Life consists of lists. Surely, we can all list our stresses. Surely, we can all list our joys.
We can offer a litany of complaints. We can offer our lips to give thanks.
Our loving God invites us to cast all our cares onto Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Truth is, our good Lord told us we’d have trials and that in our trials He’s still good. But how do the weak in flesh keep a spirit that’s willing when you’re hit hard and spun around and disoriented and whiplashed and you hardly have time to catch your breath before the next round?
Take a joy-hunting break.
I grabbed my coat and my camera and went joy-hunting. There it was! God’s glory all around me! Little things. Big things. I snapped everything that touched my heart, tickled my fancy, caused me to pause and look closely, made me step back and take in the whole panorama of His loving touch. I looked through a lens in front of my own tired eyes focused on all the current problems and losses. I walked with my God, praying for fresh perspective, to find joy in the trials.
Here’s what happened. Here’s what He showed me, reminded me . . .
Pines branches, low and heavy-laden. They will lift and warm soon, sprouting new growth. I feel myself in these boughs and I hold hope in my God.
Purple coneflower seeds strewn throughout perennial beds, feeding finches in winter, monarchs in summer with plenty left over to sprout new blooms. I see myself in these flower heads now—dry and sharp. God will continue to plant, water, grow, harvest, and feed others His goodness through these seeds–through me. All in due time.
Icicles glisten, melting in the sun. Everything changes—one beautiful form to the next. All seasons. Accept where you are. God will work in and through you. Right now. Drip by drip. And you will sparkle like diamonds as you let Him shine through you, reflecting His glory.
I give the wren a nesting place. And God gives me mine. A resting place. A home where there’s comfort and protection and an ability to be me in all my me-ness just like the wren in all her wren-ness. Come, little one! Sing your song! Settle in. You’re welcome here. Just as you are.
I will rest in this chair once again. There’s a season for everything.
Remember to taste and see that the Lord is good!
Run hard. Chase after Jesus, our Joy!
And don’t forget to stop your running around and just look around. Take time to breathe.
And then go again. Run around and jump for joy with the One who prepares your path.
And don’t be afraid to dig deep and look for wonder buried below. Seek and you will find.
Wait for the Hand that feeds you, precious ones. You’ll get exactly what you need in proper proportion in perfect time.
Let the snow tickle your nose.
When you’re down, remember always look up. God cares for the birds with berries even in the cold and harsh of winter. Surely, He will care for you. And much more.
Remember that His finger carving each curve touches the tip of your nose with delight. Delight in Him!
And when you’re frayed on your edges, you needn’t be afraid. He will raise you up where you will fly free because of the One who has set you truly free—Jesus.
Look at those trees! Don’t despise humble beginnings. Do what you can today and God will bless your efforts. See these pines? They were six-inch sticks eight years ago. Planted thousands all over the acres. God has grown a forest from just a sack of saplings. He will grow you too.
Sit and rock and soak up the sun. Might need a few more layers now. But remember, warmer days are coming. Keep your sure hope in the One who hold the sun.
See how it goes? In twenty minutes of looking through a new lens, there’s new hope. New joy. New thanks.
Ask. Seek. Receive.
And always, always give thanks.
Every fingerprint of the Divine reveals we’re never alone. Never left. Never forsaken.
We can play and jump. We can lean into His chest and rest, feeling each warm and loving beat of blessed assurance that we are His and we are loved. Completely and forever. Just as we are. No matter where we are, in times of plenty and in times of need.
The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. Isaiah 30:18