Almost every morning, you will find me in front of the prayer board my husband gave me, Spark or coffee in hand, (okay, often both), worship music in the background, candle lit, God’s word nearby, and heart wide open. I cherish this time of day. It’s my favorite part, in fact. Moments to spend with the Creator and Savior of the universe. No matter what the day before (or night!) held; He faithfully calms my soul and gives me perspective for the hours to come. Eyes wide open, vision cleared.
In theory, I want this time to be only the beginning. In theory, it doesn’t end here. And, some days, this would be true. Yesterday was not one of those days.
The day started out the same as always, but between therapy, throw-up, bills, stressful conversations with doctors and therapists; my vision was more than blurred. God? He was the same. Me? I was on to the next imperfect thing, clenching those fists and attempting to control all that was around me. Last night as I laid down, it hit me that I had not lived out of overflow. No. I had spent the day, living out of fear. Out of frustration. Out of self.
His mercies are new every morning, amen? Today, as I sit here yet again, God’s word and His purposes still standing, I was reminded of these two sweet girls.
The first is a picture of an orphan from Addis Adaba, Ethiopia. It was taken a few years back when I went on my very first mission trip. Vision. Despite the language barrier and cultural differences, this young girl followed me around the clinic for an entire day. She clung to me, a stranger whose skin color was foreign to her, as if she had known me her whole life. I could not speak to her, and even with a translator’s help to share the Gospel, her understanding seemed limited. But God. I remember staring her dead in the eyes and stating in English, “God loves you little one”. She, a little girl who had no idea what I’m saying, took one look at the love overflowing from my eyes and smiled. It was if she could see to the depths of my soul, and I desperately wanted her to be able to pull out the hope of Jesus from me. As the day ended, we said our goodbyes, and I prayed. I prayed for her physical protection; but most of all, I prayed that somehow, in some way, truth would be given to this beautiful child.
A year later, in a remote village in Bangladesh, I met this little child. Do not ask me why, but she immediately reminded me of my sweet Ethiopian friend. I think it was the eyes. So vulnerable; so open and longing for love. She too clung to me throughout the day; and I attempted to spend my time simply showing her the love of Christ, knowing that in a few hours, we would leave. Perspective.
The truth is, the distractions of our day to day lives are vast. It is easier to focus on the temporary tasks at hand instead of gazing and meditating on the eternal. Many of us find ourselves, more often than not, reading a quick devotional in the morning and then moving on to the next thing. We mistaken God as a portion of our life, rather than the Sustainer of the life He’s loan to us.
I believe that when we find ourselves more concerned with our circumstances than our eternity, it’s time to take a step back, take a step forward, or take a step aside, and look into the eyes of those around us. It is then that we can be reminded, whether in a foreign country or right in our own homes, what truly matters. Friends, the souls of those around us are much more important than whatever task is at hand. What is easy is not always right, and what is right is not always easy. But, I think we will all find when we put aside self and lean in to those around us, we will find that we have much more in common with our fellow human beings than we ever knew. And, if this is true in a far off village in Asia, it is true in your life. Perspective.
Our sweet girls’ eyes are just gorgeous. I could truly stare at them all day, and my favorite part about them is that when I look at them, they truly look back. While we are not sure “what is going on up there” as one doctor eloquently put it, what I do know is that the girls are able to connect with the people around them; maybe in a deeper way than most. Today, I am determined to spend more time today loving them and showing them Christ through that love; instead of putting all my energy toward the things that don’t carry eternal significance. Eyes to see.
Friend, where are your eyes fixed today? Are you focused on things that are fading, or are you focused on that which will never perish? This weekend, I encourage us to look those around us in the eyes, and instead of fixing our gaze on what appears to be going on; let’s dig deeper. Let’s help one another to believe and live out the eternal perspective found in Jesus. All glory belongs to Him.