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Doing Life Together Marriage Motherhood

The Secret To Keeping Your Wonder Alive When You’re Walking Through the Everyday

She rubbed the sleep from her eyes, although she was still waking up, her wonder was already alive.

Her tiny lips curved in a circle, “ohhhhhhhh” she said, almost out of breath, taken aback by the sparkling tree in the corner of the room.

Her eyes collided with pure beauty and it was enough to make her always-moving, two-year old feet stop in their tracks.

Might I interject here- our Christmas tree was only half-decorated at this point. A few random ornaments scattered the lower branches. While a strand of colorful lights only reached to the middle of the tree, leaving the top half dark and unfinished.

The tree was also crooked. It was hard for me to enjoy it, let only even look at it. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl; I couldn’t wait to rush to the store and purchase the rest of the lights and put the final touches on the tree.

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In a moment of deep conversation with my husband that weekend, God directed our attention to the tall, wiry, less-than-perfect Christmas tree beside us and our tiny girl’s reaction to it.

We had been chatting about life, and I was going off on my usual rant about how everything from parenting, to business, to relationships, felt like a struggle, and how I’m tired, and wondering why things don’t ever come easy for me, why does everything I try – fail.

Suddenly we both looked at the tree, it was as if its limbs began to teach us about the state of our lives. We, too, were unfinished and incomplete, slightly awkward and out of the ordinary.

We continued, agreeing that some powerful revelation must be missing from our lives, how could we overcome the incompleteness we witnessed within and around us- the mediocre state of our lives, business, marriage, and parenting.

We were just like our tree, only fixing this issue didn’t seem as straightforward as running to Walmart and buying lights and ornaments.

Surely, God wouldn’t leave us this way on purpose? It felt uncomfortable and embarrassing, like we were standing in front of an audience with nothing to say.

But then we remembered our sweet Zoe who stopped and stared, mesmerized by the glittering beauty of the tree. Her wonder gave way to a joyous response, simple notes of praise flowed from her lips, oohhhhhh…and all this over a simple tree.

“Perhaps,” I argued, “she is too young to have any concept of beauty or excellence. She doesn’t understand. She’s only two.”

But then my husband answered back, “Or might our definition of beauty be all wrong?”

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I could hardly stand to look at the tree with its skewed stature and other issues, while my little girl didn’t even seem to notice or care. We were annoyed and frazzled, unable to see or appreciate the beauty of the tree as it stood before us.

We were entirely wrapped up in fixing the incompleteness of our lives and the limbs of the tree, disgruntled and ungrateful for the present moment.

Our idea of beauty was rooted in perfection and wholeness. Beauty looked like smooth, sleek, successful, and flawless. The struggle and tension we experienced in our marriage, business, relationships, and parenting felt ugly and made us believe we were ugly and full of problems too. We could scarcely glance at our own lives without grimacing.

Suddenly we realized how we needed to decorate the rest our lives. The lack and frustration we felt wouldn’t disappear with a burning bush revelation, a profitable business, a well-balanced personal life, more friends, or more involvement in the community.

We were desperate for what our starry-eyed two-year had:

Thankfulness and faith. They feed off each other and bred a vibrant and beautiful adventure with God, even amid struggle and drudgery, trials and turbulent seasons

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Thankfulness.

Thankfulness unlocks us from the prison of discontentment. It is the revelation we are seeking, the missing ingredient to our mediocre living. Thankfulness flows like worship off our lips and transforms our everyday into soil of miracles, the sanctuary of His presence.

Standing in wonder becomes our first reaction, our coping mechanism. The trademarks of His beauty and grace saturate our entire lives and we can’t help but mutter childlike ohhs and ahhs, hand claps of delight, and smiles of amazement. With thankfulness, we can celebrate today, our lives, as is, because we aren’t worried about tomorrow.

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.

I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty.

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Philippians 4:11-13

{More verses for pondering: Philippians 4:6-7, Philippians 4:19, Colossians 3:15-17}

Faith.

Faith sees beyond the flesh. It looks through spiritual eyes. It calls into being what is not. It dares to believe that beauty is more than physical appearance, clean looks, or cool branding.

Faith frees us from the definition of beauty that’s been so ingrained in our minds. Faith only has eyes for the unseen, the mysterious, the incompleteness, because it is here where God dwells.

Faith doesn’t stand for cheap, easy, filtered living, it thrives in the struggle, the lack, the doubts. Faith flourishes when everyone else has given up or walked away. Faith stands in the dirt, the mess, the skewed, and the broken, and creates a masterpiece that will takes your breath away.

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.  Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

Hebrews 11:1-3

{More verses for pondering: Colossians 3:1-4, Hebrews 11, Hebrews 12:1-3, 1 Corinthians 2:9-10}

So if you’re rubbing your sleepy eyes, exhausted from the work of living and the heartache of your season, rest assured that with a little faith and thankfulness your wonder will stay alive! Then, everyday, even in with its struggles, incompleteness, and imperfection is ripe for a beautiful and intimate God- adventure.

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