When You’re Willing to Look Past the Ugly


I’m a book-freak—not a big television fan. But I love DIY shows {those brave do-it-yourselfers simply captivate me} and HGTV has a series called The Property Brothers that is one of my favorites.

Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott come together to help folks find extreme fixer-uppers they can afford, and then transform them into the client’s ultimate dream home. Their fallback when clients arrive on the run-down property for the first time and are in absolute shock at it’s condition? You just have to be willing to look past the ugly.

Oh, the work some of these places need! It seems such a radical risk when you consider their current troubles. But after some well-thought-through decisions, and intentionally focused work, the outcome is always unbelievably positive.

If only I could consistently do that, look past what threatens to block me, look forward to the positive outcome.

Remember the sparring twins Jacob and Esau from Old Testament times? Much like Jacob, I too have endured what seem to be never-ending struggles, running from family history and wrestling with God. Over the years, I’ve fought through countless “this-is-not-fair” moments.

But Jacob modeled for me how to go deeper into this pain, how to consider a different perspective.I don’t know if you remember this part in the story, but Jacob wrestled all through the night with God, his hip wrenching right out of socket. Yet, with hip twisted and trapped, numb and unable to move, Jacob still pursued God’s blessing.

I won’t let go until you bless me.

Won’t let go without the blessing. Somehow, this is where we have to land. This place of willingness to confront our pain, an eagerness to eventually look past it.  This place of God’s blessing—an understanding and belief that God is good, and somehow he can take all this ugly and make it into something amazing.

But do we believe God is good? Do we believe he is in control?

Well, do we?

If God is good and is sovereign, why does he sometimes allow such horrific pain, right? I’ve wrestled this one to the ground, trust me. And I’ve come to a couple conclusions that help me sleep better at night.

  1. God is sovereign and he does have a plan. I must trust in this.
  2. God allows us to make choices unconstrained by “fate.” Just as he grants me the freedom to choose what I will do in life, so he granted those who choose to abuse or hurt others that same unconstrained choice {some call this “free will.”}
  3.  God will use the pain {the ugly of our life}—if we surrender it to him.

When life’s not working out as we had planned, it’s so easy to blame and accuse, making excuses for the pain. But if we’re willing to fight through the pain and uncover a use for it, that fresh sense of hope will outshine the original hurt. I promise. I’m living proof.

The work it takes for this emotional healing, it probably feels a much bigger risk than any fixer-upper you may have ever wanted to take on, I’ll give you that. But a good remodel is always worth the effort. And without the risk how will we ever experience the reward?

What are you currently facing that seems to big to take on alone? Tell us in the comments section below and allow us to pray for you?

3 thoughts on “When You’re Willing to Look Past the Ugly

  1. A deep, dark year-and-a-half long depression, and addiction to Adderall. This is an incredibly hard and painful thing to finally admit publicly. I a deeply ashamed, and in intense emotional (and physical) pain so intense, that I feel as if I may crack, break or explode at any moment. I hang on minute by minute until 2 days from now, to go to my first appt. with a new psychiatrist, that I have searched long and hard for. I am willing to go to an inpatient rehab if necessary, even though leaving my husband and children terrifies me! In 2 days I pray to have a plan that will get me out of this mess, and pain, immediately so I don’t have to go on like this. I can’t hide or fight it anymore and I need prayer please!

    • Michele, we will be praying for you. No, really praying for you. You are right, this does feel too big to take on alone. I thank God that you don’t have to. Know that we will stand in the gap for you, holding you and your future up to God and thanking Him for a love that intervenes, that isn’t willing to leave you where you are.

      Thank you for sharing, so we know how to pray. You are brave.

      • Thank you JoAnn…..your words are music to my ears. I need all the prayer I can possibly get. This is so much bigger than me and it’s been hard to share this shameful thing out loud. But I know I need others to pray and to help me and most of all…to hold me accountable. It’s out now and I can’t back out.

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