Over the last few weeks, I have been working on a little birthday gift for my friend. It was going to be a Laundry Schedule sign to go with a basket of other related items. You may remember me asking about whether to add a flourish to the sign on Facebook.
What I thought was going to be an easy and fun project, turned out to be hard and disappointing along the way. But God used this to teach me a valuable lesson.
Have you every had a craft project go completely wrong? The sign I was creating was supposed to have white lettering atop a black background. I had spray painted a coat of white paint over a picture I bought and then added vinyl lettering to mask the white until later. Following with several coats of black paint and then the removal of the vinyl should have revealed perfect white text on the black backdrop.
In retrospect, I should have primed the picture first . . . maybe that would have helped. Because when I peeled off the vinyl to reveal the white lettering underneath, much more than the vinyl peeled off. It was messy. Chunks of paint were coming off with each letter. White paint and black paint. Gone were my hopes of white striking letters. Instead I saw the colors of the original picture from below, extending beyond the trace of the simple letters. Hours of work, wasted and pointless.
I debated on whether I should scrap it and start all over again. Thinking of a new gift idea even crossed my mind. How in the world could I redeem this mess to look good enough to give to a friend?
Before throwing it out, however, I decided to try a couple things. I grabbed some black acrylic paint and a firm edged brush. Slowly, I painted around the letters, restoring shape to the text. The next day, I added a couple coats of Mod Podge hoping that it would fade the differences in the black paints I used. Then I waited. Waited for the Mod Podge to turn from white to clear, waited for the finished project to be revealed. Waited to find out what it would look like.
And that was when I saw it. The connection of this picture that was my struggling work in progress to life and faith. Life is messy. It is plagued with struggles, heartaches and hardships. Sometimes they come as waves when you do all you can just to stay afloat. Things don’t go the way we hoped, the way we dreamed. It can leave us feeling like the end product won’t be beautiful or look whatsoever like the pretty picture we envisioned.
That has been my life for the last couple months. Maybe some day I will go into more detail, but for now I can tell you that it has been problem after problem, issue after issue and struggle after struggle. Have you ever felt this way too? Things seem to be going well and then one-two-three, multiple things start going wrong and you are left to ask God how is He moving in the situation. And just like my picture, you wait and wonder how this is going to all turn out in the end.
But in the waiting, I am reminded that it is those struggles that make us who we are. When I went down to look at the picture after everything had dried, I realized that is was beautiful. More beautiful than I could have imagined. The underneath grays, tans and creams were revealed in the letters. Rough edges looked like purposeful wear.
It wasn’t fun going through it. There were times when I wanted to throw the whole thing out and start over. Peeling layers of paint, revealing what I tried to cover, had become the most appealing part of the whole picture. The under layer revealed to be beautiful and something I hadn’t expected.
And that, my friends, is what will be so beautiful about you and the struggles you face. God can redeem all the messes of your life. He can take the challenges and work them into beautiful art built upon layers of strength, character, perseverance and hope. And only in the end, revealing the beauty of what is underneath.
You may be feeling attacked, overwhelmed and disappointed about what you are facing. But remember. Give yourself hope. God is most definitely at work and creating something beautiful in you, more beautiful than you can imagine. And only in the end will His perfect plan be revealed.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
And if you’re wondering about the Laundry Sign I made for my friend, I’ll share photos of it soon. But first I have to give it to her. 😉