Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Beautifully Broken

At the end of the sermon Sunday, a video was played showing several people engrossed in their electronic devices while life was going on around them. One of the images was a proposal taking place in front of a sunset.

For some reason the image reminded me of vacation.

Typically our family takes a beach vacation. I sit under an umbrella and read book after book for a week or more while the rest of the family scavenges for shells, shark’s teeth, sea glass, sand dollars, and various other treasures. Every so often I will join them in the water to cool down a bit, but I never stay too long for fear of burning.

Vacation is my chance to catch up on recreational reading that I don’t get to do much of during the rest of the year. Some years I have read as many as twenty novels while lying on the beach under an umbrella.

This year my teenagers started making comments about me reading months before we packed for our dream trip to Sanibel Island. They weren’t being mean, simply dreaming out loud what vacation would look like for all of us.

However, it kind of hurt my feelings that they were counting me out of their plans. They had already decided that I would sit in one spot, babysit our belongings, and read by myself while they did all the things we had been talking and dreaming about since they had been in elementary.

Not this year. I thought. This year I’m going to do everything everyone else does. I’m not going to be holder of the stuff. I’m not going to be the responsible one, the good behavior example. We only have a couple summer vacations left before they leave for college. Who knows if we’ll ever travel as a family again after that. I’m going to participate. Not watch.

When it came time to pack, I didn’t include any physical books. I didn’t download any e-books onto my Kindle. I didn’t even grab a magazine for the road. And I didn’t say a word about what I wasn’t doing to anyone else.

When we headed to the beach on day two, no one even packed chairs down the path. If mom wasn’t sitting in them, no one else would feel a need to go keep her company every so often.

All three members of my family had found extremely unique, amazing shells within a day or two of combing the beach. I spent pretty much the entire time on the beach searching for my something special, and hadn’t found anything worth showing off.

After being excited for one of their umpteenth awesome finds, I found myself sitting in the sand digging through an enormous pile of shells, frustrated, discouraged, disappointed, and just a wee bit jealous.

God, out of everything out here, I just want to find ONE special thing. I don’t need to find tons, but I’d like to take ONE thing home that I can say I found. One special shell that is whole. No missing pieces. No brokenness. One perfect, special shell just for me.

And when I looked back down at the pile of shells in front of me, all I saw was the same pile of shells that was there before I prayed.

It wasn’t long after that when I rose to take the daily sunset picture. Sunset on Bowman’s Beach was the daily highlight. We made sure we were present for God’s nightly light show. Every night was something different.

As I struggled to frame my shots of the sun melting into the ocean around all of the other attendees, I again became frustrated.

Just one perfect shot! If only those people would move! They are intruding on my view of your show, God.

It was in that moment I finally heard what God had been trying to say and my eyes filled with tears as I realized what I had been doing.

I wasn’t looking for special; I was looking for perfection. I was totally missing the special in my search for something that doesn’t exist outside of God.

Carrie, I created each of those people and each of those shells. They are all absolutely special and perfect. You’re looking at the wrong things. Of course they’re missing pieces, cracked, broken, and discolored. They’ve weathered the storms of life. Been battered by an uneven, rocky ground. They’ve been out their depths and totally washed up. And they are beautiful. Stop looking for perfection and see the beauty that is within each one.

Immediately I was humbled and had an entire new outlook on the images before me. Handcrafted by God. And He knew not only every individual chip, crack, broken piece, and hole, but He also knew the events that caused each imperfection to exist.

I wonder how often we get caught up in perfection that we miss the beauty God has placed right in front of our faces. See, I put down my electronic devices and books, and I still almost missed it. I spent most of my time searching for something that wasn’t even what God had prepared for me.

Has God placed any beautiful broken things in front of you this week? Are you trying to fix them or are you simple loving them as God’s creation?

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The Deliberate Mom

Worship In a 5K

5K. No, not 5,000 words written. 5K on the street.

Today my daughter and I chose to give up other plans and participated in the 1st Annual 5K Family Fun Run for the
Ericka Wade Foundation.
If you are my friend on facebook or my follower on Twitter, you know I haven’t ran at all since summer of ‘11. My intent today was to jog. The entire thing.

I jogged about the first mile. I did a combination walk/jog of the first half of the second mile, and I walked the rest.

It could’ve been worse. Oh so worse. I finished in 46:24. Goal time was less than 35. Apparently I’m in worse shape than I thought (Round is still a shape isn’t it? All this new math and stuff?).

When it became apparent I wasn’t a contender for a good time, I turned my thoughts to my music. I was totally rocking out to Mercy Me’s The Generous Mr. Lovewell CD during this 5K.

I’m not going to lie…it took everything inside me to keep myself from belting out the words as I moseyed down the street. I tend to talk and sing with my hands. I REALLY wanted to dance, throw my hands in the air, live out the music. Right there on the city street. While completing a 5K in memory of a young girl who was a part of our church.

At one point in time I was worshiping in my heart and in my soul and I saw the leaves in the grass and I just wondered what would happen if I started throwing armfuls of leaves into the air and just danced and praised God in the showering leaves.

True worship. Unhindered by pretense. And yet again I held it in. Tears streaming down my face as I remembered a girl. Tears streaming as I thought about the things I should be doing on a daily basis to make a difference in the lives of those around me. Tears for the things I’ll never get to say to those who have been taken from us too early. For the wrongs I’ll never get a chance to right.

And I’m trying to continue my path in a straight line, not get ran over by traffic or other 5Kers, wondering what ‘they’ must thing of me…the woman who’s mouth is constantly moving. Occasionally the song lyrics audibly burst forth. The woman who goes from a crazy grin imagining herself playing in leaves to silently crying tears of regret and shame.

I took my earbuds out for a while to check on my daughter’s foot. I continued without music and prayed. At every intersection I looked, I mean really looked at the individuals holding the “Caution Runners” signs. I wondered. Who are you? What do you need today? God sees you and thinks you are beautiful. You are holding that sign and think it probably isn’t much, but it’s amazing. Your smile as we pass by, is amazing. You are making a difference.

How many people do I just pass by? Do I miss their beauty because I’m too caught up in my mess? What do their signs say? Are they cautions or cries for help?

As I approached the last ¾ of a mile, I put the earbuds back in.

And a song came on. The message…right on time…every time.

I hope you’ll take time to listen, but if not Mercy Me’s “Won’t You Be My Love” chorus goes:

Won’t you be My voice calling
Won’t you be My hands healing
Won’t you be My feet walking into a broken world
Won’t you be My chain-breaker
Won’t you be My peacemaker
Won’t you be My hope and joy
Won’t you be My Love
I can choose to make a difference or I can choose to walk away. Either way, I make a choice.

I have made a choice in the past to avoid a situation where I should have been His voice, but it was too uncomfortable. So I remained silent.

Those people in chains? I know them. They aren’t slaves in the conventional sense of the word, but they are bound by their chains. I could help break those chains, but what if they don’t want to be set free? What if they don’t want my help?

I really don’t like conflict. However, I have seen so many situations where people have had major problems simply because of a miscommunication. Could I be His peacemaker?

His world is broken…my feet should be running into the brokenness, not into the sanctuary to hide.

If we, I, don’t show people the love of Christ, the truth is ‘people’ may never see the love of Christ. I have to stop waiting for the right people, in the right places, at the right time, and start seeing the people who are standing right here right now right on time.

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ’Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying ’Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ’Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethern, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ’Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, saying ’Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ’Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-40