I often thought that life could only be one or the other. Beautiful or broken.
I had been sharing beauty on my corner of the Internet for nearly a decade. My blog had been mentioned in The New York Times and my home featured in books, catalogs, and on various popular websites. Everything appeared Pinterest perfect; that is until all of the tidy corners of my life came untucked. With the announcement of my parents’ unexpected divorce, my strong cords of security unraveled, my ideals of “home” shattered, and my roots were uprooted, all while living in my childhood home.
When my world shifted, and I came to terms with accepting that I had a broken heart, I believed the lie that beauty (goodness, hope, light) were, at best, on the other side of brokenness. Lost at home, I wandered through loss, anxiety, grief, and pain.
At my lowest, I found a truth that is a promise (for you, for me, for everyone):
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
Isaiah 58:11 (MSG)
I couldn’t quite see how I could have a full life, but I tucked the promise in my pocket and I tried not to close my eyes to life.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Therefore the question I had to answer became:
“What am I beholding?”
To behold something is to see it and hold it in your attention.
To find beauty in the broken is to behold, “to keep and remember the goodness of God.”
I began to try to notice color– to look for beauty–even though it appeared that everything had gone black and white in my world.
Outside, online, sunrise, sunset, a child’s laughter, a grandmother’s hug, a song, a sunset. A touch, a site, a sound, a scent.
Beauty…I was finding was not beyond the laundry pile, chipped paint, dirty dishes, broken table or broken life. It’s in the center of it.__
Opening our eyes is the beginning of beholding.
There is beauty in your green toile patterned plates crusted over with last night’s spaghetti dinner. There is beauty in the white paint peeling off the side of the house that you can’t afford to have fixed. Yes, there is even beauty to be found in your broken life that shows no promise of being put together again.
Beholding is remembering the goodness of God.
And the goodness of God promises us a full life–even in the emptiest of places.
I no longer believe life is either broken or beautiful. It can be both. And, furthermore, I believe that Beauty (God is sheer beauty, Psalm 100:5) is the answer to our brokenness, the path to wholeness and healing.
Perhaps, you are wandering through loss, anxiety, grief, and pain? This is exactly where Beauty found me, and it’s where you can be found too.
At your end, there is a beginning. Among the rubble, the foundation to rebuild. In the emptiest of places, a full life. Amongst the mess, beauty.
This post is part of an excerpt taken from La La Lovely: The Art of Finding Beauty in the Everyday. La La Lovely is available wherever books are sold. Order your copy here.
If you find yourself wanting to run away from your problems, trying to just make it through the day, looking for escape or immediate rescue, believing that only on the other side of your problem, crisis, heartache, or difficult situation life will resume then La La Lovely: The Art of Finding Beauty in the Everyday is for you! If we miss today’s gifts of goodness and beauty, then chances are we will miss tomorrow’s too.
Trina McNeilly is the author of La La Lovely: The Art of Finding Beauty in the Everyday, a speaker, and the founder of the popular lifestyle blog, LA LA LOVELY, where she has been sharing matters of the heart, as well as design-related finds, for a decade. Communicating in the voice of a trusted friend, Trina encourages others to notice beauty in their everyday and claim the full life Christ offers, even in the emptiest of places. Connect with Trina on Instagram, Facebook and on her website TrinaMcNeilly.com