“A commonplace life,” we say, and we sigh;
But why should we sigh as we say?
The commonplace sun in the commonplace sky
Makes up the commonplace day.
The moon and stars are commonplace things.
The flowers that bloom and the bird that sings;
But sad were the world and dark our lot,
If the flowers failed and the sun shone not;
And God who sees each separate soul,
Out of commonplace lives makes His beautiful whole.
– Susan Coolidge
Shortly after we got married, I had the opportunity to listen to an interview of my husband’s Grandpa Frank. It had been recorded in the early 90s only a few years before he passed away. He talked about his childhood, his first church as new minister, meeting his wife, and how they lived. His voice sounded kind and gentle. His words were reflective, full of wisdom and discernment. One part I always remembered went something like this:
“Now you guys moved around a lot to different calls, what do you think of pastors these days staying with a congregation upwards of 15 to 20 years?”
Grandpa Frank answered quickly, “It’s not good.” I could imagine him shaking his head as he said the words.
“With every move I grew.”
He went on to say more about how with every move he was challenged. And how his faith grew and matured with each new place they went. The interview continued on and I remember a few other snippets, but this little bit of wisdom from my husband’s paternal grandfather has stayed with me these last eight years.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
Since getting married, we have never sent Christmas cards from the same address in two consecutive years. Before we moved to Kansas, we spent four years in constant transition, never settled. From 2010-2014, we lived in four different states, sometimes together, sometimes apart because of work. Amid the chaos of life, I have often returned to James 1:2-4. I can’t say I have ever felt “pure joy” during trials, but I have had peace bringing my concerns to the throne of grace.
Now that we are in Kansas, we feel at home. We have only been here a few months, but we already have a wonderful church family and a sense of community.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
I don’t know what God has planned for us here. I feel like it is a wonderful gift that we get to live somewhere we really enjoy. We love the wide open spaces and having a home of our own. And of course, I love all the trails that are so close to our house. There are so many on my list that I haven’t even explored yet. When we were considering buying this house, I thought I’d be able to run from the house and maybe on the property. I had no idea that Milford State Park had miles of trails and that Manhattan had plenty of running trails too, plus running trails around Tuttle Creek Lake, which would be great for a weekend summer run.
Last month, one of my friends gave me the sweetest compliment when she told me that my pictures, “capture the beauty of the ordinary.” This picture from Tuesday’s windy run is a log slice that my husband cut while trying out his new chainsaw. I took this picture because the concentric circles appeal to my math brain. To me, it is a reminder that math is everywhere in creation. And the same intelligent designer who created the beauty of what we might call commonplace is sovereign over all. He has placed us here and he continues to grow and shape us for work in his kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever, Amen.