In Others’ Words: Beauty in Unexpected Places

“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.” ~Anne Frank (1929-1945), victim of the Holocaust

Many of you know that my family evacuated our home last Tuesday when the Waldo Canyon Fire erupted in the Foothills several miles from our neighborhood. We packed our cars with some precious family items — photos, a few treasured heirlooms, a cooler of food. One of the items I took with me is pictured above. A gift from my husband a children years ago, it hung on the wall in our dining room as a reminder.

A reminder of what?

Ah, therein lies the value of the carving.

There was a season in my life when I struggled with finding healing from past hurts … when finding hope was a moment to moment journey. I fought against doubt and despair — and my family, as much as they loved me, couldn’t fix things for me.

One Christmas, my husband and children — after much whispering and hiding away in the garage — presented me with a pillowcase-wrapped present, complete with a bow. When I opened it, I found a wood carving which was the exact replica of a necklace my husband had given me years earlier. He said the symbol — a heart with a cross in the middle — represented our marriage.

My smiling family surrounded me as my fingers traced the outline of the carving, tears blurring my vision. When I commented on how beautiful the gift was, my husband instructed me to turn it over.

When I did, I noticed all the scratches and dents and scrapes … and finally realized my husband had fashioned this beautiful carving from the top of an end table I’d thrown out weeks earlier.

“I wanted you to be reminded that God can bring beauty out of ugliness.”

My husband’s words that day touched something deep in my heart … the faintest glimmer of hope. Yes, God could bring beauty out of the ugliness I was experiencing. He would. And he did.

As my community recovers from the Waldo Canyon Fire, I know that beauty will be revealed from the ugliness of this fire. I’ve already glimpsed it in the caring of friends — even in the caring of strangers who have helped us.

In Others’ Words: When have you been able to see past the misery to the beauty?

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23 Comments

  1. July 2, 2012, 6:11 am   /  Reply

    I have see God turn my mistakes and wrong choices into help for others. And when I retired from teaching abstinence classes, it warmed my heart for the kids to encourage me to stay on because I’d been there and knew what it was like.
    To see beauty from the ashes, we have to see through God’s eyes.

    • July 2, 2012, 6:11 am   /  Reply

      That was supposed to be: I have seen…

    • Beth Vogt
      July 2, 2012, 10:33 am   /  Reply

      And sometimes to see through God’s eyes we need to see through others’ eyes first.

  2. July 2, 2012, 6:51 am   /  Reply

    Beautiful, Beth. I have no other words. Just Beautiful. 🙂 Still praying!

    • Beth Vogt
      July 2, 2012, 10:33 am   /  Reply

      Thank you for praying, Jess. Still leaning into those prayers.

  3. July 2, 2012, 8:26 am   /  Reply

    That heart and cross is beautiful–and what it symbolizes even more beautiful!

    I went through a rough year my first year out of college. A broken relationship–though absolutely right and necessary–left me pretty wounded for awhile. But I read through the Psalms over and over…and I remember, even in the midst of feeling emotionally drained, also feeling sooo close to and comforted by God. And that’s cool.

    I’m so glad you and your home are safe! Still praying!

    • Beth Vogt
      July 2, 2012, 10:34 am   /  Reply

      Ah, the oh-so-precious presence of His Spirit in times of need …

  4. July 2, 2012, 8:35 am   /  Reply

    Beautiful Post, Beth! God works through that Beauty so often. It is why He sees us as beautiful despite our many flaws. Without the entirety of the picture we often can’t see the beauty in difficult situations unless we step back to look at the full picture.

    Thanks for such a wonderful and inspiring reminder today!

    • Beth Vogt
      July 2, 2012, 10:34 am   /  Reply

      Yes, His Word says we are “beautifully and wonderfully made.”
      I need to embrace that truth — wholeheartedly.

  5. July 2, 2012, 9:13 am   /  Reply

    I most love the fact that Rob fashioned this from a discarded piece–There’s a song you probably know, “In His time, in His time, God makes all things beautiful in His time…”
    So thankful your lives and writings reflect that.

    • Beth Vogt
      July 2, 2012, 10:35 am   /  Reply

      As always, Dee, you bring a song at just the right time …

  6. July 2, 2012, 9:23 am   /  Reply

    Beth, what a precious gift from your family with such rich meaning! God does, indeed, bring beauty from ashes. Keeping our eyes on Him keeps our eyes off of the misery. You’ve been in my prayers and will continue to be as the professionals work to remove the smoke damage from your home. Hugs!

    • Beth Vogt
      July 2, 2012, 10:35 am   /  Reply

      Sending that hug right back to you, Donna.

  7. July 2, 2012, 9:25 am   /  Reply

    Beth, your words sent shivers up my spine and touched a spot deep within the whispered promises in my heart.

    Isaiah 61:1-3
    1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
    2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
    to comfort all who mourn,
    3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
    to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
    the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
    and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
    They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

  8. Patti Mallett
    July 2, 2012, 10:03 am   /  Reply

    Reading through tears and sniffles. What a sweet, sweet man – and waaaaay wise. This is one post (and photo) I am sure to remember!! Thanks for being open and willing to share your life with us!

    Thoughts and prayers are still rising from here to join the MANY being lifted for you and your family.

    • Beth Vogt
      July 2, 2012, 10:36 am   /  Reply

      I know, I know, Patti. Now you see why Daniel in Wish You Were Here was modeled after him?
      ;o)

  9. July 2, 2012, 10:11 am   /  Reply

    What a wonderful gift – both the symbolic carving from your husband’s and children’s AND God’s healing power.

    Thank you for sharing, Beth. Continuing our prayers for you and your family and your community.

    Hugs,
    Becky

    • Beth Vogt
      July 2, 2012, 10:37 am   /  Reply

      Thank you for praying for us — and for the community, Becky.

  10. Loree Huebner
    July 2, 2012, 11:22 am   /  Reply

    Beautiful!

    Been praying for you guys!

  11. July 2, 2012, 2:17 pm   /  Reply

    Lovely story, precious gift. Thanks for sharing such an encouraging post, Beth.

  12. July 2, 2012, 4:42 pm   /  Reply

    Hi Beth, this wll be the second or third time attempt a comment. Grrr. Wi-fi.
    I am so thankful you are alright.
    God bless you and your family.

  13. Jeanne
    July 2, 2012, 9:36 pm   /  Reply

    Ahhh, my friend, you just made me cry. 🙂 I love your way of expressing with simplicity and beauty. Thanks for sharing how your family brought beauty forth from scratched and dented wood. You’re right, He will also bring forth beauty from the scars of the fire. He’s doing a beautiful work in the character of so many affected by the fire. Continuing to send you thoughts and prayers.

  14. July 8, 2012, 8:04 pm   /  Reply

    What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing.

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