By Melissa McLaughlin
How our kids loved the I Spy books when they were young! They could outlast me, trying to find the dozens of specified items hidden among the endless clutter of extraneous items placed there for the sole purpose of overshadowing all the others. These books presented a challenge because there was simply too much. A picture of our lives perhaps? It wasn’t that the extra things on the page were harmful or evil, just too much.
The I Spy books consisted of pages dedicated to distinct themes. One page might include an array of items you find in a child’s bedroom. Another page might be comprised of kitchen gadgets or relics stored in your attic.
Though each page contained literally thousands of objects, only ten or twenty items were designated as those to be found on a given page. It always seemed many of the noted objects popped out within the first minute or two of searching. However, without exception the last two or three items seemed impossible to locate. We would quiet our bodies and conduct a strategic hunt area by area. Sometimes, we resorted to closing the book, to try again later. When we found those final items, what joy we all shared! Cheering and shouting and pointing out the elusive items, hidden in plain view.
Once located, somehow the long sought after objects appeared to jump right out, though earlier we could not see them through the mass of additional distracting items.
We played a similar game when traveling in the car or waiting in doctor’s offices. In this case, however, the one who was “it” selected something within the field of view and others tried to guess the chosen object. In this form of the game, we supplied a color clue to help those who engaged in the hunt.
Sometimes, we feel like we are hunting for God. Though of course we know God is not hiding. He reveals Himself through His creation, through His Word, the Bible, through His Son, Jesus, and through His Holy Spirit, sent to live in the hearts of all who believe.
However, at times it feels as if life is cluttering our view of God. Just this morning as I peered out our kitchen window viewing the backyard, at first glance it gave the appearance of nothing special. The snow was melting as our deep freeze released its grip. Not as beautiful as freshly fallen snow. However, as I paused for a second glance I spied something so lovely, it appeared almost magical. The snow crystals were glistening like millions of diamonds in the morning sun. Some even took on rainbow colors if observed at just the right angle. I tried to capture this morning glory with my camera, but sometimes a camera cannot take in the fullness of God’s beauty displayed in creation. This was one of those moments.
A Glimpse of God’s Touch
As my attention was stilled, I couldn’t help but notice a tiny bird perched on the edge of our deck railing and a squirrel scampering around sniffing remnants of empty nut shells strewn about. I caught the delicate song of a bird in the distance. The blurry footprints of a rabbit in the melting snow. The green of leftover lilies frozen in place by the thinning ice. The tiniest hint of buds on the slender Maple twig interrupting my view. The smell of bright fresh air.
I thought back to earlier in the morning when I prayed for this very thing…for God to give me fresh wonder of who He is and renewed awe at what He has done for me through the sacrifice of Jesus. As I gazed at this miniature wonder sparkling across my backyard in the winter sunshine, unable to be memorialized on camera, I remembered how we used to look for hidden treasures on the pages of the I Spy books. I remembered that God is always with me, waiting for me to see His new mercies, created fresh for today, for me to store not on digital photo albums, but in the eternal album of my heart.
Into my heart’s treasury
I slipped a coin
That time cannot take
Nor a thief purloin,
Oh better than the minting
Of a gold-crowned king
Is the safe-kept memory
Of a lovely thing ~”The Coin” By Sara Teasdale
Look for God Today
I pray you are able to pause in stillness for a moment today to spy God in your surroundings.
Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God.
Maybe you will see the hand of God in the soft touch of a kitten’s silky fur, the friendly smile of a stranger, the golden moon at night, the cheery song of the bird as you walk to the mailbox, the scripture you memorized which God has illuminated in your heart anew today, the long-awaited prayer is answered, the notes of the worship song stir the embers of your heart. May God find a special way to shine in your life today, right where you are, in a way that is uniquely designed for you, so that you know, that you know, that you know, this special touch was from God alone, just for you.
Why? As we pause to spy God among the masses of other distractions, then we can bring to mind how He spies us in every moment of every day. He loves us and is waiting for us to connect and enjoy His love. As you receive His heavenly touch, may you recall His endless arms reaching for you as Jesus hung on the cross out of love for you. Rest in that love again today.
Do you have an example of a time you spied God in a mundane or unexpected place?
Don’t miss this chance to spy the heavenly Father. Don’t give up seeking Him. Past the myriad distractions, zero in on our Living God, the One who makes all things new, so you may have a brand-new experience of His love in this new day.
Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
*Toy photo courtesy of Pixabay.com.
Read more about God’s pursuit of you in my post titled The Search.
From Clay to Heaven – Be Amazed by Your God! By Melissa McLaughlin
Passing By – Poem by Melissa McLaughlin
I Spy books available on Amazon
Looking for God By Martha Noebel
I love your message. Finding God in the everyday moments of life is such a blessing. From our grandson (18 months old) laughing to reading a good book to enjoying sunshine to hearing from a friend, there are many ways to “spy God”. Thanks for a great post.
Dear Mimi, I’m smiling at the thought of these precious moments you have just mentioned! The blessings God pours out on us are endless. May our hearts and minds be captivated by His loving touch everywhere we look!
Amen! Beautifully said Melissa! God bless!
God bless you, Ryan! Thank you for the words of encouragement. May you see God’s hand moving mightily in your life!
Very moving! Where is the picture of the soft fluffy kitty?
Thank you for reading and commenting, sister! Too many blessings to capture them all on the camera!
Too true! Because you too are looking through the lens of all the cool things that just by existing, bring glory to God!
Never lose your vision of the cross!
We must keep our eyes open to see Him. His creation is everywhere and it is beautiful and speaking to us! Good post!
It’s so true, Valerie! With each new day God’s creation sings His praises in new ways. May we join the unending chorus!
( I Corinthians 2:9 KJV ) “But as it is Written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the Things which GOD hath Prepared for them that Love HIM.”!!
( Romans 8:39 KJV ) “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the Love of GOD, which is in Christ Jesus our LORD.”!!
( I John 3:1 KJV ) “Behold, what manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of GOD: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”!!
I Love you all Everyone through Jesus-Yeshua Christ, because HE LOVED EVERYONE FIRST!! 💕 Praise Jesus ( Yeshua ) Christ for Today and Everyday!!
Love 💕 Always and Shalom ( Peace ), YSIC \o/
Kristi Ann, God bless you! These scriptures capture my thoughts so beautifully, so completely! Thank you for sharing His Word as a treasure for me and all who read! Jesus-Yeshua Christ is our Savior and Lord! Love and Shalom to you!
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
Psalms 19:1 ESV
Thanks for stopping by, Pat! I love that verse and I love how God proves it true through His incredible creative powers day after day! God bless you!
Such a beautiful analogy! It’s so easy to loose focus in our busy lives much like those books! 👐 ❤️
My kids loved those busy books! May we keep our eyes glued on Jesus that His glory and grace shines through every moment!
Yes! The things we can learn from God from our kids toys :).
It’s true! God will teach us through anything!
Yes He will!
Oh my Preschool Children’s Church kids loved those books! There really is something so special in seeking and finding. I read earlier tonight about the beauty of knowing that we are found by Him, and our seeking just draws us deeper into His heart. He is so full of love for us! May I keep my eyes open to see His glory in my days!
What a precious remembrance! And I agree, Bettie, there is something to seeking and finding. There is a special joy in the final outcome after finding what you have been looking for. Praying we see His hand at work all around and within us! Yes, He loves us so!
And, I meant to say thank you for this precious memory from Children’s Church years ago. That in itself was a gift of wonder from God, just so cheering for me today! Blessings to you Dear Sister!
Isn’t that God?! Giving you the sweetest memory, just for you! I love it! Thank you for sharing with me, because now I share you joy as I read this! Blessings to you, dear Bettie!
Lovely post, dear Melissa. Thank you for beautifully reminding me how fun it is to read “I Spy” books with children. I kept all of ours and look forward to reading them to my grandson. I found a toddler “I Spy” book to use for now.
Yes, I love those special “I Spy” moments with God too. Mine mostly happen in nature and during my quiet time when I’m reading the Bible. Lately I’ve also been noticing them when I’m writing in response to a Holy Spirit nudge. It’s exciting to see what transpires on paper.
Blessings ~ Wendy Mac
Dear Wendy, thank you for sharing your experiences both with these playful children’s books, as well as with God’s faithful love. It is such a simple idea for a book, but the kids love it. One thing that’s nice is simply resting in quietness to look for something you know is there somewhere. Then the joy of finding it is a simple joy, but oh so sweet!
I find God capturing my attention in nature quite frequently. But like you, I also have those special connections when reading the Bible and when praying. One of things that amazes me is when God puts it on the hearts of two different people to write two different posts about the same topic at the same time. When I see it, I know God’s hand it in it all the way. May He continue to bless and open your eyes to His loving touch in your life, your precious family and your writing. God bless you!
I find God in the nature around me. I love to find alone time in the woods and feel God’s closeness. I also love to see birds of pray so every time I see one, I think it is God’s way of waving to me. Thanks for the encouragement.
My soul leaps just at the description of your encounters with God’s Presence. Like you, I love to have time alone in nature and have always loved it since I was a young child. I will think of God waving to me the next time I see a bird of prey! I used to feel that way when I saw deer in a certain place. For they always happened to “appear” when I was at my lowest point. Thank you for sharing, Yvonne. Bless you!
This was lovely. I appreciate that you pointed out at the very beginning that these “distractions” are not necessarily bad or evil, and yet they take from us being able to zone in on the goodness of God. It’s very much like the world. Not all things are necessarily bad or evil, but they quieten the Spirit of God. We, in the “first world countries” seem to have it worse. Busyness (cluttery) is always trying to take our focus from being quiet before God/lingering in His presence. Zech. 6:8 King James Bible
Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.
I watched a video my minister made in various regions of Africa as he travels to minister, the lower/the scummier/the poorer, my they are really touched by the presence of God. Having nothing… no clutter.. no distractions… they are more blessed in a way.
It seems a good prayer to silence the voice of the world, so I can hear God better. (Or see) 🙂
Your observation is so true! I have observed the same reality in my own life when visiting with Christians in third world countries. We are blessed with material wealth here and it is to our detriment because we what was meant to be a precious blessing to be shared with others, is instead stockpiled and clutters our view of God, the One who provided these blessings. Lord have mercy! Pierce through our clutter, oh God, so that we desire You, just You. God bless you, sister, and your heart for the Lord!
Amen! Jesus, only Jesus! God bless you, also. Keep speaking Truth.
What a wonderful post and analogy, Melissa! We played “I Spy” with our kids too, both with the books and in real life experiences as you mentioned.
I love the thought of looking for God, spying out His presence and hand in the world and our world. Because we are often distracted and our life gets foggy, blocking our view of God all around us. Romans 1 talks about how God is evident in nature…so that men are without excuse.
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20, ESV)
Dear Karen, I appreciate your thoughtful insights and scripture connection! It was a simple game to play with the kids, but somehow they loved it again and again. I think we love seeing God again and again in our own lives, in much the same way. Your scripture is true and sobering. Praying for many eyes to be opened to our Mighty God, that they may turn to Him to be saved. Lord, we know You are Living and Moving. Help us see You and see the people you would have us point toward You. In Jesus’ name.
Such a beautiful reminder that He is EVERYWHERE! I can get so blinded by the busyness of life to stop and recognize that fact. I think the most beautiful daily reminder I have of His presence are in the smiles of my kids and grandson. When they are playing or being silly and a real, honest laugh or smile erupts. It’s one of the most lovely things.
Dear Alynda, I love how you see God’s handiwork in the faces and laughter of your loved ones! God gives us these precious glimpses of His glorious beauty. May we see them and cherish them! Blessings to you and your dear family!
I love those moments when we see the beauty God has given us–and He gave us the ability to see and savor them. Thanks and God bless!
Those are such precious moments when we see the beauty of God fresh in our souls. Morning by morning new mercies He gives! God bless you, Nancy!
In our massively overloaded culture, it’s hard to stop long enough to notice things. I love your I-Spy technique, though, and I think that is an excellent practice to help kids learn to look for God. It is in this statement—”my attention was stilled”—that we can “see” God.
“Be Still and Know that I am God.” Amen? Amen. Bless you! Lisa Q
You make such a good point, Lisa. Our entire culture is on overload. We are bombarded daily with so much to filter through. It takes a deliberate, intentional choice to pause long enough to have “our attention stilled” so we can see God. Praying God keeps us in positions of humility and rest so we can do just that! Thank you for sharing your feedback. Blessings!
This is wonderful and I need to hear it. I feel like there is so much clutter in my life right now that it’s hard to find what matters. Thank you for a post full of clarity.
I understand completely, Stephanie. It is so easy for our homes to be cluttered with things (all “good”), our schedules cluttered with events (all “good”), our eyes cluttered cluttered with screens (all “good”) and our minds cluttered with information. May the God of all Creation, help us zero in on Him and pause to rest there in peace, simplicity and total fulfillment. Praying for peaceful moments for you today!
Melissa, what a beautiful post. And that top photo? Stunning. I’ve fallen in love with God more through His creation. I find myself marveling in awe as I watch His colors splash across the sky in a sunrise or sunset. Or seeing fall-colored leaves strewn across a dirt pathway. I love the ways He plays with light and color.
Thanks for the reminder to be intentional about looking for Him in my days and slowing down enough to have a heart filled with wonder when I Spy glimpses of His presence in my days.
Jeanne, I can totally relate! God has captured my heart again and again through His creation. I see His power, majesty, grandeur, complexity, design, playfulness and beauty. So awe inspiring! I pray He helps us pause and catches our eye each day with something special, to rekindle our wonder and love!
This is a beautiful post! I LOVE those moments when we see something hidden away, yet right before our eyes, that we know if a gift from God directly to us. It reminds us of the tender and watchful care he exercises over every single aspect of our lives, even crafting the reflection of rainbows through the tiny ice crystals just as we pause to look. A glimpse of sunset when we can’t usually see the horizon, the scent of rain when we’re been feeling dry, the soft skin of a new grandchild when we never thought this would be possible. God is so good to us! Each day, we only need open our eyes and look for the evidence of his nearness. I spy!
Melinda, thank you for sharing my joy in these special God-moments! Just reading your list of examples makes my heart swell with joy at the thought! Oh Lord, give us eyes to see you, childlike awe of you and the will to pause and enjoy you! Bless you sister as you spy Him!
I love this! I know just what you mean, too, about trying to capture that stunning natural beauty with my camera but not being able to get what seizes my heart. God is the ultimate artist!
It’s true Jessica! Try as we might, there is no way to capture all of God’s beauty! He is just too big, too beautiful, too vast, too uncontainable in scope and magnitude. We can only imagine how amazing heaven will be! May you enjoy glimpses of the Great Artist today!
It is amazing how the Lord can bless us with the everyday beauty of His creation. Birds come to mind when you ask where I have seen Him in the mundane. Their beauty can take my breath away – just like they did yesterday! Great thoughts here, thank you.
It is so amazing how God can find His way into our hearts and minds through the everyday things like the birds. When they flit before your eyes with their varying shades and graceful songs, that alone could make one pause and give praise to the Maker of such beauty and joy! I’m so glad to hear God used birds to take your breath away just yesterday! May you spy Him again and again!
My kids love those books also! I love the idea of spying for God during the day. He’s all over:)
It’s such a simple idea for a book, but the kids love it! And it’s a simple idea for keeping an eye out for God! I pray we can take as much joy in finding Him that our kids do in these books!
Melissa, you brought a smile to my face as I remembered all the fun my kids and I had with I Spy books! I love your analogy to a life with God being like that. It is a treasure hunt. I love seeing his work unexpectedly, especially in nature. Examples lately include a big hawk who keeps watch in our backyard tree, the intricate design of snowflakes, and the deer who stand watching me as I watch them. Thank you for stirring fond memories and pointing to new ones.!
Thank you for reading and sharing your reflections, Jamie! It is a joy to cheer one another on in our faith and life in Christ. I’m so glad this brought back sweet memories for you, too. I pray we will pause long enough to see Him more and more each day. I love your examples of the hawk, the snowflakes and the deer! How He calls to us time and time again to see and enjoy Him. May you see Him in fresh ways today!
As a mom with 2 preschoolers, I spent a lot of days in the yard while my children played. It was during my children’s informative years, the Lord taught me how to recognize His mercies in everyday life. Creation testifies of His goodness if only we will listen. Love the post, Melissa!
Dear Gail, those preschool years with our kids are so very precious. Much to be learned about regaining a childlike faith and perspective of our Heavenly Father! May you have a moment to pause and catch a glimpse of His glistening glory again today! Blessings to you and yours!
I love this Melissa! I still play I Spy with the kids when we go on road trips. What has always made me spy God’s handwork in action is in the early morning right as the sun is coming out to watch the dew glistening on spider webs in the fields. Beautiful sight!
Ahh, what a fun memory with the kids! And a beautiful memory of God in the mornings as the sun rises shining His glory on the fields and critters! Truly nourishes the soul! Blessings to you, Stu!
Blessings to you as well Melissa! Thank you for the prayers and help!
Have a great weekend!!
Hope you have a great weekend, as well!
Thank you! It has been good so far 🙂