Sunday, August 30, 2015

For the Ugly Days....


Our days before school begins again are numbered.
We're excited about the upcoming school year {minus those few scheduling details that are stumping me...}, but are a little hesitant to want to leave behind our days of "masterly inactivity."
While the girls are working on their chores, I set a plastic tub of water in the sun and take the two littlest to hang clothes with me in the back of the house.


By the time the house is tidy, the plants are watered, and the clothes are hung, the water is warm.
I call the girls, grab any thing I think might work as a canvas, my box of nail polish, some old towels, and the container of toothpicks.
I quickly sort through my old nail polishes. Some were left with me by mission trip-ers who wanted just a little more room in their suitcases for souvenirs; some I bought long before I had 4 kiddos and had time to paint my nails; some were lovely in the bottle....and ugly on me.
I quickly outline what we are going to do.....what is supposed to happen.....cross my fingers.......and dunk.


The first paper I pull from the water amazes me.
The colors are vibrant, and the print is the most delicate pattern of swirls, arcs, twists, and twirls I've ever seen.
As we skim off the paint and drip new combinations for the next piece, we laugh in awe at the beauty that can be found in so much mess.


This week my husband met with some of our youth to talk about their next level of education.
One of our young men has just passed the road they must now take, and he tells about the evil he has seen.
When my husband arrives home, I sense the anger held barely in check.
I send the girls outside to play, and sit down to listen as my husband pours out his heart.
He's overwhelmed, disgusted, shocked at what he has heard.
He is careful to not tell me too much.
He knows my shoulders weren't meant to carry every weight his were, but I see the haunting in his eyes.



As I leave our room to prepare lunch, his words stay with me.
I think of the sin we see here on a regular basis.
My mind lists those we know who've fallen recently.
I think of the things our own family has faced, sinners that we are,
and I wonder.
This worlds seems like such a horrible, broken, bloody mess.
How can anything we do really make a difference?
The questions are twisting my insides into knots.



For days I carry this burden, this crushing load of what these boys are going to face, what so many others have had to pass through.
I ponder the implications of my new knowledge...how many others have had their souls sucked down into this mire?
How can anyone come through this without being scarred for life?
The words, "What can we do about it?" continually play in my mind.

Finally one afternoon the dam bursts.
My hubby is there to see the raging torrent of emotions and help slow the tears.
He reminds me of how God kept the young man in the first place.
He tells example after example of miracles God did in that young man's life.
And he helps me to remember that even in the ugliness of men's hearts, God never loses control.
Yes, anyone who desires to live righteously will face the hideousness of sin, but God can make something beautiful out of anything, even dirty, spent ashes.



We dip item after item into the scum floating on top of the water.
We scrape it off and add some more, ignoring the sticky, gloppy gunk stringing from our finger tips.
It makes no sense, really.
How can such exquisite beauty come from these lumps, blotches, and squiggle of leftover nail polish?
I may be the artist, but I certainly don't know.


What can be done about this sin-cursed place I call my home?
I may be the Christ-follower, but I never know how He's going to work it all out.
I ponder as we paint.
I must keep doing the job He's given me to do.....
accepting that I'll not always understand how He's going to do it....
trusting Him alone for the outcome....
patiently waiting for Him to finish these
beautiful portraits of His grace.


* We had so much fun marbling with my old nail polish! If you are interested, this is an excellent tutorial with some helpful thoughts in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. Again, so good, Patty! I absolutely love the marbling. Years ago, I saw a demonstration of the way they did paper marbling in Williamsburg, VA. It was so gorgeous, and I always wanted to do it! Who knew I only needed nail polish? Love your application, especially about what we let our minds dwell on. So many times the ugliness of sin crowds in. And, that's when we need God's help in our minds, so we can choose to live above it. Learning this . . . I hope.

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