January 15, 2013

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Yesterday I decided to participate in Margaret Feinberg's 21 Days of Wonder Challenge. For most people that would be no big deal but since I haven't been feeling well or spending much time online it was actually a big commitment.

Why the Wonderstruck challenge?

It all started when I read a sampling of Margaret's latest book Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God. Something about this book got to me. I have not received my copy to finish reading it but so far this is what I can say. It made me realized that the trials of life, which have loomed large lately, have in many ways hindered me from sensing God's presence in my life.

I don't want that to continue.

So I decided to spend the next 21 days really looking for God in small and big ways. I'd already begun to pay more attention then I had in quite sometime since reading the sample. As a result, I've snapped some pictures of beautifully colored clouds. Stood and listened to the symphony of birds singing in our backyard. You get the point. I'm becoming more aware of God.

But I want much more.

So yesterday I created this graphic from a picture that I took this fall. It is my prayer as I begin this challenge which is more like a season in my life since my word for 2013 is "wonder." Thank you, Margaret. I've got hundreds of days to travel on this path to increased awareness of the nearness of God. I'm anxious as to what it all means for my life.

Which is why it seems strange that I almost quit this challenge on the very first day.

I awoke to the sound of rain beating against the window. The weather report was/is not good. There are predictions of an ice storm heading our way. Ice is never fun to drive on and both of my guys (husband and son) are out in the elements. It is an ugly day and my mood has been dampened by all of the rain.

Today's challenge was to capture something beautiful with the lens of a camera. I sighed when I first read it. It really seemed more like a chore. But determined to try I spent much of the day looking. This afternoon I was hoping that a bird would come out to hunt worms. It appears that it's even too cold for them. Ha!

What wonder could I possibly find in this dreary day that is worth sharing?

I'd all but given up after scanning my surroundings countless times. Then, late this afternoon, I spied the weeping cherry tree in our yard. It is bare and ugly during this season. Gnarly would be a fitting word. Yet, as I stood staring I noticed the way that the raindrops were sitting on the branches. It was then that I grabbed my camera.

Something about them struck a chord in me.

About that time a dialogue began in my mind about how amazing it is that God allows rain to fall from the sky. How this planet would be inhabitable without it. How we would miss out on the beauty of so many things if we didn't experience the dormancy of winter. The latent phases bring strength to the roots of the trees and plants.

And the rain keeps them alive and prepares them to bloom in season.

Suddenly my mood improved and I began to see this day differently as I pondered the provision of God regarding things that we often take for granted or even complain about. Oh me.

Someone once said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Today I have found that to be true. This photo won't be beautiful to anyone else but it reminds me of the God's faithfulness to me. That is beautiful, indeed.

"You give abundant showers, O God; you refresh your weary inheritance." Ps 68:9


Nj Stevenson EbbysTouch said...

Beautiful imagery and very beautiful expression of the heart

jasonS said...

I love how God changes our perspective when we turn things over to Him and surrender to seeing Him in the midst of everything. What a great reminder, Melinda. Thanks.

floyd said...

Finding the hand of God doesn't take long when we look with a heavenly perspective. In the dreary days we can still find His wonderful hand and He can use the dreary days to find our creative voice to call unto Him. I'd say you did that very well here today. Thanks to Jason for linking this up!

melindalancaster said...

Thanks, Nanny. 

melindalancaster said...

It is something that I definitely need to do more often. Thanks for stopping by, Jason. And thanks for adding me to your Friday list. 

melindalancaster said...

Thanks for stopping by, Floyd. God bless you!

Margaret Feinberg said...

Melinda, thrilled you are joining us for the 21 Days of Wonder challenge!

Marie @spreadingJOY said...

so many wonderful things out there...we just get wrapped up in all the huge things - that we forget the amazingness of the ordinary joy that swirls all about us each day!  This post made me smile!! thank you for that! 

melindalancaster said...

Thanks for stopping by. Bless you, Marie.

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