Friday, September 9, 2011

Seeing the Beauty in the Ugly

Reflection...I've been doing it a lot lately.  Life...what does all it mean?  What does all this ugliness in life mean?  Why does God take us down roads and strip away dreams that we never thought possible?  Where is God in all of this?

My mind wonders a couple years back.  Flushed and rushed...I had just finished my marathon of a morning.  Wake up.  Feed baby. Get girls dressed. Get attitude on what girls were supposed to wear.  Get myself dressed.  Get girls breakfast.  Get attitude on what's for breakfast.  Feed baby again.  Get husband to work.  Get homework done that I forgot to have Reese do the night before.  Get sack lunch made.  Get snack in book bag. Get girl on the bus.  Feed baby again (she ate a lot).  Get girls in car.  Take baby back out.  Change blowout.  Change clothes.  Put baby back in car.  Start car.  Notice I have poop on shirt.  Stop car.  Go inside. Change again.  Finally we pulled out of the driveway onto our destination for the morning.

I was frazzled.  I was stressed.  I was irritable.  Rush rush rush...went my heart.  My toes curled with stress and my shoulders tensed up like a statue.  My head was beginning to pound.  This was a typically morning.  This was my life.  This is still my life in a sense.

In the car, Finley started asking me the 2 year old questions.   You know the ones even you don't even know the answer to.  You know like..."Mommy why do drive?" "Mommy why do we have to eat?"  "Mommy why do we poop?" "Mommy why do I have a baby sister?"  Why Why Why?

After a two minute nonstop question fest, my irritated self came out.  "Finley, shhhh!  Let's have some quiet time for just a few minutes.  Please be quiet."

I glanced in the rearview mirror...face flustered with annoyance.  The lips of my curly haired blonde sprinkled with defeat.  Her sparkling eyes welled up with surrender.  The quietness was almost deafening.

The morning breeze picked up as the clouds slowly skirted their way across the turquoise sky.  The morning was beautiful.  But I had failed to notice that morning.  Obviously I was failing at many things that morning.

I turned on the radio.  Steven Curtis Chapman filled the interior of van.  I finally let out the first deep breath of the morning.  We came to a red light.

  And then...then the words came.  The words that changed my perspective came.  And they came from my two year old.

As I looked again in the rearview mirror, those just defeated lips turned into lips showing curiosity, amazement.

"Mommy!  LOOK!!  WOW!!!" she exclaimed.  I looked over to where she was pointing.  All I saw was an ugly, stench filled ditch with weeds.  I looked again at where she was pointing.  Surely she saw something I didn't.  But no...her finger and her eyes were pointed directly to this litter infested ditch.

"Mommy...look look!!" Finley pleaded again.

"What is it Finley?" I asked just waiting for some pointless observation.

"Mommy...those flowers over there are dancing!  They are dancing to the Jesus music!!"

I looked again.  My eyes opened...and I finally saw it.  Finally saw the beauty.  The weeds in this ditch that I had just labeled as ugly, had suddenly turned into a symphony declaring the majesty of God.  Wildflowers were swaying in the wind...almost to the exact beat of the music playing in the car.

"Wow Finley...they are dancing!" I exclaimed.  "They are praising Jesus with us aren't they?"  I couldn't stop looking.  The once grotesque stench filled ditch..the one that the car next to me probably didn't notice...turned into a masterpiece of beauty.  A showcase of God's creativity that most of the world would never notice.

I could never pass that ditch again without staring at the "dancing flowers" and Finley would point out that those flowers were still praising Jesus every time we passed.

Isn't that just life?  So many times we fail to see the beauty in things.  As I have been reading the book by Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts I have been challenged in my own life to slow down and find the beauty in things.  Find the beauty in situations.  Find the beauty in what we commonly label as ugly.

Doesn't God's word promise that "He makes all things beautiful"?

But God what is so beautiful about bleeding out a life?  Losing a child?  What is so beautiful about that?  What is so beautiful about health issues...weakness...sickness?

God never promises a life of easy outs.  But He does promise beauty.  He promises Grace.  He promises us Himself.  So no..I can't change my situations.  I can't change the brokenness.

But I can change my perspective.  So my goal in the coming days....even years?  Finding the beauty in everything God blesses me with.....yep...even the ugly stuff.


  1. Thank you for sharing this! What a great challenge; I needed to hear this!

  2. Sarah, I stumbled upon this again today. And just read it. I needed this in September when I read it the first time and I needed it today. Thank you for writing from your heart!