Family,  Writing and blogging

Everything…Beautiful In His Time

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When I changed the name of our blog in January of 2011, I did so quickly, without a lot of thought. I immediately fell in love with the new name, but I had no idea then how special the title and the verses that accompany it would become to me. Over time I have become more and more transparent on this blog about my personal life and my emotional and spiritual struggles…and with each post I write, the theme beautiful in his time rings more and more clearly. It has become more than a title–it has become a mission statement.

Without much thought, I selected the picture of Ezra painting for a header photo for my new website. I was just messing around with some themes, and I liked the photo. The more I look at it though, the more it means to me. You have there a child, making a mess. The picture was taken at the beginning of August…a day where I set aside some time for Ezra to paint. We weren’t painting anything. In fact, I gave him a blank canvas–just to see what he would create. He ended up using EVERY. SINGLE. COLOR. at his disposable.

He used multiple paintbrushes and eventually put the brushes down and used his hands to smear the paint everywhere.

By the time he was finished, the canvas was quite a beautiful mess of paint…as was Ezra.

I let the canvas dry and saved it. At the time, I wasn’t sure what I would do with it. It has floated around the guest room for the last 2 1/2 months doing nothing. I thought about trying to paint something on it, but I am not artistic, at all. And I figured that it would turn out horrible. I didn’t want to “ruin” his artwork, yet I wanted to save it and display it somehow. With a neat quote or something.

But after I wrote The Why of Blogging, and I realized how special Ecclesiastes 3:11 has become to me and the meaning it has brought to my life, I knew that it was the verse that needed to go on the canvas. So this is what I did this morning:

It really isn’t that great. I’ve never painted text before, and it has a lot of flaws and imperfections. But then again…that’s the point. My life is imperfect. Full of mistake after mistake. [In fact, in the midst of writing sections of this post, I tried to do a project with Ezra. When he wasn’t interested, I yelled. I completely lost it on him. I had to put him in his crib so that mommy could have a time out. This kind of stuff happens a lot.] My life is messy. I mix the wrong colors together and come up with some random mess. My strokes go crooked, even sometimes when I’m trying my hardest to “paint it right.”

But God sees something beautiful in this mess. He sees a bigger picture than what I can see. And time after time after time he reminds me… Aprille, I know you think it’s ugly, and messy, and not worth keeping. But you are not beyond my power to make you beautiful. EVERYTHING can be beautiful in my time. Just be patient. I’m not done with you yet.

Often I’m a child, playing with paints and brushes with absolutely no clue what’s going on. I have to come to him daily to ask for mercy and forgiveness.

But still he reminds me…

So now it hangs in my kitchen. A daily reminder that, as messy as things are, God is in control. He is working.

As Ezra grows, I will be able to look up at this painting and know that we created it together at a time when we were both so clueless about so many things. I will be a wiser, better mother. And he will be a mature young man. And we will see how it is all beautiful…with a little bit of time and faith in the Master Painter.

No matter what’s going on in your life right now…remember. Everything means everything. No mess is so messy or ugly that God can’t do something beautiful with it. Don’t give up on yourself…because He hasn’t given up on you.

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  • Janine Huldie

    Aprille, I loved this and what a beautiful message you have put out there with the paining and the verse painted over Ezra’s creation. Seriously, this was a very creative and awesome way to capture your life now and forever, too.

  • Kate Hall

    This is beautiful! I love it. Very moving in so many ways. I laughed at you yelling at your son about the project – because I’ve been there (many times) and wish I never had been, over something I wanted him to enjoy and he didn’t. I was moved by the verse and how perfect it is for the painting. And I was amazed that you let your son paint in the house. I could never do that. I have “sticky/messy” issues. Don’t get me wrong, my house is a pig-sty…but I can’t handle sticky and wet. Loved it!

    • Aprille

      I have tried over and over to do crafty/sensory/educational play with him…it’s a LOT of trial and error. For a while I was following a ton of blogs in that department and ended up in tears time after time because he just hated the activities and it would end in a fit. I’m learning what he does and doesn’t like (in this case, after trying it twice in a week…sticking things to a paper when there is glue on it is a BAD idea and brings on crying fits lol)…he didn’t even like painting for the longest time. In fact, yesterday when I was painting this I gave him a coloring sheet of leaves to paint. He kept crying “no leaves! no paint!” So I told him, “You paint leaves, or you take a nap!” I carried him all the way to the bedroom crying and then all the sudden he was like “paint? paint leaves?!?!” And I was able to get him to paint so I could finish mine.

      As far as the mess… I come prepared. I cover the table with a plastic tablecloth, his booster chair with a sheet, strip him down to a diaper, and strap him in the chair so he won’t go anywhere. We also have a cheap linoleum runner under our kitchen table (because our kitchen is carpeted ugh!) so I don’t really even care if it gets paint spots on it that won’t come up since we will probably not be using it for too much longer because we will be moving next year. I also wear a paint shirt (and I’m also normally in pajamas) so that if he tries to touch me at all it doesn’t get on my clothes. After painting time he goes straight into the tub, along with the trays and the brushes, where I wash them, drain all the water, then run him a clean bath. Then I give him some bath toys and run back out to the kitchen to clean up the mess and put the paint away before he can get back into it. I have it down to a science lol, but I realized last night that I have NO IDEA how I would do it with two or more kids!

      But so far so good…I keep forgetting to buy washable paint so lately he’s been painting with acrylic GAH but we have spared the walls and the floor. Although there is green glitter paint (mostly just the glitter) stuck to my kitchen table from our first successful painting back in May. But the table is only worth about $75 and for how much he loved painting that froggy for grandma, it was worth it. Plus it was a learning experience because I realized that a tray was NOT ENOUGH to contain the mess and I needed the tablecloth! lol

      • Kate

        Boy, you DO have it down to a science. That’s probably my problem. I need to wear a smock, and pretty much cover them and anything in a five foot radius in a smock. I just lay down a few newspapers on the table and then get ticked because they get it on the chair. So I gave up. But maybe this covering thing is just what I need to do.

  • Cari Lorine

    Aprille, this was such a great message. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get stuck in the messes of this world, at least occasionally (and usually often). You and your son did an amazing job on the painting! It wouldn’t be life (or painting) without the mess. 🙂

  • Dana

    Girl, just love this. I’m totally stalking your blog tonight – in case you hadn’t noticed already. Anyway – this quote is my fave:” But you are not beyond my power to make you beautiful.” Love how you let Jesus intimately encounter you and speak to you in the midst of the messes. This is what He created us for.

    So beautiful.

  • LeeAnn Taylor (@leeanngtaylor)

    Yep, I’m stalking your blog tonight too. It’s 1:14am. Must. go. to. bed. 🙂 Enjoying getting to “know” you! Love this activity and the reminder that things don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful and that God’s the one who makes them that way!

  • Martha Brady

    hi aprille,
    i love your blog and its message:) i too am a recovering legalist and perfectionist. i think that is one of the purposes of children in our lives:)

    i was a yeller too. learning not to yell, was an interesting process as i discovered so much fear inside the anger and rage. i also learned that anger is often a sign of pain and should not be ignored…as in “what about this interaction caused me to explode?” “why did i overreact?” counseling helped me as well in ways i didn’t expect.

    this theme is delightful and so like the truth of the gospel isn’t it? what we have to offer Jesus is a mess. even as we live out our christian life. it is often a mess of failure and bungling. it is only by GOD’s grace that we can do anything “right.” thanks be to GOD that He paid for our sin long ago and provided good standing for us in Christ before the Father. we are truly blessed aren’t we?

    i’m a fellow writer at jennifer lucas’ devotional page. that’s where i found you:)

    • Aprille

      Martha, thank you so much for reaching out with a comment.

      I definitely believe yelling can have roots in anger/hurt. I’ve been exploring that some in counseling myself.

      I love the theme of my blog as well. I wrote this post 3 years ago and I’m still discovering these truths over and over, every day, and sharing them in new ways here on the blog!

      I hope you will continue to follow, and I’m headed over to check out your site right now!

  • Tina

    How beautiful! Amen to that! It is all about IDENTITY. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see all our faults & failures- He sees the finished work of the cross & who He created us to be. I love in the bible where it says “he calls those things that are not as though they were” He believes in us even when we don’t believe in ourselves because He knows the price He paid is sufficient to bring transformation to our lives. And it DOES take time! Paul said in Philippians 3 I think how he “has not yet arrived, but [he] presses on, forgetting those things which are behind (like the failures of yesterday or even earlier today!) and pressing on to those things which are ahead (hope, perseverance, transformation, joy unspeakable!)”

    I remember one time I had utterly failed as a new mom & was sure God was disappointed in me, only to receive an encouraging text dealing with exactly what I was going through by an unknowing friend. I realized God was not mad at me for my failure, but loved me just the same. He was saying, “I see you in your failure, but I don’t want to punish you or withhold love from you, I want to help you overcome this struggle (anger) you deal with”.

    If only we could see ourselves & others the way God does, we won’t have to “try harder” to become righteous & produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit. If we BELIEVE we already are who God calls us (new creations) We will naturally start producing the fruits. It’s all about faith- what we believe. If I believe I am still a sinner, what will I be more prone to do? However if I believe as the bible says I am now a saint through Christ’s work & not my own, I will be more prone to live out righteousness- it will naturally flow. And on those times when I fail, God’s grace is there to pick me up- sometimes multiple times a day as I press on!

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