Beauty in Unexpected Places

7 05 2010

The other day I was taking a walk and saw an unusual sight. A flower, in full bloom, was growing in the storm drain by the side of the road. It was purple and lush green set against a backdrop of grey concrete and darkness. I did a double take. There in a place with little sunlight, prone to rushing waters during a rainstorm, and dry stretches in between, was a flower. In this unlikely spot, beauty took a chance and grew.

Beauty is one of God’s fingerprints. Sometimes we see beauty in grand vistas – the tall mountains, the sandy dunes, or the crystal clear waters. Sometimes beauty is hidden in unexpected places. The same is true of people’s hearts. Some of the most profound beauty is found in those whose lives make growing beauty difficult. Despite our society’s obsession to the contrary, true beauty is not defined by genetics, body type, or fashion magazines. Beauty is a choice. It is a move of the heart. True beauty is found in a life that has been touched by God.

Think of someone you know who is truly beautiful. You know, the kind of beauty that flows from the inside-out. The color of their hair or the shape of their eyes doesn’t matter nearly as much as what you see in their heart. A life that radiates the beauty of Jesus is irresistible. Seeing God in the eyes of another is stunning. When someone is full of the Spirit, it catches our breath.

My Jesus Resolution today is to keep my eyes open for true beauty. I am not going to let myself be defined by the world’s standards. I am going to look for His beauty in unexpected places – a person some might overlook, a place where beauty might not be obvious, a time or circumstance that is less than ideal, even the mirror. God plants His beauty in unexpected places. Where will you see His beauty today?


5 05 2010

It’s spring time! Flowers are blooming, trees are budding, the sun is shining, and everybody seems to be smiling. Everyday I can walk outside and see something fresh and new. Yards are starting to take shape after a long, cold winter. Lawn mowers are humming, birds are singing, and the bright colors of spring are replacing the blahs of winter.

Spring is a season that celebrates growth. Trees inch upward. Bushes go from bare branches to full bloom in just a few days. The grass turns green and gets taller. Even my kids seem to be bigger. And we rejoice in the growth. After a season of cold, wet, dark days, the warmth of the sun renews us and the new life bursting everywhere we look inspires us.

Growth, however, is not just measured by blossoms, lawn mowers, and rulers. God intends for us to check growth in the mirror. It is important to pause and check how my heart is growing in Him. Do I look more like Jesus today than I did a year ago? How are the fruits of the spirit developing in my life? Can I see evidence of God’s transforming power taking shape in me? Am I more loving, more aware of His presence, more sensitive to His will, and more servant-hearted than ever before?

Growth is a sign of health. In 2 Peter 3:18, Peter tells us to “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

My Jesus Resolution today is to look in the mirror of God’s heart and check what is growing in my heart. Holding up the standard of Jesus, I want to see if I have grown in Him. Can I see Him more clearly in my words and actions? The good news, whether I have grown a little or a lot, is that today is a new day. The beginning of spring, if you will. A time for fresh starts, new beginnings, and vibrant growth in Him.

Because You’re Mine

3 05 2010

I am proud of my kids. They are becoming the neatest people. Each one celebrated an accomplishment this week that was worthy of bringing out the “You’re Special” plate at the dinner table. We cheered, high-fived, marked the reaching of milestones, and talked about the remarkable ways God is working in each of their lives. It has been a neat week.

My pride in my kids overflows when I watch the people they are choosing to become. They have Jesus on their hearts. I hear His voice in their words. I get to see their servant hearts and stand in wonder. But the reason I am proud of my kids is not primarily rooted in what they do. I am proud of them for who they are.

I wrapped my arms around my oldest son today and told him I was proud of him. “Do you know why?” I asked. “Why?” he said. “Because you’re mine,” I told him.

God is proud of you. He loves who you are becoming in Him. Jesus is taking shape in your life. He delights in the way you fold your hands in prayer, open your Bible with a heart ready to meet Him, and keep a lookout for the all the ways He is present in your day. But God’s delight in you is not measured primarily by your performance. He is proud of you because you belong to Him. Relationship is what connects your heart to His. You are His child. And that is enough.

My Jesus Resolution today is to delight in the delight of My Father. He loves me. Not because of what I do, but because I am His. Obedience, surrender, submission, and service are a part of my heart. They teach me about Him. They shape me to be more like Jesus. But doing more, working harder, or digging deeper won’t make Him love me more. God says the same thing to me that I say to my child, “I am proud of you because you are mine.”