Portrait of Delight

Above: August 2014 & April 2015 
Below: September & December 2014 

At the brink of 2014, I declared war on the idle process of internally vivid yet externally physical desires.

I told myself: "I will not sit and dream this year. I will finally do something about it!"

Hence the "doer > dreamer" race began. 

I ran freely through green fields with beautiful flowers of all colors. It was more than anything I imagined. I felt alive, beautiful, vibrant, and radiant all at once, The ride was wild, exhilarating and full of adventures. I was running so fast I wondered if I'll ever stop.

However, as flowers are beautiful, they are temporary. The beauty that explodes in a fading moment makes them so enjoyable and valuable. 

The same God who "from Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty...shines in glorious radiancealso "grew...like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground...[with] no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him" (Psalm 50:2 & Isaiah 53:2).

At the start of 2015, my life transitioned from walking in the overflow of the perfect beauty into experiencing beauty in a place I never thought was possible.

I suddenly became so aware of all things wrong and weak about me. I felt as if I was being "pouring out like a liquid offering" (Phil 2:17). Sobering reminders about my brokenness and weakness and realization of my inabilities as a human being engulfed me and tore me apart.

The Gardner entered into my heart and pruned the branches of self-ambition and self-reliance. He kissed the wounded places and touched the broken places. His persistent and unrelenting love wooed my heart into his embrace.

A realization that "we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" dawned on me like never before (2 Cor 4:7). His love lavished life over the dry, impossible soil to reveal life.

The beauty of God is present just as much in the dry grounds as much as he is in the green pastures.

While I thought I was losing my true self, He plunged me into a deeper place. He widened my view of him like never before. The change of perspective frees us to we see beauty in things we once saw as ugly and unlovable. Your awareness of Beauty increases when you begin to see Jesus in the ordinary and mundane. 

What I felt was an unending valley of shadow of death was stepping into a holistic picture of his beauty. 

There is a time for everything. A time to embrace, celebrate and rejoice - and a time to walk through the fire and wilderness. However, these seasons are not a reflection of our spiritual state, but our yieldedness to a relational Father. 

We are so prone to judge our season or process in a single dimension. But God works in multiple dimensions we cannot yet see. For example, a valley may not just be a valley to God. Underneath the desert can be an oasis bubbling up to explode out and sprout life. The heat, tension, and dehydration may not be for the sake of "discipline" despite frustration and confusion, but for full overflowing pleasure when life comes. Until we taste the salt, we will never know the value of water. He purposely slows down our engine for new wine, grace, oil. Meanwhile, he prepares to break us out of the fire by washing us anew with his living water - and bring forth something new!

We are stepping into an unknown and unfamiliar ground. The journey is not going to look like the life of anyone who ever lived. I try to make sense of what will happen, but I constantly return to the promise in, not after, process. The understanding of a season may or may not come, but the revelation that process is the promise will free us.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
— 1 Corinthians 13:12
Taken in LA, few days before graduation in June 2014.

Taken in LA, few days before graduation in June 2014.

Taken during music video shoot in LA, August 2014.

Taken during music video shoot in LA, August 2014.

Taken in Pasadena, CA in April 2015.

Taken in Pasadena, CA in April 2015.

Taken in Hollywood, CA in April 2015. 

Taken in Hollywood, CA in April 2015. 

Promise is in the promise, not at the end of it.
Embrace process, and promise will embrace you!
— Steffany Gretzinger

From blooming flowers to hard soils, my expression of beauty is growing and maturing.

The journey is hardly over yet. It has barely begun.

Because I'm buckled up, not for a goal or change, but eternity.

I'm finally learning to breathe out my true self. 

I'm finally learning to be comfortable in my own skin. 

I'm finally learning to celebrate of my beauty rather than masking and hiding it.

I'm finally living out the revelation that I am fully loved in both my messes and victories. 

The process is about drawing and unveiling beauty from the eternal source.

The promise is eternal Beauty himself.

He is perfect in beauty and never-ending in glory. 

There is no end to his beauty and love.

It just keeps getting better, and will not stop.

Taken in countryside of Korea in September 2014.

Taken in countryside of Korea in September 2014.

Liquid Gold of Love

How does a bride feel when she puts on her wedding dress?

I imagine her emanating with an unexplainable joy.

An overwhelming rush that fills her eyes with tears and a smile at the same time.

She stands tall, draped in the beautiful fabric, and beams with delight.

Beauty wraps all around her, and she shines like never before.

Even when she steps out of her wedding dress, her beauty never fades, but remains.

Her beauty resonates not from her external garments, but a heart revelation.

 

A revelation of love.

An unshakeable understanding of the truth that she is loved as who she is.

It wraps all around her, and penetrates into the deepest places of her heart. 

It drips out her wounds and fills the now empty spaces with newness.

Out of a heart that once cried black tears flow liquid gold of love. 

Out of the beauty of her heart, flowers blossom and melodies rise.

Her beauty unlocks the heart of others and enters in with a rushing wave of love. 

Unending floodgates of love that breaks through the hardest and darkest.

The connection through beauty release a sweet fragrance and melodies of love.

 

It all starts with a revelation of love.

Because beauty shines brightest through the revelation of being loved.

 

So, won't you take the Lover's hand, and let him walk you into His Love story? 

 
My beloved spoke and said to me, 
“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone. 
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land."
 

When Waiting Is Easy

Daddy, you know my heart

You know the desires of my heart

My heart to learn and share
To heal, be free, and set free
To create and inspire others to act
To roam, soak, and hear from you
To obey and live out your perfect will
To remain in your favor, grace and provision
To experience the fullness of my destiny

Before all the excitement and accomplishments, you whisper words that ring loud through the deep inner crevices of my soul. Your still small voice silence all other commotions and voices. And when all else fades, only your voice remains.

"I delight in who you are, just as you are."

I still don't understand. How can God love me when I'm doing nothing just as much as when I'm obeying? How can he love me when I'm disappointed and hurt just as much as when I'm joyful?

I don't think I will ever be able to fully grasp this truth in my lifetime. Thankfully, he welcomes me into this process of discovering. This journey of increasing in the knowing is intimacy

In his presence, time flies. In his intimacy, waiting is easy. 

When I surrender the desires of my heart, step away from the voices that tell me "but you need to do this and go here," and simply be, priorities shift and perspectives change. 

When I remain in him, the secret place is no longer bound a place or a time. It takes me to the right tasks, places and people in diving timing. It guides my decisions and renews my mind. Its kingdom reality infiltrates into my life in the world. It prepares the way and covers my steps to provide an everlasting peace and security that no worry or obstacle can steal.    

His presence is enough.

Let's not look to the right or the left, but remain in the One who knows all. 

Nothing takes him my surprise.

His timing is perfect.  

He is in control.

He who calls us is faithful.

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psalm 37:3-7