Battlefields and Beauty

About two weeks ago, I decided Belle and I needed to explore something new. While I had been (and still am) struggling with reality hitting me hard in the face each morning, I also knew poor Belle could not be expected to continue to just mope around with me–she needs stimulation. In that sense, she is a big motivator for me to get out and do things. Anyway, I took us to Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia, and I was stunned at what God had for me on this particular outing.

As we walked the Murphey Farm, I was struck by how pretty the scenery was. The right amount of fluffy white clouds interspersed the blue sky, some trees still held on to their yellow and gold fall colors, and the tall grass waved blissfully in the breeze. Although beautiful, all that isn’t what struck me. This farmland once served as a Confederate battleline.

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When this place served it’s time in history, I am sure no one wanted to stop and think about how beautiful the surrounding scenery might be. While I’m not sure of exactly the history this land saw, given the cannons that still stand on the field, I can draw conclusions that it wasn’t pretty.

Yet, here it is today—flat, green, with a seemingly endless open sky.

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(And here you can see Belle fully enjoying the wind and historic grass.)

As I was walking Belle on the trail, something hit me internally: even the darkest of times bring beauty in the end. I feel God chose this moment to remind me that He will turn my pain to beauty in His time.

. . . . . .

I have been playing catchup with my favorite Harry Potter podcast, having fallen behind a bit on listening due to a schedule change, and I came across their episode on beauty. As I was reflecting on how interesting it was I came across this episode as I was preparing to write a blog post on beauty in darkness, one of the hosts said the most perfect thing: ugly things need to happen before things can be considered beautiful.

And I just thought wow. How could this possible be coincidence?

It seems this happens a lot. We feel sickest before we are about to feel better. Something terrible happens that makes us appreciate, even more, something good we have. Battles happen so countries can claim certain rights (I’m thinking here of the American Revolution, or of some of the moral reasons behind the Civil War). More importantly, it is literally always darkest before the sun rises.

. . . . . .

There is a reason darkness comes at the end of the day and the beginning of the next, why God uses colorful rainbows to show His people His promises.

As I struggle through…whatever this is, I have to work to remind myself God can, and does, create beauty from ashes. After all, how are diamonds made? But I’ve realized I am struggling to recall the promises He spoke to me before all this in the midst of my depression. I am struggling to connect with Him because the darkness has been so overwhelming, and, at times, it’s easier to deal with.

I have a better appreciation of what it must have been like to try to deal with me on occasion. Neither my husband nor myself had the words to describe what I was dealing with, but now I do: anxiety, depression, self-worth.

I remember God’s nudge at some point early in the line, but I don’t recall when. I remember the still, small whisper, which I know I ignored, but I don’t recall what it said. What I do remember is I felt like something was about to happen, like we were on the cusp of something, like something new was on the horizon. I remember feeling like this would open up all new doors for us.

So, as December progresses, I am going to brave the battlefield of my mind and heart and work to recall God’s promises. I’ll even start in scripture and work my way to His promises to me. And I will write them down, as proof to myself that He fulfills His promises, as visual evidence He is faithful. Because I need that reminder.

. . . . . .

Have you ever felt something happened that was not mere coincidence?

Do you have a story where it was “darkest before the dawn”? How did things turn out?

What promises has God made to you? Do you remember them all? Do you, too, need a visual reminder, a list, to keep you focused on them?