My favorite craft retailer had a sale last week. A felt kit I’ve been eyeing for months was finally discounted, and it landed in my cart quickly after that. I was trying not to buy anything because it’s one more thing to pack, but crafts were my exception. Somehow during this season of chaos, I’ve still found time to create. I have a sketchbook in my bed that I draw in at least once a week. There are three projects squeezed into my travel backpack for the long car ride plus my crochet bag stuffed with the afghan I’m making. Meanwhile, I’ve been paging through craft magazines and adding projects to my wish list.
There’s something about creating that is refreshing. It’s renewing. It’s redeeming. You take random pieces that otherwise might be cast off, pour your heart into them, and come out with a beautiful product. And through the process, you connect to the Creator because that’s what He does for us.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. ~Psalm 90:17 NKJV
During my last college class, I struggled with more anxiety than I have ever experienced. One of the things that helped me was creating. In between hours of frenzied studying, I would paint and draw. The slow steady motions forced my spirit to calm down, and in the quiet I would pray. Bringing beauty into the situation helped me look away from the stress and focus on the good.
Isn’t that an important lesson for life as well? Sometimes we get so caught up in the task at hand that we forget to be still. We forget to listen. We forget to pray. But those are the very things that help us get through. When we focus only on the stress, we get lost in the mess. Fixating on the darkness can torment a soul. We have to look up and focus on the light. We have to bring beauty into the situation. And where there is beauty, there can be no denying the Creator’s presence in the process.
For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. ~Psalm 18:28 NKJV
When I was much younger, I tried to crochet a stuffed piggy. However, the project was too ambitious for my skill level. In the end, I gave up, tossed the ball of yarn with the scrap I had started in a box, and put it on a high shelf in my closet. Last fall I pulled that box back out and found my discarded project. I could have ignored it, but instead I got it out again. I pulled out everything I had done wrong and started fresh with the new wisdom I had gained. The pile of yarn was restored to life.
God restores us too. Ever so carefully He redeems or removes the messed up and broken parts of our lives. The process can be painful. It requires an undoing in our spirit, but the results are a whole heart made beautiful by grace. The gifts that we’ve hidden are used for glory. The pain that we’ve locked away is turned into a testimony. The limitations we’ve placed on ourselves are turned to dust. Because when God creates in us a new heart, He doesn’t go halfway. He gives us a new purpose and restores our souls.
But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.” ~Isaiah 43:1 NKJV
On my last day at work, my coworkers made me a card that said, “Thumbody will miss you very much!” Below it was a caterpillar made out of my babies’ thumbprints. My coworkers took a day that would be painful for me and brought beauty into it by creating a work of art. My directors did the same by purchasing a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers for me. Those flowers have brought beauty into my home that is stacked with boxes and things waiting to be boxed. They have brought joy into a period of grief and unknowns.
My friends, bringing beauty into the hard times is so important. It calms our spirits and points to Jesus. It reminds us of His grace and love. It helps us find joy when our hearts are aching. We desperately need this hope. So no matter where you are or what is going on, bring beauty to the day. Bring beauty to someone else’s day. You may never know the impact it can have.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from the beginning to the end. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV
All is Grace, Esther Noe
P.S. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like, comment, and share! I’ve published a few other blog posts about creativity. You can read them here: Dear Creators, Don’t Stop Creating, Spiritual Reflections on Color-by-Numbers, and Crocheted Plans.