Ugly Becomes Beautiful Through God’s Lens

God's-Lens

As I glanced out the patio door, a beautiful butterfly fluttered down. My heart quickened, and I bent down and carefully peeked through the blinds.

What?! Are my eyes playing tricks on me? All I saw was a dead, colorless, rumpled leaf. But the picture of a butterfly is still vivid in my memory. Bright yellow with black veins running through it. Almost like a monarch, only yellow instead of orange.

It must be a special gift from God. Butterflies always remind me of His faithful love. He whispers, “Yes, My child, I am here. Always. I will take care of you.”

It’s a blessing when we can look through God’s special lens to see beauty in the ugly.

When we look at the pain and devastation in our lives through our own lens, we feel so fragile, crushed, and forsaken. We may feel like that shriveled up leaf. Tossed about. Dried up. Insignificant.

We will see differently when we put on God’s lens of love:

A dried up leaf becomes a dazzling butterfly.

Jesus and the sacrifice He has given for us becomes reality as our ugliness transforms into a lovely child of God, so precious in His sight.

His compassion soothes our hearts as we learn how perfectly He understands us and how He collects every single tear into His bottle.

The ashes of loss and broken dreams brush into place in the masterpiece the Divine Artist is painting.

We see God is still on the throne, and He works every single pain for our good and to His glory.

When we’re downhearted, depressed, and in despair, it’s hard to see that God really does love us and is always with us no matter what. But if we can surrender our lens of lies into His hands and reach out in faith to gaze through His lens, we see the truth that His love transforms us into beautiful butterflies. We see He is faithfully holding us together. We see His promise of a glorious future.

Then we can trust all the answers to our questions will surely come in His time and way. We can stop holding onto our own way and let ourselves be held in His grace-filled arms. Is it easy? No. But He promises to give us the strength we need to keep taking one step at a time.

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world,
that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son,
so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior]
shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 AMP

“You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.
You have recorded each one in Your book.”
Psalm 56:8 NLT

“And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love Him,
who have been called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28 NIV

A Child's Trust “Just Be Held”
by Casting Crowns

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New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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“Christ is building His kingdom with earth’s broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth’s broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth’s saddest failure up to heaven’s glory.” ~ J. R. Miller

This is a powerful video of stories of broken lives crushed by pain and sorrow restored to blessedness and beauty through Christ Jesus. A hopeful and inspiring message and song.

“I have won and I have lost.
I got it right sometimes
but sometimes I did not.
Life’s been a journey.
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret.
Oh and You have been
my God through all of it.”

“Through All Of It”
by Colton Dixon

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searchforsignificance The Search for Significance Devotional Journal: A 60-day Journey to Discovering Your True Worth by Robert S. McGee

“In Robert McGee’s best-selling book The Search for Significance, he helps readers realize the fact that they will never be content if they search for their significance in accomplishments or the opinions of others. Instead, God has given them significance and worth through the work of Christ on the cross. Because of McGee’s classic book, more than two million readers have learned what it means to be free to enjoy Christ’s love and forgiveness.

Now, McGee invites readers of his book to go on a 10-week journey of reflection, discovery, and ultimately victory as they learn how to implement, on a daily basis, the principles of The Search for Significance. Each page of this valuable companion to The Search for Significance includes:

  • Thought-provoking questions
  • Essential biblical truths
  • Space for readers to reflect on how God is calling them to a deeper realization of his love for them.
  • Daily Prayer”

(Amazon Review)

mobility matters✎ Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith by Amy Bovaird

“Adventurous international teacher, Amy Bovaird, is diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a hereditary eye disease that will blind her. In spite of that, she manages to continue teaching overseas. Then her father’s final illness brings her back home for good. There, friends and acquaintances begin to notice that she doesn’t always recognize them and sometimes stumbles…as if drunk! Insensitive students ridicule her in the classroom. Unwilling to accept that she is truly losing her eyesight, Amy resists when the Bureau of Blindness schedules a mobility specialist to begin training her to use a white cane. How can she, an independent world traveler, use something that screams ‘I am a blind person’? Will her faith prove strong enough to allow her to move forward and accept herself as she is?” (Amazon Review)

Last month I wrote a post about this book along with an interview of its author:

Stepping Out in Faith in the Midst of Loss

Hope Harbor

 

Amy’s Adventures – Amy offers hope and encouragement to those with impaired vision or loss of sight

Around the Fire: Hope for the Family – One of Crystal Creek’s Youth Ranch’s newsletters – several articles on HOPE – “Instead of using Band-Aids to COVER my pain—Jesus wanted to HEAL my pain. I suddenly realized that the shackles of my past didn’t hold me… I HELD THEM! I had a choice to make: My wounds or Jesus.”

 MI: MOM2MOM – Hope for moms raising children with mental illness

Nature Retreat

Some recent photos of God’s amazing creatures:
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 ➺ The Cornell Lab of Ornithology – “The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Our hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet.” (Cornell Lab’s description) I love their photo ID tool. You can upload a picture you took of a bird; click on the bird’s eye, beak, and tail; and they will identify the bird for you. I tried it and it really works! They have a phone app for this, too.

 ➺ Map of Life – A searchable map for species all over the world. They recently launched a mobile app where one can discover, identify, and record biodiversity worldwide. 

Explore.org – Oodles of live cams and snapshots of animals, primarily wildlife, along with a blog of the explore team’s travels

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Quotes

❤︎ “A mindset of gratitude lifts the veil of bitterness and allows you to see beauty and possibility.” ~ Steve Maraboli

❤︎ “Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see.” ~ William Newton Clarke

❤︎ “Where there is great love, there are always miracles.” ~ Willa Cather

❤︎ “What oxygen is to the lungs, hope is to our survival in this world.” ~ Dr. Billy Graham

❤︎ “Suffering can refine us rather than destroy us because God Himself walks with us in the fire.” ~ Timothy Keller

 

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews

Your Pain Has a Purpose

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“God has a plan for purpose and beauty in your life –
not despite your past, but because of it.”
Tracie Miles in Your Life Still Counts

Many times in my life I have wondered… What purpose can come out of the pain of the past? How can that pain bring God glory?

Everyone has some kind of pain, whether physical or emotional, visible or invisible. And sometimes the hurts can drag us down to despair. Sometimes we can’t understand why it had to happen. Sometimes we can’t see how any good can come out of it.

But God created each of us with a unique purpose in life that no one else can fill. And no matter what has happened to us, God has a plan to turn it into good in our lives. Our pain has a purpose. Even for beauty. Not negating our past but funneling it through His grace towards His glory.

In this past year God is leading me to blogs where women share their pain. They don’t negate their past but believe we need to be real, to be the women God has created us and molded us to be. And these women’s vulnerabilities have led me to believe more and more that pain has purpose. I know these broken stories have had purpose for me. Sometimes their deep thoughts ignite deep places in my own heart and I feel less alone. And their raw stories lead me to the priceless story of redemption in Jesus.

The deeper the pain and the darker the valleys, the more redemption shines in the lives of these broken people, because they have chosen to allow God to use their pain for a purpose.

Yes, our pain can bring God glory when we allow it to fuel our faith to spread the news of how Jesus can rescue, heal, and free us. God can bring beauty out of the ashes of brokenness.

How is it possible? Because of the unfathomable depths to which Jesus sunk into brokenness. No one has ever suffered as much as He has. His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane even squeezed great drops of bloody sweat from His body. His agony over our sins and what He would suffer because of them. He chose to dive into the depths of pain for a purpose – to glorify His Father and to save and redeem us from our own sins and from the shame others’ sins have forced upon us.

We can’t even humanly imagine the depths of the humiliation and pain He went through on that cross of crucifixion for us. He loves us so deeply that He carried it all for us. He satisfied the price that must be paid to redeem us. And we can now have hope of healing, freedom, and a better future. And through His sacrifice of love, it is possible for us to live with a purpose to glorify God.

So if you are disheartened and can’t see how God can use your pain for His purpose, ask yourself: If ______ had never happened to me, how would I be different today? Would I have the empathy and compassion for others in the same situations? Would God have taught me as deep of lessons to mold me more into His likeness? Would I care as much about hurting souls if I had never been hurt myself? Cannot the same God who came down to suffer and die in my place use my pain for His purposes?

Yes, your pain can be funneled through the grace and love of Jesus to produce powerful purpose and beauty in your life. Yes, beauty can arise out of the ashes of your brokenness. Not despite your past, but because of it.

The following is a Mercy Ministries Video.
I love how it shows several examples of how women healed,
and their miseries turned into ministries.
This can happen for any of us.

“I’m not meant to just stay quiet
I’m meant to be a lion
I’ll roar beyond a song
With every moment that I’ve got.”

May the Lord give us power
to use past pain to glorify Him
and to help others in need!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews