This week’s devotional is taken from Girlfriends in God contributor Gwen Smith. I hope you read and enjoy.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2a, NIV)
Friend to Friend
A few years ago I was invited to speak and sing in Tennessee at a women’s event and, to my delight, my daughter Kennedy was able to join me. The two of us are all about “mommy-daughter time” so we were giddy with happy as we started off on the three and a half hour drive.
Prior to the trip, I had given Kennedy permission to use my iPad to watch a movie. So once we hit the highway, she got cozy with her pillow, her headphones went on, and her attention became fixed on the rectangular screen in front of her. Random giggles floated in the air from the movie-watcher as I drove and prayed through the talk that I was to give later that afternoon.
It was the first week of November, and in the Tarheel state that’s primetime for fall tree color. Just off the Northern parts of the Carolina highway – past the congestion of traffic and the hullaballoo of the suburbs – I was freshly smitten by the splendor of God through traces of red, yellow, orange, and brown leaves that were dancing in the breeze under brilliant blue skies. The trees continued to boast of more and more glory as I neared Virginia… and then they were joined by the mountains. Oh, the mountains! They puffed their chests with the majesty of color and power! My heart was captured by the glory of it all, so I tapped Kennedy and pointed out the window, encouraging her to look around… to lift her eyes and soak in the wonder.
“Don’t miss the beautiful…” I urged.
“Don’t miss the beautiful!”
She paused her movie and joined the beauty moment, agreeing that God was indeed showing off with His creation. Minutes later, she went back to watching her movie as I drove on undone. Wrung out by glory. Overwhelmed by the sacred sanctuary I’d stumbled upon. I stayed in the moment and celebrated the beautiful as the psalmist did in Psalm 96:
1 Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
Worship poured from my heart. I thanked God for the beauty show. As praise and adoration continued to rise, a God-thought settled on my heart. Tell them, Gwen.
“Tell them what, Lord?” I wondered.
Tell the women what you told Kennedy. Tell them not to miss the beautiful.
Ahhhh, yes! I would tell them, and I would chew on that challenge for days to come. Convicted by questions like: How often do I drive right through the busyness of my days and miss the beautiful? How many moments of glory do I not even see because my eyes are on the mundane? Do I even look for it?
As we head into this busy holiday season and dance between the days of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years – as we decorate the doors and the hearths of our homes and communities, let’s be intentional to decorate the doors and the hearths of our hearts with ribbons of God’s grace.
Let’s live with eyes lifted to the Gift of gifts, Jesus Christ.
When we face the stresses of our lists, and our tasks, and our activities, and our heart burdens, let’s commit to remembering that the best present is His presence. He’s our Hope, our Peace, our Joy… our Beautiful.
Don’t miss the beautiful.
Dear Lord, You are glorious and worthy of all praise! Please help me to fix my eyes on You each day so I can walk in your hope, peace, joy, and beauty.
In Jesus’s name, amen.