Are you one of those people who choose a word of the year at the turn of a calendar and use that to guide your living for the next year? I wasn’t until last year. Last year I chose the word peace and had that word displayed in my home – and I loved how God taught me more about peace this past year than in all the years previously combined!
This year my word is beauty. A friend encouraged me in that word late in 2018 and I began to think about it for my word for 2019. And here we are, mid-January, and it is definitely the word that will shape the next 12 months.
My husband definitely knows that I have a love for beautiful things. Whether that is a rose gold fountain pen, handmade charcuterie boards that I hug when I unpack them from their box, or the Home Body book by Joanna Gaines, or taking pictures of pretty food. Oh, and did I mention flowers? Yes, to all the flowers. I love the beauty of road trips and ocean tides. I love the beauty of foggy mornings on during exercise route.
But, what if I didn’t have those pretty boards and what if I was stuck with my bic blue pens instead of a fancy fountain pen? Could I still find beauty in the ordinary?
What if I never travel again—will I learn to find beauty in the ordinary of my living room and my local parks?
I want to encourage you—as I encourage myself—to seek beauty in the ordinary things that are in your life all the time:
How can you find the beauty in a dirty diaper? Well, there is the beauty of the little one who wore the diaper! Praise God for the beauty that is your little one and how your son or daughter brings so much joy into your life.
How can you find beauty in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or even a burnt dinner? Well, I do love to cook so this one is tough. I love pbj and but I want it glamorous with fancy jams and delicious peanut butter. I love it on good homemade bread. And burnt dinners – well, I’ve definitely done my share of over-cooking. And I’m usually grumpy about it because I failed at something and I wasted food and money. But, I can find beauty in the provision of the plain old peanut butter and jelly. The beauty in the fact that my children regularly want that over anything else I offer them. And beauty in the provision of, even after burning food, we still won’t go hungry and my husband is a very forgiving man.
How can I find beauty in my surroundings if they don’t look like my favorite Instagram account or an HGTV show? Yes, I want to redo some things in our home, but that doesn’t mean that our home isn’t beautiful now. Our home is beautiful because it was provided by God. We have a delightful backyard and quiet neighborhood. We are raising sweet, energetic boys in our home who will hopefully grow up to love Jesus.
Here’s a bigger picture question: how can I learn to love my beautiful life if it doesn’t look like what I thought my life would look like?
I got married later than I ever thought I would. Our lives have changed drastically since we got married. We have experienced a lot of hurt in 8 years. There are things we always thought we would do as a couple/family that we find aren’t really doable.
When I was going through a difficult time years ago a wise friend said to me, “Kim, your story is beautiful, because God writes our stories and God only writes beautiful stories.” This was so helpful. A perspective on the ordinary beauty that God weaves into our lives. Perspective is one thing that can change our every day. I can either complain about the life that a gracious God has given me. The same God who created this whole beautiful world for me to enjoy and for me to respond in praise (not complaining). He created beauty and dwells in beauty. Therefore, he writes your beautiful story.
Your story may not be at all like you pictured it would be. Maybe you are still single and you long to be married. Maybe you are widowed and you find yourself so lonely, with a loneliness that never goes away. Maybe you have experienced betrayal from friends. Is there an illness or health challenge you never thought you would have?
I would encourage you in this way. One of my favorite authors, Elisabeth Elliot, wrote this, “Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ‘ashes.”