Today I caught such a sweet glimpse of God revealing His glory in the beauty of His creation. I walked outside the doors of my church and spotted one of the most exquisite creatures I’ve ever seen. It was a giant moth. Now, I don’t normally find moths of any sort very attractive, but this one was an exception. My son and I stopped to look at it and we were awed by the glorious display of its wings moving to avoid our touch. Its wings were a vibrant green, about 3-4 inches across and had two sets of brown eye spots at the top. At the bottom was a billowing tail that looked delicate, almost like ribbons on the end of a kite. Its body was white and furry, with feathery antennae. I was enthralled. Some friends came out to see the moth with us and one said, Oh, that’s a Luna Moth.
Having never heard of Luna Moths before, I had to find out more.
A quick Google search gave me five intriguing facts about Luna Moths:
As I walked to my car, my mind swirled with spiritual questions and truths related to the sight of this unusual product of God’s handiwork. For instance, why would God create something so intensely beautiful, but only allow it to remain alive for such a short time? God brought to my mind Ecclesiastes 3:11, which says,
"He has made everything beautiful in its time" (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
God’s timetable isn’t defined by mine. In His timetable depth of beauty doesn’t rely on length of life. One short life can certainly bring immense glory to God.
I was also curious about the purpose these moths have in nature. The only reason for their existence I could find is they live to reproduce. So, in essence, life is their purpose! What a beautiful reflection of the Creator of life! Psalm 36:9 says,
“For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9).
I wanted to know about the eye spots that so beautifully adorn the wings. I found they are meant to camouflage the moth and confuse a predator. God equipped these creatures with everything needed to survive their lifespan, even though their lifespan is incredibly short. That speaks to me of God’s desire to protect life. Over and over in the Bible, we’re given the picture of God as our Protector. Psalm 139 sings of His protection over us. Verse 2 speaks of how God knows and understands us.
“You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thoughts afar off” (Psalm 139:2).
Verse 5 shows us His protective hand.
“You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5).
When I stop and meditate on all God does for His creation, to protect, shelter and nurture, I can say with David,
“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6).
I think it’s this reality that brought so many questions to my mind when I encountered the Luna Moth today. God’s knowledge of His creation, His way with the things of the world He made, is too lofty for me. That truth brings me comfort because He is not a God I can figure out and place in a box on a shelf, only to be brought down when I need something. He is the sovereign God, concerned with the vastness of the universe and the life of a little moth. He is the sovereign God concerned with all of creation and the life of little me and little you. Wow! I don’t know where you are today or how you may be struggling; but I do know one thing. If God cares enough to give a moth life, beauty, and protection, He cares about the everyday details of your life. You can trust Him with whatever may be concerning you today.
While I was hesitant to write a whole blogpost about a moth, my hope for you is that it sparks a new desire to see what God is revealing about Himself through His creation today. Take some time to stop and look around. Mark the wonder that you find. This world is full of man-made hustle. What if you stepped out of it for a moment and stepped into the hush of His stillness? I promise you’ll be amazed at what He has to show you there.
I love where Stephanie writes: "He is the sovereign God, concerned with the vastness of the universe and the life of a little moth. He is the sovereign God concerned with all of creation and the life of little me and little you. Wow! I don’t know where you are today or how you may be struggling; but I do know one thing. If God cares enough to give a moth life, beauty, and protection, He cares about the everyday details of your life. You can trust Him with whatever may be concerning you today." Isn't it the truth?!
It's our responsibility as parents to teach our children to be more like Christ.
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REBELLION Proverbs 29:1
RESPECT FOR PARENTS Proverbs 20:20
SCHOOL WORK Proverbs 1:7; 3:13-19; 8; 9:10; 16:16
SEX EDUCATION Proverbs 2:16-22; 5:1-23; 6:20-35; 7:1-27; 9:13-18; 23:26-28
Specifically Girls Proverbs 2:6-19
Specifically Boys Proverbs 5:8-13; 6:23-29
SHARING Proverbs 11:24-26; 22:9; 28:27
SNEAKY Proverbs 5:21; 15:3 & 11
STEALING Proverbs 15:16; 21:7; 22:22 & 23; 29:24
TATTLING Proverbs 11:13; 18:8; 20:19
TEACHING YOUR CHILD Proverbs 4:1-27; 22:6
TEASING Proverbs 11:12; 14:31; 15:1; 17:5
THOUGHTS Proverbs 16:3
TRAINING Proverbs 22:6
TROUBLEMAKERS Proverbs 24:19 & 20
"If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. 'I will be found by you.' says the Lord." Jeremiah 29:13-14
"I went about my life believing God had more plans for me, wrought with mystery and nuance, hidden just outside my line of vision. Quite honestly, it was easier to soldier forward in my pursuit of being a good, Christian woman and just hope it would all shake out in the wash.
Somewhere on the path toward the weird way of Jesus, where conventional wisdom is replaced with foolish love and unpopular alliances, I uncovered my calling. It wasn't new. It had always been there. But now, I was ready to see it. And because I'm your friend to the end, I'm here to save you the trouble: It's your calling too.
As Christ-followers, we are called to be long-haul neighbors committed to authenticity and willing to take some risks. Our vocation is to invest deeply in the lives of those around us, devoted to one another, physically close to each other as we breathe the same air and walk the same blocks. Our purpose is not so mysterious after all. We get to love and be deeply loved right where we're planted, by whomever happens to be near. We will inevitably encounter brokenness we cannot fix, solve, or understand, and we'll feel as small, uncertain, and outpaced as we have ever felt. But we'll find our very lives in this calling, to be among people as Jesus was, and it will change everything. The details will look quiet and ordinary. They will exhaust and exhilarate us. But it will be the most worth-it adventure we will ever take." —Shannan Martin, The Ministry of Ordinary Places
"We believe God hasn't forgotten us and that He has a plan to renew the beauty lost in the weeds. We are mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. We want the younger generations to thrive in a new way. We want the older generations to feel seen, heard, and valued." —Shannan Martin, The Ministry of Ordinary Places
"Barbara Brown Taylor wrote, 'It is not necessary to take on the whole world at first. Just take the three square feet of earth on which you are sitting, paying close attention to everything that lives within that small estate.' Simply put, we cannot love what we do not know. We cannot know what we do not see. We cannot see anything, really, until we devote ourselves to the lost art of paying attention....
Slowly, I began to understand that what God was asking of me was indeed a very small thing. In His kingdom economy, most great things are. Today, in a small city in Indiana, I continue to be schooled in the ways of seeing—really seeing—my place and her people. This unlikely education is born of repetition, hyperawareness, and the audacity to believe God is already at work around me in the shadows and cracks." —Shannan Martin, The Ministry of Ordinary Places
"...we have to reimagine ourselves as students of the invisible practice of mindful hearing. We have to reacquaint ourselves with quiet and minimize distraction so that our ears can be tuned. Here's how I try. I make space each day to intentionally choose silence, going about my business without the drone of music, podcasts, or television. I also leave my phone at home whenever possible, particularly on walks. It seems like such an unremarkable choice, we're tempted to dismiss it. There are times I suffer a wave of lowest-grade panic that I'll miss out on capturing a beautiful moment without a camera in my pocket. Yet what I lose in my ability to document the visible I gain in the audible, that vibrant world that blends os seamlessly into the physical, waiting to be heard. There, in the quiet, my place comes alive. It's priceless." —Shannan Martin, The Ministry of Ordinary Places
"In the book of John, as through all the Gospels and the entire New Testament, Jesus promised the opposite of what the world offers like a prized show pony. He held up things like smallness, humility, suffering, poverty, and the guarantee of outsider status, as though they were His best offerings..." —Shannan Martin, The Ministry of Ordinary Places
"Here's what's hard to understand about us humans: Jesus couldn't have made Himself clearer about the inevitability of hardship, yet we are shocked when His promise rings true. When one of the gifts I'm handed looks like sadness, a lost opportunity, or something much worse, like suffering....
Jesus was a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief (Isaiah 53:3), yet Western Christians, on the whole, remain emotionally allergic to sadness and discomfort. We do anything we can to avoid it....
All throughout His time here on earth, Christ camped among the hurting. He didn't flee discomfort. He walked straight into it, then took off His shoes and stayed, accepting all of it as gift and nourishment." —Shannan Martin, The Ministry of Ordinary Places
Where do we even begin?
Shannan Martin offers a surprisingly simple answer: uncover the hidden corners of our cities and neighborhoods and invest deeply in the lives of people around us. She walks us through her own discoveries about the vital importance of paying attention, as well as the hard but rewarding truth about showing up and committing for the long haul, despite the inevitable encounters with brokenness and uncertainty. With transparency, humor, heart-tugging storytelling, and more than a little personal confession, Martin shows us that no matter where we live or how much we have, as we learn what it is to be with people as Jesus was, we'll find our very lives." --goodreads
"I have long understood the American concept of neighbors. They are the ones who live next door. The ones we wave at, now and then. The ones we might gift with cookies during the holidays. They are the nice people who keep a comfortable distance. It's likely we might never learn their names. But maybe the American idea of neighbors doesn't match God's idea. He invites us to something deeper, calling us to join Him in loving each other and promising it will be worth the vulnerability it's sure to cost us. He points us to the heart of the matter: aligning with our neighbors will change our lives if we let it. But before we can offer them anything, we first have to be mindful students in the uncomfortable art of receiving." —Shannan Martin, The Ministry of Ordinary Places
If I am honest with myself, most of the time, I actually find it easier to give than to receive, even when it involves sacrificial giving. I personally have a difficult time asking for and/or receiving help from others. I'd rather be the helper than the helped.
Shannon covers this in her book as well. Not everyone we meet needs our help, though many may. Many times God brings people across our paths not because they need help, but because He knows they can help us. Learn to recognize the difference.
“In a world where hope seems dim and solutions feel complicated and partisan, Shannan Martin offers us a starting point that is as radical as it is domestic: widen your circle, hush your mouth, and pay close attention. This book is the right book for this moment in time and I simply cannot get over it. I either laughed or cried on almost every page. We need these lyrical, prophetic words now more than ever before.” —Emily P. Freeman, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Simply Tuesday
“This is a message the world needs. So often we overcomplicate service or this elusive call to ministry when all the while ministry is right in front of us. Shannan reminds us of the simple, yet beautiful call to love our neighbor and what that could really look like today. We are reminded that extravagant love in ordinary moments does indeed lead to an extraordinary life.” —Katie Davis Majors, New York Times bestselling author of Kisses from Katie