Behold and Be Held

All beauty is only reflection. ~ Ann Voskamp

It’s true, you know. All beauty is merely a reflection.

A reflection of the imagination and creativity of a God at play. Flinging galaxies across the expanse of infinity. Bouncing stars and planets into perfect precision. Shooting hoops of Northern Lights to sink into Alaskan sky. Carving canyons and mounding Himalayan peaks. Tracing rushing rivers with divine fingertip.

Sand and shells and granite and marble; trees and ferns and toadstools and flowers. From East to West and Northern tip to Southern pole of planet earth, all is filled with beauty and wonder. Catching rays of glory reflecting through pinpricks in atmosphere as heaven leaks drops of ethereal eternal into the here and now.

Some days I see Him.

Some days my eyes are wide open and I notice Him in every mirror of beauty reflecting brightly into my life.

Some days I gasp in awe to catch a glimpse of Father’s face shining through everything. Each grain of sand; each droplet of ocean water; every intricate snowflake falling softly to the ground, piling high to absorb the sounds of earth. And in those moments, God’s beauty absorbs into me, as well.

Some days I give sway to His beauty and allow His presence to tuck me tightly against His chest as I breathe in the scent that is uniquely His own.

Some days I really do see Him. A God who cares enough to reveal Himself here. To me. And I lift my voice with all of creation and join in the song of praise.

But then there are other days.

Other days, I neglect the beauty.

Other days, I refuse to open my eyes to anything but the ugly pain that infects my heart as surely as it infects this sinful world.

Other days, I allow the voices of rocks to outshout my praises to the One and Only who is worthy of them at all times.

Other days, I give sway to temptations and allow my soul to be absorbed by the pit from which I have already been rescued.

Other days, I forget the grace that is mine and the beauty that surrounds these blind eyes too stubborn to accept the healing hand of sight.

But not today.

Today I choose to open my eyes wide and see the gifts.

Today I will lift my voice in praise to the One who instigates His own worship simply by being Himself.

Today I choose to behold beauty… and be held by God.

Join me?

Snowflake-2     A little bit of beauty can create…

Winter_wallpapers_363                                                                                             …a wonderland of awe.

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I. Want. To. See.

Here’s to another Five Minute Friday where I take a one-word prompt and write about it for a brief five minutes. You can join by linking up with a group of writers over at http://www.lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday.

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SEE

Blind eyes long to see.

Voice rises, desperate to be heard.

Presses for mercy despite the crowds threatening to silence its plea.

Jesus hears and pauses to embrace this broken.

Drawing beggars to Himself.

Inviting neediness to encounter the All Sufficient.

What do you want Me to do for you?

And door swings wide open for glory to descend and weigh heavy…

Upon me.

The needy and broken one.

 

Lord, I want to see.

No hesitation.

No second-guessing.

Just a plea for sight.

For eyes to be fully opened.

Filled with vision of Holy.

 

All I want this year is to see You, Jesus.

To have my life opened to grace.

To follow You.

To praise God.

And to bring a thankful crowd along with me.

(Inspired by thoughts from Luke 18:35-43)

Consider This an Open Invitation

Sometimes we forget Who the Host of the party is. It would serve us well to remember that we are not the ones in charge of the guest list. That person you avoid in the grocery store? Yep, her name is on the list. That irritating relative you wish would not stop by unannounced? There’s a star beside his name indicating he is a guest of honor.

Jesus extends invitation after invitation to those whom we might prefer be excluded. It’s His way, you know. He called a hated tax collector to write His memoirs. An uneducated,  foot-in-mouth fisherman was one of His best buds. A pharisee and persecutor of His followers became one of the most effective missionaries of all time. You might be more familiar with their identities as Matthew, Peter, and Paul. The point is, Jesus looks beyond the exterior and the present, in order to see the inner man renewed in His love and fulfilling His purposes. And He wants us to have that same vision.

What would it be like to look at every person we see each day? To really look at them, Christian or non-Christian, and not just give them a passing glance, but to see them and marvel at the image of God they were created to portray. To realize that each person was birthed with a blessing to impart upon this world. To believe in the potential placed within each and every precious soul. And to prompt each one to fulfill the purpose that they have been issued. But instead, we hurry through our days with our eyes shut tight, seemingly oblivious to the mass of humanity bleeding around us. If we do slow down enough to look, it is all too often with eyes that are suspicious and skeptical.

Is it any wonder that Christians are deemed as critical and judgmental? You need look no further than the next facebook post to read a condemning remark or a digging barb. And I can’t help but think that those who judge us as judgmental have issued a just decree. Sometimes the hatred with which Christians attempt to share God’s love appalls me… and embarrasses me. Christian “truth” touted as “tough love” seems no less depraved to me than an Islamic devotion to suicide bombing for the sake of making a statement.

What would happen, instead, if we saw the “lost” (those without the love of Christ in their lives) as truly “lost”? Not just as depraved or barbaric. But as utterly separated and lost from the One whom their soul was created to find. To love. What if we looked beyond the wounds they inflicted and instead saw the wounds they bore? The wounds driven deep, induced by the lies of the most criminal of foes.

What if we felt their sense of loneliness? Their shame. The utter hopelessness that resides in a life lived separated from the God of love and grace. What would happen if we embraced the blackness of despair that has been sown into their souls? If we would hold high the light of God’s love and walk toward them instead of fleeing in fear or attacking in judgment, deeming them as somehow unworthy of exposure to the Light.

I challenge you to join me in asking yourself: What if I acted differently from the rest? What if I embraced others with the grace that their Father intended? With the same grace that was spilled upon my life so freely? The grace that was priceless beyond measure, yet poured out in extravagance as bounty for my soul. What if I remembered my own salvation? If I recalled that I was once just as lost as those who still walk in darkness?

What would happen if I truly responded to others with the love of Jesus? Would it change what they have done, who they are, who they have become?

Or would it simply change me?

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