Several years ago, I was invited to speak and sing in Tennessee at a women’s event. I was extra excited because my daughter Kennedy was able to join me. The two of us are all about “mommy-daughter time” so we were all smiles 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. 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 from my little movie-watcher as I drove and prayed for the event we were heading to.
It was the first week of November, and in the Tar Heel state that’s prime time for fall tree color. Once we past the congested traffic and the hullaballoo of the suburbs, the splendor of God gripped me. Showcased through traces of red, yellow, orange, and brown, the leaves danced in the breeze under the backdrop of a brilliant blue Carolina sky. The trees continued to boast of more and more glory as I neared Virginia… and then the mountains joined in.
Oh, the mountains!
They puffed their chests with the majesty of color and power!
My heart was captured by the glory of it all.
And then I realized that Kennedy was missing it. Ugh!
I tapped her on the shoulder and pointed out the window. “Look around! Lift your eyes and soak in the wonder, sweetie! Don’t miss the beautiful…” I urged.
“Don’t miss the beautiful!”
She paused her movie and joined in on the beauty moment, totally agreeing that God was showing off with His fall art. 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. Splendor and majesty were before both Him and me. I thanked God for the beauty show. And 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 then I chewed 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?
In the busy of this holiday season – as we dance between the days of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years – as we decorate the doors and the hearths of our homes and communities, I want to be intentional to decorate the doors and the hearths of my heart with ribbons of Incarnate Grace.
I want to 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 God’s presence.
Jesus is our Hope, our Peace, our Joy… our Beautiful.
Don’t miss the beautiful.
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.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
Have you paused to spend time with God one-on-one yet today? This week? Prioritize prayer.
Read Colossians 3:1-17. Journal. Spend time in personal worship. Just you and Him.
Love you, friend!
PS. What? You want to see a picture of my family from Thanksgiving?! Okay. Okay… but only because you asked.
Do you need a little help seeing the beautiful?
Hang out with me! Listen to the GRACEOLOGIE with Gwen Smith podcast as you commute to work, go on walks, exercise, run errands, eat guacamole or travel. Podcasts are also perfect to listen to as you do household chores! (Laundry anyone?)
Each GRACEOLOGIE with Gwen Smith podcast episode is filled with fun, faith-focused, grace-filled conversations that will help you know and trust God more.
These discussions encourage you in meaningful ways to live out and lean on the GRACE of Jesus in the midst of cluttered, messy days. CLICK HERE to listen on iTunes, or visit GwenSmith.net/Graceologie for more information.