Some days are just plain hard. But God is powerful enough, loving enough and HERE enough to repair even the greatest brokenness.
Life is complicated and one day a couple months ago I became extra conflicted. I just didn’t know what to do and was almost paralyzed with insecurity and fear. What should I do? I had trouble figuring out what was good, what was right, and how to please everyone. Nothing seemed clear. Even when I found a task that seemed ok, I quit as soon as it seemed fun. Really? Now how dumb is that, to intentionally sabotage something good?
But then a new thought suddenly filled my mind. That day, instead of doing what seemed good or fun… a clear thought came to mind.
“Do what is beautiful.”
Enjoy the photos slow. Look close. Each pine needle, each curled leaf, each thirsty root.
Do what is beautiful.
I breathed in deep, remembering the smell of pine and forest.
And there, sitting at my computer looking at photos, breathing deep suddenly seemed beautiful.
Everything started to be beautiful!
Washing dishes is beautiful.
Strength is beautiful.
Resting is beautiful.
Sacrifice is beautiful.
Never giving up is beautiful.
The slate from my childhood hangs on my dining room wall. I had not written on it for over a year and it was time for a change. Writing new words on the slate is doing something beautiful.
I started with a pencil sketch.
I sketched out the words to make it all fit.
I erased and edited.
My sketch seemed off and I wasn’t happy with it. It took me a while to figure out that I wanted to do “what is beautiful” not just “something beautiful.” It was such a small change but it made a big difference to me. So I erased again and penciled in Do What is Beautiful.
I picked out a handful of chalk colors to make the drawing.
But I ended up using only neutral colors.
I’ve never minded the scritch and scratch of chalk on the board and even enjoy the dust on my fingertips.
Do you see the tally marks in the lower left corner. Count them… there are
37 tally marks. I made them as I worked on the chalk drawing. Each one of those tally marks is when I erased something on this chalkboard and had to do it over. 37 times I made mistakes or had to straighten a line, or erase or start over. I left the tally marks on the drawing because they represent what is beautiful.
The last part of the message is to Never, Never give up. Never giving up is beautiful.
If you’re at a loss of what to do, do what is beautiful. You will know. And never, never give up.
The first and third photos were taken at Sunset Beach, NC. The photo in the middle was taken in my backyard. Please feel free to copy, save and print these encouraging cards if you want.
Edited to add: I just remembered when that first photo was taken. My granddaughter and husband were with me to hold my camera gear as we walked to the beach. We had been at the beach house for five days and I still had not walked down to the beach because I was in so much searing pain and seriously disabled. I suspected my back was broken but it had not yet been confirmed. I could barely walk or move. But I was determined to not miss an opportunity to photograph my granddaughter in the sunset and asked God to please help me make it down to the shore and back. During the slow and painful walk, the sun broke through the clouds. I have never seen such as spectacular sky as that evening. Instead of remembering the terrifying unstable spine, I have photos such as this to remind me… God was with me.
The easel is long gone and the drawing scroll must be somewhere in the attic. But I still have the slate chalkboard from my childhood. I’ve been wanting to put it on the wall for many years. Now that the dining room is finished there is a perfect space for it. I got the cast iron fleur-de-lis hook from Hobby Lobby. We drilled pilot holes for the wood screws and carefully screwed the brass chain to the old wood chalkboard frame.
And then came the best part – learning how to use chalk all over again. After all these years, I still love getting powdery chalk dust on my fingers and feeling the smooth cold slate against my hand as I write.
This scripture is my prayer today for one of my sons who is moving out of state today. May the Lord watch over him and direct his steps.
If you are facing something unknown, remember this verse. Fill in the blank with what you are facing, whatever it may be… The power company … The empty refrigerator… A difficult person… Illness… Impossible “To Do” lists… and trust God. He will not leave you nor forsake you. He it is that goes with you when no one else can, when no one else will. He will not forsake you.
I Figured out Plan B. Isn’t that the best feeling ever… When you come up with a plan B that will actually work? :)
Sometimes things are really mixed up and messed up. There’s no order. There is nothing to grasp. You watch Plan A fall away in little bits.
You go through the motions of trying to clean up. Again.
And then you think maybe there’s another way.
You start over.
You try again.
Don’t give up.
I call plan B ….
Plan B is Hope. It’s not perfect. It still has cracks around the edges. Sometimes it’s fragile and not very clear. But Plan B will work.
And Plan B is always crazy BRAVE!
Sometime Bravery is all you need to come up with Plan B.
Don’t give up! God knows exactly where you are. Ask Him to help you make it through.
Go for Brave.
Sara Bareilles sings Brave.
[A huge public Thank You to my son Ethan. Ever since I broke my back last year and had 17 vertebrae fused, I can’t get down to ground level easily. As I shared my idea for this post, Ethan became my Hope. Sometimes Hope from God arrives in the form of a person. They bring light when everything seems fractured and dark. Ethan, you’re the best!]
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
My computer desktop is usually littered with an unmanageable mess of icons. I painted a bunch of 4″ x 6″ cards for an e-course I’m taking and decided to photograph the cards to make a Desktop Background icon sorter before finishing the cards. Click on the photo to see larger image. Feel free to save it and use as wallpaper.