Moments of Clarity

Matthew 20:32-33 “Jesus said to them, what do you want Me to do for you? They said to Him, Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.”

Outside my living room window 100 aspens were shimmering in the breeze. It was around 5:30 p.m. and the sunshine darted through the clouds dotting the sky. The aspen leaves were a creamy yellow except for the moments when the setting sun would break through and light them up in a dazzling blaze of lemony yellow. A cloud drifted by and everything was back to a dull cream. This kept happening, and each time I would race out the door to take a picture when the sun had lit everything up so brightly.

What I witness in nature God so often uses to speak into my heart. Those flashes of brilliant sunshine through the aspens reminded me that God brings beauty and clarity in a moment and it’s ours to grasp quickly before it’s gone. Maybe we have that flash of insight, hmm, he’s not the one, or this job shouldn’t define me, or I want more creativity in my life. Maybe it’s wow I was short-tempered back there, or our home needs a spiritual reset. Clarity is curative. That bright flash of insight points us into truth.

A friend in L.A recently shared a hard decision she made to pass up a big business opportunity in favor of a more genuine, personal track. Her clarity came when she realized she had missed so much life in the past ten years. My favorite boutique owner in Sun Valley told me that she had taken the risk to close her store on Sundays. Her clarity came because she’d been working non-stop and realized she needed a spirit-focused rhythm in her life. A young man told me this weekend that he had realized he never seriously considered the message of Christ. He said his mother’s negative Catholic experience growing up had shaded everything he had been told. In a moment of clarity, of revelation actually, he realized there’s more to the gospel story than what he had been told, and so he’s investigating Christianity. An older friend of mine shared a new perspective she gained– that her husband had sacrificed so much when they were first married, and now, with his health declining, was her time to sacrifice for him. That clarity brightened her words, actions, and attitudes with new compassion. Each of these friends experienced a moment when God brought their life into clear focus.

Dear ones, don’t we all need God to break through with clarity in some fashion? Are we in a situation like Elisha’s servant, surrounded by enemies and unable to see the mighty army of God protecting us? (2 Kings 6:15-17) Are we like the disciples after the resurrection, walking with Jesus but not even realizing it?  “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him: and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road?” (Luke 24:31-32)

I’ve experienced moments when, like the sunshine breaking through the trees, God’s insight gave me clarity. Ideas like wanting to honor all that God has given me in a day—to savor the beauty all around and also to view each obstacle as an opportunity for growth.  To work hard with excellence but keep identity rooted, not in what I do or what I own or what others think, but in the sole fact that I’m a blood-bought daughter of Christ, the King. Wanting to love people the way that Jesus loved people. It’s in the details that I ask for greater clarity and insight. How do I honor God in my day? How do I love people like He did? Jesus said, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)

Join me in praying this week, Lord, open our eyes. Break through our cloudy commitments and bring Your bright Presence to illuminate our way. We want to see You, Lord to follow You. Amen

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Monthly Mashup #4

Welcome to my monthly mashup! These are some of the things I’ve enjoyed or pondered this month:

An app/TV show I’m enjoying: The Chosen. Maybe I’m late to the party, but I am obsessed with this show! “The Chosen is the first-ever multi-season TV show about the life of Jesus. Created outside of the Hollywood system, The Chosen allows us to see Him through the eyes of those who knew Him.” Very simply, download The Chosen app onto your phone and play it on your TV. I think you can also subscribe to The ChosenYouTube channel. There is nothing smarmy about this show – it is absolute fire and you will love it! Watch your response to Jesus grow in affection and discover insightful conversations with everyone viewing the show. Already a fan? Post in the comments your favorite episode!

Goals I’m pursuing: building playfulness in my life, along with better overall strength and agility.  Why do we as grownups forget how to play? Several simple additions to our yard have introduced a fun way to move through my day. We have a rope swing right out the front door and a contest within our family to see who can swing out and land the furthest away. I run at it at least three times a day! We also have aspens laid out horizontally to form a balance beam maze. Whenever I need a break from the computer, I just run on the balance beams. Yes, I have completely wiped out and bruised more than my pride but I am seeing my balance improve. All of us probably have a park nearby, a beautiful hike, a beach, or someplace that we can run and play. When life feels too serious, try skipping!

Makeup and Skincare products I really like: I use two products that land on opposite ends of the price spectrum. I love everything e.l.f. cosmetics makes. When my daughter first started working for e.l.f. she brought all kinds of products home to try out. I couldn’t get over the quality and simplicity of design—sponges, brushes, primers, brow pencils, all fun and affordable. I really like e.l.f. and I seem to get something new every time I run by the store. Not in stores, and on the pricey side of skin care is a company called Saranghae.  www.lovesaranghae.com Saranghae is a skincare company that “simplifies the complicated world of Korean beauty.” The complete 5-step routine feels pretty darn fantastic. (These are not paid endorsements, by the way.)

A quote I’m living right now: “Where the deer bound, where the trout rise, where your horse stops to slather a drink from icy water while the sun is warm on the back of your neck, where every breath you draw is exhilaration – that is where the Aspens grow…” (From Peattie’s Natural Histories)

Next week marks one year of blogging and a year since my book, Gracious Living was published. Let’s celebrate the milestone together next week as we talk about the power of Consistency and doing hard things. Blessings to you and have a wonderful week!