On beauty

I find lots of different things hard. But one hard thing that keeps coming back, time and time again, is the hard thing of beauty.
The other day a nurse came into my hospital room, saw our wedding picture which I had on the wall and commented on how different I looked. It was a throwaway comment. But it’s one that I went into the bathroom and cried about. It’s one that I just can’t get out of my mind. Because it’s true. On our wedding day I did look different. CF didn’t affect me in the same ways as it does now. One month after our wedding I picked up MRSA, got a lot more ill and things have changed hugely since then. I’ve been on antibiotics which yellow my teeth, I’ve moved from osteopenia to osteoporosis, when I’m on IVs my hair starts to fall out, my skin gets dry and more translucent, my back hunches over more and more, a reaction to an anti-sickness tablet had far-reaching effects and the list goes on. And then I have the PEG, the port and oxygen tubes which are all external reminders.

I look in the mirror and see Cystic Fibrosis. I see the difference from my peers. I see who I used to be and the changes that make me who I am now. And it hurts so much. So many small things, stripped away. Making me ever weaker and realising all the more my need for a God who sustains and strengthens in different ways.

God is an artist. He sculpts and creates us. But I’ve come to realise that God is an artist who specialises in mosaics. Beautiful things made out of broken pieces. The breaking is hard but slowly, piece by piece, we are refashioned into something more interesting, more faithful and more beautiful.

I certainly feel that way. I’ve been broken many times and in many ways. But as each hard thing, like a rock, breaks down yet another part of me that I thought was good or pretty or useful, I see God picking up the pieces, reshaping them and rebuilding me.

I struggle to learn this lesson. Every now and then I hear a comment or glance in the mirror and all the sad, ugly feelings come rushing back. But this is just another step in the upside-down Gospel journey. What seems like weakness, is built up into strength. What seems like failure, is success far greater than this world can imagine. And what looks like ugliness, is transformed into beauty.

That’s the truth. And even the truth itself is beautiful.

5 thoughts on “On beauty

  1. This is beautiful, and you are beautiful. You have a beautiful character that he is working on, and through. You are such an inspiration to us all and I thank God for your example and the challenge you bring to my life to be more faithful, more trusting, more Christ-centred.

    He is using you.

    Sending so much love.

    xxx

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  2. I don't know you but I do thank you. Thank you for being honest. Thank you for making yourself vulnerable. Thank you for sharing the way that God has made a difference in your life.
    You have not spouted a load of meaningless words, you have shared a real life experience and the difference knowing Jesus makes in the real events of your every day life.
    1 Thess 1:2-5 (put into my own words for you – paraphrased)
    “I thank God for you and will remember you in prayer giving thanks to God OUR Father for your work of faith, labour of love and particularly for your steadfastness of hope IN OUR Lord Jesus Christ.”
    I cannot wait for THAT DAY when we will see Him, Meet Him and be Like Him with our new body. Oh Happy Day!
    May God bless you as you serve Him each day.

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  3. Bless you Ruth,

    Thank you for finding the strength to write on these painful days.

    But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—1 Cor 2: 9.

    The mosaic God is weaving with the story of your life, what He is preparing is so beautiful and includes not only you but the many readers who read your story and are really affected spiritually including me.

    Praying for you.

    Love from Liz, Cornwall, UK

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  4. “I've come to realise that God is an artist who specialises in mosaics. Beautiful things made out of broken pieces. The breaking is hard but slowly, piece by piece, we are refashioned into something more interesting, more faithful and more beautiful.”

    This is a profound idea expressed in the most beautiful way. Thanks for sharing this – and giving me a legitimate opportunity to shed a few tears.

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