Tag Archive | beauty

Searching for Beauty

walk.dark.light

What can you do when darkness has shrouded your heart? In the secret places of your mind, are you groping in the dark? Are you squinting to find even a glimmer of hope? Are you straining your eyes to spot a flicker that will illuminate the way out? Are you afraid to admit that your life feels black?

Your child’s struggles with mental illness (MI) may not have ended. It may seem like the light of your life has gone out. Leaving a cloud of doom hovering over your home.

I can assure you from experience that life isn’t always as black as it seems. In the midst of my darkest hours, God’s love and faithfulness shined brightest.

Scratch art symbolizes buried beauty. Young children delight in discovering bright colors hidden beneath black. Similarly, you will delight in discovering God’s light in your darkness. It’s truly there.

Colors are revealed most vibrantly against a dark backdrop. Like a sunset glowing in the night sky. Or a diamond presented on black velvet. Sometimes, you just have to look closely. Like in a microscope.

Those who search for beauty in a microscope find treasures not visible to the naked eye. Dr. Fernan Federici is a perfect example. His microscopic images of plants, bacteria, and crystals reveal hidden masterpieces—created by the Master.

microscp.flourescnt.proteins

That same Master invites us to look into His Word to examine His love. A closer study of the scriptures reveals a treasure trove of Truth. Like the power of a King and the faithfulness of a Friend.

Zoom in on 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4a to spot a tiny, yet encouraging word.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles …”

Did you find it? “ALL” We have access to a loving Father who is the God of ALL comfort. He comforts us in ALL our troubles. How does He do that? By easing our anxieties. Think about each burden you’re bearing and envision God removing them from your shoulders.

Now zoom in on Isaiah 9:2 for a powerful and assuring Truth.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”

Did you find it? “IN” We will find Christ, “the light of the worldIN the midst of our dark times. How does He do that? By making His presence known when we’re going through turmoil. Consider the current struggle you’re experiencing and imagine Christ walking beside you, holding your hand.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners …to comfort all who mourn … to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61: 1-3).

That same Lord wants to bind up your broken heart, to proclaim freedom for you from the darkness of MI, and to comfort you. He wants to replace your ashes of sorrow with a ‘crown of beauty.’ To transform your mourning into joy. To turn your despair into praise.

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What’s beautiful?

Multnomah Falls Boulder

Multnomah Falls Boulder

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

“Get a picture of that boulder!” interrupted my husband. The excitement in his voice yanked my attention away from the breathtaking waterfall. I matched my gaze in the direction of his eyes, expecting to find a thing of beauty. Nothing in that direction moved me. We entered into a sort of I Spy game.

“Which boulder? Where is it?” I inquired.

“To the right of that big tree,” he directed.

The hunt went on for quite a while. Part of the problem: what he found beautiful looked like a huge rock to me. I finally realized which boulder took his breath away.

Beauty certainly IS in the eye of the beholder!

I kept my opinion to myself and snapped the picture.

What do you find refrigerator-worthy? My aunt places snapshots of sunsets on her frig.

Most parents display their children’s school work. Like me. Years ago, Chris’ test papers decorated our kitchen. Learning came easy to him, so he earned a multitude of A’s. Each one found a place of prominence on the refrigerator.

Then one day Chris got a low grade. Mostly for not following directions. He presented the paper to me in tears.

“Why are you crying?” I asked.

“I’m afraid you’re not gonna love me anymore.”

“Oh, Chris. NOTHING will ever change my love for you. Nothing.”

Chris mistakenly interpreted my pleasure in academic excellence as a measure of my love. I assured him of my love. But his comment made me rethink which papers were refrigerator-worthy. Only the ones which demonstrated great effort were awarded a spot with the comment, “I love you because of who you are. Let’s celebrate your effort.”

How ‘bout your parenting? Do you feel it wouldn’t qualify for a place on a refrigerator? Are you hard on yourself? Is your child’s mental illness (MI) making you feel like a failure? Do friends, relatives, and educators feed your personal assessment? By judging you on your child’s behavior? You’re probably not alone. Many of us focus on our child’s performance rather than our own effort. No wonder we feel unworthy of joining the refrigerator representatives of success.

Do you think there’s nothing beautiful in how you manage your child who has MI? Shift your criteria from what you can’t control to what’s within your ability to demonstrate. You’ll find beauty in your endless effort, unconditional love, and heartfelt prayers.

Celebrate the impact you have in your home. You light a dark mood with your joy. Turmoil that invades your home can’t rob you of God’s peace. When MI causes conflict between family members, you appeal to the One who can intervene. Trusting the Mediator, who reconciled mankind to God through His death, to heal relationships.

Outsiders define good parenting by what they see. Without knowing the challenges you face. Thankfully, the Bible challenges us to be God-pleasers rather than man-pleasers (Galatians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:4). Align your definition of beauty with the biblical definition. What pleases our heavenly Father?

“For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory (Psalm 149:4).”

He loves you for who you are. You’re a child of the King. Amazing!

“…The prayer of the upright pleases him (Proverbs 15:8).”

Your prayers delight Him. Imagine that.

“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love (Psalm 147:11).”

In spite of insurmountable trials, you maintain your hope in Him.

What’s beautiful to God? You are.

What’s beautiful about God?  He’s patient and longsuffering. He’s accessible. He’s on the throne. He’s never changing. He gave His only Son to die for our sins. He sent the Holy Spirit to live within us.

There’s undeniable beauty in God’s power displayed in creation. We find beauty in His Word and promises. We experience it in His sovereignty and power. We depend on His abundant hope and perfect peace. And rest in His unconditional love and faithfulness.

We anticipate the ultimate beauty: His promise of heaven where there will be no more MI or tears.

Reflect on the beauty of God as you listen to Phil Wickham’s song ‘You’re Beautiful.’  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfhb0_tmrbc