When I'm willing to be transparent, a beautiful life has escaped me for most of my years. Like many,I've had seasons of bitterness, loss, arrogance, anger, and foolishness. And sometimes, if I was paying enough attention, I had brief moments of understanding, grasping that in the mix was also joy, love, beauty, and goodness. Shamefully, I dismissed many of those precious glimpses as aberrations and consistently measured my life as half empty and steadily my heart grew cold.
And then, in the most unlikely way and at an unlikely time, God's Holy Spirit grabbed hold of that stone and breathed into me the warm breath of life, joy, beauty, blessing, and gratitude. Awash in grace I was led again and again to scriptures, songs, people, books, and blogs that helped to quicken tender new shoots and in time nourishing growth took over my shrunken spirit.
Many years ago I marveled at another woman who seemed much like me, at least we shared similar roles. She blogged, I read, and God undid me. Words, pictures, humility-these drew me in, but gratitude kept me coming back. She practiced gratitude. Daily writing, doodling, capturing, grasping at thanksgivings that seemed unlikely and fleeting she encouraged making practical the pursuit of gifts.
And I followed. Scratching out in seasons of plenty and in dark days of suffering, my list grows. Beauty marks my days and life is good.
-eggs a plenty
-sons and daughters who serve others well, are hard workers,and love and respect their dad
-freedom to worship as my husband and I choose at a church rich in biblical teaching and community
-an invitation to sing with the worship musicians on Sunday mornings
-a brief but welcome mid week getaway with the children to rest and rediscover Lake Michigan
-deep, growling (almost) lower register tones on a new grand piano
-the love of a Savior- vast, unmeasured, free.
-this. a beautiful handwritten gift of heart words in my real mailbox on Saturday.
-hardworking weekend farmer husband who leads with his labor
Growing, the list multiplies, beauty layers on, I look for it, God reveals, and contentment is the ongoing gift.