Finding Beauty in the Ugly

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Because no matter how hard we try to be upright, blameless, spotless, wrinkle-free, there will always be days when we fail, we err, and we become blemished and creased. Days when in the place of giving of thanks, kids choose to engage in a brawl, and feelings of frustrations mount. Days when instructions are not followed, mistakes are committed, patience runs low, and arguments take center stage. Days when “I love you” becomes just that – a group of three one-syllable words – and not the powerful words that heal and cover all mistakes and shortcomings and all ugliness.

These are the very reasons why the world needs a savior. Why I need a savior. The Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, He specializes in turning the ugly into true beauty.

…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Is. 61:3)

Yes, I think of the beauty of the Lord Jesus, and I know this is not supposed to be the way to live in Him. So I crawl back to be nearer to Him, to be under the brilliance of His light. Walk in the light as He is in the light. For nothing stays the same under His light. Spots, blemishes, wrinkles, shadows – they are all cleansed and smoothed out. Wounds heal under the warmth of His light.

So the soul, though heavy and weeping, has always this hope: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5). And so it rests, sings praises still, deeper than it ever was (Isn’t that always the case? We sing more deeply when the heart is hurting?), and prays as always and as fervently for there is no giving up of this.

In the morning, fresh inspiration floods the heart. For His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness (Lam. 3:22-23)! And so, with a heart that sings and lips curved in a smile, I make these sweet, scrumptious snacks that I know would gather love together around the table, bringing in fresh joy and a cacophony of stories of how everyone’s day went. And we are all restored.

So on a dreary day, when shadows try to hide the joy, strain to see the light and keep looking for beauty underneath the clouds. Keep turning the stones until we see the goodly pearl gleaming under the light and we lay hold on it. Lay hold on eternal life. 

Continuing with the giving of thanks:

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Hannah’s costume for their Cosplay in school included a pair of boots that Maricris our housekeeper bought in a thrift shop almost three years ago. (Well, this costume was basically my idea which Hannah graciously yielded to). When she arrived from school after their Cosplay, I was excited to hear how it went, but I was greeted with the biggest pout. Then she showed me her boots (what was left of them) – the skin was nearly gone as it peeled off in her every move, the sole of one was missing, and the other was desperately clinging on some remaining glue. It was the most miserable pair of boots I’ve ever seen! She told me it happened at recess, and from then on, her movements were measured and awkward.

I hugged her tight and told her how sorry I was that happened to her. As she related to me the details and demonstrated how she walked with one boot with a missing sole and the other one gaping wide, her usual cheeriness came back and I burst into laughter and couldn’t stop! It was the heartiest laugh I’ve had for the longest time. Beauty in an apparently ugly situation! (Her Dad’s comment: “It’s just suited for the occasion – Halloween!”). Hannah wrote this in her online journal and if you want to have a few laughs, go ahead and visit it.

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  • My mother surprising us with a visit (she had to travel 7 hours by bus to do so) and bringing ipon tamales (dulong in Tagalog – millions of minute fish – approx. 10mm in length – wrapped in banana leaf and cooked with cane vinegar, ginger, salt and black pepper in boiling water). One of my favorites.

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  • New laptop for my writing given to me by my husband on my blog’s 1st anniversary. My first MacBook Pro and I’m so excited to use it :-)!
  • Strength, inspiration and joy in cooking, writing, praising and Bible reading.
  • Storytelling with my little Tim.
  • Skyping with my sister in San Diego, CA. Her, showing us their new apartment.
  • That scrumptious dessert (top photo) which I made. Thanks to sweet Ann for sharing the recipe. (Tip: Since coconut is so common in the Philippines, it’s hard to find desiccated kind, so I used freshly grated which added a distinct flavor and texture to the dessert).
  • New testimony posted at Minister of Mercy: Sister Jodie Mancera had four major surgeries within six months. She was suffering from colon cancer and had only four months to live according to her doctor. Read full testimony.

May we all have a blessed week, my dear friends.

Related article: 7 Things that Make Up a Beautiful Life

Participating with Multitudes on Monday and Sharing His Beauty.

This post is also linked to Time-warp WifeDomestically Divine, Women Living Well, We are That Family, Raising Homemakers, Women in the Word Wednesday, Proverbs 31 Thursday, Brag on God Friday, Spiritual Sundays

15 comments on “Finding Beauty in the Ugly

  1. Pamela says:

    I love seven layer bars! (That’s what we call them, not sure what name you made under). Only, ours are typically six layer bars because my sister is allergic to coconut. 🙂

  2. Praise God for our blessings! I like to count mine too:)

  3. Yes, thank God. He is the only one that can take us….sinful and broken…..and make something beautiful.

  4. Brittany M. says:

    Just stumbled across your blog from Ann’s. I love the verses you used in this post–they’re some of my favorites, especially right now 🙂 And what you said about singing more deeply when the heart is hurting–exactly what I’ve been thinking about over the past few days. (Also, I just got my first MacBook Pro as well. It’s wonderful!)

    • RinaPeru says:

      Hi Brittany! It’s great to “meet” you here. It’s really amazing how sometimes our story is similar to others and how it touches us beautifully. God is awesome!

  5. Sis Fe says:

    Beloved Hannah you’ve handled your embarrassing moment with grace. Your boots are worth keeping, color is lovely, take them to a shoe expert :).

    Congratulations Sis Rina on your new MacBook Pro.
    Thanks for the tamales recipe, I hope to find banana leaf in my part of the world :).

  6. RinaPeru says:

    Hi Sis. Fe! LOL – her boots are beyond repair, I think Maricris has thrown them away the same day :-). But when my bel. sister in the U.S. read her blog & saw the pics, she e-mailed me that she’s going to send Hannah a new pair of boots for Christmas! “All things work together for good…”

    Days before I received my new laptop, my old one crashed completely, everything was corrupted leaving me zero files and I didn’t have recovery disc. But I’m happy to have a new one :-).

    God bless you always!

  7. gina l. labrador says:

    Hi Sis Rina,
    Just read your cute blog about Hannah, it really shows that what you sow is what you reap.
    Ohh! speaking of “dulong” wrapped in a banana leaf we call it “Pinais” we have a lot of it here in our place and that is one of my daughter’s favorite “ulam” especially when it’s fried and crunchy…..
    “Finding Beauty in the Ugly” thanks for this blog….whenever we have that “ugly” (whatever it is) just look up HIS cross and we will find that “beauty”…….GOD BLESS

    • RinaPeru says:

      Hi! I didn’t know “dulong” could be fried. We have it also in our town in Pangasinan but it’s seasonal. Next time my bel. mother brings us, I will try to fry them :-). God bless, too!

      • gina l. labrador says:

        hello! you can fry it if it is already cooked wrapped in a banana leaf….. just take off the leaf and fry it….so delicious promise! esp. on breakfast with black coffee……..my regards to your family there in Pangasinan…..thanks for the reply GOD BLESS

  8. The dessert at the top looks delicious! I was feeling really bad about the boots until you started laughing about it! 🙂

  9. Esther Joy says:

    Rina, Your post reminded me of something my sister once said to me when I was going through some miserable moments. She said, “You know, you can’t really appreciate joy unless you’ve known sorrow!” Laughter truly is good medicine!

    Congratulations on your new lap top!

  10. Hazel Moon says:

    At the moment, I am certain that your daughter was embarrased, but she was able to laught about it too. That shows real maturity for her young years. Beautiful – not Ugly! 🙂

  11. Charlotte says:

    Interesting post, Rina. I think it is always wise to look for the beauty in the ugly. When I saw the title and the first picture I thought “surely she doesn’t think this wonderful dessert looks ugly”. lol
    It is beautiful and look yummy. So, I’m glad you weren’t referring to the dessert. My daughter bough a MacBook Pro recently. She loves it. I’ve had an iMac for about 3 years and am really “spoiled”. I don’t think I could ever go back to a PC. Of courseI would if I had to but sure would not want to.
    Have a great week.
    Charlotte

  12. Lory says:

    There are several things that we can’t understand. All things worth together for good for those who love them. Thank you so much Dearest Jesus. Thanks po ate Rina for sharing ^_^ God bless you po.

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