Poo and beauty

This summer was rough.  Really rough.  It was supposed to be good, at least by my standard of measurement.  Last summer we moved across country and had a baby born too early in a part of the country where we knew no one.  It was pretty icky.  The summer before that my husband was living out of state and our family barely survived some of the hurdles related to that.  It was pretty icky.

So this summer was ‘supposed’ to be better.  It started out well.  We finally met people we connected with in Bama.  We found a great church.   We were healthy.  The weather wasn’t as extreme as the year before.  The kids and I were able to visit friends and family in Michigan.  This was a good summer….until things suddenly went downhill FAST.  Our lives were turned upside down by a person’s poor choices.  We didn’t know where we’d be living.  My husband no longer had a job and we didn’t know how we’d pay the bills. We didn’t know if our family would be able to be live in the same state together.  While we didn’t have insurance our son broke his arm and our daughter had an infection.  We suddenly were overflowing with hurdles and ugliness.

But there is One who specializes in ugly crap.  I mean, really specializes in crap.  Sling a whole bunch of nasty poo and He’ll make something beautiful out of it.  I’m not saying you should start creating some crap in your life…it’s still stinky and messy and overwhelming.  But if you’re breathing, chances are really good you’ll have crap in your life.  Thankfully God specializes in making beauty out of it.  I’ve heard stories through the years that have amazed me, where God has made beauty out of situations such as abortion, affairs, drug use, abuse (physical and sexual), and divorce, just to name a few.  Don’t get me wrong, there are scars that will always be there.  Some things can never be forgotten.  However, there is beauty around and through those scars.  He’s a master gardener.  Give Him poo and He’ll grow beautiful plants and flowers.

My life has been filled with various amounts of crap through the years, and this summer felt like a…load.  But now we’re in the period of rebuilding.  It’s hard and stressful and exhausting.  Then we see something starting to come together and it’s suddenly exhilarating.  And then we look at another pile of poo and rubble and we’re overwhelmed.  And then we get a vision for the masterpiece when it’s rebuilt and we’re overcome with gratefulness and hope.  This is where we are.  Some days the process is awful and I want to be as far from the rebuilding as humanly possible.  And other days I’m incredibly excited to be part of it.

I’ve been afraid to tell others God is doing a big work in our lives.  I didn’t want to say something and have things go awry again.  How’s that for living in fear!  Well, I’m going to tell you anyhow and give God a drop of the credit He deserves.  Some amazing things have been happening in our part of the world.  Not all of them look big on the surface, but they are indicators of something we can’t see yet.   He is doing a huge work in our lives and sometime I’d love to tell you all about it.  It’s amazing.  Even if something does go awry again, it doesn’t change the reality of God’s redemption.  He is still making beauty out of crap.  Sometimes I like to dream we won’t provide any more poo for Him to work with, but I know we will.  My hope and encouragement is when we do, He can handle it.  No pile of crap, no matter how ugly or stinky, is too much for Him.  I’d prefer to not smell or wade through the crap…it’s a bit unpleasant, to say the least.  Sometimes I feel so bogged down and discouraged.  Yet I have to envision the future, even in the darkest times.  What kind of beautiful garden will He make out of this pile of manure?  Will there be a rose or lilac bush over there?  Maybe some morning glories around a fruit tree here?  This vision is my hope:  beauty is in the making.  Even when the work and stink are intense, I’m living this rebuilding process.  Someday the stink of poo will be a distant memory and I’ll only smell the fragrance of the beautiful plants.  Someday the crap will be covered by gorgeous flowers, plants, and bushes.  For now I’ll take care of this little batch of flower buds and keep watching for other glimpses of beauty.  There is more coming.

(PS.  I’d really appreciate your prayers.  There is an Enemy who is not happy about the rebuilding work in our family and fights against it constantly.  When you think of us, please continue to pray.  Thank you!!)


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jen G
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 10:59:03

    Oh, Chel. I’m so sorry. This is beautiful. And correct. I’d encourage you not to be afraid to share – ever – because somewhere, someone else (and probably many someones) is staring at their own pile of crap, struggling to imagine it’ll ever result in roses and lilacs, and they’ll find a lot of encouragement in knowing they aren’t alone. Share, too, because there are many of us who would be happy to help pick up some shovels and gloves, allowing ourselves to be used as gardeners by God, setting out the plants and moving that crap around to the greatest benefit of those plants. Sharing the struggle together is what the Body is for, why God created the church and didn’t leave us solo. Will be praying for your family’s protection and healing.


  2. Jen G
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 11:02:42

    I should maybe clarify, that when I say “share” I don’t mean you have to give the gritty detail. God knows; we don’t need to. But do share that you are struggling and how we can pray or help.


  3. Gwen L
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 11:23:09

    Yes, you had a very unhappy time this summer. In spite of it all, I really did enjoy you r stay with me this summer. Trust in God and He will work everything out to the beauty of all and He will get the credit and your life will be filled with joy and happiness Will continue to pray for you as I do every day. I love youall Mom


  4. Jen Z-T
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 16:30:17

    Chel~ what an encouraging blog from you! I had not stayed in the loop after we moved to our new house the first week in september & had been offline until about 2 wks ago. I spoke to your mother in law briefly for a Luurtsema related issue & did know that Matt had gotten a job & that you guys were settled into your new place as well…other than that, I was in the dark. Glad to know you are clinging to God & maintaining strength & optimism as much as possible during the rebuild. You know that I have been there too & I know that it is anything but easy. Your reliance on God will make the difference (always)! ~jen z-t


  5. Anonymous
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 21:27:45

    Chel, We will keep you and your family in our prayers… you already know the best strength of all GOD…. Believe in his magic…he will never let you down. Ellen


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