a pace or don’t take in our surroundings in the moment.

What little observations have gone undetected?

Did we overlook something wonderful about a person that we can be grateful for? Was there evidence of God’s majesty in nature?  What gesture of love or appreciation went unnoticed by us?

dsc_0070
Do you notice the two marvels in this picture?

While we are on our journey, moving ahead into the new and great freedom and healing God has for us, let’s look around and see the beauty in the present moment too.

Let’s enjoy the journey.

What are some things you’ve noticed while on your journey? What are some things you may have missed?

Online Dating Profiles…


I confess that when I started internet dating, I did so with fear and trembling.

“What are you thinking?” “What are you doing??” I queried myself as if talking to a person gone mad.

However, filling out the questions for the matching process and profile challenged me to consider who I genuinely am, and to be honest with myself and others. After the few days it took to complete all my answers, I understood myself better. My likes, dislikes and characteristic strengths and weaknesses as well as the particular traits I desired in a mate took shape and presented themselves on a profile page. Then came time for the profile picture.

I’ve heard stories of people who actually post a picture of another person on their profile page because they feel unattractive. I decided against that plan of action, but I can understand in part why some people may feel so compelled by a lack of confidence in their appearance. But let’s look at the reality of this scenario. Eventually you will be found out. Simple as that. And if we are truly seeking the person who matches us perfectly, then we want to be completely honest in every way, don’t we? Otherwise, our false facade misrepresents our true self — in fact, we are hidden. How then can the match seeking our soul find us?

By all means, let’s enhance the qualities God has created in us! Ever watch What Not to Wear? While obviously pointing out fashion faux-pas, the hosts of this show actually bring out the true beauty of the participants by challenging their underlying insecurities. Fashion becomes an accessory to accentuate the natural beauty they possess. I’m all for that!

Understandably, it is a little unnerving to post a picture for all to see. Like looking in the mirror, it’s easy to scrutinize every flaw while overlooking any potential positives. I finally donned my best hair, make-up, clothing and smile and had a friend snap a few pictures in my front yard.

What they see is what they get.

I chose to trust that the person who I would want to be with would be someone who saw more than just my exterior appearance. Hopefully they would also catch the twinkle in my eye. Not every work of beauty appeals to everyone. I only needed to appeal to Mr. Right.

Interestingly enough, some months later my parents requested a portrait quality photograph of me for a family picture wall in their house. My front yard photo shoot didn’t exactly meet their requirements so my dad took me to a photographer friend (my dad is friends with everyone it seems). Posing for portrait photos makes me cringe which I’m sure showed in the strained smile and lack of eye twinkle.

At last the photographer looked out from behind his camera.

"Thank goodness!"

“Okay, that’s the last one!”

In relief I threw my head back with a laugh. “Thank goodness!!”

Click.

He captured something relatively beautiful including the twinkle. Dad was delighted. I was pleased enough that when my dad said, “Post that online and you’ll get a guy,” I readily acquiesced.

And so the smile that captivated my future (at that point) husband online was the one captured in that moment. Way to go Dad!