THE BEAUTY HE BRINGS
Dear girls, I’m back at my desk after a month of mourning. Not that I’m done with sadness, but I’m sensing the invitation from the Spirit to get back to my calling to write. And so I sit, this morning, at the desk my dad made in this cabin tucked under the scented boughs of an enormous redwood tree. This spot is my refuge, a safe place where I hear God clearer than any place else.
The glimmering candle on my desk reminds me of the beauty of the friend who gave it as a gift of love. My new daughter-in-law’s mother, Natalia, is one of those rare treasures who sparkles with joy in the midst of a story she didn’t want. I am reminded of her as I do the final edits on my own story. Of how the Redeemer we follow weaves texture and color and loveliness into our lives in spite of— or perhaps because of— difficulties.
He is the Beauty-Maker and as He draws us close, we become like Him.
This morning I thought I’d bring you into my cabin to peer over my shoulder as I smooth and polish and pray and ponder over the words that will soon be put to print.
This is a glimpse of the me-I-was just before I was diagnosed with a progressive hearing loss that would eventually lead to total deafness. I was 26, enveloped in the world of babies and toddlers, homeschooling a first grader who gulped up knowledge like a starving lion.
I loved my life. But something left me empty and longing for more…
I wasn’t happy, not really. And I knew it.
And so I began to do the only thing I knew to do, the only thing a good Christian girl could do—I prayed. Every day, I asked God to do something, anything to change my heart. I prayed when I woke up, while jogging, while shopping, while cooking yet another family meal on yet another day of doing right.
I didn’t pray once. Or even twice. I prayed every chance I got, as if by begging God, I’d get Him to hear me and He’d have to give me what I craved.
I needed more. I wanted more. I had to have more!
God knew I would need all of Him to face the days ahead. He also knew that in order for Him to answer my cries for more, I would first need to let go of the pervasively self-serving idea of my own goodness.
The journey that lay ahead of me was going to be more arduous than all my rule abiding good-girl-ness would be able to handle.
I would face dark days, days of discovering that I was not as good as I’d thought, that my façade wouldn’t hold up under the pressures of life gone wrong, that a desperately “bad” girl lurked in my soul.
That I was a woman who didn’t know her true colors until she didn’t get her way.
I was about to embark on a journey of facing the worst about myself and finding God in the rubble. In that place of desperation, I would discover that what God wanted more than all of my exhausting efforts to be good was me, just as I am.
The real me.
And though I would flounder and fail, though I would shake my fist in His face, He couldn’t wait to gather me in close to show me what I’d been wanting all along.
As I edit these words I am praying for all of you who know the hunger that haunted me then. That emptiness, the sense that having everything I ever wanted was not enough.
I am praying that you will hear and know and experience the love of God down deep in the marrow of your bones.
That you will crave Him, longing for the beauty He alone brings. And that you won’t stop seeking until you’ve found all He has for you.
From my heart,
(image by Abi Porter)