all photos and writings by June Friesen
The challenge is to discern wonder as we step into 2022. As one thinks back over the past 22 months – well that is interesting…22 months since our lives were totally changed worldwide by Covid and now we step into the year 2022. Wow, as I just wrote these two sentences I am even more in awe and wonder than when I researched material for this writing and started putting thoughts together. Paul’s words in Philippians 4 are so on target for me as I prepare to challenge myself to walk into this year with a new awareness of seeing God present in my daily activities as well as in the events and opportunities presented as we embark on this new journey. Paul writes:
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
When I think of the word ‘wonder’ all kinds of images pop into my mind. Today I share two images that indeed hold wonder for me. Consider first the oyster lying in the ocean finding itself dealing with an annoyance of a minute piece of something in its being. It begins to secrete a substance to cover this irritant and eventually the substance forms into what we identify as a pearl. For many of us owning a pearl or at least a genuine pearl that is not manmade is more of a dream than a reality. I have no idea whether a sea person gathering oysters has any idea or even thought about whether and/or how many pearls they may find. One thing I am sure of is that the oyster has little to no thought of that irritant as being of any value; for them it is an annoyance and problem they wish would just go away.
Second, there is the wonder that a rosebud holds. The rose unfurls its petals gently and delicately until it is open and then it reveals an exquisite beauty, often a beautiful fragrance as well as a delightful place for the bees to tumble about in and gather pollen for honey. In the photo below one can see the intricate design of the petals as well. So much wonder…..in the world around us, within our own bodies, relationships, families, nature – just everywhere….O to take the time to observe and enjoy.
Today I was challenged to replace my worry with wonder….now that is quite a stretch for sure. It is especially a stretch for someone like me who tends to capitalize on worry rather than trust. One way that I have learned how to cope more effectively with worry and turn my worry into wonder is through gratitude. Taking time to develop a lifestyle, yes, I said lifestyle on purpose, of gratitude tends to turn worry into wonder – it causes one to see how much God has given and gifted us within our lives. For many of us we tend to worry more than we wonder – or if we wonder we tend to have a negative side to our wonder. Let us ponder this beautiful rosebud that I happened upon a couple weeks ago. Now I take many, many photographs but never do I ever remember a bud with such intricate texture on the petals themselves. And the delicate blending of the colors is another wow here for sure. In my inquisitive mind there are many running thoughts here – how big will this flower be when it is open? Will the colors blend together throughout the entire blossom? What color will the center of this rose be? Will it have a strong or delicate scent or possibly no scent at all? Will the bees come and roll in the pollen and then make some sweet, sweet honey? How long will it take until this bud opens? And the questions could go on but I think by now you have also been captivated by the wonder of one rosebud. What an incredible Creator God we have!
So how is it that I can replace my worry with wonder you may ask? How can I really pray to God to handle a problem and then ‘let go and let God?’ Again, I am reminded of another couple verses in the Scriptures:
Matthew 6:27-29 (The Message) “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
Yes, again we are encouraged to let go….to embrace the wonder, the creativity of God as well as the capability of God. This has all lead to an acrostic I have entitled:
Discerning the Wonder & Beauty of the Year 2022
Tis the beginning of a fresh new year –
Wonderful treasures are wrapped neatly in 365 days –
Eventually each one will arrive to be embraced and lived –
New experiences, new adventures, new people to meet –
Trying to navigate each part of the daily path –
Yes – step by step, moment by moment, I will live to glorify God.
Trying to embark on a new year, a new day, a new beginning
With relished excitement and wonder
Entails a conscious effort and choice on my part –
Not feeling the certainty and predictability
That life once seemed to offer –
Yet choosing to embrace the present as a gift – – –
This is where the Almighty Creator God comes into focus –
With His invitation once again to trust and walk with Him
Onward on the path He has mapped for me – for you – the path through twenty-twenty-two.
God: help us to embrace the gifts of this year we have just begun. Some of them may well prove as irritants but give us the grace to allow them to develop into beautiful gifts we may offer to others along the way. Some of them will take a while to open into fulness but give us the patience to allow You to unfurl the moments, hours, days, weeks, and months into beautiful gifts with which our lives can then bless others in this world. Thank you, God, for the opportunity of sharing our lives with Your creation. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
“You can infuse your life with joy, even right in the middle of winter when you need it most…”
Join Christine Aroney-Sine for a series of five inspiring conversations, based on her book, The Gift of Wonder: Creative Practices for Delighting in God.*
- January 19 – The Awe of Wonder (Introduction)
- January 26 – Wonder & Trauma
- February 2 – Play!
- February 9 – Reminiscing
- February 16 – The Joy of Gratitude
* We will mail you the book with your $10 registration. If you already have the book, the series is free.