“I wonder why I didn’t see it there before…”. Belle, from “Beauty and the Beast”
“You have a good eye”, husband tells me. “A good eye for color.” I like the sound of that. A good eye–my heart smiles. I feel artistic, creative, color-full. Yet, I muse…what does it really mean–to have a good eye?
I read the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “There is no object so foul that intense light will not make beautiful.“
He says it, too, the beast/prince to Belle in the fairytale, “Try to find me and know me…no matter how I may be hidden from you.”
Is it possible to see this world with a “good eye“? To see the prince in the beast–to see beauty in the ugly, in the wretched, in the unlovely?
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy (good), your whole body will be full of light“, the words of His Book reveal.
Full of light. To be light-full. No hate, no disgust, no evil intent. Soul eye clear of life’s distorting cataracts–those shifting memory-shadows that shade, darken, infect.
Centered only on the prevailing light of the good eye of the Father of Heavenly Lights…the bad eye becomes the good eye, seeing through the ugly to the hidden good and perfect gift within. Eye-filling goodness that transforms. In the moment, I am Belle in the fairytale looking at the beast/prince, “I wonder why I didn’t see it there before?”
“It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.” Oswald Chambers
Holy…it means “set apart”…not so much from something, but unto something. But what “something”? How can we live the extraordinary in the ordinary? How do we extract gold from the dirt of our everyday ordinary lives?
Could the answer lie in “living in the moment”—that over used cliché that no time-driven ordinary person really knows how to do?
Be holy for I AM holy. I AM…His very Name reveals the present. Holy, set apart unto I AM—the Present Moment—living life with holy awareness of the eternal destiny of the present moment. Living in the “I AM”, daily extracting the exceptional in the midst of the ordinary.
In the present moment, God uses those who are available to Him. He chooses to frame Himself in the moment, and we get to enter into that sacred space with Him, our ordinary merging with His Holy.
Extraordinary life, we get to live…”exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people“.
“A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.” Erasmus of Rotterdam, contemporary of Martin Luther.
Nail marks in His hands…”unless I put my finger where the nails were … I will not believe.”
A nail-habit of unbelief can only be driven out by the iron-sharper nail of perfect love. It takes practice, believing does, to hit the nail on the head, but practice makes perfect, so they say.
So we practice hammering in nails of belief to pound out nails of unbelief; and in the doing, we learn the secret of Perfect Love: the love of a carpenter’s son and Savior of the world; a love that drives out fear, the quintessence of all unbelief.
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“She considers a field and buys it”—weeks go by, it won’t leave me. Go deeper, He smiles.
Buys, in Hebrew, it literally means “to take”; considers, it connotes to devise, purpose, resolve and plot; used here, a good wife is clever to plan what is best for her family; she takes the field—seeing it through to harvest time.
Has God placed before you a field to consider? A creative thought, an idea, a plan? A field that can produce a harvest: a planted vineyard that yields fruit for your household, those placed at your table—those you get to love?
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Consider the field before you. Consider heaven’s eternal purpose in your present season moment. Then take it—it’s yours, clever you. The fruit of your hands, that is. And smile, knowing all is well.
As parents, our job is to shepherd our sons and daughters on the path of life, prodding them forward with biblical truth, yet giving them the grace … dare I say it … yes, to fail.
Instead of learning to manage sin in the context of a religious structure, our children learn to manage their freedom wherever they are—wherever they go. It can get messy, and it can make us look bad, but this is the pathway that leads to God’s saving grace through faith in His son, Jesus Christ.
In the words of the Prophet, “… a little child shall lead them.” The word “lead” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “panting induced by effort”.
It takes child-like faith to lead by love instead of managing behavior. Allow those you are influencing to watch you–a soul longing after God. And when they do, they will be inspired to follow your lead–right into the arms of a loving Father, who is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and rich in love.
Albert Einstein said, “Love is a better teacher than duty.” I agree. The love of God is the greatest of all life coaches.
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When faced with the proverbial “fork in the road”, keep moving to keep faith from atrophying. Even if later you realize the wrong path was chosen, better to back track than to be frozen in your tracks for fear of making a mistake. Just keep moving, stay humble, and your faith will see you through.
They name their fifth child—yes, that would be me—Lois Ann. Lois, it means “battle maiden”. Ann, it means “full of grace”. A Warrior of Grace: a name I carry with me for the next 21 years, 6 months and 7 days, when, in an act of feminism, I drop Ann at the wedding altar, and retain my surname along with my husband’s. Walking out the church doors that cold winter night, I leave grace behind.
For the next several years, I search. What am I to do? What is my purpose? Who exactly am I, anyway? Pursuing the other half of myself—the original version of me who God created in my mother’s well-broken-in womb. I was her fifth, after all—there was plenty of room to stretch out and move and breathe…pure grace.
Grace: the unmerited favor of God; the unforced rhythm of life that we get to live when we keep company with Jesus.
So here I am, a half century later, and I am finding my way back to grace, back to living freely and lightly with Jesus. It takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Yet it does happen every time we return to the altar, that place of covenant communion with God, and take up grace where it awaits.
A Warrior of Grace, amazing you. God’s amazing grace.