So, today, I was so thankful for the sky.  Yep. Simple enough.  Thankful for wide open spaces and sunlight.  Today began with me feeling behind and thinking that it should be a crime to feel like you’re running late when you’re already in the car at 6:50 a.m.  But so it is with cafeteria duty.  I ran back into the house twice, and then spilled the precious coffee which I unashamedly need in the morning…especially during my month of early morning cafeteria duty.  But I got in the car, pulled out of the driveway and instead of the dark haze that’s been greeting me lately, there was a display of pink clouds in a lavender sky as I drove up the road.  Here’s a visual for ya:morninglight4

The photo doesn’t do it justice at all, because I tell you, it was just beautiful.  It felt like God saying a big good morning, and don’t worry about the spilled coffee or the meeting today or the appointment, or the expectations of the coming weekend,….it’s all going to be okay.  That’s exactly what I felt as I breathed a little deeper and drove up the street.  Crazy how a little change of scenery can grant a little perspective.

As I drive to work in the morning, there’s one place where the sun is usually just coming up and it’s absolutely  beautiful.  This morning was no different.  morninglight3

Again the photo just doesn’t do the beauty justice. Kind of like the difference between a picture of a cup of coffee versus a mug of coffee, right there in 3-D, steaming hot and ready to drink.  The sunrise was definitely the 3-D version.

And then  after cafeteria duty, here was the scene as I walked into my room at school…

morninglight

I don’t know what it is, but there are just times when I need to just look up…get my eyes off myself, my feet, my world, and just look up.  I’m thankful for the way the beauty of the sky helped me get my eyes off of my little world and worries and just look up.  Beauty has a way of doing that…of drawing our eyes to something, with the residual effect being that we get our eyes off of ourselves.    Beauty can be a magnet that holds our gaze.

As I walked in the classroom, I didn’t see much sky the rest of the day.  I was in the classroom and went from one thing to another.  Amazing how fast days can fly by.  But at the end of the day as I got out of the car, my eyes couldn’t help but look up again because the crystal clear night sky was full of beautiful stars.  Totally full. And again, I found myself just being thankful for the grace that God shows us in amazing ways throughout our days.  But the cool thing is that the true Beauty lies in who He is.

And here’s a thought that I want to ponder…the beauty of who God is should be shining through in Believers.  It should be a magnet that holds one’s gaze in the same way that the beauty of the sky held my gaze and encouraged me so deeply.  Sometimes as Christians, we try to “put on” the beauty of who God is by doing the right stuff on the outside.  But we’re not called to a plastic kind of appearance like plastic flowers with no scent or life.  We’re called to gut level real life…beauty that comes through the life and light of Christ shining through.   Through. And the cool thing is that the Bible says that if Christ be lifted up, He will draw all men unto Him. Not we….He… will draw all men unto Him.

When there’s a connection with Christ it heals and deals and creates a deep well of beauty that shines through those who are often most oblivious to it, the beauty that is…because the focus is on Him, not us.  It shines from within, isn’t put on from without.  And I think that in the same way that the beauty of God’s creation of the wide open sky greatly encourages me in the morning…well, that’s the way Believers are called to live…as beautiful creations that bear testimony of their Creator. I know some of the most beautiful encouraging souls I have ever met have probably been totally unaware of the fact that just seeing them encourages me deeply.  The beauty and love of Christ just seeps through in these ordinary lives in quiet yet powerful ways. So thankful for that and for how God often uses the simplest of things to remind us that He’s right here, right now, and sometimes all we have to be reminded of that is to look up or look around.

“But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ,

and manifests in us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place…”  

2 Corinthians 14