Rebuilding Beautiful


Nine months ago, the beautiful life I had built, the beautiful life I had worked hard for was stripped away in a moment, gone forever, buried in the cold hard ground with him. As I have been sitting in the rubble, in the pain, in the destruction, slowly surveying the mess and muscling up the strength to get back on my feet again, there is a little phrase I often whisper under my breath. It’s my motivation, my anthem, my reason for getting out of bed, it’s three simple words: “beautiful happy life.” I want it. I want it for my boys, I want it for myself, I want it for my future.  

But it isn’t easy. It’s not a snap your fingers, abracadabra, overnight fix. Building something from the dust, from the ground up is messy. It takes time, hard work, and commitment. It takes showing up every single day. It’s holding grief in one hand and joy in the other while making the choice to get out of bed, strap on your boots, and step foot in the trenches again. It’s hard work, heart work, and soul work; it’s exhausting. 

The strangest part of rebuilding this new life is rebuilding it alone, single mom, solo mom, widow, so many words to describe this new place. I don’t want to rebuild anything without my guy, but I don’t have a choice. If I don’t strap on my boots and get my hands dirty, I will always just be stuck in the mud. All I will ever see is dirt, destruction, pain, and disaster, there will be no beauty at all. I have to rebuild beautiful, I have to chase after the life I want, the life God has for me and my boys.

One big step on the journey of rebuilding beautiful has been moving into a new home. Actually, it’s not new at all, it’s really old. It was built in the 1950s, it has a ton of character, a ton of quirks, and there is also a ton of work to be done. We are currently in the middle of a big landscaping project. All of the weeds, the old grass, and the old trees have to be removed to make way for the new. It takes a whole lot of time, a whole lot of heavy lifting, and a whole lot of moving dirt around.

I put the boys to work with me in the yard this weekend. As we were removing old wood chips, weeds, and rocks we discovered underneath it all there was a little concrete path. Eight square steps, I never knew were there. As we uncovered one step after the other, I paused for a moment and with tears in my eyes, dirt under my nails, and sweat dripping from my face I whispered, “wow.” I couldn’t help but feel the weight of the moment. For the last two months as I have been looking out my front window all I have noticed was a mess of old wood chips and weeds. I never knew those steps were there, hiding just a few inches under the surface.

It parallels so perfectly with my life.

There is a path to rebuilding beautiful that is already all laid out. God has each step perfectly placed and planned. Just because I can’t see every single step right now doesn’t mean the path isn’t already there. If He uncovered it all at once, chances are I would be absolutely overwhelmed with the road ahead. Instead it’s a daily uncovering, a daily unveiling, a daily baby step on the road leading to beautiful.

Someday soon I will look out my front window and see a whole new landscape: new soil, new flowers, new grass, new trees: new beautiful.  It will happen, but it will take time, and i’m finding that’s just a raw fact of life: beauty takes time. One day at a time.

In it together,