It never ceases to amaze me just how tiring and intense our family life can be, especially if I’m honest when school term is over and everyone has time off. All around us friends and family are heading off excitedly on holidays together – and we also head off, but perhaps with a more complex set of emotions than simple excitement.
Out of routine children in unfamiliar places can be a challenge! Just thinking about the extra energy needed to get us there, and survive the experience makes me tired in itself! You know how it is.
We have just had to be spontaneous (I know, not one of our family strengths) and come home earlier than planned because a weather front plus camping at a Christian festival might not have been the most sensible plan. Its upset all the known plans, and caused anxiety all round but before we left I was sitting in a seminar surrounded by other carers and parents who find hope in Jesus like me, and I was reminded by one who commented that her way of self-care in the midst of caring for others was to notice the beauty in the ordinary.
It struck me, and I have brought that thought home with me. If the weather behaves for us I will pack that thought and take it with us to our next week of camping with my sister and her kids by the coast.
Seeing the beauty in the ordinary, such a simple thing.
And as I think about it, such a transforming thing.
Simply taking time to notice beauty; in an unexpected smile; a flower growing through the pavement cracks; the pattern of the sun bouncing and dancing off the sequins of my daughters T-shirt in the car. There is beauty everywhere we turn, when we notice. But how easy to miss it when we are feeling tired and overwhelmed. Somehow we find ourselves using our energy to anticipate the negatives and the problems round every corner, and forgetting to note the beauty in each other and the world around us.
I am reminded of Jesus’ words to a crowd of worried parents,
“Will all your worries add a single moment to your life? For example why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don’t work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn’t as well clothed as one of them. - have you ever seen colour and design quite like it?” (Matthew 6:27-29)
When we stop and notice beauty, pause just for a moment to take it in, we can’t help but see intricate detail and design, amazing extravagant colours and shapes. They remind me of a Creator who takes care in the details – all the small things, even the things so many of us walk past. He sees them, they make Him smile, they delight Him. He has knit beauty into His world at every turn and every hidden corner, nothing is too small for His attention and care.
I am reminded again that nothing in my life, or in my family is too small for His attention and care either.
He has knit beauty in and through us too. We make Him smile, we delight Him! There is nothing about us, even in our most awkward and ordinary moments that He walks past without noticing. He sees. He smiles.
So, today waking up unexpectedly at home and faced with piles of washing, suitcases everywhere hurriedly packed, the kitchen piled high with shopping done for camping that needs sorting and tidying – perhaps today is a good day to put this into practice! Where is the beauty in all of that? I need to take those moments just to notice and take it in. I need reminding that my God sees, and smiles. He sees the beauty in the ordinary- every time!
Written by Cathy Porter