The Beauty in the Threadbare

I won’t publish this post until Monday morning but I’m writing it to you a little after 6:00 PM on Sunday evening. I’m only giving myself a little while to finish it so that I won’t awaken tomorrow morning wanting to whisper, woe is me, it’s work, work, work. Blah, blah, blah. Work martyrs are fake martyrs. They don’t count. They’re too self-important. It dawned on me about 2 years ago that no one was making me work nonstop but me so why, then, did I want to find somebody to blame for driving this skeleton like a shovel into quicksand? Anyway, I want to dance with my grandchildren at their weddings.

So, wonders never cease, some things in my life actually changed for a change but that’s another story for another time.ย  I like work. That’s the biggest issue. I love it even. But the body makes certain demands that are harder to ignore in more, how shall I say, seasoned years. That there is not always energy to spare after decades of flying high on fumes has been a glorious, unsolicited gift to me and one that came as a shock after major surgery and a serious cancer threat. I have savored what I do – researching, studying, serving – and what God has placed around me – many friends and fellow sojourners – and what I get to experience in my 4-generation family so much more in an ever-so-slightly less revved up gear.

For instance, I’m more apt to let time suspend for a few seconds and count the steps it takes for Annabeth to run to me from the car with a smile stretched from sea to shining sea. And I make notes – at least mental and sometimes actual handwritten – of the statements that cause the most prominent lisps with Jackson’s three missing front teeth. Friday night I had to purely look away at the dinner table when he said, “Did my mommy show you the pictures of the two postcards they sent?” Show-pictures-postcards-sent. Perfect. I tried to act like I was reflecting with my elbow on the table and my chin on my fist while I steeled myself to answer, “No, but she told me about them. I want to see them!” (It was everything I could do not to ask him to please repeat the question.) Amanda and I laughed later until we nearly had to kick our legs for relief.

I thank God for lessons only time can adequately teach and for still leaving room for airplanes, short nights, hikes, books, Bible dictionaries, and bikes. And still a fair amount of revving up. I’m not sure I could bear revlessness.

My man’s been gone for the day so it was all mine for the taking. I had a reflective, worshipful morning at church despite four shots of coffee strong enough to cleanse the sinuses and shear the throat like a spring sheep. (Remind me to get Jackson to read that sentence later.) I sat next to my firstborn on the front row and received a word about forgiveness from a pastor I greatly respect and took the Bread and the Cup with a depth of seriousness that made them feel especially healing to me. Maybe even filling. I was touched in my soul when I saw the elements on the edge of the stage in the chapel, just waiting to be served. I had not known we were to receive them but I had hoped. Right at the Clay Road exit on Beltway 8 as I was nearing our church that morning, a few lines turned in my head. I jotted them down in the parking lot.

O Glorious Lord’s Day

Our souls to awake

Saints to be gathered

Awash in glad grace

Called to the table

Jesus the Head

Partake, all you ransomed ones

By love come be fed.

I love church. What a harbor it has been to me through the years. I love the Table. I love its Head. My life would be a black hole without Christ and the communion of saints.

I drove my nearly 40 minutes home from church, fired up the stove and heated up Keith’s homemade chicken soup from yesterday – perfect for our first bona fide autumn day in Houston, Texas – and I ate a blistering bowlful by a wide-open book. Satisfied and sleepy, I heaved myself into the king-size hammock my coworkers gave me last year and held on tight till it quit swinging. It takes about 3 minutes. I read a little more, laughed, sighed, reflected. This is said hammock. I clipped this particular shot the day before.

Then, after a cup of tea, I pulled on my rubber boots to pay up on that promise of a walk I’d made to Queen Esther who’d nearly knocked me out of the hammock earlier, book sent flying, with her obsessive compulsion for closeness.

I was only about three minutes into our usual walk in the country when I said to the air what I’ve said to Keith one hundred times. “This is my favorite spot on this walk.” So I pulled out my iPhone to take a picture of it for at least the 15th time. I’m not exaggerating. I take the same exact shot over and over. Then I looked at it, blew out my lips in frustration and said again to the air, “I can never get this picture to turn out as fabulous as this really is.”

Then I looked at it again. And that’s when I realized for the very first time that the reason why I can never fully capture the beauty of it is because it’s really not all that spectacular. Quaintly pretty, yes. To us nature lovers anyway. Maybe a four. Maybe just a three.

But, it’s not what high-dollar sightseers would throw hand to chest over, bracing for visually-induced coronary thrombosis, exclaiming Breathtaking! Stunning! Well, I never!

No, now, THIS is the kind of thing you clutch your heart over:

I took that picture from a Delta airplane window exactly two years ago just before landing in that valley for a couple of days. I’m not sure there is a place more beautiful than Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the pioneered universe. Not to me anyway. But somehow when I’m there I can never get past the sight of it. I always plan to do my most creative writing there but I rarely do. Somehow, when nothing is left to my imagination, well, then…nothing is left to my imagination. It’s all filled up. And that’s that.

That’s the revelation I got today. The reason I can’t capture the beauty in these crude woods on camera is because it’s a beauty felt more than seen. It doesn’t scream anything. It won’t interrupt you while you’re talking. It doesn’t beg anyone to pen or paint it.

Simple things tend to have more manners. They won’t say a word if you don’t let them. If we don’t shut up, they will. But it will be our loss.

The beauty in the threadbare. The beauty in the unswept scenes that refuse to finish everything out for you. Or think for you. They leave the spiderwebs to walk into and the realistic fear of a snake slithering by. They leave you to have to kick the dried-up mud off your boots when you get home and to run the water hose over your slobbering dog. And, while you’re at them, they won’t leave you so speechless you can’t answer the phone in your back pocket. Go right ahead if you want to. And sometimes you’ll be glad you did. But other times, you might just get that sense that you walked and talked right past something special, if only vaguely special in a world overwrought with specialties.

The chance not only to see beauty.

But to feel it.

May God grant us this day a whisper of His beauty that sweeps right past our vision and dives deeply like a stream into our world-parched souls.



215 Responses to “The Beauty in the Threadbare”

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  1. 101
    Tammy says:

    Love this you touched my heart with your words of heart. Breathing room is good for the soul and I think you captured God’s whispers of beauty in wonderful way.

    love you siestas

  2. 102
    Deidre says:

    I love nature and that breath you take when you see his majesty fills you up, you have peace because you see that he surrounds you and that is so comforting. I never new this blog existed, but I love your studies and he used you to help pull me out of my pit and I have not looked back, god bless

  3. 103
    ULCARDSFAN says:

    LOVED this post Beth. This past Sunday was World Wide Communion…isn’t it “mind-blowing” to think that you and I and believers all across God’s world were sharing in the Blood and the Body of Christ together! Wishing you and my fellow Siestas a week full of GOD’S Blessings.
    Love, Linda

  4. 104
    Kathleen Cantwell says:

    I get it… I have my version of that on a bike route that I take. It is simple but takes my breath away every time, I never tire of it. Grateful for reminders of our Creator displayed in His beauty.

    Can’t wait to see you in Long Beach this week!

    Blessings and Prayers!

  5. 105
    Molly Siesta OC says:

    I thought of the same thing when I went to take a picture of a sunset, the same picture again and again. We try to capture what the real picture is and that is GOD is scandalous with the freedom of beauty and we can scarce take it in.

  6. 106
    Ernestine says:

    I am so glad God saw fit to put me into the era of high tech toys. In other times, we could never have known you like we do Beth, and we would have missed such tremendous blessing! Your gift for putting things into words is such a treasure, as is your gift for teaching “live” because it comes through on tape just beautifully. I also had the vast good fortune to meet you in person once and don’t offer me anything for the picture made of us together because I will not sell it for the national debt amount. I love you so and thank God for you and your precious family. And most of all, the way He has gifted you to communicate the word of God and other things beautiful.

  7. 107
    June says:

    You always amaze and bless me with your descriptive and sincere comments and life lessons. I’ve been your protege for over ten years and am today in chapter 7 of Mercy Triumphs, bawling my eyes out at James’ death. Thank you for continuing to bring the Word in truth and clarity, sprinkled with much joy. Bless you!

  8. 108
    Irene says:

    It was August 2005. I had heard about your Bible studies for quite a while, and the urge (God’s prompting) grew stronger and stronger that I needed to attend one. And I finally obeyed the urge and went to one–not even at my own church. That was THE major turning point in my life. I cannot count how many of your Bible studies (plus others) I have done since then–twelve or more (Daniel, twice). God blessed us with the most inspiring church home in 2006. I have brought my friends and my daughter and granddaughter to four Living Proof Live events; saw you and Kay and Priscilla in person. Beth, I cannot go to to my Heavenly Home without letting you know how God has worked through you–your studies, your personal observations, your blog, your life–to change my life. I am now WHOLE with my HOLY GOD! I praise Him for you again and again! Thank you, Merciful God, for Beth Moore!

  9. 109
    Kathryn W says:

    Beth I love the poetic love affair you have with Our Lord! And I love how bold you are in your faith – it emboldens me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I forwarded this post to my mom today. You capture and express a woman’s heart for Jesus SO well. Thankful you continue to serve and minister! And I would REVEL in that woodland walk of yours!

  10. 110
    Ruth from North Idaho says:

    Okay, I love this Beth. Being ten years older than you, and a revved up person myself, (who is also unrevving with time!) I ‘get’ what you’re saying. I join you! My husband is also gone for a few days, and I had similar thoughts this weekend…thank you for putting them into words. Loving my 4 generation family as well. :o)

  11. 111
    Mary Bess says:

    Thank you so much for the reminder to stop and savor God’s gentle invitations to enjoy the beauty He puts in our path. Your words reminded me so much of the way C.S. Lewis described Joy and the purpose of beauty, and in my book, there is no greater compliment.

  12. 112
    flip flops says:

    Beth, it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful you write! How you can share and it touches so many hearts. God has truly gifted you! I thank Him for you and for all that you share with us. Thank you for not being afraid to be real with us. We live in a real world and nice to know we are not alone, although sometimes it feels that way. Thank you God for Beth and letting her touch our hearts to love You more.

  13. 113

    I totally understand about your favorite place in the woods. It looks rich and inviting into some serious “Be Still and Know” time. I have a place like that in TN.

  14. 114
    Tiffany says:

    Absolutely beautiful. Your words capture how my heart feels when I am in the midst of God’s amazing creation. The pic in the woods with your dog is the perfect setting and God designed it just for you, knowing you’d be walking there one day!

  15. 115
    Tracey Knight says:

    that hit the spot, beth. thank you.
    with love~

  16. 116
    Kim Woods says:

    A great start to my day. I will be looking for those small almost silent glimpses of Him today. Thank you for sharing:)

  17. 117
    Amber Moon says:

    Wow, simply beautiful.

  18. 118
    Mary Lou says:

    You describe so beautifully the joy of having moved away from all the concrete. My husband, border collie, and I also have the privilege of drinking in the good country air and enjoying God’s beauty of creation daily. It is not to be taken for granted! Excuse me while my pup and I go enjoy the sunrise!

  19. 119
    Elise says:

    How fun to see you have a doggy like my Lucy. They could be twins. Also a great “thinking piece” for me to remember to slow it down. I too am a 4-shot kind of girl. Maybe having my first grandchild appear in a few weeks will slow me down. Maybe. Anyhow, I will humbly take instruction from my wiser siesta…Thank you Beth.

  20. 120
    Shelly Green says:

    You truly bless me with your thoughts and wisdom. I look forward to your next posts….God speaks through your heart. I think what I like best, what draws me to your posts and teachings, is that you are real. You speak to us, not down to us. You relate to us in a way that is like sharing a cup of tea or coffee in a comfy home setting. As far as pictures go, I think you hit the nail on the head: it’s not so much what you see as what you feel. I love a walk in the fields, the woods, even through the yard. When you are outside, in God’s creation without distractions of the world, you can just FEEL. Feel God’s awesomeness. Feel the grace & beauty, and free yourself from whatever stresses you might have. You feel the peace and comfort and joy that you can’t find inside a building. It is so healing to be able to let go of everything; to take the opportunity to praise God and lift prayers up to Him and let His presence surround you and fill you with either answers or just the peace of knowing it might not be easy right now, but He’s got it covered. It’s almost as though you can feel the life in the trees, grasses, and flora. So amazing to see how God created everything so different but able to work together. Just like our bodies. Different parts have different functions, but He has knit it all together to work as one. God Bless you and your family, Beth.

  21. 121
    Margie Pendergraft says:

    Beth, Anytime I can spend time on a hike away from buildings, highways, stores,etc. is a time of refreshment from God for me! I think your view on your walk was a 10 even though you don’t think you can capture it on film! Yesterday was my appointed day to mop the kitchen, do laundry, etc. I could hardly stand to be inside, because we were experiencing a beautiful fall day in North Texas! I gave in and repotted some plants in my backyard and took pictures of flowers and a monarch caterpillar and left some of the indoor chores for another day. God is so good!

  22. 122
    Terry says:

    Beth, you make me long for a walk in the woods. And your post reminds me of my mother. Before my parents downsized and moved to the city a few years ago, they lived in a rural area on several acres of land. Not only did she enjoy her own quiet walks of solitude, she absolutely loved taking the grandchildren on hikes to explore and collect nature’s treasures.

    Have a blessed day!

  23. 123
    Sheila says:

    I love sunrise and sunset and seeing the sun peeking from behind a cloud. To me, this is a glimpse of the glory of God. One day my son was with me while I was trying to capture on my camera what I saw with my eyes. I told him it was frustrating that I was never able to take a picture as beautiful as the actual scene. His response at 15 years of age was that no man could ever manufacture a camera as awesome as the one God created when he created our eyes and mind. I was blown away by his insight. I still try to capture the “glory of God” but knwo that I will never be able to match his works.

  24. 124
    Eva says:

    Thank you Beth for sharing your heart! Your heart personally and how you always share your heart for God! I love you! My 10 year old grandaughter (in whom I have requested pray for before) also loves you! My friend ask her one day, do you know Beth Moore and she said, Duh, my grandmaw listens to her all the time! Praying for you always!

  25. 125
    Debbie says:

    this reminds me of a picture that was taken of my Mom and Dad. It was taken a few days before she went to heaven. She was lying in a Hospice bed. She had Alzheimers and cancer. It was rare that she knew any of us and she had not spoken in several days. She had her eyes closed and my Dad was looking at her with concern and 62 years of love. She reached up with loving hands and placed them on his face, like she knew he was there. She never said anything. She was frail and so thread bare, but that picture said it all. So glad my sis in law snapped that picture!

  26. 126
    Nichole's Mom says:

    Sort of feels like a long goodbye – Please know how very much you are loved and appreciated. I want to share with you how often I use your words “can you make it till midnight”, it has given so many people the encouragement they need to just keep going! I’m glad you had a wonderful day, praying you have many many more!

  27. 127
    Eva says:

    I have now been Blessed! Thank you for your loving spirit.
    I pray beauty for your day ad you have given mine such.

  28. 128
    Kathy says:

    Beth, thanks for sharing your day and especially the Teton photo- I have “heard” those Tetons and it is like hearing the roaring ocean to me- I have not heard a “silent” natural creation like I could hear those Tetons-

    God Bless you for sharing the gift of “being” and receiving all that is on this beautiful earth to receive- Lots of love

  29. 129
    Margaret says:

    Beautiful poetry in prose. I am relaxed and a bit restored just reading it. Peace be with you.

  30. 130

    Love you Beth. So glad you are still enjoying your spot in Jackson Hole, WY. I think of it often. Blessings from San Antonio. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. 131
    Kim Goetz says:

    Beth: what an awesome post! Enjoying the simple part of nature is the best thing ever. I just texted the last line of your blog to my siesta who is in Hawaii as we speak! (lucky her) Hopefully your words will encourage her on her last day in the Islands! Blessings! Thanks for doing what you do! Siesta Kim

  32. 132
    Stacey says:

    Beth, you write so that one sees/smells/hears the environment about which you’re writing, it’s absolutely lovely. I GET exactly what you’re talking about, we scoot through life and never “see” the beauty around us. If we would just pause…it’s OH SO BEAUTIFUL, simple really. Thank you for the reminder and for touching me with your heartfelt words…

  33. 133
    Beverly says:

    I have a path just like yours but I live in Missouri It is only God who can create such a place to calm our fast moving souls. Especially loved your words written about communion May God continue to bless your ministry

  34. 134
    Pamela Payne says:

    Thank you for this. It blessed me

  35. 135
    Lee Ann says:

    Thanks for keeping us focused upon the Lord & His wonders. I thought of you this weekend.Friday night 630pm, my husband “ran” into a young scared 20 yr old (from Houston) who had come to our town to turn herself in on a warrant. She turned herself in & they released her (she was expecting to stay in jail for a bit). She knew no one & had no idea where to go or what to do. She had just prayed out loud to the Lord for help when Ronnie appeared. Long end of the story, she stayed with us all weekend (unable to retrieve her property from Police Station til Monday 8am). She gave her life to Christ at church, was given clothes , food and a Bible. All she wanted to take with her on the Greyhound bus was the Bible. Pray for her our Frederick,MD girl from Houston,TX. We serve such a kind Father!!!!!

  36. 136

    Being new to following your blog, I’m reading along and can actually see you saying these words, walking that path, resting in that hammock. Anyone who has ever been to your events or joined in a Simulcast can see your heart for the Lord and your passion for the women of the body of believers. You share your life, your heart, your family, your faith with so many – and in return, we are blessed to get to know a sister who would otherwise be unknown. It makes me think about all the many other wonderful sisters-in-Christ out there that I’ll never know this side of heaven but will instantly recognize when we finally meet face to face. Thank you for sharing your love for the Lord with us. It shows in every facet of your life. My prayer is that it will be evident in mine, as well. I’m excited to be joining in and following your blog – albeit late in the game. Now, about those pies you mentioned earlier …..

  37. 137
    Patti reavis says:

    Love your wonderful description of your Spirit-filled day. Thank you for the desire to sit a spell. I love that I played golf in the rain to help raise money for a Christian school our grand children attend. The beautiful setting in the mountains was an awesome reminder of the loving God we serve. Patti

  38. 138
    Lisa says:

    I have a walk like this, in my nearby county park. I take my two dogs with me, and it is the best, most peaceful walk; appreciating what God has given me, right in my backyard.

  39. 139
    Julie says:

    Shhhhh…..He’s whispering through your writing…

  40. 140
  41. 141
    Laura says:

    Beautifully said. Touched my heart and brought some much needed healing in my soul. Thank you <3

  42. 142
    Ines says:

    Beth,after all these years of knowing you,every time I read something from you I thank God for you. World wide communion on Sunday and our choir with me sang a beautiful song The Whisper of your Name it took us straight to the table and to the throne of grace. May God continue to bless you,yours and your ministry. Hugs.

  43. 143
    Andrea Porter says:

    I loved what you just wrote, I feel very peaceful and full of the presence of our Lord. I know what you mean about not being able to capture a scene for a picture, to be able to bring it home with you in a tangible way. There is a road where I grew up that had a creek or crick, if you like that term better (grin). The home where I grew up and my parents still live in, is just up the way a little bit. As a child it was a summertime wonderland, when you were told to “play OUTSIDE” by your Mom. We caught crawfish, salamanders, splashed got wet and looked for babies under the skunk cabbage leaves. The new spring green is my favorite time to stop and take a long look at the beauty. I always think about taking a picture, to try and capture that place, but I never do because it just wouldn’t be the same as seeing it and experiencing it in the present moment. It will have to remain a feeling, a smell, a color, a moment in time. I now see God’s wonderful workmanship and revel in the fact that He created this creek, this forest of trees and I had the honor of being able to play in His wonderland, what a treasured blessing from the one who loves me so much. Miss Beth, you are so loved by me, thank you for sharing Your Beauty in the Threadbare.

  44. 144
    gigi61 says:

    Your photo reminds me of my back deck. We have 2 trees growing through the deck and it is surrounded my trees. It is my “sanctuary” but no picture can describe the warmth of my soul as I sit still and soak in all that God has to say to me. You are treasure to me.

  45. 145
    Denise B says:

    I went to New Zealand in 2006. It was one of the most beautiful places on the earth. I had that sense of awe and reverence like the hand of God created something so magnificent I couldn’t capture it on film (or digital). I love that sense of His wonder when I am walking about His creation. I love the connection and I feel it deeply. Thank you Beth for giving me the opportunity to experience it again through your words!

  46. 146
    Donna says:

    Oh Beth,
    When I lived in Knoxville, Tn. (I grew up there) My Dad would take us hiking in the Smoky Mountains nearly every weekend. I was saved when I was nine years old and I’d look at the beauty of the mountains with the passing seasons and wonder how anyone could NOT believe that God exsisted…. Romans 1:19-20.

  47. 147
    Ingrid says:

    Nice setting to walk the dog (and yourself), looks like pure serenity. That word always reminds me of a movie quote; “If there’s anything Dad loved more than serenity, it was a big two stroke engine on full throttle!”

    (quote from the Castle – caution do not watch if you don’t understand Aussies).

  48. 148
    JoAnn Janik says:

    There has always been a tremendous joy when God catches my eye in the swirling dance of a large group of birds in the sky. Who could choreograph such a perfect display besides their Creator. Who could teach them this dance; when to go up…down…left…right, in absolute unity. Are they communicating with each other or just feeling feisty and one says, “Let’s go ! Whether I am stuck in traffic or in a more quiet setting when I witness this glorious moment, I can’t take my eyes off of them. I feel God has just given me a kiss on my cheek and said, “This is for you because I know how much you love it”. THAT fills me up ! It’s not the Grand Canyon, but WOW, the feeling is priceless. Thanks Beth for the post.

  49. 149
    Tonia says:

    Hi there! I came on here looking for Forsake and Take, which I found. And found the prayer and commission from Sept 15th Simulcast! Thank you SO much for posting those!

    So then I read this blog post as well and could really identify with it. Some thing God has been saying to me in the past few months is, “relax and enjoy”. The first time I caught it, He used the grocery check out lady to say it to me!

  50. 150
    Susanne says:

    This was a beautiful post. One of my very favorites. Thank you!

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