Ken and I recently had the privilege of spending some extended time with my daughter, son and law, and granddaughter. Since they live quite a distance away in Atlanta, it is always a special treat to visit. We were like kids again going to the park everyday, playing in the indoor play areas, making cookies and pancakes. As the week progressed, I found myself thinking about how as we get older, we often lose that simple childlike wonder and joy of play.
(This blog has lots of photos. slideshows, and a video, so it is best read from the website. If you are reading from the email reminder, just click the butterfly and it will take you directly to the site.)
After several days in the city, Ken had to return home for rehearsals, but I got to stay and have a few extra days. I was blessed to keep little Evelyn all to myself for the weekend! I must admit I was a little nervous, since she is such a mommy’s girl, but my mind was full of fun ideas to make precious memories together. I planned a trip to the zoo one day, a trip to the Aquarium the next. We saw sea lions, and dolphins, pandas, zebras, gorillas and lions and so much more!
We bought flowers to plant in pots on the deck as a surprise for Mommy when she came home! Evelyn was so proud of her little potted garden - watering and taking care of it. I believe growing things gives us a picture of the seeds of faith, that when planted and watered grow into a life filled with the hope, beauty and goodness of Jesus.
The weekend was full of adventures. One of the things that struck me the most was the wonder I could see in the eyes of Evelyn as we saw so many amazing sights. She was taking in the miracles of her Creator.
The picturea below capture it. Her mouth was almost always open in awe!
21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. God saw that it was good....24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds:the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. Genesis 1:21,24 NIV
As we traveled from one adventure to another and celebrated the wonder of it together, I thought about the Scripture from Matthew 18:3 NIV
And He said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
This Scripture refers to the childlike faith of simplicity, humility, and teachable spirits we must have to enter into salvation. Doesn’t it often begin as He speaks into our hearts through His creation? I have vivid memories as a child sitting under the cypress trees on our property looking up at the sky and marveling at the power of a God so amazing to create such beauty. God was drawing me to Himself there under the trees by the lake.
It is easy, as adults to lose sight of the glory of God. We get so consumed in our responsibilities, our projects, our work, our schedules, our technology, and our circumstances.
I love this statement from Sally Clarkson’s book “Own Your Life”,
“What might He accomplish through me if I would only throw off my cloak of worry and just enjoy the beauty, dance with the invisible music, and celebrate life?”
Hmm....cloak of worry.... I believe He has something much greater in mind for us.
We were given a gift as Maggie and Evelyn unexpectedly were able to drive back to Baton Rouge with us for five more days together. We had to go back to work, but managed to squeeze in lots of fun...more parks and pretend play, feasts and family times. Treasured memories and more lessons for me as I was caught in the whirlwind of the life and wonder of a toddler, exploring and celebrating life, capturing every moment He gives us.
God’s creation is so spectacular. The animals at the zoo and aquarium were breathtaking.
How long has it been since you took a trip to gaze at the wonder of His beautiful creatures?
Or take a trip to the park, watch the children, swing in the air!! Way up high!!
We can so easily miss the simple wonders the Father has for us, gifts of His glory to celebrate in the everyday.
The video below of little Evelyn chasing after flowers in the park captures it all I think. Her mom, Maggie enjoys the wonder of her daughter as she runs through the grass in search of another wildflower to pick exclaiming....
and more...and more...and more!!!
What a picture of childlike wonder!!
I recently read a quote that I love by Friedrich Nietzsche, “Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
There is always more...and more just ahead of us....gifts of wonder, nature, art, music from the Father just waiting to behold. He is the Master Artist! There are celebrations waiting to unfold and simple moments of creative play and sheer joy! You might even find it in your own backyard. You don't have to have a child to go to the zoo!
When Maggie and Evelyn left, I confess I was a bit exhausted physically. The energy of a two year old in my sixty years can be a little much for my body at times, but my heart and spirit were bubbling with joy. I determined not to get so caught up in the work of my days, not to miss opportunities of beauty, song, and delight!
As only the Lord can orchestrate, we were blessed with tickets to the symphony the next week where we heard the glorious music of Mozart in music from the C minor Mass. Then this past weekend, we attended a wonderful musical version of Narnia at First Presbyterian Church. Astounding creativity and beauty - free! Such adventures enrich the soul and stir our spirits with truth!
We also attended a free concert at the LSU music school of an amazing tenor, Paul Groves, a Louisiana native, who has sung with the MET and all over the world for 25 years. I was tired from a full day of ministry and work, but I knew that if we didn't make the effort to go, we would miss the blessing. It's important to pull away from the fast pace of our world and soak in the beauty of music crafted with great skill. Paul Groves sang beautiful romantic melodies, many I had not heard since my college days there. During the concert, I looked over at my husband, Ken, and tears were streaming down his face. The sheer beauty of this gift of song and such excellence was breathtaking. As he came out for his final number, he spoke to us, saying that he had planned to end with something big and showy, but after spending time with family back in Louisiana this week he had changed his mind. He decided to return to his roots and sing instead a spiritual, “Give Me Jesus.” And then I wept! It has been my favorite spiritual for years. Whether God brings us to fame and fortune, or we labor in the routine of work, cooking and laundry, ultimately it all comes back to the message of that song.
“In the morning, when I rise, Give Me Jesus!”
and the fact the He answers our cry for Him is truly the wonder of grace!
I have sung that song through many a difficult hour of my life and the Lord blessed me with it again that night.
For no matter our circumstances, work or play, Jesus is what we need the most.
Our spirits left the beautiful evening refreshed and inspired!
Father, open up our child’s eyes to see the miraculous that surrounds us in the everyday.
Help us to make time to celebrate life... the beauty, the wonder, the music, the art,
the night sky, the sunrise, the miracle and sweetness of a flower....
Father, help us not to get so caught up in the mundane of life
when your glory is all around us. Lord, teach us to keep our eyes focused on You,
the Creator all things and marvel at the wonder of it.
Free our spirits Lord to dance with great joy and sing
with a love that cannot be quenched for You are a Savior
who finds great delight in His children - young and old.
Like a little child let us come to You, Jesus,
accepting with joy the beautiful gifts you so lovingly
give us everyday, if we will just reach for them.
Thank you that there is always more and more!
How beautiful that this blog is posted on Evelyn's second birthday. I'm so grateful for the lessons she has taught me about childlike wonder,
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