The Invasion of Beauty

We took some time to do some grunt work a couple of weekends ago—in between cookouts and spring concerts.  We had been putting it off for a while—it was time to tackle “The Monsters By the Road”.

For years the lovely razzleberry bushes by the road were perfect—then they must have started taking steroids!  No matter how much we trimmed, they were HUGE.  It wasn’t a fun job—we had all kinds of other fun, nesting, decorating, planting to do—-we just kept ignoring those behemoths in front of our house.

Amazing what we can allow in our comfort zone………

Handsome chainsawed, trimmed, cut up—and they were finally gone! The chopped up monsters lay by the road for the yard garbage pickup.

Now, time to plant something lovely to replace them.  We were ready to move on.  Get to the fun part. Cover up the ugly. New plants awaited!

But wait, what is THAT?  That huge trunk/stump?  Do you think we could just leave it?  Just cover it up with dirt and plant beauty above it?  Let’s do it!

“You know if we do that—it will sprout hundreds of branches from this one trunk?” Handsome reminded.  Ugh! The behemoths will return with a vengeance. *grunt* *complain*

Out came the axe.  Whacking, sweating, chopping, heaving——does it really have to be so hard?  Is it worth it?

Through this yard project I really started thinking about the state of my heart.  There are things that I’ve become comfortable with that need to be cut down—behemoths that I have learned to ignore, even found comfort.  Am I willing to allow God to chainsaw them?

And then—horror upon horror—will I allow the stumps to be removed?  Or, you know, hundreds of sprouts will appear in no time to take its place.  Couldn’t we just skip that part? Is it worth it?  The pain. The work. The surrender.  Couldn’t I just cover them up with something pretty?  A good deed? A new commitment? A new good habit?

No, the sprouts know their way around all those things.

Just as I want our cottage garden to bless those that see it, walk through it, sit in it—I have to be willing to get out the axe, clippers, sometimes the chainsaw to remove those things that invade the beauty.  If I want to be used and live into my purpose—those things that invade the beauty will need to be removed.  Sap will flow. It can get messy.  But what waits on the other side—well, it’s more than worth it.

We got the monsters and stumps out of the garden—and under them we found these neat treasures–God’s fingerprints…..

Cardinal eggs that had been abandoned–new life waiting to emerge….

A yellow slider turtle–happy to have some sunshine and come out of the dark…….

And after all the work was done and the new BEAUTYberry {:)} bushes and perennials were planted—we retreated here….to the Therapy Room

and our daughter made some shabby chic bandaids for our blisters.

What’s the state of your heart today? Is there anything invading the beauty? Where are YOU seeing the fingerprints of God under the unlikely?

Some things I am thankful for today?  So glad you asked………

stumps removed

shabby chic bandaids

diligent kids doing their schoolwork

a long weekend approaching

happy birds at seed

out-of-town friends coming that we haven’t seen in years

a son who confided in me

daughter skipping and flying through the garden

watching that same daughter make discoveries through the window

warm, sincere hugs

3 kids that love me unconditionally—stumps and all

bright, light-filled bedroom

Cherry Coke

kids’ Saturday morning laughter

those that have fought for my freedom and protection

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24 thoughts on “The Invasion of Beauty

  1. Great post! So very true. We can and DO let things grow sometimes in the form of bad habits. This is such a great reminder to cut those things before they grow out of control and take over our lives. Thanks!

  2. Eliminating the things that invade our beauty is a great idea. I learned a few years ago that one of the best ways to improve my garden was to remove the ugliest thing–a fast way to make positive change. We had the tree guys remove 4 stumps–only $75 a stump and it was some of the best money I ever spent.

  3. The past 5 weeks have been especially painful for me. First, we lost a dear friend to brain cancer. Then, two days later, we learned that my husband’s prostate cancer is out of its final remission and the cancer is roaring through his body. Following that by four days, my mother was admitted to the hospital in critical condition; she passed away five days later with my sister and I there holding her. With each onslaught, I found myself clinging more and more to what is familiar and comfortable–becoming more protective of each. This beautiful article has been a very touching reminder that God can’t do His work in my life and with my pain as long as I am sitting, huddled around it and unwillingly to let go and trust Him. Thank you so much for this!

    • Oh, Helen….I am so sorry that you are going through this. Isaiah 45:3 says: “And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches. I will do this so you will know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel,the One who calls you by name.” I will be praying for great treasure in these dark times for you…and that you will feel and see it. You have been called by name from One that loves you immensely. We live in a fallen world…and when everything is falling apart it is just our nature to clutch and protect. It is so hard to let go and trust. I am praying for you..and will continue.

  4. I am so sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you all, and I thank you for your continued prayers! It has been a very busy two weeks meeting with doctors and getting multiples tests done with my husband. We meet with the oncologist tomorrow so that we have a better idea on the placement(s) of his cancer and develop a plan. My niece and I have also been trying to make room here at home to set up our dining and living rooms to accommodate a trundle daybed (and eventually add a hospital bed) in order to make those two rooms our bedroom for the duration. Our bedroom has been upstairs and my husband is getting too weak to climb the stairs safely.

    I had printed this article out, and in my quiet times, I go back to it often. Each reading ignites my heart to remove another layer, and brings me closer to my Lord. Before I was diagnosed with several health issues and permanently disabled, I felt so close to God in my daily life, but then anger and all its siblings set in. My relationship with God has been hit and miss since, and after having know that previous relationship with Him, I have wanted back there–I’m sure you all know this story. I have been too long separated from a full relationship wit Him. I want my life to be used by God as a ministry to my husband, and I want to be a servant of my Lord again.

    Again, thank you for your prayers and sisterly love. It touches me and lifts me up.

    • And you are being used, Helen…in a big way. I love what Larry Crabb says, “You’re not really a Christian until you’ve thrown your Bible at God”……which is what we see David doing through so many of the Psalms. Sometimes it’s when we feel the furthest away that God is the closest to us. You are so precious, Helen. I’m continuing to pray for you, and I will be praying specifically for your meeting with the oncologist tomorrow…for wisdom and vision. I know that you may not feel like it right now….but you are being used mightily. Please keep us updated……. Much love to you……

  5. Hi, Daune. This morning we sat in the doctor’s waiting room and prayed together, asking that God guide the doctor and bring us to accepting of His will, whatever it may be. The doctor reported that Gene has 11+ bone mets scattered between his femurs and his neck. Gene and I believe that too often end-stage cancer treatment leads to a loss of quality of life, and Gene has specified he wants to be here, surrounded by our pets and those who love him when he enters heaven. Thus, he refused chemo today.
    Thank you so much for your continued prayers. I hope that God does use me as a servant and witness to Him through this. There is a lot of fear, but I keep remembering what a wonderful pastor taught once: You cannot expect God to do His work if you take something to God’s feet, then pull it back because you aren’t done worry about it–that is not turning it over to Him.
    If anyone has a link to either a good source (book or an online) for daily devotions for us as we face this, I would appreciate the link, please. .

    • Oh, Helen….I so struggle with giving my burdens & worries to God and then taking them right back. I don’t know if you are familiar with “Streams in the Desert”, but it is one of my favorites. Here is a link to an online version:

      http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/desert/

      I also have an extra copy that I would love to mail to you if you would like to send me your mailing address…you can e-mail me at: cottageintheoaks@me.com

      Wayne’s decision holds so much wisdom and discernment….I am praying that these next days/weeks/months be the most precious ever for each of you. That you will see God in ways you never have and that mighty blessings await in this so very hard time. Much love to you and Wayne……

      • Daune, thank you for the link there! I read through a week’s worth and I love them. I think that these will be wonderful to go through with Gene day by day over the next months. Much love to you, too, Daune!

      • Helen~

        I’m sending your package out tomorrow! 🙂 I’ve included a couple of other books that I think you and Gene might like. XOXOXOXO~Daune

  6. Daune, I cannot thank you enough for the books you sent! Each time I read from any of the three, I am touched by God and His magnificent gift in you. There is so much peace and comfort from God as I read from them–there is always something that touches my heart, sometimes without even realizing I needed that insight. I praise our Lord for bringing you into my life at this time.

      • My daughter/niece was here yesterday morning and I showed her the books you sent, telling her how wonderful each of the books are and how amazing you are!
        A couple of months ago, she went to the funeral of a dear friend. As she was driving home, ‘Blessings’ played on the radio and she has been searching for it since. We looked it up on YouTube yesterday, and it is a beautiful, touching song–wow.
        She fell in love with each of the books you sent me. I ordered the books for her so that we can go through them together.
        Daune, your ministry on this site and all that you have done for me embodies one of my favorite verses: ‘He has shown you, O man, what is good;
        And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy,’ Micah 6:8 Thank you for the way you allow God to use you!
        And to walk humbly with your God?

      • Helen….you have made my weekend and blessed me tremendously! I am humbled.

        I’m so glad your daughter/niece have been there with you. What great encouragement to have them! How wonderful it will be to go through the books together….I love that. 🙂

        Much Love to You……

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