I went for a walk this morning. It was beautiful. Sunny. Crisp.
I walked past a little stream and began to silently thank God for the unexpected gurgle. But as the words came out, I noticed a styrofoam cup, a shopping bag, wadded up newspaper. Huh.
I walked past a house with festive decorations and started to smile. Then I saw that instead of taking down their fall decor, they had left the pumpkins and just added lights to the mix. Classy, I thought. The next house had three angels with lights strung around their necks, choking them. To top it off, the owner had put fake garland around them. I wondered why she didn’t use the beautiful branches from her pine tree a few feet away. I mean, really?
And then it hit me that my criticism was suffocating me even in the fresh air.
Joy is something that I have to choose. Grace is something I can find in this desert too.
And so, I took another deep breath. I began to thank God for the people who lived in each house I passed. I prayed for the hurt in their lives. I prayed that the love of Christ would be real to them. And I thanked Him for beauty that surrounding me in unexpected ways.
Lately when I’ve read the Bible I’ve had such a hard time focusing. I find it much too easy to let the day slip by without sitting down and spending time with God. And when I do take the time? It seems mundane. Uneventful. Flat. Sometimes I just can’t wrap my mind around His Words.
My heart seems to be suffocating. One day I don’t get any fresh air at all. The next day I get the fresh air of His Word, and yet I spend my time too anxious to get on to the next thing on the list.
The rest of the day I find myself still mulling over the trash in the creek, the gaudy decorations, my resistance to stop and receive His grace. Ugh! What is wrong with me?
In that moment, I look up.
And my eyes begin to see– to really see.
I look around my house and notice pictures from Kate. Little notes of love from her to me, with the sun hitting them in just the right places.
I hear a whisper, “Even in this place, I love you. I created you. I am with you. Breathe My joy deeply and let Me fill you. Grab your tambourine and resume your singing.”
And I do.