It is not that my journey is always beautiful, but there are points, markers, spaces of beauty along the way. Enough to keep me seeking for more. Looking for beauty in everyday life.
Whatsoever things are lovely*…
There is dangerous beauty in the night sky of ripe stars dripping to the earth in the minus 40 degree Dakota winter. A field of dangerous cold that can kill you if you breathe it in.
The fearful beauty of the unknown; shimmering creatures scuttling along the ground in humid places. Is it friend or foe? Poisonous or not?
There is power in beauty that moves, touches, exalts, captures, surprises and changes us. Our spirit resonates to its vibrations.
The iris was the first breathtaking moment of beauty for me. The spot in the road that changed everything in my life when I was five years old. The iris bloomed next to the old house where we recently moved. I came around the corner of the side yard and stopped. Breath caught. There it was. As tall as I. A glorious purple iris. I reached out to touch the velvet petals. Captured by its loveliness. Rich color. Grape-like smell. My first experience with the concept of elegance. The site, touch, and smell captured and filled my young heart.
I have seen thousands of iris since that day and they still fill me with wonder, but the memory of that first one bursting into my world with its expression of beauty that changed my heart forever was special. That one iris opened my eyes to beauty and made me believe in a beautiful journey.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
God is fun and He is in a good mood. That’s a new idea for me. I did not arrive in adulthood believing life was fun, so it was quite a surprise when I felt Jesus laughing during my prayer time one day. The joy that filled the room was electric and I finally understood the verse, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” There was power in the joy I experienced at that moment.
I discovered that playing brings me closer to God. Learning the Art of Play is an activity He is using to create a childlike heart in me, a heart that trusts and experiences wonder. I discovered the art and science of bubbles as an adult. Someone bought me a Big Bubble set as a gift. Little did they know how fascinating it would be. I think perhaps it was meant as a joke, but it captured me. There is science in bubbles: elasticity, surface tension, chemistry, light, and even geometry. There is art in the colors and the flight and there is wonder in the fun of making and watching them float.
It’s true that I have become childlike in some ways. Healthy ways, I like to think, although you may disagree because as adults we are supposed to be, well, adult-like. I am not saying I abdicate my responsibilities, only that I have found a way to have joy while doing them and also to make more room in my life for intentional play. This new, childlike, heart opens my eyes each day to things that inspire wonder and cause me to experience God everywhere. It encourages me to keep looking for Him in all my living.
This new foundation also led me to a children’s book about living in the kingdom written by Bill Johnson, Mike and Marilyn Seth. As I read Here Comes Heaven!, I got excited over how it explains our place in Christ and I realized I was never taught these things as a child. The basics of how to know God were delivered in pieces that seemed random to me and they were filled with a list of things I either had to do or make sure I did not do. It always felt like work and a heavy burden. This little book, on the other hand, is teaching me how to know God and the power of Jesus’ resurrection and how to live in His spiritual kingdom. Now that is something I have always wanted to know.
I think when we miss out on certain experiences in our childhood, like fun and the joy of our salvation, God uses play to heal us, to show us who He is and that He is joyful and truly good. He told the disciples to let the children come to Him, then explained that for any of us to enter the kingdom we would have to be like children. So today, I encourage you to grab your bubbles and come practice being childlike with me.
Mark 10: 14b-16
Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them, and blessed them.