I met Becca through the The Way Up is Down book launch team. The author of the book, Marlena Graves, hosted a weekly Zoom meeting study group. We enjoyed it and wanted to stay connected. Several of us continue to meet via Zoom to go through another book to learn about group spiritual direction. We’re from California, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan, and other places, but through the wonder of technology meet together every two weeks to gather in the name of Jesus. I’m amazed at how God is able to knit hearts together….even through Zoom meetings. He has done it, though.
In this month’s Live Like It Matters guest post, Becca reminds us to “wade further into the depths of God’s undiluted splendor.”
Bec McNew is a pastor’s wife and homeschool mom of two, residing in TN. An introvert with an extroverted word-quota, her works have appeared in Fathom, Women at Southern: A Walk Through Psalms, and the young children’s book Evie & Alistair: Farmhouse Warriors which she authored and illustrated. You can find Bec on Instagram and Twitter @thenewbec
by Bec McNew
“When I think of you, I think of wonder.”
The irrefutable sentence met my daughter’s gaze as she unfolded another page in a stack of birthday letters. One-by-one, our firstborn soaked in all manner of affirmation by way of dear family and friends, collectively housed in a tongue-and-groove keepsake box crafted by her father. Thoughtful messages typed, scrawled, and even custom painted evoked celebration of her thirteenth year around the sun. Each phrase unveiled a unique aspect of her character and potential, depending upon the author’s perspective. I’ve long referred to our girl as my wonder-full child. Evidently, I’m not the only one who sees it.
Gobsmacked that this empathic creature came from my womb, I’m thoroughly convinced it was divinely purposed. Her assignment, in part, a sanctification past my bent to find worth only in manageable outcomes and clearly measurable things. I’m not known for excessive sentiment. Milestones rarely induce weepy nostalgia, and exquisite details sift their way through my cognition like a sieve. Though neutrality is beneficial in some circumstances, insipidness has a grave downfall. Lackluster disguises God’s own deeds as unimpressive. Worse: it shrouds who he is. No, stoicism is not equivalent to holiness.
Our daughter won’t stand for such beige monotony as casually passing by flowers. Her attention diverts, ruminating over form, hues and bends of foliage—sorrowing over the wilting bloom. Caught in a trance by Turk’s Cap lilies, narration extends invitation into her whimsical world. I’m beginning to realize such enraptured perceptions aren’t wasteful, but invaluable. Captivation once perceived as frustrating interruption is now a clearer vision compelling greater awe of God in those around her—in me. I pray her enthrallment will not be diluted. That I won’t quench it out of her. I long for her never to grow out of it. That I’ll grow into it. Wonder catches like dandelion seeds dispersed in a breeze, extracting grins from observers who can’t help but want to play their own part in its dance. Likewise, God mercifully wows me more by the day. Sometimes, I cry in movies now, even at memories popped up in social media, and especially over Jesus. I take notice of beautiful things. I’m getting there.
At the age of seven, our enthusiastic child emerged from the hallway donning a Spider-Girl costume while holding her Bible. Bursting at the seams with excitement, she rattled off a mile-a-minute the contents of her late night reading… in Revelation. Her words and exaggerated hand gestures painted pictures of heavenly creatures, so many 12,000s of things, and sweet and sour scrolls. Utterly enamored.
Majestic clouds, billowy and pink, sat high atop the evening horizon as we ran our monotonous errands. “Do you think that’s the cloud Jesus will come back on?” she pondered, face smushed against the car window, fogging glass upon each breath. My own prosaic thoughts never considered it. Not when I was seven, not even then. The travesty of trying to keep everything manageable comes when we miss out on what’s actually worthy. Glossing over God’s richness dilutes our expectancy of him. His wonders cease to occur to us—anticipation of glory to come, lost.
Well-meaning in our dignified quests, we stumble over ministry check-boxes, theological prowess, rule-following, and productivity, knocking ourselves into a spiritual amnesia of sorts. Trying so hard to please the Lord, taking actual pleasure in Him is disregarded. The Holy One is erased from being the giver of all good gifts as extracurriculars are acquiesced to mere holiness distractions. Could it be that in tirelessly belittling our imaginations as senseless, entertainment as vainglorious, our leisure as “just a game,” that we’re telling God thanks but no thanks? Certainly, nothing should be above him. But can those things not count for the kingdom, too, uniquely directing a soul’s engrossment to behold God’s glory? Diverting our attention, our affection even, to merely church-quantifiable things, institutions become idolized—our gaze drawn away from the glory of the Lord. We forget that in the beginning, God created incomprehensible things. Creativity itself bears evidence to the master designer. As does delight. I can’t help but think it brings our good Lord a smile when we notice and participate in the fantastical details. Are his gifts through the world we inhabit imperceptible to our cerebral minds? Perhaps our awe of the Almighty is proportional to our willingness to pause over nuance, to worship him in the intricacies of commonplace things. Our propensity to make little gods of ourselves unwittingly squeezes our view of God into our vapid structures’ image. It should rather be the other way ‘round.
Diluting the supernatural’s magnificence endangers the very source of our hope, as we only tend to hope as far as we can imagine. When imagination is suffocated small, so is our perception of God’s bigness. Hope dims if we can’t see truth surpassing our limitations, or woven into them. Realizing God’s far-beyond-our possibilities –unfathomable awe and infinite power, sonnets and soccer games, puffy clouds and peculiar lilies—it all invokes worship of the Creator. He sustains order, yes indeed, but he is not manageable. He is not fenced in. May we all wade further into the depths of his undiluted splendor, washed over in awe of the Almighty. Perhaps then, when the world thinks of us, they’ll too behold God’s wonder.
Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash
Your daughter is a beautiful reminder of the joy exploding all around us but often unobserved. Thank you for sharing.