“Don’t fall. Please don’t fall” I pleaded with the beautiful china plate as I tried to hang it on the wall. I had recently made it with beautiful, sparkly jewels and I was hanging it on my colorful back porch. The plate hanger was hanging over a nail, but I was trying to “engineer” the two together (with a wire) so the plate wouldn’t fall off the nail and break.
I looked down, and scattered on our back porch floor were beautiful, sparkly jewels and broken china pieces.
It was a beautiful mess.
Most of us would just see the mess. We would see the shards of china all over the floor, mixed in with the dirt and dead insects. We would see the broken baubles and the rhinestones that had become unhinged. Our eyes would find the sticky hot glue remnants that used to hold the whole creation together.
When we look at our own lives, we often just see the mess. We see how insecurity and fear dictate our actions. We hear ourselves snap at our children when they ask for the umpteenth time when dinner will be ready. We see the places where hurtful words have wounded us and we’ve never fully healed.We know the times when we’ve cried ourselves to sleep and perhaps even wished to die.
We see our failures, our mistakes, and our brokenness. Good Lord, what a mess.
This reminds me of the characters that we find in the Bible. Today we revere and respect them as hallowed saints, but most of them were messes. They were adulterers. They were murderers. They were prostitutes. They were betrayers. They were scared. Yet God saw something in them that they couldn’t see for themselves.
He saw that they were beautiful messes.
With David, the adulterer, God saw a man who would worship Him with His whole heart. With Rahab the prostitute, God saw a heathen woman who believed in His power. With Simon Peter, God saw an impulsive man who would become a great leader. With Paul, God saw a murderer who would later write most of the New Testament.
God saw their beauty in spite of their mess.
We are no different. Our loving and patient Creator looks upon our lives with a perspective that is able to see the beauty in our mess.
We see our failures – He sees our successes.
We see our mistakes – He sees our efforts.
We see our imperfections – He sees His craftsmanship.
We see our sin – He see our Savior.
We see the broken shards and pieces that litter our lives with regret. He sees the beauty scattered among the mess.
He gives us grace because He knows that our pursuit of holiness is often hindered by our humanity.
Michelle Cushatt, in her book Undone: A Story of Making Peace With an Unexpected Life, puts it this way:
“If we can’t see the beauty in our mess, we’re probably standing too close, where the flaws and misfortunes interfere with the view. Instead, step back. Allow yourself to see beyond the chaos to the beautiful story taking shape. One person’s mess is Another’s canvas. It’s simply a matter of vantage point.”
I have a plan for that beautiful mess that was scattered among my porch floor. I’m going to take those sparkly gems and glue them on a new plate that hopefully will not get broken.
I’m going to take the broken china pieces and cut them up into smaller pieces…
…to make them into a creative stepping stone to line my garden path.
I’m going to take those broken pieces and make not one, but two new beautiful creations out of them.
And, dear friend, I believe God does the same with our lives. He loves us as beautiful messes, but He likes to take the broken pieces of our lives and put them back together as something amazing and new and different, and beyond our wildest dreams.
You can trust your beautiful mess in the hands of your Creator. He’s not finished with you yet.
Enjoy this song, Beautiful Messes, by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family. This blog post was inspired by April Lorey who introduced me to this song.