We took a day off for beauty.
We climbed into the minivan for a drive on a sunny, warm-but-not-too-warm day, passing horse farms and the river, watching sunlight burst through the tops of trees.
Sitting along the edge of the beach, we tipped over buckets of moistened sand to form sand castles. Pine needles and lost feathers, bits of shell and pebbles smoothed by the waves became castle flags and decorations.
Then we walked and collected treasures washed ashore by the tide.
Children see treasures in ways we do not. I picked up unbroken shells, shiny, smooth, etched with color and patterns.
My little one picked up massive clam shells covered in barnacles and sand, murky in color and awkwardly shaped. She handed me slivers of broken shells and even tried putting fistfuls of sand in her treasure bucket.
It was beauty to her.
What is it about the seaside that brings peace to the soul? Maybe it’s the rhythm of the waves, the comfort of knowing that the wave will come and another and another, in constant motion, totally faithful, reliable, trustworthy.
And that is our God. He doesn’t wash over us and then pull back never to return again. He brings wave after wave of ever-coming, perpetual grace. The world is an uncertain teeter-totter of a place, with unexpected terrors lurking around corners and surprises that drop us to the ground.
But God—He is faithful. God—-He is always grace. God—He is ever true.
That night, we raced home to eat dinner and become beautiful: Choosing outfits, doing hair. The girls fought over bracelets. We traveled to see the Ballet Magnificat, a professional Christian ballet company.
The music began. Just instruments at first. The dancers took to the stage and one lone female voice sang,“Praise the Lord, O my soul and let all that is within me praise His name.”
One ballerina stretched her arms high in worship. Her fingers almost touched heaven she was so long and outstretched.
And I caught my breath at the total abandon in praise to a God so worthy.
That day, we took a break for beauty. We paused and lingered long with friends and we filled our souls in the deep wells of nature and dance and worship. It was like brushing against the curtain of heaven.
Our God did it on purpose, putting those first two human beings in a garden, and we long for that Eden even now. He created us for that place of intimacy in His presence surrounded by beauty. Stasi Eldredge says it here:
Beauty reminds us of an Eden we have never known, but somehow our hearts were created for.
Scripture reminds me that God is Himself beautiful:
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple
And God is a Creator of beauty:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
In Captivating, Stasi Eldredge says:
Beauty is transcendent. It is our most immediate experience of the eternal (Stasi Eldredge).
God makes all things beautiful in time—and He has set eternity itself in our hearts. We long for it, ache for the day when we see the transformation He intends, see the untainted beauty of a sinless world.
And so glimpses of beauty here and now stir our hearts for heaven, for eternal glory with Him.
In my 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, I’m breaking for beauty in the month of April, because, as Margaret Brownley writes,
Beauty puts a face on God and makes his presence known (Margaret Brownley, Grieving God’s Way).
I’m digging deep into garden soil. I’m trekking through a botanical garden. I’m watching caterpillars form that chrysalis and then climb out as butterflies. I’m listening to concerts and walking the halls of museums.
There has to be intentionality here. We can get so distracted by that tyrannical urgent, so caught up in the rush and noise of the day.
After beauty fills you up, it too often spills out and sloshes over the sides of your heart every time there is rushing, stress, tension, worry, boredom, work, monotony.
We must work hard to protect the memory and refill often by taking a break for beauty and by seeking the soul-filling glory of God’s presence.
Will you join me this month?
To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below! Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Enjoy Beauty’?
- Finding Room to Breathe: A 12-month pursuit of the presence of Christ
- January: Be Still and Know
- February: Pray Simply
- March: Unplug
- April: Enjoy Beauty
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King