“Susie, just think about beautiful things and thoughts, and you will go right to sleep!”, advised my Mom. It worked. Not the way Mom thought it would, but eventually. “But what things are beautiful?” Mom then told me to think about flowers, the blue sky, the tall trees and butterflies.
I didn’t want to hurt Mom’s feelings, but I didn’t see anything beautiful about flowers. Green stems with bits of color perched on top? I thought about the profusion of flowers in Mom’s flower garden. It wouldn’t be until much later that I would appreciate the intracacies and colors in a flower or a leaf. Now butterflies were beautiful, but they wouldn’t hold still so I could examine them. The blue sky? Eventually I fell asleep, but I never forgot Mom’s admonition to look for beauty.
It was not until I found the words in the Bible, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things, did I understand that seeing beauty, the creation of the Creator, is knowing Him, and character that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely is beautiful in God’s eyes.
Just reading the list of attributes – true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy – filled my heart with the intense desire to fashion my life after the Creator of ‘beautiful things’.
Another scripture comes to mind, For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. (I Corinthians 13:9-11) A bit of growing up is required to truly begin to understand who God is in my life.
As I grew up in the Lord, I am reminded of the time that someone pointed out to me that the green of trees is a generic term. “Look for all the shades of green as you see as you study a stand of trees’ leaves.”
To my surprise, the Master Painter provided more shades of green than could ever be contained in any artist’s palette. My admiration and appreciation for God reached new highs as I realized His Splendor and His appreciation for ‘whatever is lovely’. The lyrics of one of my favorite songs created more appreciation. Trees by Joyce Kilmer – I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray.
Yes, the Creation translates into every-day beauty of our lives in Him. How can we find the joy of beauty in our lives? Live a life that actively searches for blessings and bits of happiness. Recognize the blessings as being from God. Be aware, and don’t miss a single one.
Recently, in the midst of winter, a warm day dawned. The edges of the day smelled like spring as I heard the birds sing glorious spring-songs. Then the tiniest lady bug greeted me on steps. Immediately I recognized a blessing. The ladybug appeared at the right time, in the right place. Had I not been aware of God’s blessings, I would have missed it – a harbinger of Spring – dressed in colorful garments, waiting for me on the step.
I thought about Mom and her quest for beauty in living a Christian life. You handed down your legacy of ‘beautiful thoughts’ to my husband and me and to our children and grandchildren. Whenever I read Philippians 4:4-9, I am reminded of the blessings of a Mother who believes in Jesus Christ.
Thank you, Mom!