What I Saw When I Took the Time to See

This month I’ve learned some things are worth the stopping…

and the pausing….

and the braking and the breaking….

so I can worship the Beautiful One who made such beauty.

I read in the Our Daily Bread Devotional Bible about this botanical garden on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and a plaque there:

“Enter, friends, and view God’s pleasant handiwork, the embroidery of earth.”

So He does embroider this beauty, His handiwork: Handmade, God-stitched, beloved creation that glorifies its Creator.

I have dropped my armload of worldly goods right on the ground to take a picture of a butterfly.

butterflyingarden

I have pulled my minivan over to snap a picture of the sunset.

sunset

I have walked with eyes wide open.

walks1 walks2

I have listened to the symphony and strolled through the gardens.

purple tulips

cw gardens

I have dug in the dirt of my own little plot.

mint

And I have watched these butterflies emerge from the chrysalis and then fly free.

butterflies

Have you been on this quest for beauty, too?  And have you found what I have found?

For God is sheer beauty,
    all-generous in love,
    loyal always and ever 
(Psalm 100:5 MSG).

And have You worshiped in response and isn’t worship the only response when You’re seeking His Presence and You see these glimpses of His beauty in the beauty He has made?

I sing:

You are all my heart longs for
The treasure and the hunger
I’ve tasted and I must have more
Of Your Presence, God

You call me deeper than before
I’m falling further into You God
You are just so beautiful
I love Your Presence, God
(Presence, by Kathryn Scott)

and I sing…

The fullness of Your grace is here with me
The richness of Your beauty’s all I see
The brightness of Your glory has arrived
In Your presence God I’m completely satisfied
(Divine Romance by Phil Wickham)

I posted these pictures all month long on my Facebook page as I took breaks for beauty.  Did you miss them?  You can follow my Facebook page here so you don’t miss out again!

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’?

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

Weekend Walk: A Messy Unraveling and a Thanksgiving Verse

We had made a mess.

So far, my daughter’s work at sewing class had impressed me.  She was getting into the groove of things: set the needle, angle the cloth, put down the foot, press the pedal, sew forward, backward and forward again, always guiding the material with her hands without getting her fingers sewn.

That’s a lot for me to remember, much less my six-year-old!

She was proud of her work and I was proud of her concentration and focus.  We’re learning, though, mostly together.  I’m probably not much more expert than she is.  So mistakes are inevitable.

During one of our rows of stitching, she slammed her foot down on the pedal like she was racing in Nascar without setting the needle and without clamping down the material.

We didn’t realize the extent of the disaster at first.  I just stopped her and we started the row over, correctly this time.  But when we lifted the finished row of material off the machine and flipped it over we saw a tangled, unraveling mess of string and knots where a row of straight and even stitches could be.

Sometimes mistakes and mess are like that, hidden underneath the surface.  We look like we have it all together and are happy and whole.

But we’re really unraveling.

And we can only hold it together so long before it all comes apart.

This Thanksgiving week, I’m thankful for mentors and teachers who can teach you how to get it right and what to do when you get it wrong.

But I’m also thankful for grace and fresh starts, for the fact that sometimes God lets us rip out the stitches, reset the material and start again.

I’m thankful that He never leaves us in an unraveling mess.  He’s always stitching us back together, with care and attention.

Our God is full of faithfulness, abundant in mercy and worthy of our praise, and our verse to meditate on all this Thanksgiving week is a reminder of that.

Psalm 100: A Psalm of Thanksgiving

 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

I Don’t Know

I remember the day when I walked among the stacks of books for the first time.

It wasn’t my first time in a library, of course.  I was “a regular” at our local public library.  As a teen, I had logged volunteer hours shelving the books in the children’s department and had become a mini-expert.  I knew exactly how much space we needed for our Berenstain Bears collection and for the rows of Dr. Seuss.

Eventually, I graduated to having my own back room in the library where seasonal books were kept in storage to be rotated out through the year.  It was my own personal responsibility to put away Christmas and pull out the books for New Year’s Day.

Yes, by the time I graduated from high school, the library was a comfortable place that I could navigate with ease.  I had long since exhausted the classics aisle, toting books home every time I clocked out of a volunteering session.

Then there was the day I strolled into the Undergraduate Library at the University of Maryland (UM) for the first time.  (Yes, Undergraduate Library, as opposed to the Graduate Library, the Art Library, the Music Library and others.)

Everything about UM was overwhelming.  There were as many students on the college roll as there are people in the county where I now live.  The buildings shot up floors upon floors and I had to ride a shuttle bus to the center of campus and still hike 15 minutes to my first class of the day.

I had a panic attack the first time I ate lunch in the dining hall during the noon rush.

Considering how large everything was, I should have been prepared for the size of the library.  I wasn’t.  I walked in and sucked in my breath.

I had one thought. Just one.

“I don’t know anything.”

(For those parents of teens who believe they know everything, let me encourage you.  A trip to a university library might be in order.)

You just can’t stand there surrounded by multiple floors of huge volumes and endless aisles of more books than you thought any author ever published and then books about those books, and books about the books about the books and think, “I know everything.”

Instead, you have the concrete physical proof that of all there is to know in the world, you actually know very little.

Sometimes life has its way of humbling you in the same way.  You may think you have a good grasp on God’s character and an intimate knowledge of His Word.  You may think you’re savvy to the ways of the world and an expert on life.

Yet, at some point you have to admit, “I don’t know.”

I don’t know why this happened this way.  I don’t know what God is doing.  I don’t know what the next step is or what’s in the future.  I don’t know how to help her or guide him.  I don’t know how to be the best wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend.

Maybe that’s when we’re closest to getting it right anyway.  Admitting that we don’t know allows us to trust God for the answers.  Humbly confessing our limited understanding frees us from slavery to independence so we can freely depend on our all-knowing God.

As Job sat among his friends listening to them debate philosophical questions of righteousness and God and sin and punishment, he must have realized the limits of human understanding.  It was simply inexplicable why God allowed his kids to die, his property destroyed, and his own body ravaged by painful disease.

And that was a better answer to the crisis than giving speeches from a makeshift podium and sounding like you had God all figured out and jammed into a manageable box.

At least that’s what God said. When He spoke, He pelted Job with questions:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”
“Who determined its measurements?”
“Who set the limits of the sea?”
“Have you decided when morning should begin and told the sun when to rise?”
“Have you seen the bottom of the ocean?”
“Do you know where light and dark begin and end?”  (Job 38).

What can we say other than, “I don’t know?”

That doesn’t mean we don’t study God and pray to know His ways.  We delve deep in His Word and ask Him for wisdom and understanding.
But at the end of each day, we keep it all in perspective.  No matter how much we know, we don’t really know.  We cannot begin to understand as God understands.
Ultimately, the one truth we need is:
“Know that the Lord, he is God!  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3 ESV).
We don’t know; but we know God does.  That is enough.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.