24 September 2019

consider the lilies

For our 25th anniversary, my husband and I went hiking for a week in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, along the Appalachian Trail.  The hours of quiet, the breezes, scents, sounds, and views were like water to my soul.  The hard work of shouldering a 30+ pound pack on the up-and-down of a steep and rocky terrain, allowed me to enter into a kind of meditative state where physical pain simply rolled in and out of my consciousness, duly noted and fading as I walked, thought, prayed, and listened.

We saw so much beauty in the sweeping vistas and in the macro lens, but it was the macro that got me thinking one day.  I love taking pictures of flowers and mushrooms, snails and butterflies, snakes and chipmunks, all the fascinating things we see in nature.  I wanted to stop at every third step, to snap and share the beauty of creation with others.  As we walked through a narrow tunnel of tall wildflowers, I felt almost an obsession to take a picture of every one, and then I got to thinking about the flowers on the other side of the hill, where there was no trail, and I wanted to find them and take pictures of them as well, even though I knew it wasn't possible.

What struck me that day was that the beauty in this world IS.  It's just here.  Not because of us or for us.  There is a daisy in a field somewhere that I will never see, just as gorgeous as the one in front of me at this moment.  No human eye will ever see it, and yet its beauty remains.  I'm filled with awe at the reality that MOST of the beauty in this world will go unseen by the human eye.  Why is it there?  What is its purpose?

I think there is one who sees every flower, every blade of grass, every humming bee.  The Creator of the beauty, he sees all of it and loves it.  Something about this makes me...content.  Maybe it's just freeing and refreshing to remember that everything is not about me.

There is a verse in the Bible that says, "Consider how the wildflowers grow: they do not labour or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was adorned like one of these." Luke 12:27 CSB  

 I rest in the knowledge that nothing in the universe goes unnoticed.

11 September 2019

socks, texts, and other gifts

At the risk of coming off as self-absorbed, it's time to confess:  sometimes I struggle with feeling invisible.  Forgotten.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I get stuck thinking if I'm not purposeful enough in my relationships, my existence will fade.  The struggle is real; at least it is for me.  Don't misunderstand, it's not that I want to be the centre of everyone's universe, but I mean let's be real here, it's nice to know we're loved.  Right?

Most of the time, I can talk myself out of the funk that comes with believing I am unimportant to everyone, valued by no one.  I AM loved, of course.  And anyway, my value does not depend on others.  I find my worth in the eyes of my Jesus.

But here's the thing:  it helps to hear it out loud sometimes.

Awhile ago, a friend and I got together after she had come home from vacation, and she handed me a little box.  Now, I LOOOVE presents, but I was taken wasn't my birthday or Christmas, and my friend is not normally a "gifter" like me.  It was totally unexpected.  She just kind of laughed and said, "Open it!"  Inside was a pair of socks with sloths on them.  Yes, bring on the trumpets and fanfare!  What the heck for? you might ask.  Well, not only do I LOOOVE presents, I LOOOVE sloths.  I mean, the sloth is my totem animal.  But more breath-taking to me is that this friend, who is not into sloths or presents, saw this pair of socks in a gift shop and immediately thought of me.  She was away on vacation with her husband, when of course I would never expect to be on her mind.  Are you getting how valued that made me feel?

Another recent happening was that out of the blue one day, I received a text from a friend, saying she had been thinking about me and was praying for me that day.  Thinking about me?  Why?? I didn't text her.  I hadn't seen her in awhile.  I wasn't working to make sure I was on her radar.  Why on earth would I have come to her mind?  And then, not only did she think about me, she lifted me up to Jesus.  Again, I felt my value, all the way to my core.

My God never forgets me.  His eye is always on me.  This means that he is capable of bringing me to the minds of others when he knows I need "encouragement with skin on" because I'm feeling like I don't exist.

How lovely to be that gift of encouragement for my friends and loved ones.  I want to be a sweet reminder to others that they matter, that they are valued, that they are loved.