Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

It Was Ugly (A Five Minute Friday)

on July 6, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Beautiful

It was ugly. There was a bee sting and disobedient children followed by a sudden realization that all was not well. Disappointment, frustration, harsh words, and fear all balled up into one, a wound ripped open in the midst of a beautiful day. It was the kind of deep wound that ruins any thought of fun or enjoyment. And the children were watching, and I felt stuck.

I didn’t want to go to the beach anymore. I didn’t want to spend another second within a five foot radius of him. I wanted to admit defeat, to go home and sob in my bed, alone. I wanted to rage against him and flail my fists and ask, “How could you??”

But the children were there, conspicuously quiet in their seats, and everyone was waiting for me. We could either go to the beach and hope for redemption or we could suffer in silence for hours on the drive home. I didn’t want to go, but I couldn’t leave either. A rock and a hard place. And the children were waiting in the backseats.
It was Ugly, how an argument threatened to ruin a beautiful day, how to recover when you feel stuck,  hope for redemption of a bad day

Silent tears fell, and an inward scream of, “It’s not fair!”  But it wasn’t fair for them, the innocents in the backseat, either.  And I knew he was sorry.  And I knew I should be sorry, too.

A war wages within, and I feel helpless to call a truce. Then a prayer, a pleading for mercy and forgiveness, a desperate cry for joy and peace rather than chaos.  Slowly, the tears dry up as peace floods my being.  He’s with us, our Comforter and Redeemer.  I’m ready now.

The walk to the beach is long, sandy dunes, and four year olds floundering in flip flops, and heavy bags filled with towels and clothing.  And I’m tempted to go back to the struggle, but I don’t.  Instead I focus on the prize, the joy that awaits on the other end, the fun I know we’ll have if we can just get there without falling to pieces.

The sun and the sand, the waves and the seagull calls, the laughter of children happy to be at peace, happy to run and dig and splash – they were all worth it, that sacrifice of giving in when I had the “right” to fight, that obedience to trust that He could bring joy in the midst of pain. He is powerful when we are helpless.


I pray that we won’t remember the ugly, that 15 minutes that threatened to ruin it all. I pray we’ll remember  instead the wild beauty of the dunes, the slippery feel of the clay on the lake bottom, the giant sandcastle that was bigger than any we’d ever built before, the laughter of buckets of water raining over unsuspecting heads, the rocks we collected, the look between just the two of us as we recognize our many blessings.

It was ugly.

And then it was beautiful.

Jen 🙂

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday – where we write for five minutes on a word-prompt she gives us.  Stop by and check it out!

Also linking up at:


36 responses to “It Was Ugly (A Five Minute Friday)

  1. Oh, you captured well the struggle of momming. Those battles, that seem to be the undoing of it all but then the sweet redemption. The beach is often a restoring place for us as well. =)

  2. Sarah says:

    i love how you placed our struggle with the flesh and the heart of stone in the struggle with the desire to surrender to it, but instead you chose a different path of allowing and showing your children of God’s Grace…is sufficient for us all…thanks Sarah from FMF @ The Hope Journey

    • Thank you, Sarah. It’s only by the Father’s grace that a different choice was made. I didn’t walk the path willingly at first, but His grace was (and IS) sufficient.
      Jen 🙂

  3. Angela Smith says:

    Love it, Jen!

  4. Just so you know, when l asked your 7 year old what his favorite part of the trip was, he said “the huge sandcastle we built” with a huge grin on his face! Way to recover! Way to make a right choice! Way to be a real live Christ-follower!

    • I’m so happy to hear that! 🙂 God is good, and I’m thankful that my anger and frustration didn’t ruin a good day of family fun. He rescues us even when there is part of us that doesn’t want to be rescued!
      Jen 🙂

  5. Rebekah says:

    This? This is beautiful. I know it’s hard – it’s ALL hard – sometimes: motherhood, being a wife, wanting to fight, biting your tongue in order to protect the kiddos. Sigh! But it is, it’s beautiful!

  6. Anna says:

    Found you from Five Minute Friday. This is all too familiar. The battle of the heart and choosing grace. Thank you for sharing! Thankful I’m not alone 🙂

    • I’m glad I’m not alone, either! 🙂 Isn’t that what the Enemy loves for us to believe – that these things are only difficult for us. The truth is that we all struggle. I’m so thankful for His grace and His ability to redeem even the most trying situations. Thanks for visiting!
      Jen 🙂

    • Anna, you are definitely not alone. I resonated with this post so well myself. Oh to keep choosing grace!

      Jen, thank you for sharing this hard, ugly thing. It touched something deep that needs softening. I’m here from FMF.

      • I’m so glad it spoke to you. It’s good to know that the Father can use something I’m not proud of – He redeems that situation yet again!
        Jen 🙂

  7. Lanaya says:

    It is definitely hard to be a mom at times, a daily struggle and you captured that beautifully.

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. 🙂

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  8. I loved the beautiful graphic and Scripture that opened up your post. You expressed so beautifully how He will come into our weakness if we allow Him to.

    I am so glad I stopped by tonight.

  9. Laura Lee Groves says:

    You know, for me, it’s so often that desperate cry that does it — the recognition that I can’t do it without Him. He’s always listening for our cries, isn’t He? My guess is the kids will remember the beauty of that day and a mom who showed and lived grace.

    I’m your neighbor over at Michelle’s today. Great to “meet” you!

    • It’s so true, Laura, that our perspective is not always their perspective. I had to really fight Satan’s lies that the day was ruined, and I’m so thankful the Lord kept me going even while I was still struggling in my mind. My mom told me that when she asked our middle child about that particular day, all he could think of was the giant sandcastle! 🙂 I’m so thankful that children are quick to forgive!
      Jen 🙂

  10. shortybear says:

    Amazingly awesome post.

  11. Most beautiful…hit home for so many of us!!

  12. Tina says:

    You really did capture the struggle beautifully! Thanks so much for sharing and thanks for stopping by my blog!
    Tina @ Mommynificent

    • Well, to be honest. revealing the struggle does not “feel” beautiful to me, but I’m amazed at the Father’s ability to make the ugly into things of beauty!
      Jen 🙂

  13. Been here, done this and know it very, very well.. that grace that seems bitter when it has to be given–when we think that justice will taste better and yet we know it won’t. Beautiful indeed! Here from Jen’s place. Bless you!

  14. Jen, you’ve beautifully illustrated the ugly! You did the hard work of putting the lid on the flesh and walking in the character of Jesus. Well done!
    Blessings to you, my friend ~ Mary

    • Thank you for the encouraging words, Mary! I’m so thankful for the Holy Spirit and for the promises of the Bible. Those two things spur me on to choose right even when part of me desires to embrace wrong. I only wish I could do right sooner instead of fighting it first, but that’s part of the “work in progress.”
      Jen 🙂

  15. Mai says:

    nice pic! Thanks for sharing me a glimpse of parenthood! 🙂 Bless you..

    Visiting you from the Happy Wives Club Link Up.

  16. Rhiannon says:

    Ahhh yes – the chaos. It’s so difficult to be graceful when you feel like freaking out. Excellent work praying, surrendering, letting it go and having a wonderful day. Who could ask for anything more than that?

    • It truly was only by God’s grace that I moved forward in that situation, but I’m so thankful, so thankful, that He redeemed that day for us. Thanks for visiting!
      Jen 🙂

  17. […] at, even if it’s ugly.  Letting Him know how unfair it feels, how hurt I am, how afraid.  Asking Him to bring light to the Enemy’s lies, lies about how it will never change, about how … They are Satan’s favorite lies. You’re trapped in this loveless marriage forever! […]

  18. […] Paint makes old things new again, clean again, perhaps even beautiful again. […]

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