Watching and looking

I love words.

I love when words seep with literary devices that turn a simple sentence into a line of poetry.

I love when sentences don’t follow the proper structure. Not in a bad grammar way, but in a “need to break the formal rules to stand out” kind of way.

I love when words I know are strung together in a new way that cracks open a new meaning in them.

And I love when words you assume are interchangeable suddenly aren’t.

Annie F. Downs does all of these things so well. But in her latest book, Looking for Lovely, she does that last point in a powerful way.


Watching for a miracle.

Looking for lovely.

When you’re watching for something, you’re expectant. You know it’s going to happen. You watch for your ride to pick you up. You watch for your shift to end. You watch for the show to start.

Looking, however, is active. You are seeking and the finding is unknown. You look for a sale. You look for a new job. You look for the rainbow after the storm.

In Looking for Lovely, Annie so vulnerably shares about a “broken crazy” season in her life. Where so much catches up with her and she doesn’t know what to do with it. But she shares that she was watching for a miracle, fully expecting God to do something amazing.

But while watching for this miracle, she looks for lovely. She seeks out beauty. Reasons to keep showing up and plugging away. A sunset, sparkly nail polish, deep conversations with dear friends – these are the lovely.

“As I thought back over my own life, the beautiful things, though few and far between, were the knots on the rope that helped me keep climbing.” – Annie F. Downs

What if we lived our lives watching for a miracle while looking for lovely?

I don’t think we can have miracles without lovely. It’s like the miracle is on the other end of a long roadtrip, and the lovely is the gas stations along the way. If we don’t make a point to look for the gas stations, we won’t make it to the final destination.

Watching for a miracle is hard to do. It’s easy to give up on the miracle and convince yourself that it won’t happen. The lovely is what fuels your drive to keep watching.

Maybe so many of us give up on miracles because we’re not looking for the things to keep us going, the gas stations. We pray for and expect miracles, then go about our lives with blinders on to the things we need to stay in that place of expectation. So we stop watching, praying and expecting. We stop thinking God can do big things.

But I’m learning God partners with me. I’m an active participant in miracles. He’s got the actual miracle part covered. My job is to hold on, to look for the fuel on the roadtrip, the knots on the rope, the lovely, so that I can keep watching for the miracle.

Looking for Lovely is released today! You can buy it on Amazon.


Disclaimer: I had the pleasure of being part of Annie’s launch team for Looking for Lovely and received an advanced copy. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.


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3 Responses to Watching and looking

  1. Oh yes… this: “Watching for a miracle. Looking for lovely.” I loved how Annie pointed this out and how you expanded on it! Great post! I am stopping by from the launch team and I am loving all the Lovely that I am finding today around the interwebs! Keep Looking… and watching!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Hello from another launch team member!

    I agree with what Karrillee said above, and what you wrote about. I liked the watching/looking phrase turn that Annie used in the book, and had to roll it around in my fingers for a bit to capture it. Yes!

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