It started with a picture. A picture that was chosen to display my desired life. In a small, dusty room with several of my girlfriends — I picked a picture with a smile in a cup. That night we were participating in a picture survey called Soularium. In this activity, dozens of pictures were spread around the table, and each of us was asked to pick pictures in response to a series of questions. This response was prompted by the question: “Which pictures describe what you most desire for your life to look like?”
For weeks we had been meeting in a room in the quaint Russel house for Bible study. So far, the girls knew:
- I wanted to be a teacher.
- I was born and raised in small-mountain town, USA
- I was going through a breakup with my High School sweetheart.
That was one of the most difficult and dark seasons. I daily trekked through a storm of self doubt, confusion, and soul searching. I felt stripped of my identity. I had completely identified myself as who I was in reference to him.
As I scanned the pictures, my eyes fell on the picture of an older couple holding hands. The woman in the picture resembled my Nana Pat. Oh, how I longed for and sought after a love story such as my grandparents’. I knew — this was my heart’s desire; to have this love.
Surprisingly, I felt God urging my eyes to continue wandering across the images on the table. Whispering just a faint hope that there was something more. Something better. My eyes danced across glimpses of flowers, sunlight, people, a cup, a chain….
Not just any cup. An adorable cup with a smile.
And just like that, I made a choice. I desired for my life to be like this picture of a coffee cup with a smile inside. I later explained to the girls, “It’s like a surprise in a cup!” I was struck by how something so routine and common as a cup of coffee could make me feel joy and excitement by just hiding a little smile inside. This smile is what inspired me to begin seeking delight and the Lord within the ordinary.
I wanted my life, no matter how ordinary, routine, empty, or dark — to always be about searching for and savoring the smiles to be found in the cup!
For six years, the Lord has continued to bring this moment back to my memory. This was a shifting moment in my walk with Him. It is when I concluded — He is better. He is present. He is faithful. It was at this moment that I began a beautiful adventure seeking all the goodness He has hidden away for me to search for as treasures. Please join me as I journey through every day life to seek out His smiles in the cups.
“I will give you the hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
Isaiah 45:3 (NIV)