Recently I had a large group of photos printed to frame, which led me to combing through hundreds of photos from the last two years. I haven’t done a really great job of getting them printed from adventures during that time. That’s when I stumbled across this photo I took at Biltmore Gardens.
That beauty nestled inside the beauty of a blossoming flower? Well it made me feel like I’d discovered a little secret God wanted to share with me. And remind me of yet again as I was rummaging for photos to print.
Well it’s that He is cultivating work in the smallest places, in the most unassuming and unexpected places. He is growing beauty from within and we might miss it looking at the bigger picture, at the sweeping grandeur blossoming we will let the smaller inner work just bypass us completely.
I know for me I have been so focused and intent on the work I see Him doing in everyone else and forgetting the work He’s been growing and refining in me. There is beauty within the bigger, but there is breathtaking wonder at the inner working going on. I love to see how He works in others but I am so reluctant to take that moment to observe where it is He’s been in what I call the small of my life. Because frankly, I’d rather have the big in my life too. I’d rather select the sweeping beauty of the field rather than the intimate quiet of the one flower above.
But He’s in both. He works in both for our very good. The big sweeping beauty comes from hours of toil, just as the seemingly minute does the same. They both require work, both by His hand and my submission. It’s not a one or the other, but a both and if I’ll just stop focusing on what I deem as unimportant and small in my world. Instead taking a moment to admire the beauty held within that I too easily think isn’t His handiwork.
Over the last weekend I got to spend some true quality time with my mom. We took a mini-vacation over to Biltmore and did the whole she-bang. I think on Friday alone we traversed six miles on the grounds. Mom let me geek out over the house and history. She also let me take goofy photos like the one below.
She let me treat her to dinner (something she just doesn’t like to do) and we were able to indulge in flower wandering in their large garden.
In the midst of it I kept seeing glimpses of the woman I am, many of the good things about my mom that have over the years become a part of me. One of which is her compassion, her loving and giving heart. She remembers people, birthdays, anniversaries and the like. She makes it a point to care for those when they are sick and give comfort through her presence during times of loss.
Over and over again I see examples of how my mom loves others with the love of Christ. Unconditionally. Fully. With compassion. With hope. In joy. I pray I get a portion of that from her. Desiring to be compassionate towards others means that I must choose to love, choose to see and choose to act.
That isn’t always easy and it’s definitely not comfortable. However the flip side is a life that sees only the bad, that never reaches out to help, and never truly finds fulfillment.
I fought for so long the very thing I now seek and pray to embody…a heart full of compassion, to love others well and be Christ to them. I fought that because my mom does it so very well and when you’re an angsty teen you don’t want to be like your mom when you grow up. But now I see how that is the absolute number one thing I want to be, just like her. Loving and serving. Giving and being. Listening and laughing.
She is the hands and feet of Christ, and has been for so very long to me and to others. Compassion never looked so good on a woman.