To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
— William Blake
It’s Saturday morning. My husband and daughter are in Chicago caring for my father-in-law, who is in hospice care. My son is still asleep, so I’m enjoying a quiet morning on the patio. Eighty-five degrees feels lovely compared to yesterday’s sweltering 100 degree temp. The sound of birds, cicadas, and my little garden fountain is calming.
Our family continues to be in a difficult season, having lost my mother-in-law, my father, and now experiencing the imminent passing of my father-in-law, all within several months. Some days I feel like a wrung out washrag, but I am also grateful for the space to process and go deeper into God’s heart.
Everyone in our family has struggled in their own way. My young adult children have never walked through anything like this before, and we’re trying to be intentional about making space to grieve, but there’s no roadmap for this.
I’ve finished reading a passage from Acts, and I turn to my journal where I write and draw what I think God is speaking to me in the moment. Flipping back to June, I see a drawing of a marble—the type with a flare of color through the middle. Under it I have written, “I have given you a childlike heart. Slow down to enjoy it. Find wonder in small things.”
As a child, I had a large Tupperware bin filled with marbles. I took great delight in running my fingers through the contents and listening to the sound the glass marbles made as they clicked against each other. I would pull out favorites and hold them to the light, admiring the swirling colors.
As I read the words in my journal, I take a deep breath and look around the lovely little patio space we created when we had nothing else to do in the strange year that was 2020. Something catches my eye. I watch as an emerald green hummingbird darts toward my ruby hibiscus. Perfect delight!
During times of trial and stress, it’s important to stop and remember what brings us joy. What are the things that make our hearts sing? Even in the midst of struggle, we can make room for moments of delight. This often means giving ourselves permission to lay down our burdens and rest. Truthfully, God didn’t make us to carry those burdens anyway. He’s more than willing to pick up what we lay down before him.
It’s a beautiful exchange. The more we surrender to him, the more space we have that can be filled with his perfect love. I believe this is the key to experiencing a greater abundance of the fruit of the spirit—especially in the hard seasons. When we are filled with love, the rest of the fruit comes with it. And who doesn’t need more joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? (Galatians 5:22-23)
When life is delivering one trial after another, we may find ourselves needing to repeatedly surrender. This isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it. As we relinquish our perceived right to control, we become more like trusting children, opening our hearts to God’s goodness—allowing him to reveal himself in our circumstances.
It is from this position of surrender that we begin to notice those little things that open the door to joy—the butterfly that momentarily alights on the hood of your car, the bluebird perched on the mailbox, a ray of sunshine casting rainbows on the kitchen floor, the beauty of a solitary snowflake. Honestly, such small moments of wonder have been a balm to my soul during this period of grief.
This morning I ask God to open my eyes anew to his wonders that surround me. I ask him to help me, even in the midst of pain, never lose sight of beauty. I ask him to help me always find wonder in small things.
Where will you find wonder today?
Join me in this prayer of surrender…
Loving Father, help me surrender the things that are weighing me down today. Open the eyes of my heart to see the ways you are working in my life right now. Show me where wonder and beauty reside, and help me to pause there. Fill me with your love and allow me to experience the joy and peace that is yours. Reveal your perspective to me when I struggle to understand. Help me to feel the tenderness of your embrace, and above all else show me how to walk in love.
Photo credit: Pixabay/Ogutier