Introduction ~ Awakening to Beauty in Our Midst

Introduction

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
Mark 12:30

On a beautiful April morning in 1999, my life changed forever.  As I drove along a scenic country road heading towards the interstate, an oncoming car turned left in front of me.  The accident totaled my car; thankfully it did not harm my four-year-old daughter.  As for me, I had quite a few injuries which led to knee surgery, shoulder surgery, TMJ, and pain, unlike anything I had experienced in my life prior.

Scenic country road (c)
Conventional medicine lacked in some areas which made the misery even more unbearable.  Finding alternative ways to allow my body to heal and calm the pain became my purpose.  Through massage therapy, essential oils, and prayer, a journey began.

In 1999 the internet was young, but it still offered some valuable insight.  Somewhere, I read that being creative or artistic can reduce pain by giving your mind something else to think on.  In my case, this proved to be true.  As I created a 8 ½ X 11 baby scrapbook, joy began flickering within my soul.  Unbeknownst to me, each day these creative projects fostered new connections within my brain, allowing growth and new ways of thinking. {1} As I crafted the pages I began to focus on the blessings of life instead of just the heartaches.  It was peaceful therapy and a gift from the Lord I didn’t ask for specifically.  He quietly led the way and answered a prayer for help.

Lilacs Dark Purple (c)

In these moments, I began to awaken…

Only two years earlier, I had asked Jesus to forgive my sins as I placed my life into His hands.  When I was a child, going church or loving the Lord was not the focus in our home.  I did, however, believe there was a God.  My husband and I married in a Catholic church, and that was the extent of my faith.  Up until the point when I gave my life to Jesus, I always felt God was a distant, all-powerful, all-knowing Oz, so-to-speak.

As I began to live my life for Jesus, childhood memories of my sweet Grandmother praying and sharing God’s love with me sparked.  Due to my parents’ divorce, those influences weren’t a part of my life for ten years.  Yet, I know over those years, she continued to pray.  Her planted seeds eventually helped me to remember this precious time from my youth. I wanted to know more about our Savior.

Over the past nineteen years, pain and strife have certainly tried to take hold of my life.  A debilitating fall left me with chronic back pain, a hip injury, and an injury to each knee.  The hip and knee injuries required surgery.  Type I Diabetes, Gastroparesis, Hypothyroid, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Leaky Gut Syndrome, a recent hysterectomy, and many food allergies try to steal any form of beauty from my consciousness.

My husband has endured multiple hospital stays for a blood clotting disorder, as well as brain surgery to eliminate the horrific pain from Trigeminal Neuralgia.  It went into remission for six and a half years and has now come back.

How and where does one find beauty in all of this?

Imagine strolling along a garden path when all of a sudden you round the corner and you’re in the middle of an immense lilac garden.  The fragrance of heaven and the infinite amount of blooms takes your breath away, true story.  It’s in these moments that I have no doubt God is offering a glimpse of His love through beauty.

Lilac Garden Bench PP Awakening (c)

Looking back, I can see where God has revealed insight and beauty into my life every step of the way.  While living through these trials and struggling to make some sense of it all, it’s difficult to focus.  In recent years, I strive to seek Jesus, trust God, and allow the Spirit to lead me into peace and beauty.

“Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around.”  2 Kings 6:17

Elisha prayed for his servant to be able to open his eyes in the midst of the battle and see God’s glory coming to the rescue in a time of great need.

That morning of the car accident, as I laid on the backboard in the ambulance, my scared four-year-old clinched a stuffed monkey given to her by a fireman.  As Daddy drove up and came to our little girl’s rescue, I will never forget the sheer joy in her eyes and the squeal of delight.
Can we, as God’s children, have these same moments of adoration in our lives, simply by opening our eyes?  What if we then responded to this amazing beauty and grace? To embrace this conscious connection with God is how we awaken to the authentically beautiful life.

On the following pages/posts, I share mini-memoirs of trials, faith, and God’s goodness in the midst of everyday life.  This journey, this awakening, never really ends, and I’m humbled and thankful for that truth.  As we continually live out the instruction to love Him, we must always seek Him and delight in His Glory, even in the hard times, especially in the hard times. In doing so, He alters our paths into glimpses of Glory.

Prayer

Father, I come to you today with a heart full of so many issues and blessings.  Please help me to seek you and to love you with all of my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength.  Your word states this is your greatest command for me.

May I begin to notice you even in the smallest fragments of beauty and grace in my life.  May my heart overflow with love for you as we grow in communion together.  I pray my mind will be renewed with your truth and perfect will for my life.  In my weakness you are strong.  I pray for your love and strength to fill my life and help me overcome and conquer whatever obstacles may appear.  Please help me to remain focused on you, God, and the beauty in my midst.  Amen.

{1}{http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-real-neuroscience-of-creativity/}  Scott Barry Kaufman © 2013

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I am starting a new Facebook group titled the She Breathes Hope Cafe.  It’s a community of creatives with a heart for Jesus, it’s that simple.  If you love to create anything, a meal, a gift, clothing, stained glass, a painting, an organized home, I would love to have you.  The group will have special content and promotions for members only, so be sure to join in the fun!

 

  • Tragedy certainly gives perspective. Thanks for sharing your “eyes” to inspire others to see God’s hand in the details of life.

    • Thank you, Lori. If it is one thing I have learned, He is always there. <3

  • Beautifully written and so inspirational! Loved it!

    • Thank you, Vera! Your encouragement is a beautiful blessing!

  • Much needed encouragement as I fight my battle with pain from multiple misunderstood sources. Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Norma, Continue to search and listen to your body. There are answers out there. Praying for you. My next post in this series deals with this exact issue. Thank you.

  • we’ve got to get to where we notice the Lord in the “fragments” of grace. We often overlook Him.

    • So very true! Thank you!

    • Thank you, Vanessa. Meeting and encouraging others who have experienced a similar journey is why I do this. Happy you’re here!

  • The richest beauty in any crisis is always the presence of our Savior, isn’t it? How good He is to grant such a gift! Thank you for sharing with us at Grace & Truth!

    • Thank you for visiting. 🙂 Grace & Truth is a beautiful link up. I agree with you completely. His love is the greatest gift.

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