This is a post from last spring, when we were in the middle of one of the busiest and most emotional times of our lives. Yesterday, my daughter finished her freshman year in college. Next week, she’ll be coming home for the summer. What a year it’s been! I’ll write more about that later, but first, here’s a moment of unexpected beauty that still delights me. In the comments, let me know if you’ve had a similar experience.
We are smack dab in the middle of major change here at our house.
Our daughter is graduating from high school.
We've always known it was coming, of course, and now it's here. It feels like it came early but not really. It's right on time.
It's good, it's exciting, and I am thrilled for her. I am even getting excited for Mart and me and what's next for us as empty nesters.
But some days, it's a little hard.
I've been praying for everything I can think of that's remotely related to her and her transition to college. I have been filling up pages in my journal. I've been talking to other moms and dads who have been down this road before and can offer encouragement and perspective.
And I have been looking for beauty.
Beauty is a gift from God, and it's everywhere. It's just one of the ways God reveals himself to us, a tangible reminder of his presence--something I need more of right now in this time of change.
Last week, I went to a luncheon at a special place called Eagle Ranch. Eagle Ranch partners with families to help children in crisis. It helps make life better for them all, positively impacting communities for the glory of God.
The luncheon was wonderful. The food tasted delicious, not like every other event food you've ever had. The room was beautiful, with beautiful flowers on the tables and large windows that brought the natural beauty outside in. The speakers told stories of children's lives being changed at Eagle Ranch and of God's faithfulness through the years. I felt encouraged and uplifted by the whole thing.
As I drove down the road toward the exit, I stopped off at the chapel. The bright pink azalea bushes against the dark stone and wood was stunning, and I wanted a few photos.
When I got back into the car and started backing up, I caught sight of something in the rearview mirror. As I backed into the road, I looked to my left and gasped.
A white horse. He had just come over and was standing there in the shade by the fence, perfectly framed under fresh, spring-green leaves with the brilliant blue sky behind him. And he was looking at me.
I rolled the window down and started talking to him quietly. I didn’t want to get out of the car and take a chance that he might move or walk away. So I pulled my phone up and started taking the same shot over and over again. I tend to do that when I’m excited, and I usually end up with 20 shots of the same thing.
But as I talked to him and took his picture, he seemed to get shy and, I’m not kidding you, he hid his eyes behind the fence.
I laughed and talked to him and took more photos. He lifted his head again and stood there, without moving, just gazing at me.
I didn't want the moment to end. My car was sitting in the road, however, and other luncheon guests would be coming along behind me. So I rolled a little further down the road and he turned his head and watched me. I took a few more photos from that angle and finally drove away.
With all the change in our lives right now, with the celebrations and milestones that are both joy-filled and bittersweet--well, I guess I needed a special reminder that God sees me, knows me, and is with me. He gave it to me in that moment with the white horse.
Thank you, God.
Unexpected beauty is one of my favorite things about being a beauty seeker. If you look for beauty, you will find it. And the more you do that, the more attuned you are to it and the more you see it.
But sometimes, it will surprise you. Maybe just when you need it most.
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