Category: Beauty


Snap…
Whoosh…
Crack, BOOM!!
…rrrrrrumble.

The thunderstorm growled some distance away. Lightning stretched through the dark sky, electric fingers reaching over many miles lighting up the land.

Roar…
Snap, BANG!

Moments of flashing light illuminated the road ahead of me. Beautiful licks of streaking light danced across the sky as I balanced watching the performance and the road. It was no use, I had to pull the car over to give full attention to God’s stunning display of power.

Sear…
Rip, CRASH!

I searched for my phone in hopes that I might be able to catch some of God’s glory through the lens of the camera. I didn’t have much time to wait, but the constant dance of electricity before my eyes gave me reason to think I might just get lucky.

A gust of soft, warm, sweet smelling summer air filled the car as I rolled down the window, a light mist falling on my face and neck. The sky was quiet as I held the camera still. There was not a sound but the gentle breeze as it swept past through the long, grassy fields surrounding me.

“Come on…” I whispered, my finger poised on the shutter button. “Come on…”

The mist coming in through the window was cool but gentle and I shivered slightly. “Please,” I said “give me something…”

I sat perfectly still pointing the lens through the lightly draping mist in the direction of the rumbles.

“Come on…”

Silence.

The mist continued to float lightly into the car, dampening my face and hands and I figured the lens on the camera had gotten wet enough that even if I was able to catch a glimpse, it would be distorted. So I took my finger off the shutter button and set down my phone to wipe it off.

Clap…
Boom…Roar!!

The sky lit up with a vast array of light.

“Of course.” I said with a laugh. I scooped up my phone to capture the radiance and in an instant darkness encompassed the car.

“Come on!!” I wailed. “Give me one, please, just let me see one!” I was begging to the Creator of this universe for one glimpse, one more peek at His glory.

The wind picked up a bit and I could almost feel God’s amusing laughter as I sat there perfectly still willing one more lightning strike, just one more. My finger cramped as it sat, fixed in position, not moving for fear of missing another opportunity.

“Come on…” I urged, “I have to go. Just give me one…”

Silence.

The blackness squeezed in on me, the light from the dashboard grew brighter, a beacon signaling me as a reminder that I had somewhere to be.

“Please, just one…” I begged.

“Please?”

Silence.

“Fine.” I said, defeated and removed my hand from its spot and placed my phone in my lap.

Rush…
Crack….
BOOM!

I sat there dumbstruck as the most beautiful stretch of powerful light broke through the darkness. A kinetic surge of bright white ribbons swirled and danced in front of me as I shook my head and placed the car in gear.

“Really?!!” I laughed incredulously.

“Ok, I get it…”

“Don’t tell You what to do.”

“Yes Sir.”

“…who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?”   Romans 9:20

“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker– An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands‘?”   Isaiah 45:9

my picture of the lightning

“Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years”   Genesis 1:14

Sunset Mist

“Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it.”    Isaiah 45:8

Job is mad at his friends in chapter 12 and chapter 13 because of their advice and accusations, but Job still gives glory to God, even though he’s not feeling very worshipful.  Job, by just pleading his case to his friends, acknowledges God’s creation and power;

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.”   Job 12:7-8

“If he tears down, none can rebuild…
With him are strength and sound wisdom…
He pours contempt on princes and loosens the belt of the strong.
He uncovers the deeps out of darkness and brings deep darkness to light.
He makes nations great, and he destroys them…”
Job 12:14, 16, 21-23

I have found that I love taking pictures.  I realized this when I was training for my 1/2 marathon last year.

Haunted Hustle 1/2 Marathon

Yes shocker, I ran a 1/2 marathon.  Ran the whole thing too!!  And yes, I dressed up as wonder woman.

Don’t even think about it.

But what I found as I trained, running outside usually before dawn, was the amazing majesty and beauty that surrounds us.  Especially when the first rays of light pours its radiance out upon the dark rolling hills and jagged corners.

Amazing.

I always had my phone with me on those early morning runs, losing myself in the music, but as God revealed His glory to me through His light peeking over the horizon, I began to capture those moments through the, albeit limited, lens on my phone.

I began to look forward to spending time with Him in His creation and looking for Him at other times as well and discovered how much He reveals Himself to us through it!  I even started another blog where I only post photos and scripture revealing God’s astounding creation: Omniscience

God is an amazing artist and everywhere you look you can see His handiwork.  The Bible even says that God will not be ignored — creation screams His name, even if  no, especially when we won’t.

“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”   Romans 1:20 (esv)

“‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.'”   Luke 19:40 (niv)

Job doesn’t understand his suffering and he knows he has done nothing to “deserve” it as his friends have suggested.  Still, because he is aware of God’s presence around him, he is able to remain faithful in the Lord.  He questions, but still has hope and knows he will be vindicated. [Job 13:15-18]

Are you feeling like God has left you alone and empty?
Even in this struggle you’re going through, in these hard times you’re facing… God is with you.
His magnificence surrounds you!

Just take a look around!

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“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you”   Job 42:5

When I was about ten years old I was a girl scout (and I find it a bit disturbing that the exact girl scout uniform I used to wear -above- I found the image on the Smithsonian legacies site.)  I should’ve just gone downstairs and taken a picture of my old uniform!

Anyway, that’s not the point although I kind of dig the fact that I have waaaay more patches on my sash.  🙂

We used to go camping as a troop and one time we stencil painted our names and an adjective to describe us on a pillow case.  The catch was the adjective had to start with the first letter of our name.

Great.  There were only 3 words I could think of for N;  Nice, Naughty & Nutty.  (I know, there are far cooler N adjectives… give me a break I was ten.)

We went around the circle telling everyone our adjective…

Cute Christy

Sweet Shannon

Adorable Angie

Jumping Jena

Oh they had such cute names, I was totally going with Nutty Nicole.  It was fun and would make people laugh…oh yes, that was the one.

As we went around the circle, it stopped at the other Nicole in the group who was just as inventive on N adjectives as I was.  “Nutty Nicole” she said.

I about had a heart attack.  I was certainly not going with naughty, and nice was just lame!  The circle rounded  its final turn and I was last to go, and I said…

It is so funny the silly regrets we have in life. The little things we wish we could change… and I can assure you no one else even remembers the adjective I chose back then, but I do not still have and never did use that pillow case!

Do I wish I would’ve gone with another word?  Absolutely!  Any other; neat, nifty, noble, notorious, even noisy would’ve been good, but what I find so interesting is how desperately I did not want to be associated with the word:

           

We are born with an innate sense of right and wrong since the fall of mankind.  God didn’t want us to have to choose between right and wrong.  He had one rule…

“…You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”   Genesis 2:16-17

We are made in the image of our Creator who cannot do wrong, but since that fateful choice to eat from the tree, all the generations since have possessed that choice… and so we struggle.

“…Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil…”   Genesis 3:22

Thankfully as Christ followers we have help…

“… he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”   John 14:16-17

Although we all will fail at some point after giving our lives to Christ by making a wrong choice, I have frequently found myself labeled and placed in the “naughty” category, often by other Christians, because of the songs I listen to, the jokes I laugh at, the movies I see.

One of my favorite songs is “Fly Away” by FFH;

This song speaks to my heart.  I love it’s sound, it’s beat and especially it’s message.  I sang this song as a special one Sunday a long time ago at a church we used to attend,

and got in trouble for it.

At that same church I lead the youth program, AWANA, and used some Go Fish songs to teach the the kids;

it was frowned upon.

The God I serve is an exciting, colorful, and fun-loving God and I have been taught that the way I see Him and life is wrong.  Thankfully He brought us to the church we now call home, where I am surrounded by other people who enjoy life, a good laugh and a strong beat.  They are just as crazy as me in thinking God is alive and energetic and wonderful.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”   Zephaniah 3:17

“…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”   Isaiah 62:5

Our five senses point to His creativity and enjoyment.

Why do we have taste buds?

Why does our skin long for touch?

Why does He create things of beauty for us to gaze upon?

Why do we prefer certain sounds?

Why can we be satisfied by a scent?

And why then did He create laughter?

Of course we must have a healthy fear of the One who created us.  He has rules we are expected to follow and we are to glorify Him through our actions and our lives, but to say He doesn’t want us to fully enjoy Him and this world He created specifically for us, is silly.

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”   1 Timothy 6:17

Find out for yourself how great God is.  He wants you to live life, love life, and love Him.

 

Hibiscus

“And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord GOD.”   Ezekiel 16:14

Have you ever had a girl crush?

crush   noun   \ˈkrəsh\
Definition of CRUSH : an intense and usually passing infatuation <have a crush on someone>;
(Definition of INFATUATE : to inspire with a foolish or extravagant love or admiration)

You know, you’re a girl and you meet another girl and she’s gorgeous, friendly, funny, sweet, and totally in style.  You feel like you’ve known her your whole life; you have the same beliefs, same views on life, family and God and you totally “get” why her husband married her.

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”   1 Peter 3:3-4

The Urban dictionary defines it as:

girl crush
feelings of admiration and adoration which a girl has for another girl, without wanting to shag said girl. a nonsexual attraction, usually based on veneration at some level.

These are the girls who are not related by blood and yet love us unconditionally.  They offer their shoulders freely for crying and their sleeves for blowing.  They act as a back board to bounce ideas off of and a coach to guide us.  They are a safe haven to run to in a storm and a gentle hand that picks us up when we slip.

This is a tribute to the girls in my life; those of you who make me want to act better, look better, love my husband and children better, portray Christ better, treat others better, and love my God better.

Thank you for the love and acceptance you have shown me, for the inspiration you have given me, for the wisdom you have shared with me and for the Godliness you have displayed for me.

I praise God for the girl crushes He has blessed me with, and although it is said that a crush is short lived, maybe these are the exception.

You know who you are… and I thank you.

“May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb.”   Deuteronomy 32:2

 

I have spent a weekend, this past weekend, being held in the bosom of our Lord.

I have just spent 48 hours in the embrace of the Almighty.

I have been called to lay back in the quietness of Jesus, the exuberance of the Spirit, and the peace of the Father.

I have been whispered to, smacked upside the head, wrapped tightly, nudged forward, and mightily covered.

“And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him.”   Mark 9:15

I was surrounded by women this weekend, at the Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks Speakers and Writers Conference, who ran along side me to greet Jesus.  He showed up mightily and revealed Himself colorfully.  We sat together within His embrace and under His teaching through amazing women; Luann Prater, Lysa TerKeurst, Renee Swope, Liz Curtis Higgs, and Whitney Capps.

We were filled to overflowing by hearing His words and His promises, then our Lord, who just loves to surprise and thrill us; plopped these like-minded, gorgeous-faced, Jesus-loving, God-fearing women with stunningly beautiful hearts and amazing stories to tell, smack dab in our laps.

These women, these truly separated-at-birth sisters have inspired me, laughed with me, comforted me, celebrated with me, encouraged me, cried with me… I am absolutely in awe, and I praise Him for how He brings lives together and weaves hearts.

Please, if you get a chance, visit these blogs of my new and dear sisters:

Kelly Pankratz

Nicole Ray

Lara Sadowski

Britta Lafont

Michelle Axton Kelly

Mary Beth Hall 

Elizabeth Suess

Melinda Gray

Alyson Brewer

Amy Alves

Misti Spacek

Dawn Mast

I am so thankful to my God.  The One who laid down His life for my own.  The One who orchestrates all things and reveals them in His timing.  The only One worthy of our praise, and oh He is so worthy.

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