We See A Mess, He Sees Beauty

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This week Floyd has been working so hard on trying to pull himself up into a seated position.  He is so determined.  The cognitive ability this is requiring on his part is so encouraging to see!

I was with him for his therapy and tilt table sessions one morning this week.  I was so impressed with what a good job the therapist is doing.  I am amazed at the level of mobility she is maintaining for him!  As he recovers more and more, this will be such an advantage.

Someone asked me recently, when I say Floyd is "alert" - what does that mean?  That's a good question!  When Floyd is awake (eyes open)......he is sometimes very distant.  His eyes are open, but he's not looking at us.......he's somewhere else.  Maybe with Jesus?  :)

Other times, he is awake......and he is looking right at us.  Following movements in the room.  Listening.  Sometimes responding with facial expressions or sounds to what we're saying. That's what I mean by "alert."

I’m so glad to be able to say that the “alert” times are increasing!

Forty two years ago, we were leading the busy ministry of "The Ark" in Amsterdam, Holland.  Matthew, our son, was a couple weeks old. I hadn't been sleeping well with a new baby and with all the noises of the city, and was very tired.  "Tante (Aunt) Corrie" (Corrie ten Boom) invited us to come spend a few days at her home in Haarlem to get some peace and quiet.  That was a wonderful blessing!

While we were there, my precocious daughter, Misha, spoke up at a mealtime and said "it's my mother's birthday!"  Tante Corrie smiled, and left the room for a few minutes.  When she returned, she gave me a little gift.  It was a two-sided embroidery piece - one that she often used as a sermon illustration when she spoke.

The embroidery is of a crown.  One side is a mess of threads - all tangled, knotted, and confused.  The other side is a beautiful crown.  She explained that as we go through life, we usually look at our lives like the messy side of the crown.  We see the problems, the mistakes, the questions, the confusion.......and we think our lives are a mess.  We are insecure, discouraged, and tend to have a low self image of who we are.

But, she explained, God's looks down upon us as His beloved child.  He sees beauty.  He sees who He has created us to be.  He sees the lovely creation He is forming us to be - in His image.  He knows we'll get beyond the "mess" with His help, and we'll become all that He destined for us.

She gently explained that I was going through some of life's "rough spots," but God loved me and was pleased with me.  He saw that I was His beautiful daughter.

It was such a special, timely, encouraging gift - that I have treasured all these 42 years since.  I had it framed so that you can see both sides.  It has had a place of honor and focus in our home, wherever we've lived, all these years.  I have used a picture of it at the top of this post.

I've been very tired these past days.  I’ve been praying and asking God for fresh strength and grace.  I remembered a story I read in a church bulletin:

A 3-year-old was telling his mother about his Sunday School lesson.  It was about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo.  "They got put in the fire," he said, wide-eyed.  "Did God help them?" the mother prompted.  "No," the little boy said.  "He fell right in with them."

I couldn't help but smile, of course......and then thank the Lord that "He falls right in with us."  I'm so very grateful that He has been with me each step of this journey. 

Because He is with me each step,  I'm able to talk to Him about my heart and "explain" my tiredness… telling Him how hard it is to keep going with no end in sight.  Wanting to know if there is an "exit" sign coming up.  Asking if He can give me any understanding of what's ahead.

I've been reading some things in my quiet times that have helped me process these thoughts.  I've realized that understanding in itself doesn't give peace!  Being in His presence gives peace.  My peace comes from Him, trusting in Him - not in knowing what's ahead.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5, 6

Getting my thoughts refocused on Him has restored my peace!  And it has strengthened my hope and faith! 

Today I want to thank Him, not only for the peace He's put in our hearts in the recent days.......but to thank Him for the "peace that passes understanding" (Philippians 4:7) that He has given me all these months. Through all the trauma and roller coaster days of the last months, there has been a bedrock of peace from Him under it all.  On the hardest of days, I've had a sweet sense of peace from Him.  I praise Him - and say there is no other explanation except for the sweet ministry of peace from the Holy Spirit.  That peace from Him, His sweet presence - has carried me through!  Thank you Lord!