Crunch, crunch, crunch. My dark maroon Red Wing boots stepped against freshly fallen snow. A note about the snow: it literally--and I do mean literally--sparkled. Like every Tiffany diamond you've ever seen magnified by twenty, all put together in a pile, and made into fluffy, bunny-like openness.
Crunch, crunch, crunch. The fresh snow, like a blank canvas, was being attacked by my heavy boots; the meeting of snow and shoe sounded like five-day-old, toasted bread being smashed. Crunch, crunch, crunch.
And there it was.
The Lord has been calling me to let go of the illusions I have about myself--every white palace I've ever built to make myself look better than I actually am; every Tower of Babel I've convinced myself is beautiful. Because in The Lord's eyes, these false, human-made statues of greatness are actually the emptiest and most shallow of feats; white-washed tombs. In The Lord's eyes, we may never be ready for real beauty until we fall, and fall messily; maybe in ways that don't always make sense.
So as me and my housemates crunched through the snow, I heard the Lord crunching through the whitest, cleanest, most neatly put-together parts of me.
I let Him step on me.
Because yes, snow is beautiful. And it makes the world seem a little simpler; a little more manageable; something we can sit peacefully in.
But snow isn't always reality.
Beneath the white crystals--which yes, bring beauty to perhaps less-beautiful things--is still dirt and suffering and difficulty. And if we are not willing to acknowledge the muck and dirt and pain underneath, we may not ever truly be able to appreciate the freshly-fallen, white, diamond beauty above it.
The Lord makes us beautiful when we acknowledge the dirt and the pavement; the graffiti-ed streets underneath; those deepest fears, shames, depravities, and unsure-happenings that hold us in chains. The Lord calls us to brutal honesty with ourselves and with those around us; not for the sake of spreading an already-overwhelming disease, but for the sake of glorifying the Lord that never leaves, never abandons, and always leads.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
This is why I have confidence going to the deepest, darkest, most unseen, scared, and ashamed parts of me. Because I know, without a doubt in my mind, that the Lord goes with me. Always. I am His child. And so are you. There is no place He doesn't go; even if there are places your friends aren't ready to go; your family; your coworkers; your congregation. The Lord is always faithful to lead, even before it seems like there is a path to walk down.
So as The Lord calls us all to acknowledge the mess underneath, let's lay in the beauty of a freshly fallen snow, like cotton diamonds, and make snow angels without fear of judgment, or messiness, or being "irresponsible" in what is a beautiful, holy, and divine childlike-wonder.
The Lord is with us, always. And even when others may stop extending hands and love--or if they forget what it looks like to do so--He never does. He is always ready to reach that extra inch, foot, or mile. He is that wildly committed (and in love) with you, His child.
May we rest in the beauty of this.
The Lord has taught me so much through those I have left behind in warmer states, and those I have met on these colder, snowy days; this is a thank you to both. I would not be able to face all these "realities" so fearlessly without the foundation of love that each have fashioned underneath my shifting feet.
I stare at the snow (and dirt) and I see beauty.