Snowmageddon… and Astonishing Beauty

((Full disclosure, I wrote this post a couple weeks ago after a particularly heavy snow… But before it turns to spring, I had to share!))

Admittedly, I live in the midwest. We don’t actually get that much snow. But lately, our town has felt akin to the tundras of Siberia, and certainly the way the news and weather anchors talk, you’d think we were in Siberia… Or at least that this was the first winter ever to freeze the earth! ((Seriously, they talk as though winter was a surprise this year.))

However, it has snowed a lot- enough to shut lots of schools and offices down (though not my husband’s to my dismay… though it’s probably good, because when he’s home I just want to hang out with him!). And though it’s been inconvenient in many ways, it’s provided some good reminders for me.

For one, there’s this incredible man, Simon, who walks through snow (and sand and probably other things) creating beautiful masterpieces- giant earth doodles as it were, that are so precise and immaculate that they look like a graphic designer created them and someone photoshopped them onto these landscapes… Here’s what I’m talking about. And below is just one such masterpiece.

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The article linked to this post describes his creations as “mesmerizing,” and I have to agree. Perhaps the most impactful part of this man’s work is that it often disappears by the next day! Whether it’s blown away, or the ocean washes his sandy designs back into smooth beach, the design is gone. Now, obviously there are photos to document the amazingness, but I’m fairly confident we who encounter these stories through buzzfeed and the like lose a lot of the impact of seeing one of these (these… what to call them???) in person.

So, why even make them? The man often must walk miles to finish just one, and then… it’s gone? Ann Voskamp (yes, I’m talking about her again) makes a great point in her blog on February 5th’s post about this whole having to make a new masterpiece every day.

New snow every day? It’s just new-fallen grace from heaven. And we get new grace every day! Praise the Lord for that. Counting God’s grace gifts daily helps us walk- each gift moves us forward, closer to Him, so we can really see- really receive His love. I know this from personal experience.

What counting gifts does is just like what Simon does- we take the next step, walking for miles, feeling often times like the wandering Israelites in the wilderness, unable to see from our earthbound eyes the heavenly perspective. Every step we take in faith God turns into beauty- He makes it a masterpiece, using even the most broken pieces of us. And our attention spans are so short, we get to learn and re-learn this truth every day… His grace is sufficient for us- it sustains us.

Just like manna. The wandering, usually grumbling Israelites were always given manna in the desert ( manna which means something like, “what is it?” Gotta love that they called it that). But they were only given enough for one day, and if they tried to keep extra, it went bad by the next day. This way, they had to trust God and lean completely on Him for provision.

What I love about God is how He crafts our story- which is really His story- so beautifully. He doesn’t just provide the bare minimum, He goes above and beyond. For me at least, counting the gifts He gives is a peeling back of the veil of the world so I can see a little bit into heaven, a little into the heart of God and His love for me.

We need astonishing beauty like Simon’s art. And we need it every day, whether it’s a simple gift, or an intricate, miles-wide design in the snow. God knows this, because He made us in His image, and God is the originator of beauty.

So, today, I’m going to venture out, because the sun is shining and it’s been 24 hours since the last snow (and because my husband will now trust me to drive after the good scraping and salting the roads have had by now). And I’m going to celebrate the graces given today. For one, going to Cavu coffee is, I think, necessary. And I will set the truth in my heart, remembering that God is using today to build something beautiful in my life, and in yours.

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