He broke through the second act in the play of my life and took the scene in another direction. And I welcomed it the next time. I’ve learned that beauty lies outside the walls of convention.

During my college years I fell deeply in love. He courted me on the grassy knoll next to the library under star dust where we talked for hours without distraction. Like a watchman on the wall, observing the glow of the city beneath, He pointed out hope and future promise. I hurried back to my dorm room before curfew coveting peace and left doubt strewn about the clover.

On a fall walk on crunchy leaves, under a hollow of bare branches, I sat on the bank of a babbling brook with arms wrapped around my bent legs, untangling the knots holding my heart captive. He held up the frayed end of the rope and assured me it didn’t need to be perfect before I showed it to him the next time. Messy and imperfect, He’s okay with that.

Beside my apartment complex swimming pool, face down on a lounge chair, I shed tears behind sunglasses as the sun warmed my skin. Tears dripped onto the pages of Codependent No More lying on the concrete beneath. Healing hovered over me in the stillness. I pulled the gate open on freedom, wrapped a towel around my waist and walked home with a new identity. No longer chained to the consequences of my mother’s alcoholism.

God uses whatever is useable in a life, both to speak and to act, and those who insist on fireworks in the sky may miss the electricity that sparks the human heart. ~Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church

Yesterday, I took a walk with my camera swinging over my shoulder. A stranger asked if he could take my picture, said I was prettier than anything I saw through my lens. And I don’t believe it. But it sounded like God’s voice so I told Him I would try to accept it, and I kept walking.

Down a road I avoided when my dog was my companion. Three years of skirting the collective howl of neighborhood pets so I missed the beauty.

It was waiting there, like art hanging on the wall expectant in the unbridled surprise of joy on the face of the beholder. Illumination.  Of color shouting change is coming. Leaves floating on the surface like fairy dust dripped from wings before passing the curtain of trees.

The line between heaven and earth is a thin place and His portals of presence, they are vast.

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called – his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. ~ Ephesians 1:18, NLT

Can you remember when you fell in love with God? Have your ideas about God changed as you’ve grown to know Him?

For six weeks, we’ll be exploring the question, “How do we walk out our faith in the midst of pain, suffering, disappointment, and loneliness,” with a book club discussion on Thursdays about Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor. Join the conversation in the comments and at Redemptions Beauty Book Club. Start here for more information.

Joining Ann today in counting thanks for the shift of seasons that introduce a new season of the soul, for standing room only worship, renewal of vision, sadness turned to joy, despair into hope, chicken pot pie, a newly painted front door ready for welcome and books, lots of books.

Linking with Michelle, Laura, Jen and Eileen.