Pure Beauty

rosesThen God surveyed everything He had made, savoring its beauty and appreciating its goodness. {Genesis 1:31}

The setting reminded me of a scene taken straight from The Chronicles of Narnia. Trees of every kind surrounded me. The more steps that were taken, the deeper into this secret realm my feet seemed to take me. I left all of my cares and concerns behind at the beginning of the trek over the bridge. I stood at the middle of the bridge, overlooking the creek and riverbed, all of the fresh water had evaporated leaving a rock bed in its place. Some debris and other traces of trash could be seen that had floated down the creek and entangled in the roots of the trees. A clean-up crew is needed to gather all this debris and dispose of it properly. Another time, another story I thought.

I was here to catch my breath. Some breathing room. To breathe in fresh air. To escape from the racing and spinning that my mind seemed to be chasing within. So many thoughts. Oh, to just escape, if only for a moment.

Humans are like a breath of air…  {Psalm 144:4}

Enjoying the oxygen being graciously deposited into my lungs. The simple inhale and exhale of each breath. The breath of life that we are given each day is a remarkable thing. Our breath is a gift. I was asked this morning, “Mommy, what if we didn’t have any more oxygen? What if all the trees were cut down everywhere? How could we breathe?” The questions of “what if” had me pondering. Sometimes to respond to a child’s questions, it is easier to think like a child. Well, if we didn’t have any oxygen, we would not be able to breathe, we would not have any air, we could not be alive. Then questions about the fish and other living things needing to breathe arose. His mind was spinning just as much as mine had been. All the thoughts, wonderings and possibilities in his little mind left him puzzled and very inquisitive.

So here I was on a path in the garden where trees of every sort surrounded me. The branches seemed to invite me into their home as the multi-colored leaves began to sway with the wind. As if motioning and saying come this way. Just as Lucy on Narnia was led down a path through the trees and into an amazing adventure and world far beyond what she could have imagined on her own. She embarked upon a journey that took her into a great unknown. Have you ever wondered if you could close your eyes and let your imagination take you places you have only dreamed of? What if there is a hidden place, a secret realm just beneath the surface that is inviting you to come and take part in?

On days when you seem to be running round and round with so many things to be done. Take some time to stop. Catch your breath. Embrace the breathing room. Practice the inhalation exercises. Inhale GRACE. Exhale whatever seems to be troubling you. Let all of your cares, worries, anxieties and concerns be exhaled with each deep breath that is released. Feel yourself relaxing more and more. Take as long as you need. There is no hurry in this exercise. And the best thing is, you can do this anytime, anywhere, even with anyone watching you. It doesn’t matter the time or place. Just begin this practice of deep cleansing breaths and feel the peace and contentment sweep over you.

Just as Lucy was led into the wardrobe closet and into a land of Narnia where she had many discoveries and adventures to behold, I find myself being led into secret places too. Gardens being one of my favorite places to discover, my imagination begins to take flight and the sky is the limit. So here I was, at the Botanical Garden in Grapevine, a place that I love to visit. I began to take one step at a time and allow my feet to lead the way. I had no agenda or time frame. Just to come and catch my breath and enjoy the breathing room.

I walked deeper into the trees and found my favorite spot. This tree that has grown sideways with the roots and branches growing every which way. Not your typical upright tree, that has grown the traditional way. No, not this one. Maybe this is why I am so drawn to this particular spot here in the garden. This tree has become a place that brings inspiration and creativity in ordinary moments. It is extraordinary. Each time I see it, it takes my breath away with awe and wonder.

A recollection of a day back in the winter comes to my memory when I was walking through the garden and could not wait to get to my favorite spot. I felt something inside beckoning me to come and see. Go to the tree. Our tree. You will see me there. Just you and me. I will meet you there. 

The closer that I became to the tree, pushing through branches and into the unknown, the more excited I became on the inside. What would I find? What was awaiting me? Would I really see Him? Was he waiting for me there?

I walked deeper still and up the little hill and my tree was in sight. Tiny yellow leaves that had fallen to the ground from the trees above were scattered all around as I embarked upon the spot. Almost there. Then my eyes captured the most beautiful display.

Silk white rose petals covered with shiny sparkly glitter were beautifully adorned and scattered all around my sideways grown tree. The tree that I come to and can just be me. I can escape into a secret realm and close my eyes and make believe. There were so many white petals all over this spot, in and around the tree. I looked around in amazement. Questions arose. How could this be? Where did these petals come from? Did someone come here and get down on one knee and propose? Did an angel come before I arrived and scatter them around to make me smile? I pictured the scene from Narnia when the flower petals gather together in the wind and create a display for the girl to follow. My imagination was soaring. I began to pick up the white petals and collect them in a sachet bag. How special. How unique. I had heard the whisper go to the tree. Our tree. You will see me there. And I did. This was a beautiful display from heaven. No matter how they got there, a human or an angel… someway, somehow they had appeared. Remarkably they were only in this spot by the sideways tree and no where else in the entire garden. I knew these were a keepsake to treasure.

At the beginning of our 10th semester this spring, our Embrace Grace girls were gathered together in class. I shared that our nature theme for the semester was flowers.  I walked around with that little sachet bag and silver tin that carried the collection of the pure white rose petals. They were special and unique and a sweet kiss from heaven. A petal was placed in the hands of each mommy. These white rose petals were a symbol. I wasn’t aware of the full significance at the time.

Just as each girl blossoms from her baby within her womb. She blossoms into the mother that God created and destined her to become. Pure beauty is revealed. 

With each new day petals unfold and bring forth fresh life and vibrance that is created by you being YOU. You are dropping petals every day and leaving a lasting impression on the people you come in contact with. Your little ones, family, friends, co-workers, even strangers. The petals that fall from your blooming flower helps plant something inside of them. A ray of hope, a glimmer, a sparkle, a fragrance that smells so sweet. Each of you carry beautiful petals with you everywhere you go. May these petals leave a trail that lead them to the One that created them. God in his sheer splendor delights in YOU. He created you and sees you as lovely! He delights in them too. In all of us! He longs for all of us to see Him. To feel His Presence all around us. Anywhere. Everywhere.

I made a visit to the garden yesterday and began walking up my familiar trail. To my surprise, there were still about a dozen white silk rose petals left as a reminder of my romantic day shared back in January. Months have passed by. Rain, wind, dirt, critters and more have fallen and swept across these petals. Yet, they still remain in the place they were scattered. I picked up a dirt stained petal, what once was white, pure and glittery. I stared at this petal in my hand. Then a sweet word came to my heart. See this petal. It looks a little dirty. You saw it in its original state when it was white, fresh and clean. This is a picture of my girls too. The petals that they leave behind may sometimes appear to be smeared with dirt and the effects of daily life. Some may look at themselves and think they are too dirty, or too messy to be loved and adorned by me. Oh, if only they could see the PURE BEAUTY within themselves. I see them as clean, pure, and washed white as snow.

An impression I felt…If only they could see a reflection of how I see them. In their original design, white, fresh, a clean slate, right-standing before me. I do not see any stains, dirt or messiness. I see them filled with grace. Will you please tell them for me? Will you share my heart with them? Allow them to capture the words that I am speaking that will penetrate into their hearts. Sheer bliss. Pure beauty. You sparkle. When I look at you. I see BEAUTY!

Written by Salina Duffy

 

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