The beauty of any piece of art is in the eye of the beholder. Art is not something I find myself particularly drawn to unless it comes from the creative mind of one of my children or it presents itself in need of a particular view of the compassionate kind. Recently, someone posted a piece of art on Facebook that I found to have a gravitational sort of pull on my emotions. A few days ago, another such piece caught me unaware. My 8 year old daughter spent an afternoon carefully cutting, pasting, constructing and creating art pieces that she would put on display for me to choose from. There was a catch; she wanted a Forever After High doll and she was selling these pieces to reduce her funds deficit. She carefully laid 3 pieces out in front of me and proudly proclaimed their respective title’s and prices. Of course I found them all to be beautiful because that is how being a Mom works. One piece in particular caught my eye and touched my emotions. She called it “Disaster Piece”. As I looked at the pieces; one was a straight forward child’s coloring page brought to life with color and another was a quite large decorated card with sweetly written words that would appeal to any Mom and then…the “Disaster Piece. When I told her that I would take the beautiful Disaster, she was visibly surprised. She told me that she priced the pieces according to what she thought I would find valuable. The Disaster Piece carried the lowest asking price. As I thought about this scenario and my connection to the oddly placed construction paper so aptly named; I became more aware of the breath of God circulating through my being. Each of us are wonderfully and beautifully made. The storms of life, the painful lessons, the heartbreaks; it all works together to make a most lovely piece of art. Sometimes we only see a failure, a flaw, a mistake and label it as such, but it is so much more than that. It is grace at work in what was created to be flawed and correspondingly saved in order to display the fullness of God. We are human, fallible, breakable and at the same time forgiven, loved and redeemed. It is not the inconsistencies and the inabilities that we see daily in ourselves that should label us, but rather the truth of who God says we are. Like the loving Father that He is, He looks at what we have created in our lives with our choices, circumstances and opportunities and at the moment we hand what we thought was disaster to Him, he says I will take your disaster and raise you exponentially. At any given moment we are on display as an art piece of the living God and though we may be tempted to label it “Disaster Piece” based on what we see, He labels “Master Piece” based on what He sees. I may have been drawn like many others to that official art piece that I saw posted on Facebook. It’s very nature screams “I am a beautiful worthy piece of art”, and no one would question its validity. Then there is this piece crafted in the mind of my little girl that softly whispers to the heart of a Mom, “pick me even though I am not the most beautiful or valuable”. Maybe that was just my imperfect self projecting. Either way; the beauty of something is never to be judged from a singular attribute but rather the sum of its parts. The sum of everyone is eternity. He is the Beginning and the End so don’t get stuck in the disaster areas in the middle. He makes all things work together for our good.
In this blogging experience I have wondered exactly what would transpire. I have realized that it is entirely up to God. Trying to fit in is not my goal anymore. My goal is whatever His goal is. With that in mind, you will see me in the writing below, but my greater hope is that you will see His amazing grace and love. My heart has always been open to whoever wanted to be in it. This is a moment from my open heart. I have been hurt to the point that breathing was painful, but I have discovered that those are the places where I am most aware of the fingerprints of God. How could I ever understand how to share His heart if I had not experienced what it is to need Him to keep my own heart beating? I want others to know that in the saddest, darkest, most difficult and agonizingly painful times, God is present. When it looks like life is over; it isn’t. When you think you aren’t worth it; you are. When it seems like you are alone; you aren’t. When you don’t feel loved; you can be sure that you are! When you feel like you can’t go on: you can. When you feel fear: step out in faith anyway. He will meet you where you are.
A year ago today I was in a much different place and fear placed me in a chokehold daily. My entire life changed and I was changing with it, but the process seemed to be going in slow motion. I look back and know without a doubt that God has brought me here to this place even if I seemingly took a detour to get here. Some things only God knows for sure and I am understanding how to be content with that. I journal almost daily. As I look back at the difference between an excerpt from my journal entry a year ago to the one from today I am overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of God.
August 4, 2013… Please say you will take care of me Lord. Please. I cannot do any of this without you sustaining me. You are my very present help in time of trouble. Show up please. Sustain me. Don’t let me fail. I question myself. I question every decision I have ever made. I wonder if this is the plan you had for me or did I go my own way. No matter, I know that you will never leave me or forsake me. I know that you will make all things work together for my good. I know, yet I doubt. My humanity bleeds through your righteousness. I fail; my emotions and thoughts fail. Please help me! The only hope I have of seeing things differently is seeing things through your eyes. Show me your way. Reveal your thoughts on the situation. It seems there is a class I failed or that I am spiritually slow. What is wrong with me? How do I shake off these grave clothes that I daily try on? Renew my mind. Sustain me. I need you. Nothing else will suffice.
August 4, 2014…
Lord, There is no circumstance in life that can erase you from the interior of my soul. There is no heartache that is deeper than your love. Your goodness is overwhelming. In the vastness of the pain woven into life, you have a way of transforming everything into something so beautiful that it is difficult to behold with anything other than the spirit man that was created for such an experience. I am a single life that has had a magnifying glass put to it and in the process it set fire to purpose that looked dead. Thankfully you are well acquainted with resurrecting the dead! As I listen to Danny Gokey’s song, “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again”,
I am aware of your presence in a way that can only be adequately described as HOLY. You speak so softly and loudly all at once. My heart beats once again in beautiful rhythm with yours. I am in love with you my King. It is so easy to say “I Do” to the one that loves me so deeply that He paid the price for every sinful thing that would ever boast in its power to condemn. Lord, you gave me your all and I seek to give you all of me. It isn’t much and it is pretty banged up, but it is your to do with what you will. I can find no good thing in me in the light of your glory, but in the light of your grace there is endless possibility. I used to look in the mirror and only see my imperfect reflection; now when I look again I see yours. A thank you will never be enough.
I love you sweetly,
I start this post without a clear idea of where it is going to go; much like Abraham moving forward without being aware of the destination. Perhaps at the moment the destination is not as important as the moving forward. Like Ricky Bobby I want to go fast, but slow and steady has been proven to be a good plan. The cursor blinking in front of me is like the ticking of a clock mocking my inability to verbalize the complexities of my heart in a timely fashion. What is it that I feel the need to say and will the words follow the intended trajectory? Fear knocks at the door and all of the “what if’s” dance in my head. Regardless, I have a purpose and I will cherish the small beginnings being confident that the thoughts that God thinks toward me are in line with His nature and character and will give me an expected end.
For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds…Jeremiah 30:17 God gave me this scripture to hide in my heart a little over two years ago. I longed for the words to be a reality in my life. So much pain and so many questions from this heart that loved God so intensely. How? Why? I took the words of that scripture and wrote them on a piece of paper and put them in a frame and have guarded that frame through the most vehement storms of my life to date. I hoped, yet circumstances contradicted that hope. Sometimes I forgot about those words for a little while or they got lost in the shuffle of my emotions, but like the sun rises so does the word of God.
For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11 Although this is a familiar and heavily used scripture, it surprised me when I read it in the King James Version in comparison to any other version. The God of heaven thinks thoughts toward me, toward you! It’s not a haphazard explosion of God thoughts into the atmosphere landing randomly as an evolutionary happening. It is specific thoughts sent in our specific direction. Those thoughts are in line with His word, birthed in His character, processed in His nature and sent like a heat seeking missile toward each of us. Our destiny begins in the thoughts of our Creator and are intended to give us an expected end. The only way to get to that expected end is to get in line with the thoughts God thinks toward us. My own thoughts pose limits and give me more questions than answers. My thoughts are tiring and subject to emotional manipulation. His thoughts toward me are of peace. He has great expectations for me.
I love the fact that God gave me two scriptures out of order and years apart to teach me what He needed me to know. He gave me a promise of my expected end in Jeremiah 30:17, long before it looked possible. So though the dark night descended and the storms of life caused me to veer into the path of my own hopeless thoughts; my spirit kept fighting to access and activate His thoughts. It was spiritual warfare for my soul. The enemy lost. God has restored health unto me and healed me of my wounds and He thinks my expected end will be better than my small beginnings.
Perfection is seemingly an honorable goal, but is it achievable? I have not figured this web building, blogging thing out yet. Watching Youtube videos on setting up WordPress and doing endless searches on each individual aspect of setting up a website is not fun. When I was a kid, my oldest brother liked taking one of us younger siblings, throwing us in the creek and yelling “sink or swim”. My fear that I would sink kept me constantly running away from the cold, crystal clear water even though the heat of the summer made me want nothing more than to swim! Blogging has taunted me in much the same way. I made my first blog page and post on June 20th and here it is July 8th and I am still running in fear of imperfection. As Dr. Phil says, “If you are gonna play the what if game, play it all the way through to the end”. So…what if I do something wrong or look uneducated, silly or just plain ignorant? When I know better I will do better! That is the beauty of imperfection. It acts boldly and humbly in its current state and accepts the next level of knowledge with grace and then uses it to become something better. Perfection is a lie hoping to remain undiscovered. Imperfection is beautiful in every moment and leaves room for everyone and anyone to rise to the occasion. It is teachable and pliable and regards everyone with the same respect. Yes, perfection may exist and be achievable, but it is an end. I prefer beginnings. I will embrace the imperfections of this blog and myself and know that it is just another moment in time and as I reach for the next moment it will be even better because that is the nature of imperfection. So I will swim!
I never knew there could be a beginning in the middle. Here I am 40 years old and starting over. Yes, there is a back story and it is relevant, but everything in its time. For now; a moment to take in the fact that I made it here. I didn’t quit and I didn’t give up. Divorce is a thief, depression and PTSD are beasts in their own right. Gossip and whispers in the distance… Nothing could have prepared me for the highs and lows of my own humanity, yet here I am still standing. I am blessed. I found something in the rubble that I didn’t know I was searching for; grace. My genesis begins with grace. Amazing grace. Stay tuned…