Beauty often hides in the strangest places. It surprises you, slipping in through a mist of cloudy darkness. How many times do I miss it? How many times have I wrapped myself up tight, focused only on my heart and my pain and me, me, me… and missed the grace of a loving God who redeems the ugliness of life?
I’ve been silent on this blog lately because I really thought there was nothing good to write about. We have faced hardship in almost every single area of our lives, and don’t I write enough about pain? Even I am getting a bit tired of it, as I’m sure the rest of the world is.
But then the Lord convicted me. “You aren’t looking at the right places,” He whispered, “if you stare at your own heart for long enough, you’ll be overcome. Stop looking at you and start looking at Me.”
Oh, God, forgive me.
Before this year even began, God told me that He was going to teach me to find delight.
Delight: enjoyment, pleasure, happiness, joy, gladness, enchantment
I’ll be honest, I haven’t done so well. I’ve stared too hard at myself and held too hard to my sorrow and nearly been defeated with fear. Only a month has passed since the calendar switched to 2014, and I’ve rocked back and forth through the night hours, sleep staying out of reach as my mind and my thoughts have consumed me.
I’ve been wounded and I’ve wanted to lash out, to tear apart people with my tongue, to pour anger and frustration onto those who have hurt me. The ugly poison of my heart has been so near the surface, it has scared me silly.
My flesh is so full of bitter ugliness.
But God is so full of beautiful grace.
And when I listen— when I look past me— it’s amazing what appears.
Beauty often shows up in the strangest places.
- It slipped into the night when, in desperateness, I forced my mind to start quoting Bible verses. I fell asleep somewhere in the middle of Psalms. It was enchanting. A peaceful sweetness that rested more than just my body, but my heart. It was God, present. Glory.
- It arrived the morning when I sent the text to a friend, telling her of my hurt, and she and her husband appeared on our doorstep. Arms open, willing to cry with us, willing to ache for the loss I was forced to taste. It was deep joy. The way they shared our pain and spoke life into what felt like a sentence of death. It was God, present. Glory.
- It appeared the afternoon when another friend showed up on my doorstep with a bouquet of beautiful flowers and spoke blessings over my husband and me, our home, our ministry, our hearts. It breathed gladness. Filled my heart up full with love. It was God, present. Glory.
- It surprised me in a prophecy of hope. It poured in through the laughter of a little boy and his love for my husband and the “big truck” that he drives. It danced from heart-wrenching prayer times, which left me shaking with awe at the glory of God. Enjoyment. Pleasure. Happiness. It was God, present. Glory.
And the lesson I’ve learned?
Tasting the delight of the Father has nothing to do with experiencing delightful circumstances. It has everything to do with turning your head sharply away from your flesh. The heart of man is desperately wicked, but the glory of God? It leaks into every aspect of life, and His grace brings delight to the most difficult places.
And when I look at Him? When I delight? What pours from my heart is beauty instead of poison.
I haven’t learned it all yet. But I am learning.
Thank goodness for a patient and loving Teacher.
What about you? Have you learned the art of delighting, even in the midst of difficulty?