Gentle Beauty

Romans 2:4 (NCV)
Perhaps you do not understand that God is kind to you so you will change your hearts and lives.

If someone were to observe me for several days they would begin to notice something about me; I am one who follows the sun.  It starts in the morning. My husband and I’s bedroom faces the rising sun and especially right now the bright glorious sunrise kisses me awake every morning.   

As I start my work day, I open all of the shades in my house and plant myself in the chair that is nearest the glorious rising sun.  Sometimes this will involve me switching between a couple chairs and squeezing myself smaller and smaller to get the last bits of direct sunshine as the sun begins to fade.  If the weather is warm enough, I’ll take my computer out on the back deck and sit in a chair that is still exposed to the sun.  As the day progresses, the sun switches to shining on the front end of my home, so I will then move to the front room or porch to soak in the sun.  Again, if the weather is warm enough, you will find me sitting smack dab in the middle of a sunny spot.  

Towards the end of the day, you will find me searching for a glorious sunset.  We usually get one out our front window or if I’m lucky enough I will drive to the lake so I can sit and watch the sunset.  I told my daughter that a perfect day for me, would be chasing an everlasting sunset.

The start of the day in the sunshine is like a gentle kiss from my Savior.   After my niece’s death 6 years ago I went through a season where it physically hurt my heart to get out of bed.  In sorrow and confusion, darkness was what I seemed to constantly feel in my heart.  During this painful season the Lord gave me Psalm 19:

1-6 (NCV):
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies
Announce what his hands have made.  Day after day
They tell the story;
Night after night they tell it again.
They have no speech or words;
They have no voice to be heard.
But their message goes out through all the world;
Their words go everywhere on earth.
The sky is like a home for the sun.
The sun comes out like a bridegroom from his bedroom.
It rejoices like an athlete eager to run a race.
The sun rises at one end of the sky and follows its path
to the other end.
Nothing hides from its heat.

This is where I began each day during that difficult season.  Reading this Scripture daily as the sun rose in my bedroom.  I loved the image of the sun coming out like a bridegroom from his bedroom.  The announcement of the sky.   

There was a joy, a joy that continued daily and didn’t fail.  A joy that started each day, and did not grow tired nor decide to check out and take a day off.  It didn’t get disillusioned by life; there was something greater than all the sorrows of this life that was worth announcing day by day.  His creation spoke a message, a silent yet powerful message, and this is where I sat my heart for a season.  As the sun rose, I lay in bed and allowed the message of the sun’s joy in life to speak to my heart.

Another reason, I fell in love with this Psalm because from the very beginning it drew me in with its gentle peace but also because it continued on tying His creation to the power of His word (7-10):

The teachings of the Lord are perfect;
They give new strength.
The rules of the LORD can be trusted; they make plain people wise.
The orders of the LORD are right;
They make people happy.
The commands of the LORD are pure;
They light up the way.
Respect for the LORD is good; it will last forever.
The judgements of the LORD are true;
They are completely right.
They are worth more than gold, even the purest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even the finest honey.

Just as I could rest in the faithfulness of His creation, I too could rest my heart in the faithfulness and beauty of His Word.  His teachings were perfect.  They give strength.  His Word could be trusted.
When your heart has been through a war, there needs to be a time for healing.  Psalm 19 provided a safe place for my heart to heal.  It allowed me to take the extravagant beauty that I can so easily see around me and parallel it to Scripture.

There are benefits and pitfalls to being a Christian your entire life.  It provides a solid foundation that takes a lot to demolish.  However, you also get exposed to LOTS of versions of Christianity some really good stuff and some not so good.  Combine all that information with a perfect storm of tragedy and your heart, mind, soul and spirit can end up a mess.  What I learned (and still learn) is that Jesus is a gentle Savior, who knows how to gently and patiently untie the greatest of messes.  Just as I place my body physically in the light of the sun every day, spiritually, you will find me too following the Son.  Immersing myself in His Word; knowing that my understanding or use of it won’t always be perfect or clear.  But what I do know is that it is trustworthy, it is pure and it does light up my way.

In Christ,

A Love Song of Scars

The other day I found myself singing a worship song from 10 years earlier.  This song was sung often and it was one that melted my heart in the place of worship.  As the words came out of my mouth, I found myself hesitating on whether or not to continue singing.  The memories of the past, the places where these songs were sang, were touching a place of ache in my heart.  I wanted to stop so I wouldn’t have to feel and remember the season that I miss but I told myself to not hold back, but instead to keep on singing. Singing the songs that were a double-edged sword: a song that led me into a deeper love of my Savior but at the same time a song that reminded me of precious times that will never come back.

John 20:24

“We have seen the Lord!’
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

(I marvel how Jesus loved and lived with real people.)

As I look over the story of my life there are definite days and seasons of sorrow.  One would think that present time and the future would become bitterer as it moved forward, but it hasn’t.  Instead, love has become sweeter, joys deeper and appreciation of those I love greater.  As I look on my family members and my friends, whom I love, and see how age and time is changing and shaping them, I find myself continually captivated by their beauty.  The beauty of who they are, the stories that they carry and I am filled with a desire to see the hopes and dreams that are on their hearts come into reality.  While, I often know the sorrows and regrets of their lives, it is not what I define them by.  While I know I am by far an imperfect being, I wonder, how much more our perfect Heavenly Father feels about us.

John 20:26, 27

A week later…Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe.”

I marvel that Jesus kept His scars.  He didn’t erase them, he didn’t hide them.  He acknowledged them and He showed them.  

As I go back to my thoughts from the beginning, I ponder the fact that maybe our scars don’t need to be hidden.  Maybe they need to be acknowledged and shown.  Seeing scars are indeed part of His redemption story.  As we walk through this life, as we fall more and more in love with our Savior, we walk with Him into dark places and dark seasons. We often carry scars from these places, but these scars also tell a story of resurrection.  

May “peace be with you” as you look at your scars.  May love become deeper, may life become sweeter and richer as you share your precious life with the real people whom Jesus loves and lives with still today.

In Christ,

In the Midst of Darkness

Shiny, life-filled eyes sparkled at me from the hospital bed, where my grandma lay a week and a half before she died.  From her wrinkled-filled face, she opened her mouth and sang in an off-key voice, 

He’s still working on me, to make me what He wants to be.”

The choice of song took me by complete surprise, how could He still have things to work on in you, at this age, my grandma, of course, being nothing less than perfect and precious in my eyes.  Yet the words of this song weren’t breathed out in despair over an imperfect spirit nor from a guilt-driven desire to be perfect.  Instead, they were words filled with a history of a real life lived out in love with her Creator and a desire for life to continue; to continue knowing Him and the adventure of His kingdom.  This scene is one of the last treasured memories that I have with my grandma.  Even over 9 years later, this holy moment brings me to tears; that is who I want to be at the end of this life – so in love with my Creator that I don’t want Him to stop working on me, creating me to be what He wants me to be.

Last week at church we covered the story of Lazarus being risen from the grave.  Our pastor truthfully spoke, 

Without the resurrection we are all just playing at religion.”

My mind often returns to another scene: being the second to last person standing at my niece’s graveside.  My heart waiting, as the sunshine cracked through the rainy clouds, hoping that these rays would bring healing; wanting so badly for this scene of the resurrection and the life to be reality now.  My heart still waits...
John 11: 33, 35, 38
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”

“Jesus wept.”

“Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb.”

Darkness filled my heart again this week.  Sometimes, I look at myself in shock, “Who are you and why do you act this way?” I have a temper and when I feel it bubbling up inside I often feel swept away on a rushing wave of emotion that I can’t control.  There is a separation between how I want to act and the way that I actually act.  Frustration that in the light I can sing praises with my whole heart about the love of God and truly mean it but then come these moments of darkness and I wonder and doubt who I truly am.

As I wrestled through this, this week, I felt a few questions challenge me:

Can you praise me in the darkness?”

“Can you believe that I am there with you in the darkness?”

“Can you believe that even the darkness doesn’t separate you from my love?”


The raising of Lazarus from the dead is an awe-inspiring story but if that was all there was, it wouldn’t be enough.  Yes, it touches on the power of God it shows He cares but within the story there is still a gap - between us and God.  However, the story doesn’t stop there, instead what follows is a very dark week.  A week where God, in human flesh, takes his compassion and His love and from that place directs the pain upon Himself.  He walks into the darkness, fully and completely.  He shows us through His life and example, that yes indeed God can and does know what it means to walk in the darkness and yes, even His love enters there.  He doesn’t skip over the darkness, He doesn’t pretend it isn’t hard or heart-wrenching, He doesn’t pretend it is easy. 
He lives it,
He breathes it,
He feels it, 
He aches it, 
He bleeds it.


I am glad that the Church walks us through Holy Week.  It asks us to remember the darkness, to feel the despair, to remember that Christ took on our darkness.  Why does this matter?  Because darkness still exists in the outside world, in my life and ultimately in my own heart.  To have to hold that darkness by myself – apart from Christ – it is too much for me.  But to hold it with Christ, to walk with Him through it that is what I need.  I know that Easter is coming, but this year I don’t want to rush there.  I don’t want to miss out knowing Christ in the darkness, weeping with Him over real life lost, crying over pains that humanity has caused, recognizing that He lives, walks and breathes with us through real life.  He’s not just there in the celebratory moments, He is also there in the darkness.

Psalm 139:10-11, 17-18
If I say, "Surely the darkness will cover me and the light around me turn to night,
Even darkness is no darkness with you;
the night is as clear as the day;
darkness and light to you are both alike."

"How deep are your counsels to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

If I count them, they are more in number than the sand,
and at the end, 
I am still in your presence.

In Christ,

Daily Prayer

Disqus for For His Glory Alone


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