A memory flooded to the surface recently. I had been praying for release to be able to share my #OneWord for this New Year. Every time I began a post, I heard the whisper, “Not yet, you’ll know when it’s time.” And so I waited. Others were posting their words for the year, and I felt time slipping away.
“Keep waiting,” I heard Him say. But when the memory rose up in my heart, and the words spilled out unbidden, I knew He was speaking: “Now.”
The days were hard as I found myself weeping through my daily chores. My heart was filled with anguish over choices that I saw my children making. Words had been hurled back and forth between us, and I was not sure that I had the strength to keep praying any longer.
So I poured myself even more deeply into the chores set before me. Down on my knees, my tears mingled with the cleaning solution I sprayed on the floor. I found myself asking the same questions, day after day:
“Where are You, God? I see my own faults throughout all these years of praying. How can Your fullness ever find an answer?”
On one of those days, as I was moving through my home, I sensed movement above me, right outside the window. I looked up quickly in surprise. What was that huge creature hanging from the tree branch? It looked like a dark brown caterpillar with vivid white spots, but it was 6 inches long?! I had never seen anything like it! A sense of repulsion mingled with fascination gripped me, causing me to look away, but then to turn back, staring.
I grabbed my digital camera (this was before the days of cell-phones-with-us-constantly,) and I snapped several photos. Blurry as they were, I used them for researching on our home computer.
You can read some information here at Wikipedia, showing what I found.
It was the caterpillar of the Pandora Sphinx Moth. And the story of the myth of Pandora crept into my mind. … The box that was so tempting. … The lid that had been forbidden was opened … and the troubles of the world were issued forth from that time. But at the very end, when it seemed the box was empty, one more little item fluttered to the surface: it was the gift of HOPE.
The answer to my prayers had been sent to me, right at the moment I needed to hear from God. My prayers for my children had never been about my perfection to fulfill their answers. No, only GOD could bring the fulfillment at just the right time, in His own perfect way.
His gift to me was the HOPE of HIS promise.
Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.Romans 5:5 AMP
As I shared the story with a few close friends, they were surprised that I could find a message of beauty in an ugly and grotesque creature. Whenever I longed to see God’s beauty and hope, I found myself escaping to His beautiful creation: hiking, biking, working in my garden, tending other’s gardens.
But through-out these years with chronic illness, when that escape was gradually cut off, and it became less and less easy to run to, God began to open my eyes. Escape was no longer an option because escape was no longer necessary. He had uncovered the longing for beauty in my heart because HE had always been with me. He was and is the One calling me to join Him in this journey. Healthy days of hiking or chronically ill days of resting in my chair are all equal when beauty from God is being called forth. The beauty of His presence cannot be hindered.
He calls me to see His beauty, His hope, in every moment of the day.
I awoke to a blaze of fire
Feathers of light stretching
East to west horizon shimmering
Come with ME the glory called
Lift your eyes from sleeping
Colors for your heart invading
Heavy eyelids covered my soul
Lips too used to yawning
Wondering whence the water leaking
Tears of longing escaped within
From reigning night daylight glimpsing
Come WITH ME Glory calling
And I arose WITH Himbg
I would love to pray with you today, my friends. As I go forward this year with what seems to me to be an unusual word, I know my Lord has HIS fulfillment of beauty to bring about even here.
Dear Lord Jesus,
We are overwhelmed by the beauty of Your presence all around us. When we open our hearts and look with the eyes of Your Spirit given to us, we know that all of this beauty is only a gift from YOU. So would You help us to respond to You now? Your WITH-ness can seem overwhelming to us at times. We know our failures are many and deep. But You know that even better than we do, don’t You? YOUR grace with-in us covers every dark place with more of Your light and beauty. Thank You for calling us to come. Thank You for bringing Your hope into our weary days. Thank You for pouring that hope so abundantly with-in us.
In the sweet name of Jesus, we pray,
My #OneWord for 2020:
I am linking with: #TellHisStory