When You Go Looking for Beauty

I remember the day I first felt the ache. The insatiable longing to see beauty, to gaze upon it. To savor it. To be near it. I was just a young girl still, and we had moved into our house in town. Before then, we had lived down this dusty road. There was a river in our backyard and this big wooded field across the dirt road from our front yard and I had fallen in love with woods and fields and dirt and a flowing river.

There my soul had room to breathe and most of my days were spent outside looking for caterpillars and digging up blooming weeds from the yard and planting them in my “garden”. I was a strange girl. Didn’t quite fit in with the girls at school who were perming their hair and shaving their legs. I just wanted to be outside with the wind and the sky and all the living things.

So, as you can imagine, moving to town rocked my world. My journal posts during that time are painfully pitiful. You’d think the end of the world had come. I remember standing out in the yard and realizing for the first time that I was hemmed in on all sides by houses. I felt a bit claustrophobic. Soon after that, my mom found me quietly gazing out my bedroom window with tears streaming down my eyes. I was not unlike Anne of Green Gables who had settled into the depths of despair. When she asked me what was wrong, I had told her my plight. I couldn’t see the mountains. I had gone to every window in the house and with a heart quite broken, I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. No green hills off in the distance. Just my neighbor’s house. And if I wanted, I could peer right through their windows. I hated that. I really hated that.

That whole first year was hard for me. I kept thinking that beauty was somewhere else and that I was stuck where I didn’t belong. I moped around all forlorn-like, and if you asked me how I was, I probably would have muttered that I was lost and without hope in the world.

But, looking back, I see now that that’s when it all began.  A quest to find beauty wherever I am. And since then, I’ve learned a thing or two about this beauty-hunt. I’ve learned that God Himself put that ache in my deep down heart. And that all along, the search for beauty was meant to lead me straight to Him. To Beauty Himself.

As God taught me to find beauty there, in a yard right in the middle of town, He showed me that in the day to day ordinary, when I search for beauty and find it, what I’m really catching a glimpse of is Emmanuel. The God who is here with us.

I suppose so long as I’ve got this breath in my lungs and this ache in my chest, I’ll remain a beauty-hunter. A God-seeker. And with my life I can testify to this–it’s His Presence here with us that remedies a broken and lost heart.

The book project is slowly growing like a watered seed! Would so appreciate prayers if you think of it. So far, I think we’ve narrowed it down to a theme. The title might go something like this: “Finding God at the Kitchen Sink: The Hunt for Grace in the Daily Grime of Life.” The content would consist of writings about how I see God (and beauty!) in all the ordinary and mundane. Praying for lots of inspiration. And I’m excited to see what my Maker will put in my heart. So thankful for you guys. It means a whole lot to me that you stop in to read.

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