I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Accepting Beauty from Ashes

I’ve come to appreciate the beauty in the messiness of life.
Life, when it's real, is going to be messy.
Less than.
I used to be all about straight spoken lines and perfect emotional edges. Part of me pursued that whole nonsensical “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” statement from the melancholy movie “Love Story.”
That’s not how my love story played out.
There were lots of reasons to say “I’m sorry.”
And I had to learn to apologize first, rather than sulking in a corner until my husband – patient man that he is – came to me and started the reconciliation process.
Some long-standing relationships in my life were broken and, like that fictional Humpty-Dumpty, they couldn’t be put back together again.
It wasn’t for lack of trying … it just was reality.
Irreparable brokenness is easier to accept in a nursery rhyme.
So where, you might ask, is the beauty amidst the mess? In the hurt? In the fractures?
Ah … only in the less than moments do I truly see my need for God. Only then do I walk away from the confines of do-this-don’t-do-that law and breathe the wide open spaces of God’s grace. (Roman’s 5:1-3, The Message)
God is in the mess.
God is in the moments that leave us thirsting for more.
God is in the pain.
If I look for God in the mess, then I remember he’s a redeemer—not a quitter. He’s all about miracles—not tally sheets. He takes the "Is that all there is?" moment—or person—and turns it (or them) into a you’re-never-gonna-forget-this experience that has his eternal fingerprints all over it.

Have you ever discovered beauty in a messy moment in your life?


  1. Beth, I so appreciate your words. As much as my ordered mind loves organization and plans, that simply isn't reality. At least not for more than a few minutes at a time.

    God is in the mess, He's in the disappointments, the failures and the sorrows that color my life. He brings beauty from unfulfilled hopes, like He did when He gave us our two amazing boys. Like when He brought healing to my mother's breast cancer. Like when He meets me in a place of discouragement and gives me hope to hold onto.

  2. This is beautiful and profound, takes time to soak in all of this in. Healthy adorable babies produce dirty diapers that we deal with and forget in the growing process. I remember literal growing pains as my legs stretched--and kept on going past the 5' 7 1/2" height I considered perfect for me. God knows best. He helps us deal with and grow,seeing the forward-moving motion. Thanks so much for this beauty.

  3. Jeanne: I've found my relationship with God--and others--has deepened the most in the seasons I've struggled the most. Maybe that's because those are the times my veneer of self-suffiency has worn thin.
    Dee: Funny ... I thought 5-foot-nothing was the ideal height ... and overshot that by almost 8 inches.
    God was in that too.

  4. WOW... You won't believe this. I was just talking on Facebook with a young lady who formerly attended our church, and after a long, Spirit-led inquiry from me to her, she finally admitted how discouraged she feels, that she's hardly praying or reading the Bible, and attends church bc she has too. That's me TWO months ago! I encouraged her with Isaiah 43, which speaks of restoration (ladies, read this!) of those "less thans" you mention...
    And the amazing thing is after that I felt URGED by the Holy Spirit to pray according to the Word in Isaiah 61. And barely 10 minutes later, after finishing my prayer, I find your blog through another friend's recommendation.
    Beauty for ashes is exactly what I was praying about!!!!

  5. And it's the topic of the novel I'm writing, by the way.

  6. Carina:
    Your comment is so, so encouraging ...
    I prayed about what to write about today & then wrote as God led.
    How gracious of him ... how miraculous ... to dovetail into your life as he worked in mine.

  7. Beautiful, truth-filled words, my Friend. I only make it through the messes because His grace fills in the gaps.

  8. And you reflect his grace, Donna. You do, you do.

  9. I'm a day late on the draw, but this is a beautiful and wise, wise post, Beth. And yes, I've definitely discovered beauty during the messy parts of life...especially in the form of friendship. God has this amazing way of comforting me through the wonderful people he puts in my path. I'm grateful.

  10. God is so in the messes. He takes my mess and uses it for good. And He heals the wounds the mess leaves. Great post. And I agree with Carina about Psalm 43. The last part of the first verse is one of my favorites. "Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are Mine!" What could be better?

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  12. A beautiful, thought-provoking post, my friend.

  13. Thanks for this, Beth. I have found that it's in the messes I am reminded of the deep need for complete dependence on Him I have. In the good days, I tend to lean on my own strength - which may be part of the reason I end up in a mess. His grace is so much more than I will ever comprehend, but I'm so thankful for it. Where would I be, if not for grace? I shudder to think.