“Beauty In The Shadows“

Do you see her? Way in the back … she’s almost undetected.

I took a walk through my garden earlier today to take in a few treasured moments of fresh air in the light of the afternoon sunshine. It’s summer in Southern California, which means most florals are in bloom.

In our backyard, it’s a tropical theme, so our planters are filled with an abundance of plumeria and birds of paradise. Typically, the warmer temperatures call out the blooms in late May, but this year seems to have treated the florals differently. It just wasn’t quite as warm and the mild weather did not beckon the plumeria to burst forth as expected.

In summers past, I would stroll through our yard to inhale an aroma that would rival some of the most exquisite perfumes known to the senses. Bringing these gorgeous delicate creations into the house, I would float them freely in a glass bowl and scatter them throughout the house for a touch of natural freshness and unmatched artistry.

This afternoon, however, was a bit of a disappointment, as I searched for just a few plumeria blooms. My favorites are the dark pink — especially the ones with the white striations or splashes of yellow. I was on a hunt — not a one to be found!

As I turned the corner of the rear of the house, I walked beneath the branches of some of the trees and finally caught a glimpse of a handful of the precious blooms. But it was no easy find. As the picture above will tell, it was almost as if these tiny petals were intentionally hiding.

Or were they just in an obscure place — some place where I had not thought to set my eyes? Surely, not in the obvious and not out in the open.

My mind started to wander, “When have I wanted to go unnoticed or invisible to the outside world?”

That’s a lonely place to be — in a crowd but still alone. The room could be clamoring with people, noisy with activity, but I could still feel the coldness of isolation and the detachment from human connection.

The pain is awkward and not one to plaster on a baseball cap or advertise on a t-shirt — for the self-secluded one, she yearns to be seen but often times, not necessarily heard. Sometimes it’s because she lacks the confidence in her own skin — to burst forth with ideas and enthusiastically chime in with the ongoing conversations circling around her. She may not feel she has anything noteworthy to contribute to anyone’s world.

Feeling as if the slightest move, whether to rise and walk across the room or to brush back of strands of hair that are falling forward to conceal her sadness, holding her breath so as to remain in the shadows and not draw attention — she holds to the integrity of her stillness, praying and hoping no one will notice.

How many of us have withdrawn into the shadows for fear of:

  • Being rejected
  • Abandoned (again)
  • Judged
  • Being disappointed
  • Ridiculed
  • Forgotten (again)
  • Bullied
  • Being misunderstood
  • Failing (or succeeding)

Maybe that was what thrusted us into the dimension of the deep darkness — to hide from the past hurts of former labels imposed upon us from harmful relationships, to escape the tyranny of emotional abuse, to take cover from haunting memories of those whom we trusted only to be betrayed and abandoned. So we retreat into the furthest corners of our discreet world and we pull the leaves over our heads …

Our Scripture verse from Matthew reminds us that our Heavenly Father is so mindful of our very existence, that He knows the exact number of hairs upon our head. To me, that is Someone who takes notice and has a deep interest in my and your welfare. It also speaks to my soul — He genuinely cares.

GOD cares what happens to me in the present, He saw what happened to me in the past, and He knows what will happen to me in the future. Why did certain things have to happen? Some of those answers I have experienced only in looking back through the lens of life lessons; and some of those answers are still lost in the fleeting of time. If GOD chooses to reveal to me any of it this side of Paradise, He will do so at His appointed timing.

But through careful study of His Living Word, I have come to embrace that He lavished His Love upon me — even in the pain and hurt of those lonely moments in time. Nothing happens without His Hand upon it — nothing is a coincidence — nothing is an accident. Just as He purposed my life, He has purposed yours. Yes, He has even purposed our pain.

You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights. Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. Psalms 56:8 MSG

Who else but a loving and devoted Father would keep account of all those unseen and hidden moments? And then to provide Himself as the Breath of Life to secure my place with Him throughout eternity?

There were times I would literally cry myself to sleep, drenching the pillow that held my head — when I felt no one else would. Looking forward to the next day, but not really wanting to face it, for dread of reliving the pain all over again. A pain that I was so certain no one could relate to.

But GOD …

Out of the depths [of distress] I have cried to You, O Lord. Psalms 130:1 AMP

He has a vested interest in who I am and in who YOU are! Our cries do not fall on deaf ears, Girlfriend. But we must break the silence and take that step of faith, extend our arm to reach for the healing that is available to us. It is all for the taking.

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. Isaiah 53:4 AMPC

Jesus Christ, GOD in the flesh walked, talked and dwelt among everyday common folk — wiped tears, healed bodies and restored lives. And He still does that today through the power of The Holy Spirit. All the work was done on Calvary’s hill — the pain and anguish of being abandoned by friends, physically tormented and crucified for the sole purpose of restoring us and our relationship with GOD the Father, was PAID on that rugged cross — the only effort required on our part is to accept it and embrace it.

Acceptance — and isn’t that what it’s really all about? The deep seated pain resides in a cave of non-acceptance. That pit where you can remain incognito — no one will bother you, but neither will anyone help you. The anguish you feel there is real — the smell of defeat nearly smothers the life from you. That hole in your heart can only be filled by a supernatural and indescribably unconditional love. That ever present love of GOD overtakes that darkness and will illuminate and transform your life if you will say ‘yes‘ — if you will accept His amazing love and grace. You don’t have to hide in the shadows.

The only ‘shadows’ where you are safe are in the care of His Arms …

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious and merciful to me, For my soul finds shelter and safety in You, And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these climates have passed by. Psalms 57:1. NKJV

Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. Psalms 63:7 NKJV

Keep me [in Your affectionate care, protect me] as the apple of Your eye; Hide me in the [protective] shadow of Your wings. Psalms 17:8 AMP

It is my heartfelt desire, Girlfriend, that you will step out from the shadows of whatever pain and agony you have been living with and fall forward into the loving, forgiving and all-encompassing Arms of the One Who has had His Eyes on you all along.

He Who calls you is Faithful.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Sister ~~

LindaRJohnson, TitusTwoVisionary

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