Do I share how returning to Honduras was unexpectedly harder than I was thinking it would be after my extended trip to the US?
Or do I tell you about this book I’m reading that’s making me realize how desperately I need to put down the never ending to-do lists?
Or do I recount how one of the teenagers in our youth group startled me by hugging me like a mama?
Or do I try to explain how I’ve been stressing (okay, worrying) about the direction of SoloHope?
But yesterday, I took some time to FaceTime with my friend, Ashley Stephen, who is so often so full of wisdom and insight. For so long I felt like Ashley and I did a season of life together. I remember sitting down with Ashley in the Atlanta Bread Company in January of 2014 and sharing my heart and vision with her about SoloHope. I knew what I saw in my mind but I struggled to communicate it but this girl caught the vision immediately and truly helped me grow SoloHope visually but in so many other ways as well. But it was more than that, it was a time of offering each other friendship in a really hard season of transition where neither one of us were sure of “home.”
As we’ve both transitioned to different seasons, we have begun to realize life never gets easier.
Well how’s that for an uplifting thought?!
But it’s true. I have friends who are single longing for a husband but it seems that pray has gone unanswered. Friends who are married longing for children but instead facing infertility. Friends who never in a million years thought they would be divorced but now that’s where they find themselves. Friends who have facing chronic illnesses, job losses, broken families, adoption challenges, strained marriages, lost homes, aging parents, unfulfilled dreams, and so much more.
And it’s hard.
Some seasons are definitely harder than others but ultimately every single season of our lives offer challenges.
Challenges that can force us to grow. Challenges that can cause us to be more intentional with life. Because life is a gift even in the “hard.”
A few months ago, I was standing by the road waiting for a bus. My mind was so full and stressed and burdened. It just felt heavy. As I glanced behind me, I saw this mass of vines, tangled and just a mess and that’s exactly how my mind felt. But then it was as if the Lord beckoned me to look closer and what I saw was these pretty purple flowers peaking through. And I knew God was showing me something special. He was showing me the beauty.
Beauty exists in the midst of the trials and pain. Sometimes the beauty is harder to see. Sometimes you have to consciously look for it but it’s there. Those pretty purple flowers are there. You just have to look for them.
There’ll be those seasons where it’s so hard to find them and it will take much more intention but they’re there. The pretty purple flowers are there. The beauty is there because life is there.
So often I let my mind become so oppressed by the vines that’s all I can see. But that’s not all I want to see.
On the days I get in a fight with my husband, I want to see the pretty purple flowers.
On the days when I get my feelings hurt by another person in ministry, I want to see the pretty purple flowers.
On the days my heart feels like it has broken into a million pieces due to disappointment, I want to see the pretty purple flowers.
On the days I am stressed and things are not going like I planned, I want to see the pretty purple flowers.
I want to see the beauty that God put here for us.
I want to pay attention to that beauty like God did when He created a simple but so detailed blade of grass. I want to see that beauty in a passing smile or even a curious look as I walk down the street.
I want to see your beauty, Lord, in all your creation.
I want to see it as I watch the ladies’ hands craft intricate baskets and jewelry. As they laugh together. And even as they cry together. I want to see it when Brenan is jumping on bed with pure childlike exuberance and even when she’s knocking on the bathroom door when I just hoped for a moment’s quiet. I want to see it in muddy roads and rainy skies. I want to remember to see the beauty when my husband worries about me riding the bus alone. I want to embrace it when he gives me an extra long hug.
The pretty purple flowers are there. Beauty is there.
Lord, help us–help me to remember to look for it and embrace it each and every day. On the good days and on the hard days. Let me see your beauty.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:26-27