She’s supposed to be sleeping, but instead, I hear her across the hall. She’s laying in her bed, telling her “knock knock” joke to her stuffed horse. And chattering softly to herself, to her stuffed animals. And to any angels who may be listening in.
I’m sitting on the bed, typing, just to let my soul breathe for a second. Just to inhale this moment. Just to breathe in His grace. And all the love He’s lavished right here in this place. Just to pause for a moment and look around at all He has given me.
Our room is messy, with the clothes we decided not to wear tonight still scattered on the bed, the dresser drawers are pulled out unevenly of the furniture that doesn’t match. Our curtains are ones that I picked up at a yard sale in June.
And I feel like a queen. Not because of anything I’ve done, or accomplished, but because of how great a thing I’ve been given. Because what I have is so good.
And I don’t always see it. The treasure that is my life. The treasure that is my husband, that is my daughter. The treasure that is my God.
But tonight, for these couple minutes of quiet, the blinders are off my eyes. I can see.
And what I see, is so good. Many people who are more successful, more wealthy, more “whatever” could look on me, and see failure. But I don’t care at all what others might see.
I care what He sees. And I care that He sees me, seeing Him. All of Him, and only Him as the One who has blessed me beyond all I could ever ask, or hope, or imagine.
And all of the best things, are coming with me to the next life. All of the best things aren’t the ones that thieves can break in and steal, or moths and rust can destroy. Because Jesus said, that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
And my soul is free tonight. For once, even if just for it a little. I can fly. The thing I’ve dreamed of doing all my life.
And if Peter Pan was right about one thing—it was the happy thoughts.
That happy thoughts make you fly.
It’s easy to be weighed down by all the evil, all the horror. I can think even now of the terrible news I read on news feeds tonight. And it’s so easy to let my eyes grow dark with the darkness. To let my heart grow heavy with the sins of the world, and it’s aching groans.
I’ve always had a bent toward sorrow, toward grief. Almost like grief would keep me sober. Grief would keep me ready for anything. It would protect my heart from being naïve. And so, I only listened to sad music, I identified with it. It seemed most real to me. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been more captivated by sorrow, than by joy.
Because I feel God wants to open the floodgates of joy. Because joy is more powerful than anyone thinks it is.
Joy is the heartbeat of the other world we were all made for. The world to which we are all waiting, and longing to go. The one where all of our treasures are.
In the movie, “Luther,” there is a monk who says, “All my life, I have lived in a world that has hated evil, more than it’s loved good.”
A world that has hated evil, more than it has loved good.
I know I am guilty as charged. Perhaps many other Christians are as guilty as me. It’s just that the bad things are so…bad. Sometimes I don’t realize that the good things are so…good. Or that the good things are all…from God.
I remember one night several months ago, there was such outrage on Facebook, about a very broken man who was trying to become a woman. And there were photos of him, and there was anger, and perversity, and nasty comments going back and forth. And my heart felt so heavy, over our world, over the confusion, over it all.
But just then, as I was feeling so discouraged, an email from the other side of the world popped up in my inbox that said, “Xavier was born!” He is my nephew, born to my missionary sister-in-law and brother-in-law in Niger, Africa. And when I saw his face, his little tiny newborn face, in the photo attachment—I just cried happy tears because, he was so beautiful. And the news was so good.
He was my happy thought.
And in the week to come, I kept thinking of his little face. I kept feeling I could fly. Just because of him. The joy he was. The evidence of “good.” Of God.
And I began to learn that however large those dark clouds hang, they are not bigger than the light that bursts through these good and perfect gifts from God.
Last spring, I was weeding my flower bed and I felt sure I heard the Lord speak to me. Not in an audible voice, but in my mind. But He said, in an Irish accent, (and I know how crazy this makes me sound) but He said, “Do you hate weeds more than you love flowers?”
And right away, I knew exactly what He meant. “Do you hate weeds, more than you love flowers?”
Do you hate the bad, more than you love the good?
Do the weeds invoke more anger and irritation in you, than the joy of these blooming flowers?
Do you mourn the losses, more than you celebrate the victories?
In this life, there are always going to be weeds. There are always going to be flaws, there are always going to bad things, and people that are not perfect. There are always going to be problems, and trials, and evil. There will always be weeds.
But there will always be flowers, too.
And when I look out on my life, on other’s lives—am I going to see the weeds, or the flowers? And am I going to hate the weeds, more than I love the flowers?
I think God likes flowers. And maybe that’s why He hasn’t “rototilled” us all to pieces by now.
He’s more gracious than I can comprehend. And sometimes, when I read about King David’s life, all I can see is this lying, adulterous, deceitful man, enslaved to sexual addiction, and lust.
All I see are a whole bunch of nasty weeds.
But that isn’t what God sees. God notoriously calls David, “A man after My own heart.” A man who passionately worshipped, and cried out to God from his bed, and who sang with his whole being, and knew his own brokenness, and God’s own goodness and mercy, and trusted in it, all the days of his life. That’s what God sees. The flowers. The beautiful, glorious flowers.
And I want to see how God sees. In my own life, and in other people’s lives. Because I think He sees and appreciates and rejoices in beauty more than anyone thinks He does. And when we join Him in this—we feel His pleasure.
Oh, I want to feel His pleasure!
So I’m going to love the good, more than I hate the evil. I’m going to love the flowers, more than I hate the weeds.
Because flowers are beautiful.
Last night, I fell asleep to my husband playing his guitar and singing in the other room. And there was no sweeter sound in all the world. I just lay in our bed and soak in his voice like the most soothing lullaby I’ve ever heard.
I forget the miracle he is sometimes. I forget the mystery of the way we met. I forget how precious he is. I forget the softness of his voice.
And just to lay and listen, as tears form in my eyes, and love him all the more—just because he’s mine. Just because I wouldn’t trade him for the world. Just because God gave him to me, as a gift. A good and perfect gift. Not because he is perfect, but because He is from God, and that makes him perfect for me.
Right now, Selah is sleeping across the hall. But tonight, when I put her down, I lay with her in her bed and as we lay in the dark, she held my face in her hands and smiled wide at me, looking at me like she was a proud grandma. With her hands still on my cheeks, I said, “Hey Selah, did you know that I always wanted to have a little girl named Selah?” And she just giggled. And after a few minutes I said, “Hey Selah, what do you think is in heaven?” And she said, “Toys.”
And we both laughed with the blankets pulled up to our chins.
She’s two, and the youngest miracle I know. And I don’t know what heaven holds, but when I hear her laugh, when I hear my husband sing, I feel heaven breaking through.
I feel the treasure they are. I feel my heart move into that place where no one can steal my joy away. And I see flowers breaking through the dirt.
And I love flowers because they are beautiful. Even with the weeds, they are beautiful.
And tonight, all I see are blooms.