Beautiful Things.

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{Photo credit: Meredith Sledge photography.}

“All this pain//
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way//
I wonder if my life could really change at all//
All this earth//
Could all that is lost ever be found//
Could a garden come up from this ground at all//

You make beautiful things//
You make beautiful things out of the dust//
You make beautiful things//
You make beautiful things out of us.”

-Gungor, Beautiful Things

Can I be real with you all today? I’m just going to write this article without overanalyzing, over-editing, and reading through it multiple times. It is time to spill my thoughts, click publish, and not worry with perfection.

This time a week ago, I was flying into Washington for a retreat with girls I’ve been in contact with online for a couple of years. I was ready to have my Hollywood facade on, have it all together, and live up to my Facebook/Instagram presence (you know, where you only share your best and throw a filter on top.)

I stepped off the plane to be greeted by my sweet friends, Jessica and Emily who picked me up. My plan was to throw my makeup on, look flawless, and have it all together to meet these friends for the first time. However, the Wenatchee airport is tiny. Since I had been awake and traveling since 3 AM, my strategy was to run for the bathroom after stepping off the plane to freshen up…but I immediately saw these girls waiting for me, and I had to accept the fact that they would see the real me…natural, normal, flawed, exhausted, imperfect me.

God made it incredibly clear from the very beginning of the week that this trip wasn’t going to be about my plans or my attempt at perfection. The words “out of control” overwhelmed my mind, and I knew I needed to rest faithfully in that and see what He had for this time.

Throughout the week, I felt that God had stripped me down to my most basic form. I felt naked…the walls had been broken, and I was unable to keep up the filtered facade. The beautiful thing was that God showed me that these people loved me…the real me.

One of my friends there came up to me and said,

“I am amazed by everything you are doing. But I want you to know that you don’t need to have it all together to be used by God. That isn’t the story He has for you. God is going to use you in your brokenness, not in your perfection. You are going to be the example through the joy you exude in the difficulties.”

I’m not going to lie, that wasn’t exactly good news to me. But it was true. God had been telling me the same message for a very long time. I wanted to be the girl who lived perfectly…had it all together…and could be used by God through being some sort of Christian Martha Stewart. I’ll never be the blogger who has the perfect, spotless home.

My friend Katie, who I met at the retreat, does beautiful hand lettering. I found this one morning on the coffee table and it immediately spoke to my heart. She told me these are actually lyrics from a song she wrote:

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Beauty does not mean perfection. The greatest lie is that we have to get it all together in order to be loved or have influence.

This week, I had a radical turning point in my life. I realized that certain things about me will always be incredibly flawed. I will never be perfect. This truth can either create great insecurity, or great freedom.
There are scars on my body that I will always have, and I don’t have to pretend they don’t exist. The scars are part of my story.
My spine will always look like an “S”. And the scoliosis is a curving reminder that my life is an out-of-the-box adventure, not a predictable path.
I don’t see my many freckles and moles as weird, but as my adorable chocolate chips.
My home won’t look like an Anthropologie ad. It will be lived in.
My stories won’t be cookie-cutter ones, they will be authentic.

This is what it means to be wonderfully made. I used to think that it was about being someone else, and God does transform us, but ultimately He uses the broken pieces to make something beautiful. He makes beautiful things.

I know that this article is filled with grammatical errors, run on sentences, and probably horrendous spelling. But today, I am accepting the imperfection so that I can share my story. You don’t have to be perfect to share yours.

“We can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”
-Romans 8:28

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4 thoughts on “Beautiful Things.

  1. Rachael, you’re such a blessing and encouragement to me! I think you’re gorgeous and any lies that you were or still are believing that you have to have it together are definitely not from the Lord. I loved getting to know the real you and hearing your story! I was inspired and I am SO thankful I got to meet you!

  2. Love this even more than I usually love your posts 🙂 And starting it with my absolute favourite worship song, the one one that had me tearing up at the gym the other day? Beautiful 🙂 For me it’s a constant work in progress, but it truly is only in our realness that we can impact those around us.

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