In pursuit of Beauty…

More About: from a previous post for the R&R Retreat:

My story is a pursuit of beauty.

Right now, there’s a flute playing its 24th rendition of Up on the House Top and its hollow sounds enter my right ear from the other room. “Ma-ma,” is being shouted into my left ear, as I swat at little fingers that pull at the keyboard in my lap. At my feet, a very wiry-haired dog bites at her flees…I hear her teeth chatter and my skin crawls. The TV fills any possible void of noise and silence doesn’t exist in this moment.

“Mom!”…from the bathroom, this time. It’s another appeal to wipe yet another butt. I’ve been wiping butts (other than mine) for approximately 11 years straight now. I’m really tired of wiping butts.

“Do you have The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller?” comes from the bed where he sits on the phone. My good man is trying hard to find a copy for me–because I’m still searching for the wedding shower gift. “You do?…Great, thanks.”

“Bee-Bee,” says his sweet little mouth, nestled under round cheeks beneath sparkling blue eyes. This means about 6 things and it takes a while to narrow it down.

“Baby?”…head shakes no.

Flute melodies have been exchanged for bright whistling lips…I’d prefer the flute.


“Drink?” Head shakes no.

“Ball?” Head shakes no.

Then the littlest one points between his legs, “Bee-Bee,” he says.

“Pee-pee?” His eyes widen.

“Diaper?” (fervent head nod, yes) More wiping.

It’s almost time to load the car and I’ve got to fit in this blog post. I’ve got to quick whip something up that’s meaningful and full of hope and full of joy…right?

However, in the thick of poop and noise and the clicking clock, nothing profound is coming–nothing except more screaming for “mama,” “mom,” and now a fight has broken out in the other room. (sigh)…this is my story.

This is my life right now. Beauty from ashes? Really? Do these kind of ashes count? The kind that are just annoying and fuel my addiction to caffeine and ibuprofen?

Now the flutist enters the room. “Does this sound cool?” She takes a deep breath and then begins trilling–lots and lots of trilling. “Yes, honey, it’s beautiful,” as my eyes stay glued to the screen.

Yes, it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful even when it’s ugly ashes. The beauty is actually in the ashes, right here in the middle. Do I like the trilling? Do I like the interruption as I desperately try to block out the world and put fingers to the keys, pen to the paper? Do I like my impatience and distance from my kids because I’ve got something else I need to do right now? Of course not.

Yet, it’s beautiful. I must redefine beauty, how its usual definition rubs my skin raw with its connotation and inference. I must redefine wiping butts and infested fur. I must listen to the call for “Mom!” (still coming from the bathroom) with new ears that hear the faintest tone of love and concentrate ever so intently on that sweet pitch. I’ve got a book to buy, a dinner to make, a package of wipes to locate. And now, I have beauty to find.

With gratitude, I will find the beauty in the mundane. With thanksgiving, I will uncover the joy and peace that hides amidst the crazy. This is my story. This is my everyday battle. This is what God has called me to right now. There are trials in life that are deeper and scarier that I could have chosen to write about. There’s a past in my novel of life that has born much waywardness and shame. The beauty in those moments, the times that have already spent my spirit and twisted dry my heart, is easy to see. In hindsight, I clearly see how Jesus has drawn me closer to Him, how He has rescued even the most lost parts of me. That beauty from ashes of long ago shines brightly through the lines of even the darkest chapters.

But beauty in today? Right here, as I listen to loud commercials on the TV, as I am being nagged for help to find clean underwear, can I truly find beauty? In this moment, in the struggle that seems to not just be a season that will soon pass, but in the literal ‘crap’ of everyday, can I trust Him to reveal the beauty of it? I don’t have a pretty little bow to tie up the package of these words.

There is no easy answer, except that, of course, the beauty is here. Like most, I struggle to see it. I am challenged to trust its value and worth. I strain to fine-tune my senses to parse it out. I remember His promise–His covenant with a people who easily forgot the beauty of the dry dust underfoot that was once covered by the Red Sea. The same promise that He spoke over those who saw straight through the provision of manna to the desert sand underneath and complained. My story has been a romance of pursuit and redemption, and He promises that my pages are not yet complete. He is working a plan of beauty in the everyday. He is providing the manna and the quail, in the midst of the desert dust. He is bringing me over dry land, delivering me from my enemies, and releasing me from my captivity. I, who am auditory weak and shortsighted, only hear the clamor and see the poop.

My story is a pursuit of beauty.

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